Gunfight Friday: Model 700 Mountain Rifle vs. Sako Coltsman

Now that stable, durable synthetic stocks are the norm on hunting rifles, it’s easy to forget that generations of hunters carried walnut-stocked rifles into the field and did not feel one bit sorry for themselves. Many still do. Today we have a pair of classically styled rifles with wooden stocks. One is an accurate .243 pushing 60 years old; the other is a .270 that's a veteran of many hunts over three decades. Both still look great and are ready to square off in a today’s gunfight. Here they are:

Mike's Model 700 Mountain Rifle
This is my pet rifle. It's a Remington 700 Mountain Rifle in .270 that I bought back in the mid-80s. Along with the Winchester Model 70 Featherweight that came out about the same time, the Mountain Rifle represented a return to more classical stock design and helped lead the way to lighter, handier rifles. This one is a joy to carry, accurate as all get out, and completely original. The scope is a relatively inexpensive Bushnell variable that sits on very low Weaver mounts, and the gun has given me 30 years of excellent service. I put the Whelen sling on it when I bought it. I've carried this rifle in west Texas desert and canyon country, through Wyoming snows and deep piney woods and I have never felt handicapped once. It has at least 40 deer, half a dozen javelinas, a number of exotics and I have no idea how many hogs to its credit (I really like hunting hogs). I would as soon sell one of my children as turn loose of it.

Sako Coltsman

Kudukid's Coltsman
Here's a Sako L57 action as stocked and barreled by High Standard for Colt and marketed as a "Coltsman." It's a .243 Winchester and it will keep five shots inside of an inch at 100 yards with my handloads. This came with the Sako medium rings, and a Lyman 6X All-American scope fits perfectly with no more than 1/16-inch clearance to the barrel. These actions are getting very hard to find as only a very small production run of 10,090 were made between Jan. 1, 1957, and Oct. 9, 1959. It was replaced with a revised version, the L579 which, as usual, was cheapened in the process. Extremely well machined and finished, these push-feed actions are incredibly slick. They are also lightweight and have a smaller diameter bolt than is typical for either the .243 or .308 cartridge head.

There are your choices: a Sako/Colt .243 or a Model 700 in .270. I am torn. The first (and one of the only) centerfires I ever shot was a Model 700 Mountain Rifle in .270. On the other hand, I am a sucker for retro gun names like “Coltsman.” I’m not voting so it’s up to all of you. Vote and comment below, and keep the gun pictures coming. I got a nice batch of guns after pleading last week, but I still need more to keep Gunfight Friday afloat. That address again: fsgunnuts@gmail.com.

Which gun do you like better?

Mike’s Model 700 Mountain Rifle

Kudukid’s Coltsman