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Which vintage military rifle is best for hunting? See first post...

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  • obijohn
    replied
    Out of the box it's hard to beat an '03 Springfield or M98K Mauser for big game in North America. Of course, an AR-15 is a better coyote gun.

    Today, excellent-condition military surplus rifles are more expensive than their commercial counterparts. A Ruger M77, Winchester M70, or Remington 700 can be purchased for the price of a nice as-issued surplus '03 or '98. Personally I'd go with a new M70 in '06.

    Leave a comment:


  • WA Mtnhunter
    replied
    Beekeeper has a similar rig in .338-06 A-Square and it shoots, too. I keep thinking about another .35 Whelen 24" sporter contour barrel on a Mark V 9-lug chassis to squeeze another 50+ fps out of my handloads. or just buying a Nosler 48 TGR in that configuration which might be cheaper in the long run by the time a good stock is added. Trouble is, mine shoots so well, a new one might not be as good!

    Leave a comment:


  • Amflyer
    replied
    That is the same bbl, WAM. I wish it were a bit lighter contour as the caliber is such a natural for Wapiti, but I can't argue with the groups I've been getting. Using 250 gr Hornady protected points and IMR-4064. If just shoots.

    Leave a comment:


  • 99explorer
    replied
    If a hunter prefers semi-auto rifles, I suppose the M1 Garand could be considered vintage.

    Leave a comment:


  • WA Mtnhunter
    replied
    'Flyer,
    My old hunting buddy has a Savage 110 with the factory "hardwood" stock with a .35 Whelen 24" Shaw-made magnum contour barrel from MidwayUSA that shoots beyond great. It is a heavy bugger, but it sure will shoot! He can't shoot since his stroke and I think he is giving it to a non-hunting grandson in hopes he might take up the sport once his testosterone levels drop back into the normal range.

    Leave a comment:


  • DakotaMan
    replied
    WAM, I can tell you why I did it. Because even for $2000 to $5000 no rifle manufacturer would guarantee me .1 MOA of accuracy. Even .2 is pretty hard to find. The rifles you mentioned are nice looking hunting rifles for around $2000 but they don't shoot like that. There are certainly many $2000+ rifles out there that look nice but very few will deliver the accuracy of a premium Kreiger, Lothar Walther or Bartlien barrel. You need something to attach those barrels too in order to shoot them.

    I already had the M98 receiver and was happy to use it to prove that a $2000 - $3000 receiver is NOT required for .1 MOA accuracy. Not all Mauser receivers are trash either... as a matter of fact, mine will take three times what I can possibly do to it using a .300 Dakota cartridge. That is more than enough for my intended purposes and probably more than 90% of the hunting rifles used in America.

    I can have a premium target barrel put on one and be pretty well assured that few rifles will shoot more accurately and more reliably. They will even outshoot a Cooper making something like a M48 or Forbes look a bit pedestrian. An M98 or O3A3 receiver is as good or better than most if you happen to have one of the millions that are out there.

    My Mauser based rifle cost me less than $1000 and I am elated at its performance. It has never been beaten by an off-the-shelf rifle of any cost including several that cost over $5000. To me, accuracy is my top priority and that is hard to buy off the shelf. For the record, I'm not hung up on Mauser receivers... I would just as happily have built it on a Howa receiver.

    Leave a comment:


  • 99explorer
    replied
    Amflyer - Your story reminds me of the man who owned the original hatchet used by George Washington to chop down the cherry tree.
    Of course, the handle had been replaced.
    And come to think of it, the head had been replaced also:-)

    Leave a comment:


  • WA Mtnhunter
    replied
    My best with the .35 Whelen was 308 measured yards. Boom, DRT. Longest wuz a 'yote at 345 yards - .300 Roy. Boom, yuck.

    Leave a comment:


  • RES1956
    replied
    .35 Whelen heck of a caliber,,,

    Leave a comment:


  • WA Mtnhunter
    replied
    Keep the .35 Whelen and get rid of all the others!

    LOL

    Leave a comment:


  • Amflyer
    replied
    Sort of reminds me of the a 35 Whelen I just put together. It's a Savage, so I got one of the Shaw barrels, and installed that. I replaced the stock and bedded it. New mounts and scope, new sling.

    Shoot fine, weighs too much. It's a hobby, I guess.

    My wife asked me what it was for. I told her that is was sort of like the 338, sort of like the 3000WM, sort of like the 375. Finally, I admitted that it overlapped a lot of the rifles I already had, and that I should probably just sell it.

    "Why don't you?" she asked.

    I told her that I wanted to keep it for sentimental reasons, as it was a gift and my first "real" rifle. She got a funny look on her face, then dropped it. I guess there isn't really too much of the "old rifle" left anymore.

    But I'm still not selling it.

    Leave a comment:


  • 99explorer
    replied
    WAM - You are right, but there are people who enjoy owning one-of-a-kind firearms.

    Leave a comment:


  • WA Mtnhunter
    replied
    Why spend money on a custom anything on a surplus military action of questionable strength when excellent rifles like the Nosler 48 or Forbes rifles can be had for about the same money all told?

    Leave a comment:


  • 99explorer
    replied
    I have a custom sporting rifle built on a WWI vintage 1903 Springfield action. That combination was the classic "light rifle" taken on many African safaris by Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and Stewart Edward White, among others.
    That gets my vote.

    Leave a comment:


  • DakotaMan
    replied
    I'd have to say the Springfield O3A3. The action was very durable, easy to use (e.g. feeding, loading/unloading), balanced and quite accurate with the strong steel, flat bottomed receiver with large integral recoil lug. Designs for the M98 style receivers come from the late 1800's but they are still some of the finest available for hunting applications. They are more likely to operate in mud, sleet, snow and rain than anything else available today. On top of that, they can be nearly as accurate as modern bench rest receivers.

    I used a Sringfield for a while and it was top notch. I ultimately got a deal on an M98 which I would rank as second. In my youth, everyone was customizing these two great rifles for hunting purposes. All you had to do was bend the bolt and they both operated well with telescopic sights.

    I added premium barrels, an adjustable trigger and a well bedded stock. Every barrel I had on that receiver was a shooter but barrels, bullets and optics just kept getting better. That rifle now shoots in the .1s and is capable of 3.5" five shot groups at 1000 yards. After over 40,000 rounds from me (who knows how many it had on it when I got it in 1967) it is still going strong. It went elk/deer hunting again this Fall as one of the best hunting rifles I have ever been exposed to. It goes bang every time you want it to and it hits right where the optics are aimed. It is still up to me to get it in position for a shot and to get the optics on the target but the rifle does its j
    job... so would the O3A3.

    Leave a comment:

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