Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Maybe It Was All A Bunch of Hooey...

In a spirited discussion with a friend the other day at the range, we discussed the long held belief that handloading for rifles allows the shooter to "tune" ammunition to his specific rifle and make gains in accuracy not allowable with factory ammunition. I don't know about you but I find factory ammunition these days to be ridiculously accurate, some of it unbelievably so. I personally have 2 rifles that will consistently shoot under 1 MOA with several factory loads, one of which is "guaranteed" to shoot 3/4 MOA with the manufacturer's factory loaded ammunition. That rifle and that ammunition is darned exceptional but let's be honest- it is in no way "tuned" for my rifle; it is simply a high quality mass produced product. "I don't know about you Hodgeman, but I'm beginning to think this whole 'tuning' business is a big bunch of hooey." remarked my friend as we sighted in rifles for the upcoming season.

I'll explain- for decades ammunition was made one way. As cheap as Remchester could crank it out. My good friend (significantly older than I) says that in the days past there was simply no such thing as "premium" ammunition. It was all made on bulk machinery and frankly quality control just wasn't that good. I'm fortunate to still have a supply (dwindling but still some) of late '40s vintage Winchester Silvertips and I'll admit they don't shoot worth "sour owl jowls" in my equally old Marlin 30-30 levergun. The same rifle is much more accurate with modern ammunition.

Only in recent years have we seen "premium" ammunition come on the scene and at least among my hunting friends; interest in handloading is on the decline. My elderly friend recently sold the entirety of his reloading equipment and just bought several cases of .30-06 Federal Premium ammunition loaded with 180gr. Nosler Partitions. "Why bother loading- this stuff is better than anything I can put together anyhow" he reports. I've got to take him seriously as he was a follower of P.O. Ackley's work before it was even cool to do so. If a guy's been loading longer than I've been alive and still has two eyes and ten fingers I figure he knows his business.

So what the devil is all this handloading business about anyway? How did the old school (not calling anyone old, relax) get these incredible gains in accuracy and performance by reloading and moving stuff around? "Consistency" replies my octogenarian friend. "In those days the big companies valued manufacturing speed over precision; everyone thinks old guns are why lots of American ammo is downloaded to weaker pressure levels- baloney! They simply couldn't build 'em (cartridges) fast enough and maintain quality control to keep from popping a few primers along the way." Indeed, if the reader will grab an older reloading manual (I have a Nosler one from the 70's) it often shows chronograph tests of lots of factory ammo and they frequently clock 150-200fps less than the published velocity from the factory. Handloaders had no problems getting those published velocities and often beyond. "Call it engineered liability insurance", quips my friend.

Case in point is Weatherby ammunition; loaded by Norma in Sweden. This ammunition is generally hot as a firecracker and few handloaders can even match Weatherby velocities and darn few ever exceed them. Also look at some of the newer, high performance cartridges; pressures in excess of 60,000 PSI are now pretty common and factory rounds are priced accordingly. The machinery those are made on is relatively new, relatively precise and allows for manufacturing to higher pressures levels and tolerances safely. It's what handloaders have been doing for years "tuning" their handloaded ammunition. Simply being more consistent and putting together a more uniform product.

I'll admit I've handloaded comparitively little rifle ammunition but I do value my friends point of view. I have reloaded a vast amount of pistol ammunition in days gone by but I was certainly more interested in quantity economy than quality for competitive practice (IPSC and IDPA burns a pile of ammo...). Is consistency really the missing element in most factory rifle ammunition? I've got to admit my friend has some compelling arguments and a body of experience to lend credence to what he's saying. I know that my rifle will shoot factory ammo as accurate and as fast as anything I could put together so I personally don't see the point anymore. As a hunter how much more accuracy do I even need or even be able to use? I'm talking about 1 MOA as a baseline. Not too many years ago that was the end all be all goal of the marksman.

Today its a starting point.

What are some of your thoughts on the subject? Keep in mind I wanted to keep variables other than performance out of the discussion. Ie. Logistics (loading for unusual or hard to obtain cartridges) or economy (shooting cheaper) are somewhat removed from the discussion of getting the best quality ammo you can buy or build. I also wanted to leave out recreation- some folks enjoy handloading as much or even more than shooting the ammo they produce- and that's a good enough reason to do it by itself. But is handloading going to give modern shooters ammunition that is more accurate and higher performace than available premium factory loads or is it all a bunch of hooey?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Camping at Octopus Lake

My beloved spouse was taking her (well deserved) semi annual retreat to the BOW (Becoming an Outdoors Woman) Workshop this weekend, leaving me and the boy and his dog with some unsupervised time on out hands. I asked Evan what he would like to do.

"Take Sonny camping" was the reply, "and go hunting too,"quickly followed.

I had no illusion that big game hunting with my 8 year old and his 18 week old puppy would be a successful venture (at least in the meat hauling sense) but being outside with the family is certainly a core value. From a hunting perspective I probably stood a much better chance hitting a caribou or moose on the road; but time outside with my kid is absolutely priceless. We loaded the van with fishing rods, a cooler, my tiny Jet Boil (who needs a real stove when you're just roasting weenies?) for coffee and rambled down the road to just the spot I knew.
Octopus Lake is a tiny little thing within a long chain of alpine lakes interconnected by small creeks. The whole length eventually drains into the west fork of the Gulkana River several miles away. The lake is located a short distance down the world famous Denali Highway. Just about a 1/4 mile off the highway on a couple of very passable Cat track roads, are some great impromptu campsites that have been in use since the Highway was constructed. Tourists with RV's seem to eschew these wilderness campsites in favor of more established campgrounds. I tend to value privacy (and the avoidance of weekend partyers) over the "convenience" of a really dirty, over-used pit toilet and a camp host that will sell you a double handful of kindling for $5 and call it firewood- so we established our camp on a simple gravel vein that stretched off into the tundra.
Our first realization of error was when we saw a group of beavers swimming across the lake and wanted to take their picture. No Camera! Then it dawned on me- of course, Mom has the camera (and the bincoculars!). My second realization is that we were camped beside a large covey of ptarmigan, on a beaver choked pond without my .22 rifle. For shame! We forwent sniping at the beavers and the ptarmigan with my .300 as the results of anything other than a perfect headshot would generate a tremendous mess. That and the shells are $50 a box!
Our little lake was a real hotbed of activity- other than the beavers and ptarmingan, we had several muskrats swimming around, a family of Trumpeter Swans (Mom, Dad, 8 cignets) and some ducks (Mergansers) preparing for their southern departure. We went on a hike from the lake side and made a plan to walk a few miles by following the exit stream of the lake around a series of small hills. We immediately found a well worn game trail with moose tracks and large piles of scat- the kind moose leave when they've been diving and feeding on aquatic vegetation. Think green. Think gelatinous. Get the picture? Moose will eat this stuff until they look like brown hairy tanker trucks- flanks swollen and distended and jiggling with every step. It looks ridiculously uncomfortable. A hide water balloon on long gangly legs.

I let my son take the lead and follow up on the tracks. Soon we crested a small rise and started following a pressure ridge to overlook the next in the series of downstream lakes. As we topped the hill we saw a large cow moose and her two yearling calves. They regarded us for a few moments and spooked- bolting up the hill and gaining altitude out of the water side vegetation for both visibility and speed. I snapped up the rifle and checked them out in the 4x scope- a great big cow, her flanks swollen with water and vegetation followed by a small yearling cow and finally trailed by a good size yearling bull just sprouting paddle horns still covered in velvet. He was perfectly legal on my any bull tag but I passed on him anyway. It was a bad shot presentation on a quartering away moose and he was pushing over 250 yards pretty quickly. A marginal hit and we'd be trailing this guy for miles. Some guys would have taken the shot and earlier in life I might have myself but I was in no position for a long follow up. On foot, late in the evening with a kid and dog in tow- no thanks, sounds like a cocktail party horror story in the making. I clicked the saftey back on and watched them meander on out of sight. Evan was just as proud knowing he had "tracked up" the moose and Sonny was the "best hunting dog ever" although his canine contribution largely consisted of staying out of the way.
As the sun was starting its final decent behind the Amphitheater Mountains and the shadows grew long we made our way back to camp. A cool wind began to blow from the North and stirred the yellowing leaves on the alders- it felt like fall and a melancholy one at that. We fed the dog and stoked up the fire to cook our supper. I had brought a jar of homemade vegetable beef soup and Evan pillaged through an envelope of tortillas and burned a hot dog on a skewer. He looked over and poached a few pieces of beef from my stew and declared it "man food" and tried to do his best Tim Allen impersonation (which was odd since we don't watch TV, maybe it's genetic?). Soon the fire burned low and the dog started snoring and Evan crawled into his bag. I heard a sleepy voice from somewhere deep down in the hollofil, "This was the best camping trip ever, you're a great Dad..." and a few minutes later he started snoring too.
I sat up by the dying fire for a couple more hours watching the sunlight fade totally out of sight and drank a little more coffee. The wind was growing colder and I caught that first feeling of winter chill. I had hoped that a moose or caribou might wander down to the lake in the evening for a drink but I was caught out here alone with my thoughts. The little blue flame of my stove hissed and spit as the fuel canister ran out signaling the end of the coffee and time to sack out myself. The cold wind and yellow leaves signalled the end of summer. Our little spring puppy is now over forty pounds and looks very much like a dog. The boy in the bag is oddly much older and bigger now than I thought he should be, no longer being carried afield on my shoulders or waited on patiently. Now he sprints ahead of me and waits on me at the top of the hill. I guess it signals the beginning of the end of his childhood as well. I sat there sipping my cooling coffee and felt today's miles in my legs and back signalling what I guess is my own advancing years too.
It felt good to be sitting there feeling older and (maybe) wiser. Watching over a fast growing boy and thankful to see that spark of wonder in his eyes when he sees animals or pours over tracks and plants on hands and knees intrigued by the world around him and taking it all in.
I was also thankful for the times I had as a kid doing the same thing with my Dad and doubly thankful that pushing my own age I still feel the same awe and wonder despite the heavy burden of responsibility adulthood lays on us all.
I flipped the last of the coffee into the hissing embers and crawled into the worn sleeping bag, glad for sleep and warmth to come in the midst of heavy thoughts and the cooling wind.
Author's Note:here's a couple of photos Evan snapped with his Nintendo DS- our only camera at the moment.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

First Foray of the Season...

I sat and watched the rain pool up and trickle off the sleeve of my jacket and make its way down my pants leg and onto the toe of my boot. We were about 4500 feet above sea level and the skies were a variegated pattern of rain, hard rain and mist. I looked back up in the binoculars that I had perched on my pack frame as a makeshift rest and glanced back up on the distant hillside.

A few moments later I called out in a quiet voice- "Movement."
The day had started the previous evening, a Friday, when my frequent hunting partner called up and asked me just when I planned to unwrap myself from around the axle of work and family pressure and finally go hunting. After all, the season had already been open a whole week and I certainly wasn't getting it done. Several of my friends (darn lucky friends, or maybe unlucky) were already tagged out for the year.
"I don't know, sometime, maybe this weekend," I replied; barely looking up from the blueprints on my desk.
"How about tomorrow morning-5A.M.?" came his query. It was statement and question and social commentary all in one. "Anything you can't pawn off on one of your crew will surely wait till Monday," he added as a barb to firmly set the hook.
I was had and I knew it. "What did you have in mind?"
What he had in mind was a trip down the road to the Denali Highway. From there we would set off on a series of lakes and portages in his favorite new toy- an inflatable whitewater canoe- and search for caribou or perhaps a very lost moose wandering around on the high alpine lakes and tundra. The trip got off to a good start and we arrived on the lake shore launch at 0'dark hundred. Unfortunately, the moisture laden low pressure system arrived just about the time we got the raft inflated and in the water- a cold rain began to fall and the ceiling came right down on the nearby hills.

Undeterred, we launched the raft and made decent time to the first portage about a mile and a half from the ramp. The weather was worsening the entire time and in addition to the mist falling with the rain drops a cold wind started blowing down the lake channel making forward progress difficult in the raft. Inflatable white water rafts are good for a lot of things but rowing on a wind blown lake is not one of them; so we abandoned the raft at the far side and began an arduous climb through the alders looking for the summit hidden somewhere in the mist.

Finding a well worn trail on the summit of the pressure ridge we began picking our way slowly and quietly along the spine, using the technique for crossing tundra that the caribou themselves employ. There is often a narrow band of firm rock and gravel at the apex of these pressure ridges that makes for much easier travel than through the tussocks and marshes of the valleys.
Several hours and several miles of hunting along these ridges brought us to the crest of a tall hill where we could see the entire lake system and vast expanses of the surrounding mountainsides. The rain hadn't let up all day and we were both chilled as we discussed the vagaries of caribou migration and the unpredictable nature of these wide ranging animals. That's when we saw the distant movement. At first we were excited at the development as we watched the single animal a half mile distant turn into two then three. Something wasn't clicking right as we watched the faint, dark blobs romp around in circles on the mountainside. Then it dawned on me- caribou don't play and romp. Ever. Cross 50 miles of hellish tundra in a single day- sure. But I've never seen them display anything resembling wasted motion.
We decided to investigate further by crossing the valley floor and climbing the intervening ridge. That would bring us about a quarter of a mile from the forms and put us in perfect position to launch a stalk should we see something worth going after. After several long minutes of rushed quiet and scrambling through the soaked alders to the apex we quickly spotted what we were looking for. Our animal was none other than a large sow grizzly with her two nearly grown cubs. It was the cubs we had seen playing with each other and romping while the sow was busily snacking on blueberries by the mouthful. This was a great grizzly encounter- not close enough to spook the sow and the potential unpleasantness that may bring; but close enough to watch in total amusement through 10x binoculars. I tried a few photos through the binos with the predictable blurry worthless exposure.
After a half hour of watching, the bears began feeding further down the hillside; bringing them closer to our position. Neither of us were sure if the bears were aware of our presence or not; although the strong wind in our face probably kept all the scent behind us and our noise would have been masked as well. Discretion being the better part of valor we decided to back down the reverse side of the ridge and leave these three to their berry picking and playing. A rare treat for sure.
Working our way back through the maze of pressure ridges and gravel veins to our raft took a couple of leisurely hours. We stopped often to eat handfuls of rain washed blueberries that looked ready to pop and glassed frequently for caribou that for all we knew were eating white gravy on french fries somewhere in British Columbia.
The endless rain had put our resolve and equipment to a test. My waterproof boots had failed prior to noon and only my wool socks were keeping my soaked feet from freezing. Dwight's "hydrofleece" more resembled a sponge and served only to warm the water a little as it soaked through. His (formerly) remarkably light jacket must have held several gallons of water. I was happy to have real rain gear as I was mostly dry considering I'd spent hours thrashing through head high alders in a blowing rain. Our binoculars were rain soaked and had a variety of leaves stuck to the lenses. The walnut grip of Dwight's .44 had turned a sickly white from all the moisture and I was happy to have my fiberglass stocked and ceramic coated .300 instead of my pet .308. The stock would have never been the same after this trip. Wood stocked guns are a joy but this wouldn't be the place I'd want to enjoy it.
We discussed the (relative) success of the trip as we rowed the raft back into the main body of the lake, letting the big raft catch wind for the first free ride of the day. We had eaten handfuls of berries and had a great grizzly encounter. We had not seen a caribou over dozens of square miles and Dwight had missed a grouse three times with his .22 revolver. Nobody got hurt but we sure got wet. Very typical caribou hunting in my experience. We had a mile to drift through a lake filled with grayling and a couple of lines with white spinners. Maybe the trip wouldn't be a total loss after all.

More to come...

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Hearty Suggestion and a Couple of Random Thoughts

Dear Readers,

I've recently finished one of the books on my reading list- Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food". Do yourselves a favor and pick up a copy somewhere and read it. Fascinating is all I can say and I'm pretty well in tune with natural eating and several themes discussed in the book; as well as being an enthusiastic fan of things like CSAs, locally grown produce, grass fed local livestock, and (of course) wild game. I was simply amazed at some of the information presented in the book and as a bonus Mr. Pollan is an engaging and talented writer.

Just for grins here is a recent project from the kitchen (!)- locally raised bison turned into burger this morning, grilled and served between two warm, whole wheat,homemade buns with the fixin's I like. Go ahead- be jealous. I am and I ate the thing!

On other notes- several of you will notice that ads have popped on and off on my site lately. I've been experimenting with the "Monetize" button but I'll call it for what it is at this point- an abject failure. I thought that a few ads of appropriate content might be of use to some of you and it might even net me a few meager shekels in the process. Call it compensation for putting out content at risk for poaching as witnessed by Mr. Rausch's efforts of late.

Well- I was wrong. About all it did was show me the shortcomings of automated content scanning and ad selection (how did they ever link Trojans and the .30-06?- that would make an interesting article...) and goof up my visual layout (no matter how austere it really is).

So reader- here's my public apology.

Sorry. The ads are off for good. I'm sure somebody can make blogging a paying gig but I'm pretty sure its not me. If you're needing Trojans or are simply dying to contribute to the World Wildlife Fund (an equally bizarre association when you think about their mission...) I'm probably not your guy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Good Enough to Not Fade Away

I‘ve been tending other concerns during our busy summer construction season and I realize I haven’t posted anything in a while so I’ll offer up something I’ve had percolating in draft for a good long while now. I’m not totally happy with it but I doubt I ever will be so I’ll fling it out there "as- is". It may be a "clunker" but those are worth cash these days...

Let me know what you think.

Looking back over some older posts and recalling some conversations I’ve had with fellow hunters over the last few years, I’ve come to notice I appear to be a huge fan of the 30-06 and given my record on game with it I really should be. I’ve used the .30-06 in some form or another for about 20 years and I’ve always been perfectly happy with the results as well as recommending it to others.

In truth however, the .30-06 is not really one of my favorite cartridges.

Now that I’ve identified myself as one of the unwashed infidels I’ll explain why. I’ve always been curious as to why the .30-06 has taken on near mythical status in the minds of hunters, particularly in the light of the excellent cartridges the .30-06 has outsold or doomed from the start over the years. It’s been equally recommended as suitable for such diverse species as coyote and brown bears and I just can’t see how that should work out right.
I won’t bother disputing the track record of the .30-06 on game. That would be foolish- it’s been used successfully on all kinds of game to the far reaches of the earth for over 100 years. It’s taken just about one of everything on every continent and that’s including some stuff that you’d think was entirely out of its league. For an account, read Hemmingway’s Green Hills of Africa where he abandons the large double in favor of the Springfield and knocks some pretty big critters spinning. A pile of brown bears have also fallen to the .30 caliber 220gr. RN over the years, including some real monsters.
I’ve also said in print that I don’t think cartridge selection is terribly critical when it comes to hunting most of the deer family and shot placement has much more to do with harvesting game than the cartridge used. I’ve also said in print that I prefer the .308 Winchester over the .30-06 because I tend to like a lighter rifle and a shorter action. I also have a definite preference for a heavier rifle for game bigger than whitetails or caribou. No one really took me to task over any of those statements either.

I also made the comment that I think the .30-06 became as popular as it did based on things other than its technical merit; and that friend brought in some hate mail. I’ll explain further. When the US Army adopted the .30-06 and World War I broke out, thousands of young men from all over the nation went to fight and were equipped with a bolt action rifle in .30-06 Springfield. Until that time, the sporting arm of choice was the lever action rifle and while today only the Marlin remains (since the demise of Winchester’s 1894) in those years there were lots of variations of lever gun floating around. Most were chambered in .30-30, 32 Special, or something of equivalent ballistics. Pressures were low due to the lever action’s weak primary extraction ability and velocities were relatively low (at least by modern standards). I can only imagine the first experience with a Springfield’06 on a 300 yard range to a kid used to a ’94 in .30 WCF.

There were other high velocity cartridges around in those days. The .30 Adolph Express (aka .30 Newton) as well as 7x57 and 8x57 Mausers from Europe and some dandy rounds from Britain like the .303 and .318 Westley Richards. Even the Canadians produced the 280 Ross and it was a legitimate hot number for its day. The .30 Newton died during the Depression and neither the metric nor the British numbers became all that popular over here and God only knows what happened to the Ross. But the folks hunting post World War I latched on the .30-06 Springfield with a passion and began knocking down game from coast to coast. It’s my contention that you could have chambered the Springfield rifle in any number of rounds and we’d be talking about that cartridge today instead of the .30-06.

None of those statements should be construed as criticism of the .30-06. It’s a fine hunting cartridge and a world standard for almost a century. I’ve killed a pile of stuff with the several I’ve owned as have many folks I’ve known. I’ll probably own another one eventually since my taste in rifles seems to be cyclical. I’m just saying that it’s good but not good enough that if it were introduced today we’d be all that excited about it. It’s not that much better than the .270, 280 or 7mm Magnum and for certain (big) things it’s certainly slightly inferior to the .35 Whelen. A lot of guys wax poetic about the .338-06 these days and they should; it’s a great cartridge. The 6.5-06 and .25-06 are both excellent in their respected category.
None of them beat the .30-06 to the punch though.

To get to the crux of this post I’ll confess- I really wanted figure out what makes a cartridge popular and a commercial success and what dooms one to obscurity. I wish I could determine that, because I could make a pile of dough working for Winchester or Remington. We compare everything to the .30-06 because, well, it got there first. Take for instance the .280 Remington- a fine all around cartridge in all respects and a lot of knowledgeable gun cranks pick this one over the Springfield cartridge every day. Commercially though, it’s a disaster. It’s been through two name changes (the brief 7mm-06 and the 7mm Remington Express) and its just sort of sitting there today relatively unnoticed.

The .270 Winchester made a serious dent in ’06 sales largely due to Jack O’Connor using a tanker of ink extolling its virtue from various magazines on a monthly basis. Interestingly, since O’Connor’s passing the .270 has been steadily slipping in sales. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe it will ever fade away but for the only cartridge that ever gave the ’06 a serious run for its money it’s starting to wane a bit. As good as the .270 is; it would appear that its sales depended on a guru to some degree. I can’t figure that one out either.

If we look at cartridges that appear stillborn you can find some interesting numbers. We’ve already discussed the 280 Remington/7mm Express thing but the greatest cartridge flop of the 70’s is without a doubt the 8mm Remington Magnum. Even its parent company has given up on it and makes a single load (plus one seasonal) and only chambers a rifle through the custom shop. An 8mm bullet perched on a voluminous case that really never took advantage of the cartridge’s powder capacity was something the market ignored profoundly. The dimensionally much smaller .325 WSM will match its ballistics without breaking a sweat. It also suffered from bad bullets- made for 8x57 Mauser velocities not 8mm Remington Magnum ones and component bullets suffered as well. Today we have such good 8mm bullets but it’s too late- the toe tag is already on the 8mm Remington Magnum. It’s a pity; we could have had an American version of the European 8x68S. Most folks that used one said it killed game like a freight train; there just weren’t many of them apparently.

We have with us now a plethora of “short magnum”, “super short magnums” and a host of boutique cartridges that seem to have little commercial merit other than a rifle maker’s name on a head stamp. That’s not generally a bad thing mind you although a lot of traditionalists will cry out that each is inferior to something created prior to World War II. There only partially right but still somewhat right nonetheless. I’ve played a bit with the .300 WSM and the .375 Ruger- two cartridges I like very much indeed although I’ve given up on the Ruger as too much trouble in my location. I’m still working with the .300 WSM and although it’s a hot number it follows the tradition of not delivering quite up to the hype it’s sold under. Whether a cartridge fires a 180grain at 3010 or a more realistic 2900 feet per second matters little to the caribou whose lung you’ve just blown out. But I guess it makes us feel better thinking we own a real .300 and not just a hot- rodded 30-06 (which is pretty much what a .300 magnum is…).

I view most of these creations as stillborn and give the .300WSM and .270 WSM some chance of commercial survival based on sheer numbers out there. The .375 Ruger is selling beyond their expectations and the case is spawning equally boutique offspring of its own but the lack of genuine need for a .375 in North America will (unfortunately) eventually doom this one to failure. Let’s face it- we like the ’06 so much because it’s so completely adequate for most everything we hunt on this continent and most stuff other places as well.

A couple of unfortunate casualties of this decade long hoopla of ballistic creation are some genuinely good cartridges. The .338 Federal comes to mind and seems like an updated .338x57 that O’Connor bantered about some 50 years ago. Mild recoil, good velocities and good bullet weight on a short action case make this one a real winner and loved by most who’ve tried it. Commercially I don’t think this one will make it and that’s sad. Another is the .370 Sako Magnum as marketed in this country by Federal. In Europe it’s the 9.3x66 Sako Magnum but whatever you call it- it’s good. The ’06 case blown out to take 9.3mm bullets, loaded to the gills with miracle powder and the ballistics are off the chart for a standard length and case diameter. You get full magazine capacity (4 or 5 in most rifles) and a standard action rifle. Unfortunately the public couldn’t seem to care less and it’s just kind of lost in the shuffle. That’s a real pity because this one really has some potential if it were to become successful.

All this talk about various cartridges is making my head hurt. Maybe I should just take a .30-06 and go hunting instead. It may not have been the best of its era or even our present age but at least it was good enough not to fade away on us.