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Letters to the Editor
Please note that letters may be edited for brevity and to correct obvious spelling and grammatical errors. Editor's comments, when present, are in italics. Send e-mail to: Letters to the Editor
6.5x55 Winchester Model 70
Back in 1986 I obtained a Swede Model 38 and was impressed by the accuracy of the cartridge.
I quickly started looking for a modern hunting rifle to use it in. As I recall at that time SAKO was the only way to go unless you wanted to have your gunsmith build you a rifle.
Then I saw an article about a batch of Winchester Model 70 lightweight Europeans with a schnabel forend that had been manufactured in 1984 (?) to be exported for sale in Sweden and Norway. A I recall, the run was about 2,000-3,000 guns and there was an overun component involved.
There was no Internet to search at that time and it took me almost a year of searching and word of mouth to locate one of these rifles NIB. I believe at that time the cost was about $485.00. And like you, the owner of the shop said it had been sitting on the shelf for more than a year, because no one wanted to pay $40 a box for Norma ammo for it.
I rushed to send the man a certified check and then impaitently waited a week while it made the 150 mile journey to my gun dealer. It finally came; a beautiful, graceful Model 70 with European stock lines. I had it topped with a Burris Signature 3x9 scope.
In the almost 20 years I have had this rifle it has accounted for 16 deer, one for every year I managed to get out and hunt. Additionally, it has also "bagged" it's share of hunting rifles. Once I started hunting with the Model 70 in 6.5x55 I found no need for my .270 or my .243. I sold them both and have never regretted doing so.
Now, of course, everyone makes 6.5x55 ammo and brass is widely available. I found a commercial load that worked with my Model 70 and simply bought a case of it. The funny thing about that is that even with two to three rounds fired every year to make sure the scope is still sighted in and the deer I've taken with it, I'm just into my fourth box of 20 rounds. I've never had a deer require a second shot. Placement, placement, placement, it always puts them right where I aim and none have run farther than 30 yards once hit.
-Glenn, Austin Texas
See the article Choosing a 6.5mm Hunting Rifle -Ed.
.30 Remington AR vs. .308 Winchester
A couple of weeks ago while watching the TV show "Modern Rifle Adventures," Dick Metcalf and J. Guthrie started the show by talking about the relatively new .30 AR Remington rifle cartridge. In describing it's ballistics and capabilities they chose to compare it to the .308 Winchester. Metcalf claimed the .30 AR would provide better ballistics than the .308. He said that the .30 AR has a muzzle velocity of 2800 fps with a 125 grain bullet. That is true, but when he added that the .308 Win. only produces a muzzle velocity of 2660 fps with a 125 grain bullet, I immediately new he was referring to the reduced velocity Remington Managed Recoil load. I have shot the Remington Managed Recoil load with the .308 and could not even zero the gun past 100 yards, because the ballistics were so poor. The difference between point of impact at 100 yards and 200 yards was anywhere from 8-9 inches.
This is a highly unfair and inaccurate comparison where the .308 is concerned. Here are some representative factory loads for the .308 with a 125 grain bullet: Double Tap 125 grain MV 3150 fps / ME 2754 ft. lbs., Corbon 125 grain MV 3150 fps / ME 2754 ft. lbs., Nosler 125 grain MV 3175 fps / ME 2798 ft. lbs., Lapua 123 grain MV 3204 fps / ME 2803 ft. lbs., Conley Precision Cartridge 125 grain MV 3200 fps / ME 2842 ft. lbs. The average muzzle energy of these five loads is 2790 ft. lbs. That is 614 ft. lbs. more than the .30 AR!
Further, Remington also loads a 150 grain bullet for the .30 AR: MV 2575 fps / ME 2208 ft. lbs. Again, this is a significantly less than the capabilities of the standard 150 grain Remington .308 load: MV 2820 fps / ME 2648 ft. lbs. This is more than a 600 ft. lb. advantage in favor of the .308. I'm sure the .30 AR is a fine cartridge for its intended purpose, however it is not even close to the capability of the .308 Winchester when both are compared with standard factory loads.
John Prater, Mesquite Texas
.30-30 Hollow Point Hunting Bullets
About five years ago a friend of mine gave me a box of 30-30 rounds heíd bought up by accident. They were Winchester 150 grain hollow points. Up until that time I didnít even know they made hollow point rifle bullets. I imagine in the higher velocity calibers they donít make them. I decided to try them and I have since taken ten deer with them and they seem to do an amazing job. Even on two deer that moved about the time I shot so that they were hit farther back than I had planned, about at the diaphragm, went down within 5-15 yards without the lungs being hit. The only two of the ten that ran any distance at all were heart shots that were not mortally wounded deer looking for a hidey hole but dead on their feet, bolting 50-100 yards before collapsing in the middle of the trail. The other six were double lung hits and they all went nowhere but down. If it werenít for the guests I invite to hunt with me now and then Iíd probably have forgotten how to blood trail by now.
Admittedly the numbers of shots is not statistically significant enough to draw conclusions from in a vacuum, but is superior to the results Iíve gotten with soft points. Iíve been looking for any article on this type of bullet and even posted on a couple of outdoor websites to see if anyone else had any experience with these. So far no luck. I was wondering if anyone there was familiar with these bullets. As for myself I plan to keep using them as long as the results continue to be this good but Iíd sure like to get some more info on them.
Michael Bailiff (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I'm back from the very first Shiloh Ranch Airgun Hunt and let me tell you that I won't be shopping around for other game ranches any time soon. This was the first event of it's kind and it was a great success!
Anyone that doubts the capability of a big-bore airgun to take down big game needs to give P&P processing in Oklahoma a call. Just ask the owner what he thought about the damage done to the ram I shot with my .45 caliber airgun.
When I arrived at the end of the weekend to pick up my ram meat he greeted me by saying, "What did you say you shot that ram with?" I replied, "A .45 caliber airgun." He just could not fathom an airgun causing such destruction, saying that the ram appeared to have been shot with a 30-06. The airgun bullet produced an area of bloodshot meat on the exit wound that was as big as a pie pan. The damage was caused by a 250 grain Dead Soft lead pellet cast by Mark Whyte.
So, I got my representative Black-Bellied Barbados Ram with an airgun. I felt no need to measure the horns, as in my mind he is a trophy no matter what. His skull will be plated in pewter and mounted on the wall with his cape hanging below.
-Chris, Eugene Oregon
AR-15 / M-16 Service Rifle
I, along with several of my fellow Marines and Officers, frequently use your site to research and plan our newest gun selections. The vast majority of the time I agree with you on your assessments of guns and other items related to the shooting sports. However, I must disagree with you about your negative assessment of the AR-15/M-16 type service rifle in Rifle FAQ.
As a United States Marine that relies on the AR-15/M-16 rifle to keep me safe when in harms way, I think it is an excellent weapon. When compared to other automatic rifles, especially assault rifles, I have found the AR style weapons to be incredibly accurate. We have to qualify with them at 500 yards using open sights, and they manage to keep ten shots within a 12" circle, depending on the accuracy of the shooter.
I admit that they are very prone to stoppage, but this is because of the extreme conditions to which we subject them here in Iraq and elsewhere in combat environments. It is their precise machining and relatively tight construction that causes this, but that is where they get their accuracy.
I will concede the fact that we all hate the 5.56X45mm cartridge, but hopefully the new 6.8X43mm SPC will remedy that problem. I just bought a 20" upper receiver to accommodate the new cartridge and I plan on taking a whitetail with it when I get back from Iraq this year.
I think that the AR-15 is a great weapon, not to be compared necessarily with bolt actions or other types of rifles. I agree that they are not as good a value for killing game as a bolt action rifle, but how many police SWAT teams have you seen entering a house, or Marines kicking down doors, with a bolt action deer rifle?
The AR-15/M-16 is expensive, somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,000 as a median price, but it is a hell of a weapon and you can't break them. I'd love to see a Ruger, Browning, or Remington take the pounding we give that service rifle. I carry one everywhere I go, so I am very familiar with the weapon. I own a Bushmaster and I think the only reason the military doesn't use them is because they can't afford 3 million of them.
Most of our Marines and Soldiers are highly skilled, intelligent individuals. It takes more than a good smile to make it in today's military. If you can't qualify you will not wear the uniform, and that qualifying is done with the M-16A2 service rifle, which is currently keeping Allah busy fulfilling all of his commitments to our terrorist friends here in this God forsaken country. I am sure that He is about ready to run out of those 70 virgin deals . . . lol.
-Chuck, Corporal / U.S. Marine Corps (serving in Iraq)
I just read your article on Beginnerís Shotguns after searching the Internet for 28 gauge shotguns. (See Good First Shotguns -Ed.) Thatís how I stumbled upon your great web site.
It never occurred to me to think of a .410 as an expertís shotgun, but your article made me think. I was given my great-grandfatherís old Excel, single shot, 26 inch barrel .410 (the same as the Iver Johnson Champion model) by my Dad when I was a young boy. He told me that when I got good with it, I could "move up" to a larger gauge. I remember being sorely disappointed, but he said that he wanted me to learn how to hunt rather than to "blast" game.
Now, killing game with a .410 is, like you say, a skill. After a few years I finally got so I could stalk squirrels and rabbits, I learned to wait patiently and silently until ducks and geese were within range, and I learned to wait for my shot when hunting doves, quail and grouse.
I recall my early days of hunting, and reflect on your article, and I think that I learned more about the animals and the environment than I ever would have if Dad had given me even a 20 gauge. I finally got my 12 gauge, 30 inch, full choke, ventilated rib, Remington 870 Wingmaster duck/goose gun, but you know, I still take that .410 out when I want to go "hunting," and Iím about to give it to my son.
So, I think youíre right. A .410 IS an expertís shotgun, in addition to being a beginnerís shotgun. If youíre not an expert when you get one, youíll develop into something that approaches an expert by the time you become effective with it; not only an expert shooter, but an expert hunter.
Bullets for Deer Hunting
I agree with you in respect to your opinions on standard soft point rifle bullets. (See The Case for Standard [Soft Point] Hunting Bullets -Ed.) There is a real mania now in Germany against break-up of bullets inside game animals. The most regrettable consequence is that most hunters use too hard a bullet, and then wonder why their roe deer runs away for 100 to 300 yards after being shot. Then they claim the .30-06 is too light for use on deer. They change to higher velocities like a .300 Win. Mag. instead of using a softer, faster expanding bullet. Our roe deer weight only 20 to 40 pounds!
Buying a Used Rifle
I write to thank you for your article about guidelines for buying a used rifle. (See Buying a Used Hunting Rifle -Ed.) I feel compelled to share what just happened to me, because your article may have helped to prevent an accident.
Last weekend, I took my younger brother deer hunting in eastern NC. Luck was finally on his side and he killed two does with well-placed shots from a borrowed .243. Having gotten his first deer, I thought it would be nice to buy him a deer rifle of his own as a holiday present. In preparation, I read your article about the do's and dont's of buying a used rifle.
A buddy of mine had an old Savage Model 110-E in .270 that he was willing to part with, so I went and checked the gun out. The reviews I read indicated that, although not a beautiful gun, it is a good basic rifle, especially for the money. The barrel, stock, and action were in good condition, and I decided to buy the gun. In fact, I had already written the check when I remembered your recommendation to pull the trigger against the safety of the gun to ensure that it wouldn't fire (making triple sure, of course, that it was unloaded at the time).
I engaged the safety and pulled the trigger and, as expected, nothing happened. However, when I disengaged the safety I heard the unmistakable CLICK of the firing pin. Needless to say, the sale was off at that point. Out of curiosity I tried the procedure again. Of the next four times that I pulled the trigger against the safety, the firing pin went off twice when the safety was disengaged. I politely told my friend never to let that gun sniff live ammunition again.
So, I want to thank you for your article. Otherwise, my brother may have been walking around the woods with a ticking time bomb. I also felt compelled to share this with your other readers in the hopes that they will heed your warnings about a thorough safety inspection when buying a used gun. I almost didn't, and it might have cost dearly.
Matt Weiner; Charlotte, NC
Where is my Charles Daly firearm, imported by K.B.I. Inc., manufactured?
While researching Daly shotguns I read your comments on your shotgun FAQ page, and subsequently found this info on the Charles Daly FAQ page.
Over & Unders:
Side by Sides:
Semi-autos and Pumps:
- Leslie Macforrest
Early Metallic Cartridges and Their Designers
Reflecting further on the early rimless rifle cartridges described in your Early Metallic Cartridges essay, it's interesting to me that right away, even as the essential features of smokeless powder rimless cartridges were first being combined into actual designs, the men who designed them already knew how much energy/bore diameter they could get for tolerable recoil, and they got it right, time and time again. Thus, in those days of bolt-action rifles and long range military marksmanship, the 8x57, 7x57 and .303 emerged nearly simultaneously, while the 6mm Lee Enfield, 6.5x55 SE, 6.5x50 Japanese and 7.62x54 Russian, to name just a few of the best cartridges, followed shortly thereafter.
These cartridge/rifle combinations, and civilians ones such as the .30 WCF and its many siblings, could be fired one at a time by most individuals without too much flinching, and they certainly were lethal to human targets. It turned out that they were lethal to many game animals also, especially, as it happened, to those most likely to be hunted in any numbers by Europeans or Americans. So, right off the bat, cartridge designers hit on nearly ideal combinations for bolt-action military and hunting rifles.
When the very first assault rifle was created in Russia in the early 20th century its designer chose the 6.5 Japanese cartridge, as he already KNEW that the other military rifle cartridges of his time were too powerful to be controllable in a rifle-weight assault weapon. So again, at the very beginning, someone knew just what energy/bore diameter to aim for. (It reminds me a bit of aviation at the end of WWI, when nearly every advance that would be applied to airplanes to this day had either already been invented or had been predicted.)
It also makes me shake my head when I think of the blizzard of ever more powerful cartridges we've seen in the past three decades, each touted to be better than their dowdy ancestors. But they aren't better, not in terms of what the average shooter can do, not in terms of energy/bore diameter vs recoil. The new magnums don't kill anything deader for anyone except the very few hunters who are expert at long-range shooting--and the very many gun writers who must keep finding new things to write about to supplement their retreads of the same old stuff.
I know that new cartridge development is necessary for economic reasons, and I wouldn't want the process to stagnate. But ever more energy/bore diameter clearly doesn't have much usefulness to most hunters, and I wish that more hunters understood that.
In the meantime, the various militaries have never got it right, since the Russians quickly abandoned advanced development of their almost-just-right-size 6.5 Japanese assault rifle of 1905 or thereabouts. Ever since then the long-known essential truth of what's possible in terms of energy/bore diameter in a fully automatic rifle of sufficient lethality has been ignored.
So hats off to those guys of long ago, who got it so right.
Just graduated the FBI Firearms Instructors course. During the 2 weeks of instruction we shot plenty of new courses and talked about every subject from pistol retention, helping poor/new shooters, developing practical combat courses, to FBI statistics about LEO involved shootings.
During the course we were mostly shooting our duty semi-autos with a mixture of .38/357 revolvers, 12 gauge Remington 870 shotguns, and assorted .223 sniper-type rifles thrown in for good measure. Of the 22 participants, about 14 used Glocks of various models (some .45 ACP's, most were .40 S&W's though), 6 used Sig P229's (.40 S&W), and 2 used Beretta 92's (9mm & .40 S&W). The Beretta guys had way too many feeding/jam issues to mention. God help them if they ever need to use those pistols for real!
The .40 S&W performed better by far than the 9mm for penetration and almost matched the .45 ACP's. Everyone shot .38's in their revolvers when using the wheel guns. The .45 ACP's and 12 gauge slugs did the most damage on the water soaked phone books, no surprises! The .40 S&W made a much better showing compared to the .45 ACP's than did the 9mm when compared to the .40 S&W.
The only advantage that the 9mm had was the ability to load more rounds in the magazine. We were all in agreement that while having a large number of bullets would be good in a prolonged gun fight, shot placement and penetration were more important. Most gun fights happen at 10 feet or less and are over in less than 5 seconds.
The camp was very informative and was actually a blast when we were on the line shooting. I'm from Alabama and we are issued Sig P229's (.40 S&W). We are not issued long guns by policy, just the pistols. One of the Birmingham Area snipers graciously allowed me to shoot his .223 when it was my turn to shoot with the rifles. It was an AR-15 type rifle with a neat scope on top. The scope had a red circle around a dot. The whole thing would fit in your hand. Pretty cool rig.
The fun was when he told me to twist the safety selector switch to the 3rd position. He smiled a said, "lean forward." I've never shot a weapon on full-auto before--that was an experience. Then one of the range instructors brought out a Glock 18, the 9mm full-auto pistol. Shot it, hit the paper once at 15 yards, the other 9 rounds went into the dirt retention wall somewhere!
A few weeks ago, I asked about the FBI's limit of a 4" revolver barrel length. The FBI instructor told me why they limit the barrel length.
1st, no FBI agents were allowed to carry a revolver with a barrel longer than 4" in the "old days." 6" barrels are not as easy to conceal as are the 4" lengths and they're (theoretically) not as easy to draw quickly.
2nd, 6" barrels give a slight advantage when shooting for scores. They have to be fair, Gov't rules, everybody is treated fairly. Yeah, right! Whatever!
-Paul, Montgomery Alabama
Handgun Stopping Power
I just read your article Handgun Stopping Power Dialogue. It was informative and full of sound information.
I also hold the .357 mag. cartridge in high regard for self defense. I can speak from personal experience. I once stopped and turned away a 300 plus pound wild boar in full charge with my S&W model 66 4 inch revolver loaded with CCI 158 grain JSP loads. (Talk about an adrenaline rush.) I eventually tracked the wounded boar down and killed it with the same load. If this load is capable of stopping a 300 pound wild boar in full charge I believe it would be an effective stopper of two legged animals as well!
Note that, regardless of the successful outcome in this instance, I do NOT endorse the .357 Mag. cartridge for hunting large feral pigs. The encounter that I had with this wild boar was purely accidental and I was not actively hunting the animal. Very fortunately, I happened to be armed at the time. These large wild hogs are truly "bullet sponges" and can take a lot of punishment before "throwing in the towel." Using an inadequate under powered cartridge will more than likely result in a wounded hog and an unpleasant and potentially dangerous tracking job in heavy cover.
A few months prior to this incident a large boar, very similar to the boar I killed--I like to think it was the same hog--attacked and killed my 100 pound female American Bulldog. Take these animals seriously! I have read your article Rifles for Wild Boar and Feral Pigs and I agree with your recommendations.
-Rob, Northern Calilfornia
Handgun Stopping Power (Rethinking temporary stretch cavity and energy dump)
A comparison: .38 Special, 158 grain .357" SWC bullet at 755 fps MV vs. .357 Magnum, 158 grain, .357" SWC bullet at 1235 fps. (Remington figures.)
Both have the same weight, diameter and shape, but the .357 is universally recognized as being a better "stopper." The only difference between the two is speed (and consequently energy). The question is, since speed is the only difference between the two, what does speed "do" to make the .357 a better stopper?
Enter the problem: Dr.Fackler has totally denounced any effect from "energy dump," which has been compared to "being hit by a pitched base ball." He also derides the effect of the temporary stretch cavity, drawing attention to the word "temporary." Dr. Fackler's claim is that the effected tissue immediately returns to normal, leaving no lasting damage; the sole exceptions he allows being the liver and heart.
Yet, an increase in energy dump and temporary stretch cavity are the only results of the greater speed of the .357 Mag. over the .38 Spec. Obviously, despite Dr. Fackler's assurances to the contrary, energy dump and the effects of the temporary stretch cavity need to be re-evaluated. These factors must be included in any rational stopping power theory or formula, for they are clearly the difference between the effectiveness of the .357 Magnum and the .38 Special.
-Rev. George Mornhinweg
How to Defeat Terrorism
Every free human on the planet should read this article.
See the essay How to Defeat Terrorism: Pacifism or Guns? -Ed.
Hunting Report from the Northeast
Just FYI. I have some hunting reports for you from the North East.
1.) Rimfire only zone for coyote hunting; 17 HMR with 17grain bullet has been working very well.
Note: We have a huge problem with predators. The coyote and fox population have boomed over the last ten years. My buddy has taken 17 fox off his farm this year. The Fish & Game Dept. has closed some areas to rabbit hunting due low numbers. Grouse and rabbits are seldom seen anymore and the only pheasant is what is stocked by F&G. You cannot take a deer at last light and come back in the am to track him, there won't be anything left.
I haven't taken a coyote with a 17 HMR but the local group of guys that I know swear by it. They have found the 17grain bullet works better than 20 grain bullet for quick kills. We have large coyotes ranging from 30-40 pound average and some are larger. Shots are seldom over 70 or 80 yards as most areas are thick woods with the longer shots being at the power lines.
I'm very pleased to see the .50 caliber black powder deer hunters. They seem to harvest more deer with less shots. The turkey guns are disgusting. Everyone owns a shotgun perfectly capable to taking a turkey, but all I see are AR15 type stocks, fiber optic sights, bandoleers of shells and other gadgets attached to ugly shotguns.
Hunting Rifle Battery
I am a Marine Corps officer currently assigned as an Adversary Pilot with VMFT-401, flying the F-5 II in an adversary role (we play the bad guys). I wasn't raised around the military or firearms, but over the years acquired a fond respect and interest in learning more. Your website has been awesome!
I have gone out with "a few good men" on deer and dove hunts and I am now ready to build an arsenal, but I want to do it right. I don't have the money to buy all the weapons that you have described, but your website has given me an appreciation of where to begin and have a greater respect for, and therefore, a better awareness of how to start. (See The Hunting Rifle Battery -Ed.)
Ultimately I would like to enjoy the sport with some success and eventually teach my son the things I have learned and pass on to him these lessons and firearms as heirlooms.
-Capt. Sean, Yuma Arizona
Hunting Rifles and Cartridges in Germany
The most popular deer hunting calibers in Germany are the .30-06 and the 7x64. For long range hunting we use the 6.5x57, 6.5x65, and 6.5x68. The 7x64 is very popular in Europe. Particularly in France, where it is not allowed to use a military caliber. Crazy! People usually use calibers which are a little too strong.
People in Germany are old fashioned and use a lot of combination guns. I also like them very much. For them we use rimmed cartridges. We use the 5.6x50 R, 6.5x57 R, 7x65 R. The reason why people use combination guns is that we do not have a system where you buy licenses. People lease hunting districts for 10 years. You can shoot everything that has a season. So it is good if you have a combination gun with you.
I like them because you are prepared for every situation, and because they are safer. You carry a loaded gun, but you cock the gun just before you shoot.
To understand the German calibers is quite easy, for example the 7x65 R:
7 means the diameter of the bullet in millimeters
Ideal Deer Cartridges
How refreshing to read such good common sense! (See Ideal Deer Cartridges -Ed.) In over 50 years of hunting in Vermont and the Adirondacks I have killed over 70 deer with the .300 Savage and about a dozen with the .30-30. I am a pretty good country marksman and was a Marine sniper in Korea. A Model 99 in .300 Savage subjectively feels to kick less than a .30-30, probably because of greater weight and the ideal stock design and dimensions for the average shooter.
The best deer HUNTING rifle ever made is the Savage 99 in featherweight configuration with the top-tang safety and a peep sight. I once talked with the late Francis Sell--to my mind the greatest hunting rifleman this country has produced--and he allowed that I was right, except he would specify .358 Winchester as the round. Hard to argue with that, but I really can't imagine any deer scenario for which the .300 won't suffice.
In my opinion the recoil tolerance level for OPTIMUM shooting, even for experienced shooters, is not over 15 ft. lbs. No half a box a year man can do anything like his best with a .30-06 or .270, much less the cannons that so many carry!
My pet peeve round is the .35 Remington, which, in my experience, loses as many deer as it drops. That 200 grain bullet just doesn't expand adequately after 50 yards at .35 Rem. velocity, or so I believe.
-Leonard, Bennington Vermont
Practical Shooting Under Field ConditionsI am recently retired from the LAPD after a 32 year career that included almost a decade as a platoon leader in . . . the department's tactical unit. I have been a shooter, reloader, and hunter all my life, learning to shoot before I was 10 years old. With the exception of muzzleloaders, in which I have no interest, I have shot just about every type of "modern" firearm design one can think of. I have hunted extensively throughout North America and twice in Africa.
I mention my background only to establish context for the following comments. There is a world of difference between practical shooting under field conditions and technical theory. I am sooooo tired of opinion-laced, arrogant discussions about the superior merits of one type of bullet, load, velocity, barrel length, twist, or product that I could scream.
The truth is that 99.9% of all shooters, even the so-called experts, cannot shoot the difference between one product over another under field conditions. Moreover, it's extremely rare when any difference can be detected even under laboratory conditions when a human being is used in conjunction with the equipment being tested. This endless debate over the myriad technical variations with respect to firearms and ballistics, as they relate to practical field conditions, is absolutely pointless.
Obviously, there is a difference both technically and practically between a .22 rimfire and a .45 ACP when it comes to self defense. Or the .308 versus the .416 when it comes to Cape buffalo. (Although poachers have been shooting buffalo with the 7.62 for years.) My point here is in the context of the discussions we hear so often about the .270 Vs the .30-06, etc.
You are EXACTLY correct when you advocate the importance of developing sound shooing skills and learning to use quality equipment that performs reliably under the broadest range of practical conditions. I appreciate your writings on these and other gun related subjects. I have found them to be both enjoyable and informative, and more importantly, honest.
-Tom, Durango Colorado
You might find Ted Batzel's article Practical Marksmanship Training for Hunters of interest. -Ed.
Remington Managed Recoil Ammunition
I read the article on the Remington Managed Recoil ammo line with great interest. (Remington Managed-Recoil Cartridges -Ed.)
Our firearm seasons completed, I offer the following report regarding the effectiveness of the Remington Managed Recoil 30'06 load. Three clean kills are scarcely a statistically valid sample, but I offer the data for what it is worth.
My brother-in-law borrowed my .30-06 M700 topped with a 4x Leupold this season. He chose the Remington Managed Recoil load to fill his anterless whitetail tag as shots tend to be very close where we hunt and he is man enough to admit he does not care for unnecessary recoil. The MR load clocks 2525 fps from the 22 inch barrel of my rifle. That makes it 200 fps faster than the 7.62x39 or about 200 slower than a .257 Roberts. I'm guessing Remington chose the pointed 125 grain pill so they could claim a 50% recoil reduction yet maintain a reasonable trajectory.
Opening day he harvested an adult doe quartering toward him at only 10 yards. The bullet struck the right shoulder blade, popped ribs coming and going, took out both lungs, and was stopped by the skin on the left side. The doe hobbled on three legs for about 20 yards before piling up.
The recovered Core-Lokt weighs 120 grains and is 0.755 inch in diameter. It seems to be of bonded construction as the mushroom is folded back to the base of the bullet with no sign of core-jacket separation. A little less expansion and I imagine it would have made it all the way through.
I knew my .45-70 would kill whitetails just fine and I wanted to collect more data on the Managed Recoil load, so I took back my '06 when my brother-in-law rolled for home. I used it to shoot a mature doe at 60 yards. The 125 grain Core-Lokt hit her on the shoulder just above the elbow, blasted ribs coming and going, pulped the lungs and the heart, and exited just behind the far shoulder. She bolted all of 20 yards, leaving a prodigious blood trail.
I used it once more to fill my final tag on another adult doe. I hit her on the left shoulder from about 30 yards. The bullet took out ribs coming and going, wrecked both lungs, severed the plumbing at the top of the heart, and shredded the liver before exiting. It took us an hour to find her. There was no blood trail, not a drop, until her last couple steps before expiring in a thick patch about 70 yards from where she was hit.
Skinning the deer shot with the load confirms the bullet is pretty soft. My brother-in-law donated the entire right shoulder of his deer to the kittens. The shoulders of my two does show significant expansion in the meat of the shoulder before blowing 1-1/2 to 2 inch wide holes in the ribs. The holes in the ribs on the far side were larger. I tossed more shoulder meat to the cats than I have in a long time. I had hoped to verify the bullet would expand less violently at longer ranges but the deer insisted on showing up at contact distance.
I suppose the little Core-Lokt needs to be an easy opener to perform across the 200 yard effective range claimed by the factory but the damage at close range is more than I am used to as I tend toward pistols, muzzleloaders, and other wide slow projectiles for close range work.
It is perhaps significant that Federal chose a 170 grain flat nose at 2000 fps for their Low Recoil line, essentially duplicating 30-30 ballistics in the .308 Winchester and the .30-06, but they of course make no claim to match the trajectory of conventional ammunition.
My take on the 30'06 Managed Recoil load is that it is probably best as a load for a young or new shooter to use in a .30-06 that he or she aspires to grow into. More experienced adult hunters who choose it because they are tired of being beaten up by their hard-kicking '06s should endeavor to drive the bullet directly into the heart/lung area, not through a shoulder or other meat they intend to eat, at least at close range. Good hunting!
Rifle Ammo Selection in Barrow, Alaska
The ammunition selection in Barrow is almost exclusivley Remington/UMC. The following is a list of all the rifle ammunition calibers available at the Alaska Commercial Company store in March, 2000:
-Steve, Barrow Alaska
This e-mail was in response to a question I had asked Steve concerning the availability of ammunition on the North Slope of Alaska. -Ed.
Rifles for Dangerous Game
I read your article Rifles for Dangerous Game. Altough I found it generaly interesting, I have some comments and minor corrections.
1. The American Bison ("Bison bison") is not the largest bovine in the world . . . The Indian bison, called Gaur ("Bos gauris") is generaly considered the world's largest wild oxen.
It is my understanding that Indian Guar are no longer (legally) hunted. -Ed.
2. Since it become quite rare to have the chance of killing an elefant people lost the old know how about "big game hunting", one rule of safety was: NEVER use a bolt action to kill an elefant!
That was a long time ago, before WW II and dating back to pre-WW I experiences. In those days rifles, and especially cartridges, were less reliable than they are today. Under those circumstances a double rifle, essentially two rifles on a common stock, made sense in case of a mis-fire. It is my understanding that most African countries today issue bolt action rifles to their game wardens and control hunters--and have for decades. I don't believe that there is a single country in Africa today that supplies double rifles to their game departments for dealing with dangerous rogue animals. -Ed.
Any serious hunter knew, back then, that your life cold depend on that fast second shot. Effectively, no one wold go hunting elefants alone. The aproaching party would comprise 2 men, the hunter and an auxiliary. Others cold be around with bolt rifles. The 2 men would aproach the target to 20 meters, more or less; the hunter wold then take the front position with the second man behind him. The hunter whold then aproach carefully down to 10 meters or so. At that distance he coldn't possible reload a second shot from a bolt rifle before being "roadkilled" by the raging elefant.
Rhinos are nearly the same thing, altough there's a diference between the black and the white since the later are so nearsighted that they have the nasty habit of charging anything they see (or don't see)
For lions, the firing distance was greater but so was the target's reaction speed. A second and even a 3th man with bolt rifles would be good sense. Lions have hunting tactics and they apply them against hunters; the females usualy attack, at least, in pairs. One will charge full speed, usualy downwind, while the other will take the flank or the rear unnoticed, the males, if there's more than one, can do the same, but they usualy attack from shorter distances so they can be even more dangerous.
This is where, in a pinch, I'd really like a Browning Safari Grade BAR in .338 Win. Mag. -Ed.
The leopard is a bit similar although the real chalenge was to find one, since they hide from humans.
The Cape buffalo is another story. Hunters used to say that they were the most dangerous of the big five since they are quite impervious and extremely vigorous. A buffalo can fall down with the first shot, only to stand up in a flash and charge at the aproach of the hunter.
Another serious danger is the possibility of a stampeed. In general, buffalos stampeed downwind. Since a hunter must aproach from that direction in order to keep himself unnoticed there's a real danger. Some more carefull professionals would go round the heard and shoot from a safer position.
3. The BAR Safari is not the only exception, at least not in Europe. There's the Voere 2185 in .300 WinMag and the benelli R1 in .300 WinMag
The .300 Mag. is not a medium bore caliber. For me, dangerous game calibers start at .338 Mag. and go up from there. -Ed.
Second AmendmentI absolutely agree with you about the 2nd Amendment. (See Just Say No to Gun Registration -Ed.) I am not native to the U.S. I have lived here for half of my life and appreciate every bit of it. I don't believe that any country in the world can equal the U.S. in quality of living, and it must be protected.
If the government is doing a good job, they should have no fear of their citizens owning firearms. I have personally seen too many examples of greedy, power hungry politicians using the resources of their country to line their own pockets while the people starve. No other nation in history has ever reached such dizzy heights of power and prosperity in such a short time. The Founding Fathers must have done something right . . ..
Shot PlacementI recently returned from volunteer work in Togo (Africa). I went there rather naive, thinking that I would not need a gun. I quickly changed my mind after a roving band of fools fired over 211 rounds (I stopped counting) of 7.62x39 into my dorm.
I went out and bought the cheapest rifle I could find, a Savage Model 12 in .22-250 Remington. After some haggling I managed to get my hands on some very old Lee reloading equipment, which solved my ammo supply problem.
This rifle worked well to repel roving marauders, which often can be seen miles out aproaching in beat up trucks. One round into the radiator from 600 yards away makes a compelling case and most just turn around and go away.
The .22-250 had more than adequate stopping power for anything that I shot in my time over there. I was hunting for food and could care less about the condition of the pelt or other trophy items. I shot anything I could get my scope on. If it was large game some of the locals would help me hack it up and drag it back to the village.
I shot a number of large animals, some of which you would class as CXP2 and CXP3, and all of the animals I shot went down instantly or stumbled for no more than 15 feet and then fell. Most of my shots were between 200 and 300 yards.
The key seems to me to be shot placement. All but two of the animals I shot were shot in the head. I grew up as a small bore target shooter and thus place a premium on accuracy. Range estimation took a while, but like any skill if you work at it you become much better. If you get the range right and know your rifle, it seems to me that just about any prey can be taken down with just about any caliber.
My crowning example of this is the killing of an elephant with the .22-250. One day I was interrupted from my teaching by a lot of commotion outside. Turns out that an elephant was wrecking the village well and other facilities. I went and got my rifle and ducked halfway into a building. From there I shot the elephant in the head. It stumbled for a few seconds and then fell over. This was a very close shot, under 30 yards, and maybe the very high velocity of the .22-250 carried the day. (I'd love to know what bullet was used. Maybe a FMJ? -Ed.)
I would never fire on an elehpant under hunting conditions with a .22-250, but when push came to shove it worked. I was later informed that this was not an entirely uncommon event and the proper respoonse was to throw stones at the animal until it leaves.
In conclusion, shot placement seems to be the primary reason for a clean kill. Caliber seems to me to be a distant second.
(See Ryan Kay's article The Importance of Bullet Placement for more on this important subject. -Ed.)
I agree with the comments made by Chuck Hawks regarding Tikka rifles. I just bought one and after one outing at the range the plastic end cap on the bolt started to crack. Rifles should be made of wood and metal, not plastic. The rifle appealed to me at first when I purchased it, as it looks different from most other rifles out there. Soon I realized, however, what looks different about it; it looks cheap. Plastics may be the way of the future for some products, such as DVD players and TVs, but it is a poor choice of material for rifle building.
-J.D. (new hunter)
See the article A Critical Look at Modern Hunting Rifles -Ed.
Why Do Liberals Hate Guns
With some interest, I read Lou W's editorial, Why Do Liberals Hate Guns? (See the chuckhawks.com Editorial Page. -Editor) I was taken aback just a little because I think that there are a lot of people like me. That is, I am a liberal but I also love guns and our Constitution. I maintain my concealed weapons permit and feel that all law abiding Americans should have the right to the Second Amendment without snags or politics. Everything about the Constitution is incredibly valuable and I back it. As a liberal, I discuss my thoughts about this with others and there are many liberals who are in my camp, just like many conservatives.
I favor the rights of all people and their rights to possess firearms of their choice. I also understand tyranny and the reasons why our founding fathers designed the Constitution like they did. Anyway, just a kind word to let you know of a differing thought pattern and that not all liberals hate guns.
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