Personal Replacement

I’ve spent some time talking about a replacement for the Boomershoot ULD rifle.  Now I’m going to talk about what I might consider as a replacement for my stolen 6.5x55mm CZ 550, and let me share my thoughts.

All my 6.5mm Swede ammo was stolen, along with the rifle.  (I have more — okay, a lot more — Hirtenberger mil-surp stashed away at a sooper-seekrit location, but all my soft- and hollowtip ammo went bye-bye.)  So I’d be starting from scratch, so to speak, and thus I have the option of either exploring a different chambering altogether — either one I don’t have experience with (e.g. 6.5 Creed), or one I know and love (.308 Win) or one of which I have a boatload of ammo stock already (7.62x39mm).  To make sure we all know what I’m talking about, I’ll be looking for a bolt-action scoped rifle which will be effective at 100 yards, and can reach out to 200 yards if necessary.  (Beyond that, I’m not interested unless with a ULD-type rifle.)

Budget would be about $1,500.

Taking the last one first, the only candidate for a 7.62x39mm boltie is the CZ 527 carbine, with a quality medium-range 9x or 10x scope:

The 527 retails for about $700, and a decent illuminated scope (like this one) about the same.

As for the other options, the options are pretty much endless;  but for my “unfamiliar” chambering, I think I would certainly entertain the Tikka T3 Hunter (because wood stock, and because Tikka) in 7mm-08 Rem:

Amazingly, I’ve seen 7mm-08 ammo available in quite a few outlets, and I’ve always had a secret hankering to shoot what is after all an improvement over the venerable 7x57mm (an old favorite).  The Hunter is also available in .308 Win, so that covers both “new” and “old” chamberings.

Another lovely rifle I’m familiar with, and which is likewise available in both .308 Win and 7mm-08 is the Sauer 100 Classic:

The Classic retails for about $950.

At this point, the question might be asked:  “Well Kim, if you’re such a fan of the CZ 550/557 rifles, why not one of those?”  and it’s a fair question, because there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the 557 American:

As everyone knows, I have a long and excellent relationship with CZ rifles, from the old Brno 602 back in Africa to its more modern descendants.  However, I’m not considering it here because for some reason CZ has discontinued the CZ 557 hunting rifles in both 7mm-08 and .308 Win — so if I were to want to purchase either of those two chamberings, I’d be SOL unless I found a decent secondhand one, or some retailer / distributor had an old “Sporter” model in .308 Win.

Of course, someone’s going to complain that I’m only considering furrin guns and not Murkin ones.  Au contraire, mes amis aux fusils :   I would indeed consider (at $850) the Savage 110 Classic, in either 7mm-08 or .308 Win:

…the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight (at around $900):

…as well as the Browning X-Bolt Micro-Midas (at just under $800) in the same calibers:

What really gets up my nose is that in Ye Olden Dayes, (or Days Of Yore, if you prefer), a visit to your local Merchant of Death would find at least four or five of these fine rifles already on the shelves, to be handled, fondled and trigger-tested at will.  Nowadays, of course, you have to just order the damn thing and trust to luck that the rifle will not turn out to be a total dog (like the Savage Axis rifle I tested earlier this year, which arrived in no fit condition to shoot).

But these are the times we live in, I suppose, and the only factor in my favor is that I know my rifles reasonably well, and can make a more-or-less informed judgement thereof.  Pity the first-time buyer…

And you’re probably going to ask me which of the above I’d choose if I had to make a decision right now.  Most likely, the CZ 527 in 7.62x39mm because at least I wouldn’t have to sink another $500+ into building up a starter ammo supply.  Otherwise, I’d go for the Tikka T3 Hunter.

Don’t ask me which caliber — and I’ll be looking at the caliber choices later next week, because while you can get decent .308 Win brass-cased ammo for under or close to $1 per trigger-pull, 7mm-08 runs over $2.  Phew.

Project Rifles

Over the past weekend I had a long and interesting conversation with Longtime Friend and Rifleman Combat Controller (and for the purposes of brevity, I’ll refer to him henceforth simply as “Z”).  Here’s the setup.

Z has two old Lee-Enfield rifles that have been extensively modified to the point where bringing them back to “original” condition is not a proposition.  As he puts it:

“They are both very well done conversions but I also have several (rare even) Enfields in original condition so I am not interested in restoring them. The cost would be higher than buying unaltered ones. “

So please don’t go down that road, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen.

“Here are the donor rifles.  The Mannlicher-stocked one is a 1916 No.1 MK III* has a 16″ barrel, and  has such an early serial number it might have been made in the first weeks of production, since 1916 was the year it was adopted.”

“The other one is a Santa Fe Arms conversion with Williams sights and a new heavy 19.4″ barrel.  The Model 1941 was the apex of the conversions apparently. No idea what year the receiver was made.  I am thinking right now of a .308 conversion that takes the M14 magazine, or a .45-70 conversion.  But I am interested in other ideas for sure.”

Basically, he’s thinking of staying away from anything that smacks of a wildcat chambering, but would be supported by ammo of which he has at least a case — that would be .308 Win, 7.62x54R, .45-70 Gov and so on.  As he’s an engineer and competent amateur gunsmith, rechambering, or reboring barrels — or, for that matter, putting in a new barrel altogether — are not a problem, so the field is pretty much open.  (Remember that the .303 Enfield uses a bullet of .311 diameter, so any 7.62mm cartridges are possible.)  The Enfield action is wonderfully rugged, so it could take pretty much any cartridge e.g. even .458 Win Mag.  Also, the short barrels would militate against using a cartridge which requires a long barrel to get the bullet working (e.g. the 6.5x55mm Swede).

During our (long) conversation, I had a couple of ideas myself, such as converting the 1916 rifle to .357 Rem Mag or even .454 Casull, for instance (as I happen to know that he has supplies of both in, shall we say, adequate quantities). Certainly, a chamber which headspaces off a rimmed cartridge makes life simpler (.45-70 Gov, anyone?), but a rimless cartridge is definitely not off the table.

So Z is also interested in any and all suggestions from my Readers (because he knows that we are a bunch of unabashed gun nuts).

So there it is:  let’s hear it from you folks, either in Comments or via email (which I’ll forward on to him).  What shape would your conversion of the above carbines take?

Just to add to the fun:  there is a real possibility that one of the above carbines would be raffled off on this here website once the conversion has been accomplished and tested as fit for purpose.  (Just for the record, the 1916 carbine set my trigger finger to itching, something terrible.)

Quote Of The Day

From Hizzoner NYGov Cuomo [okay, quit that spitting] :

“The streets of New York are not the OK Corral, and the N.R.A.’s dream of a society where everyone is terrified of each other and armed to the teeth is abhorrent to our values.”

Just a point of clarification, Herr Gauleiter :  at the O.K. Corral, everyone was carrying a gun — and lest you forget, the outlaws lost.

Compare that to the mean streets of NYFC nowadays, where only the bad guys have guns… and the law-abiding citizens suffer.  Is that part of those “values”, too?  If so, I want nothing to do with them, or you.

Replacement Options – .308 Win

(For those who missed the earlier post on this topic, go here first — and read the comments too.)

The general consensus, both in Comments and by email, suggests that 1.) I should wait for a CZ 557 Varmint to become available, and 2.) if not that, stick to the .308 Win chambering but in a rifle of similar quality to the 557.  I have no problem with any of that.  I’ll talk to my Merchant of Death and see if they’ll even take an order for the 557 (remember, that’s where I lucked upon its predecessor);  and if so, I’ll go ahead and order one.

Assuming that no FFL might be willing to commit to that action, or that the wait could be close to a year (!!!), let’s take a look at some of the options that are available right now (with all the usual caveats).  Before I go on, I should point out that none of the guns that follow have wood stocks;  the CZ 557 seems to be an outlier in this regard.  Here are some interesting .308 Win choices, culled from various online outlets and ranked from low- to high price (rounded).

Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range (Cabela’s, $1,100)
I was frankly amazed to find this rifle as cheap as listed (Browning is not known for inexpensive rifles, and Cabela’s ditto for its low prices).  I like it, Longtime Friend and Rifleman Combat Controller swears by his, and Browning is seldom a bad choice, whether handguns, rifles or shotguns.  Here’s the Ewww Choob video.)

Howa 1500 HS Precision (Bud’s, $1,100)
I love Howa (a.k.a “the Japanese Sako”) rifles, have shot several and been impressed with all of them).  I’m pretty sure that this would be a MOA/all day gun.  My only reservation is that this is more a hunting rifle than a bench rifle — or perhaps that’s a feature, not a bug…

T/C Performance Center LRR (SWFA, $1,200)
This is one of those “chassis” stocks (which I’m not especially partial to, but they do work for bench-type shooting).  The gun is actually a collaboration between the “performance centers” of T/C and S&W, so it’s going to be a good ‘un (I think — here’s a Ewww Choob test).

Christensen Arms Mesa Black (Sportsman’s Warehouse, $1,300)

I’m not that familiar with Christensen rifles, but a lot of the cool kids like ’em, especially their triggers.  Here’s the Ewww Choob review.

Those four rifles, assuming a scope costing around $750, will push us right up to the $2,000 budget, but I don’t think that any one of them would be a bad buy, at all.

If I get a rush of blood to the wallet — it’s been known to happen — here are a couple more (pricier) options:

Savage 110 Precision (Cabela’s, $1,400)
My earlier problems with the cheaper Savage Axis notwithstanding, I would have no problem picking this rifle because it’s a different breed from Savage’s budget lines.  Like the T/C LRR, it has a chassis stock.  Here’s Ewww Choob.

Finally, there’s the Sako S20 Precision (Sportsman’s Warehouse, $1,700)
Its price would put me waaaayyy over budget, but hey… it’s a Sako.  Here’s a long Ewww Choob review.

So there you have it.  If no vendor/FFL is prepared to commit to a CZ 557 Varmint order, these are the options available today (unless one of them sells out over the next couple hours grrr grrrr grrrrrr….).

Your thoughts are welcome.

Afterthought:   although not set in stone, I’ll most likely be looking at the Meopta 3-18×50 Optika6 FFP:

That is, unless I end up with one of the “cheaper” guns above, in which case I’ll step up a little, say to the Trijicon AccuPoint 5-20×50:

But it’s early days, yet.

Replacement Options

After the Great Gun Robbery, and following a very pleasant discussion with our insurance claims person, it appears that I will be getting full (i.e. replacement value) payout for both the (raffled) Boomershoot CZ 557 Varmint .308 Win rig (including scope) and my own CZ 550 (ditto), but this discussion will ignore the latter, as it’s my personal gun (whereas the Boomershoot gun belongs to someone else, so to speak).  The payout will come soon after the insurance company receives the police report, so figure on a week or two from today’s date.

Replacement cost for the Boomershoot rig looks like about $1,000 for the rifle, $725 for the Vortex scope and $200 for the hard case (which I added, for shipping to the eventual lucky winner).  If we can all agree to leaving off the case — shipping it in the manufacturer’s box — then we’re looking at about $2,000 for the rig in total.

Here’s where the discussion begins, and I’m going to need the input of the ticket holders here.

I am perfectly willing to get a “straight” replacement rig — CZ557 Varmint .308 Win + Vortex Viper 6-24x50mm, and if the general consensus seems to favor that package I will do so. Here’s what it looks like:

Remember, it’s a monster and I was getting sub-MOA groups with relative ease.  The only problem — and please correct me if I’m wrong — is that the damn 557 is out of stock pretty much everywhere I look, which means I’d have to order the thing and wait, and wait, and wait.  (The scope is not a problem — it’s available pretty much everywhere.)

If we (and I mean we) decide to get a substitute rifle of similar appearance, ability and cost but immediately available, a couple of options present themselves.

Here’s the first:  do we stick with .308 Win, or go for a different chambering, e.g. 6.5 Creedmoor ?  Here’s one such gun, from Europtic:

(They also have the S20 in .308 Win and some others, for a couple hundred bucks more, btw.)

I don’t know about y’all, but that Sako turns my crank, big time.  (They also have the “Hunter” version, which has a thumbhole stock, in several calibers, for about the same price):

Nothing wrong with that, either.  Add a similarly-priced scope to the Vortex, and we’d be right at the $2,000 budget.

Over at Sportsman’s Warehouse, there’s the same gun I got last year (Ruger Hawkeye Long Distance), also in 6.5 Creed:

…and I think my local Merchant Of Death has it in stock for about the same price.  I have to tell you, I have no problem whatsoever with the Hawkeye — I loved shooting last year’s gun, even in the magnumthumpenblitzenboomer [sic]  .300 Win Mag, and it was as accurate as all hell.

Anyway, that’s the principle of the thing established.  The question remains:  straight copy of the original offer (and wait until the gun gets back into stock), or something slightly different “immediately”?

People who already have stocks of .308 Win ammo, for example, might have a different opinion from whose with 6.5 Creed on hand — or people who might just want to try this new wonder-boolet.   Or, the prospect of that excellent Sako S20 Precision might just be too much to refuse….

I will accept all thoughts, queries and suggestions, as always.  If there’s an overwhelming response for one particular option, then we’ll go with that.  If there’s no real consensus, then I’ll make the decision.  Fair enough?

Quote Of The Day

From Ace:

“There is no end to the wokification of hobbies. Cooking, knitting, Magic the Gathering, comic books, RPGs; movies and sports — the Nazi infiltrators take over each and every hobby and group to make sure you are never free of constant pro-Nazi propaganda messaging.”

Curiously, our shooting hobby seems to be more or less immune to this bullshit.

Although I expect that any day now, the NRA will issue a statement that they’ll be adding board members from the ranks of the Brady Foundation and Violence Policy Institute in the interests of “fairness” and because “all points of view are important”.

You heard it here first.