The Perfect Big-Game Gun

Tikka T3 Lite Stainless Bolt-Action Rifle
Tikka T3 Lite Stainless Bolt-Action RifleTikka

Back in the 1930s and '40s, a big-game hunter named Grancel Fitz became the first man to take all 28 Boone & Crockett species. He did it with a bolt-action .30/06. Nothing has changed. If you'd like to go everywhere and shoot everything, Mr. Fitz's choice of caliber should be yours. In the hands of a good shot, there's nothing the '06 can't drop. His rifle, however, was wood-stocked and iron-sighted, and there we part company. The rifle I'd select today is the Tikka T3 Lite Stainless. It's a very light, all-stainless, synthetic-stocked gun that carries a guarantee of 1-inch MOA accuracy and will usually beat that by a good bit. It's unstoppable, unbreakable, and rustproof given minimum maintenance. At under $700 (street price) you'll have money left over for a superior scope.

1. Stock
Synthetic. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor a horse rolling on it can disturb it.

2. Action
A glassy-smooth stainless action you don't often encounter in rifles in this price bracket.

3. Trigger
Excellent pull and adjustable down to 2 pounds. Leave it at 3.

4. Magazine
A detachable box, so you can load and unload in a hurry if necessary.

5. Scope
The Meopta MeoStar R2 1.7–10x42 RD ($1,450) has the perfect power range for all big-game hunting. The optics are first class, the adjustments are fine, and the illuminated reticle is a big help. It ain't cheap. So what?

6. Barrel
Stainless steel. Hunt in the rain for a week. Or two. The rifle will not care.

Murray Leather A-1 Quick Set Rifle Sling
Murray Leather A-1 Quick Set Rifle SlingMurray Leather

7. Sling
The Murray Leather A-1 Quick Set Rifle Sling ($75) is the best I know of—dead simple, and given a dose of vegetable oil once in a while, it will last forever.

8. Mounts
Get Tikka rings and its Picatinny rail, which offers huge latitude in fore and aft adjustment.

9. Weight
About 71⁄2 pounds with scope. Not too much to carry, and enough to hold steady when your heart is going pitter-patter.