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Gun Digest Presents Classic Sporting Rifles

Gun Digest Presents Classic Sporting Rifles

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Gun Digest Presents Classic Sporting Rifles

Longueur:
707 pages
11 heures
Sortie:
Feb 1, 2012
ISBN:
9781440230059
Format:
Livre

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From David Crockett with "Old Betsy" to the mountain men and their Hawkens to the buffalo hunters and their Sharps and Winchester '73s - These are the rifles that fire the imagination of both hunters and historians. Now, Gun Digest presents a unique compilation of articles celebrating these iconic guns. Classic Sporting Rifles, written by a "who's who" of gun writers from the twentieth century, includes stories by Col. Townsend Whelen (a.k.a., Mr. Rifleman), Elmer Keith, Jack O'Connor, Warren Page, Jim Carmichel, and more!
Sortie:
Feb 1, 2012
ISBN:
9781440230059
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Terry Wieland is shooting editor of Gray’s Sporting Journal and a recognized authority on fine firearms. He is also a columnist for Rifle, Handloader, and Safari Times. He has traveled and hunted extensively around the world and written several books on fine guns and hunting. He lives in Fenton, Missouri, but spends several months each year in Africa.

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Gun Digest Presents Classic Sporting Rifles - Terry Wieland

1952

Notes on the Hunting Rifle

Col. Townsend Whelen

Savage Model 99 rifle with Lyman sights. A fine hunting rifle.

THERE ARE MANY important details to consider in the selection of a hunting rifle other than mere caliber and model. Indeed, within well-known limits, the latter are relatively unimportant.

It is fifty-nine years ago this fall since I shot my first deer and won my first rifle match. It was about then that wandering with my rifle through snow-capped mountains got into my soul — and I am still wandering. There is an old Arab saying: Allah reckons not against a man’s allotted days the time he spends in shikar.

The most important factors in successful hunting for rifle game are physical fitness and marksmanship, both attained and retained only by intelligent training. Unless a sportsman is at least a fair shot, he will not be successful with the finest rifle. There is no substitute for marksmanship. Indeed I would go a step further and require a qualification as Marksman or better according to Army, National Guard, or NRA regulations as a requisite for a hunting license.

I will therefore presume a fair degree of skill in marksmanship, usually acquired on the range. But skill in target shooting alone will not insure the successful use of the rifle in the hunting field. The sportsman must also be thoroughly familiar with the identical weapon he is going to use in hunting. I am very strong for selecting a first-class, suitable rifle at the start, and then sticking with it for years. Almost all the failures that cannot be traced to physical unfitness or general marksmanship are due to the hunter’s being unfamiliar with his rifle. Those who have such failures are almost sure to blame the rifle, and to make a change next season to the great benefit of the manufacturer and dealer but not to themselves.

When you get a good rifle, it should not be put in moth balls until the hunting season, but should be stood in the corner of your bedroom. Almost every day you should take it in hand and dry shoot with it at some small object out your window. Learn its fit, feel, trigger squeeze, sights, and quick operation until every form of handling it becomes subconscious. You must not have to look at or think about your rifle to use it effectively, and fast if necessary. Preferably do this with the one rifle you will use for hunting only. In your manual¹you will find sections called Position, Aiming, Trigger Squeeze, Rapid Fire Exercises, and the like, which contain all the essentials of effective use of a rifle. If you will keep this up always so long as you own that rifle, then the sure planting of your bullet in the chest or shoulder of a deer at 50 yards will also become subconscious, and ninety percent of the shots you get in the game fields will be that easy.

Occasional visits to the rifle range are also desirable. Here you verify your sight adjustment and your ability to hit, and by finding your bullets striking in or close to the bull’s-eye you get that confidence in yourself and your weapon which is the only sure cure for buck fever. I practice what I preach. In my younger days I used four rifles over a period of eight years of hunting. The last fifty years, however, have seen but three weapons occupying the seat of honor in my gunrack, each of which, in its turn of years, I took into the woods and mountains after big game. This does not include varmint rifles, of which I have used a flock. The results speak for themselves — 113 animals killed in 133 shots; number wounded and escaped, 8; number missed, 6.

Now, if you please, we will omit all rifles and cartridges that are not now in current production in the United States. Some of these were obsoleted for sufficient reasons, and some for commercial (financial) reasons only. Some of the latter were, and still are, most excellent; but I am presenting practical suggestions, not history. We will also divide modern American hunting rifles into four classes: Big Game Rifles, All-Around Rifles, Varmint Rifles, and Small Game Rifles. It will be much clearer if I treat each class separately.

Big Game Rifles

I am not one of those who deride the old 30-30 cartridge. Over half a century I have seen it perform well in the hands of skillful hunters, and I myself have shot 44 deer, 1 ram, and 4 Rocky Mountain goats with it. But I would exclude it from use on elk, moose, and grizzly bear for humanitarian reasons. I would not think of advising a change from a good 30-30 rifle that a sportsman was thoroughly familiar with, but I do think that if you are purchasing a new rifle for deer-sized animals, it had better be one for the 300 Savage or the 35 Remington cartridges.

It is not necessary to have level ground to assume the steady prone position. Colonel Whelen shooting.

At this point we should consider the matter of breech actions. Obsolescence has narrowed our choice to only two types — lever actions and bolt actions — for the pump and the automatic have now disappeared from the market². The lever actions, by reason of their accuracy, and the trajectory of their cartridges, are 150-yard rifles, or 200 yards at the very limit. Their method and ease of operation are such that the beginner will become thoroughly familiar with them in a shorter time than with a bolt action. If you are more or less a beginner, are getting a new rifle, and have only a month at home to become familiar with it (see above), and if your hunting is to be in more or less wooded country, then I think you would be wise to choose a lever action. Also, in any case, if you know that all your hunting is going to be confined to the East, with never an opportunity to get into Western long range country, then I think the lever action is a wise choice. Two models seem to be outstanding for the deer hunter — the Savage Model 99 in 300 Savage caliber, and the Marlin Model 336 for the 35 Remington cartridge. The Savage has long been very popular, and the new Marlin 35 is proving remarkably accurate and a hard hitter. If elk, moose, and grizzly are to be included, then the Winchester Model 71 in 348 caliber is a most excellent weapon; but its power is unnecessary for the smaller species, and its recoil may be ruinous to a fellow in his first season of shooting, though not to a seasoned rifleman. The 300 and 35 cartridges in the main will be fairly good also for the larger animals, but there is always a chance for a failure with them, while the 250-grain bullet in the 348 cartridge is ample for any animal on this continent, even the Alaskan brown bear.

By reason of their accuracy, and the flat trajectory and sustained killing power of some of their cartridges, the bolt actions are pre-eminently the long-range rifles for the open mountains and plains of the West. But it should not be thought that they are in any way unsuitable for the more moderate distances encountered in woods hunting. For those who will take the trouble and the few minutes’ daily time to become familiar with them, they are as good woods rifles as any. Today’s choice narrows down to the Winchester Model 70, the Remington Models 721 and 722, the Fabrique Nationale Mauser, and Weatherby Mauser, all most excellent weapons in every way, superbly dependable. With these bolt actions we are considering big-game shooting exclusively, and this narrows our choice down to the 270 W.C.F., 30-06 U.S., and 300 H & H Magnum cartridges, all in their proper varieties of bullets suitable for all American big game. The ballistic differences between these cartridges are of little concern to the usual sportsman, and will be apparent only to the experienced hunter-rifleman, who is entirely competent to choose wisely between them. The last three rifles I have used on big game have been in the first two calibers.

The 375 H & H Magnum cartridge needs special but short mention. Because of its recoil I do not believe any sportsman can use this cartridge effectively unless he has had about a season’s range practice with rifles having the recoil of about that of the 30-06. In fact, an attempt to use a 375 on one’s first hunting trip will probably result in much poor shooting through dread of recoil, and certainly it is no caliber with which to develop one’s skill in marksmanship. Also the use of a rifle taking this cartridge and fitted with a telescope sight is downright dangerous for the beginner because of the danger of the eyepiece of the scope recoiling into the eye should he assume a rather insecure firing position. But this rifle in the hands of a seasoned rifleman is a superb weapon for our heavier species of game. It insures both success and safety in hunting the Alaskan brown bear, and it will give you a larger percentage of one-shot kills on elk than lighter calibers will. It is needlessly heavy and expensive for other American game.

Important, and Oh So True!

Now we come to some extremely important matters that pertain to all classes of rifles. I do not believe it is possible for any sportsman to walk into a sporting goods store, select a rifle of suitable model and caliber, and do good shooting with it, no matter how much he tries, in the condition in which he purchases it. This is because open rear sights and heavy trigger pulls are almost invariably standard on all rifles you can buy over the counter.

The sturdy 348 Winchester Model 71 rifle with Lyman type sights is powerful enough for our heaviest game. The action has been time-tested by sixty-five years of hard hunting use.

The new Redfield Sourdough front sight has a gold facing that appears square with a flat top when aiming, and its 45° angle reflects the sky light to the eye so that the sight shows bright and distinct when aiming in any direction.

The cup disc provided with most receiver sights should be removed, and only the large Lyman type aperture should be used for hunting.

Lyman No. 57 Receiver Sight. Each graduation on the slide is 3 minutes. Turning the coin-slotted head one complete revolution elevates the sight 3 minutes, or turning it one graduation elevates a quarter minute. One minute changes the point of impact one inch per hundred yards. Windage works similarly. Redfield No. 70 Receiver Sights work on the same principle. Note the cup disc which should always be unscrewed for hunting.

I will have absolutely nothing to do with the obsolete and hopelessly handicapping open rear sight. I do not know how to teach anyone to shoot well with a rifle fitted with this sight, nor do I know of any competent coach who can do so. I will not go into the reasons, for I have enumerated them often in my previous writings. The only good thing I have ever heard said for the open rear sight is that if it were not for it we would have no deer left in America to hunt.

The only iron sights to be considered on any game rifle are a large gold, ivory, or red faced front sight and a Lyman type receiver sight. The facing on the front sight should be flat, and it should either be inclined at an angle of about 45° so that it will reflect the sky light back to the eye, or there should be a mirror reflector in its base to reflect the sky light against its colored face. Other front sights appear bright and distinct only when the major light is back of the hunter. A flat-top post, at least .07˝ wide, is much better than a round bead. The Redfield Sourdough and the King Reflector front sight with square bead are particularly indicated.

The Lyman type rear sight consists basically of a very large peep (about ⅛ hole) in a very small disc (about ⅜ in diameter). The sight must be located on the rear of the receiver, quite close to the eye. Such sights usually come with a large disc with small peep-hole screwed into the Lyman peep. This disc you can just throw away so far as hunting is concerned. When you aim with a Lyman peep sight, you should look through the peep, not at it. It then appears like a thin, slightly blurred ring, and the opening quite big. It does not obscure any of the game or the landscape. When you start to aim with it out your window at home, you should take pains to center the top of the front sight in the center of the blurred ring. Aim thus for your first fifteen practices. After that you give up all attempt to center the top of the front sight in the peep, and merely look through the peep, place the top of the front sight on the aiming point, and attend to your trigger squeeze. It is something like shotgun aiming, and as easy as that. Your eye will naturally and subconsciously attend to the centering every time. It is then that this combination of sights becomes the most accurate and fastest of all iron sights.

The Remington Model 722 rifle in 222 Rem. caliber is fast becoming our most popular arm for varmints. The Weaver K6 scope is fine on it.

Any competent gunsmith can place these two sights on your store rifle for you. I say competent gunsmith, because he must know enough to fit a front sight that is high enough so that you can lower your rear sight enough to have your bullets strike the point of aim at 100 yards with any of the varieties of the cartridge that is adapted to your rifle. The gunsmith cannot sight your rifle in for you. He can and should bore-sight it, and that means that for you it will almost surely hit within a foot of where you aim it at 50 yards. It is then up to you to adjust the sights so that bullets will hit where you aim, and this is where your marksmanship training comes in. Again, you cannot do anything without fair skill in shooting. Join a rifle club, get a coach, or else a good manual.

A good telescope sight properly mounted on the rifle is more efficient than the Lyman sights, considerably better for varmints, and slightly better for big game, particularly at distances over 150 yards. But the scope is an expensive luxury, and for years we did good shooting with Lyman sights, and we can still use them with fine effect. For example, all my big-game hunting was done with such sights until the hunting scope began to be produced in effective types about 1925. For a few years I used a 30-30 with Lyman sights, and with it I shot 49 head of big game in 56 shots. Only one animal escaped wounded, and I missed but three animals, all at distances over 200 yardsi Again, the last season I used a Lyman sighted rifle, a 30-06 Springfield, my bag was one grizzly bear, one moose, one caribou, two rams, and one goat, all at quite long ranges in the Northwest, and all killed with a single shot except that I fired an entirely unnecessary second shot into one of the rams.

It is much more difficult to master the selection, adjustment, care, and use of the scope than with Lyman sights, and this, together with their expense, is the only drawback. For effective use on game in woods countries, including quick shooting at moving game, the scope must have a field of view of at least 30 feet at 100 yards, and also good illumination. Until about five years ago the only scopes that had these qualities were those of 2½ power. This advice is now out of date, for in the past five years six most excellent scopes of 4 power have been produced, with all the qualities necessary for effective use in woods or for quick shots, and the optical qualities of these scopes are much superior to the older 2½ powers.

But to show you how necessary it is to study the selection of the scope: For effective use it is necessary that the modern scope be mounted on the rifle so that the eyepiece shall come approximately 2½ inches from your eye when you aim in your normal and steady prone position, and it will then come about 4 inches in front of your eye in the standing position; in either case you will see all, or nearly all, the field of view when you look through the scope. Now the various scopes have their reticule housing placed at slightly different places on the tube, and the bands of the mounting must encircle the tube either in front or in rear of this housing, and finally the base of the mount must be placed in a rather restricted position on the rifle, more or less different for each model of rifle. Therefore, in order to mount the scope properly on the rifle, you must select the make of scope and mount which will permit proper location on your rifle. Some most excellent scopes with some first-rate mounts would be just impossible of proper location on a certain rifle. The scope would be either so far forward, or so far to the rear, that you could not use it effectively. It takes much careful study of all existing scope literature, together with much measurement to determine the proper makes of scope, mount, and rifle that will result in proper location of the scope on the rifle. Unless you know the subject thoroughly, you should consult an expert. The most expert firm that I know of is Stith Mounts, 500 Transit Tower, San Antonio, Tex. They make many different types of mounts and deal in all makes of scopes, and they know their subject thoroughly. There are many others, of course, but I think Stith is the safest because they will not necessarily try to sell you some one type which might not be a perfect fit. Thus the whole scope problem is a rather intricate one, which cannot be touched on more fully here.

Next, the matter of trigger pull. A more or less perfect trigger squeeze is most essential for good shooting. Poor shots are such because they have not mastered the squeeze to the point where its near perfection is subconscious. Shots at game are hurried shots and you cannot get a good quick squeeze with a trigger that weighs from five to ten pounds or that contains creep. You will simply jerk the shot into the landscape. The pull should be anywhere between 2½ and 4 pounds, and there should be no creep or drag to it. On the applied pressure the sear should release the firing pin like the breaking of a thin glass rod. Here again your competent gunsmith can adjust the pull on your store rifle to what it should be.

I regard these matters of correct sights and trigger pull as absolute musts on hunting rifles.

All-Around Rifles

Many writers, all without practical and extended hunting and ballistic experience, have declared that there can be no such thing as an all-around rifle. Nuts! Certain 25- and 270-caliber rifles make splendid all-around weapons, using the full charged, heavy bullet cartridge for big game, a lighter bullet at high velocity for varmints, and a still lighter pointed bullet at low velocity for small game and small fur bearers.

Take the Savage Model 99 rifle in 250–3000 caliber, the most accurate lever-action rifle made. The factory cartridge is entirely adequate for deer, sheep, caribou, and black bear, and is moreover splendid for wolves, coyotes, jack rabbits, woodchucks, etc. Take the fired case and handload it with an 87-grain pointed bullet and a light charge of suitable powder to give about 1,500 feet per second at the muzzle and you can shoot through the body of a squirrel or grouse without spoiling good meat, or a mink or otter without hurting the skin.

Other extra fine all-around rifles, similarly adaptable to varieties of loads, are the Winchester Model 70 in 257 Roberts and 270 calibers, the Remington Model 721 in 270, and the Model 722 in 257 calibers, and lastly that very fine rifle, now readily available in our market, the Fabrique Nationale Mauser in 250–3000, 257, or 270 caliber. If you want your all-around rifle to be most suitable for the largest game, choose it in 270 caliber.

Varmint Rifles

In the past twenty years there has been more specialization in varmint rifles than in any other breed of the grooved bores. Today it is the most popular type of rifle, because varmint shooting is possible the year round, with no closed seasons, and in much of the farming country convenient to our large cities. Custom rifles for special wildcat cartridges, superbly accurate and effective, have been built in the thousands, and some of these excel all factory rifles in long-range accuracy, as they do in price. This matter of custom-built rifles and special loads is a big study in itself, so I am confining these notes to factory products.

Excluding the 25 calibers above, we have four factory loaded varmint cartridges from which to choose. These, and the approximate range to which a good shot using a first-class, scope-sighted rifle can be quite sure of hitting, are as follows:

These distances can be slightly exceeded when expertly hand-loaded ammunition is used.

The 220 Swift cartridge is adapted only to the Winchester Model 70 rifle. It has the highest velocity, the flattest trajectory, and the longest sure hitting range of the four. It is likewise the most expensive to buy and shoot, and it has the loudest report — a detriment in farming country.

The new 222 Remington cartridge, adapted only to the Remington Model 722, ZB Mauser, and Sako rifles, was designed by its producers to give the longest sure hitting range in a load that would seldom be objected to by farmers — light report and small size. It is a sensible cartridge, and a very fine general-purpose one for varmints. It is debatable whether the Swift or the Remington 222 can be handloaded to give the best accuracy. The latter is very rapidly becoming our most popular varmint cartridge.

The 22 Hornet, offered in the Winchester Model 70, the ZB Mauser, the Savage 342 and the Sako rifles, was the cartridge that started the craze for varmint shooting back about 1930. Today it is slightly excelled by the 218 Bee cartridge, which has about 200 f.s. greater velocity, the cost of the two cartridges being the same. Both are available in the Model 43 Winchester, the 218 Bee in the Sako and the ZB Mauser. The 218 Bee is a very fine little weapon, and I have seen excellent work done with it.

Small Game Rifles — 22 L.R.

The hunting use of rifles taking the 22 Long Rifle cartridge is limited, by humane considerations, to such game as grouse and squirrels, to such varmints as rats and ground squirrels, and for trappers’ use in shooting muskrats and in killing trapped game. Its trajectory limits its fairly sure hitting range to about 100 yards, or less for the smaller targets. Its use on larger targets or at greater ranges is inhumane. Numbers of woodchucks and prairie dogs have been killed with it, but a much greater number have gone into their holes badly wounded.

The manufacture of the 22 Long Rifle Hi-speed or high velocity cartridge is dictated by commercial reasons — it sells successfully. With its hollow point bullet it is undoubtedly a better killer than the regular velocity cartridge, but the experienced rifleman has a rather poor opinion of it because it is not as accurate as the regular velocity cartridge and the bullet is more deflected by the wind, and hence it does not have as long a sure hitting range.

The ultimate that can be expected from a good scope-sighted 22 hunting rifle like the Winchester Model 75 Sporting or the Remington Model 513-S rifles with selected 22 Long Rifle regular ammunition is a 3-inch group at 100 yards, which corresponds to about a 50-yard head hit on gray squirrels. The lower-priced bolt actions, and the lever and pump repeaters will give perhaps 4- or 5-inch groups at 100 yards. If you sight a scope-equipped 22 in to strike point of aim at 60 yards with regular velocity ammunition, the bullets will strike about ½ inch above aim at 30 yards, and will drop below aim about 1 inch at 70, 2 inches at 80, 4 inches at 90, and 6½ inches at 100 yards. Although the better grades of the bolt actions are the more accurate, yet for trappers’ use and for knocking around in the wild lands the pump-action repeaters and the popular little Marlin Model 39 lever action are more practical because their actions are well closed against rain, snow, and dirt.

There are few riflemen who do not own one or more 22’s, but aside from boys there are few who ever hunt with them. It seems as though grown men think hunting with the 22 is beneath them. But there is one place where a good 22 hunting rifle comes into its own. In the big-game fields one has little use for a varmint rifle because there are no varmints there. Varmints seem to be almost exclusively inhabitants of farming and plains country. On the other hand, in big-game country there is usually a wealth of small game — grouse, quail, turkey, ptarmigan, squirrels, and muskrats — and there are many days when you may not be hunting big game, or you may already have your legal limit. The shotgun is too noisy for small game; it alarms all the big animals. Also it is hardly cricket to use the scatter-gun on standing game. (In the wilderness grouse are almost always shot standing, or rather sitting). You can have a lot of sport, and get some fine pot meat, with your 22 in the big-game country.

Old Horace Kephart was the father of the modern American hunting rifle. Before his day almost all our hunting rifles had octagon barrels, full tubular magazines, open rear sights, heavy trigger pulls, short stocks, and small crescent-shaped butt plates. His influence and that of his followers, myself among the number, changed all that. Typical of Kephart is a paragraph from one of his writings, which I quote: The rifle is a noble weapon. It brings us pleasures that no scatter-gunner can ever know. A shotgun takes you into cultivated fields, or into those narrow wastes within sight and sound of civilization. But die rifle entices its bearer into primeval forests, into mountains and deserts untenanted by man. To him in whom the primitive virtues of courage, energy and love of adventure have not been sapped, there is scarce a joy comparable to that of roaming at will through wild regions, viewing the glories of the unspoiled earth, and feeling the inexpressible thrill of manliness sore tested by privation and hazard, but armed and undismayed.

¹ For example, Handbook on Small Bore Rifle Shooting, published by Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute.

² It is rumored that a new pump-action hunting rifle will soon appear on the market. Naturally I am unfamiliar with it.

1946

The Proper Big Game Rifle

Elmer Keith

Elmer Keith is one of the outstanding Big Same experts, actually having killed 122 head author of several books, innumerable articles. Now Arms & Ammunition Editor of Outdoorsman.

OUR BIG GAME animals are varied, both as to size and tenacity to life, as well as the type of terrain they inhabit. Hunters likewise vary greatly in their ability with the rifle and also in size and physical strength; thus a heavy rifle that is right for a husky youngster may be just too much for the oldster. Human eyes vary just as much and while the sharp eyed hunter may use open sights for reasonable ranges with perfect success, the hunter with poor eyes, or the oldster, may find them quite impossible. In this article we will endeavor to give a clear picture of what is needed for each specie of American game in their varied terrain as well as the best sighting equipment.

First, let us take up rifles and loads for deer and black bear in timbered country, where the shooting is usually close range and very rarely over 200 yards. To begin with, we do not favor the use of any small bores below the 6.5 M M Mannlicher or the .256 Newton for any big game shooting. Small West Coast blacktails as well as Alaskan Sitkan deer and the little Texas whitetails do not require a heavy caliber rifle. They are usually taken in the brush or timber at comparatively close range and anything from the .30–30 with 170 grain soft point bullet or the 6.5 M M Mannlicher Schoenauer is amply powerful if at all well placed.

Deer must often be back-packed out of such timber country and a great many experienced hunters prefer light, short, easily carried rifles for such shooting.

Lever Action Timber Rifles

For those preferring a lever action rifle, we have the excellent Savage Model ’99 in caliber .300 Savage with either 180 or 150 grain loads, also the Marlin Model 36 in both carbine and rifle persuasion in .– caliber. We understand the latter is soon to appear in .300 Savage caliber. Another splendid rifle in lever action is the time tried Model ’94 Winchester .– or 32 Spl. Carbine or the Model 64 Deer rifle on the improved ’94 action. In the older Winchesters, we also have the excellent Model ’86 in both .33 W.C.F. caliber as well as the .45-70-405 caliber, and the Model ’95 in calibers .303 British, .30-40 and .35 Winchester; these heavier calibers are preferred by many experienced hunters, particularly where a little more actual knock down power is needed for the large eastern whitetails and the big mule deer of the Northwest timber lands. Heavier calibers than the .– are also advisable for all large black bear shooting as that animal can carry off a lot of lead unless hit properly.

Two more fine timber rifles are the Remington auto-loading Model 81 and the pump action Model 141. When obtained in caliber .35 Remington, these popular guns leave nothing to be desired for short range timber hunting of all deer and black hear species. They may also be obtained in .30 Remington which duplicates the ballistics of the well known Winchester .30-30 Our preference in both these models is the .35 Remington caliber with 200 grain soft point bullet, as it has given most excellently uniform results over a great many years use.

The above listed rifles are one and all better suited to the left hand shooter than are right hand bolt action rifles. Also, they are much faster in operation than any bolt action rifle where rapid repeat shots are needed in running deer shooting.

Two more Winchesters that are well-suited for the purpose are the Model 71 in caliber .348 with the 250 grain Silver-tip or soft point load to be preferred, and the old Winchester self-loading caliber .401 with 200 grain soft point bullet. High velocity is neither necessary nor desirable in brush and timber shooting where the ranges are short. What is needed is a heavy bullet that will, at moderate velocities of 1800 to 2300 feet, buck a lot of brush without disintegration and reach the game. Both black bear and deer require a bullet with plenty of lead exposed to surely expand on impact with the game and give uniformly good wound channels. The bullet should go through the beast, if possible, on all broadside shots, then it will not only leave a good blood trail but will also have sufficient penetration for raking shots from either end and especially those going away shots the novice so often obtains. We prefer the heaviest weight soft point bullet obtainable in all these calibers.

For the sportsman who is fortunate enough to obtain a fine English double barrel rifle in calibers .303 British or slightly larger, there is nothing nicer. Its shotgun balance and fast handling combined with a very fast safety and low, easily defined open sights, make a reliable and most satisfactory timber rifle. True, their cost puts them out of reach of most hunters, but occasionally one may be had in fine used condition at a nominal price.

Bolt Action Timber Rifles

For the sportsman who uses and prefers the bolt action rifle, we have an almost endless variety to select from. The old Krag .30-40 properly remodelled is a wonderful deer and black bear rifle and cartridge, at its best with a long exposed 220 grain soft point bullet and good also with 180 grain loads. The .30–06 Springfield is another that is excellent and at its best in the timber with 180 or 220 grain soft point bullets with plenty of lead exposure. Do not use the tip of lead exposure 220 grain bullet for deer shooting or you will he disappointed, as they require heavier animals to expand their still construction; we have seen many deer lost from their use, even though fatally hit.

In the foreign made arms, the German Model 98 Mauser in calibers 7 M M, 8 M M and 9 M M are all fine deer and black bear loads when used with their heaviest soft point bullets of 175 grain, 236 grain and 280 grain, but in all cases select ammunition with plenty of lead exposed at the tip of the bullet. The little 6.5 Mannlicher Schoenauer with its 160 grain soft point bullet is also good and when properly placed will give excellent results. The 8 M M cartridge is at present sadly underloaded in this country due to the fact it also fits the old 8 M M Haenel Mannlicher carbine which has a much weaker action than the Model 98 Mauser. However, one can load the 236 grain soft point to 2450 feet in the ’98 Mauser with 49 grains of Dupont 4064 powder. The 9 M M with its heavy 280 grain bullet has always been splendid for about all timber shooting of all species.

In modern American bolt actions commercially manufactured, we have the excellent Winchester and Remington lines, the latest being the Winchester Model 70 and the Remington Model 720. The old Model 54 Winchester and the Remington Model 30 are also very good rifles. In the Model 70 we have probably the finest single pull bolt action trigger yet produced, while in the Remington 720 we have a combination of a bolt suited to lowest possible scope mounting and the fastest and handiest of all bolt action safeties on Mauser type rifles. Both guns have well shaped stocks and good open sights; receiver peep sights are optional, at slightly greater cost.

For these rifles, also all remodelled Springfield, Enfield, and Mauser actions, we prefer dependable calibers. Nothing smaller than the .256 Newton or the 6.5 M M and 7 M M cartridges. The .270 Winchester cartridge is a most excellent long range load, usable in the timber with 150 grain bullet and even better hand loaded with the Barnes 160 grain soft point slug; all told, the .270 caliber is, like the .256 Newton, a better long range cartridge than it is a short range timber load.

For the person requiring a light weight rifle, the 7 M M with 175 grain soft point bullet with plenty of lead exposure is excellent for the timber but you must not expect it to have the knock down killing power of the .30-06—220 grain soft point and similar loads. The .30–06 caliber is probably the most popular of all timber deer and bear loads in bolt action rifles and when used with bullets of 180 to 220 grains in weight with plenty of lead exposure like the Remington and Peters Inner Belted or Korelokt, or the Winchester and Western Silver-tip, usually produces good results. When lighter bullets are used, or trick points, many failures will result in timber shooting. The faster we drive any bullet the quicker it expands on impact and the more apt it is to expand and deflect from its course on striking limbs or twigs.

By all means select a rifle that fits you and handles quickly and surely. If possible, handle all types of rifles and makes before making your selection so as to be sure you get the arm that best fits you. And remember — it is better to err on the side of too much killing power than too little.

Rifles for Open Country Shooting

Next, let us look into the requirements of a rifle for open country shooting, such as mule deer, antelope, mountain sheep, mountain goats and caribou. These animals in open or partly open country must often be taken at long range and this means a high velocity rifle throwing long, moderately heavy Spitzer bullets which will have a minimum velocity loss per hundred yards of range and will buck the wind well. Avoid all short, light weight bullets in any caliber for this work, as they shed velocity about as fast as a duck’s feathers shed rain water; further, they are very poor wind buckers. What counts is the remaining velocity out where such game is actually struck. Muzzle velocity alone means nothing unless long, moderately heavy or heavy bullets are used that will surely retain much of their original velocity and energy to fairly long range. And only such bullets of good sectional density driven at comparatively high muzzle velocities will accomplish this; they also deflect less when shooting in strong winds than do all short, light weight bullets. And it is worth repeating that the Spitzer pointed bullet is best for this work. No horse sense in trying to drive a blunt nose bullet at high velocity when its very shape tends to pile up air resistance and cause excessive velocity loss. Last, but far from least, is the need of flat trajectory to enable the hunter to surely hit game at long, or moderately long, ranges. The flatter the projectile in its trajectory, the easier it is to surely hit animals at over 200 yards. Some high velocity cartridges produce phenomenal muzzle velocities but out at 300 yards have dropped far below other cartridges with longer, heavier bullets at more moderate velocities.

The very nature of such open country shooting necessitates the finest in accuracy and sighting equipment if we would have the best rifle for the job in hand. This means the bolt action rifle.

All lever action rifles are locked at the rear end of the breech bolt and in time the breech bolt is upset from the continuous pounding of high power cartridges until some headspace occurs. This fact places a definite range limitation on most all lever action rifles and they are very definitely not as accurate or as suitable for long range work as the bolt action with its locking lugs placed just behind the face of the bolt. Further, the two piece stocks common to all auto-loaders, trombone actions and lever actions are not conducive to the utmost accuracy and do not compare in relative stiffness to properly stocked bolt actions with stiff, one piece stocks. These are all contributing factors to fine accuracy, so for all open country, long range, stalking rifles, we would suggest the modern bolt action rifle, preferably scope sighted.

Next we come to proper calibers and loads for such long range open country shooting. The heavier and longer the Spitzer type bullet we can drive at high velocities the better it will be for long ranges. Muzzle energy means nothing, but what counts is the remaining energy out where the game is actually struck. For these lighter big game species, the .256 Newton with 129 grain, or preferably handloaded with 140 grain, Spitzer bullet will give excellent results. The .270 Winchester is probably the finest of all the commercially made small bore, high velocity rifles for such long range work, with 130 grain Spitzer point bullet. This cartridge may be had in either the Winchester Models 70 and 54 or the Remington Model 720, as well as all custom made bolt action rifles, and will give a splendid account of itself if properly placed on lighter game.

The .30–06 is the next largest cartridge usually used for such long range work and, to our notion, inferior to the above described .270 Winchester load. It will handle the heavier 150 and 180 grain bullets but at lower muzzle velocity and slightly greater wind drift than the .270. Further, the .30–06 seldom gives as fine accuracy with commercial loads as does the .270 Winchester. For the lighter species at long range, the 150 grain Spitzer bullet is excellent at 3000 feet velocity, but for goats, sheep and caribou as well as big mule deer, the heavier 180 grain load is usually better even at lower muzzle velocity.

The finest of all our commercially made long range cartridges for these game species in a modern bolt action rifle is the .300 H & H Magnum with 180 grain open point boattail bullet. Rifles are obtainable in the Winchester Model 70 as well as many custom jobs on Remington, Enfield and Mauser actions. This cartridge will kill these species of game to longer range and with more certainty than anything smaller. It is superbly accurate and will kill to a full 500 yards on such species when properly placed. In comparison we would place the absolute limit for reliable killing at 300 to 350 yards for the .03–06 cartridge with 180 grain bullet. In our hands and under our guidance, this cartridge has accounted for a great many of these species, often at extreme long ranges. Since we helped Ben Comfort design his .300 Magnum match rifle, the Wimbledon cup has never again been won by a .30–06 shooter — which speaks well for the cartridge for extreme long range work. It shows equal increase in long range effectiveness on game as on the target range.

Another fine long range cartridge for all lighter big game species is the .30 Newton, now about obsolete. It can be loaded to duplicate or even better the .300 Magnum velocities with same bullet weight, and in properly made custom rifles gives equal accuracy. Most of the old Newton rifles with their takedown system did not give the best accuracy in this caliber and were on the light side for such a cartridge, but in a properly made rifle of heavier weight, the .30 Newton will give excellent results.

The above mentioned rifles and loads are one and all primarily long range open country loads; they are not the best for timber or brush shooting and not as good for such use as much larger calibers with heavier bullets at lower velocities. In open country, no man can always correctly estimate the range to a distant big game animal, and the flatter the trajectory of his rifle the more chance he has of surely hitting the game when a small error in range estimation occurs.

Rifles for Large Game

This brings us to rifles for our larger animals, namely: elk, moose, grizzly and Alaskan Brownies as well as polar bear and walrus. Though the two latter species are often approached at comparatively close range and shot from a boat when most any big game rifle will do the trick, the other species are not so easily approached or so easily taken. For these species of game we prefer a rifle throwing not less than a 250 grain bullet, of not less than .33 caliber and at 2200 to 2500 feet velocity. Even heavier bullets of larger caliber are better at same velocities. What is needed on such game is the longest, heaviest bullet your rifle will handle at moderate velocities that will insure certain, deep penetration through heavy bones and tough muscles.

When such shooting of our heavier game is at close to moderate ranges, in timber and brush, the heavy caliber lever actions are excellent, such as the Winchester Model ’95, caliber .35 W.C.F. or .405 W.C.F. The old Model ’86 Winchester in caliber .45-70-405 grain smokeless soft point is also good. In a modern lever action we have but one rifle suitable for the purpose and that is the .348 caliber Winchester Model 71 with 250 grain bullet. We have asked Winchester to produce this rifle for a heavier cartridge, based on the same case, but in .40 caliber with a 350 grain Silver-tip bullet at 2200 to 2300 feet if possible, and

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