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Gunfight Friday: The One-Shot Wonders

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January 31, 2014

Gunfight Friday: The One-Shot Wonders

By Phil Bourjaily

Today's Gun Fight is a battle of one-shot wonders. Carl Huber supplied not only one of the contestants but also suggested the name for this one. Coincidentally, Tim Flannery sent in a photo of his single shot rifle a couple of days later.

I love it when a gunfight comes together.

Single-shot rifles have a romantic, retro charm, especially these two. Both are patterned after rifles of the 19th century. Huber's is chambered in the comparatively modern .30/06, while Flannery's fires blackpowder .45-70 cartridges. Here they are:

Carl Huber's Browning High Wall
The rifle you see has taken several deer and many more paper targets. It is a Browning High Wall chambered in .30/06. It is topped with a Burris 3x9 scope and has a braided horsehair sling that does not slip. The only thing that is after-market is a Canjar trigger, which I think of as the modern equivalent of set triggers. The falling block was John Browning's first entry into the gun market and heralded his genius. In light of our recent love affair with multi-shot semiautos, it's nice to see an old-fashioned single-shot rifle that gracefully holds its own. Having learned to shoot on a Remington rolling block, I have always been fond of single-shot guns. My two boys are already jockeying for this rifle following my ultimate demise.

Tim Flannery's Armi 74
This is an Armi 1874 Sporting Rifle Sharps replica with a 34-inch barrel in .45-70. I was going bison hunting with a friend and he offered to let me use this rifle he had in stock. It made for a great bison hunt. After I received the mount I thought it would be good to display the rifle with the head so I made a deal with my friend. The rifle has double set triggers, and I have since added a Marble rear sight. I intend to install a globe front sight.

There's your choice: an old school .30/06 or an older school .45-70, both of which have proven as effective for their owners in the 21st century as their predecessors were for hunters of the 19th. Vote, comment, and keep the gun pictures coming to fsgunnuts@gmail.com

Comments (25)

Top Rated
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from nehunter92 wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

Man, this one is tough for me. On the one hand, we have a Browning High Wall, one of my favorite rifles to shoot, and a storied gun in our deer camp (my father has taken quite a few deer with it). Only thing is, I’m not sure I dig the glass on top, or the fact that it’s in 30-06. Sure, the 30-06 is one of the most versatile cartridges in existence, and scopes on High Walls are common, but to me, that gun is meant to be like my fathers, semi-buckhorn iron sights in 45-70. And that sharps replica, oh man, it totally looks the part. I’m afraid I’m just too much in love with open sights and 45-70 on these types of guns. My vote goes to the Sharps replica.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

PS; I hope this is not a double post. But I have to give homage To the Black Powder Guys. Anyone here knows Billy Dixon knows the range and ballistics of a rifle

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

Sharps. It's just very classy.

However, I have shot the 78 and other High Wall reproductions. Love them all, but my fav High Wall is Uberti in 45-70.

The Browning 78 I shot was in 25-06 years ago.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

I supposes the first one did not click. My vote goes for Tim's rifle. For a couple of reasons. First for the animal he took. Second because I coveted that rifle. Most off all because Billy Dixon [with a black powder rifle]took a long range shot that stot for decades.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Safado wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

I have to go with the Browning High Wall. Beautiful gun, great wood, right caliber in my opinion.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from M.A.T wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

I had to go with the High-Wall. Designed by Browning. 30-06. Need I say more?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

This is GFF at its best. Nice guns, good stories and photos, especially the field photo. Both are winners. Thanks for sharing!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jim in nc wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

I cast a write-in vote for the Stevens Armory Model: heavy barrel, .22, falling block, flip-up rear sight. Over 100 years old and shoots like brand new.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from oscarthefish wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

I have to vote for the black powder Sharps. I would like to see a traditional muzzleloader in the competition some time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dallas A. McWhorter wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

This is a competition between nostalgia and praticaclity, and why'll I'm a big fan of practicality, I'm not immuned to nostalgia. Why'll the Browning is a heck of a lot more usefull than the Armi, I just can't say no to a set of double triggers, and also, if want a .30-06 I want it to be a bolt action. So my vote goes to Tim. And besides, Carl insulted my mother once, and while I'm all about forgive and forget, I just find it really hard to let that go.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dallas A. McWhorter wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

I'm just joking about that last part. Don't anybody get to worked up about it. Well, mostly joking anyway.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Magnum1 wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Apples and oranges here it all comes down to preference. Earlier hunters did not have scopes but now I see a lot of scoped brush guns and I am like really? I favor open sight maybe because I grew up with them and being in the military using only open sights. Not knocking a scoped gun I have several for open range shooting but to me older guns without a scope are a thing of beauty which will test even the best of shooters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Carl...LUV your Browning...But~JMO~ To much Scope a Fixed Power Scope would look better,That's a lot of gun/scope to drag around the NY Woods,That a bean Field shooter.just saying.
And Armi that fills the bill/Bull in 45/70, Great Photo,Fab-looking gun, and Tim you look the part..Kudos

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Treestand you are correct; but these old eyes. And how can you argue with a Buffalo Rifle with a Buffalo in the picture!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Getting back to Mr. Browning. The High Wall came on the scene at about the pinnacle of single shot rifles. John figured he could make a better rifle by eliminating a step of half cocking the rifle. This facilitated a faster reload by just cocking and ejecting the case by pulling the lever. Pretty good with just the tools at hand in the 19th century.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steven L. Bunt wrote 11 weeks 4 days ago

I say its NO FAIR,Both are nice on there own. The one is using 20&21st century ammo,compared to a 19th century AMMO;that just NOT A FAIR COMPARISON-----SCOPE OR NOT!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

The .45/70 has been kickin A$$ for many moons, and the Armi is one sweet rifle, BUT I went with the Browning. The scoped OO/6 is one sleek lookin long shooter!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

The High Wall is a beauty, but I had to go with the Armi Sharps. Its' traditional configuration makes it a bit more beautiful.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

The Browning Hi-Wall gets my vote. I will add, I think a more balanced comparison would be between the Browning High Wall and a Ruger #1, but the options presented simplify my choice.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

Have never shot or even handled either one of these so my opinion doesn't count. Neither does my vote so I won't cast one. But I would take 30-06 over 45-70 any day. I generally never had to shoot at game more than a hundred yards away, but once in a while, especially in Eastern Montana, a gun with some range (without lobbing) was more practical for hunting. Too often I needed more than one well-placed shot from 30-06 to put down large animals (moose or elk) but almost never took more than one round to do the job when hunting deer (no deer is worth the risk of taking a sloppy and/or running shot). So I would go with the Browning but only for deer hunting. The Sharps just isn't in the game for functionality. And I am a functional hunter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

A story on functionality vs nostalgia: This past fall I agreed to take my host in Montana out for a deer. It's the least I could do. He and his wife graciously put up with me and my three dogs for more than a month every year while I'm hunting pheasants. In the morning before we left he asked me what I thought about him trying out his new Marlin 45-70 saddle gun. "You must be kidding! Put that plaything away and get your Savage 25-06. This will probably be your last chance to get a deer for this season. We need to get 'er done!" I have already told the story once so I'll skip the details. In short, he opted to not take a shot at a buck seventy yards away because he thought two other guys coming up the coulee below us were hunting it and they were there first (whatta guy!). Finally he took a couple of steps and saw that they already had a fine buck down less than thirty yards below us! By then the other one was three hundred yards away. He ran over to a fence post, took quick aim just as it started to take off, and dropped it. He wouldn't even have attempted the shot if he'd been using the lever action lobster.

I once hunted with a fella who was using a Ruger #1 and I was amazed at how quickly and smoothly he could reload it. But, of course, we were not hunting in very cold weather either. I preferred to hunt big game in cold weather because I preferred to track them in snow. Consequently, a single shot was never in the cards for me. Just can't see myself trying to hurriedly shove a shell into one of those with numb fingers when it's minus ten or twenty. Also, though I love to look at expensive pretty guns, I hate to see them get banged up so I don't invest in them ... because I'd use them hunting and I hunt hard. Too hard for pretty guns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

Tough choice, but I have to tip my hat towards the Browning because I would actually take it up the mountain before I would the 34 inch bison terminator.Cheers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 10 weeks 6 days ago

I am very pleased with the results. It's nice to see a group of men who still believe if the first shot doesn't count. the second counts even less.
Tim again, great animal, great rifle. Even if the ballistics are like throwing a football. Must have been a heck of a hunt!
Kindest regards

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TLF Nevada wrote 10 weeks 6 days ago

Thank you Carl. It was a good hunt. You have me thinking of a Browning now. Of course in 45-70.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 6 weeks 4 days ago

I had a B-78 .30-06 just like this one. Beautiful gun and one of the most accurate I have owned. Also had one in .454 Casull. Makes a Ruger 1 want to slip back into its case.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from nehunter92 wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

Man, this one is tough for me. On the one hand, we have a Browning High Wall, one of my favorite rifles to shoot, and a storied gun in our deer camp (my father has taken quite a few deer with it). Only thing is, I’m not sure I dig the glass on top, or the fact that it’s in 30-06. Sure, the 30-06 is one of the most versatile cartridges in existence, and scopes on High Walls are common, but to me, that gun is meant to be like my fathers, semi-buckhorn iron sights in 45-70. And that sharps replica, oh man, it totally looks the part. I’m afraid I’m just too much in love with open sights and 45-70 on these types of guns. My vote goes to the Sharps replica.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Magnum1 wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Apples and oranges here it all comes down to preference. Earlier hunters did not have scopes but now I see a lot of scoped brush guns and I am like really? I favor open sight maybe because I grew up with them and being in the military using only open sights. Not knocking a scoped gun I have several for open range shooting but to me older guns without a scope are a thing of beauty which will test even the best of shooters.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Treestand you are correct; but these old eyes. And how can you argue with a Buffalo Rifle with a Buffalo in the picture!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Getting back to Mr. Browning. The High Wall came on the scene at about the pinnacle of single shot rifles. John figured he could make a better rifle by eliminating a step of half cocking the rifle. This facilitated a faster reload by just cocking and ejecting the case by pulling the lever. Pretty good with just the tools at hand in the 19th century.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

The .45/70 has been kickin A$$ for many moons, and the Armi is one sweet rifle, BUT I went with the Browning. The scoped OO/6 is one sleek lookin long shooter!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

PS; I hope this is not a double post. But I have to give homage To the Black Powder Guys. Anyone here knows Billy Dixon knows the range and ballistics of a rifle

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark-1 wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

Sharps. It's just very classy.

However, I have shot the 78 and other High Wall reproductions. Love them all, but my fav High Wall is Uberti in 45-70.

The Browning 78 I shot was in 25-06 years ago.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

I supposes the first one did not click. My vote goes for Tim's rifle. For a couple of reasons. First for the animal he took. Second because I coveted that rifle. Most off all because Billy Dixon [with a black powder rifle]took a long range shot that stot for decades.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Safado wrote 11 weeks 6 days ago

I have to go with the Browning High Wall. Beautiful gun, great wood, right caliber in my opinion.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from M.A.T wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

I had to go with the High-Wall. Designed by Browning. 30-06. Need I say more?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Proverbs wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

This is GFF at its best. Nice guns, good stories and photos, especially the field photo. Both are winners. Thanks for sharing!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jim in nc wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

I cast a write-in vote for the Stevens Armory Model: heavy barrel, .22, falling block, flip-up rear sight. Over 100 years old and shoots like brand new.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from oscarthefish wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

I have to vote for the black powder Sharps. I would like to see a traditional muzzleloader in the competition some time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

Carl...LUV your Browning...But~JMO~ To much Scope a Fixed Power Scope would look better,That's a lot of gun/scope to drag around the NY Woods,That a bean Field shooter.just saying.
And Armi that fills the bill/Bull in 45/70, Great Photo,Fab-looking gun, and Tim you look the part..Kudos

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

The High Wall is a beauty, but I had to go with the Armi Sharps. Its' traditional configuration makes it a bit more beautiful.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Edward J. Palumbo wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

The Browning Hi-Wall gets my vote. I will add, I think a more balanced comparison would be between the Browning High Wall and a Ruger #1, but the options presented simplify my choice.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

Have never shot or even handled either one of these so my opinion doesn't count. Neither does my vote so I won't cast one. But I would take 30-06 over 45-70 any day. I generally never had to shoot at game more than a hundred yards away, but once in a while, especially in Eastern Montana, a gun with some range (without lobbing) was more practical for hunting. Too often I needed more than one well-placed shot from 30-06 to put down large animals (moose or elk) but almost never took more than one round to do the job when hunting deer (no deer is worth the risk of taking a sloppy and/or running shot). So I would go with the Browning but only for deer hunting. The Sharps just isn't in the game for functionality. And I am a functional hunter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

A story on functionality vs nostalgia: This past fall I agreed to take my host in Montana out for a deer. It's the least I could do. He and his wife graciously put up with me and my three dogs for more than a month every year while I'm hunting pheasants. In the morning before we left he asked me what I thought about him trying out his new Marlin 45-70 saddle gun. "You must be kidding! Put that plaything away and get your Savage 25-06. This will probably be your last chance to get a deer for this season. We need to get 'er done!" I have already told the story once so I'll skip the details. In short, he opted to not take a shot at a buck seventy yards away because he thought two other guys coming up the coulee below us were hunting it and they were there first (whatta guy!). Finally he took a couple of steps and saw that they already had a fine buck down less than thirty yards below us! By then the other one was three hundred yards away. He ran over to a fence post, took quick aim just as it started to take off, and dropped it. He wouldn't even have attempted the shot if he'd been using the lever action lobster.

I once hunted with a fella who was using a Ruger #1 and I was amazed at how quickly and smoothly he could reload it. But, of course, we were not hunting in very cold weather either. I preferred to hunt big game in cold weather because I preferred to track them in snow. Consequently, a single shot was never in the cards for me. Just can't see myself trying to hurriedly shove a shell into one of those with numb fingers when it's minus ten or twenty. Also, though I love to look at expensive pretty guns, I hate to see them get banged up so I don't invest in them ... because I'd use them hunting and I hunt hard. Too hard for pretty guns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 11 weeks 3 days ago

Tough choice, but I have to tip my hat towards the Browning because I would actually take it up the mountain before I would the 34 inch bison terminator.Cheers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carl Huber wrote 10 weeks 6 days ago

I am very pleased with the results. It's nice to see a group of men who still believe if the first shot doesn't count. the second counts even less.
Tim again, great animal, great rifle. Even if the ballistics are like throwing a football. Must have been a heck of a hunt!
Kindest regards

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TLF Nevada wrote 10 weeks 6 days ago

Thank you Carl. It was a good hunt. You have me thinking of a Browning now. Of course in 45-70.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MLH wrote 6 weeks 4 days ago

I had a B-78 .30-06 just like this one. Beautiful gun and one of the most accurate I have owned. Also had one in .454 Casull. Makes a Ruger 1 want to slip back into its case.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steven L. Bunt wrote 11 weeks 4 days ago

I say its NO FAIR,Both are nice on there own. The one is using 20&21st century ammo,compared to a 19th century AMMO;that just NOT A FAIR COMPARISON-----SCOPE OR NOT!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dallas A. McWhorter wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

This is a competition between nostalgia and praticaclity, and why'll I'm a big fan of practicality, I'm not immuned to nostalgia. Why'll the Browning is a heck of a lot more usefull than the Armi, I just can't say no to a set of double triggers, and also, if want a .30-06 I want it to be a bolt action. So my vote goes to Tim. And besides, Carl insulted my mother once, and while I'm all about forgive and forget, I just find it really hard to let that go.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dallas A. McWhorter wrote 11 weeks 5 days ago

I'm just joking about that last part. Don't anybody get to worked up about it. Well, mostly joking anyway.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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