Friday, January 01, 2010

Riflery in the decade.

Over at The Gun Nut, Dave Petzal talks about the ten most significant rifle-related developments of the decade. Let's look at a few of them.
1. The transmogrification of the AR-15 into a bona-fide sporting rifle and an industry unto itself.
I gotta agree with this one. I'm not particularly enamored of the AR series of rifles, simply because I carried one for so long. That rifle is a tool for me. However, it's been in use as the US main battle rifle for over 40 years and lots of folks have grown up with it. It's a platform that's thoroughly loved by lots of people. Just because I'm not crazy about it doesn't mean that a whole lot of folks don't think it's the cat's meow. Ask Zumbo.
4. Long-range shooting comes of age. Four hundred yards is the new 300 yards, and 500 is on the way. We have the accuracy, the optical gear, and the ammo. Now all we need are enough ranges where you can shoot at these distances.
This is another I agree with, where I don't have a dog in the hunt. It's hard in heavily forested Louisiana to find a place to shoot that's over 100 yards. However, I can see the appeal of long range shooting. When you read the stories from the front, where long-range shooting has a definite place in the toolbox of the soldier, we've trained a whole bunch of folks to shoot at long range and do it accurately. I won't shoot at a game animal past 200 yards. That's my personal limit. I would like to learn to shoot at paper accurately at 300 or 400 yards. Sounds like a lot of fun.
6. Rifle of the Decade—the Marlin XL-7. The best working gun, for the least money, in the history of Western Man.
This one surprises me. I've never seen a Marlin XL-7, but Junior wants one and Marlin has long been known for making very good barrels and making excellent lever-action rifles. I own a couple. They are very good rifles. Now that Marlin is in the bolt-rifle business, I'd expect them to be very good, also. I'll have to take a closer look at the Marlin XL-7.
7. The general level of accuracy in factory rifles. I can name you four, for under $500, that will shoot MOA or better.
He's right. Back when I started playing with rifles, making one shoot MOA was time consuming, expensive, and frustrating. Three or four inches at 100 yards was considered average. Nowadays there are several new rifles that will shoot minute-of-angle right out of the box. The quest for accuracy is never-ending and some manufacturers have learned to do mass manufacturing very precisely. American ingenuity lives.
9. Savage, which is changing from a company that makes inexpensive rifles that shoot very well to a company that makes very sophisticated rifles that will shoot with damn near anything regardless of price.
Readers here know my fondness for Savage rifles. I think they make great rifles and I've noticed that they're becoming more sophisticated as well. They've led the way in innovation, first with the AccuTrigger, now with something they call the AccuStock. I haven't tried one yet, but I'm liable to this year. Prices on many entry-level Savages are still very reasonable and if you want a true bare-bones rifle you can customize to your heart's content, there is the Stevens line of rifles. I think there is a lot to like in a Savage rifle. And last, but not least.
8. The Supreme Court’s Keller decision. Article II lives!
Yes it does. The Heller decision was huge and it'll take years to find out just how significant it is. It'll be the basis for a raft of other cases, some of which are pending right now. Heller answered a basic question and now we've got to let the Courts figure out what it means. Still, it was a huge decision and a tremendous victory for gun rights.


J said...

I want an XS7, not an XL7. S = .308 length action; L = 30-06 length action. Both use the Savage 110 barrel-nut system, and I'll bet the barrels are made by Savage. For another circa $200 I can buy a Savage 358 Winchester barrel and switch my XS7 rifle from .308 Win to .358 Win in a few minutes.

Old NFO said...

"Now all we need are enough ranges where you can shoot at these distances."

That is going to be the real problem! I have Quantico, otherwise I have a 2 or 3 hour drive to the next 1000yd range. Even the other local ranges don't get out beyond 300yds.

We've gone from 7-8 'dedicated' shooters at QSC to 15-30 depending on the weather when we get Range 4 and go back to 1000 yds