March 30, 2009
A Brief Guide to Feckless* Rifles
By David E. Petzal
*Not a typo.
The previous post elicited so many interesting opinions that I was able to get a second post out of it. Herewith:
1. The message on the Badger muzzle brake and on the Claymore mine is “Front toward enemy,” not what I had. Once more my memory has done me dirt.
2. In theory, you could take the .30/06 in question hunting and never miss a shot with it—provided you kept your shots to 200 yards or less. Beyond that, stray shots really start to wander. I myself would not hunt with such a rifle because I have other guns that don’t throw shots. Why ask for trouble? It will find you without any help.
3. A number of you suggested a ruptured scope, or parallax, or loose rings or bases. In my experience, if a scope is defective, or the bases or rings are loose, you won’t get any kind of groups at all, or you’ll get 4-inch groups. As for parallax, the scope was an American model Zeiss 4.5X-14X with dial-a-dog parallax on the turret, so that was not the problem.
4. It’s pretty hard to throw a shot from a bench rest if you’re set up correctly. The last time I did it was November 2, 1981. I do throw shots from unsupported positions, and am man enough to admit it.
5. About 15 years ago, I got hold of a very nice Mauser-action .338 that would not shoot. I spent most of a summer trying to get it to group, and in the process spent $400 for a new barrel and $2,783.22 on 250-grain Nosler Partitions plus many pounds of different powders and primers. In the end, the god damn thing still would not shoot, and I swore never again. If I can’t get a gun cooking in a couple of weeks and with a minimum of expense, away it goes.
6. The story about Kenny Jarrett cutting receivers in half is true. He told me years ago that about twice every twelve months they would get a rifle that would not shoot no matter what--new barrel, new stock, load after load, new scope. He was never able to pin down exactly what the trouble was, but he didn’t want to screw around with a hopeless project any longer.