Gun Test: Yankee Hill Machine’s Hunt-Ready Carbine
By Eric Conn, Gun Digest
Yankee Hill Machine’s new Hunt-Ready Carbine is a scoped and zeroed rifle, ready to shoot straight out of the box.
How this Yankee is ready for the hunt:
- The Hunt-Ready Carbine is field-ready, with a 3-9x40mm Bushnell Trophy scope.
- The scope comes already zeroed at 100 yards.
- The rifle is available in three chamberings: 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK and 6.8 SPC II.
- The carbine is accurate, with the average overall group at the range at 1.02 inches.
If there’s one thing I hate in life, it’s all the purchased items that I’ve got to assemble, configure, or, worst of all, consult the instructions about. IKEA be damned, I’m a fan of anything that requires little-to-no assembly, saves me time and allows me to enjoy the activity for which I obtained the item in the first place. It’s really no different when it comes to hunting — although I’m as big a fan as anyone of tinkering with my gear, I’d rather spend time actually hunting than trying to assemble, sight in and adjust the finely tuned components on a firearm.
That’s where Yankee Hill Machine’s (YHM) new Hunt-Ready Carbine comes in handy. Chambered in several popular and effective hunting calibers — including 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK and 6.8 SPC II — the rifle comes topped with scope, sighted in at 100 yards, sling already attached and ready to rock. The rifle, which carries an MSRP of $1,579, comes topped with a 3-9×40 Bushnell Trophy scope featuring a mil-dot crosshair reticle.
One of the most obvious features on the new Hunt-Ready Carbine is a Kryptek Highlander coating, which covers buttstock, receivers and handguard, and is well suited for coyote country. The rifle also comes with a Grovtech adjustable sling, which features a wide shoulder strap with plenty of padding for extended walks afield. The rifle is fairly light, however, coming in at right around 8½ pounds with scope (unloaded).
While the particular rifle I tested came with a 1:9-inch twist rate, YHM also offers the Hunt-Ready Carbine with a 16-inch barrel with a 1:7-inch twist, perfect if you’re trying to stabilize heavier hunting bullets. For coyotes and anything I’d use the .223 Remington for, however, the mid-sized bullets — say around 40-55-grains — are more than adequate, as is the 1:9-inch twist rate.
The heat-treated steel barrel is diamond-cut to help cut down on weight, and it also features a low-profile gas block. A rifle-length handguard with M-LOK compatibility is ergonomically well suited for hunting, having no jagged or rough edges, and offering plenty of different setups afield.
YHM conveniently provides a forward assist with standard right-handed controls and a six-position M4 buttstock. The barrel is topped with a Phantom 5C2 flash hider/compensator that allows for rapid follow-up shots on game, something that’s particularly helpful if you’re trying to grab more than one coyote in a set or polish off an entire prairie dog town.
The Hunt-Ready Carbine comes with a Bushnell scope, as stated above, which is more than adequate for the range of the .223 cartridge. The scope comes with a YHM-246 one-piece scope mount, made from aircraft-grade aluminum and hardcoat anodized. Offset, the scope mount allows users to mount farther forward on the rail, optimizing eye relief for a wider variety of shooters.
For the sake of testing multiple optics on the rifle, I also included a Burris XTR II 1-8x24mm scope in the review. For mounting, I used a Burris P.E.P.R. mount with 30mm rings. With 11 different illuminated reticle settings (adjustable on the lefthand turret) and a milrad elevation turret, the XTR II is easily and quickly adjustable (all dials, including magnification, feature aggressive texturing for a no-slip grip) and makes an extremely useful long- or short-range optic for the AR.
At the Range
To see just how well the rifle lived up to the Hunt-Ready claim, I took it straight from my FFL to the range, loaded some mags and went to work with the Bushnell scope. I accuracy tested the rifle with three different loads and bullet types, including Hornady’s 40-grain V-Max, American Eagle’s 50-grain JHP and Nosler’s 55-grain, tipped Varmageddon load.
Hornady’s V-Max load is one I turn to frequently for predator applications, as it’s always a top performer. It lived up to its reputation with this rifle, producing a best group of .599 inches from a Caldwell B.R. Pivot shooting bench and Lead Sled. The average group, taken from three, three-shot groups, was an impressive .885 inches — more than enough to slay ‘yotes or other predators out to 300-400 yards. Nosler’s 55-grain Varmageddon produced a best group of .647 inches, with an average group of .877 inches — quite respectable, and better than MOA at 100 yards. Finally, for a budget-friendly load, I tested Federal’s American Eagle 50-grain JHP. I’ve killed numerous predators with the load in .223 and .22-250, and have never been disappointed with accuracy, especially for a bulk load. Testing proved that anecdotal evidence true, with AE loads producing a best group of .487 inches, the best among the day’s accuracy data, and an overall group size of 1.02 inches.
With a good trigger and a respectable scope, the Hunt-Ready rifle from YHM is clearly more than capable of producing game-stopping accuracy, and more. I’d certainly have no hesitation about taking it afield and stretching the distance on predators.
YHM claims its new rifle is ready out of the box, and I have to say I concur. It has a good trigger, produces repeatable accuracy and aptly handled a number of different loads, all without fail. Per YHM’s claim, the rifle really was zeroed at 100 yards, and the Bushnell Trophy 3-9x40mm scope was more than adequate for the job at hand. With a fairly reasonable price tag given the package ($1,579), this is a rifle every hunter should seriously consider.
In Gunsmithing the AR-15: The Bench Manual, author Patrick Sweeney covers every component that makes up the versatile firearm — from buttstock to muzzle brake. This is essential information, given that the sea of potential upgrades available today can swamp even veteran AR users. Click here to get your copy.