New Kid On The Block

Doc Russia astounded me the other night by telling me that next year (2020) he’s not going to use his custom Remington 700 in .300 Win Mag to cull Scottish deer with Mr. Free Market.  Instead, he’s downloading to (another) custom Rem 700 in 6.5 Creedmoor.

Okay, as any fule kno, I am hugely skeptical of new cartridges simply because, as some smart guy put it:

“Typically, this is how we get new cartridges. A gunmaker approaches an ammo producer­—which is sometimes part of the same parent company—and says, hey, we want to introduce a new round, and if you make it, we’ll produce several thousand rifles to support it. They then hype the hell out of it, cross their fingers, and hope shooters are drawn to it like raccoons to hot garbage.”

And after a couple years of frenzied excitement, the cartridge disappears as though it never existed, leaving gun owners with a rifle that’s as useful as tits on a boar hog.

However, this 6.5 Creedmoor seems to be the business, not only because it’s a good hunting rifle, but it’s also winning competitions for accuracy — delivering about the same impact  as a .300 Win Mag (!) but with considerably less recoil.  No wonder Doc is interested.

So with that said, read all about it.

As intriguing as it sounds, however, I’m unlikely to follow the trend (and not for the first time) because I’ve long known about the beauty of a 6.5mm bullet, in its incarnation as the 6.5x55mm Swedish cartridge, developed in the nineteenth century.  Granted, the 6.5 Creedmoor hits harder than the Swede, but I’m reminded of the trenchant response from a guy who had been shooting .270 Win his whole life when told how much better was the .270 Win Short Magnum cartridge that came on the scene:  “So what?”

Put me in his camp.  However, I can’t wait to see what happens when Doc hits the Angus Glens with his new death-dealer…

Follow-Up To The Follow-Up Post

A couple Readers (one assumes New ones) wrote me and asked (and I paraphrase):  “So what’s YOUR list of ten rifles everyone should own?”  Of course, keeping it down to ten is a little difficult — certainly for me, and I suspect for most others too — but I’ll give it a shot, so to speak, and confine it to center-fire chamberings (no rimfires) as the original article did, with mostly bolt-action types (and only one semi-auto).  Rather than advocate specific rifles, however, I’m going to classify them by category.  I understand that not everyone is active in every category, of course;  but it helped me crystallize my thinking.

So let’s imagine that you must have at least one rifle per category, just to make this interesting.  There are nine categories, so you only get an extra rifle in one of them. And the finalists are:

1)  High-capacity (10+ magazine) semi-automatic combat rifle.  I don’t really care whether it’s an AR-15 type or AK-47 — and for the old-timers, the M14/M1A and even the M1 Carbine can be acceptable — but everyone should own at least one of these because
a.)  the Socialists want to take them away, and
b.)  you never know if a random Pantifarian / BLM uprising may occur in your neighborhood.  (And I don’t have to tell you that you need LOTS of ammo for this category, do I?)  Here’s a pic of some choices, as an example.

2)  Mauser 98k-type.  This category exists because in the domain of Emperor Kim, everyone has to own at least one Mauser.  Once again, the choice of which one is up to you. Personally, I favor the CZ 550/557 type because of its set trigger:

…but should you want to go all traditional 98k in this category, you won’t get any arguments from this  side of the keyboard:

Caliber is up to you;  the CZs offer just about any chambering you wish, while the actual 98k comes pretty much only in 7x75mm or 8x57mm.  Not that this would leave you disappointed, of course.

3) All-Purpose Bolt-Action.  As the name suggests, this should be the rifle that in a pinch you can grab and use for just about any application.  It could also be called “My Last Rifle” (last to be let go, last to be purchased, last gun to be taken from your cold dead hands, whatever).

4)  A vintage battle rifle. These old ladies are desirable for pure nostalgia reasons, and because I think it behooves every rifleman to be aware of and appreciate our rifles’ heritage.  I will leave the actual rifle up to you, because far be it for me to be all judgey when it comes to my favorite class of rifles of all time.  (And if you picked the 98k above, then feel free to drop it in here.)  Here are just a couple of obvious choices that were not covered in the Great War Rifles  post:


M1 Garand

5)  Deep-woods hunting rifle.  I already covered a part of this earlier, in recommending the wonderful Savage 99 (here).

But if you want to keep it to “traditional” lever rifles such as Marlin, Henry or Winchester, then have at it:

6)  Reach Out And Touch (a.k.a. “sniper”) rifle.  This is for when your quarry is further out than a city block, for example.  It doesn’t have  to look all “urban-SWAT-y”, but whatever.  Here I’m going to get specific, because you need several characteristics to make this shot more than a “by guess or by God” proposition, as seen below.  Any one of these would be an excellent choice.

Savage 110 FPS

CZ 557 UCS

Note that each of these rifles has a honking great scope on it — don’t skimp on your glass:  Nightforce, Zeiss, Swarovski, Steiner, Minox etc. should be your standards.

Now as I said, it doesn’t have to be a “sniper” rifle as above.  But whatever it looks like (see below), you need to be absolutely confident that you can make a sideplate-sized grouping at 500 yards minimum with whatever you choose.  Here’s an idea of what I’m talking about:

Remington 700 VTR

Winchester Mod 70 Extreme Weather

Remington 700 AAC-SD

They could also be older rifles (e.g. pre-’64 Winchester Mod 70), but they must be dependably accurate.

With this type of rifle, chambering is very important.  My choice would be 6.5x55mm Swede (simply because I know the cartridge so well), but .308 Win, 6.5mm Creedmoor and .300 Win Mag are also excellent choices.  (Watch out for exotic cartridges like .338 Lapua and such:  they’re expensive and scarce on the ground.)  Lighter bullets will get blown around a lot, so be very discriminating in your selection.

7)  Trunk rifle.  Generally speaking, a trunk or “truck” rifle should be able to be abused and handle extreme temperature changes, and still be able to fire.  It should also be cheap enough that if it’s stolen, you won’t be out serious money.  From my perspective, if it’s got to be cheap, ugly and effective, it’s gotta be Russian.  Like this one:

Mosin-Nagant M44

It’s uglier than Hillary Clinton’s backside and will kick you around worse than a drunken rugby player, but it will do everything you ask for, and then some.
I do know an old boy who has an ancient Marlin .30-30 lever action stashed in his car, but then he has at least a half-dozen other  Marlins in his safe, so that’s to be expected.

8) Varmint rifle.  Think “prairie dogs” or similar, and that’s what I’m talking about.  It’s a variation on the “reach out and touch” principle, but in a much smaller caliber like .223 Rem, .22-250, or even .22 Mag or .17 HMR.  Given that you’re going to be hunkered down, it doesn’t have to be an especially light rifle, but you’ll know best how heavy a rifle you can handle comfortably.  I have a Marlin 882 in .22 Mag for this purpose:

…but you’d probably need something with a little more legs / oomph than .22 Mag, like the Cooper Mod 21 in .22-250 Rem:

9)  “Safari / Dangerous Game” rifle. This is going to be the least-necessary category for most riflemen, unless you have a thing for Kodiak bears, African lions and such.  And in this category, you can’t think that your trusty .30-06 will do the trick — well, not in Africa or Alaska, anyway.  (Doc Russia once shot a warthog with a .30-06, absolutely nailed  it with a heart/lung shot, and he finally caught up with it over half a mile  from where it was shot.  For his Cape buffalo, he went to .375 H&H and it still took more than one shot to kill the thing.)  There are only a few rifles to choose from in this category, but the go-to rifle — the one which when you uncase it, the PH will nod approvingly — is the venerable Brno 602 (nowadays the CZ 550 Safari).  But there’s also the Mauser 98 Magnum, which is offered in .375 H&H, .416 Rigby and .450 Rigby:


So after looking at all that, here are Kim’s Top 10 Rifles, in category order as listed:

“Pantifa Repellent”:

SAR-1 (AK-47) (7.62x39mm)

“All-Purpose Bolt-Action”:

Mauser M12 (6.5x55mm)

“Heritage Rifles” / Mauser 98k type:

Mauser M48 (98K) (8x57mm)

SMLE No1. Mark III (.303 British)

Browning Hi-Wall (.45-70 Govt)

“Deep-Woods Hunter”:

Savage Mod 99 (.243 Win)

“Reach Out and Touch”:

Mauser Mod 41b (6.5x55mm Swede)

“Trunk / Truck Gun”:

SKS (7.62x39mm)


Cooper Arms Mod 21 (.223 Rem)


CZ 550 Safari (.375 H&H Magnum)

You all knew  I was going to be heavy on the “Heritage” rifles, didn’t you?

But let’s say that you disagree with all the categories (and it’s a valid argument), and just want to see the rifles I want to own*.  In that case, Kim’s Top 10 Rifles (uncategorized and unranked) are:

  1. Mauser M12 (6.5x55mm) — do everything
  2. M1 Carbine (.30 Carbine) — because it killed Nazis and Commies
  3. SMLE No1 MkIII (.303 British) — smooth action, kept the Empire going
  4. SAR-1 (7.62x39mm) — Swalwell and Beto, eat your fucking hearts out
  5. CZ 550 Safari (.375 H&H) — just in case I’m ever invited to hunt grizzlies
  6. Browning High Wall (.45-70 Govt) — sentimental reasons
  7. Savage 99 (.243 Win) — ditto
  8. Cooper Arms Mod 21 (.223 Rem) — in case I’m ever invited to a varmint shoot

and the last two (not on the list above):

9. CZ 527 Carbine (7.62x39mm) — my idea of a “cabin” rifle

10. Marlin 1894 CB (.357 Magnum) — companion piece to my .357 revolver

Those are my top 10… this week.  Choices may be subject to change without prior notice.

*I don’t own any  rifles, ever since that canoeing accident on the Brazos lo those many years ago… wait, I do have a bolt-action .22 rifle, but it’s old and rusted, can barely shoot.

Follow-Up Post

Harking back to my paean of praise to the Savage 99 last week, something else about the originating article has stuck with me.

The author suggests that of the ten rifles everyone should own, one should be a custom-made rifle.

Now I’ll be perfectly honest, here:  aside from the cost involved (which should frighten almost anyone not named Phil Thee Richbags let alone a Cheap Bastard like me), every time I’ve thought about what I’m looking for in a custom-made rifle, I list all the components and invariably end up with something made by CZ.

Here’s a partial list of “desirable” features:

  • Mauser-style bolt
  • hogsback stock
  • Schnabel fore-end or  full stock
  • single-set trigger

…which leads to something that looks very much like this:

…which is the CZ 427, basically.  Or in a more manly chambering, this:

…which is nothing more than the CZ 557 Safari (a.k.a. Brno 602).  As for the full-stock dream rifle:

…which is the CZ 550 FS.

See what I mean?

Sure, I could always say I want a “blueprinted Remington 400x action with a 21″bull barrel, Timney trigger and a Fajen walnut stock” etc. but that’s going to cost me thousands, and I seriously doubt that I’d like it more, or for that matter be able to shoot it better than any of the ones shown.

Maybe — maybe — I could call up the folks at Dakota Arms to make me something to the above specs, but why, when CZ makes exactly what I need as a matter of course, and for a very reasonable price withal?

And if none of the above rifles makes your heart go pitter-pat just a little, then we’re on different pages of the Gun Geek Book entirely.

Don’t even get me started on chambering.  Certainly, I would eschew any exotic cartridge such as a .280 Ackley Improved and forget any custom cartridge designed for me exclusively.  When it comes to the damage-causing projectiles, I’d be perfectly happy with light ones like .223 Rem or .243 Win;  medium ones like .270 Win,  6.5x55mm Swede, 7x57mm, or .308 Win;  or for the heavies, .300 Win Mag or .375 H&H.  Any further tinkering would be in the realms of bullet weight and -type only.

In fact, now that I think of it, I already own my all-purpose “dream rifle”:

For those who’ve been on another planet these past couple years, it’s a Mauser M12 in 6.5x55mm Swede, topped with a Minox ZX 5i scope.

I don’t need  a custom rifle;  in terms of what I love about rifles, I already have one.  And if I want one with more “desirable” features, I’ll get a CZ.

New Development

Actually, it isn’t.  I was just teasing.

September 2019 saw 10 percent more gun sales than September 2018, according to two analyses of background check data released this week.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the gun industry’s trade group, estimated there were over one million gun-sale background checks last month, a 10 percent increase over September 2018.

Remind me again when the Commie candidates started blabbing about confiscating our guns?  September 2019, was it?

Keep talking, assholes, and we’ll keep buying.  We’re already the most heavily-armed civilian population on Earth — and if this trend continues, we’re soon going to be more heavily armed than all other nations on Earth, combined.

Remember this?
That was my ambitious goal.  I just never thought it was going to be Democrats  who actually did it.


Gratuitous Gun Pic: Savage Model 99

American Rifleman magazine once put the Savage 99 in its list of “Ten Rifles Everyone Should Own“, and while I disagree somewhat with lots a couple of their choices, the Savage 99 is a slam-dunk listing — with one reservation, which I’ll get to in a while.  But first, let’s look at this rifle and see what all the fuss is about:

I’m going to make my prejudices known up front.  I think the “99” is hands down one of the most beautiful rifles ever made, period.  That swooping stock as it leaves the receiver, the way the lever snuggles into the underside of the stock… ooooh, mommy.  And if you can find one like mine, with the “schnabel” front stock…

…and that’s before we start talking about the brilliant rotary magazine, which, unlike for some lever rifles we could mention (Winchester, Marlin coff coff ), allows one to load this rifle with pointed (and not be limited to flat- or round-nosed-) bullets.

Which brings me to my only quibble with the 99.  While it can handle medium cartridges (.308 Win, .300 Savage, .375 Win etc.), I don’t think the recoil is worth it.  My .308 Win model is, honestly, painful to shoot.  The angle of the thin stock pushes it right into the soft part of the shoulder, and for me anyway, it’s owie  after four or five rounds.  I think the perfect cartridges for the 99 are either the .250 Savage, or if you want something a little cheaper, .243 Win.  Those, I can shoot (and have shot) all day.  (I could have put a soft rubber pad on the rifle but I didn’t because wrong.)  But the Savage is not an all-day shooter, anyway.  That thin, elegant barrel heats up really quickly, and it will start to whip on you after a dozen rounds or so.

What this exquisite gun is, is a hunter.  It’s light, accurate, quick to reload (in my case, about half a second or more quicker than my Mauser 98K), and quite honestly, I can’t think what more one could ask for a deep-woods rifle.

What sets Savage 99 owners apart from the rest is the fact that they love their 99.  In the Rifleman  article linked above, the writer laments:

I once had a lovely mid-50s Model 99 in .308.  It was my favorite Texas whitetail rifle and in a weak moment I traded it for some rifle I can’t even remember.  Lesson:  Never sell or trade a good gun.

I’m one of those losers, and what I should have done was sell my .308 and immediately got a replacement in .243.  But I didn’t because I’m an idiot.  I should have just gone without electricity for a couple months…

Because of all this, Savage 99 rifles are relatively scarce, and quite expensive.  Their owners don’t want to relinquish them, and anyone who’s ever fired one, let alone hunted with it, will know exactly why.