Lithgow Arms and new distributor Spika have launched four new Australian-made rifles, including a lightweight centrefire, a varmint rifle and a chassis rifle in rimfire and centrefire.
The lightweight Hunter model is ready to be shipped from the factory immediately, the chassis-based Outback will be ready “in days” according to Lithgow staff, and the Varmint should be ready to go to dealers in early December.
The rifles were revealed on Friday to dealers and others at Spika’s headquarters in Melbourne, where they were received with such enthusiasm that retailers bought 580 on that night alone.
The new models are developments of the existing rimfire LA101 series and centrefire LA102 series, and represent an aggressive new push by the Australian firearms manufacturer to broaden its appeal by expanding its range.
Sporting Shooter has been told the expansion will continue, and we understand the factory is considering new actions to run alongside the current one.
Lithgow Arms, which has made military firearms for the armed forces since 1912, dived into the commercial firearms market in 2016 with its Crossover rifles and released the Woomera soon after, but it had not capitalised on its early success until now.
The LA101 and LA102 Crossovers will remain in the line-up, along with the LA105 Woomera.
The Hunter is a lightened version of the Crossover, designed primarily for hunters on foot but also considered ideal for for all-round use such as on rural properties.
Its barrel has been slimmed down, fluted and shortened to 51cm (20”), accounting for most of the weight saving compared with the Crossover with its 56cm barrel.
The Hunter also features a fluted bolt and two-piece scope mounting bases, helping reduce weight to 3.3-3.4kg, 400g lighter than a Crossover.
It is offered with the same polymer stock as the Crossover but with a length of pull that can be varied between 337 and 357mm.
Calibres are .223, .243, 6.5CM and .308, with the new chambering of .204 Ruger expected next year.
Pricing will vary from dealer to dealer but should be less than $2200.
Lithgow has chosen the Australian-made Southern Cross TSP-X alloy chassis as the basis for the Outback, a rifle intended for more heavy-duty use such as culling or shooting from a vehicle.
It features a 46cm (18”) barrel, 10-round AICS metal box magazine, a compact overall length of 97cm and a mass of just over 4kg.
The chassis provides many mounting options for optics, lights and other accessories.
It is chambered for .223, .243, 6.5CM and .308.
The highest-spec LA102 variant, the Outback’s price, depending on the dealer, is up to around $3000.
The Varmint comes with a 56cm (24”) barrel for extended reach, cradled in Lithgow’s familiar oil-finished timber stock.
Its magazine is a detachable Grizzly single-stacker holding 10 rounds.
Weight is just over 4kg and, like the Hunter, it is chambered in .223, .243, 6.5CM and .308, with .204 coming.
The Varmint will sell for less than $2400, depending on each gunshop’s pricing structure.
Like the LA102 Outback, the LA101 version uses a Southern Cross TSP-X chassis.
The action and 53cm (21”) barrel are identical to the LA101 Crossover, as is the five-round detachable box magazine; there are 10-round aftermarket options.
Calibres are .22 LR, .17 HMR and .22 WMR.