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Three rifles enough?

18 Feb 2016
@ 09:45 pm (GMT)

Mike Dewey

Things pretty quiet on the forum front, so here’s trouble…

So, there I was, having to make a decision. Life is too varied to pick a single gun for everything. Sure, there are choices that will punch paper, kill gophers, work close on big or little and reach out long distance, but some compromise in there. What to do?

I started with the 7mm Remington Mag 45 years ago, thinking it would do it all, but expensive for practice and probably marginal for big and furry close up. So, since more is better, here’s where I stand now.

Practice and varmints

CZ 527 Varmint in .17 Hornet with 4-16x40 Vortex scope

It was much the same price here as a good .22LR but with the ability to reload. Extremely accurate (can put 5 shots < .25” at 100 yards), cheap to shoot, fun to reload, deadly on gophers (ground squirrels), easy to shoot with heavy barrel, set trigger and negligible recoil, the trajectory (with 25 grain V-Max Hornady’s) pretty well matches the 7mm to a little past 200 yards.

Close range ‘thumper’

Brno ZKK 600 in 9.3x62 with Leopold 2-7x33 VXR (illuminated center dot) scope

Forty-six years old (bought used in 2015). Accurate enough for its range (routinely shoots 1 ½” at 100 yards, some under 1”, still working at it) easy to carry, quick to handle 20” barrel, hard hitting enough for pretty well anything in Canada, great penetration, easy to reload, not too difficult to find components, can remove scope quickly and revert to the pop up peep if necessary, using Nosler 286 grain partitions at this time (be fun to swage down some 225 gr .375 Hornadys), Boyd’s Platinum standard walnut stock - pillar bedded, easy to keep both eyes open with the scope on lower powers, fun to shoot, recoil is solid but not sharp, 2” high at 100 yards, 2” low at 200 yards, hold a little high at 250 (7” low).

Long range

Remington 700 in 7mm Rem Mag with Sightron SIII 6-24x50 FFP LRMOA, Shilen SS Select Match barrel #17 (Sendero) profile, action blueprinted, Timney trigger, HS Precision stock ‘pillar’ bedded (machined washers on top of the aluminum block).

Very accurate (haven’t fully developed loads yet but last test with 160 grain Accubonds at 3080 fps put 4 shots in a ragged hole but choked on the 5th opening it up to .75”), shoulder carry (12 pounds), good range and power, currently using Nosler 160 grain Partitions for moose/elk and Nosler 160 grain Accubond for longer range (will try AMax & Berger when the snow goes), easy to find components, heavy 24" barrel and HS stock tame previous rather sharp recoil, now a pleasure to shoot, Accubonds too violent at close range…

After glassing all afternoon at 250 to 400 yards with no luck, came upon a small mule deer buck on my way home about dark. Poor thing was turning towards me at 35 yards as I shot – in through near shoulder blade, out through liver. Broken shoulder blade, damaged lungs no diaphragm, chunk of liver the size of my fist on the ground, still ran 50’ before cartwheeling. Thinking about developing a round nose 175 grain load at perhaps 2500 fps to carry for close-in opportunities.

Too many, too few, wrong calibers, what’cha got?


18 Feb 2016
@ 10:28 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Three rifles enough?
Worked over Bruno 22LR 3-9 Leupold

6mm Remington, Rem 700, McMillan stock, Shillen barrel, 8x56 Kahles. 9lb

30-06 Rem 700, Maddco barrel, HS stock, 3.5-10 x 44 S111 Sightron 10lb

358 Winchester, L579 Sako, Maddco barrel, McMillan stock, 2.5-10x24 Nightforce. 8.2lb

12g D/B
19 Feb 2016
@ 12:00 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Three rifles enough?
Answer to original question: No.

P-14. Just (just) ordered Boyds stock. Still researching calibre to select. No barrel, probably a Benchmark. Will probably end up as a .30 1000yd. target.

Savage 110 Series J Model CL. Broken stock (three cracks, one really bad repair). Re-repaired. Loaded test loads. Will probably test fire on Monday (depending on weather), or next week sometime.

Savage 110 Series (?) Model (?) action. Benchmark 6mm MTU profile in SS, +32".

1919 Springfield .30-'06 A3

Ruger 77 Mkll, .338 Winchester Magnum, SS

Ruger 10-22

Ruger 1895 GG, 45-70

Baikal, MP-221, 45-70

Savage Model 111, .30-"06

Winchester Model 1892, 32WCF (32-20)

Colt Army Special, 32WCF (32-20)

Ljungman AB42-G, 6.5X55

plus shotguns.
19 Feb 2016
@ 12:25 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Three rifles enough?
Forgot one.

Barnard PL, .338 cal. Gaillard barrel, Accuracy One stock (soon to be replaced, I hope, Chris) , Barnard trigger.
19 Feb 2016
@ 03:07 am (GMT)

Mike Dewey

Re: Three rifles enough?
I'd hoped this to be more a "what do I use for what I do" kind of thread rather than "what's in my locker".

Otherwise I'd mention my oddballs: the 1883 Winchester in 45-70-405 or the H&R Garand trainer in 22LR.

Favourite long range or practice or close and personal? Or whatever you use in competition. How have you worked on them to make them work better at what they're for?
19 Feb 2016
@ 03:09 am (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Three rifles enough?
I won't attempt to critique another man's armory. I was just talking with my brother about the rifles I would like to own. My list currently goes like this:

.22lr CZ Trainer to accompany my Henry
.25-20, either a Marlin or a Savage 23a
either a .222 or .22-250, make and model TBD
Sako 75 in 6.5 Swede
280 Remington, possibly custom build
30-06, already own a 1917 Enfield and a TC Venture
35 Whelen, probably Winchester 70
45-70, undecided on make

This, of course, is subject to revision at any time.
19 Feb 2016
@ 03:20 am (GMT)

Joshua Mayfield

Re: Three rifles enough?
Mike, I just saw your last post as I posted.
There's not anything available to me right now that my .22 and my 30-06 can't handle except for wing shooting. I bought the TC Venture a few years ago and have done stock stabilization and bedding using Nathan's products. It shoots sub MOA and with load development, trigger work, and improved performance from the shooter I think it'll tightenup some more. I hope to stretch it out to 800+ yards in time.

I keep thinking I'd like to take the Enfield and "give it a birthday" as Mr. Foster puts it. I would love to do some competition shooting with it if I can get it in shape but ill admit that project has me a little intimidated.

I have my eye on a long barreled CZ Trainer in .22lr that I think would, with a bedding job, be just what the doctor ordered as a general practice gun and small game rifle.
19 Feb 2016
@ 03:36 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Three rifles enough?
hi mike.
here in nz you would only need a shotgun for birds, 22lr for possums/rabbits and a centrefire something 270,7mm or 30cal would do you goats/deer
so yes i guess 3 guns would do it.
but in saying that's variety is the spice to life is it not?

we are lucky unlike few of our commonwealth brothers as once we have the basic gun licence (we registered people not guns here) we can have as many rifles as we like under the basic hunting rifle criteria that's been set.

19 Feb 2016
@ 04:25 am (GMT)

Michael Rayner

Re: Three rifles enough?
I have a 17hmr that I use for hares,foxes and other pests. Have been very impressed with this little round.
My close in thumper is a Marlin 45-70 that's pretty awesome mainly use factory gummy tips now as they seem to work the best for what I hunt and drop things pretty quick.
I too have a 7mm rem mag which I use for longer range open country hunts I use 150 gr BTs which work pretty good on the pigs I've shot. Wouldn't mind switching up to a 162-168 bullet which I think is about the optimum bullet weight for the 7 mm rem mag
Having quite a bit of fun with my 243 on Roos and medium size pigs at some fair ranges 87 gr v-max and 105 a-max go pretty good and is far and away my most accurate rifle
19 Feb 2016
@ 04:49 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Three rifles enough?
Sorry, Mike. I thought you were looking for our "daily" rifles. I shoot all mine, and I hunt with all of them. I work on them to make them right, not necessarily better, and there is always the chance that better is right. A new stock on an old steel is really something, and old steel made to look new is a labour of love more than anything. Working on guns keeps me thinking. I load for all of them. I've designed my own target cartridge and rifles. One aspect I just can't get a handle on though is stock work. I guess I just don't have the artistic lean.
19 Feb 2016
@ 05:00 am (GMT)

Gerry Moriarty

Re: Three rifles enough?
Good thing I checked this forum tonight. I'll try and bring some sanity to this thread. A Winchester M-75 .22 rifle. A Winchester M-70 30-06 sporter wt. And a Winchester M-70 .375H&H.
19 Feb 2016
@ 06:32 am (GMT)

Gerry Moriarty

Re: Three rifles enough?
As a young kid in hunting camp all the men had Winchester 70s and sporterized 1903 Springfields. If they had carried Remmingtons that I'm sure that is what I would have for myself. When I bought my first M-70 I couldn't wait to show it off to one of the older men from hunting camp. As if the act of owning a M-70 meant I was now a true hunter. Rifle makes and calibre debates.
I've cross checked with Carnot's 2nd law of thermodynamics, Newton's 3 law of motion and applied Bernoulli's principle and have come up with the same list of firearms as my above post.
19 Feb 2016
@ 06:56 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Three rifles enough?
Every one should own a .22lr
the .223 or 7.62x39mm can do most of its job but more costly
as said a .308 or 7mm/08,.270.30/06 will take care of most any thing big and cant forget a shotty for winged game (that said I grew up with .12ga being the norm for pig hunting)
my dream bush rifle is a SxS Bakail in .45/70 just because....a softish load in one barrel and a whopper stopper in the other more accurate barrel would take care of anything out to say 150yards with open sights,more if you good enough.
19 Feb 2016
@ 01:58 pm (GMT)

Ricardo Laborin

Re: Three rifles enough?
Very Cool..But what about the pictures? Let's develop some love for imagery...

My battery consists of:
- CZ .22lr
- Rem 700 .270 Win, HS Precision stock not yet bedded, run of the mill Swaro on top, max range 400-500yds
- Dakota Arms 97 .300 WM, lovely lovely gun, had a NF on top, switched to a Leupold for a max range of 400-500yds
- Lacking the scattergun, since all of my friends have multiple ones, just take one from the rack.

Saludos from Mexico.

19 Feb 2016
@ 07:44 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Three rifles enough?
There was/is a show us your rifles page.
19 Feb 2016
@ 08:20 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Three rifles enough?
Three is not enough for me due to the research side of things but its always an interesting topic.

Still, my go to rifles do consist of a basic three.
.308 Win (Hack)
7mm Practical (long range with style).

But I have many favorites such as the .375 RUM for big stuff. Then again, this could be classed as shooting big stuff whith style. If it were a survival situation, the .308 would do fine on any meat animal with head shots. Most folk can see how the .30-06 covers everything.

I have shotguns, seldom use them outside of testing.
19 Feb 2016
@ 09:31 pm (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Three rifles enough?
Fuse Detornators n Powergel That's 3 things?

How's about a 3 caliber combination gun. 22 LR internally suppressed , 30-06, and 12 gauge all in one!
20 Feb 2016
@ 02:59 am (GMT)

Mike Dewey

Re: Three rifles enough?
Nice, nice nice. Thanks guys. Really good to see what works in different parts of the world.

Great pictures Ricardo, the Canadian constitution requires us all to visit Mexico often. Always enjoy your beautiful country and friendly people.

Just got an Australian Shepherd puppy. (I know, pretty lame)

Jealous of the game in NZ. Lots tougher in BC. We do have lots of paper we can shoot!
24 Feb 2016
@ 11:22 pm (GMT)

John Smith

Re: Three rifles enough?
I guess three rifles wasn't enough for me as
I now have four.
They are: Ruger No.1A in 6.5x55 for deer.
Ruger No. 1A in 7x57 for elk.
Sporterized Swedish Mauser Model 94 in 6.5x55 for deer.
Mannlicher Model 1961 MCA Carbine in .270 for deer & elk.

All have taken game with one shot.


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