Today’s gunfight pits a pretty rifle against a purely functional one, and a ubiquitous caliber against one you could almost call the 16 gauge of rifle cartridges. The pretty rifle is a Browning X-Bolt in .280 Remington, while the functional rifle is a Savage 110 in .30-06.
The .30-06 is popular almost everywhere, including, apparently, South Africa, home of today’s Savage 110. It has been around for over 100 years, of course, and continues to lay out creatures great and small. The .280 Remington was introduced in 1957, had its name changed to 7mm Remington Express for a while, then went back to its original name. Stuck in the niche between the .270 and the .30-06, much as the 16 is wedged between 12 and 20, the .280 is too good to ever go away, but it will never achieve mass popularity either.
Here are the rifles:
This is my Savage 30-06. topped with a Leupold VX1 3-9×40. I have to agree with Mr. Petzal, it is not a Nice Machine. It is push-feed (shock-horror), it has a plastic, not fancy polymer, but plastic, stock and a blind magazine. At least I won’t be trawling the internet twenty years from now looking for a replacement magazine. BUT, she is a Shooting Machine. My handload with 125 grain Sierra Pro-Hunters print three-shot cloverleafs at 100 meters. My hunting load with 130 grain Barnes TSX is almost as accurate.
Being quite a light rifle, she is also a Kicking Machine (I know, I must be half a man because everyone else loves recoil). I fitted a redneck recoil reducer in the form of a 1 pound steel block in the butt and loaded up with lighter bullets. So far it has accounted for a kudu, a blue wildebeest, three impala and six springbuck. The 2015 hunting season is around the corner and I hope to have a go at another kudu as well as a mountain reedbuck.
Here is a pic of my browning X-Bolt White Gold Medallion in .280 Rem. I bought this gun for deer hunting. I had it for two years in which it filled my tags and my freezer. It has accounted for at least 10 deer and a fall turkey. Unfortunately the third year I hunted with it, my treestand broke and the gun took about a 30- foot fall which destroyed the stock. Thankfully the barrel and action were not damaged, and it will be getting a new stock soon.
There are your choices. .280 fans, this is your chance to talk up your favorite caliber! Vote and explain your choice below, and keep the gun pictures coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which gun do you favor?