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July 08, 2008

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Don't Hunt with the Good Stuff

I spoke yesterday with an old friend who has been a big-game hunter and a gun nut of the first magnitude since the 1950s. He’s been using top-rank custom rifles for half a century, and owns what is probably the finest privately-held collection of modern and antique firearms in the United States. I have not seen his battery, but a friend of mine who knows what he’s looking at has, and says it’s beyond belief.

Anyway, he just got back from a brown bear hunt in Alaska, and I asked him which rifle he used.

“A Ruger Mark II stainless steel .338 with a synthetic stock. The only thing I did to it was replace the lousy trigger. It shoots minute of angle or better. I don’t hunt with the good stuff any more.”

And neither do you need to. You can put away your Al Biesen and your Jerry Fisher and D’Arcy Echols and David Miller rifles; send them into honorable retirement. What with the airlines the way they are these days, it ain’t worth the risk.


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Rocky Mnt Hunter,
Good to see that you are still posting with us. I adgree, I take several rifles with me to the range. My hunting rifle and several .22LR rifles in different makes models and vintages. I kid people that I have a different .22 rifle for every day of the week. Bad habit I collect and shoot .22 rifles and the occasional pistol thrown in for good measure. You should see the looks I get when I take them out to the 200 yard range and start ringing steel off hand with them.

Tom the Troll

Happy Myles

Make a great shot with a beatiful custom rifle,and the rifle get's credit. Make a great shot with a plain Jane off shelf rifle and the shooter get's credit. Human nature in action!

Dick Mcplenty

The truth is,an older guy thats collecting guns wether its classics or customs,has a whole gun cabinet of useless shit.Regardless of what nostalgia or aristocracy these weapons may hold in the heart of someone who wolud rather gather and hoard. So it makes sense that he'd hunt with something useable like a cheaper new factory offering.Its a testament to how much garbage is out there being stored unused,because it has a classic custom tag attached to it.

Dr. Ralph

That's Mcplenty of truth... there's a whole lot of gun collections that won't bring squat in an estate sale. The guns I value most are the ones my dad and grandad used. It doesn't mean a thing to anyone but me.


It would seem Red Blade and some of the other trash that has posted here has a friend in Lloyd Davies.


birds of a feather


Keep in mind that guns last for a lifetime, if not centuries. While there's not much reason for a hunter to get the high buck custom gun any more, there's plenty of reason get the factory gun that is a step up from bargain basement. You're going to be shooting the thing for the next 50 years; the extra $300 or so for the decent stuff over the K-Mart stuff is money well spent.

Jim in Mo.

KJ, Chuck;
Remember the old joke about wrestling with a pig? The punchline was 'the pig liked it'.
That's what your doing by responding to these guys.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

I collect firerms and hunt. Each firearm I own has special meaning to me, not to anyone else. Sure, I could blow $$$$ on a Wal-mart special, but will it shoot proper, NO IT WILL NOT. As Wally World has special guns built cheap just for them. I own firearms for each animal I hunt, be a bird. rabbit or ELK. As for Estate Value, Ive been to many and never bought a gun. AS they cost too much for me. If you collect, collect what is quality and Value will hold for ever. A gun that shoots to point of aim is to be treasured, if not it's useless. Never keep a useless firearm, i sure don;t. I just bought a XL7 in 270, my first ever 270.Now gonna see if OConner was correct, I doubt it will out shoot my Remington 700 CDL in 30-06, or my Custom Italy made 06.Both serve a purpose, one is scoped, the other is not, depends on what & where I hunt and what animal. We all have our limits, and once we do reach those, be happy and enjoy it as i did my first 5 dollar shotgun .Many guys collect this and that, the electronic world is not cheap and in a few years worthless, were a firearm if the correct make, model will increase in Value, plus will never be obsolete in the hunting world. I collect and buy firearrms that I plan to use or for my Son and Daughter when I;m gone. Best investment I could make and know it will be in good hands. I just received my Great-Grandads single Shot Shotgun. Bad condition, but still a Keepsake. Worth a ton to me. So buy what-ever suits your fancy or needs or Pocketbook, as i do. Lets go hunting. Will check my safe and see if got a gun for the now available animals, like Coyotes, foxes.Shoot-um-straight and often. Take care of your firearms as you do your vehicles or etc.

Bernie Kuntz

I should have addressed Dave Petzal's concern about airline loss/damage but did not. I have checked rifles to Alaska, B.C., the Yukon and Africa without incident. But I probably was damned lucky. Living in Montana, most of my big game hunting these days will be in this state, some in Wyoming and in North Dakota--all locations I will drive to. So I will use the fine rifles and not worry about it. If I lived in New York like Dave does and would have to fly, it would be an entirely different matter. I appreciate his position on this.


That's right Jim, which is why I didn't respond to them - I commented about them. Just as you have.

Clay Cooper

I’d rather rely on a M-38 Jeep than a Hummer!!

Dr. Ralph

Marisa Miller seems to be on everyone's mind... did the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition just come out again? Put me down for a Hummer and Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey. Like so many have said a Ruger No.1 is the good stuff in my house but I've got no complaints. Well okay one small complaint about RMH's hatred of Wallyworld guns. I've got a $399 Weatherby Vanguard from Wal-Mart that's sub MOA and will probably outshoot 95% of the guns I've ever seen. I'd say it "shoots proper".

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Bernie Kuntz of MT:
For past 5 yrs I've hunted Montana and Wy. Tjis year with teh ecomony in the Pits, thought no problem id drawing tags. I never drew tags for Montana or Colorada or WY. Appears with all the winter kill in CO. all hunters going to Montana or Wy. Lady at Game dept in MT told me they had 12.400 tags and 21.ooo applications???. Hopefully next year will be different. So,will just hunt w-tails her at home in N>C> this year.Son and I planted about l5 acres of SoyBeans, Sogum, Lespexda, hoping to draw some big deer into our l00 acres we hunt.Did buy a New XL7 in 270 to take to teh Rockies for Mulies, but now will hunt 2-tails here. A forflying with guns, it's the pits. Yhey (nbaggage handlers) know a gun case and they treat them like garbage. I bought a new Alum dble walled case, dble insulated 3 yrs ago, and you would thing it was dropped from 40K feet. I contactedAirlines immedialtely and did get a slight settlement. Next trip out will ship my guns in advance. I continue to think guns abetter investement than CD's of todays rate. Shoot often- and straight.

Jim in Mo.

I ain't talked to you in awhile.
You got it right. If I had the choice I'd ship my stuff UPS (big brown). Everything I receive or send is perfect like there was a baby inside, even boxes are perfect. I like them better than Fed Ex because of their great tracking system, if something is misplaced UPS knows where it is. And no I don't have stock in that company just years of personnal experience with both. Use them to ship/receive guns from S&W, Ruger, Savage, Burris. No problem.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

JIM: thanks I also refer UPS as you stated, I love their tracking system. I take a tub full of different Rx's due to my health problems. On airlines can only takea liquid btle of 3oz.On a Months trip, it takes about 4 l20z bottles of the stuff plus lots of other junk.I ship to my Guide in MT early. If event it's lost, give me time to reship. Guns, UPS the better way also. Airlines try their damnest to destroy a nice case as they know guns inside.As for using others guns, it don;t work for me, as my guns are setup for me only. In a must situation, I would use the guides extra 06, but prefer my own. I usally ship one and take one by plane.Will miss the Rockies this year, so will hunt here at home for our 5 week season. Hopefully will draw next year in C0 or MT. I got all of the wetern game on my wall, but want a really nice Mulie and a 7 x 7 Bull or ever a trophy-very wide 6 x6. I also enjoy the Lope hunts, that will tell you how good you can shoot the 25-06 at long ranges. My last Lope was 325 yds. Being disabled and 2 hips replaced, it's difficult to get as close as i'd prefer which is 200 yds or less. I have to shot standing up or sitting in a chair using a Bi=pod.The Bi-pod serve as my cane when do walk short distance. On the Lopes,if lucky, can drive close to a herd.( I have permits to shoot from Vehicles in 5 western states) Take care.Shoot-um-straight and often. the old Southern Gunslinger

Edward J. Palumbo

I've purchased or personalized rifles that were too handsome to take afield, and I'll be the first to admit this doesn't make a great deal of sense from a pragmatic perspective, but one of the aspects of having a beautifully figured stock and excellent metalwork is pride of ownership. If it means that much to you to hold a rifle you've visualized or designed in your mind, then pay your gunsmith a king's ransom and let it be done. If it pains you to see that fine stock scratched in the field, don't take it afield; take it to the range where you can lavish care on it in controlled conditions and still fire it regularly, or purchase a spare stock (composite, laminate, whatever) to take it afield. All of my rifles are carefully deliberated choices, but I will admit there are a few that never left the rifle range for the field because it would pain me to crawl over rocks or otherwise damage the wood or metal. Does it make sense? Only to me.


Cheap whiskey will get you drunk as well as $$$ stuff.

A cheap but decent rifle will kill as wella s the $$$ stuff.

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