Rifles photo

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A couple of posts ago I wrote about a feckless* .30/06 that would not shoot consistently, and how I sent it on down the road because there are rifles out there that do have feck* and why should I aggravate myself at this late date? Sure enough, along comes the Shaw Mark VII, and it has enough feck* for any three rifles.

E.R. Shaw is a 95-year-old barrel making company in Bridgeville, PA, that has begun turning out its own custom rifles using slicked up Savage bolt actions, its own barrels, and synthetic, walnut, and laminated stocks. And no, they do not cost $14,000. They start at $650. I will say that again: They start at $650. The one I have goes for $800 $950 or so. You can choose from four barrel types, two types of steel, four finishes, four actions, four stocks, right- or left-hand, multiple barrel lengths and contours, SAAMI or match chambers, 80 calibers from .17 Remington to .458 Lott, and you can dicker with them about such things as barrel length. Altogether there are more than 75,000 possible combinations.

My rifle is a left-hand .30/06 with a 23-inch No. 1 ½ contour stainless barrel, cut with Shaw’s patented helical fluting. It has a tan laminated stock, and the trigger is set to 3 pounds even. It is not light; with a Bushnell Elite 4200 it weighs 8 ½ pounds, but this is what I wanted.

Most important, it shoots. The overall average for 14 3-shot groups (five kinds of ammo) is 1. 012-inch. With ammo it doesn’t like it shoots 1.3-inch. With ammo it does like it stays under an inch. The smallest group to date is .475. I have yet to shoot it with 180- and 200-grain bullets, so we’ll see how it does with them.

*Still not a misprint.