I’m starting to suspect that I’m a bit of a Fudd. The derogatory term alludes to the hapless Bugs Bunny huntsman and has been used by the tacticool crowd to describe old-time gun owners who maintain the superiority of wood furniture and whine about the Tupperware guns invading the market from Europe. I don’t mind polymer materials and only my mil-surp rifles sport wood stocks, but how else can I explain my affinity for single-shot rifles?
It’s an easy design to love. Single-shot rifles are strong, versatile, and often feature a shorter overall length than firearms with other types of actions. Plus, they’re simple to operate and super safe. While less than helpful against a zombie apocalypse, the classic design is a great option for new shooters looking for their first centerfire and old shooters looking for a throwback piece.
Needless to say, I was eager to get my hands on an Outfitter G2 when Traditions Firearms released them at the SHOT Show in 2017. Known primarily for their muzzleloaders, Traditions also offers several lines of single-shot cartridge rifles, including the Crackshot and Crackshot XBR.
The Outfitter G2 line features rifles chambered in a huge variety of (kinda weird) calibers, including the 45-70, .357 MAG, 44 MAG, 450 Bushmaster, .243, .35 REM, .35 Whelen, and 300 Blackout. That’s the beauty of the single-shot design – manufacturers can pump out virtually any caliber without paying for expensive product development to figure out how to get the action to cycle smoothly.
Out of all the offerings, the scoped 300 Blackout package intrigued me the most. The gun features a 16.5-inch barrel, which makes it long enough to burn all the powder in a 300 Blackout cartridge but short enough to keep the OAL under 33 inches. Paired with a suppressor and subsonic ammunition, the G2 makes a compact, effective, nearly silent whitetail assassin.
- 300 AAC Blackout
- 16.5″ Chromoly Lothar Walther Premium Fluted Barrel
- Premium CeraKote Finish on Barrel
- Transfer Bar Safety System
- Manual Trigger Block Safety
- Steel Frame
- 11 Degree Target Crown
- Drilled & Tapped
- Weight: 6lbs, 10oz w/ base, rings, scope
- Overall Length: 32.5”
- MSRP: $543, scoped; $455, base
Fit, Function, Feel
The Outfitter G2 uses an exposed-hammer, break-action, single-shot design. Some prefer the falling block action of rifles like the Ruger No. 1 due to their high-strength and easy reloading. I understand that argument, but a break-action can also be reloaded quickly (with practice), and the design has been time-tested over, literally, centuries. Plus, I have confidence that the Outfitter’s quality components will keep it from breaking down in the field.
Users load the rifle by opening the action with a button located forward of the trigger. The button is large enough to be used with winter gloves, but it remained unobtrusive throughout the course of my testing. It also features some light texturing, and smaller hands shouldn’t have trouble depressing it.
Depressing the button allows the barrel to swing down and exposes the chamber. The action is somewhat sticky, but I take that as a good sign: it indicates tight tolerances in the manufacturing process, and it should loosen over time.
Once users load a cartridge into the chamber, the action can be closed. Users fire a round by pulling back on the exposed hammer until it locks and then pulling the trigger. The hammer is aggressively textured, which allows for easy manipulation even on rainy days in the field. The rifle I received came with hammer extensions on both the left and right sides. The extensions are necessary for use with the scope that comes with the rifle, though with higher scope rings it might be possible to use the hammer by itself.
The Outfitter G2 features two safety mechanisms along with the inherent safety of the single-shot design. The manual trigger block safety keeps the trigger from being pulled unless the user moves the button from the “safe” position on the right of the trigger to the “fire” position on the left. The transfer bar safety system also ensures that the firing pin won’t ignite a primer if a rifle drop accidentally disengages the hammer. Whether or not the hammer is cocked, users don’t have the worry about a negligent discharge unless the trigger is pulled.
All of this is good news for me as the father of youngsters. I’ve already picked out their first .22LR rifles, but the Outfitter is a great option for a centerfire deer hunter or anyone that wants an ultra reliable lightweight centerfire rifle. The safety mechanisms give me peace of mind, but the single-shot design also mitigates against any confusion over whether the rifle is loaded. My only wish is that the Outfitter could be unloaded after the hammer is cocked. The hammer can be de-cocked by pulling the trigger, and the transfer bar safety makes this process safer, but I would like to be able to remove an unused cartridge without pulling the trigger.
The trigger itself isn’t anything to write home about. The 7.5lb break comes after the slightest bit of gritty take-up, and the face doesn’t feature any kind of texturing.
The Outfitter doesn’t use an ejector. Spent casings must be removed by hand, which I didn’t find to be difficult using bare fingers in the still-sweltering summer Texas heat. With gloves, the process might be more challenging, especially with smaller casings like the 300 Blackout.
The 3-9x scope, rings, and rail that come with the Outfitter performed exactly as advertised. Traditions bore-sighted the scope before it left the factory, and I didn’t have any trouble zeroing before testing. The no-nonsense reticle pairs perfectly with the 300 Blackout cartridge, but for more powerful calibers I prefer something with bullet drop hash marks. I don’t hunt beyond 200 yards with a 300 Blackout, but it’s handy to have a BDC with calibers like the .243.
At the Range
The Outfitter G2 is a pleasure to shoot. The rifle’s all-steel frame gives it a heft that belies its overall length, but at just over 6.5 pounds, the G2 is light enough to shoot from any position in the field. The weight, combined with the healthy recoil pad, also mitigates felt recoil while shooting supersonic 300 Blackout loads.
Subsonic ammunition is even more fun. At 32.5 inches, the G2 is more compact and maneuverable than most bolt action or semi-automatic rifles, making it a perfect suppressor host. I had a blast taking it out to Fossil Point Sporting Grounds and testing some Hornady Subsonic ammunition through a Dead Air Armament Nomad.
“Hearing safe” is an understatement. The single-shot design eliminates even the sound of a cycling action, and the resulting “concussion” is closer to a BB gun than a standard centerfire rifle. It’s a more expensive option than electronic hearing protection, but if you’re worried about hearing loss on your next hunt, a suppressed Outfitter G2 would make an awesome deer slayer.
Of course, maneuverability and comfort don’t matter if you can’t hit what you’re aiming at. My expectations are never high for a rifle chambered in 300 Blackout. In my experience, anything in the 1.5-2 MOA window is acceptable, and the cartridge’s velocity limitations restrict the maximum effective range, anyway.
Hornady’s 135g and 110g supersonic loads landed in that window, but I was pleasantly surprised with how the 190g subsonic rounds performed out of the Outfitter G2. That’s due in large part to its Chromoly Lothar Walther barrel. Lothar Walter is a premium German barrel manufacturer, and while Traditions’ decision to use a premium barrel increases the rifle’s cost, it pays dividends in the accuracy department.
Once you’re done, the G2 disassembles with a simple button located in the rifle’s handguard. In its broken-down configuration, the Outfitter will fit into virtually any pack or bag, and I wouldn’t think twice about carrying it on my next hunting trip.
The Outfitter G2 isn’t the perfect rifle for all situations. Take a pass if you’re looking for something for home defense or you’re hoping to eradicate a herd of wild hogs. The trigger isn’t great, and the loading/unloading process is perhaps more hands-on than some shooters prefer.
But it’s an excellent choice for hunters who pursue game in heavily wooded areas and need a rifle that won’t get in the way among vines and brush. Its multiple safety features also recommend it to new shooters who want to get into the centerfire game but aren’t yet comfortable with auto-loading firearms. It’s lightweight, rugged, maneuverable, and accurate enough to get the job done. Plus, it’s reasonably priced and can be bought with or without a scope.
I’m not expecting single-shot rifles to end the tacticool craze, but if you feel yourself drawn to the Outfitter G2, follow your inner Fudd and take one for a spin.