If I Owned Remchester . . ..

By Chuck Hawks

Introduction

The idea for this article came from e-mails I have received, plus my own ideas, about things that the major American gun and ammunition manufacturers should do to improve their product lines. Listen up Browning, Federal, Henry, Hornady, Marlin, Remington, Ruger, Savage, Weatherby, and Winchester!

Hunting Rifle Calibers

One of my personal pet peeves is the seemingly random selection of calibers in various models of rifles. Has it ever happened to you that the particular caliber you want is available from the manufacturer in whose rifle you are interested, but not in the configuration you want?

Let's say, for example, that you want a certain model of bolt action rifle in .260 Remington caliber and you insist on a stock made of real walnut. But, while that manufacturer offers their short action rifle with a walnut stock in other calibers based on the .308 case, the .260 is only offered in a rifle with a synthetic stock. This kind of thing has happened to me more than once.

So, to rectify that situation, I suggest that the major manufacturers standardize their hunting rifle/caliber lines as follows. These are not the only calibers that should be offered in each type of rifle, but the calibers that should always be offered.

  1. Cartridges that should be offered in all bolt action and single shot varmint rifles: .204 Ruger, .222 Remington, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .220 Swift, .243 Winchester and 6mm Remington.


  2. Cartridges that should be offered in standard length (.30-30 size) lever action rifles (Marlin and Henry, for example): .25-35 Winchester, 7-30 Waters, .30-30 Winchester, .308 Marlin Express, .32 Winchester Special and .375 Winchester.


  3. Cartridges that should be offered in all short action rifles designed for high intensity cartridges, regardless of action type: .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, .257 Roberts, .260 Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, .308 Winchester, .338 Federal and .358 Winchester. Magnum short action calibers should include 6.5mm Remington Magnum, .270 WSM and .350 Remington Magnum.


  4. Cartridges that should be offered in all rifles with standard length actions designed for high intensity cartridges, regardless of action type: .240 Weatherby Magnum, .25-06 Remington, 6.5x55 SE, .270 Winchester, 7x57 Mauser, .280 Remington, .30-06 Springfield, 8x57, .338-06 A-Square, .35 Whelen and 9.3x62.


  5. Cartridges that should be offered in all bolt action rifles for standard length magnum cartridges: .257 Weatherby Magnum, .264 Winchester Magnum, .270 Weatherby Magnum, 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Winchester Magnum.


  6. Cartridges that should be offered in all bolt action rifles for full length magnum cartridges: .300 Weatherby Magnum, .340 Weatherby Magnum and .375 H&H Magnum.


  7. Cartridges that should be offered in all "Safari" rifles: .375 H&H Magnum, .400 H&H Magnum, .416 Remington Magnum, .458 Winchester Magnum and .458 Lott.

Rifle Barrel length by cartridge and velocity

A subject that gets its fair share of e-mail is the odd barrel lengths the manufacturers sometimes choose for their rifles, particularly their bolt action, big game rifles. Often the barrel lengths seem to have been chosen without regard for the ballistic requirements of the cartridges for which the rifles are chambered.

Basically, the higher the velocity of the cartridge and/or the more powder burned in a cartridge, the longer the barrel should be. If it is deemed necessary to reduce barrel weight, this should be done by altering the contour of the barrel, not its length. The major manufacturers should adhere to the following sensible standards for the barrel length of big game hunting rifles.

  1. No hunting rifle should have a barrel shorter than 20 inches. 20 inch barrels should be reserved for carbines chambered for medium pressure rifle calibers of the .30-30 class. (These inculde the .25-35, 7-30 Waters, .30-30, .32 Special, .35 Remington, .375 Winchester, and .38-55.)


  2. Rifles for cartridges with muzzle velocities typically in the 2500-3000 fps region with hunting weight bullets should normally have 22 inch barrels. This would include calibers such as the .243 Winchester, .257 Roberts, .260 Remington, 6.5x55 SE, 7mm-08 Remington, 7x57, .280 Remington, .300 Savage, .308 Marlin, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, 8x57, .338 Federal, .338-06 A-Square, .358 Winchester, .35 Whelen, and .350 Remington Magnum.


  3. Rifles for cartridges with muzzle velocities typically in the 3000-3300 fps region with hunting weight bullets should have 24 inch barrels. This would include calibers such as the 6mm Remington, 25-06 Remington, 6.5mm Remington Magnum, .264 Winchester Magnum, .270 Winchester, .270 WSM, 7mm WSM/SAUM, 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 WSM/SAUM, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Winchester Magnum.


  4. Rifles for very high velocity (over approximately 3300 fps) or very large capacity cartridges such as the 7mm STW, Weatherby Magnum calibers, H&H Magnum calibers, 8mm and .416 Remington Magnums, and such outsized cases as the .416 Rigby and the Remington Ultra Magnum calibers should have 26 inch barrels.


Rifle Weight according to recoil

Another area where the major manufacturers often seem to go astray is rifle weight. Basically, the harder a cartridge kicks the heavier the rifle to shoot it should be. To the basic unloaded weight of a rifle should be added the anticipated weight of a telescopic sight, mount, and rings since almost all hunting rifles will presumably be equipped with optical sights. It is commonly estimated that this will add about one pound to the total weight of the rifle. Some reasonable guidelines for minimum rifle weight would be as follows.

  1. For medium velocity cartridges like the 7-30 Waters, .30-30 Winchester, .32 Winchester Special and .35 Remington, or small caliber high intensity cartridges like the .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington and .257 Roberts the bare rifle should weigh no less than 6 pounds, for a total scoped weight of about 7 pounds.


  2. For .25-.28 caliber high intensity cartridges on the order of the .25-06, .260 Remington, 6.5x55 SE, 7mm-08 Remington and 7x57 the bare hunting rifle should weigh no less than 6.5 pounds, for a total scoped weight of about 7.5 pounds.


  3. For powerful cartridges like the .270 Winchester, .280 Remington, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, 8x57 and .45-70 (with standard loads) the bare hunting rifle should weigh no less than 7 pounds, for a total scoped weight of about 8 pounds.


  4. For standard cartridges firing heavy bullets and magnum cartridges like the .270 WSM/SAUM, 7mm WSM/SAUM, 7mm Remington Magnum, .338 Federal, .338-06 A-Square, .358 Winchester, .35 Whelen, .350 Remington Magnum and .444 Marlin the bare hunting rifle should weigh no less than 7.5 pounds, for a total scoped weight of about 8.5 pounds.


  5. For hard kicking cartridges such as the .300 WSM/SAUM, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 H&H Magnum, .325 WSM, .338 Winchester Magnum, 9.3x74R and .450 Marlin (or .45-70 with equivalent loads) the bare hunting rifle should weigh no less than 8 pounds, for a total scoped weight of about 9 pounds.


  6. For large capacity magnum cartridges like the 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum, .300 Weatherby Magnum, .300 Remington Ultra Magnum and 8mm Remington Magnum the bare hunting rifle should weigh no less than 9 pounds, for a total scoped weight of about 10 pounds.


  7. For cartridges designed for hunting thick-skinned dangerous game like the .375 Ruger, .375 H&H Magnum, .375 Weatherby Magnum, .375 Remington Ultra Magnum, .416 Rigby, .416 Remington Magnum and .458 Winchester Magnum the total weight of the rifle should be at least 11 pounds.


Specific Requests

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN -

All major ammunition manufacturers should introduce factory loads in the .260 Remington, 6.5 Remington Magnum, .308 Marlin Express, .338 Federal, .358 Winchester, .350 Remington Magnum and .416 Taylor calibers. Also +P loads in 6.5x55 SE and 7x57 Mauser

BROWNING -

How about offering the BAR and BLR in 6.5x55 SE, 7x57 and .338 Federal?

HORNADY -

How extending the LeverEvolution ammo line to include the .270 and .338 Marlin Express cartridges? This should be done in conjunction with the introduction of a Marlin 336 XLR rifle in these calibers.

MARLIN -

Please chamber the XLR lever action rifle (24" barrel) for the following cartridges: .270 Marlin and .338 Marlin.

And how about a Model 336T carbine with a 20" barrel and a straight grip stock; ditto the reintroduction of the Model 39A Mountie.

REMINGTON -

Fill out the caliber selection available in the excellent Model 798 rifle. (See "Hunting Rifle Calibers" above.)

RUGER -

Please make the No. K1A rifle in .257 Roberts, 6.5x55 and 7x57 generally available.

WINCHESTER (OLIN) -

Please add the standard length Weatherby Magnum calibers (.240, .257, .270 and 7mm) to the Super-X line.

Thank you!

To Federal for the introduction of the .338 Federal cartridge. It's not exactly the same as the .338-57 O'Connor, but its close enough! Also, thank you for Low Recoil ammunition.

To Henry RAC for introducing their .30-30 rifle, as we requested.

To Hornady for the LEVERevolution ammunition, .17 MHR, .308 Marlin Express, re-introducing the .405 Winchester and .450 NE and 9.3x74R factory loads.

To Marlin for the XLR series rifles with their 24" barrels, stainless steel actions and other improvements.

To Remington for reintroducing the 6.5mm Rem. Mag. and .350 Rem. Mag. cartridges and Managed Recoil ammunition. Also for importing the excellent Mauser 98 based Model 798 centerfire rifle.

To Ruger for the No. 1-S in 9.3x74R caliber. What a sweetheart!

To Savage for the wonderful AccuTrigger and introducing (and upgrading) the Classic series of centerfire and rimfire rifles.

It is sooo nice when manufacturers listen!

Conclusion

This article will periodically be updated as other good suggestions for the major gun and ammunition manufacturers arrive by e-mail. If you have a pet peeve and a suggestion to rectify it, e-mail me by clicking on my name (above). If a sufficient number of other people share your opinion I will add it to this article.




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Copyright 2002, 2008 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.



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