In this piece, the old saw gets recycled:
As the old saying goes, you should beware the man with only one gun because he knows how to use it.
A person who shoots hundreds or thousands of rounds through a particular rifle and spends countless hours carrying that same rifle afield becomes intimately familiar with it. That sort of familiarity quite often means that the rifle almost becomes an extension of the hunter, which usually translates into good results afield.
Frankly, I think that’s bollocks. While it’s possible that the above may be true, the reality is that a “one gun” guy probably doesn’t practice all that often with it, often relying on ingrained habits to shoot the thing, and if he does practice at all, it’s a few rounds popped off a day or two before the hunting season opens. I knew a guy in Pennsylvania who boasted to me that he could make a box of .30-30 last for three years.
This is not a committed shooter. I know that among my Readers, almost all of y’all (except the Brits) own a lot more than a single rifle, shoot a lot of them all year round, and are constantly tinkering with loads, bullet weights and powders — or if not reloaders (like me), at least different brands of ammo — and even scopes, always trying to wring the best possible performance out of their guns. These are committed shooters, and likely to be far better shots than the guy with one gun.
The only time I’d agree with the old saying is in the area of self-defense pistols, where complete familiarity with your weapon is an absolute necessity. (If I were restricted to only one centerfire pistol, I’d be fine with my 1911, but I still wouldn’t be happy about it.)
As for the article’s premise (“If you could take only one rifle out into the field, which one would it be?” ), well, it all depends on the “field”, doesn’t it? Hunting bighorns in the northern Rockies is different from whitetails in Pennsylvania and Cape buffalo in Africa.
The problem with a “general purpose” rifle — e.g. Jeff Cooper’s Scout Rifle concept — is that it may do a lot of things reasonably well, but not much very well. It’s a concept that all my Longtime Readers encounter in the hypothetical situation of Crossing America which has been a feature of my writing many times over the years. (By the way, I re-read the post linked here, and I wouldn’t change anything.)
And while I picked my beloved 1896 Swedish Mauser for that specific occasion, and I know it about as well as any gun I’ve ever owned, I would still not be satisfied with it, and only it, in Ye Olde Gunne Sayfe.