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November 29, 2007

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Beware The Oddball Gun

A few weeks ago I got a letter from a person of obvious taste and culture asking whether it was a good idea to have his .30/06 hunting rifle custom-throated for a particular bullet of which he was very fond. To which I replied that no, it was not. Better that he stab himself in the eye with a screwdriver to see that it felt like.

When you hunt, do-do happens, and you may find yourself at the ass end of the earth having to borrow or scrounge or buy whatever kind of ammo you can lay your hands on. And you may find that your custom-throated pride and joy will not chamber it. All of my hunting rifles have straight SAAMI chambers and throats, against such time as I fly to Anchorage and the ramp apes send my ammo to Aukland.


Along similar lines, I have a letter in front of me asking about the advisability of having a rifle built for the .22 Short. Again a no, because when you put real money in a rifle you always have to think about when you might want or need to get it back, and there is not a hell of a big market for rifles chambered for the .22 Short.

Eschew the weird and the unnatural. Seek normalcy at all costs.


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The way folks are coming after ammo and gun dealers, I would not want to limit any of my firearms to any certain bullet. I can see the delight and coolness of doing so, even how one could serioulsy tweek a gun, but no thanks.

Ralph the Rifleman

I always thought a .22LR adapter mated to my .45/70 would be kinda cool?


Save your "one of a kind" firearms for trips to the range, local jaunts and showing off to your friends.

Hunting arms chambered in standard calibers may mean the difference in hunting and not hunting if something breaks or ammo is lost or forgotten.


Steve C

I know what you mean by being and the ends of the Earth and not being able to get the proper ammunition.

Last March I went pheasant hunting in central Virginia on a preserve and the local Wal-Mart didn’t have a single box of 12ga shells other than steel T shot. No joke. They had a stack of 375 H&H but no 12ga. The only conclusion I can draw is that there’s more cape buffalo in Virginia during that time of than pheasant.


I truly believe that this is why the short-fat craze will ultimately fade away. The .30-06, .270, .308, .30-30 etc. are like great blue jeans and Tony Bennett - timeless.


Like Yogi might have said: If it's fixed, don't break it.

WA Mtnhunter


Right on! My .30-06 or .308 goes on every trip in at least the backup rifle role.

Matt Mallery

I have a Marlin lever action chambered for .35 Remington and even in a big metro area it is tough to find ammo for it. 30.06, .270, .308, .30-30, and .22LR are always around from what I have noticed. And there is a reason for this. They work.

Chad Love

So you're telling me it's a bad idea to be turning an old, 1974-vintage plain-jane 7mm rem mag 700 ADL I've got into a sexy, firebreathing .264 win mag?

What else can I do with a magnum action but tart it up into something weird that I don't really need? Where's the fun in that?


Gee Chad, did you paint mustaches on your beenie babies, too?

Just joking.

WA Mtnhunter

I think if you add the .243 Win, 7mm Rem Mag and .300 Win Mag to Matt's list, you would have the top selling cartridges nationwide.

Gotta be a real good reason for that!

Charles  Benoit

The really good thing about having a very common rifle cartridge is that if you start off into the woods and realize you forgot your ammo at home, there's a good bet that another hunter back at camp can spare you 2 or 3 of his cartridges.


Chad Love

No, but I did stage epic galactic battles between my old Crosman 760 and the legion of Star Wars action figures and ships I collected when I was a kid, action figures and ships that now bring enough money on Ebay to make me repeatedly bash my forehead into the nearest fencepost while screaming "YOU IDIOT!" every time I have the misfortune to recall it...

I can say, however, that when the original C3-PO action figure is hit just right with a BB going around 500fps it does blow apart just like the scene in "The Empire Strikes Back."

Did I mention that I'm an idiot?


I know how you fell Chad. Remember the old made in England Matchbox cars? My brother and I decided that spraying then with lighter fluid and setting them ablaze to simulate horrific accidents was a lot more fun than preserving them.

Saw a couple at a collector's shop recently marked at $65 and $80.

Boys will be boys.


Genlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen; if we who read this blog would "eschew the weird and unnatural" we would not be reading this blog. Variety is the spice of life.


Maybe not weird and unnatural, but how about old and (ostensibly) obsolete?

I just cannot bear to part with my .348 Winchester M-71, my .220 Swift M-54, or my .300 Savages M-99s.

Besides owning the odd ones makes the case for handloading all the more sensible. And being a "right-wing nut" I can justify hoarding components on the pretense of uncertain future availability.


Hey Alamo,

Hey, I may have disagreed with you on the healthcare thing, but I must say just about everything I have read that you have posted since - Gold! I am in total agreement. You may call me a dumbocrat, tree-hugging whatever, but I hoard some serious ammo too!
And while I am no democrat or republican, my brother and I had some serious battles with those matchbox cars you spoke of, and gi joe stuff and star wars stuff.

We started selling the stuff at our parent's yard sales when we hit our early teens. And you are right again - Good God! I cringe every time I see the prices on a Luke Skywalker figure or just the right, mint matchbox. Boys were boys.

And about the "right wing nut" thing, I am sure I am not the first one to call you that, but as I stated before, I can take it all back - just like that. I hold no grudges. I learn just as much from those I sometimes vehemently disagree with, and learn to respect them even more than those I tend to agree with. I may be the first to extend that.


Hey guys,
Im 18 and i will be getting my first rifle petty soon just to deer hunt with. Should I go with the 7mm-08 or a 270win?


Hey guys,
Im 18 and i will be getting my first rifle petty soon just to deer hunt with. Should I go with the 7mm-08 or a 270win?


They are both excellent, so you can't lose with either. Just shoot a lot.


Chad and Alamo:

When I was a kid, one of my granddad's pals gave me a baseball signed by all the 1920 Brooklyn Dodgers.

Yup, sure enough, the day came when I needed a baseball to play with - and I got a couple seasons out of that old plug. And somehow I think the old codgers who signed that thing would've liked that rather than see me horde it to "amass value."

I gave away my two oddball guns when I moved to LA: my brother got the Winchester Model 1903 22, which took a proprietary round no longer made; and my uncle got the 32-20 1892 carbine. No regrets. Guns are tools (someday I may own a piece of art but a tool is sufficient for now), and these went to good homes.


Well Gman, I feel better about my "lost treasures" now. No tellin' what your b-ball would be worth in todays collector crazy market.

I would lament the 92 as well. Blame that on my lever gun addiction. Had a friend that had a rifle chambered to the rimfire you mention (I believe it was .22 WRF) and a pump chambered to a .25 rimfire; Stevens if I recall. We were kids and shot up his ammo. I'm sure that fodder is collectable as well.


I have many friends and family (when I claim them) that are centrist Democrats. We frequently have lively discussions on issues ranging from health care to taxes, to the prosecution of the war. We may disagee vehemently (because I'm right!), but I do respect their opinions and understand their frustration. If I appear irritable, attribute it to age and hard knocks. I seriously have never meant to offend, but I don't mind tweaking either. It may be an easy line to cross. As for the "Nancy boy" cracks, it just happens to be my family's favorite method of casting cheerful aspersions. To this day my younger brother and I cut each other no slack. Last Christmas he was with me while I cut fire wood and when I (stupidly) did myself injury and expressed my discomfort, his first question was whether I was having cramps as well. We're probably not "normal".


If you would be taking shots at 300yds plus; I'd opt for the .270---anything less, it won't matter.
I own both, and can tell you that the .7mm-08 has less recoil--which in my case makes me a better shooter. When taking to the woods I more often than not will grab the .7mm-08. Both are outstanding choices for whitetail. Good hunting.


On the firearm oddity - I can't remember who made the thing, but my grandpa had a single shot .22 that was supposed to come to me after grandma passed away. It cound't have been worth much, but it had extreme sentimental value to me. Long story short, my cousin pawned it because he needed the money. I'd gladly have bought it from him for twice what he got at the pawn shop. Family, can't pick 'em - can't shoot 'em! :-)


Or can you - S^3? Shoot, shovel, shut up?

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