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October 19, 2007

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A Further Thought On The Black Rifle

At the recent Remington Seminar where they introduced the R-15 black rifle (that is really a camo rifle), a number of the older gun editors were seen to mutter in their false teeth about the radical turn that an old, traditional company like Remington was taking, and how they disapproved.

At length, one of the attendees spake unto them, saying:

"Look, you've got thousands and thousands of young guys out there who love these things, and if it keeps them shooting, I'm all for it. A lot of them learned to shoot from a drill sergeant; their fathers didn't teach them. They were busy playing golf or jogging. This is what they know and what they like."

I don't remember who said it, but give the man a medal. We've been Bolt-Action Nation for so long that we forget we were once Lever-Action Nation, and that what converted us was millions of young men being introduced to the 1903 Springfield, courtesy of the U.S. Army and the United States Marines.

As long as it goes bang, let us think kind thoughts about it.


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Chris H.


Rusty In Missouri

I see no problem with "Black Rifles" I sometimes us a 223 Winchester bolt action; two of my son's use black rifles that fire the same ammo as I use.
Question, does the design of the weapon make any difference when they fire the same ammo at the same game. I do not think it does.

Clay Cooper

It’s about time that Remington to step out of the “BOX”!
Remington is the original creator of the Ballistic Tip called the Bronze Point! Been around for some 40ish or so years. So what’s the deal here?
My question to all the Manufactures is why do they just set back waiting for someone else to get the jump on them. I called Remington a year ago suggesting the reproduction of the old Model 98, aka 03-A3.
It’s about time!
And for you folks don’t like the AR/R-15’s? Get a life! No difference from any other semi auto and has less firepower than a 12 gauge shotgun! Adolph Hitler hated the Winchesters Model 12!

Steve C

I don’t see this as an issue of a bolt-action, level-action, or any other action nation. Nor do I see this as absentee fathers to blame for not passing on traditions. Quite the contrary.

“Black” rifles will ultimately damage shooting as a sport if only because it’s perceived implications to those people who don’t like guns. The military influence is undeniable (and quite the purpose) for these weapons and runs counter to long-in-the-tooth claims of the sporting aspect of shooting. Who are we kidding? These guns sell because buyers think they look cool and/or have aspiration of playing army, if at least in their mind. While its subjective utility as a gun isn’t in dispute, it only lends more credence to those people that claim such guns have only one purpose. And pushing this into the mainstream as opposed to the category of militaria just continues to further alienate people like me that see traditions discarded for the sake of market retention and the almighty dollar. Where do you draw the line on such things that "go bang"? Bazookas?

Of course, this is only my opinion. Let’s see in ten years if such guns have truly benefited shooting as a sport or harmed it.


Many older guys don't like them, many of the younger guys do.

The gun companies need new blood to stay in business, the older guys are @ the end of their gun buying lives.

Young demographics (and profit potential) will always trump tradition (and a demographic who has spent their cash).

The AR is here to stay (unless Hillary has her way).


Clay Cooper

By the way, I found out from Remington Customer Service the other day that there was a special run on Model 700 BDL in 264 Win Mag! Dadburn it, I would have bought one!

Blue Ox

264 Win Mag? Coop, what's stoppin' ya? I think it's about time remington came out with something like this. If these rifles prove to be as good as bushmasters, and as reliable as my 870, then I'm definetly going to buy one.


Steve C's comments indicate the mistaken assumption that young guys and gals who like military style weapons don't like anything else and have impure motives for liking "evil" rifles. I love AK's, AR's, Garands, and other military rifles. However, I also hunt deer with a sidelock blackpowder rifle. I also hunt pheasants with a 28 gauge Rem 870. Don't overdue it with the stereotyping. I hope in time that history will pleasantly suprise you.


Hey Clay,

Help out this young gun nut.

What the hxll is a carbine anyway?
I do not think I have ever had the pleasure of shooting one.

Mike Strehlow

The good thing about black rifle popularity is that it may DE-mystify the so-called Assault Rifle. As long as the AR is a weapon only seen in the hands of soldiers on TV news clips, it will have an unsporting air about it. When every other rifle in the deer woods is an AR chambered in 6.8 SPC, the mystique will be gone and the fears will subside (hopefully).

What we don't want to shout too loudly is that the average sporting centerfire rifle is far more powerful and much deadlier than a 5.56. Even the 6.5 Grendel or a 6.8 are pretty light compared to the calibers most us use for deer. The liberal press looks upon the AR as a killing machine; if it was really driven home to them that most shooters consider 5.56s to be rat guns, they'd look at our .30-06s and .300 magnums a lot more fearfully than they do now.

Black Rifle Addict

I am 48, and don't feel like a "young guy" so that must make me old? I think Remington is making the right move here.Black gun designs are popular, and I think the camo design will only enhance the market for them. I do hope Remington keeps the quality tight on them, of course, living up to their reputation.

Cadillac Jack

Would it make any difference if the stocks were made of walnut?


First came the "compound" bow hullabaloo! Lately, it's been the crossbow. Now, black rifles.

The only problem I can see with "black" rifles, is when we find some "idot" (re: idiot) that thinks the way to kill game with one is to "spray" down the woods. Age is no factor in this other than it will "more likely" be a younger shooter than an older shooter! The "spray & pray" mind set will be in "shooters", not "hunters"!
If you're a "shooter", go to a range!
If you're a "hunter", one shot is enough!
The world around us evolves daily, whether we like it or not!
If "black" rifles help swell the ranks of 2nd Amendment believers, bring 'em on!
Me? I don't like them. My idea of a "spray" gun is the Ruger Mini 23 or 30. I just like the looks better!
I prefer wheel guns (revolver) to auto's (pistol).
I prefer bolt/single/lever rifles to auto's.
I prefer pump/double/single shotguns to auto's.


Dave in St Pete


Generally speaking a carbine is a rifle with a short barrel (usually 20 inches and under). There are lever action rifles and leveraction carbines http://www.legacysports.com/products/puma/index.html and of course the M1 30 carbine, etc.

As far as 'scaring the public' that is the MSM doing that. I for one, will not run and hide because they want to demonetize a particular rifle about which they know nothing. I will instead teach those that don't understand and ignore those who will not listen or learn.

I like the idea of "black rifles" and would like to own one someday, if I could afford it. I think it would come in handy when I am hunting hogs and run into a group of 40 of them, assuming I can get the rifle in large enough caliber. However I don't see the need for large capacity magazines. To me the four or five you fit in a bolt action rifle is enough for a "black rifle" as well. How many hunting situations require more shells than that? Although I do understand the fear of give the regulators an inch and they will take a mile, so I don't know that giving up large capacity magazines is a very good option in today's anti-gun environment. But that is just my opinion. Someday though I might convince myself to spend the money and get a "black rifle".



Thanks for the answer.
So I guess with a shorter barrel you lose accuracy in distance, but have a more manuverable weapon?

Dave in St Pete


Basically, "yep".

As far as no need for large capacity mags for hunting. Many states have a limit on how many you can carry in the gun when hunting and 5 rounders are available for black rifles.


It looks awesome! Although I think I will stick with my Remington 30.06

It ain't camo, it don't look like a military rifle - but damn if it don't shoot straight and hard!

I love it!

Clay Cooper

Blue Ox, the 264 Win Mag will shoot flatter than all other commercial calibers out there to 1000 yards. The reason it didn’t catch on is it burned barrels out to fast. The only rifle that out shoots it at 1000 yards is the 50 BMG and only by a couple of inches. Come on Remington, you got the metallurgy now to do it!


Maybe “black Rifles” will catch on, but I doubt it. Semi-auto has had 70-years to catch on, but real riflemen and hunters have tanked them. Winchester failed to develop and market a commercial semi. Remington has had mixed success, as has Browning with the BAR within this time frame even though Remington and Browning manufacture good hunting semi’s in hot calibers, not small or medium power chambering’s. I don’t know where the promoters of semi autos are going with the premise semi-auto’s are the future hunting arm. Hunting situations simply don’t require more than one or two well placed shots. I especially don’t know why a hunter would want to carry a black rifle in the field.
These military style assault rifles have always struck me as being clumsy and awkward. Cheap, too. After all, they are developed and manufactured by the lowest bidder.

What I do believe is the hunting set is developing more into a shooting set. I notice the more guns someone has, the less that person seems to hunt. 70-years ago is seems hunters had one or two good rifles and shotguns and did a lot of hunting with them. Maybe this is the evolving trend because of limited seasons, limits and access to hunt by a large urban and suburban population.

We’ll all see.

Clay Cooper

Tommy, a carbine put simply is “A lightweight rifle with a short barrel”. Now for anyone to say you will lose accuracy with the shorter barrel is wrong. You do lose velocity but accuracy no! Barrel twist, caliber, weight, muzzle crown, load and velocity are major players in accuracy. I have a 6.5x55 carbine with a 16 in barrel that’s a tack driver. It is true that a longer sight radius, the distance from the rear sight to the front sight, the greater the distance the more accurate you’ll be. That will be true, but with a scope it’s just as accurate, you just won’t have the velocity of the longer barrel. By the way, about magazine capacity. If you don’t hit with the first shot and by the third? IT’S GONE! It’s not how many rounds you get off, it’s the number of hits given on the targets “X” ring or kill zone. My definition of fire power of a rifle or hand gun is not a million rounds per second but delivering one projectile directly on target and achieving the desired results with one shot or one shot and one direct hit on any additional target.



I see that your friends (Zumbo) comments and the ramifications of those comments have you saying stuff you typically wouldn't say "As long as it goes bang, let us think kind thoughts about it.". I am proud of you!

I guess you had better say just such things or write about gardening. By the way, has Mr. Zumbo landed anywhere of consequence?


It's amazing how watching a colleague get the boot changes opinions and adjusts attitudes.

Eldon  Dickens

What difference does taste make? All the difference. It's the difference between a gunsmith simply being a mechanic who makes the machine work better or being an artist and philospher who understands the medium and makes it beautiful. It is the difference between beauty and banality: and there is the difference between black rifles, dull black synthetic stocks, rough dull gray metal, and the rest. An effective but ugly machine may be forgiven the soldier and even the target shooter, but what honor is gained the hunter by employing the deadliest ugly thing available? A rhetorical question, yes, but it makes its own point. Beauty and its appreciation are worth preserving, even if more costly and less accurate -- and even if it forces one to take one's time operating a bolt or lever to fire again. Oh, how excruciating the wait of half a second while the hand must forcibly operate a lever; how awful it is to inflict upon a shoote eager to savor the next blast and its awesome consequences!

The ultimate triumph of the black gun shooter is when they demonstrate they can blow something to kingdom come faster than I with my lowly bolt guns and single shots. The sad part is that they think they have proven something.

It's not that hunting and shooting with some semblance of taste might impress the uninitiated and reduce the appeal of the anti-hunting anti-gun prejudice. I doubt it. They do not have the sophistication on the matter of guns and hunting. However, we should have such sophistication ourselves and we should practice it. The reason to use a well-made and good looking gun, even if it's actually less expensive (A nicely stocked standard grade Ruger is about half the price of an entry level ugly AR clone and fits the shoulder much more sweetly.) is that it improves our own appreciation and enjoyment. If noise, fire and smoke are the major point, if ripping apart a target at random is the goal, why not machine guns? Fun, perhaps, psychic relief at times, but hardly the major point, and certainly not the point at all in hunting. Indeed, I would suggest that the real appeal of the AR is not military; I have yet to talk to a military man who likes it. The appeal is fantasy, from our so-called media, where violence, perversion, propaganda, fantasy and lies are mistaken for entertainment, a la Michael Moore. That's why impressionable youths fatnasize of them rather than London's Best.

However, in America, having taste is almost unpatriotic. Aristocrats have taste, the common man does not. It's the false pretentiousness of one who holds himself of a better class, so the argument holds. This is, of course, rot from the same kind of entertainment and propaganda that makes black rifles chic. As our younger set says, "Not!" Burnished wood and polished steel are elitist? Are so beauty, art, and skill? Unfortunately, that sort of hypocrisy is what black rifles are justifying.

I have no intention of joining anyone in banning black or camo rifles. Legislating taste and values is not the American way, perhaps, dare I suggest it, unconstitutional. The ugly guns have their place in DCM matches and self protection -- although if you watch shooters on the firing line you will see that even they try to find some kind of decoration that releives the dreadful dullness of the ugly gun.

However, the military style will soon change. So will the movies. Perhaps the next "black rifle" will be a laser. Then all the impressionable movie-watching faddists will start to chase after that in order to melt down whatever targets are available on the shooting ranges, if allowed. Where will our shooting sports be then?

(No permission whatsoever is granted to repeat any of this in the cause of gun control or limiting hunting; that would obviously be counter to the argument and point made above.)



Mike, I understand your argument that if liberal press knew that most hunting rifles are more powerful than the 5.56 they'd be fearful of them. I think most of them do understand this, but aren't fearful of them because they don't understand the difference between the terms "single-shot", "semi-auto", and "full-auto".

Most believe that bolt-action rifles are single-shot rifles. This isn't true though unless the rifle lacks an internal magazine (my definition, maybe its wrong). However, since they [media] seem to rely on this definition of a bolt-action single-shot they believe they are "less dangerous" because you can't spray and pray.

At the same time they view semi-auto's and full auto's as essentially the same type of gun and view them as more dangerous because even if the round isn't as powerful as a big belted .300 magnum, you can just pull the trigger alot (or hold it down) and fill an area with lead in a lot less time than it would take you to do the same thing with a bolt-action ("single-shot") rifle/handgun.

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