Hickock’s Last Rifle

…in which ol’ Hickock45 goes through a whole bunch of his favorite bolt-action rifles, and decides which would be the last one he’d ever sell.  Here’s the list (in case you don’t have time to watch the video):

  • Krag-Jorgensen 1899 carbine (.30-40 Krag)

  • Winchester Mod 70 (.30-06 Springfield) — a pre-WWII version

  • Mauser Gewehr 1898 (8x57mm)

  • Sako 95 Bavarian carbine (6.5x55mm) — a very “modern” rifle

  • Mauser K98k (8x57mm)

  • Mauser Mod 1896 (6.5x55mm) — “Swede”

  • Springfield ’03 (.30-06 Springfield)

  • Lee-Enfield No 4 Mk1 (.303 Enfield) — (WWII issue)

I have fired every single one of these rifles, some of them scores of times, and I love all of them beyond words.

It was an agonizing choice, and I chuckled like hell in sympathy as he moaned and grumbled during the process.

But given the choice of the rifles he had on hand, I think I’d have chosen exactly the same one he did, for pretty much the same reasons he did.



  1. My experience with bolt action rifles is limited. Of the few I’ve fired, the Krag has – by a mile – the smoothest action. I inherited mine from my dad. He picked it up for $20 circa 1960, and put a ton of meat on the table with it.

  2. I own five of the rifles he is talking about if my CZ 6.5 with international stock counts and I don’t disagree with his selection. However, my 30-06 Winchester model 70, with beautiful wood, would be my choice. That rifle is a total tack driver with a round that will drop anything in North America and it puts a deer down easily with one shot, bang, drop, dead which I like. My old .243 at times could punch through the heart and then the deer wold run about 100 yards and then fall down, a second time with the .243 I hit part of a front leg and had little bits of bullet scattered through the shoulder meat, partly my fault but it was a 220 yard shot and just a bit off to the left of my aiming point.

    Were I have to do some real battle stuff and if I had enough ammo my .303 Enfield would be my choice, I have a 1944 rifle with a vernier rear sight and it has an incredibly smooth action and the .303 round is a nice round for hitting stuff most all of the time around 100 yards with iron sights, even with my old eyes.

    I too like the old bolt action rifles and I think our military messed up rather bad when they went to the 5.56 and large spray and pray magazines when I was in the Army during the transition time from the M14 to the AR-16. I do have an M1-A1 which is the civilian version of the M14 .308 and with iron sights that would be my go to gun if I were ever to have to shoot some bad people and at my age I could not even imagine doing any kind of running and gunning like a real soldier, so there’s that. I just like going out and punching holes in paper and at this time of my life my only hunting has become shooting dove with my 20 ga. which is a delightful activity.

    I find it kind of fun to compare various rifles and cartridges picking apart the pros and cons of each.

    Thank You Kim for posting great stuff.

  3. As a red-blooded American, there is only one answer:

    Lee-Enfield No 4 Mk1.

    American made, of course.

    If I had to, Mauser K98k and Krag-Jorgensen 1899 carbine would be my Nos. 2 & 3, respectively.

  4. what’s the story on Sako and Tikka rifles? Is one a higher end brand of the other?


  5. I concur with the choice or the SAKO 95 “Bavarian” (because of its looks, without even knowing if it would “fit” me), and the M70 – which I do know fits me. The rest would fill out a well-rounded collection.

Comments are closed.