Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Long Range Thoughts

I believe I have myself an Africa rifle. Now to afford it. And in doing so, I may have solved another conundrum I'd been facing.

I have a shameful secret. I don't own the first platform in .308 Winchester. Nor 7.62 NATO. My love of the Scout Rifle, the FAL, the G-3, and rifles Bob Lee Swagger would shoot have thus far not prompted me to buy a rifle in said caliber. The closest I've come to a .308 rifle was nearly buying an Ishapore 2A1 from the pawn shop. I didn't.

But, I decided that I would like a Winchester/FN Model 70, with a walnut stock and a heavy barrel in .308 Winchester.

And damn it if that gun isn't cataloged by Winchester/FN.

Now, FN markets a tactical bolt gun under their superb FNH-USA line that is a heavy barreled .308 with the same action as the new production Model 70s, but it looks like something that the HRT would use to shoot a hostage terrorist.

Very befuddled. Back to the drawing board. I may wind with four Remington 700s and only two Model 70s. That offends my sense of symmetry.

But, anywho, that sort of brings me to my next point.

I like innovation in the firearms industry. I really do. Even if fads come and go, they still provide something to the gun culture, even if only to show how well proven cartridges work already.

The .224 Valkryie, the 6.5 PRC, the .300 PRC, the .22 Wildcat, 6mm Creedmoor, 6mm PRC, all seem really effing cool. And hell, I like oddball brass as much as the next guy. And if Julie Golob says the .224 Valkyrie is something special, I'm inclined to believe her.

But, and big but here, marketing hype can lead the average consumer astray. A while back, Jackie and I were at Mister Bo's store down in Butler. He has plenty of 270 WSM and it is well priced.

A gentleman came storming in complaining about the three deer he'd shot and how all three of them didn't go down.

He was shooting a 6.5 Creedmore XPR. A decent rifle. But not what I'd shoot for Georgia whitetail.

And to compound matters, he was shooting 140 grn ELD open tipped match bullets. those things are gonna act like a laser at 40 to 50 yards. And they sure as hell aren't going to expand.

And the fellow was incensed that the new wonder cartridge, the wonderful 6.5 Creedmoor had let him down.

I started to say something and thought better of it. But I did subject my poor wife to an hour long rant on the way home.


  1. I do have a couple of 308 type, one is my Nagant the other one is a Isapore enfield. I haven't thought about a dedicated bambi rifle. Poor Jackie having to listen to the rant, kudo's to you for holding your tongue.

    1. In my head, my thus far theoretical .308 is gonna be more of a gentleman's target rifle.

  2. I’m not the most experienced hunter in the world; but, being raised in the “bigger is better and there’s no kill like overkill” school of thought, smaller bullets means shot placement becomes crucial. Sure, you CAN kill a deer with a 6.5 or even a .223, but you have to be sure you can put that smaller bullet in just the right spot to get a quick kill. Same is true with any round, but I don’t hear too many stories from guys using .308 or .45-70 saying the deer wouldn’t drop.

    1. I try to preach to all whom will listen that there is a sweet spot in between caliber and shot placement. For anything in this neck of the woods, a .243 will do you just fine. Or the humble lever carbine in something like .30 WCF or .35 Remington

  3. Typically 6.5 have terminal effects out of proportion to caliber. Mostly due to the sectional density. But shoot a deer in the ass....

    1. With a bullet that doesn't expand because it is damn near trans sonic, and well, you yell at the poor fellow behind the counter

  4. Preaching to the choir here. I’m real fond of lever actions with several currently taking up space on my wish list including that Marlin 336 Curly Maple Model. I don’t know anyone who doubts the ability for a .30-30 or .35 Rem to deliver the venison within about 250 yards (depending on the shooter). Known a few hunters who use .243 quite effectively as well. When you step back and realize that the majority of hunters take their game inside of 150 yards (except maybe guys out in the western mountains and Alaska), there’s just no excuse for failing to put the shot where it belongs regardless of caliber.


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