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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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Clay Cooper

The 5.56mm AKA 223 Remington is a loudmouth midget among Titans! I have a rifle that blows thru 1 inch plate steel. Like to see a Black Gun do that!

Dr. Ralph

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

This is gospel. Like it or not a whole lot of people who own guns never hunt. NEVER. The constitution doesn't give us the right to hunt. It gives us the right to keep and bear arms. If I "bear arms" in an airport I guarantee my rights will be infringed. Our rights will further be infringed upon if the number of gun owners dwindles. I know people who just shoot for fun. My children would rather go to the range than be out in the freezing cold trying to kill a deer at 4:30 AM. We can have guns for hunting and shooting and self defense and even a few toys... It's all good...

Jeff Cartee

Several who have commented here have missed the point that many who are attracted to the black rifles are attracted because of familiarity. They learned to shoot this weapon through the direction of drill sergeants as part of military service. I am one of that number. When I first considered purchasing my first personal rifle I thought first to purchase an AR-15 style weapon -- not because it is attractive, but because I have fired thousands of rounds through this type of weapon and am extremely comfortable and confident with it. (And they are available in calibers other than 5.56) You will be happy to learn that I purchased a Remington 700, because it would better meet my needs (accuracy and hunting game) and it is far more beautiful. Yet my ability to shoot sub-MOA groupings is a result of the training I received as a soldier on a "black rifle".

Mike Strehlow

Dickens, I understand how you feel. But even gun lovers can be wired differently. There are collectors who'll buy a handmade firearm and never shoot it. Others are of the Jeff Cooper school of firearm appreciation; "I like the way it works, therefore I automatically like the way it looks." You wouldn't question another man's taste in women; why question his taste in guns?

Ben, I agree that most liberals I know are astonishingly ignorant about all things gun. One guy I talked to had no idea that there was such a thing as different guns for different purposes; "A gun's a gun, right?" is a direct quote. These are the people to whom almost all handguns are "Saturday Night Specials," and no, they don't know the difference between 'self-loading' and 'automatic' when comes to actions. Tolerant though they imagine they are, most liberals are of the mind set that if they can't imagine themselves ever needing something, then nobody else needs it, either. That is why the phrase 'legitimate sporting need' makes sense to them and not us.

In the past, semi-autos were heavier, less accurate, less powerful, more expensive, uglier, less familiar, and harder to scope than other hunting rifles. In the eyes of some, they were once thought less sporting as well (the old Remington Model 8 was charged with that, way back when the Kaiser was making trouble). Modern guns and modern attitudes address most of those criticisms. Semis are softer shooting than other actions, can be just as accurate, and are faster for subsequent shots. Semis can also be more accurate for second shots, because with a semi your shooting hand never leaves the wrist of the stock. With levers and bolts your shooting hand works the action. With a semi you just keep both hands in the same position on the gun and the stock stays welded to your cheek, one shot after another. This is an advantage way out of proportion to the cycling speed of the action. What's not to like?


courtesy of the U.S. Army and the United States Marines.

Ooh - F'ing - Rah! Yeah. That said it All!



Hey I also understand that under the vernerable (or is it just old?) name of Iver Johnson the M 1 Carbine is still being produced for US Civilian sales! How many million GI's learned to shoot on those bad boys?! How many M 1 Carbines are still toted into the deer woods today? Aren't they, by definition, military rifles?
Ooh-Rah, Gunny! Make it go bang! Oh and a synthetic stock would be nice, I know they used to have one.

waycar rider

way to go Remington!!!!!!! ever new model of gun is another nail in the Clinton's coffin---I bought one of Remington's special run 264's with the stainless barreled action---w000000000000000w what a gun

Galen Burgett

Semi-autos not catch on?! Well, they caught on quite a few years ago and are a substantial portion of the firearms industry. In fact, one of the reasons Remington (and Smith & Wesson, and Sig Sauer and a dozen other companies)jumped into the market is to stay in business. The younger upcoming generation has a different perception of what a rifle is and the traditional bolt rifle doesn't catch their eye like AR15 or AK clones do. Quit bellyaching about what someone might think because the black rifles look different. It's not about looks. It is about bringing up the next generations to appreciate the freedom to own and use firearms, even bazookas. The 2nd Amendment isn't is about looks, perceptions, or hunting. It is about being able to defend your country against a tyrannical government, foreign or domestic.

Frank Gilbert

Ruger has also stepped up with a high accuracy mini 14 and Ranch rifle for target shooting - see latest catalog by Ruger

Well,.. had decided not shoot my mouth off more in this venue ,. however,, this blog apears to be climbing the cerebral ladder.. so will weigh in once again with my humble two cents.

Black rifles worry me,.. not because they are black not because I think thier ugly
( which I do) ,.not because I think they are inefficant or inacurate,.. none of the above
They worry me because they are one step below selective fire.

Now I am all for what ever goes bang,.. its in my DNA
But think now I will confess a big no no here to make a point

When I was a tender 12 years of age ,.. it was agreed that i could hunt deer with my father and carry a gun. If I was carefull. Obviously !!
My folks wee not rolling in money so I used what he had for me to use.
Due to a shortage of coin there was also no premptive target practise other than three rounds.

The gun was a G43 8 x 57
The German answer to he M1 Gerand issued to Hitlers SS troops in WW11
My father, having survivd the battle of the bulge ( just barely) being in a position to "liberate" a few, sent them home as he expected an arms embargo after the war and wanted something to hunt deer with if he "made it",.. which course he did or I wouldnt be writing this.
Not to mention the fact that he was VERY impressed with German arms and ordinance.

That said I sauntered into the deer woods with a G-43 ss 8 x57 which contained one round,an dno clip.
I was a model young hunter, covetous of my one round,.. intending to make it count if chance previaled.
Seeing this my father "let down" on the second or third day ,.handing me a 10 round (clip) magazine . Saying ,. youve been good,.. so put this in the gun in case you need to shoot twice. IE: put one in the clip which would be two.
What does a twelve year old do
besides getting what can only be described as a near mental errection,.. at the thought of so much fire power?
Having "scounged" a few rounds he stuffs it full,..thats what he does ,.. 10 in the clip and one up the spout.

What hapened next is legend in our family ,..
I was falling asleep ,. had lost track of where people were ,.. and two deer ran by ,.. ( Two ) back then seeing one deer was a big deal.
I emptied that gun,.. in very damn short order 11 ronds.
And i did not cut a hair.

My father who was down range hehind the deer seeing the approaching line of fire hit the dirt and started praying and digging or so he said.

The other guy i almost shot ( who I did not know ( he had slid in apparrently while I dosed) walked up to me with a lever action in his hand ( 30 -30 I presume) ,.. looked closly at the rife i was holding shook his head ,. and said well thats it for me ,.. try not to kill anyone else kid and he walked out of the woods.
A few minutes after r the shootn stopped I saw my father aproaching with a look I had never seen on his face.
He asked if it was me shooting,..and I said yes ,.. he asked if I got anything and I said no,.. then he said well ,.. tell ya what,.. ya damn near got me.
I did not know (then) what an advancing line of fire was ( learned it pretty well 7 years later) ,. so he took me back to where he was standing and showed me the holes in the trees and branches starting to his right moving toward where he had been standing,.. unltimatly laying and praying.

I had been used to shooting gofers with my bb gun and to get em,.. when they ran you had to lead them a little,.. automatically I lead the deer,.. pulled off all 11 rounds and damn near shot two guys,.. one of which was my Dad.
It haunts me to this day ,.. and my father ( the old gunsmith) left us years ago.

After determining that nothing had a hole in it but some trees and branches ,. dare I say it. He actually seemed a little ammused ( amybe even proud) that his 12 year old son cutloose with 11 straight,..
Such was the the irony of the situation and combat vets sence of humor.
As i say it became legond in or family ,..finally being refered to when deer hunting as Machine gun kelly ,.. and can say for certain neihter he or me is Irish.

Ok to the point,.. point is I was a very steady kid ,.. cooler than most at that age ,.. but lost it and damn near did the unthinkable

That is what wories me about black rifes.
The spry and pray mentallity that may accompany that weapon especially with inexperiance ,..no matter what the age.



Dave in St Pete


I disagree with most everything you wrote including (especially) you being a steady kid and cooler than most.

Eldon  Dickens

My Dear Strehlow,

I do indeed question other men's taste in women, although it is quite rare and I am far, far more likely to question women's taste in men. I simply eschew commenting on such sensitive and purely personal matters, particularly since it might be mistaken for insulting the characteristics of the chosen rather than questioning the lack of judgment of the chooser. But your argument is anthropomorphic: guns are a very different matter. Guns, shooting and hunting are as much aesthetic matters as food and wine, art and music. There is a good argument for experiencing accuracy and utility; the mistake is in believing that the two are necessarily related to lack of grace or beauty. Camo and black rifles are the McDonalds of the gun industry, the acid rock of outdoor sports. Yes, I eat fries. Occasionally, I listen to rock music. It is simply no particular virtue, other than hunger or boredom, that is the motive. Even ancient man understood the necessity of beauty as they knapped flint into projectile point and Osage Orange into atlatl or bow. And we in all our sophisticated technology have degenerated to the black rifle. Progess it is not.

Mr. Burgett,

The Second Amendment is about freedom in general, including but not limited to any legitimate or lawful use of arms. You are making the same argument that the anti-Right to Keep and Bear Arms crowd is making in limiting the 2nd to the National Guard. There is a Right to Hunt, dating far back into human history, and English history to be particular. Mr. James Whisker has outlined it in his book on the subject.

Dr. Ralph,

The Constitution gives us no rights whatsoever. Under natural law, it attempts to preserve those rights pre-existing in our "state of nature." Arguably, one might insist it gives us the contract rights specified in it as a social contract, but those are simply the necessary political evolution of our natural right of self-determination. Knowledgeable justices of the Supreme Court have repeatedly noted that the 2nd Amendment does not create (and certainly does not define) the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Instead, the 2nd refers to such a right and declares it shall not be infringed, clearly indicating that Right was legal doctrine prior to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.


Amazing Dave from St Pete,..
and of course it would follow that you would disagree with the fact that I Worry ,.. or that I think this blog is becoming more Cerebral
More brilliance from south of the mason dixon line.
Very presumtive not to mention in a word just stupid.
I do however stand corrected,..
SOME of the posters here are taking a more cerebral approach,..

Now more than ever I worry about our sport and the future of hunting and shooting ,.In part becuase of people like you who just drivel S^hit out the corners of there mouth ,without the the slightest proof or verification of what you say.

Currious there southern boy ,. you ever see what a bullet does to people,.. axcident or not?
Ever watch a man shot,. scream in pain so terrible he starts asking for his mother?
I bet not ,.. but I do pray you dont have to ,. it aint pretty.
I bet you just disagree on general priciple with every thing ,.. that might some how not line up with your narrow little perspective.
and ya I was a pretty steady kid,. at 10 was working for neihghbors for money to by my school books at 13,.. used baseball bat to subdue a guy trying to steal money from my mother ,.. but you know better of course.
Was in a line at the store the other day,.. bet i was standing two in front of guy like you ,.. who could just not stop bitching ,..

Mike Strehlow

Mr. Dickens;

I was being lighthearted when referring to men's taste in women. The point I tried to make is that taste is taste. If we all argued our needs and wants as gun owners with stone practicality, then everyone who was not a competitive shooter or a cop would own exactly three guns; a Remington 870 in 12 gauge, a stainless Savage or Tikka in .30-06, and a Ruger 10-22, and that would be that. We do not do this because you know what you need, and I know what I need. Granted, semiautos are more dangerous than some other gun types in the hands of lunatics, but that is because they are also more dangerous (in the RIGHT way) in the hands of responsible shooters.

David Petzal makes a spectacularly good point in his blog about why we are going have to make room for military type semiauto shooters. Good luck trying to explain the superiority of the wood stocked bolt action sporter (essentially a 120 year old concept) or lever action (a 140 year old concept) to some young kid fresh out of the marines who learned to shoot with a HOLO sighted AR. Tell him the rifle that saved his life in Iraq or Afghanistan is a degenerate weapon. While you are at it, convince him to sell his car and get a horse; horses are quiet, energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and prettier than a car. Horses also have more personality than any car. And it is genuine sporting proposition to travel 200 miles on horseback compared to making the same trip in that newfangled 'vette he now drives.

In fact, I like horses. But it'd be foolish to argue in favor of owning one by running down the good qualities of automobiles. And that goes for rifles, too.


Mr. Strehlow


I love it when somebody talks simple and down to earth!!! More around you understand what you are saying!!!



Holy Cerebral firearms afficiandos, Batman!

First, the individual subject or peon NEVER had any legally confired right to keep and bear arms under feudal lords or medieval royals. Anyone who was armed either had royal decree or faced dire punishment. Hunting was certainly not a right granted or naturally ordered for the peon.

Somewhat AFTER our Constitution was drafted commoners in England and Scotland were more routinely permitted to own fowling peices and to hunt the waste lands for rougher species; all game being the property of the King/Queen currently reigning. In France only those who owned land could own arms. I know little about the arms laws in middle Europe during that time period so perhaps someone better schooled can fill us in.

My point is that at its drafting our Constitution conferred unique rights to all citizens. The 2nd Amendment is not about hunting, as was mentioned above, it is about individual freedom.

Dave in St Pete

Well, Mr Yohan,

First I'm a damn Yankee so your typical stereotyping paints you as the much less cerebral and more bigoted.

Next, being 54 years old and having spent 10 years in the military you tell me if I have ever 'been there done that'.

And I don't particularly care what you did with a baseball bat nor what you wish to bitch about your upbringing or perceived social circumstances, you need to work that out yourself.

Your father did NOT teach you proper firearms respect nor were you 'steady' enough to understand what a bullet can do.

My son (now 14) is well proficient in firearms and has been for many years yet when we went hunting this summer i provided him with THREE rounds. I did that not because I do not trust him, I did that because that is my responsibility. Obviously something your father failed to understand.

Now as you say, back to the point. Do 'black rifles' promote 'spray and prey'? NO! Irresponsibility does.

Have a nice day!


AMEN Mr. Petzal.

If we teach responsible firearms education to all then it doesn't really matter what type of firearm is being used.

Charles Burklund

As a one who served my time in the US Army during the unpleasantness 35 years ago, I learned to shoot the M16, but as a medic doing SAR, I carried a M1911A1, because it was easier to carry along with my gear and I wouldn't have to worry about a longer barrel getting on the way when dealing with an injured soldier, you know dropping the weapon in the mud, etc. Now, I have as my house gun a M1911, because I feel comfortable with it and will use it instinctively should I find myself in a stressful situation. It is not for hunting, It is not about hunting. I also have an SKS and about 600-800 rounds of ammo for it. I could use it for hunting but I don't.
For hunting, I have an old beat up Remington 721 in .270 that will still punch 3 holes in the target that I can cover with a nickel, no hole showing. I have killed deer and elk with this gun so I don't feel the need to upgrade to a newer, fancier model.
Any discussion about black guns always seem to come back to people being scared of them. We as the shooting populace need to stand up to educate others as to the stupidity of seing suckered in to the argument about "is it sporting or not?"
It is not about sporting. It is about our Constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. This has the same potential to destroy our RKBA as much as political correctness does to destroy freedom of speech. 'Your comment is rascist or in some other way offends me or my constituency so I will silence you.'
Don't believe me? how about Rush Limbaugh on ESPN, now his detractors then are saying the same thing that was rascist when he said it. Remember JImmy the Greek? What he said was historically accurate but the way he said it, offended some and his career was destroyed.
When we start choosing certain guns or certain topics that we condemn on the basis of preference,to the non shooters, who don't understand anything of what we are speaking save what the MS tells them it means, we are cutting off our noses to spite our faces.
You don't like black guns, fine. Don't tell me we shouldn't have them, because after they come to take ours away, there are those who will decide that there is no such thing as sport shooting,and take your HUNTING guns away. But we won't have the weaponry to defend your rights, We will all be dead, our guns pried out of our cold dead fingers.


My last thought is all rifles are born out of military rifles. There isn't a single on on the planet that doesn't have its roots in a military rifle. We are having the same conversation about"black rifles" that our ancestors were haveing when the first sharps, or repeating pistol or self contained cartridge repeating rifles were sold to the public. What we need to stress to the anti's is that there is two falsehoods in their argument. First, if you make them illegal then only the criminals will have guns, because they are criminals. Kinda a stoopid point, but the anti's fail to realize this, and second... without a federal license full auto firearms are very illegal to have, therefore making anyone who has one without said permit a criminal. What we and the anti's need to get together on is making mandatory minimum sentences that can not be changed by some liberal sissy mary judge.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Different typefirearms for different purposes> If I wanted a shooting firearm, then the AR l5 would do just fine. However, if I want a hunting firearm, then I need a 24" bolt action rifle, more likely a 30-06 with a good scope. With the latest new firearms put out by Remington, I can see why they now getting into the Military style firearma.The 710 has bitten the dirt, and the 715 and 770 will also once you see it. Cheaply built and it shows. Some of the other gun mfgers have the opprtunity to now get serious about hunting fiearms. I have owned, shot, hunted with Remingtons for 50 odd years, but this last bunch of tin cans will change my mind the next new gun I purchase.You guys who buy the new Rem l5, please be careful,as it can easily be converted to a full Auto.PS I hunted with a 742Semi until 3 yrs ago,and a guide out West changed my mind to a bolt gun for out west hunting,. But thats another story I will address later.

Chev James

I hope that Remington and other rifle makers will FLOOD the market with the so-called "black rifles." No, I don't wany any of them ending up in the wrong hands. But I want them to be so prolific that the anti-gunners will see them as a totally lost cause for banning. Once something is in wide-enough and long-enough circulation, you can forget banning it. I want the antigunners to see a ban on "black rifles" as totally impractical and political suicide. So come on, Remington, keep cranking out those rifles! Shooters--we must police our own ranks, as with anything. I'll be glad to share the woods with hunters carrying AR-15 variants, just so long as they don't start spraying the woods with bullets!

Sand Bagger

Professor Yohan
You say

They worry me because they are one step below selective fire.

Clays reloading 100 rounds of 25-06 and 200 rounds of 45 ACP AKA 13mm tonight. So I’m going to ask you something Professor

If I had a gun and with one pull of the trigger firing one burst I can fire 10 projectiles 36 caliber per burst or 18 projectiles 33 caliber per burst or 54 projectiles 24 caliber per burst, would you call this firearm to be illegal Professor Yohan?

Clay asked me to ask you this question Professor. Why do Bolt Action Shooters in a High Power Match shooting 10 rounds rapid fire at 200 yards and 300 yards qualify as High Master (that’s cleaning the target) as those next to them shooting the same number of rounds in the same amount of time with a semi-auto and full auto? I know, full auto isn’t allowed but I just tossed it in there to save argument with the professor!

Clay Cooper

A semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto is a semi-auto is as a semi-auto

No matter how you slice it or dice it!

Matthew Acton

A correction:

It is The United States Marine Corps, sir.

Semper Fi!

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