An urge for some precision riflery took me out to the gun club this morning. Pictured is my long rifle, a Ruger 77 Mark II Target in .243 Winchester, with a Simmons 6.5/24X 44 Mag scope and a Harris bipod. Also fired but not pictured was my only (at the moment) .30-06, a commercial 98 Mauser with a Bell & Carlson kevlar stock and a Simmons Aetec scope. The .30-06 was out mostly to check zero with a new load, but the .243 was ready for some serious range work.
The Ruger Target is a serious precision instrument. With a 26-inch free-floated heavy barrel, a big laminated stock with a heavy bench-rest fore-end and a receiver set up for Ruger’s own integral scope rings, the rifle is a benchrest-ready heavy sporter right out of the box. In spite of some stiff cross-winds on the range today, the rifle produced several 100-yard groups at right around an inch with Federal factory 80-grain soft points. (See target at right.)
The .30-06 did equally well. I like messing with old Mausers due to their massive strength, allowing for some steamed-up hunting loads. Today I was experimenting with the 168-grain Barnes Tipped Triple-Shock X-bullet, a high-tech solid copper hunting bullet that runs about eighty cents a copy. But hunting bullets aren’t meant to be cheap; they are meant to deliver good terminal performance on big game at a wide range of velocities, and the Barnes X-bullets do that. They also shoot well, as you can see by the 1 1/2″ 100-yard group shown to the right.
Jack O’Connor wrote that “only accurate rifles are interesting,” and he was correct. It makes one wonder how long it will be before the anti-gun crowd looks askance at this kind of precision, labels precision hunting arms as “sniper rifles” and begin to shout “who really needs this kind of accuracy!?” (My answer, as usual, will be “because fuck you.“)