Choosing a Rifle-Concerns for the Hunter
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Choosing a Rifle-Concerns for the Hunter

Choosing a Rifle-Concerns for the Hunter


Choosing a Rifle-Concerns for the Hunter

Choosing a Rifle-Concerns for the Hunter

The things that concern a hunter relative to his rifle are that it must be reliable, accurate, speedy, possess killing power, and have a mechanism that can withstand hard usage. Beyond question any self-loader is more complicated than a single-shot, and whether any of them will last a lifetime is more than I can say, though I suspect that any one of these guns which receives ordinary care will live long enough to become obsolete through later improvements.

While America seems destined to lead in automatic firearms, rifles, pistols, or shotguns, yet European countries are at present very active in their experiments with weapons of this sort. As is to be expected, nations with large standing armies and little game are more interested in strictly military arms than those intended for sport. Germany now has one regiment armed with automatics, and that is only a hint of what is coming.

The average American is a gun crank from childhood, but it must be confessed that he gives more thought to his own individual plans and to his hunting weapons than to the guns carried by Uncle Sam's army. As a consequence we find our sporting arms always well to the front with the military trailing the procession. This is not true at this writing, however, and the New Springfield should do very well, until the lads of blue and khaki actually once more need a gun to shoot at somebody with.

Perhaps I may be forgiven for speculating somewhat idly here, at the close of this chapter on the rifle which the immediate future is to bring forth. To begin with, the most of us will readily admit that it is to be auto-loading. A majority would vote for a weight of between seven and eight pounds for a hunting arm, with a barrel length of about twenty-six inches.

The caliber will vary between .280 and .350. Cartridges should be loaded with condensed powder and consequently be less bulky than those we have now. Barrels will be made harder, of greater tensile strength, and bullet jackets should be so improved as to do away with metallic fouling. Three thousand feet a second will be accepted as the standard muzzle velocity, and many cartridges will exceed it—even now an experimental rifle has been built which gives a muzzle velocity of 3,500 feet.

Despite the increased velocity, no greater breech pressures will be engendered, for the manufacturers of nitro powder are keeping even step with the procession. Accuracy will be improved over all ranges, and the military marksmen will extend their long range to a mile. In army rifles the short bullet, such as the Springfield .150 and the Ross .139 will be dropped for lack of ranging qualities.

The standard muzzle energy for an American big game rifle will be from 2,500 to 3,000 feet pounds. Steel will be so treated chemically as absolutely to prevent rusting. For a given energy of bullet, recoil will be considerably reduced. Some form of silencer might be built in with the rifle in place of being a separate piece.

Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.

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