Tag Archives: Model 70

Colonel William S. Brophy & Sniping In The Korean War

As the Korea war rages in 1952 and A captain in IX Corps Ordnance and veteran of infantry combat during WW2  in the Pacific , William S. Brophy  recognized a total lack of US Army sniping equipment and marksmanship compared to its current and future needs.  In an effort to reverse some of this and educated units in the field he visited several units to discus with and educate the on sniping equipment and tactics.

At this time the Army had  the scoped m1 rifle as their standard sniping rifle.   This system limited the sniper to a range not much greater than 600 yards.     To demonstrate what a skilled marksman with proper equipment could do and to hopefully get the Army to pay serious attention, Captain Brophy  bought at his own cost a Winchester Model 70  “Bull gun” in ,30-06  and Unertl 10X target optic. The Winchester rifle listed as the “bull gun” was a target gun with heavy target stock and 28 inch heavy barrel.

Brophy  using his rifle and skill developed during a career in competitive shooting was able to register several Chinese communist kills.  The reaction to his ability was quick and people began to take note.   However it was still the usual position of the Army that the weapon was not durable enough for combat use.  Brophy and  the selected men who used the rifle to demonstrate  what it could do and endure did finally get the Army to seriously consider the Model 70 as a sniping arm.

Ultimately it was decided that it was not desirable to inject a special rifle into the supply system with a requirement for match ammo for it.    Oddly enough over the coming years in Vietnam match ammo which was earlier labeled too hard to supply to troops in the field was readily available to snipers so much so that not one ever said that concern for having enough match ammo never crossed their minds.

The Model 70 was not the only effort then Captain Brophy put forth to improve US Army sniper ability.  While out sniping with the Model 70, targets appeared beyond the range of even the match .30cal sniper rifle .    To remedy this Brophy had the barrel of a Browning .50cal aircraft model machine gun mounted to a Soviet PTRD 14.5mm antitank rifle.   A butt pad and bipod were also added as well as a 20x Unertl optic.

With this set up, Brophy and his team was able to make several Communists into good communists.  Hits with the 50 were recorded at ranges from 1,000 yards to 2,000.

This rifle went on to inspire several other of its types with different  barrel and scope combinations.   This attempt at a longer range sniping arm no doubt was one of the predecessors to today’s Barrett M82.  Below Brophy demonstrates one of the 50 cal rifles in Korea to higher officers.

The concept of the 50 caliber sniping rifle was further developed by the AMTU and Col. F.B Conway.  Later attempts used optics such as the ART scope system and even a Boys Antitank rifle.

And of course one of the more more famous early 50 cal sniping systems.

In these early attempts , accuracy of the ammo was the main problem holding back  the weapons.  Standard service ammo was  the only thing available for use  at the time.

Colonel Brophy passed away in 1991 and left behind an amazing record of accomplishment as a shooter, an  Army officer who served in WW2, Korea and Vietnam and writer of many definitive books on US small arms.

A BOY AND HIS RIFLE II

After college I worked for a man who really became a mentor to me when it came to precision shooting, I had been shooting for all of my life  of course, but he was the person who is responsible for most of my knowledge of precision hand loading for extreme accuracy, Bench-rest shooting, proper cleaning methods for match barrels,  a taste for vintage target /varmint rifles and optics and most of my knowledge about firearms history from  the early 1900s up until about  1990.  He had been a national bench rest shooter,  he tested prototype rifles from Ruger, was one of the testers of the rim fire ammo used by the US Olympic teams in the 70s and earl 80s and even had a few wild cats rounds to his name among  many other things.

Above is my mentor and friend shooting a heavy varmint Model 70 Winchester in .243WCF using a 12x Unertl sometimes in the  mid 80s.

I got to hear a lot of stories from his past over those years and one of my favorites is this story from his boyhood.

He grew up and lived all of his life , not including a few years in the Army with 18 months of that in Vietnam, in a small town in WV named Stollings, which is just a couple of miles from Logan, WV.  From his office window I could see the famous Blair mountain.  If you don’t know, Blair mountain is the site of the Battle of Blair Mountain.    If you don’t know about that, here is  some text about it I ganked from  Wikipedia.    My friend was also paid by the state to help identify fired cases and gun parts found on the mountain while searching it for historic items some years ago.

“The Battle of Blair Mountain was the largest labor uprising in United States history and one of the largest, best-organized, and most well-armed uprisings since the American Civil War.[3] For five days from late August to early September 1921, in Logan County, West Virginia, some 10,000 armed coal miners confronted 3,000 lawmen and strikebreakers, called the Logan Defenders,[4] who were backed by coal mine operators during the miners’ attempt to unionize the southwestern West Virginia coalfields. The battle ended after approximately one million rounds were fired[5] and the United States Army intervened by presidential order”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Blair_Mountain

As a side note. Blair mountain is now history itself.  The mountain is gone since it has  been stripped mined.  Like most things in Southern WV, Logan WV in particular ,  if the local politicians  can get a kick back from it, then history be dakjed

It was a rough area in those days and was through his childhood and honestly it still is.   I live and have lived in KY my entire life, but o very close to the border of WV.  The Matewan massacre , which you may have heard about or seen the movie, happened only about 20 minutes drive from me, and the entire area was the stomping grounds of the Hatfield and McCoy feud.

I said all that so you can see how  wild the area was for some one born in  1948 and had to grow up there.   Many places in the outskirts of the town he grew up in was full of less than honest businesses.  One of those places of less than high moral standards  helped him earn money for ammo.

In Stollings at the time he was about 10 years old there was a building that was like a small hotel.  Two or three stories and multiple rooms.  The entire building was more or less a brothel.  One part was used  as a small bar.       The  occupants of the building would set any garbage out back  before some one would come collect it for disposal and this of course drew in rats from all over.    It didn’t take long for a population of rats to grow out of control.

My friend some how worked out a deal with the owner of the brothel for his services.   So, every summer day my friend would walk down to the area and wade across the little creek and  set  up on the opposite bank.  He would lay there with his Winchester model 1904 and shoot rats all day.     At the end of the day he would cross back across the creek and collect up all the dead rats. The owner would give him 25 cents for every 2 rats he killed.    He would use that money to buy  his 22 ammo and soda and snacks all summer long.

As you can imagine, he had a lot of fun with that rifle and made a lot of good memories with it.    I asked about it after hearing this story and sad to say, he told me about it’s fate.  When he went off to Vietnam,  his younger brother got it some how.  His idiot brother decided he wanted to mount a scope to it and in typical Hilljack fashion,found some kind of mount meant for side mounting to a receiver. His solution was to take nails and nail the side mount to the stock on the left side of the gun below the action.   This did exactly what you would expect it would do and split the wood and ruined the gun.   Having ruined it, the brother just tossed it into the garbage.

I have  have been on the lookout for the same model on an off over the years since he told me this story.  If I ever find one in good shape at a reasonable price I intend to buy it for him.

Something to Remember Him By. Hognose, AKA Weaponsman, AKA Kevin’s weapon collection being sold

When I first read this, it was like the same gut punch when I learned Kevin had passed.  I am glad his brother and family have given his friends and fans a chance to have something to remember Kevin by, Something tangible,   But. Seeing that large collection of guns,Kevin’s collection of CZ weapons, accumulated over years in support of  his effort of writing a book on the subject of CZ weapons, now being sold off sort of finalizes it for me I guess.  He is gone, Now his guns, being sold off to the four corners, scattered about.  All the stories and memories that went with them lost.   The feeling is certainly something Roy Batty would be familiar with. 

If you knew Kevin or you are a  fan and admire the man, now is a chance to give some of his guns a good home in honor of the man.  I bought a small rimfired rifle from the estate earlier and it will hold a place of honor in my collection until I am gone I’m sure.   Below is the post with all weapons being sold listed and where to buy them.  Now I think i will go mourn Kevin a little more this evening.

It won’t shock you to know that Kevin had a lot of firearms, firearm accessories, knives, bayonets, swords and other military memorabilia.

As we have been cleaning out his house to get it ready for sale this fall, we are selling most of his collection on consignment through Original Bobs Shooting Range & Gun Shops in Seabrook, NH and Salisbury, MA (http://originalbobsshootingrange.com).

There are also two Class 3 firearms that will be made available for sale by MAC Tactical (http://www.mactactical.com/).

This means you have a chance to get something to remember him by. All of these items are for sale NOW or in the near future.  Some of them may be gone already.  Please contact Original Bob’s or MAC Tactical directly if you are interested.  Remember, MAC only has the Class 3’s – everything else is at Original Bob’s.

At the bottom of this post will be a list of his firearms. Original Bob’s has a lot of other items and knows what comes from “The Collection of Kevin O’Brien.”

Now before you ask, yes, I am keeping some of his stuff. But there was never a possibility that I would keep any weapons.  I’m not a “weapons man” myself and I would prefer to see his weapons and related items in the hands of people who would enjoy them.

Some of the other most personal items have been distributed to his closest friends. Just the other day the helicopter chair (remember that?) left Kevin’s house for its new home in the Lakes Region of NH.  It now belongs to a good friend who served with Kev.  Other stuff that honestly holds no sentimental value is going to be sold at an “estate sale” on Saturday, September 9th.  Most of his books are going to team members and friends.

I’m keeping all the airplane parts, all the tools, all the “active” computers, a few oddities (did you know Kevin had a recumbent bike?) and a few practical items. I am keeping his diplomas and other military records, his dress uniform, beret and dog tags.

But that leaves a lot for Weaponsman readers, if you want. And somebody else will buy and enjoy whatever is left!

Here is a list of firearms:

  • Pistol – Astra (Spanish) Model 100 Special pistol w/ Asian markings SN 8862
  • Pistol – Astra Unceta Pocket Pistol SN 294895
  • Pistol – Bauer .25 ACP SN 13141
  • Pistol – Belgian New Model type 1 Melior Pistol w/ holster SN 4028
  • Pistol – Bryco Arms Model J25 pistol w/box SN 536456
  • Pistol – Colt (CMC) M1910/72 .380 Model SN A3166
  • Pistol – Czech “Z” r6.35 mm SN 249700
  • Pistol – Czech (little Tom) .32 Pistol SN 30941
  • Pistol – Czech (Little Tom) 6.25mm (.25 ACP) SN 26854
  • Pistol – Czech 45 Nickel plated & engraved SN 89325
  • Pistol – Czech 75 compact, P-01 cal 9mm Luger SN B798603
  • Pistol – Czech CZ 45m proofed 1946 SN 30200
  • Pistol – Czech Jaga Model Pistol w/holster SN 5550
  • Pistol – Czech Model 1922 9mm SN 16947
  • Pistol – Czech Model 1936 w/holster SN 18615
  • Pistol – Czech Model 27 SN 568818
  • Pistol – Czech Model 50 7.62 cal w/mag SN 678961
  • Pistol – Czech Model 50/70 w/2 mags SN C59705
  • Pistol – Czech Model 52 pistol with holster SN D13662
  • Pistol – Czech Model 70 VZOR .32 ACP SN 652090
  • Pistol – Czech Model 83 SN 2846
  • Pistol – Czech Praga Model 1921 SN 10024
  • Pistol – Czech Type 52 pistol VOZ 77 78 SN EE13370
  • Pistol – Czech vz. 22 w/holster SN 53789
  • Pistol – DWM Luger SN 7433
  • Pistol – DWM Luger (Artillery), Reblued SN 2778
  • Pistol – East German Makarov 9X18 SN BV 1693
  • Pistol – FN Unique FN 1900 Copy Melior Pistol SN 20322
  • Pistol – French SACM 1935A w/mag SN 1135A
  • Pistol – Glock 17 G3 w/ paddle holster SN RXH737
  • Pistol – Italian Rigami Pistol SN 51108
  • Pistol – Nagant M1899? Revolver cut off SN 10195
  • Pistol – Soviet Tokarev Pistol w/ holster SN 3540
  • Pistol – Unknown Afghan double-barrel percussion pistol SN (none)
  • Pistol – USA Intratec Protec-25 ACP pistol with box SN 022114
  • Pistol – Walther Model 8 6.35 pistol SN 715820
  • Pistol – Walther PPK beater SN 864119
  • Pistol – Walther PPK RZM SN 843183
  • Pistol – Double-barrell pin fired SN 5435
  • Rifle – Barnett London V.R. 1869 SN (None)
  • Rifle – Chinese Type 56 carbine (SKS) SN 11363875
  • Rifle – Chinese Type 56 carbine (SKS) SN 14839
  • Rifle – Clayco Sports AKS-47 semi-auto SN 100574
  • Rifle – Czech 7.92 MM Model vz. 24 SN 2431N2(?)
  • Rifle – Czech Brno 7.92mm Moilet vz. 24 SN 3026M3(?)
  • Rifle – Czech Vz. 52/57 Rifle 7.62mm SN G 65221
  • Rifle – FN (A Coruna) Model 1949 SN FR8-05014
  • Rifle – FN (Egyptian contract) Model 1949 .8mm Mauser SN 11507
  • Rifle – FN (Venezuelan) M1949 Venezuelan SN 4955
  • Rifle – H&H Enterprises AR-10 SN 006470
  • Rifle – Johnson Automatics M1941 SN B0542
  • Rifle – Mosin-Nagant M44 Carbine 1955 SN 124738
  • Rifle – Mosin-Nagant Russian 1943 SN 2942746
  • Rifle – NDS (NoDak Spud) Model 601 SN C00794
  • Rifle – NDS (NoDak Spud) NDS-16A1 SN A02615
  • Rifle – NDS (NoDak Spud) NDS-16A1 SN A01669
  • Rifle – NDS (NoDak Spud) NDS-16A1 SN A01512
  • Rifle – Springfield M1 Garand SN 5855309
  • Rifle – Springfiled Model 15 .22 cal SN (None)
  • Rifle – Tokarev SVT-40 SN 3L5170
  • Rifle – Tower V.R. 18?6 (1836?) SN (None)
  • Rifle – Unknown Afghan percussion Enfield carbine SN
  • Rifle – US Carbine Iver Johnson 22 LR SN 1342
  • Rifle – Valmet M62S SN 131700
  • Rifle – Winchester 190 .22 SN B1157752
  • Rifle – ZB Brno Bolt action Rifle SN 2845
  • Rifle – ZB Brno Model 24?? Mauser SN C730 & 434
  • Rifle – HK HK416 conversion setup SN 88-101046
  • Class 3 – Colt M4 Carbine SN LEO98039
  • Class 3 – Kahr Auto Ordnance M1A1 Thompson SBR SN KC6544

 

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF)

JOINING THE 1 MILE CLUB

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It all started with an off hand comment.  A friend and I had been shooting to 1,000 yards and a little beyond for years and while talking to a 3rd friend one day and telling him about the D&L sports ITRC and a recent article in The Accurate Rifle magazine about it, I mentioned a section at the end about participants of the match having a choice to “join the One Mile Club”.   The best I can recall, the idea was the shooter got as many rounds as he wanted at the target 1 mile away but, after having made the hit, had to zero back down and make a 100 yard  shot.  The person got only one chance at the 100 yard target after scoring the 1 mile hit or else they would not be counted as one of the OMC according to whatever rules  they had decided on locally.   This had stirred up some talk among the us local long range shooters and got the gears turning.

From there, the friend I was talking to about decided he would build a gun just for the attempt and at a local gun show, a Model 70 long action with trigger was purchased as a base  to build the intended  1 mile rifle. Being a machinist, my friend had intended to barrel the action in some appropriate cartridge yet to be determined and build the action into a chassis  system.  The gun would be huge. heavy and not good for much else.

A few weeks of talk on this line among a few other friends really spread the fire and we started to get serious. We started to look at our options for ways to pull it off.  My friend continued to cling to the idea of building a gun just for the shot, but this had very little appeal to me.  Then as now, I  only wanted to make the hit with something a man could carry by himself and was portable and practical. Another friend who owns the local gun shop got involved and we all determined to decide on appropriate cartridges for the undertaking,  The idea was to use something standard. No wildcats and no full custom rifles.  That was to be out starting attempt. To work with something factory made and if it was not adequate to the task we would move on from there.  Without an unlimited budget we thought it best to use something within our means, and if we found it too lacking or impractical we would then have to decide how much money we were willing to spend to make it happen. Continue reading JOINING THE 1 MILE CLUB

Point Of Impact. ( Books for the gun enthusiast )

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“I was at my best with a rifle in my hand. I always loved rifles. So I decided to live in such a way that the rifle would be all I needed. And I succeeded.”  Bob Lee Swagger.

Above is just one of many great lines from Stephen Hunter’s masterpiece “Point of Impact”, the first book about his iconic hero Bob Lee Swagger.   This is the book the dreadful movie with Marky Mark was based on.  And I use the term loosely.

Bob Lee is a disabled and retired former USMC  scout sniper and Vietnam war vet. Bob sustained a career ending wound in the hip  just before his partner was killed on a sniper mission in the later years of the war.  Bob is clearly a fictionalized version of the Ultimate Sniper Carlos Hathcock in the universe of the book.  Bob is famous after the war and is well known in the gun culture, though he is bitter and seeks no lime lights.  Because of his exploits and skill during the war, he was nicked names “Bob the Nailer”.  While he is obviously close to the real life master sniper, Carlos himself is represented in the book as the character Carl Hitchcock as a nod to the real life sniper.

As the story opens, Bob is shown to be a recluse who has had a tough life after he is medically retired from the Marines. He collects his pension and lives alone in his trailer in the mountains with no one but his dog. He spends his days shooting and reloading and avoiding people.  Ever day he shoots his rifles, handloads. workds on his guns and reads gun books.  He had trouble with booze in the years before the start of the story and had a wife that left him before he went into his voluntary solitude.

Much like the movie, he is found and set up in a plot that looks like he tries to kill the US POTUS. He goes on the run eventually meeting up with his dead spotters wife and falling in love with her and teaming up with a FBI agent who helps him through the rest of the story.

As tiresome as it is to hear it again, the book is far better than that abortion of a movie. Bob is not arrogant and cocky. He is a Vietnam vet  and much more clever than his movie counterpart.

One thing we learn in the book is that Bob is living a life of quite desperation, just waiting to die.  When he is set up and sets out on the run to clear himself, we learn that he is once again alive for the first time since the war. He is fully engage again now that he has a war to fight.     And the the climax and gun fights of the book do not disappoint.

Unlike the vast majority of writers, Stephen Hunter is a gun guy. The book is full of gun talk and details and is accurate to weapons type and ballistics.  Indeed one rifle  pretty much becomes a character in the book.  Knows as the “tenth black king” a Pre 64 Model 70 winchester target rifle 1 of 100 that is The number 1 of that special run.  It is a 300 H&H magnum with a Unertl target scope used for the kill that sets Bob up and has a long history back to the death of JFK and it is essential to driving the plot.

This great book set off the popularity of Bob Lee and his adventures that are still ongoing to this day, And even some side books about Bob’s father Earl who is even more deadly and impressive as well as heroic as Bob himself.  Earl was a WW2 vet and received the Medal Of Honor.  Earl goes on to have adventure of his own as a Arkansas state  trooper before dying on duty when Bob is still a boy.   Earl had a huge impact on his son to say the least.

The book is one anyone who loves guns needs to read, It is better than any action movie I have ever seen with plot twists and pacing that is truly masterful. It is never dull and is 100 percent entertaining.   I read it many years ago ( it first came out around 91 or 92) and I have probably read it again every two years or so. it is really that good.  Lastly, in addition to all I said, it also has some deep thoughtful things to say about life and duty and doing the right thing.   It  has never failed to entertain me.

Cold Bore Precision For The LEO Sniper Rifle

For those in the LE side of sniping, the first round is for the most part, the most important.  In a hostage situation, the first round HAS to hit exactly the spot it was meant for or some one is very likely going to die. Maybe more than one.  A precision rifle has to be able to hit the exact same spot every time on demand, no questions asked.   There is no room for debate on this.  In my opinion, if a LE sniper can not, on demand, lie prone and hit a 1 inch dot at 100 yards with his weapon, assuming there is nothing wrong with the gun, scope, ammo etc) he needs to go home. Or, at least be taken off active sniper duty until his skill is sharpened to this point.

 

But to get to this point, a rifle capable of delivering this critical hit is a must.  There are all kinds of thoughts on how to make a gun this accurate but I will save that for another time.  For now, I am going to talk about a drill to test a LE sniper rifle over long periods of time to make sure it can deliver if and when the time comes.

 

Since the weather and temp does change in most parts of the US. It is very important that the gun is tested over the widest range. If your job is a LEO sniper, you need to test this over months and a variety of temp and weather conditions.  Not only will this prove the gun but build your confidence in it and yourself.  Keeping a record of the testing could also be something that you use to CYA at a later date.

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The group above was fired over 5 months from summer to winter, from a FN  Sniper rifle. in active use.  The 1 inch black square shows five shots into the black.  With two shots outside that looks like fliers, but were actually hits on thumb tacks for fun by the sniper.

All shots are “cold bore” as they should be. Shots from a LE sniper are going to be cold bore, and since this is the most important shot and most likely to have a  different POI  from lesser rifles, the test needs ( has) to be done under cold bore shot conditions. Some of the temps ranged from 39 one day to -9 two weeks later.  The rifle still hit in the same spot.  Everything was recorded for later possible use. Temp, time of day, cloud cover, date and wind direction are just a few notes.  If you can not do this on demand, I damn sure do not want you having to shoot past my head or a loved ones head if any of us are a hostage.   I doubt many entry team officers would want you shooting past their ears either if you can not place one past them with this precision.   LEO sniping is not military sniping where center mass is usually good enough,.

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Rifle is the excellent FN sniper which uses the Model 70 action and match grade FN  barrel with chrome lining, Not usually something precision shooters want in a target rifle or sniper rifle, but FN has some how pulled it off.  Leupold optic and Federal Gold medal 175 grain  HPBT.   This rifle can be counted on to do this on demand, any time of year no matter the weather if user is skilled enough to be a Sniper in a LE environment.

The Winchester Model 52

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The Model 52 Winchester is regarded as one of Winchesters true masterpieces of the ancient world. It came about after the United States’  came back from WW1. At that time a lot of returning vets had grown to like the bolt action rifle over the lever action guns used for many years.   Thought up as a means to offer a quality target rifle in the more affordable .22 long rifle. the 52 was considered a classic form its start.

The first models where pretty much military training rifles. They looked a lot like the 1903 and Winchester had  hoped to be making a lot of them for the military.  The early guns had a very distinct military style carried over from the war. After the national matches of 1919 where the M52 was first used in  matches, many other versions followed with a production of over 125,000 made up into the 80s.  The down side was, the 52 was expensive, very expensive and labor intensive.  It really is a classic. In my years I have heard it called “the most perfect rifle ever made” and  “perfection in design” which is even a title of a book about the rifle.   Few who have experience with one wil disagree that is truly was the finest production target rifle ever made in the country by a factory.

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The model I own in the pictures above are the Model52 B.  The “B” does not really mean anything or denote details, it is just a stamping and used by people to get a rough idea of what and when the gun was made.  My rifle in the picture has a lyman peep sight used for shooting at vermin as opposed to large target sights.  On the right side of the stock you can see the magazine release button.  The ’52 uses a standard 5 round magazine  but would also take a mag block to make the gun a single fire, a extended 10 round magazine as well.  The magazine was very tough and I have never seen or heard of one failing. The same mag was used in the M69, the M75 and the M52.

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the top of the action shows the machined flat for another model of rear sight that could come with the rifle. Sights could be selected by the buyer in the long gone age, back when factories really tried to satisfy customers. Forward of the receiver, on the barrel, you can see a target sight block. This is the type used for target scopes of the era. Mine is a Unertl block to accpet a Unertl target optic.  You may also notice the profile of the wlanut stock.  This type was called the “Marksman” stock.  It was the same type used on the Model 70 target adn National Match rifles. The stock was also used by Winchester on the heavy varmint models before going out of business, though it was made by H_S Precision in their synthetic/viberglass with bedding blocks and pillar bedding.  It is still a very useable and comfortable stock for general use.

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The wide forearm of the stock had an accessory rail installed for a variety of extras. Mine has the standard front swivel for a sling and the hand stop with sling swivel. The slots allow the shooter to move the accessories to any position desired.  These are the factory parts, but a large amount of other target factory and custom pieces would fit and were used.

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The barrel on the target M52 B was a very heavy target barrel and they are exceptionally accurate. With proper ammo, it is easy to shoot 5 rounds into almost one hole at 25 yards and sub MOA at 50 yards. These are some of the best barrels made at the time and the 52 was already hand fitted to be as accurate as humans knew how to make a rimfire at the time.  As before, the front sight is a smaller model for field work. The front sight is installed and removed by drifting it in via dove tail. The crown is a flat target crown.

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The barrel has the forward target/optic block the proper distance from the rear for the optics at the time. The scopes needed a certain distance from each other to allow the target elevation and windage turrets to have a value of 1/4 MOA.  Further apart or closer made the clicks move the POI more or less.  You can see the barrel band before the end of the fore arm. Surprisingly to some, the barrel is not free floated. The gun is still astoundingly accurate, the match gunsmiths at Winchester at the time, knew how to make a gun accurate before free floating became something  every one wanted. I have found the barrel band does not hurt POI or shift zero even when temp or weather conditions would effect the zero of lesser guns.

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Above is the inside of the action. The trigger on Model 52s are another legend , and they are as fine a target trigger that can be found on a non custom gun. It indeed feels like a custom trigger and can be adjusted easy.  The bolt is jeweled and very smooth with  dual extractors.  The safety can be seen on the right hand side of the action near the tang.

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And above, is a picture with a variety of standard accessories that would have came with the M52.  A Redfield Olympic front and rear iron sight set, a Lyman small peep and a Lyman front sight.  The front sight inserts are at the far right. They go into the front sight and allow you to change from post to globe. Below the Redield rear sight in the target block for installed the rear sight on the receiver of the action. It allows some forward and rear placement for eye relief and comfort.

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Above is an optic that is the finest rifle telescope ever produced in the US of A.  It is of course a Unertl ( pronounced  YOU- NUR-DULL ) target/varmint 12x optic.  It is externally adjustable and I have talked about them at length before. It would have been common to see the Unertl scopes on guns way up until the 80s.  The rifle/optic combo is a real classic or its day and would have been the mark of a series small bore shooter.

There was a lot different 52s made over its run though not that many made over all. It just cost too much at the time and few people took target shooting serious. The high cost and effort to make the gun doomed it before the shooting sports grew to be as popular as they are now.   For a while, Winchester/Olin had a sporter version made in Japan that is sold here, but of course it was not the same. Although a serviceable plinker, they did not have the level of craftsmanship and quality in them to equal the originals.

Model 70 Pre 64 Varmint / Target Sights, Optics and Accesories

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For generations, the Winchester Model 70 has been known as  the “rifleman’s rifle.”  The rifle emerged in the ancient year of 1936 and set the standard for every bolt-gun to follow.  It hasn’t always been well respected though.  It’s reputation took a beating after a design change in 1964.  In this article, I will be writing about the “pre ’64” Model 70 only.

The Model 70 is an improvement on the earlier Winchester Model 54.  The 54 was a very fine rifle for its time, but was eclipsed by the Model 70.  Essentially a refined version of the military action used for so long by the Germans, I like to refer to the M70 action as a perfected Mauser action.  The Mauser is to bolt-guns like the M1911 Colt is to semi-auto pistols.  Both were mature tech the day they were born.

Some of the features of the M70 include its famous controlled round feed (CRF), its coned breech that protected the bullet during feeding, the strong ejector, the safety, the steel machined floor plate.  It was a handmade masterpiece and very expensive to make.  It was chambered in almost every round available at the time from the.22Hornet to the 458 Win Mag.  Anyone who has any real experience with one will agree that it really is a work of art.  The M70 came in a variety of models for many purposes, including sporters, guns for NRA highpower, and varmint rifles.  Also, as can be found on this website, it was used for sniping by US forces in 3 wars from WW2 through Korea to Vietnam.  It accounted for the bulk of Gunnery SGT Carlos Hathcock’s 93 confirmed kills including several of his most famous shots.

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Above picture is a pre-WW2 M70 at the NRA museum standing in as a USMC Vietnam sniper.  This early rifle has some similarities with the USMC sniper.  This has a Lyman optic and is actually a Model 70 made to the specifications of Evaluators LTD, a company owned by a USMC officer , George Van Orden, who championed the Model 70, which was eventually adopted as the sniper standard.  These rifles are very rare. This variant was sold to customers who used them for NRA matches, target shooting, and hunting.  They were factory made and were not used by the USMC in Vietnam.  The so-called Van Orden rifles were personal purchases only, not USMC contract rifles.  A few of these Model 70s that were reworked for the USMC rifle teams eventually did make it to Vietnam and they are very similar.

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Though a “clone,” the rifle pictured above more closely resembles the USMC sniper rifle produced by the USMC RTE and sent to Vietnam.

The rifle I will be talking about is my personal M70 varmint rifle.  The gun was made in 1959 and is in .243, which is my personal favorite cartridge for non-fighting purposes.  The “heavy match” contour barrel on the rifle is 24 inches long.  Though the stock is clearly different, it is the same barrel and action used on the Target versions.  At one time, early heavy barrel Model 70s were used during national matches with the standard stock seen on my rifle in order to meet the NRA weight requirements then in place.  Shooters had to choose between a heavy marksman stock with sporter barrel or a heavy barrel with a sporter stock.  Most feel the heavier target barrel is more important than the heavy wide marksman stock and I agree.  I feel this is why the “varmint” rifle has the standard stock.  The .243 was used in the national match, target, and bull rifles as well, so if you are looking to collect, be careful about what stock is on the rifle and check to make sure it is not being sold as a NM rifle when it may be a varminter with a marksman stock swapped around.  Even if that combo is real, it would need to come to from the factory that way to have full value.

Since I still shoot with iron sights at long range in the high power style, I wanted to complete the rifle with iron sights to go along with the optics of the time period. This way I could varmint hunt and shoot it in competition.

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The rear sight on the model 70 is the Redfield Olympic rear sight.  It has 60 minutes of elevation and 18 minutes of windage. It attaches with a thumb screw to a standard sight base that screws onto the left side of the action.  This sight was the standard for target shooting at long range for many years and was only discontinued in 1976.

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The front sight is also a Redfield Olympic front sight. It attaches to a standard target block used for most sight and optic use at the time. It has insets that can be changed out very easily. It came with various globes and posts. I like the front post similar to the AR15 front sight post. It gives me the best ability and versatility to shoot more then black bullseyes. The front sight is made in such a way to channel light onto the actual sight. If you have never looked through this type of sight combo, you would be surprised how naturally and easy the front and rear line up with the target. The barrel muzzle is crowned with a flat target crown.

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Above is a picture of the target blocks (bases) for mounting optics like the Unertl. The blocks seen above are Unertl blocks but will work with any sight of its type.  The rear block mounts to the front of the action and the front sight block rests on the barrel.  Unertl optics need a certain length between blocks to get a certain value out of each click on the optic. It changes the value of the scope adjustment if the blocks are closer or further apart.  Some people use a different position, but I use the most common block placement to make sure my Unertl is 1/4 value per click.

John Unertl Sr. Worked in the optics field in Germany during WW1 In 1928 he and his family immigrated to the US and he began to work for the J.W. Fecker scope company.  In 1936, the same year the M70 was brought out, he left Fecker to start his own optical company.  He first worked form his own home and upgraded as the company grew, making some of the highest quality rifle/target scopes in America. The company grew beyond rifle scopes to be a supplier of glass for NASA projects and the US gov for anything needing the highest of quality.  After a long time the company stopped making optics since John Jr concentrated on the bigger contracts. The optics was his father’s love but just cost too much money.  A third party bought the rights to use the Unertl optics name and tried to start it back up, but failed and we have seen nothing for years.  The last high profile optic from Unertl was the USMC 10x sniper scope used by the Marines on the Barrett M82, the M40A1, and M40A3 sniper rifles until recently when replaced by the S&B 3-12x and the PR optics.

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Optic above is one of the scopes used on my varmint M70. It is the 2.0 Unertl 8x Ultra varminter model.  You can see how the base/rings attach to the blocks by dovetail in the right side picture.

The field of view on the 8x Unertl is 12.6 feet at 100 yards with an eye relief of 4.5 inches.  It is 24.0 inches long a weighs 34 ounces.  The 1-inch tube has a 1.3125 inch eye piece and a 2.1875 inch front objective.  The recticle is the fine target crosshairs.  A lot of people do not know how tough and simple Unertl optics are.  The tube is solid steel constructed with external adjustments. Almost nothing can go wrong.  The optics are also made to be easily fixed in the field.  John Unertl thought a riflescope should not be complicated and that you should be able to fix it in the field.  The optics are made to be taken apart with nothing more than a pocket knife.  The crosshairs, if broken, can be fixed by taking the scope apart and substituting strands of your own hair!  Among other features, the optic can be taken apart and dried out and cleaned, though I am not going to give the details because someone will try to prove me wrong by taking apart and breaking their valuable scope.  They are a very rugged simple tool of very high quality.  As a old friend said. They are a perfect example of the highest quality American optical craftsmanship.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Above, you can see the windage and elevation turrets that work on a spring that presses against the tube.  Rather than internally, the adjustments are made this way.  The right picture is a view of the recoil spring.  The spring is tightened to bring the scope back into position after the gun recoils. The scope moves in its rings. This keeps the optic from taking any abuse from recoil as it experiences no shock. The spring is called a recoil, or return-to-battery spring. The clamp in front of the front base is tightened to position the optic and stop it  from moving forward. The rib on top keeps the optic perfectly straight up and down so canting is not a problem. It is called a “pope rib” for reasons I have long forgotten.  The front and rear lenses are covered by steel screw on caps.

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Scanned copies of original instructions describe the normal features of various Unertl models and the optics features.

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Above shows how the optic mounts to the blocks on the receiver and barrel as well as shows the size of this optic.   The size of the match varmint barrel can be see in the forearm of the varmint standard walnut stock as well as the rear match sight mounting block.   The eye piece can be replaced with a “booster” that would increase the optics magnification by 2X.  This booster is almost never found it is so rare–I have only seen one of them.

My rifle has the accuracy typical of the quality of the pre 64 guns.  With its “pet loads” it shoots around 1MOA to slightly less. This may not sound impressive, but during this gun’s time, 1MOA was a very, very hard thing to achieve. The limited choices in quality bullets and powder of the time did not help much at the time either.   I use exclusively the Sierra 85 grain HPBT game king bullet with IMR 3031, Federal cases and Federal primers. This load has never failed me and has shot well in every .243 I have owned.  I have owned a lot of .243s.  Though the load is not hot, I’m not giving it out publicly for liability reasons.

My rifle does its varmint duty mainly as a crow gun. I love to shoot crows with a rifle above all other forms of hunting.  It takes real skill, patience, and camouflage to hit a crow past 200 yards.  The 8x is enough for the longest shots the rifle can be expected to hit. I have made hits on groundhog targets out to 800 yards with the rifle/Unertl and it easily will bust skeet at 300 yards with the load and optic.

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Crow above was taken at 235 yards using the 85 grain HPBT load.  I have killed a lot of crows with the .243 WCF using that load.

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I have used a Model 70 .243 WCF to kill everything from deer to chipmunks and a lot of stuff in between and it has never failed me. I actually used it to nail a turkey at 515 yards one season as well. The round has been with me my entire shooting life and I love it. Only the 5.56 equals it in my heart, followed closely by the .218 Bee.  The model 70 is also a constant in my life. Colt firearms and the Model 70s are things I will never be without.

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Above the author takes long range shots at crows and ground hogs from a bench.

SWISS Rifles, Milsurp Precision

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There are a lot of old military surplus rifles out there.  Most of them are junk.  The ones that are not junk are usually so expensive that its not really worth bothering with.  Even if you do get one of the more expensive ones, they are not really that accurate.  During their time they could meet the specs of the country using them, but often that was not  the kind of accuracy we all seem to want now a days.

One of the exceptions, and it is a major exception, are the Swiss rifles.  They are very, very accurate.  I am not talking hit a 200 yard NRA target some where in the black with cast lead bullets either.   I am talking about the kind of accuracy that outdoes most modern hunting rifles, and not with carefully prepared match handloads either.  A friend made a canted scope base that would fit the Swiss K-31 a few years ago after a small group of us all bought K31s.  Using Swiss  GP-11 7.5×55 ammo, we easily made hits at 1,133 yards.  Yep, 1133.   I was able to make 1,000 yard iron sight hits with the K-31 so easy it shocked everyone watching, myself included after a first round cold bore iron sight hit at 1000 yards on a chest-sized steel gong.

The good news is, they do not cost that much.  The price is going up as the supplies start to dry up, but they are still cheaper then a beat-to-hell mauser with german markings.  They do cost more then a Nagant, but lets be honest–you get a lot more for your money as well.

The K-31 is the best Swiss rifle for the shooter who wants to test the waters, and they are wildly popular among those who know about these things.  They also have a pretty big amount of support and after market parts, like scope bases, diopter match iron sights and a few other things.  The K31 is commonly found at Camp Perry during some National Match events.  I will tell you hands down–I have yet to see a M1903 that would out-do the common K31.

As nice as the K31 is, the real beauties to me are the 1896/11 and 1911 series rifle (not to be confused with the 1911 pistol).  These are older and longer rifles that fire the same round.

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It is so easy to shoot the 96/11 that making 800 yard iron sight hits becomes almost boring.   The Swiss-made  GP-11 round has a lot to do with it, as I should point out.  The ammo was made to be issued to the military but it is the equal to US made Match ammo from Black Hills.  The ammo is hard to match with handloads–I just stick to the GP-11.  The GP-11 is drying up fast, but that’s not too big of a deal since Hornady, PPU and Norma all make ammo.  The price can get high depending on who makes it though.

The round is a pleasure to shoot.  It does not have uncomfortable recoil, it has power on-par with military 30-06, and as I said, it is super-accurate.   At my first contact with the K31 and GP-11 I was skeptical.  I had spent my life with match rifles and handloading.  I had seen so many old crappy surplus rifles from other countries that I thought none of them were worth any serious consideration for more than a collector’s gun or a novelty.  I was wrong.

Another interesting hand made rifle from the Swiss is the Vetterli.  Now, as cool as it is since it is the first bolt action repeater that had a tube magazine that held 11 rounds, there is bad news.  It is a rimfire and you cannot buy ammo for it.   There is a way to convert it to centerfire and make ammo, but it is a PITA and I am not going to write about it because it sounds like the most asinine thing you will ever hear.  That being said, it does work and it actually does give good results. One shooter actually won a medal at a vintage rifle match at Camp Perry with a converted Vetterli.  You can learn it for yourself at Swissrifles.com, I will not be talking about it here for a variety of reasons.

When converted, you do get a rifle that will easily push a 300+ grain lead slug over 1300 fps.

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If you really want an old beater, then don’t waste your time and money on a nagant unless you just have a thing for soviet weapons.  Get one of the Swiss rifles if you want true accuracy and quality at a very affordable price.  I will tell you I am a rifle snob–any of my personal friends will confirm that.  I do not fool around with junk–I just do not have the interest.  The Swiss rifles are not old junk.  They are superb.  If I had to fight during WW2 and had to chose a bolt gun, it would be the K-31.  I think highly of the Enfield, but it would be my second choice–it’s no K-31 or 96/11.   If you give them a try, and use decent ammo, GP-11 in particular, you will be as shocked and pleased as I was that day.   After knowing what I know now, I would find it hard to justify not having at least one K31 in my personal battery.   They may look strange, and the caliber may seem strange, but the performance is anything but strange.

There is more to it than what I have talked about in this little article, so take a look.  There are more models and lots of variations.  This is common with old military rifles from the past.  A lot of people are as in love with Swiss rifles as I am with the Model 70, AR15, and Colt 1911.  They are worth it.

http://www.swissrifles.com/

A life With Rifle Cartridges

I have been shooting a long time.  I was taught to shoot around 7 years old and have been shooting heavily ever since.   In the thirty years of my shooting career so far I have used rifles and pistols for just about everything you can think of and I have used and tried a very wide range of rounds.  I have always had an interest in rounds for uses in addition to fighting and have owned some that would be a rare thing to be seen in use these days.   I am going to give a list of cartridges I have used and my thoughts , opinions and experience with them. It is not going to be a technical break down citing ballistics and muzzle velocities of the rounds talked about but, I am talk a little about my preference in bullet weights in some or maybe even some reloading related comments.

So, lets take a look at what I have used  and owned over the past three decades in no chronological order.

.22 Hornet   The Hornet is one of those rounds you hear about from the FUDDS of the slick gun rags  from time to time. Usually it talked about in glowing terms. It was pretty much the 1st high velocity dedicated varmint cartridges at the time and I am sure at the time it was impressive.  I have owner 3 rifles chambered for the round over the years. I really, really wanted to like it. But, the fact is, its a let down.  I do not expect a lot from such an old fellow because I use rounds and appreciate them in their envelope. But, the Hornet is just not that accurate. 3 inch groups at 50 yards is not good for much. No matter how carefully I handloaded, or how high quality the factory load or quality of the rifle. And it does not help that you get about 3 reloads out of a case. It was just not meant to handle the pressures modern powders will deliver. That and depending on rifle and age, there are two types of bullet sizes  for the hornet. I am not going to get into that but it is a pain if you want to shoot modern bullets made to be high performance in it.

.218 Bee The Bee is one of my favorite rounds.  With proper bullets it is as accurate as a .223, more velocity then the Hornet, good out to 300 yards on anything coyote sized or under and very accurate and no recoil.  The problem with the Bee is that is was introduced with a round nose bullet in a lever action and suffered ever since.  The other drawback is it is a rimmed case.  But, in a single shot rifle, or a bolt gun built for it not using a tubular magazine it can be so great.  I would load all the way up to 50 grain ballistic tips. Usually the 40 grain ballistic tip was used for higher velocity and accuracy. Some will say that 50-55 is too heavy for the Bee, but it really is not. I have killed a lot of crows out to 250 with the Bee and I love it. It does suffer from the problem of short case life and that the cases and ammo are expensive but I love it so.  If you are a competent hand loader it can do as much as a .222 remington. Not as accurate but close in a good gun.

.222Remington The .222 was the benchrest king for years and developed by Mike Walker and remington. It is easy to reload. My dog could make good ammo for the triple deuce. I never hunted with the .222 but its accuracy is legendary to the point I can not add much to it. I have never seen a gun that would not shoot the 222 with impressive accuracy. It does not give you the range as a 223 or the killing power at long range,but it was out before the .223 and the .223 is one of the reason it has faded away a little.

17 Remington The 17 is an interesting cartridge. With modern powder and bullets, you can break over 4,000 fps with the 17 using a 20 grain bullet or under. It shoots very, very flat.  Nothing kills like the 17 rem.  Crows look like a grenade in a feathered pillow. Groundhogs are gutted, I am talking immediate dis-assembly. Or, dead with no hole or even a mark. The 17 is weird like that. But when it is explosive it is so very impressive. No recoil adn little noise.  But, here is were you pay for what you get.  Very short barrel life.  Clean after 12 rounds or accuracy is not useful on small game. Very short barrel life, and the cleaning…..I say it twice for a reason. And you have to buy specialty cleaning rods, jags, brushed and bore guides etc.  Handloading is touch.  Load developing in tenths of a grain are a must because pressure can reach -Bomb levels in a heart beat.  It will kill medium sized game up to a deer.

.17 BK  The BK is a wildcat round were my crazy mentor necked down a .357 maximum round down to a 17.  Yeah, I know..  Very accurate but does not deliver the same velocities as the 17 rem. But very very accurate. Case capacity is almost identical but the case design is all BR, so it shows it in the group size.

.204 ruger  The .204 is another favorite of mine. I always say its got all the benefits of the 17 centerfires with none of the draw backs.  Long barrel life because of low pressure, same velocity, bigger bullet which always explodes the target and bucks wind and carries further and accurate enough for anything other then competition. Case life is good, bullet selection is good. It is easy to handload to and in a pinch you can make cases out of 222 magnum, its parent case.   Cleaning is not the issue it is with any other high velocity round in this class either. I use a zero that allows me a point of aim/point of impact on crows from 100 to 300 yards.

.223 remington I love the 223.  I have used it for everything. From 10 feet to 1000 yards.  In my opinion, when used correctly and competently, it is one of the most versatile and useful rounds we have.  I used it for a few years as a 1,000 yard gun in a bolt action and a AR15 and was happy. The  key is proper bullets. 77-80 grain match loads.  the 77 grain bullet should be the new 55 or 62 grain bullet. Even in a 16 inch barrel 900 yard hits are possible with the 77 grain ammo.  I have killed from crows to deer with the 223/5.56 and nothing has ever gotten away.   24 grains of Varget with a 77 grain bullet is the stand by load used from Camp Perry to every where else.  I am not going to say more about it because it is already talked about enough and if you read this blog any, you know how we feel about it.

.22-250 remington The “250” as I call it is a solid performer. It is a darling of a lot of varmint hunter and for good reason. It is easy to load for, very very accurate and not too awfully hard on barrels if you take it easy and don’t try to it like a SAW.  I used 52 grain berger bullets on mine. I have a target signed by 4 people and a range master at the range I was at when I once fired a 5 shot group that was 1/4 inch with a .22-250 at 500 yards using the 52 grain berger bullet.   You can approach 4,000 fps but its not a good idea. The varminter ( its original name) likes it best at 3,800 fps.

.220 Swift  I wanted a Swift for a long time because of its rep. then I had 3 in as many years. The swift was hyped as the 4,000 FPS centerfire that killed so well you could use it in Africa. Well, anything can be used in Africa with proper shot placement,which is hard for a sad amount of shooters.  Barrel steel and over zealous handoaders burned out barrels  fast back then and it got a bad rap. I get asked about the Swift a lot because I used it so much.   I am going to sum up my thoughts on the swift right now that will tell you everything I think you should know about it in a common sense way.    You can hit 4,000 fps and more with s swift, but it does not shoot very well once you do. Like the 22-250, it likes around 3,800. And, if you are going to shoot around 3800, just use the 22-250 and have longer barrel life, use less powder, have less recoil and easier to find cases.  The swift needs around a 40 to 45 grain bullet to hit 4K and by then , you lose any longer range ability compared to what the 22-250 offers.( which is so close it does not really matter unless you like the nostalgia like I did)

.257 Roberts This is an excellent round. You can find a legion of FUDD gun writers telling you how its great and blah blh blah. Well, they are kinda right on this one. Its a .25 caliber and 87 grain bullets will preform miracles for you in this mid range round. the Ackley improved version is apparently god’s gift to some. I never tried the AI round but it enjoys a nice rep.  It is a fine round, it just does the same thing a variety of other do as well, and we all know newer stuff gets more press release and hype..draw your own conclusions.  But, its really not worth the effort if you have to hunt one down.

7×57  Old. Old but still very useful. It is a lot of fun but I prefer the 7mm08

7mm08 remington  A better 7×57.   The ’08 is what it says, a 308 necked down to 7mm.  You can make the case by running 308 win cases through a 7mm08 resize die. It is that easy.   It is a popular round for silhouette shooting where knocking down steel targets at distance is the game. It is accurate. I think it should have been where the 308 is now. It is so much more useful.  I liked a 160 grain seirra bullet. My Dad used it for years as his deer gun and loved it. He used a 100 grain bullet after his back was hurt.  It was varmint bullet in 7mm and was too lightly constructed.I never trusted it but it always delivered for him, even out to 200 yards.  Being from a 308 case, it is as easy to load well just like the 308.

.260 Remington  This is one beauty of a round. Again, based on the parent 308 case, just necked down to 6.5.  the 6.5 is considered the perfect bullet to a lot of people and it is hard to argue.  A 260 loaded with a 142 grain sierra bullet will travel to mars and hit hard.  If you want a round with light recoil that you can use to shoot to 1,000 yards with this is it. It makes shooting 1K almost easy. Using a 120 grain bullet is good for everything else.  This round is one of the best general purpose rounds I have ever had. Before remington decided to stop making good stuff, you could buy a .260 in a heavy 26 inch barrel, short action M700 for under 700 bucks. It was a great deal for a great gun that needed little work to make it a good 1K shooter. an AR10 in this  would make  an excellent decision. Lighter recoil then the 7mm08, more accurate and  very flat shooting with retained down range energy.

6mmPPC  The 6PPC is so accurate,  virtually no one uses anything else in BR any more. In a decent gun,you can not mess this up. But, its a wildcat. Ruger did offer a M77 chambered for it long ago, but no one made factory ammo for it. You really can shoot one hole groups with this round if the quality in your skill, the ammo and the gun are there and you can use them properly.  It is a short round made from the .220 russian case( which I bet few of you ever heard of before I typed it) and it is expensive to buy or make.  But the pay off in accuracy is something to behold. It is “hollywood accurate.”  It really is.  It is not commonly thought of as a long range round and its not really. It is meant to be shot using around a 58 grain bullet shot to 300 yards tops. My teacher said everyone should try a wildcat at least once to pay their dues.  You do learn a lot suffering with wildcats. But I do not feel the same way.

.243 winchester   Full disclosure.  the 243 WCF is my favorite round. Its not quite as useful as the 5.56/223, but I still like it best. Almost all of my greatest shooting accomplishments were done with the 243. A 500 yard neck shot on a moving turkey, my 1st 1000 yard hits and killing two deer in 4 seconds on a dead run ( them not me) with a 243 M70 featherweight among others. the 6mm is like the 6.5, close to perfect. It is inherently  accurate, it has low recoil, it is common and once again based on the 308 case.   I have used bullets from 55 grains to 107.  The 85 grain bullet is the perfect bullet for the 243 in my opinion and its my general use bullet. I use the 96 grain ballistic tip for 500 yard plus shooting.  the 243 was made commercial in 55 and one of my favorite gun writers developed it. Warren Page was a well known expert of the time and his  240 page super pooper ( n0 kiddin, he had some creative names for his wildcats) was the base for the 243 WCF.   Some gun rage experts like to state that its neck is too short, it is har don barrels  blah blah.  I have never found that to be the case adn I have only met one person who has fired more 243 then .  I have owned over 15 rifles in this chambering and I love it.  I am way too close to the subject to talk objectively about it to you though, but I LOVE it. I hope my love for the 243 makes an impression on anyone curious about the 243 WCF.

6MM Remington/.244 remington   The 6mm remington was remington’s answer to the 243.   Problem was, they thought it would sell to varmint hunter and gave it a slow twist that would shoot light bullets. Remington did not see the 6mm as a big game gun. Winchester gave the 243 a faster twist and said it was dual use deer/varmint gun. They made 80-100 grain bullets.    Hunters being hunter, wanted the dual use.  the 6mm rem almost died. It was renamed after then brought it back out with the faster twist but it did not help.  It is slightly longer with a longer neck. Once again “experts” will say its soooo much better then the 243 and does not burn barrels and has slightly more velocity.  Well, maybe.  I found it no better then the 243.adn I tried to like it.  Brass was hard to find and so are the guns. Mine was a heavy barreled 26 inch M700 that shoot good. But it did nothing my beloved 243 would not do.  It is a great round, but not what it is made to be. In my opinion, the people who talk it up do so, and use it just to be different. A lot of people do not have one or have heard of it, so they use it to seem more elite.

6.8 SPC remingotn   It is accurate. As accurate as the 556 in a proper gun? not really, and it will not go to 1,000 yards like a 77-80 grain 556 load. It kicks more, holds less is louder. It is a bigger bullet and that means something to a lot of people.  After a year I found I had no use for it.

.270 winchester   This old stand by is a popular choice for hunter and FUDDS world over.  It is accurate.  My pre64 model 70 standard weight will put 5 shots in 1/2 inch with 115 grain bullets meant for the 6.8 SPC at 100 yards even after all those years.  I do not like the 270. too loud, too much muzzle blast and too much empty case capacity. I find the recoil unpleasant as well. It is a fine round but I dislike it a great deal.

.30-06 government   What can really be said? My first deer kill was with the ’06 when I was 12.  I grew up and went to better things and my taste refined along with my knowledge. I learned what I wanted and needed in  a firearm and have not used it since the late 80s.

.30-40 Krag  Used in the Spanish American war. Under powered by todays tastes, rimmed and not all that useful unless you want to be different. I had a Krag and loved the smooth as tits action. But it was a novelty.

.303 British  The old British standby. 174 grain 303 bullet in a rimmed case that started out using cordite.  The  MK 4 is the bolt gun I would pick if I had to go to war with a battle riffle that was a bolt action.  It is not scary powerful, but its light recoil and plenty of power would still make it effective on a modern battle field as a sniper rifle. It is so much fun to use this round in its intended rifle.

30-30 WCF  The old timeless lever gun round.  It will do its job. I have no use for it after I was 10 years old.

7.5×55 Swiss One word, magnificent.  The GP-11 is as accurate as any USA made match ammo.  It is close to the 308-30-06 but better really. The K-31 is impressive. 1000 yard shots using the K31 and GP-11 round are made with easy even with open iron sights. I and my friends regularly made 1,300 yard shots with this ammo and the K31 with special canted scope bases made by a friend who is a machinist.

7mm remington magnum  The 7mm mag is one of my Dad’s favorites. He used it for a lot of years and we killed a lot of deer with this round.  I used a M70 Laredo for my first 1000 yard gun. It has a 24 inch heavy barrel and thanks to it, I learned to have confidence in my gear. I had made shots with smaller rounds before, but thought of them as almost luck. With the 7mm and 168 grain HPBT, I learned the basics of 1K shooting. The Mag was more forgiving of my wind inexperienced wind calls at the time and really helped me grow as a long range shooter.  The 7mm mag is hard on barrels and devours powder like a GMC  SUV drinks gas. But, its mild for a magnum recoil is just the thing if you don’t like recoil but need the performance. The 7mm is a better choice then the 30o mag, but because match ammo is more common for the 300 and the Mil uses it, people do not look as serious at the 7 mag.

.300 Winchester Magnum  The Army’s new sniper rifle caliber. It is not new of course but, its current explosion in love is a new thing. I do not like it much, It gives more, but it hurts and you pay for it. For what the 300 will do, I would rather take the 7mm mag.  If I need more then the 7mm mag, I would rather go right to the .338 Lapua mag.

.338 Winchester Magnum  This is another one of my Dads loves. I did not like it. ( I do not like magnum calibers) Not the range of the 7mm and a lot of down sides. I guess if you want to go to Alaska or Africa it is a good choice but it is not for me.

.243 WSSM  Because I love the 243 WCF, I had to have one. I  fell for the hype and got one. It did not deliver the boost in velocity olin claimed. My chronoy said it was BS. The cases would not obdurate and it made a PITA.  Accuracy was 1 MOA but it was not worth the downsides.

.223 WSSM  Same as the 243 WSSM. This round did what the .22-250 already did.  I tried every handloading trick I knew to no avail. I did not keep either WSSM long.

.300 WSM   Odd as it is, I do kind of like the 300 WSM,. It gave very close to 300 win mag performance but from what I could tell, was more accurate. It used a little less powder, did not have the recoil and fit in a shorter action. I feel it should be developed further for future military sniping use.

25-06 remington  I never owned one of these but a good friend loves it and has years behind the .25.   I always felt it was over bore, too wasteful and not good for much. After using his, I gained a lot of respect for what can be done with this round but I still feel the same about everything else.  the 257 roberts or the 250 savage is more to my liking.

.308 Winchester   The 308 has been around a long time.  I use it and like it. The truth is though, it is not the best for anything it does.  It is not even close to being a great sniper round compared to other stuff. Better choices have and always have existed for battle rifle use and MG use.  It serves best as a parent case for necked up and down rounds liek the 260, 243, 358 etc.  But it is very accurate. And, in the hands of some one that knows what they are doing, it can be made to perform to 100 yards and slightly beyond.  the Military knows everything about it and how it performs you could say, they know it better then it knows itself. Thats why it has been with us so long. Old timers still whine that its a weaker version but that a moot point and no one really cares.  It is going to be around a long time and for good enough reasons. Do not expect it to be a A bomb like a lot of people claim.   A well known and proven 1000 yard match load is  44.0-44.5 grains of Varget and a 175 grain BTHP  will do everything you need. The 175 is the standard, not the mistakenly thought of 168.  The 168 will get you to 800 yards but does poorly after it goes subsonic.  the M80 ball 147 grain military load is also not a wonder weapon either.  I feel the 556 is more useful generally speaking for a service rifle round.

7.62×39  I do not see much point to this round when we have so much better and its not as cheap as it use to be. We have a ballistic twin called the 30-30 WCF.

5,45 russian  Much better. More accurate ( with decent ammo) performs better then the M43 ball that has lack luster terminal performance  and is enjoyable to shoot and very cheap for now.  It is my choice for the AK series of rifles.

.300 Whisper Again, I did not have one, but did use one a bit that belonged to a friend.  It is a subsonic 7.62×39.  Maybe good to 200 yards because after that its trajectory needed NASA to produce a holdover chart to be able to use it.  It was quiet when suppressed though.

.30 Carbine Fun to shoot. A lot of people like to pick on it these days. It was a fun plinker but not my 4th, 5th or 18th choice for anything really. I find it odd that people  decry it as weak, but it has close to 357 magnum performance in a lot of ways and no one calls the 357 weak.

.41 magnum.  Almost all the power and good things as a 44  mag but with none of the pain or recoil or draw backs. More accurate in my opinion and more fun to shoot. Can not use 44 spl though.

.45 Long Colt.   What is not to like?

7.62x54R This is the Russian 30-06 type round. It performs about the same and of course is rimmed. The problem is, I have never seen a gun that fired it that was worth a dime.

8mm mauser /8×57  A solid round for its day. I had several K98s in this and it was fun. Not as fun as the .303 British round, but if you have enough of it and have a thing for WW2 it may be for you. I never kept them long.

.7mm Weatherby  I do not like anything made by the company nor any of its over bore, under accurate rounds. I got stuck with one of these after a story too long and boring to repeat.  For years, the name was a status simple only.

.45/70 Gov  I had a Trap door for years given to me by my Dad.  It was fun to shoot and certainly would kill anything within its range. I had this before I grew up and started to handload, so I never had one to tweak for performance.

.338 Lapua Magnum  Again, I never owned a Lap mag, but I did do load development and zeroing for a close friends gun. The rifle was a SAKO  target bolt action with a ported barrel.  The round is accurate to a mile on a man sized target. To me, if you are going past a 308 and intend to shoot to 1,500 yards, I feel its better to skip the 300 win mags and  7mm mags etc and go right to the Lapua. It will do it easier. It wll fight the wind better and shoot flatter. Another friend has a HS Precisions HS 200 bolt gun in .338 lapua and we used it to shoot to 1 mile. 300 grain bullets and 250 were used. With a comp or ported barrel, recoil is not bad at all. About like a30-06 in a heavy gun. Blast and concussion can be tiresome after extended shooting.

.50 BMG  The fifty also belongs to the friend with the HS 2000 above. The gun is a M82A1 Barrett and he also owns a custom 50 BMG in a target bolt action single shot.  A lot of people see the barrett 50 as a sniper rifle that will shoot miles.  The truth is, it is not. Even with match ammo, it is hard to hit a man ( head to toe) anywhere on the body at 900 yards.  It gets more and more tough the further you go. it can be done, but it may be an elbow hit or a ear lobe or pinky toe. it is hard to tell. The Barrett is not a sniper rifle. It is meant to take out radar dishes, tank engines and  T&Es on artillery pieces. Not head shoot generals at 1800 yards. It has bee done, but the M82 are not meant to do it.  The bolt gun version is more accurate but it still struggled pass 1500 yards.  The military ammo is the limiting factor in the custom gun of course.

.221 Fireball  Back to a smaller round. the . 221 is close to the 218 that I love but with more velocity and a better stronger case. The 300 whisper case is made from the fireball. It is pleasant to shoot and very accurate. At one time remington made a single shot bolt action pistol for this round. I never used bullets heavier then 50 grains for the round and considered it a 300 yard round for up to coyote sized animals.

6.5×55  This is another one of the gun rag writers favorites. A lot of the older gun writers loved this round and used it in Africa and for some reason, gun writers love the romantic aura of that. Thet love to tell you how you should still appreciate it and use it because it is so perfect.  It is a fine, fine round. There are other choices that do the same thing and the .260 is a modern better copy of it. It was a nice mild kicking, very accurate round. I did not have a lot of years with it, but I loved using it while I had it.

.223×35  This is a wildcat round used for benchrest shooting and anything that required more accuracy. It was the 1st round I ever fired through a bench rest rifle. I 45 pound beast with a barrel 2 inches in diameter with a 36x Unertl. With this round I shot several asprin taped to a target 100 yards away and was able to shoot the head off of Washington on a quarter taped to a target at 300 yards.  that started off my love of target rifles and extreme accuracy. It taught me a lot and gave me a deeper understanding of mechanical accuracy and hand loading along with what it takes to make a rifle accurate and how to judge quality. My thinking on the importance of this has chanced a little since then. I do not consider it marksmanship any more. At one time I thought it the best you could strive for. but it is pure equipment and loading skill. It will not help you with a field shot very much and BR skill offers no edge for defense of combat shooting. But, I found my years at this valuable and gave me a deeper richer understanding of ballistics, firearms and the more technical aspects of shooting that most over look or never understand. It also got me into the deep well of  the history of cartridges , wildcat and factory and the ones that transitioned from one to the other. Not to mention the great shooters of the past who figure all this out.   the x35 is a .223 with a blown out case and the shoulder changed to  35 degrees. this gives the round more room for powder and helps the powder column set in a way that makes the burning of the powder more consistent.  Extraction is not a big deal in this design since it is shot through single shot bolt guns at a slow rate. Making the cases this way always custom dies to be used. This will let you reload the same case sometimes hundreds of times and only need worth some of the neck.  In the rifle it was chambered, this round was more accurate then I could possible shot it.  It belonged to my mentor who let me shoot it and start many years in the target rifle world.

There are more rounds I could write about but some are so obscure few would have heard of them and fewer would want to read about. Like the 41 rimfire  SWISS round. or the .44 RF.   I also did not talk about rim fire rounds or pistol rounds.  It was too much to set down and write about in one evening. If anyone who reads this cares, and I hear from you and you want to read more about my many rifle rounds or want more detail. I will do a follow up.