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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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Not using the best one has would be like having a week in Vegas with Marissa Miller, never leaving a room, and just watching. Just and only watching.

Happy Myles


Your thoughts, caught eloquently what I attempted to write a few messages ago, I liked Phillip and Bernie also. I am seventy and a serious big game hunter for sixty two years. Like most gun nuts putting logic or reason to what type or how many rifles I own would be impossible.


What else do I need? I have an old Savage Model 99 EG in .300 Savage, a Remington 870 Express in 12 ga., and a heavy barrel Savage .22


I think some people collect fine custom guns like art collectors collect their pictures or whatever. I see nothing wrong with that if that's what gives one pleasure. Taking a fine custom firearm to a harsh place like Alaska is something one sits on the crapper in the morning and dreams about...but never really does. It has been well stated above that there are too many good utilitarian shooters out there available for the mud and dirty stuff.
Of course if one wants to use the good stuff in Alaska and it makes one happy, why not!

Drew Sherwood

Falling oil prices, stock market rallying, terror on the run, a new era of security and prosperity..Thank god we will have Obama this fall..I am only going to watch BET channel for the next week, to better understand the plight of black peoples.

Mayer Lanscovinsky

I have no reason to embellish this topic, tranny sex was the hottest sex experience ive ever had. Would you rather have a sexy sweet tranny or a bitchy fat genetic female?


The lists are complete, the Crackdown is imminent, sadly all of you will die in Freedom Camps. Bush and Cheney have been thwarted by us Democrats in every attempt to make things better. Obama Victory is Ours!!!

Red Blade

This is the dirty truth! http://images.craigslist.org/01020301030101040120080708d04e59bb555dc15cc000cdf9.jpg


Savage 10FP (.308)
Winchester Model 70 (7mm REM)
Marlin 1894 (44 REM)
Howa Axiom 1500 (.243)
Mossberg 500 (12Ga)
Ruger 10/22

Johny Walker Black label
DeWars 12yr Old
Jack Daniels Single Barrel

ALL get used extensively! If it needs to be looked at and admired and NOT shot...it belongs in a museum.

Dr. Ralph

If Philip just keeps posting pictures of puppies I'd trade a shotgun for he's going to cause blogger envy. I can see it now... Dave starts out with politics and backs it up with religion (not hard today) then slides in an offhand comment about loving crossbows. I can personally guarantee 500 comments even if I stay away.

If I had any good stuff I'd use it. But that depends upon one's perception of "the good stuff". Museum quality, even if one has half a billion dollars, should not be used. I just don't see thrashing a piece of history. That I would donate and hunt with what I felt appropriate.


I guess I should qualify what I said...

My "best" rifle is a Browning A-bolt Stainless Stalker. It's a synthetic stock and all those stainless parts... well, for a little over a grand it's not a bad rifle. And I'd take it to Alaska in a heartbeat.

BUT... it doesn't change where I stand. I'd carry a Weatherby Athena into the duckmarsh in a heartbeat if it shot worth a damn and if I could afford a $2500 dollar scattergun. It's a fine gun and it feels right when I bring it to shoulder... a lot like my Fox SxS that I've just about worn out in the marsh already.

That's the point, isn't it? A fine gun is just that... fine. It looks fine and it shoots fine. If it ain't, it ain't worth a dollar bill.

Jim in Mo.

So Dave, lets get this straight. If in one hotel room you had Miss Cuthbert and in another you had Rosie O'Donnel, you'd have dinner with Miss C. and spend the night with Rosie?

Zeiss Fan

Dave I have to agree with you here. No way in hell I'm hunting with a custom wood gun or a pricey factory wood gun I've personalized. Especially somewhere like Alaska or Canada. Not gonna happen.

My SS synthetic stock factory rifles do all the dirty work for me & they'll continue to do so.

Dick Mcplenty

Funny you should mention jerry fisher.He's even stated that the performance of todays factory rifle has made the real performance needs of a custom hunting rifle even more blurred.


While I recognize the value of fine guns as artistic machinery, it's pretty hard to just up and drag one through the woods... Take it to the range once in a while to enjoy its precision but anything rugged just diminishes its value.

I say go for a gun you can use and then use up -- if you can!


In my mind a Stainless-Steel and synthetic Ruger in 338 Winchester is the "good stuff" for Alaska. You can't beat Ruger's scope mounting system or their rugged, well-built action. I only wish that they made it Left-Handed, I would buy one!

If I had a rifle from Bansner, or Echols, or Charlie Sisk, I would still hunt with it. I would not intentionally destroy it, but I would not hesitate to take it hunting. Rifles are tools, to be used.

Art Lamb

I lived and hunted in Alaska for over 5 years using a Winchester model 70 in 375 H&H magnum all that time. Never had a problem with the elements or with the animals. The stock and the weapon look like the are brand new. Yes, it rains, it can be cold, but most of the time people just don't take care of their weapons.

Now the airlines are a different story. If they don't beat your guns to pieces it is a miracle. If I could afford fancy weapons I would hunt with them as I don't buy any weapon just to look at it.


Gee. To hell with the "good stuff". If he can shoot minute of angle with a Mark II, he should sell off "the good stuff" and retire to the south Pacific with the money he gets. Good stuff to me means minute of angle with any rifle I happen to be holding at the moment.

Thos. Fowler

I stand with Dan'l Boone on this one. He was shown a pioneer's large caliber Pennsylvania rifle, and said something like, "Thy rifle hath great power...but it is exceedingly plain."

Why would a man leave a lovely rifle home to make memories with an ugly one? And then...pass it on to his children...?

Personal preference, obviously...there is no wrong answer here, if a person is confident with his/her choice.

Tom Fowler


"Smoke 'em if you got 'em...." Know what I mean Vern?


The link from Red Blade above is quite disgusting.




I would be extremely pissed if the airlines damaged or lost any of my firearms, from the cheapest to the best. They all have memories for me, and memories can't be replaced.


Ok, Ok, I understand the nice rifle thing, but... It is steel and wood made with skill and care to be above and beyond the off-the-shelf gun. It's meant for use. How sad to put it away and brag about how superior it is and to preserve it's value. Go ahead and use it. What kind of lunacy to have an unused custom built by ( - fill in the blank) or an "unturned Colt or S&W". I've got a good friend with a religous bent that calls this behavior Idolatry. Guess he hit the nail on the head. A friend of his late father gave him a custom hand forged drop point hunter, next time he saw the gentleman he thanked him again and told him how well it performed on the several antelope, deer and elk it was used on. The man nearly fainted that he would treat such a fine gift that way. Go out and use your hardware. Want an investment? Go buy a good mutual fund, your heirs would probably like that better.

HAL 9000

Look, Dave, I know that you're
sincere and that you're trying
to do a competent job, and that
you're trying to be helpful, but
I can assure the problem
is with the AO-units, and with
your test gear.
I'm sorry you feel the way you do,
Dave. If you'd like to check my
service record, you'll see it's
completely without error.

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