By Rick Sapp

The last few years it seemed the industry was taken over by the "Black Gun," the modular AR platform, the sniper ethos. Maybe this coincides with a general sense that our way of life is under pressure externally — from radical Islamists and China's commercial "rush to the bottom" — and internally, from an anti-hunting, anti-gun, anti-meat, anti-fur, anti-fun but intensely political crowd.

Hence perhaps the, at times overwhelming, enthusiasm for the military styling of the AR as the Modern Sporting Rifle and the growing presence of military and law enforcement into the SHOT Show.

Very quietly, however, the bolt-action rifle has made a comeback. Consider, for example, the new design for a bolt gun from Savage Arms. Savage, of course, is known for pump shotguns and rifles, both rimfire and cenferfire, all hovering in the "budget minded" end of the price spectrum.

Savage's new Axis II XP with polymer stock carries a working man's retail price of only $489. Sold as a package at this price, a 3-9x40mm Weaver scope, factory mounted and bore sighted, is included.

The uber-cool selling feature of the Axis II XP is that it is built with two barrel lengths. The adult version (nine calibers, from .204 Ruger to .30-06 Springfield) comes with a matte-blued 22-inch barrel; the youth version (.243 Win only) with a 20-inch barrel. Rifles are available in black and, for a $36 up-charge, the youth model is available in a pink-and-sticks Muddy Girl camo.

So consider the bolt gun. Not dead after all and perhaps filling a retailer's shelves near you soon.