The Basic Rifle


How Things Have Changed In 75 Years.

Almost exactly 50 years ago, as I write this in 2011, an article by shooting editor Jack O’Connor appeared in Outdoor Life magazine. The topic was on the all-around hunting battery; the basics for big game, small game, upland birds and waterfowl. The battery he initially described was put together by a friend prior to WWII.

The “basic hunting battery” is a hardy gun magazine cliché. My objective here is not so much to add more footprints to a well-worn trail, but to reflect a bit on what has changed and what hasn’t during the span of 75 years.
The man’s pre-war battery included a custom-built .30-06 (action not specified, most likely a Springfield, possibly a Mauser or Enfield); a Winchester 52 Sporter .22 LR; a 12-gauge Remington 31 with 26″ barrel and adjustable choke and a Colt Officer’s Target Model .22 revolver.

Veteran readers are likely thinking (as I do) they could do nicely today with such a battery. In fact, they probably own one or two of the same models. In keeping with the focus of this column we’ll talk about the big-game rifle.

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