Sunday, February 09, 2014

My .30-06

In 2006 I decided to give an old caliber a chance, and was smitten with the idea of a 100 year old cartridge so I went in my local gun store and asked if they had any rifles in .30-06.  They did, a Savage 110, the standard hunter model with the tupperware stock.  I put it on layaway and got it out several months later, then got about the business of building ammo for it.  It shot well enough, for a standard rifle with a flimsy stock, but I was never really impressed with it.

Later that year I dropped it out of a deer stand, and broke that tupperware stock at the wrist.  So, I put it aside and started casting about for a stock.  I found one several months later at Brownell's and bought it, then spent considerable time and effort at my bench, tweaking the stock to just exactly what I wanted.  I measured the stock every way possible, took off wood where necessary, went slowly and had the action out of the stock numerous times until I had it like I liked it, then bedded the recoil lug.  Then, I took the rifle to a gunsmith to install a nice recoil pad, and I set the length of pull at 13 inches, which suits me just fine.

Nothing fancy, nothing fancy at all.  And, it's not a tack-driver.  It's a 2" rifle, with its standard barrel and its home-whittled stock.  But, it will consistently, boringly, stack bullets into a 2" circle all day long.  Regardless of whether I'm on my belly or on the bench, it's a 2" rifle.

In this day and age of 1 minute rifles, it seems that the 2" rifle has lost its cachet, and I admit that I'm one of those guys who likes accurate rifles.  I put this one aside for other rifles, and although they shot accurately, they simply didn't have the intimacy that this rifle seemed to have.  Still, it languished in the safe while I favored other rifles.  Until today.

This morning, preparing for a range trip with the grandkids, I put away the .308 that is slated to be given to a grandson and took the .30-06 out of the safe.  It felt like an old friend.  When I got to the range, I was a few minutes before the rest of the party, so I dug out a cartridge, chambered it, and threw the rifle up to my shoulder.  The crosshairs settled nicely on the hundred-yard gong, and I let fly.  The stock bucked my shoulder and the gong rang, and I remembered why I built this rifle.  Not for tack-driving accuracy, but for hunting.  Snap shots, woods stalking, sitting in a tree stand.  And, the rifle felt like it belonged in my hands, probably because I spent so much time working it to the point I liked.  Thinning the forend, working the wrist, floating the barrel, this stock is set up to fit me, not some factory's idea of the average rifleman, but me.

This is my rifle.  There are others like it, but this one is mine.  It's fitted to me, and while Savage has built tens of thousands, this one is particularly mine.  The grandkids will get the other rifles in the safe, but my children will have to decide who gets this one, because I'm keeping this one until I'm gone.


Old NFO said...

Very nice, and Minute of Venison is good enough!!! :-)

Ed Jones said...

I have a 7mm-08 Remington #7 like that. 22 inch barrel, mat finish and laminated stock. I can close my eyes, raise it to my sholder and I am looking right through the scope.

Skip said...

Like Ed said.
I inherited a beautiful 7mm Mauser, left hand Monte Carlo, gorgeous wood, glass bedded, rifle from my stepfather.
I didn't realize he was a southpaw until until mom handed it to me.
Close your eyes, bring it up, no paralax.

Goatwhiskers said...

There is no feeling quite like it. I have other rifles that I take pride in and enjoy, but the go-to is a Martini in 30/40AI that I built back in '69. No one else is allowed to touch it and they can fight over it when I'm gone. GW

Rivrdog said...

I still have my first rifle, given to me by my Dad on my 18th birthday. It is a Savage 99E in .308, which was a new round back then, not having gained much acceptance over the '06.

I quickly put a Weaver K-4 on it, after a disastrous hunting trip in the Arkansas River bottoms, and it's never let me down since. If I could only have One Rifle, that Savage would be it. I have since acquired another Savage 99, an F-model in 300 Savage, from which the 308 Winchester was developed. If I ever get to shoot the F-model enough, I might just put that Weaver on it and then the older (1937) 99F will be my go-to rifle.