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Forbes rifle
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Jonathan Rozes

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
Forbes rifle on 02/17/2012 13:18:36 MST Print View

You may have heard of Melvin Forbes' and/or his company New Ultra Light Arms. Melvin makes top-notch lightweight mountain rifles, but with a starting price of $3k, his products are out of reach for most folks.

Melvin recently joined up with a Maine-based manufacturer (Titan Machine Products) to form a new company that is making a production version of the NULA model 24. The Forbes Rifle model 24B differs from the NULA in that it uses an E.R. Shaw barrel instead of a custom Douglas, and the manufacturing and assembly are performed by Titan instead of Melvin himself (one exception being the stock, which is still manufactured by Melvin).

The weight with included scope rings is 5 lbs. 4 oz. MSRP is $1,400. You can get it in any caliber you like, as long as it's .270 or .30-06.

They have a website at, but you'll find a little more info in the American Rifleman review:

I know there are lighter rifles available, but everything I've seen is way more expensive and not available in long action calibers.

I have no affiliation with any of these folks other than having one on order. Loaded with three rounds and topped with a Swaro 3-9x36, it should weigh just under 6-1/4 lbs. Having carried a 10 lb. .45-70 around for the last few years, I'm psyched.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Forbes rifle on 02/17/2012 13:45:48 MST Print View

10 pounds is a lot to carry and .45-70 isn't so versatile for long-range shots like mountain sheep and goats. A .30-06 can do just about anything you want a rifle to do in North America.

Just for comparison: dropping four pounds of rifle weight for $1400 seems in the same ballpark as people spending $200-$400 for a backpack or sleeping bag that weighs a pound less.

My approach: I let my hunter friends know I'm a heck of a sherpa. No one wants a whole elk or moose all at once so they get the bragging rights, I get some exercise and 100 pound of meat in the freeze.

Jonathan Rozes

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
Re: Forbes rifle on 02/17/2012 14:51:28 MST Print View

The .30-06 is probably the king of versatility (and that was my choice for the Forbes), but I wouldn't say the .45-70 isn't versatile. The case capacity allows for a very wide range of loads, and you might be surprised at how flat it can shoot - 200 yd. PBR with a 300 grain pill. It excels in dense brush like the Oregon coast range, which I happen to live near, and it produces very little meat damage. I'm a big fan of the cartridge, and lever actions in general, but you're absolutely right that it doesn't make sense for a lightweight mountain rifle.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Meat's In The Freezer ( Let's Go Skiing) on 02/17/2012 15:13:56 MST Print View

"Meat's In The Freezer ( Let's Go Skiing) "

Dennis Rackers
(beentherebefore) - F
Re: Forbes rifle on 03/18/2012 08:34:47 MDT Print View

Who did you order from and what is the price?

About 10 years ago, I ordered one of the Colt Ultralight rifles in .270 Win and was very disappointed with the quality. Surely, this will be a much better effort.

David Petzal previously recommended the Colt version of Forbes ULA rifle and it was his mention in the latest Field & Stream magazine that brought the new Forbes rifle to my attention. In the recent story, he was also giving positive mention to the new Ruger American Rifle and saying that it weighs only 6.25 pounds. I saw one of the Ruger rifles at a SCI show in January, and its bolt was almost large enough to use as a boat anchor and the plastic stock was atrocious. I'd be surprised if the reported weight is accurate for the Ruger.

Have you had a chance to physically inspected a production model of the rifle?


Jonathan Rozes

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
Re: Re: Forbes rifle on 03/18/2012 11:32:49 MDT Print View


I ordered mine from a local FFL after reading the early reviews in American Rifleman, Field and Stream, and 24hourcampfire. There's also a quick F&S snippet from Shot Show:

My price was right around $1200. I imagine you'd pay more from a store, though I do know Forbes offers a slightly lower wholesale price to dealers who order at least four rifles.

From everything I've read/heard/seen, this is an entirely different beast from the Colt rifle, mainly in that Melvin has retained full control over the venture. All parts are interchangeable with Melvin's own NULA model 24, and the stock is the same stock, built and supplied by Melvin. The differences are that the other parts are machined by Forbes LLC (Titan Machine Products under the hood), the barrel is an E.R. Shaw production barrel instead of a custom Douglas, and of course the caliber choices are limited.

They haven't shipped the first production units yet (the estimate they gave me was April), but given the dimensional compatibility with the NULA model 24, the fact that it's Melvin's stock and not a cheap knock-off, and Melvin's level of involvement in the venture, I'm reasonably positive I won't be disappointed.

Jonathan Rozes

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
Re: Forbes rifle on 10/09/2012 13:20:18 MDT Print View

Well, it took a lot longer than anticipated to get it, but I've had my rifle for about a month now. I can say without hesitation that it was worth the wait.

Some highlights:

- Overall fit and finish are excellent. The action is tight and smooth, and the barrel is bedded the full length of the stock. It needed a thorough cleaning (particularly the cocking cam area of the bolt), but then so has every rifle I've ever owned.

- With a Swarovski Z3 3-9x36 mounted, the rifle balances just ahead of the action, which gives it great maneuverability, but still leaves enough weight out front to hold it steady in suboptimal firing positions.

- The single stage trigger has no discernible creep and a nice, crisp break. I believe it's adjustable, but mine came set right around 2 lb and feels fine for my purposes.

- Recoil feels more like a 9 lb rifle than a 6 lb one, and is a straight-back push, so it's easy to keep eyes on target after the shot breaks.

- After breaking in the barrel, it shoots right around 1/2 MOA from the bench. More importantly, the light weight doesn't hinder my ability to shoot accurately from field positions.

Overall, I'm very satisfied so far. I think at the price point, it's the best thing going in a lightweight mountain rifle.

Edited by jrozes on 11/15/2012 20:05:16 MST.

David A
(DavidAdair) - M

Locale: West Dakota
Re: Re: Forbes rifle on 10/10/2012 12:53:26 MDT Print View

Nice! But for heavens sake, John, keep in mind this is BPL. What we want to know is how the manufacturers claimed weight compares to your measured weight! Just kidding, it looks really good and sounds like it's a shooter too. Congratulations. And more congratulations for being able to stifle the urge to slap big optics on. That scope makes for a pretty package (if you are into rifle aesthetics -and of course we all are). Thanks for sharing.

Jonathan Rozes

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
Re: Re: Re: Forbes rifle on 10/10/2012 13:05:25 MDT Print View

Yeah, high-magnification optics, target turrets, and fist-sized bolt handles certainly have their place, but the Forbes sure isn't one of them.