Monday, June 30, 2003

More on the '06

James Rummel has an excellent discussion of the 30-06's versatility over on Hell in a Handbasket . He is absolutely correct that the '06 is the best choice for if you only have one hunting rifle. The load selection is unmatched so even a non-reloader can start with low recoil rounds for practice. And, as Col. Townsend Whelen said, the 30-06 is never a mistake for any North American game. Those were some of the reasons why i bought my 30-06 back in the days of disco and Jimmy Carter.

The "problem" is that, for many of us, the gun safe refuses to stay empty. Even at a modest rate of acquisition-- say a new rifle every 5-10 years- we end up with a selection of calibers. Often, one of new rifles is better suited to the task at hand than the 30-06. It's more pleasant to shoot varmints with a 243 than an '06. A Model Seven in 7mm-08 is a more compact, lighter rifle that is a better adapted to rough country hunts where more hiking and crawlingtakes place than long-range shooting.

I am not immune to the attractive spartan simplicity of using one gun for everything. I see Col Jeff Cooper's point that after buying a 1911 in 45 ACP and a bolt in 30-06 everything else is just shopping. Yet, even the Colonel didn't stop there since he also worked on the Scout Rifle concept in .308, the Steyr rifle in .376, and the Bren Ten autoloader.

A friend of a friend went the consolidation route with pistols. Except for a .22, he got rid of everything that wasn't a.45 ACP. He has several different models, but he only has to worry about one caliber of ammo and components. He likes the lack of clutter and simplified inventory management.

While i see his point, i don't want to follow it. As much as i like the .357/38 class revolvers for self-defense, i see no need to give up my Ruger Blackhawk in 45 Colt. Just because i like DA revolvers best, i still want a single action to plink with sometimes. And while the .357 magnum is the best all round choice, the 41 mag still has advantages for hunting.

Moreover, i don't think i am done buying guns. Another 1911 would be nice, but not in 45 ACP. I want one in 38 Super, with ivory grips. Makes no pragmatic sense, but it would be neat to own one and shoot it sometimes.

I feel the same way about the 10mm. But if i but one, it will be based on a CZ-75 action like it was originally intended.

Browning Hi-Power- check. Don't have one; often think i want one, though i don't need one.

The list of wanted items can get to be very long.

I guess there are three facets to gun ownership: the pragmatist, the collector, and the tinkerer. Anyone who was ruthlessly pragmatic would pick a weapon, choose a suitable load, and devote all available time to practice and efficiently reloading that one load (if they reloaded at all.)

But shooting, for most of us, is a hobby, so why should pragmatism be the sole standard? Collecting, tinkering, trying different guns and loads, they have at least some value.