Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Thinking About Rifles - X

It's about time to wrap this up, and it's been an enjoyable mental exercise.  To summarize we've been looking at a mythical instrument called the Practical Rifle.  While we might adjust the definition over time, we've come to understand it to be a rifle with the following characteristics:
1. magazine fed repeating rifle
2. weighing between 2.5 and 5 kilos
3.The cartridge must be capable of striking a single decisive blow on the target likely to be encountered at a distance where the operator is capable of placing the bullet in the vital area of the target.
4. Maximum length of 43 inches, with the length of pull properly proportioned to the individual
5. Robust sighting system, properly fitted to the rifle and instantly available to the operator.
But, I get the feeling that some readers are thinking that my definition implies a one-size-fits-all approach, and that's simply not my intention  Indeed, many rifles that don't fit this description are useful in many ways.  For example, you're probably not going to win many benchrest competitions with a Practical Rifle, and rightfully so.  Benchrest rifles are very specialized, built for a specific purpose.

Likewise, the police marksman or the military sniper might regularly use a rifle that falls outside the Practical Rifle criteria, even if they only fail in the weight criteria.  Also, the single-shot rifles, like my Handi rifles, fall outside the criteria.  That is not to imply that they are less than they are, only that they are specialized rifles.

This exercise does not preclude the number of rifles that a person might own.  For example, a sportsman might own a levergun for the thickets of the east, with a bolt gun for the plains and valleys out west.  There is not a caliber designation, except to preclude the .22LR which is properly in a category all its own.  Every rifleman should own at least one (and probably more) .22 rifles.

But, this series let me order my own thinking and the comments provided guidance along the way.  Thanks for the trip, the journey isn't over, and hunting season begins next weekend.


Old NFO said...

Nicely done sir! Plenty of things to think about, and maybe some re-evaluation coming... THanks!

Gerry N. said...

As NFO said, nicely done. Looking over my battery, I have seven practical rifles including a muzzleloader, two single shots and four Mausers. One of the Mausers has it's military rear sight removed and a Williams 5D JEMS fitted. It is a little overweight, but fits me as if it grew from my shoulder. It seems I was made to fit factory rifles. Blind luck. Most of my repeating rifles are military and "as issued".

There is something exciting and romantic about carrying and using a M1894 US Krag configured as a M1922 NRA Sporter. That old Krag is about as American as a rifle can be. Insofar as one can love an inanimate object, I love that rifle.

I belong to the Theodore Roosevelt school of shooters. "If a man cannot handle the weight and recoil of a Springfield or Mauser rifle, he should return home to play canasta or checkers."328

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the excellent mental exercise. I have to look at some more rifles now.