Gun Review: MG Arms Banshee Tactical Rifle in .300 Win Mag

After all of my posturing about only reviewing firearms “for hunters,” this gun review is generally not for those interested in shooting game. Instead, the rifle under discussion – the MG Arms Banshee in .300 Winchester Magnum – was designed by Kerry and Carol O’Day to be (in their own words) “the ultimate long-range tactical rifle.”

Maybe the Banshee could be used for a prairie dog (or other varmint) shoot, but given that I hold a soft spot for those little rodents, I find it hard to envision using it for that application. However, if you love shooting ‘P-dogs’, this rifle should work very, very well.

But given the weight of this precision firearm, this isn’t a rifle you’ll be wanting to trudge with on your shoulder through the woods.

The circumstances that led to this inveterate hunter being sent MG Arms’ ultimate long-range tactical rifle will be explained in an upcoming article on a Government Training Institute Tactical course in which I will be participating.

Thanks also to J.J. Reich (Vista Outdoor) for providing the Federal Premium Sierra MatchKing ammunition and Armageddon Gear for their Ultralight Shooting Mat, Competition Armband and Waxed Canvas Optimized Game Changer Support Bag.

And last, but not least, Harris Engineering provided the HBRS bi-pod.

Before heading to the range to collect the velocity, accuracy, and trajectory data, I installed the Harris bipod using the adjustable sling mount provided in the extended channel in the forend of the fully bedded stock.

I also took a familiarization journey around the remainder of the parts of the rifle and riflescope.

Starting with the rifle, I examined the: Pac-Nor National Match SS fluted-barrel;

MGA Super Eliminator muzzle brake;

Bell & Carlson, fully-adjustable varmint weight, fiberglass stock;

Four-shot, removable magazine and the Timney Calvin Elite trigger. The Timney trigger is adjustable and comes from the factory pre-set at 2.5 lbs. I left it there for my testing.

The Banshee is built around a fully blueprinted Remington 700 action. MG offers models chambered in everything from .223 Remington to .338 Lapua. Its large tactical bolt handle ensures quick cycling of the rifle with no jams.

The Banshee also came pre-mounted from MG Arms with a Swarovski X5i 5-25 x 56 rifle scope.

Finally, we get to the range

The range work with the Banshee reflected my need to prepare for the GTI Tactical course. Thus, almost all of my time was spent shooting prone.

This not only allowed me to practice a position which I rarely use, but also allowed me to become familiar with the rifle, ammunition, shooting mat, support bag and bi-pod.

I have to be honest that I was worried that the Armageddon Gear Ultralight Shooting Mat would prove rough on a 61-year-old body laying a concrete shooting pad. But, my concerns were unfounded. I don’t know what they do to make this mat…uhm…padded…but it is very comfortable.

Likewise, though people rave about their Game Changer Support Bag, this was my first experience with the product. After my range session, a good friend of mine called to ask what I thought of it. He was considering purchasing the same model. I told him that it was incredibly easy to use, allowing rapid adjustments to elevation and windage.

The Banshee itself, of course, contributed to the stability and thus accuracy. Its weight of nearly 16 pounds fully kitted out and the blocky contours of the Bell & Carlson Varmint Stock provided an extremely solid base from which to fire.

The Federal Premium ammunition sent for this review and the Tactical Course, was their Gold Medal Match topped with 190 grain Sierra MatchKing BTHP bullets. Of the 240 cartridges sent, I used my LabRadar to chronograph seven. The Mean Muzzle velocity was 2948 fps (Mean Muzzle Energy = 3665 ft-lbs).

The Ballistic Coefficient of the 190 grain Sierra® Matchking® BTHP bullets and the muzzle velocity resulted in the following trajectory values: 100-yards = +2.5 inches; 200-yards = -1.5 inches; 300-yards = -9.5 inches.

As expected from a long-range precision rifle like the Banshee, the mean group sizes at each distance were certainly sub-MOA.

100 yards = .79 MOA
200 yards = .30 MOA
300 yards = .67 MOA

I want to reduce those group sizes before the tactical course, but even with the unusual firing position (for me), factory loads and first experience with the Banshee, the accuracy the rifle produces was was excellent.

One last point. I will be required to fire 200+ cartridges over the two-day GTI course. I was concerned that firing that number of rounds through a .300 WinMag rifle in just two days might turn my shoulder and cheek into the consistency of veal. The range session dispelled my concern.

The heavy weight of the Banshee precision rifle, the stock’s ability to adjust comb height and length of pull, along with the MG Arms muzzle brake resulted in a very mild recoiling rifle.

So, bring on the tactical training.

Specifications: MG Arms Banshee Tactical Rifle 

Caliber: .300 Winchester Magnum
Action Type: Remington 700
Capacity: 4 +1
Overall Length: 46”
Barrel: Pac-Nor National Match SS
Barrel Length: 26”
Muzzle Brake: MGA Super Eliminator™
Weight: 15 lbs 13 oz (with Swarovski X5i 5-25 x 56 scope)
Stock: Bell & Carlson
Pad: Pachmayr Decelerator
Trigger: Timney Calvin Elite adjustable
MSRP: $3395 (without scope)

 

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style * * * * 
The style components of the Banshee are pretty much what you’d expect from a long-range tactical rifle. It makes no bones about trying to be a ‘beautiful’ firearm; this rifle is imposing. The Cerakoted camo pattern in well done and attractive enough.

Fit and Finish: * * * * *
The Cerakoting on the stock and all finishing of all metal parts was great. This being the third rifle I’ve seen from MG Arms, I am coming to expect this from the O’Days and their staff.

Accuracy * * * * *
In a word, excellent. As you’d expect in a rifle of this type and price point, it produces sub-MOA results at every distance tested. And that’s with factory ammo. The results would no doubt be significantly improved with home-brewed and tested loads.

Ergonomics * * * * *
OK, so, I am not going to carry this 16-pound thing very far without needing a rest break. But, that’s not the purpose for which it was designed. The fully adjustable stock ensures a perfect fit for just about any shooter.

Reliability * * * * *
It’s a bolt gun with a blueprinted 700 action. I experienced no failures of any kind with the Banshee, either while single-loading it or cycling from the magazine. Everything worked as designed.

Overall * * * * *
I don’t know how to state this a better way: the MG Arms Banshee is a very cool rifle. It doesn’t really go with my general obsessed hunter gestalt, but it made me feel very good as I sent rounds down range, putting them exactly where I wanted them. The stock fit, mechanics and inherent accuracy of this rifle make it a fulfilling and very entertaining firearm to get in behind. To put it in the parlance from my Texas upbringing – it is a hoot-and-a-half to shoot.

 

Mike Arnold writes about firearms and hunting at his blog Mike Arnold, Outdoor Writer.

All images are courtesy Mike Arnold. 

 

comments

  1. avatar arc says:

    The price is obscene when I can get an AR platform in .300WM or even .338LM for $800-$1000 less and have it be significantly more versatile. Shave off $1200 and it might be a little more attractive

    1. avatar Craig in IA says:

      Actually, it’s pretty reasonably priced if one has actually been looking at real precision rifles. A bit much if you just want to play but not bad if you really know how to shoot.

      1. avatar arc says:

        A real precision rifle as opposed to what, a fake one? I throw it into the bin of niche and over priced “competition” rifles, a bad deal for the overwhelming majority of readers who neither compete professionally, nor are DM/snipers using personal weapons. Those that have paychecks and product endorsements on the line and do compete professionally, are unlikely to have any budget restrictions. They will be looking for will be looking for and testing every <.25 and .50 MOA rifle under the sun, rather than simply <1, price be damned.

        It appears to me that its just another overpriced rifle trying to fill the already flooded middle ground between Joe Blow deer hunter, and competitive marksmanship, while being marketed as a competition rifle. Everyone has an opinion and of course they all stink. *sprays some S***&Roses air freshener*

  2. avatar GS650G says:

    While expensive the accuracy proved the value and clearly it’s well made gun.

  3. avatar moreadventuresonotherplanets says:

    My 1939 Winchester Model 70 rebarreled to .308 shoots better than that gun and I did not pay anywhere near that outrageous price and it has a nice walnut stock not a piece of shit plasticky stock.

  4. avatar rdsii64 says:

    While a Bell&Carlson stock certainly isn’t junk, its completely unacceptable on a $3400.00 rifle. You can easily get a similarly spec’d rifle in a modern chassis system for the same money. Skip the chassis and go with a Manners or McMillan stock and that same rifle becomes a $2500.00 rifle with the same performance as this one.

  5. avatar D.J.U. says:

    I really like rifles in 300 win mag but as far as the ultimate long range tacticle rifle , I beleave that ship sailed when the 338 lapua mag came out. Its holds the long range kill record in combat, even beating out the 50 bmg and the 416 Barrett. It’s loading range from tacticle to super long range sniper use. Hands down it’s king of the ultimate title.

    1. avatar arc says:

      If I had to pick a 300WM or a 338LM, I would take a 300WM even though its inferior. The reason being that I’m more likely to be able to find ammo in 300WM than I am in 338 Lapua mag. Of course this is why I went with .308, less power and range than both but the ammo is everywhere, the bullets can be pulled from other 30cal cartridges and reloaded into .308 brass. I’m also not a sniper and 600 Y/M is probably my limit for shots in a CW2 scenario.

      1. avatar edward kenway's ghost says:

        Thank you for echoing the practical reloader’s perspective on affordability and ballistics. Much appreciated.

        1. avatar arc says:

          I will file this under sarcasm.

    2. avatar Craig in IA says:

      I, too, like the idea of the Lapua and have been in the market now for a few months. 20 rounds match ammo is about $93 per 20 but once I had some brass things would be more reasonable.

  6. avatar IdahoBoy says:

    I’m confused. In your text, your accuracy at various yardages is listed in inches, thusly:

    100 yards = .79 inch
    200 yards = .30 inch
    300 yards = .67 inch

    Is your 200 yard group really twice as narrow as your 100 yard group, and is it really less than half an inch? That seems highly unlikely. I’m more inclined to believe your chart, which lists the same numbers as MOA. Could you clarify this please?

    1. avatar IdahoBoy says:

      Thanks for fixing that!

  7. avatar CplCamelToe says:

    So, @MichaelArnold, are you going to post the pic of the awesome scope-kiss you got when you touched off the round in that pic of you behind the rifle?

    What’s that, you say?

    That was just you posting “for dramatic effect”.

    Then why was you finger on the trigger?

    And why do you hold your precision rifle like you’re driving a pistol?

    Seriously, Dan.
    Pay attention.
    Letting Fudd nozzles, who’ve just discovered the probe position, and “DO suck”, write articles about long range shooting, just because their tweed smoking jacket and NRA Life-Member cards project “hey, you prolly know about gun stuff”, is just one example of why this site is going down the tubes.

    If they don’t know WTF they’re doing… don’t let them write about it.

    1. avatar CplCamelToe says:

      Was supposed to be “prone position”, but the autocorrect is probably just as accurate in this unique instance.

    2. avatar Someone says:

      In that picture it looks like the rifle isn’t even properly shouldered. Maybee the angle deceives me. But shooting a 300 win mag in that position would be a very bad idea indeed. So what gives with that trigger finger?

      1. avatar That Jason says:

        Nonsense, look how he’s laying relative to the rear bag. He’s got the butt of the stock against his moob. Judging by his jowls it should be as good as a limbsaver.

        1. avatar CplCamelToe says:

          Dan, we’re not just screwing with you. We’re serious. You shouldn’t be letting Fudds like this write articles for this site.

          Call him and ask him exactly what he actually saw through that scope with his 0.00002” eye relief at that particular moment… when he had his finger on the trigger…. in a handgun grip.

          The guy’s a “check out my NRA card, I clearly know what I’m doing” Fudd. Limit him to writing about Cooper rifles chambered in Ackley-Improved xx-06.

          This is TTAG, not American Rifleman.
          Show some self-respect.

  8. avatar "keep your paws off my dead guy" possum says:

    That’s a bad ass rifle. To bad it’s Tactical, Tactical Assault Rifles are frowned upon. Yes anything Tactical or assaulting must be eliminated, and probably not a bad idea to look closely into those whom purchasees these weapons of skeptical use.

  9. avatar edward kenway's ghost says:

    Where I come from “tactical rifles” shouldn’t weigh nearly 16 frickin’ pounds.
    Tactical rifles also aren’t restricted to ’60’s-era cartridges requiring magnum powder charges and expensive match barrels to compensate for inferior ballistics.
    LMAO at the “weapons of skeptical use” line. That’s brilliant! This particular rifle brand, while it ticks every box for customization, also puts itself out of reach for most normal people who aren’t going to pay a few ounces of bullion gold to own it.

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