It all began with the notice of the Canadian military snipers shooting award with the 338 Lapua shell. They were shooting a mile away. Imagine reaching out and touching someone a mile away.
Well, to put it bluntly, most everyone I talked to said the 338 Lapua was principally a 'man hunter'. There's a 50 caliber sniper rifle and a 338 sniper rifle. The latter shoots deadly to 1500 meters while the former is 2000 meters. The Win Mag shells shoot to 1200 meters. My present 30:06 is said to comparatively shoot to 800 yards.
Ruger Stainless Steel Bolt Action 30:06 with Bushnell 10 power riflescope
My Ruger Stainless Steel bolt action 30:06 with Bushnell 10 power scope and Federal 180 grain Nozzler Partition bullet has been a veritable harvest tool of the first order. I've shot deer in the neck, moose and bear. It's been a guarameed workhorse. When I first took it out of the box with my friend Bill Mewhort, of Campbell River, and my ex Sherry, we'd been talking about the Knights of the Round Table and the sword Excalibur. Seeing this beauty, someone said, "Sexcalibur" because it looked so sexy. Before that stainless steel rifle I'd had wood rifles with blued barrels. The stainless steel caught the light that day. And it's served me faithfully now over 20 years.
I've shot moose at 400 yards with my 30:06. The 30:06, 308 and 7 mm are generally thought of as the mainstream all round hunting rifles. If you had only one rifle for big game it would best be one of these. I love the 30:06 and have used 150 grain shells all the way to 220 grain shells but settled in with the all round 180 grain nozzler partition since I'm admittedly a lazy kind of hunter. I'm out there gathering food and want something dependable simple and reliable. So that's what my Ruger 30:06 has been. A beautiful rifle. In WWII the 30:06 was the principal rifle of soldiers too. If the Z -wars happen, I'd pick up this rifle first, every time. It's accurate, reliable, and really simple. The bolt action, safety and trigger have all been superb.
Mossberg 30:30 Lever Action Rifle with Bushnell Scope
Now that said, I bought a Mossberg 30:30 Lever Action Rifle with Bushnell Scope as back up a few years back. Mossberg's Lever Action is a beautifully engineered rifle. My father had a 30:30 all his life and shot moose, deer and bear with it. I think it was a Browning but it could well have been a Winchester or Remington. He loved that rifle and frankly in the Cold War Kennedy Missile Crisis when I was a little kid, I took comfort in my Royal Canadian Air Force veteran father having that rifle in the front room gun cabinet. I had nightmares of cold war soldiers ranging the neighborhood but dad defending the house with that rifle. My older brother would have the shot gun and I'd have the 22 Rifle which I'd been using at the hunting club. I was 10 then. Even at 12 when I first got to shoot the 12 guage it set me on my ass in the swamp, Dad and Ron laughing, saying how that had happened to them.
The 30:30 is a 'bush gun', known for it's value in wooded areas. It's the Rifleman's gun on the TV series and the favourite 'boot' rifle of the cowboys. Grandad was a rancher. My uncle was till he died a true western cowboy and Dad was until his teens when his fascination with engines turned him from horses to trucks and airplanes.
Dad always hunted on foot, finding a white tail, game trail and waiting for a deer to come along so he could shoot it with the 30:30. Probably his longest shot was a 100 yards. That's where the 30:30 excells. The 30:30 round was the hunting load equivalent of the famous WWI British Enfield 303 rifle.
I've shot the heads off grouse at 75 yards with my Mossberg. I've shot one deer with it at 100 yards running, dropping the deer as it was jumping. It was a lucky shot. The deer ran across the road in front of my truck as I was finishing a morning hunt. I was able to get my rifle load and shoot it as it ran along a field.
The last few years due to injuries, occasioned by vehicles, and the fun of off road vehicles I've done less hiking and wanted less to drag game long distances to the road. There's something about aging and the wisdom that has me looking about to see where I'm going to load the game. This is something I never considered as young man so have the experience of dragging and hauling a deer on my back a mile or so as well as hauling moose quarters an equal distance or more on my back out grizzly woods. The last elk I shot took me all day of hauling quarters out. I bitch and complain alot about hauling meat and think every old hunter should be bequeathed a slave for hunting seasons. When I see the sahibs on elephants hunting with the beaters all on the ground ready to carry back game, I'm truly envious of the glory days of hunting. Even Medieval knights had knaves for their game fetching.
I've got a cockapoo called Gilbert. He gets the grouse. I've a Yamaha Kodiac 450 ATV. Before that I had a Honda 250 enduro which was a hell of a machine. I love the Yamaha Kodiac as much and enjoy that I can look about alot more and have the Kolpin muffler silencer which works at low speed quite well.
My hunting is frankly, longer distance, now. I'm less patient. I get less shots. I shoot more cans. I probably have more fun. I ride around the back woods like a mad man. I shoot a lot of targets. I see game at further distance and I am always aware where the nearest access for hauling is. I hunt mule deer, moose and black bear.
So the Mossberg 30:30 isn't really suited to the kind of hunting I do.
I was on a Pink Mountain Moose Hunt 25 years ago, which required taking a week off work, loss of income, major outfitting after flying almost to the Yukon and renting a truck. Thankfully I had 2 rifles because one failed though (firing pin wear damage or something not fixable by me) it had worked just fine on the range. Now one rifle is enough, obviously. Soldiers depend on one rifle and Dad spent a lifetime with his 30:30.
I've got more money than time when it comes to taking time off for hunting given the work demands. I'm a survivalist too so like to have back ups to everything I can.
That's one justification. I miss my 30:06 when I just have the 30:30 with me.
I wanted more 'stopping power'. Deer seem to always come down on the first shot but Moose and Bear can keep moving. So that was a real feature in the powerful 300 win mag. The 300 win mag shell is simply more powerful than the 30:06 shell. More stopping power. Now the 300 WSM is an even newer and more powerful shell.
The muzzle velocity of the 300WSM is 2980 fps and at 400 yards it's still travelling at 2230 fs. The Energy of the Federal P300WSM is 3550 ft-pos at mussel and 1900 at 400 yards. The killing range is at least 2 x the outer killing range of the 30:06 and has a flatter trajectile.
I once shot a small island deer with my 30:06. I saw it high on a mountain. My friend Bill got out his spotting scope and watched as I took a shot. The deer was lying in the sun. My shot was 20 yards in front of the deer despite holding over. So with Bill calling out elevation and me leaning over the truck I 'walked' the bullet up to the deer like the rifle was a mortar. The last 2 shots the deer was out of view of the scope and I was just estimating the increased elevation. The deer had stood up after a shot landed directly in front of it. The next shot killed it. We estimated it at over 600 yards but under 800 yards. We considered it 'our' kill.
Now everyone I talked to who was a hunter recommend 300 win mag especially if I wasn't planning on hand loading. There are other choices possible for the hand loaders but the advantage of 300 win mag and WSM shells is availability and price. They're all over whereas the 338 Lapua shells are alot harder to find. The price of the 300 WSM and the 30:06 is about the same. $50 to $60 for a box of 20. The Nossler Partition bullets are another $10 on that. So it's at least a couple of bucks a bullet where as the 338 Lapua are apparently twice that.
Now these long range hunting rifles or 'sniper' rifles come in a 'hunting' rifle type, like mine and a so called 'target' type. The latter is more military application. The difference is 'weight of the rifle' . My Winchester Coyote Light is only 7 lbs. The "Target" sniper rifle regardless of caliber are 2 or 3 times the weight. That means 15 to 30 lbs to carry about. No thank you. 7 lbs with a bit more for the scope is definitely something, I a relatively old man, won't mind packing. Anything more than 10 lbs is really a load.
I've got the stainless steel because I'm on the west coast and it rains alot. Further I sometimes think of sailing around the world and I'd like a long range rifle to shoot back at pirates if they open up at me with 50 guage rifles, just to discourage them and have them go after somebody else. I sailed solo to Hawaii and it's lonely and terrifying out there in the night when another vesell takes an interest in you but doesn't answer their radio. I had one experience of that, with this boat coming within a mile on the radar. Thankfully I never saw it but i was considering the merits of being armed at sea then and certainly if one sails in the south China seas now it's recommended though that's a controversy. This rifle would be ideal for that too though I doubt I'd ever consider it. Just more justification for parting with a $1000.
The Zeiss Conquest HD5 scope is a must. Indeed the ratio I was told by all I discussed this with, and the Finland guns were highly recommended and they cost $3000 to $12000, figure at least a 1 - 3 ratio of rifle cost to scope cost. If you can't see it, you can't shoot it. So you need a real scope. This Zeiss Conquest HD5 riflescope lets me look 2 or 3 times further than my Bushnell with greater clarity. I love Bushnell Scopes but German Zeiss optics really are a thing of beauty. Now I can see a really really long way. The cross hatches are also set up for ranging and knowing the distance of 'holdover' once you've sited in at 100 or 200 yards. I have the beautiful Bushnell Rangefinder Binoculars which help me get a good idea of the distances though with this scope alone the instruction booklet tells me how to set it up and then know by the scope alone the distance. This is done given the 18 inch chest width of the average deer and the 24 inch chest width of the average elk or moose. With that knowledge and a little geometrical consideration one can extrapolate the actual distance. Personally I prefer the Bushnell Range Finder Scope which gives me a heads up display in the optics of the actual distance in yards or meters.
Anyway, that's the kind of reasoning that's gone into my latest hunting rifle. Because it's new, it's going to be the preferred rifle to the Ruger 30:06. I like head shots with bear and but whether its head or heart with bear, moose and elk the Winchester 300 WSM will be likely 'superior'. It will be 'overkill' for deer so I'll probably go for a neck shot. I did this already with the smaller island deer when I had the 180 grain bullet. People shoot island deer with 223 so if I used a 300 WSM I'd probably loose a quarter of the meat. It's the meat I'm hunting for.
Silly urban 'critics' are as suspicious of home grown vegetables as harvested meat. If it's not bought in a mall it's questionable. I heard an actual Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio Show out of Toronto with 3 totally ignorant urban sillies talking about their 'opinions' regarding hunting. They thought it was 'okay' and thought that their 'judgement' and 'opinion' and 'permission' were really important. Thankfully they acknowledged the change in wind from the bad old days of the anti gun, anti hunting, anti male, anti rural , anti north , pro shopping mall and supermarket fashion talking idiots. Still it really reflects poorly on urban CBC when they think there's a need for a 'fashion expert' to comment on clothing and would never ask the opinion of a street bum or northern logger on 'city attire' but they get sillies to talk about hunting depite there being increasing thousands of men and women involved in the sport for the joy of it or for food. Thankfully to the Canadian Conservation services are as good as ever though there really is a need to 'police' the big time abuses which some individuals and groups perpetuate to the detriment of all those who support resource management.
Spring is the time to buy a rifle. I will likely get a chance to use it perhaps bear hunting but really fall hunting is my time for hunting so buying it now gives me the summer of target shooting to get in the 'slot' or the 'groove'. You don't want to take a new rifle you haven't used on a hunt.
I'm looking forward to a whole lot of pleasure on the rifle range. Maybe I'll get some friends out and do a little friendly competition. I'm a better game hunter than some of my friends but I might take some lessons from some who are winning competitions with target shooting.