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December 29, 2009

What We Can Learn From Lefty

By David E. Petzal

A friend of mine asked me to write something about Warren Page, Field & Stream’s shooting editor from 1947 to 1972. So be it.

Page, whose nickname was Lefty,  started at F&S at just the time that the great wildcatting epidemic began. Every gunmaker who could ream out a set of loading dies had a series of cartridges with his name on it. Page, being a technoid of the first magnitude, was heavily involved in all this, and as he put it, “I wore out the decimal key on the typewriter.”

Yet despite the deluge of wildcats, and the eventual cascade of new factory rounds that followed, Page was essentially a one-gun hunter. He used lots of different stuff, but the majority of his big-game trophies were killed with a single rifle—a 7mm Mashburn Super Magnum. Page got this rifle very early in his career—1949 or so. He called it “Old Betsy,” and used only one handload for everything, a 175-grain Nosler semi-spitzer bullet at 3,050 fps. Throughout her career, Old Betsy wore only one scope, a 4X Redfield with a medium crosshair, and with this combination, Page killed 475 head of big game of all shapes and sizes, at all ranges. He hunted his way to a Weatherby Trophy and into Rowland Ward and Boone and Crockett.

Now, as then, we are barraged by new cartridges. A very few are truly worthwhile, but most are simply part of an effort to sell new rifles. Page wrote about all the new rounds of his day, but he was not taken in by them. When he wanted to kill something he reached for the Mashburn. It never failed him, and he saw no reason to desert it for something newer and trendier.

That is what we can learn from Lefty. If you have your own Old Betsy, stay with her. If you believe in her, that is worth more than any number of feet per second or grains of bullet weight or anything else that may come down the pike.

Comments (38)

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

This is probably why the 30-06 is so popular. I have always searched for something better. Right now that is my Kimber 25-06. In my safe you will find my father in law's Old Betsy, a JC Higgins 30-06 bolt gun (mauser action) with 4X Weaver scope. It hasn't been fired in at least 25 years.

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from Jerry A. wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'll stick with my 6.5x55 Swedish. It should do for anything I'm likely to see in my area.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

30/06 for lower 48, 375 H&H for "Dangerous Game" or the "Big 5"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'm with Del. My '06 has killed everything I've ever shot with it, and even though I have other guns in the safe, I seem to reach for Old Ugly every time something needs killing.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from crm3006 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Moishe-
I like your choices. A 270 gr. .375 H&H has almost identical balistics to a 180 gr. .30-'06.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

A 175gr .284 bullet in a 300mag case at 3000fps. Sounds like a bullet that will keep going and going and going.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'm not much of a Gun Nut but I own "a few" and enjoy what each different caliber gives me. I understand how some guys can fall in love with one women but forgive me if I tell you I will continue to play the field.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I guess my Old Betsy is my Ruger #1-s 7mm Rem Mag I bought/bartered for while I was in college about 20 years ago. It was quite a stretch to own something like that on a meager student budget. I have managed to keep it in very good shape even though I have strayed away from her several times. I think it's time to take her out again.

Maybe tomorrow or the day after.....

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Carney wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Women = Only one til death do us part.

Guns = You just never can have too many -- even if you do have a favorite!

+10 Good Comment? | | Report
from imawild1 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I've had a .308, in one form or another for over 45 years. Only once have I had to track any game, and then only a very short way. I have more powerful rifles, but my .308 is my go to rifle.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

+1! Dave, you, I, and Warren are on the same page there. i am not sure how many of us there are, but old tried and true (for me, its my remington 700bdl in 300 win mag) will kill anything anywhere i am going to hunt in my lifetime. i did pick up a second rifle, one i had wanted for some time. 1/2, just to see what it was all about, 1/2 to see how well it worked. my second rifle (which is my back up) or HEAVY cover gun is a marlin 1895 45/70 govt. certainly not one of the newcomers on the block. i have seen some very good cartridges go by the wayside in the name of progress (300 H&H for one). and all of these new ssm cartridges will be some that will eventually be obsolete as well. like you stated, they were brought about to sell rifles. my 300 win mag will certainly kill anything that a ssm or rcm will at any range that i will ever shoot. and throwing the bolt an extra 0.100" or so certainly will not slow me down any apreciable amount of time. a few hundred fps on a balistics chart, doesnt mean squat in the feild. shot placement, and enough power to get the job done is what is important. if you cant shoot well, it doesnt matter if you are shooting a wsmg superdooperpooperscooper mag with 7000fps % 8800 ft lbs of energy if all you can do is gut shot, or graze the animal, if you hit it at all. i have seen people take animals with seriously underpowered guns for the shot they took. how did they do it, Warren could tell you, two words, SHOT PLACEMENT. they knew their gun like the back of their hand, knew it limits, and most importantly, knew how to shoot it well.

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from JCB wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

And once again the old adage is proven. " Beware of the man with one gun. He knows how to use it."

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from blueridge wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dear Dave,
Your message today took me way back, to the late 1940's, when Dad felt he needed a more powerful round to reach across Colorado canyons for mulies. He sent his own preferred specs to P.O. Ackley, based on the H&H belted case...voila: the Russ Fowler Wildcat...a 7mm Magnum which did the job, beautifully. He built a new stock of plain walnut, and it sported a Weaver variable for decades. It now is in our Son's hands, wearing a Burris scope, and still shoots beautifully, BUT--rebarrelled with the Remington 7mm Mag. barrel. Dad felt he had proved his point, and he was tired of making his own brass.

Thanks for the look at Lefty.

Happy New Year...keep writing. We need your perspective in our shooting sport. Kind thoughts, fair winds, and following seas.

Blue

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from focusfront wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I remember the 7mm Mashburn but don't remember what case it was made from, etc. Why didn't he just use a 7mm Weatherby?

That said, a 175 grain 7mm Nosler at 3000+ is a lot of gun. Those ballistics and that bullet will do anything a .270, .30-06, or for that matter any .300 Magnum will do, with less wind drift besides. You could shoot anything in North America with Page's Mashburn and never wonder afterwards why you brought it. That's a Betsy round.

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from tom warner wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'm with IMAWILD1. I have killed most every species of North American game with my .308's over many years, and while I have strayed to a few other calibers from time to time, this has been great cartridge for me. As we all really know,but will not always admit,it's WHERE you hit 'em, not what you hit 'em with!

Tom

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from PbHead wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, is the big difference between F&S and the other magazine the fact that the great F&S shooting editors are Leftys and the others are Rightys?

Happy New Year to All! May all your shots fly true and your blades stay sharp.

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from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I haven't owned my guns long enough to call them "Old Betsy" but I do believe I've found the gun that will get called that in the future. I've had it for just over a year and it's finally the one I want to carry with me for nearly any hunt I will find myself. It is a Tikka M658 .30-06. Trigger pull so crisp it sends chills down my spine. Can't wait for my brother to get back from Afghanistan to work the stock. I bought it used and it has some small bumps and bruises.. I love those character marks when I make them, but since it was someone else who put them on, I gotta start fresh.

Thanks for the retro look at Lefty..

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from bluegraytx wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

My philosphy on rifles is about the same as that of fly fishermen: Match the hatch. In the Piney Woods of E. Texas there's two calibers; for the Colorado mountains another; for windy Wyoming another; for moose country two more; and for wet and wild Alaska still another. Then there's always a few rifles for the "what-if" situations and the back-ups. Seems to me that such variety adds another dimension to this "hobby" we call hunting.

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from jamesti wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

i'm with carney, you can never have too many. i love my savage 30-06 but having lived for so long in alaska, i would never over look my weatherby .300 win mag, or my browning .338 mag. i like to hunt with a dfferent rifle when possible just because i own them and don't want them to just sit. the trick is to shoot them enough to be comfortable with them when it's time to hunt. come to think of it, i haven't been shooting in a few days. today would be good. happy new years, all.

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from wingshooter54 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Life would be less interesting if I had only one rifle in the safe. If I had to reduce to one (and it may get to that if we don't stand together for our 2nd amendment rights) for my hunting, it would be a hard choice between a .260 Remington LSS mountain rifle and a Ruger no 1A 7x57. The 7x57 would probably get the nod. Since I presently live under no such restrictions, a Remington CDL SF limited in 257 Weatherby is on the way. A specialized rifle and caliber that I intend to use on those way the hell out there peanut and wheat field whitetails. With a hold on hair trajectory to 400 yards, the 257 is my choice for the "beanfield" caliber. Despite what I read and see on the outdoor channels, 400 yards is my limit and is a long damn ways. Anyway, it was a good excuse to get a new rifle and caliber. Anytime I excercise my 2nd amendment rights, I hope it causes a major pain in every gun control advocates lower anatomy.

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from davidpetzal wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

To FocusFront: I believe that Warren made his Mashburn brass from .300 H&H brass. He chose the Mashburn over the Weatherby because the Mashburn holds about 5-7 grains more powder. He was getting 3,050 fps out of a 22-inch barrel, and I think the most I've ever gotten from a 7mm Weatherby and 175-grain bullets is 2,900 fps, out of a 24-inch barrel.

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from sarg wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, I have a Book by Warren Page which I refer to quite often. "THE ACCURATE RIFLE". Still good reading and very informative. Saved my butt more than once. Saved me from throwing a good scope away once. While down to the LGS everyone was getting their deer rifles boresighted, so like a dummy i reached over and told the gent. to boresight mine. He told me I had a bad scope because when he moved his head the crosshairs moved. So on the way home I thought about his book and realized that the gentleman had tried to boresight my rifle at 26 yds and with the obj.,, lense set at 1000yd the crosshairs will move. Scope was fine.(My favorite scope). Warren had several books and are hard to find now.

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from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I am very lucky, have three "Old Betsy", all of them very old. A 22-250 bull barrel by the Remington Custom Shop, a 300 Win Mag by the late great Seely Masker, and a very battered old .416 Rigby crafted 45 years ago by Griffin & Howe. The latter two have seen every inch of huntable country in the world.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dr. Petzal; Funny, I was just thinking about this very subject earlier this morning (before I read your post). My "Ol Betsy" is my Savage 338 Win Mag, it has only an old steel Weaver K-4 on it, but it always seems to end up going hunting with me, even for mule deer. It is my "go-to" gun.

Nosler lists a load for the 7mm Remington that is 2970 or so with 175 grain Partition bullets and a hefty dose of RL22 from a 24" test barrel. So far it's the most optomistic 175 grain 7Mag load I've seen published lately, not too far behind Lefty's Mashburn.
I finally aquired box of those bullets and hopefully I will chronograph them from my Browning with a 26" barrel in a month or two. I'll see if I can come close to Nosler's data.
AKX

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from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dave,
Forgot to mention how much I appreciate your mentioning Warren Page. He really knew his business, and was a great writer to boot. At the time the general hunting community was so taken with O'Connor and Keith he was often overlooked which should not have been the case.

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from Bernie wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I used to enjoy Page's writing and have what I believe are his only two books--"The Accurate Rifle" and "One Man's Wilderness." My own 7mm Weatherby shoots 175-grain Nosler Partitions between 2,980 and 3,008 fps but that is with a 26" Douglas barrel. I have never had this rifle, cartridge or bullet fail me on anything. I HAVE failed the rifle at times by missing or making a poor shot.

I remember a fine tribute that you wrote in Field & Stream some years ago, Dave, and it was entitled "Lefty." You described among other things Page's successful battle with alcoholism. I think he had an English degree from Harvard, applied for the fishing editor job at F & S and ended up being hired as shooting/hunting editor. He was indeed a legend. Wish I could have met him.

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from sarg wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Bernie, you may be right about Page only writing two books, but I was thinking he had another. could be wrong, but I belonged to Outdoor Life book Club I believe in the latter '60's but I still have most of my books. Loaned a few ,never returned If you know what i mean. Good reading .Happy New Year to you and your's...

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Greg Arnold wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

1939 Winchester Model 70 in 300 H&H still shooting with the factory Lyman peep sight. This rifle has taken 72 white-tails in 37 years using 150 grain spitzer. It became mine when my Dad died in 1972, he was the original owner.

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from Zermoid wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I guess my Swede Mauser is my "Old Betsy", it weighs a ton, and is long enuff to be used as a crutch, but it's what I use the most, the Marlin 30-30 would be second choice I guess, Not as much range but fast firepower for thick cover woods hunting.

Is this limited to rifles?

Now that I'm thinking about it I guess my Ruger Redhawk would be my "Old Betsy", as it's always with me in deer season, even though it doesn't get used alot it's always there.

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from sarg wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

This is not limited to

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from yohan wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Talked with a guy two days ago in Norway ,..
Asked him how the Elg (moose)season went,
Said yes goot got big cow,. but the group 12-15 of em epending on the day or week got 12 ,..lotta mose meat.

He picked up a 45-70 guide gun a few years ago
Shot a couple with it ,and considers it a very good ( fun ) short to medium range choice for moose, elk, deer, sized game.
.. But when he "Needs to get it done" when its late in the seasona and he wants nothing left to chance
His old Betsy, ( for Moose ) is a Sako bolt of the .308 nato flavor.
He handloads 165 grain pills and says he actually thingks a tad slower and heavier ( than a whomped up 150gr) in the.308 (or o6) is better.
Claims hes taken ovr 40 moose with it ( he's geezer vintage) but can still walk the shoes off a sasquatch and he aint broke ,.. so I believe the guy.
He also says
"Yaw Yaw vit dat one I can afford to practice and it don't kick me silly ,. so ven a moose come ,.. da odds for him get pretty low. yuk yuk
Point being,. we here in the good ole USofA are many times inmy humble opinion under practiced and over gunned ,.. but hey ,. it America.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BamaHunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

In 1993 I was visiting my girlfriend at the pawnshop where she worked. My eye fell on a used rifle and I ended up buying it for $300. It was an old Ruger M77 in 7mm Rem Mag (can anyone tell me when Ruger quit putting the safety atop the tang like on a Mossberg 500?) with one of the first camo fiberglass aftermarket stocks and a Tasco World class scope. Several test firings later I discovered it would shoot Federal Premium 140 gr Partitions into an honest MOA and a love affair was born. Dozens of deer and a few coyotes fell victim to the combo
Two years ago, I let a bud "super clean" it and it went crazy. Wouldn't group into a foot. Two days before season I ran out and bought a Weatherby. Never felt right so I took "Old AT&T" (Long distance, next best thing to being there)to a gunsmith. Turns out, my bud had broken the trigger gaurd while reassembling and the action screws couldnt hold the action in the stock consistently.
A new trigger guard, pillar bedding,free floating the barrel and a Zeiss Conquest scope later, the love is reborn. it wont shoot the 140's under an inch now but 160 gr Partitions at 2960 fps go into .85. HA-LE-LUH-YAH!!!!!!. I took my latest whitetail with it Saturday.
P.S. I've got a nice Fibermark 7mm for sale.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Thanks for the info on the Mashburn Magnum, Dave. That .300 H&H case does everything but field dress the game.

You know, this really does bring back memories. When I got involved in shooting in the late '60s, early '70s, the 7mm Magnums were the stars of the shooting world (my Old Betsy was a .30-06; cheaper ammo). Now they seem to underwhelm us for some reason; when today's gunwriters list their favorite cartridges they usually forget to mention a 7mm Mag. In the '70s that would have been akin to forgetting Mom on Mother's Day.

I think we forgot what Page taught us; the neglected 175 grain bullet is what a 7mm Magnum is all about. There are no 'new school' bullets in that weight at all that I can find yet it has every attribute we look for in a hunting or target shooting bullet. Its sectional density is .310 (deep in .338 territory), so penetration of game is not an issue. Nosler and Speer will sell you one with a B.C.s of .519 and .533, respectively; in a reasonably fast twist barrel, those will defy wind drift better than the 140 grain 6.5s and 190 grain .30s we all slobber over. As those of us who have shot some at long range know, (lack of) wind drift is much more important than an inch or two of flatter trajectory... not that trajectory is an issue at 3000+ fps. So Page's rifle was an extremely easy rifle to actually HIT game with at 300 yards than just about anything out there now.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

focusfront-
Good comment. A lot of us get so focused on bullet drop at a certain range, we completely forget about bullet drift with whatever wind factor. Drift or drop, it can still be a miss!

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Warren Page was a one of kind hunter; "Practical items to own" is a dying art in America; Gun ownership included. I own a fair collection of them,so I am not passing judgement here on anyone.
Generations of hunters made due with what they had because owning more guns was just economically impossible.
Most of us were lucky enough not to have lived thru really poor times, but most of us have older family members that did and these are some of the most practical people you will ever meet.
Warren Page was probably a very practical man in many other ways, as well.
ME, I'll buy as many guns that catch my interest,and can afford,the few more-or-less fps be damned!
Happy New Year everyone!

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from O Garcia wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Risking a lot of flak again with this post, but I've always wondered about that mythical 7mm Mashburn, esp. because some writers refer to it as the 7mm Mashburn "Super" Magnum, while some writers do not include Super. I've never seen one, so forgive my ignorance, was the Mashburn the cousin of the 7mm Remington/Weatherby OR the longer 7mm STW or similar full magnum length wildcats like 7mm-300 Wby?

I'm asking this because the mythical performance of Warren Page's 7mm Mashburn - the GOLDEN STANDARD for Sevens - a 175-grainer at 3,000 fps, is what people have in mind when they buy the 7mmRemMag. And they often end up disappointed. Although as Sam Fadala writes, if you buy [expensive] RWS ammo, the 7mmRemMag. really sings.

Is it fair to compare the two? Was the Mashburn based on a bigger case? Was it run at much higher pressure?

I know a lot of forum members here (including Mr. Petzal) aren't big fans of the Remington, but if you look at what it does, at the pressure it is commonly loaded (I look at the Hodgdon manual, most 7mm Rem. Mag. loads don't even break the 60,000 PSI mark), I think it does quite well. It's just not the Mashburn.

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from O Garcia wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Also, did the Super in the Mashburn inspire Remington to add Ultra to the name of its line of .404 Jeffery based cartridges?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I don't know for certain, but a 175 gr bullet at 3,000 fps is a tall order for a 7mm Remington Mag. Most 160's only clock about 2,950 fps or so. For a 175 grain 7mm Rem Mag bullet's performance, you might as well shoot a 180 grain .30-06 at 2700-2800 fps.

The 7mm Weatherby will launch a 175 at 3,020 fps, as will a 7mm STW. I like the lighter bullets in my 7 Wby.

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from Carney wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Women = Only one til death do us part.

Guns = You just never can have too many -- even if you do have a favorite!

+10 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

+1! Dave, you, I, and Warren are on the same page there. i am not sure how many of us there are, but old tried and true (for me, its my remington 700bdl in 300 win mag) will kill anything anywhere i am going to hunt in my lifetime. i did pick up a second rifle, one i had wanted for some time. 1/2, just to see what it was all about, 1/2 to see how well it worked. my second rifle (which is my back up) or HEAVY cover gun is a marlin 1895 45/70 govt. certainly not one of the newcomers on the block. i have seen some very good cartridges go by the wayside in the name of progress (300 H&H for one). and all of these new ssm cartridges will be some that will eventually be obsolete as well. like you stated, they were brought about to sell rifles. my 300 win mag will certainly kill anything that a ssm or rcm will at any range that i will ever shoot. and throwing the bolt an extra 0.100" or so certainly will not slow me down any apreciable amount of time. a few hundred fps on a balistics chart, doesnt mean squat in the feild. shot placement, and enough power to get the job done is what is important. if you cant shoot well, it doesnt matter if you are shooting a wsmg superdooperpooperscooper mag with 7000fps % 8800 ft lbs of energy if all you can do is gut shot, or graze the animal, if you hit it at all. i have seen people take animals with seriously underpowered guns for the shot they took. how did they do it, Warren could tell you, two words, SHOT PLACEMENT. they knew their gun like the back of their hand, knew it limits, and most importantly, knew how to shoot it well.

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

This is probably why the 30-06 is so popular. I have always searched for something better. Right now that is my Kimber 25-06. In my safe you will find my father in law's Old Betsy, a JC Higgins 30-06 bolt gun (mauser action) with 4X Weaver scope. It hasn't been fired in at least 25 years.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'm with Del. My '06 has killed everything I've ever shot with it, and even though I have other guns in the safe, I seem to reach for Old Ugly every time something needs killing.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Moishe-
I like your choices. A 270 gr. .375 H&H has almost identical balistics to a 180 gr. .30-'06.

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from focusfront wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I remember the 7mm Mashburn but don't remember what case it was made from, etc. Why didn't he just use a 7mm Weatherby?

That said, a 175 grain 7mm Nosler at 3000+ is a lot of gun. Those ballistics and that bullet will do anything a .270, .30-06, or for that matter any .300 Magnum will do, with less wind drift besides. You could shoot anything in North America with Page's Mashburn and never wonder afterwards why you brought it. That's a Betsy round.

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from SD_Whitetail_Hntr wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I haven't owned my guns long enough to call them "Old Betsy" but I do believe I've found the gun that will get called that in the future. I've had it for just over a year and it's finally the one I want to carry with me for nearly any hunt I will find myself. It is a Tikka M658 .30-06. Trigger pull so crisp it sends chills down my spine. Can't wait for my brother to get back from Afghanistan to work the stock. I bought it used and it has some small bumps and bruises.. I love those character marks when I make them, but since it was someone else who put them on, I gotta start fresh.

Thanks for the retro look at Lefty..

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from BamaHunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

In 1993 I was visiting my girlfriend at the pawnshop where she worked. My eye fell on a used rifle and I ended up buying it for $300. It was an old Ruger M77 in 7mm Rem Mag (can anyone tell me when Ruger quit putting the safety atop the tang like on a Mossberg 500?) with one of the first camo fiberglass aftermarket stocks and a Tasco World class scope. Several test firings later I discovered it would shoot Federal Premium 140 gr Partitions into an honest MOA and a love affair was born. Dozens of deer and a few coyotes fell victim to the combo
Two years ago, I let a bud "super clean" it and it went crazy. Wouldn't group into a foot. Two days before season I ran out and bought a Weatherby. Never felt right so I took "Old AT&T" (Long distance, next best thing to being there)to a gunsmith. Turns out, my bud had broken the trigger gaurd while reassembling and the action screws couldnt hold the action in the stock consistently.
A new trigger guard, pillar bedding,free floating the barrel and a Zeiss Conquest scope later, the love is reborn. it wont shoot the 140's under an inch now but 160 gr Partitions at 2960 fps go into .85. HA-LE-LUH-YAH!!!!!!. I took my latest whitetail with it Saturday.
P.S. I've got a nice Fibermark 7mm for sale.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from focusfront wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Thanks for the info on the Mashburn Magnum, Dave. That .300 H&H case does everything but field dress the game.

You know, this really does bring back memories. When I got involved in shooting in the late '60s, early '70s, the 7mm Magnums were the stars of the shooting world (my Old Betsy was a .30-06; cheaper ammo). Now they seem to underwhelm us for some reason; when today's gunwriters list their favorite cartridges they usually forget to mention a 7mm Mag. In the '70s that would have been akin to forgetting Mom on Mother's Day.

I think we forgot what Page taught us; the neglected 175 grain bullet is what a 7mm Magnum is all about. There are no 'new school' bullets in that weight at all that I can find yet it has every attribute we look for in a hunting or target shooting bullet. Its sectional density is .310 (deep in .338 territory), so penetration of game is not an issue. Nosler and Speer will sell you one with a B.C.s of .519 and .533, respectively; in a reasonably fast twist barrel, those will defy wind drift better than the 140 grain 6.5s and 190 grain .30s we all slobber over. As those of us who have shot some at long range know, (lack of) wind drift is much more important than an inch or two of flatter trajectory... not that trajectory is an issue at 3000+ fps. So Page's rifle was an extremely easy rifle to actually HIT game with at 300 yards than just about anything out there now.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Warren Page was a one of kind hunter; "Practical items to own" is a dying art in America; Gun ownership included. I own a fair collection of them,so I am not passing judgement here on anyone.
Generations of hunters made due with what they had because owning more guns was just economically impossible.
Most of us were lucky enough not to have lived thru really poor times, but most of us have older family members that did and these are some of the most practical people you will ever meet.
Warren Page was probably a very practical man in many other ways, as well.
ME, I'll buy as many guns that catch my interest,and can afford,the few more-or-less fps be damned!
Happy New Year everyone!

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from Jerry A. wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'll stick with my 6.5x55 Swedish. It should do for anything I'm likely to see in my area.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

A 175gr .284 bullet in a 300mag case at 3000fps. Sounds like a bullet that will keep going and going and going.

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I guess my Old Betsy is my Ruger #1-s 7mm Rem Mag I bought/bartered for while I was in college about 20 years ago. It was quite a stretch to own something like that on a meager student budget. I have managed to keep it in very good shape even though I have strayed away from her several times. I think it's time to take her out again.

Maybe tomorrow or the day after.....

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from imawild1 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I've had a .308, in one form or another for over 45 years. Only once have I had to track any game, and then only a very short way. I have more powerful rifles, but my .308 is my go to rifle.

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from JCB wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

And once again the old adage is proven. " Beware of the man with one gun. He knows how to use it."

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from blueridge wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dear Dave,
Your message today took me way back, to the late 1940's, when Dad felt he needed a more powerful round to reach across Colorado canyons for mulies. He sent his own preferred specs to P.O. Ackley, based on the H&H belted case...voila: the Russ Fowler Wildcat...a 7mm Magnum which did the job, beautifully. He built a new stock of plain walnut, and it sported a Weaver variable for decades. It now is in our Son's hands, wearing a Burris scope, and still shoots beautifully, BUT--rebarrelled with the Remington 7mm Mag. barrel. Dad felt he had proved his point, and he was tired of making his own brass.

Thanks for the look at Lefty.

Happy New Year...keep writing. We need your perspective in our shooting sport. Kind thoughts, fair winds, and following seas.

Blue

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from tom warner wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'm with IMAWILD1. I have killed most every species of North American game with my .308's over many years, and while I have strayed to a few other calibers from time to time, this has been great cartridge for me. As we all really know,but will not always admit,it's WHERE you hit 'em, not what you hit 'em with!

Tom

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from PbHead wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, is the big difference between F&S and the other magazine the fact that the great F&S shooting editors are Leftys and the others are Rightys?

Happy New Year to All! May all your shots fly true and your blades stay sharp.

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from bluegraytx wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

My philosphy on rifles is about the same as that of fly fishermen: Match the hatch. In the Piney Woods of E. Texas there's two calibers; for the Colorado mountains another; for windy Wyoming another; for moose country two more; and for wet and wild Alaska still another. Then there's always a few rifles for the "what-if" situations and the back-ups. Seems to me that such variety adds another dimension to this "hobby" we call hunting.

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from jamesti wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

i'm with carney, you can never have too many. i love my savage 30-06 but having lived for so long in alaska, i would never over look my weatherby .300 win mag, or my browning .338 mag. i like to hunt with a dfferent rifle when possible just because i own them and don't want them to just sit. the trick is to shoot them enough to be comfortable with them when it's time to hunt. come to think of it, i haven't been shooting in a few days. today would be good. happy new years, all.

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from davidpetzal wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

To FocusFront: I believe that Warren made his Mashburn brass from .300 H&H brass. He chose the Mashburn over the Weatherby because the Mashburn holds about 5-7 grains more powder. He was getting 3,050 fps out of a 22-inch barrel, and I think the most I've ever gotten from a 7mm Weatherby and 175-grain bullets is 2,900 fps, out of a 24-inch barrel.

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from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I am very lucky, have three "Old Betsy", all of them very old. A 22-250 bull barrel by the Remington Custom Shop, a 300 Win Mag by the late great Seely Masker, and a very battered old .416 Rigby crafted 45 years ago by Griffin & Howe. The latter two have seen every inch of huntable country in the world.

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from Happy Myles wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dave,
Forgot to mention how much I appreciate your mentioning Warren Page. He really knew his business, and was a great writer to boot. At the time the general hunting community was so taken with O'Connor and Keith he was often overlooked which should not have been the case.

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from Bernie wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I used to enjoy Page's writing and have what I believe are his only two books--"The Accurate Rifle" and "One Man's Wilderness." My own 7mm Weatherby shoots 175-grain Nosler Partitions between 2,980 and 3,008 fps but that is with a 26" Douglas barrel. I have never had this rifle, cartridge or bullet fail me on anything. I HAVE failed the rifle at times by missing or making a poor shot.

I remember a fine tribute that you wrote in Field & Stream some years ago, Dave, and it was entitled "Lefty." You described among other things Page's successful battle with alcoholism. I think he had an English degree from Harvard, applied for the fishing editor job at F & S and ended up being hired as shooting/hunting editor. He was indeed a legend. Wish I could have met him.

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from Zermoid wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I guess my Swede Mauser is my "Old Betsy", it weighs a ton, and is long enuff to be used as a crutch, but it's what I use the most, the Marlin 30-30 would be second choice I guess, Not as much range but fast firepower for thick cover woods hunting.

Is this limited to rifles?

Now that I'm thinking about it I guess my Ruger Redhawk would be my "Old Betsy", as it's always with me in deer season, even though it doesn't get used alot it's always there.

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from crm3006 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

focusfront-
Good comment. A lot of us get so focused on bullet drop at a certain range, we completely forget about bullet drift with whatever wind factor. Drift or drop, it can still be a miss!

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

30/06 for lower 48, 375 H&H for "Dangerous Game" or the "Big 5"

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from buckhunter wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

I'm not much of a Gun Nut but I own "a few" and enjoy what each different caliber gives me. I understand how some guys can fall in love with one women but forgive me if I tell you I will continue to play the field.

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from wingshooter54 wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Life would be less interesting if I had only one rifle in the safe. If I had to reduce to one (and it may get to that if we don't stand together for our 2nd amendment rights) for my hunting, it would be a hard choice between a .260 Remington LSS mountain rifle and a Ruger no 1A 7x57. The 7x57 would probably get the nod. Since I presently live under no such restrictions, a Remington CDL SF limited in 257 Weatherby is on the way. A specialized rifle and caliber that I intend to use on those way the hell out there peanut and wheat field whitetails. With a hold on hair trajectory to 400 yards, the 257 is my choice for the "beanfield" caliber. Despite what I read and see on the outdoor channels, 400 yards is my limit and is a long damn ways. Anyway, it was a good excuse to get a new rifle and caliber. Anytime I excercise my 2nd amendment rights, I hope it causes a major pain in every gun control advocates lower anatomy.

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from sarg wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dave, I have a Book by Warren Page which I refer to quite often. "THE ACCURATE RIFLE". Still good reading and very informative. Saved my butt more than once. Saved me from throwing a good scope away once. While down to the LGS everyone was getting their deer rifles boresighted, so like a dummy i reached over and told the gent. to boresight mine. He told me I had a bad scope because when he moved his head the crosshairs moved. So on the way home I thought about his book and realized that the gentleman had tried to boresight my rifle at 26 yds and with the obj.,, lense set at 1000yd the crosshairs will move. Scope was fine.(My favorite scope). Warren had several books and are hard to find now.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Dr. Petzal; Funny, I was just thinking about this very subject earlier this morning (before I read your post). My "Ol Betsy" is my Savage 338 Win Mag, it has only an old steel Weaver K-4 on it, but it always seems to end up going hunting with me, even for mule deer. It is my "go-to" gun.

Nosler lists a load for the 7mm Remington that is 2970 or so with 175 grain Partition bullets and a hefty dose of RL22 from a 24" test barrel. So far it's the most optomistic 175 grain 7Mag load I've seen published lately, not too far behind Lefty's Mashburn.
I finally aquired box of those bullets and hopefully I will chronograph them from my Browning with a 26" barrel in a month or two. I'll see if I can come close to Nosler's data.
AKX

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from sarg wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Bernie, you may be right about Page only writing two books, but I was thinking he had another. could be wrong, but I belonged to Outdoor Life book Club I believe in the latter '60's but I still have most of my books. Loaned a few ,never returned If you know what i mean. Good reading .Happy New Year to you and your's...

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from Greg Arnold wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

1939 Winchester Model 70 in 300 H&H still shooting with the factory Lyman peep sight. This rifle has taken 72 white-tails in 37 years using 150 grain spitzer. It became mine when my Dad died in 1972, he was the original owner.

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from sarg wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

This is not limited to

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from yohan wrote 4 years 15 weeks ago

Talked with a guy two days ago in Norway ,..
Asked him how the Elg (moose)season went,
Said yes goot got big cow,. but the group 12-15 of em epending on the day or week got 12 ,..lotta mose meat.

He picked up a 45-70 guide gun a few years ago
Shot a couple with it ,and considers it a very good ( fun ) short to medium range choice for moose, elk, deer, sized game.
.. But when he "Needs to get it done" when its late in the seasona and he wants nothing left to chance
His old Betsy, ( for Moose ) is a Sako bolt of the .308 nato flavor.
He handloads 165 grain pills and says he actually thingks a tad slower and heavier ( than a whomped up 150gr) in the.308 (or o6) is better.
Claims hes taken ovr 40 moose with it ( he's geezer vintage) but can still walk the shoes off a sasquatch and he aint broke ,.. so I believe the guy.
He also says
"Yaw Yaw vit dat one I can afford to practice and it don't kick me silly ,. so ven a moose come ,.. da odds for him get pretty low. yuk yuk
Point being,. we here in the good ole USofA are many times inmy humble opinion under practiced and over gunned ,.. but hey ,. it America.

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from O Garcia wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Risking a lot of flak again with this post, but I've always wondered about that mythical 7mm Mashburn, esp. because some writers refer to it as the 7mm Mashburn "Super" Magnum, while some writers do not include Super. I've never seen one, so forgive my ignorance, was the Mashburn the cousin of the 7mm Remington/Weatherby OR the longer 7mm STW or similar full magnum length wildcats like 7mm-300 Wby?

I'm asking this because the mythical performance of Warren Page's 7mm Mashburn - the GOLDEN STANDARD for Sevens - a 175-grainer at 3,000 fps, is what people have in mind when they buy the 7mmRemMag. And they often end up disappointed. Although as Sam Fadala writes, if you buy [expensive] RWS ammo, the 7mmRemMag. really sings.

Is it fair to compare the two? Was the Mashburn based on a bigger case? Was it run at much higher pressure?

I know a lot of forum members here (including Mr. Petzal) aren't big fans of the Remington, but if you look at what it does, at the pressure it is commonly loaded (I look at the Hodgdon manual, most 7mm Rem. Mag. loads don't even break the 60,000 PSI mark), I think it does quite well. It's just not the Mashburn.

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from O Garcia wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

Also, did the Super in the Mashburn inspire Remington to add Ultra to the name of its line of .404 Jeffery based cartridges?

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 4 years 14 weeks ago

I don't know for certain, but a 175 gr bullet at 3,000 fps is a tall order for a 7mm Remington Mag. Most 160's only clock about 2,950 fps or so. For a 175 grain 7mm Rem Mag bullet's performance, you might as well shoot a 180 grain .30-06 at 2700-2800 fps.

The 7mm Weatherby will launch a 175 at 3,020 fps, as will a 7mm STW. I like the lighter bullets in my 7 Wby.

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