What's in a Name?

posted on June 19, 2014

Think about successful firearms. Sure, some have boring names like "Model 700" or "Model 29," but others thrive on their names—sometimes achieving success because of the name. The Taurus Judge is a great example of a gun helped tremendously by a well-chosen name, as is the Desert Eagle.

Which brings us to the Alexander Arms Ulfberht. We cover this exciting new semi-automatic .338 Lapua Mag. rifle in our July issue (on newsstands now). The name, however, remains strikingly odd. It is the Frankish word given to the sword used by Viking raiders in the 9th to 11th centuries. Alexander Arms founder and chief engineer Bill Alexander has a bit of a thing for Viking and Anglo-Saxon mythology, as you might have deduced from the company's famous .50 Beowulf and 6.5 Grendel cartridges. But, Ulfberht is a touch more obscure of a name.

Alexander says he chose it because the Ulfberht sword was the peak of military technology in its heyday, and the Ulfberht rifle is cutting edge for 2014. I won't argue that this rifle is awesome. I got to shoot it late last year, and it is simply amazing how easily one can quickly and accurately fire the big semi-auto. There is no muzzle rise whatsoever, despite the rifle lacking a muzzle brake. When I say no muzzle rise, I don't mean "very little rise" or "almost no muzzle rise," I mean no muzzle rise, period. The gun recoils straight back into the shoulder, though not particularly harshly considering the .338 Lapua Mag. chambering. The muzzle stays in the horizontal plane and does not move upward at all, making follow-up shots a breeze.

I hope people will learn to pronounce Ulfberht and recognize this rifle is more than a heavy-metal-esque name, because it could be a game-changer where long-range firepower is concerned. Check out the July issue of Shooting Illustrated for the complete review.


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