Gunfight Friday: Rifles of the Great White North
We’ll set the mood for today’s gunfight with a little Robert W. Service: “This is the law of the Yukon,...
We’ll set the mood for today’s gunfight with a little Robert W. Service: “This is the law of the Yukon, that only the strong shall thrive; that surely the weak shall perish, and only the fit survive.”
The Law of the Yukon applies to Alaska and Nunavut as well, both of which are just as far north as the Yukon territory and no less hostile. Alaska and Nunavut also happen to be the where today’s rifles come from. Both of these rifles have to be reliable in the worst conditions, and their owners have modified them to be both rugged and accurate. They are also chambered in no-nonsense calibers—one is a .30-06, the other a .300 Weatherby magnum.
Here’s my Sako 85 Greywolf in .30-06. It’s wearing a Swarovski Z5 3.5 – 18X44, with a turret set for 100, 200, 300, and 400-yard zeros. It groups well with 180-grain bullets at 100 and 200 yards, and it has taken game out to around 300 yards. I have not yet confirmed the 400-yard zero, however. Lately, it has been shooting Sako Super Hammerheads, to good effect.
It has an upgraded stock with dual crossbolts (the original stock cracked) and has since been pillar bedded by a gunsmith. I am taller than average and thus added a Limbsaver pad to increase the length of pull, but the reduction in felt recoil is also nice. I live and hunt in Nunavut, Canada’s eastern arctic territory, and use the rifle to feed my family and friends. Typically, I hunt barren-land caribou in the fall and winter, and muskox in the late winter or spring. I once spent several days laying next to it under an impromptu shelter during a February blizzard. Having made it home from that ordeal I plan never to sell or trade this rifle.
My North Country “go-to hunter of all things” is the Mossberg 4X4 in .300 WBM. It’s topped with a Burris 3-9X40 Multi-Plex scope zeroed at 250 meters, allowing for instant shots out to 650 meters. The 24-inch barrel has been cryo-tempered to further revive any metal stress. The platform comes factory-fitted with a muzzle break, a composite, and a stabilized manufactured wood stock (think high-end marine grade plywood). The action and fluted barrel are stainless steel. This Mossberg offering is also an Ultra Lite platform (out of the box at 7.5lbs, as shown with a full mag just 9lbs, 4.5 oz) and as nearly perfect for a North country hunter as one can ask for. What may be the most amazing thing is this rifle is often found new in the store for under $500. The Burris optics cost under $200.
On the range bench, using hunting Barns 165gr TSX munitions, it easily achieves 500-meter three-shot groups of 5 to 7 inches (depending on how good a day I’m having). To date, this platform has been responsible for filling my freezers each fall and winter. It’s taken moose, Sitka blacktail, elk, mule deer, several big horns, and two Dall sheep in the northern hemisphere. It’s also had the pleasure of New Zealand targ, as well as successful hunts in South Africa and Tanzania.
When it’s a matter of putting food on the table, and when your shots may be long, and protection of you, and your harvest may be required after the fact, the .300 WBM in this Mossberg platform is a top performer. I have this caliber in several other excellent platforms, including the Tikka T3, but I really enjoy the feel and comfort of the Mossberg.
There are your choices. Vote and comment below and keep the gun photos coming to firstname.lastname@example.org. Response has been great, and I think we’re on a little roll here, and I hope you agree.