Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rifle choices

Blogger be603 said in comments:
picked up a nice old 336 30-30 from a pawn shop -- going to the Son&Heir. He's cross dominant so hoping it works out better for him than his boltie.

Largely you to blame. :-) Always been a 30-06 bolt M70 for everything type hunter. You got me to thinking about a 30-30 a couple years back when I first came across a post by you about casting for yours.

There's nothing wrong with a Model 70 in .30-06. Nothing wrong at all. If I ever find a nice one in the pawn shop racks for any sort of reasonable price, I'll pick it up myself. The Model 70, as interpreted by Jack O'Connor, was probably the epitome of hunting rifles in the latter half of the 20th century. It's an updated version of the Mauser model 98 action. It was known as The Rifleman's Rifle, and Jack O'Connor liked it in .270 Winchester. However, he bowed to the versatility and usefulness of the .30-06.

My favorite stand rifle is a Savage 110 in .30-06. It wears a Weaver K6 scope, which is the fixed power 6X scope. There's a lot to like about the Savage 110 action and it's quickly becoming a favorite of the custom rifle makers, at least hereabouts. There are lots of guys tinkering with the Savage 110 action and if the trend continues it might surpass the Remington 700 as a tinkerers rifle. I like the .30-06 with conventional bullets, jacketed with a soft point in 150-180 grains. As it turns out, my Savage likes a Speer boat-tailed bullet at 165 grains and gives good velocity and accuracy with nearly a full case of Reloder 22 powder.

However, a lot of my hunting is wandering through the woods, the thickets and scrub of the piney-woods of central Louisiana. In places where the trees are close and the undergrowth is thick, a long shot may be something considerably under 100 yards. In those situations, I like a light, handy carbine. I don't need the power of the full .30-06 load and I'm not going to be able to see much over 100 yards (more likely under 50 yards), so the Winchester 94 gets the nod. The .30-30 has killed all the game on the North American continent, and those guys who feel undergunned with the .30-30 are spending too much time in the gun magazines and not enough time in the woods. For many years I carried a Marlin, but it lives at my son's house and the Winchester lives under the seat of the truck. It's always with me, so it gets to hunt more than the guns that live in the gun cabinet.

Tell your son to enjoy the Marlin. The .30-30 cartridge has killed all the game on North America and it's still capable if the shooter does his part. Get close, use good ammo, and place your shot. The .30-30 won't let you down.

Caveat: I'm not saying that the .30-30 is a proper cartridge for large, heavy game like grizzly bear or elk, but that it's been used to take both those animals. In the days when the cartridge was introduced, it was considered a whiz-bang, high velocity, wonder-killer. We've now got better cartridges for large, heavy animals, but the .30-30 is the cartridge that launched the smokeless powder, high velocity revolution.


Anonymous said...

There are so dang many choices any more it's hard. I have a Ruger #1 in .308 Win., a Rem 700 in 6.5x55, and more than a dozen military rifles that are all suitable for big game. What I normally do is use my .50 T-C Hawken caplock loaded with a roundball. That one gets shot so much I can nearly hit what I'm pointing it at in my sleep. At one rendezvous I won a hundred bucks when I bragged I could put a roundball through the links of a chain set out for a target at an unknown distance. Someone found a brown bag, taped it to the chain and I took my shot. In a thousand years, I'll never do that again, right through a link of the chain, didn't even make it wiggle. The distance measured out to 37 yards. Blind luck. Anyway a .490 roundball in a deer's boiler room is always fatal. At least to the deer.

Gerry N.

be603 said...

Not sure if I've got this crossposting thing straight but I gave it a try. I put some related thoughts up in response this post.