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.


All-American Goodness

Reader Brad_In_IL suggests a theme for a shooty weekend:

“Seeing that this is Memorial Day Weekend, I’ve decided to only shoot pieces which are uniquely and distinctly American. Therefore…

“Saturday will be my Browning / Stoner 2023 Memorial Day Commemorative Shoot, and I’ll be shooting the 1911 and the AR-15… and maybe some .22 pistol (also Browning). No 9mm this weekend… Georg Luger (Austrian) will have to take a rest.” 

An excellent thought:  bringing a little background to the typical “Oh what should I shoot today?”  question that plagues us all.  And going All-American on both gun and cartridge makes it a little more fun, especially as it relegates the 9mm Europellet and the 7.62x39mm Commie to the “Later, Furrin Bastards!” category.

To make life even more interesting, let’s set an arbitrary criterion of “guns and cartridges from before 1900“.

Not so easy now, is it?

Here’s what I would take:

Winchester 1894 (.30-30/.30 WCF or .45 Colt/.45 Long Colt or .44-40)
…and of course Marlin’s and Henry’s versions would be welcome, too.

Browning 1885 High Wall (.45-70 Gov)

Colt Single Action Army (.45 Colt/.45 Long Colt or .44-40)

And of course, there’s some plinking to be done:

Marlin Model 39A (.22 LR)

Winchester Mod 61 (and clones)
(clones allowed because Winchester stopped making them because they’re idiots)

Now, I’m not saying I actually own any of the above (because of that Tragic Canoeing Accident on the Brazos a few years ago), but you have to admit, there’s a whole lotta shooty Murkin goodness on that list.

Your suggestions for the festivities in Comments, as always.

Entry Level

So you’re a young-ish man or woman, and you want to get into the wonderful world of Hunting / Target Shooting, Rifle Division.  But when you start looking at what’s out there, you’re bowled over by the prices.

You might saunter over to Collectors, and snatch up this one, for only $600:

Here’s the checklist, all answered in the positive:

  • well-known brand
  • good, adjustable trigger
  • bull barrel which won’t start to wilt after only three rounds fired
  • popular cartridge, relatively cheap for practice, not horrible recoil
  • includes an acceptable Nikon scope (for hunting;  for greater distances, buy something more powerful)
  • lightweight stock


  • it’s consignment, which means Collectors hasn’t tested it for function (as they do when they buy guns from individuals)
  • the bolt may be stiff and clunky to operate (common fault of Savage rifles that haven’t been worked on

Honestly, it’s a dandy for an entry-level shooter.  Me, I think the positives outweigh the potential negatives, bigly.

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Walther P38 (9mm Para)

Considering that the P38 / P.38 design was groundbreaking at its launch, was used during WWII by the German military and for many years post-war by several police forces around the world, I guess you can say that Walther done good.

The silly Europellet chambering aside (see rants passim), the P38 is a brilliant pistol:  reliable to a fault, safe to carry and use (except for the individual on the naughty side of the muzzle), and considering its non-adjustable sights, way more accurate than almost anyone who shoots it.  I’ve fired many P38s, made either by Walther, Mauser or Spree — they’re identical — and almost uniquely among pistols, I never once experienced any kind of stoppage or failure.  The only thing I can fault about it is that silly heel-located mag release (common among many pistols of the time), and the quality of workmanship makes this a gun I would happily carry today, without a single reservation.

The WWII-era P38s are too expensive nowadays, of course, even though close to two million were made — for some reason, people prefer the steel frame over the replacement P1’s aluminum frame, but I can honestly say I can’t tell the difference between the two — and certainly not in operation.


Solving A Problem

Last week saw a whole bunch of Gratuitous Gun Pics, so why not continue with another one or two this week, say I?

Here’s one which provides a solution to the notoriously-difficult question of mounting a scope onto a Mosin-Nagant 91/30:

Now I must admit that mounting a Scout Rifle-type scope onto the 28″-barreled (and sporterized) 91/30 looks somewhat goofy — without the full-length front stock, the barrel does look a little overlong — but it is nevertheless a solution to the scope problem.  And you could do a whole lot worse than spending less than $600 on a proven rifle which includes a scope, and is chambered in the manly 7.62x54Rmm.

I still think, though, that the scope mount would look better on one of the shorter M44 carbine models.