One might think the perfect hunting rifle (rifle/cartridge/scope combination) is one that a hunter can hunt any and all game with in all situations. Truth is this rifle does not exist. No one rifle can handle all hunting situations efficiently. Varmints to large-game, short to long range, or wooded to open country…what is the perfect hunting rifle? It’s a rifle that is matched to the game and hunting situation. Now I for one am a firm believer in having the right tool for the job. The number rods, reels, guns, scopes, and an almost endless list of other equipment I own can testify to this opinion.
Several friends have asked me, “What if you could only have one rifle for hunting big game, what would it be?” The answer usually depends on what mood I’m in and where and what game I’ve been hunting lately. Realistically, I want a rifle that I can carry for long periods of time, if need be with out weighting me down, but heavy enough to give a solid rest either from a stand or over a backpack. Stainless steel with a synthetic stock so I do not have to worry about maintenance or point of impact changes in the field during wet weather. Other must have options are a crisp reliable trigger and a quality variable power scope mounted in a solid base and rings. The cartridge would have to be 30 caliber with a magnum load to propel the bullet. The rifle should be able to perform most any task necessary on a given hunt with the exception of very specialized situations. Put all these things together in a sleek nice looking package and you’ll have as close to an all around rifle as a hunter is likely to find.
Remington model 700 SS BDL RMEF
The rifle I picked was a limited edition Remington model 700 SS BDL RMEF (Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation). Part of the proceeds from the sale of these rifles is donated to the RMEF. Remington’s model 700 has a reputation of being very strong and extremely accurate right out of the box. Since I’ve always had good luck with Remington rifles it seemed second nature to pick a Remington.
Remington uses 416 stainless steel for their stainless rifles with a dull satin finish, which reduces glare and is also pleasing to the eye. The rifle comes from the factory with a camouflage synthetic stock in Real-tree Hardwoods pattern. This stock looks good but leaves something to be desired in its construction. The first change I made was to replace the factory stock with one from H-S Precision. H-S Precision stocks feature a full-length aluminum-bedding block providing a rock solid mounting platform for the action. Not only does this stock fit me a little better than the factory but fully free-floats the barrel from the action forward. Leaving no pressure points to swell or contract due to changes in humidity or weather.
Shilen’s Standard Trigger
Next was the trigger. The Remington trigger is a good one and can be safely adjusted to acceptable “hunting weight” of pull. Since I was going for the “one hunting rifle” I decided to replace the factory trigger with one from Shilen. Shilen’s “Standard Trigger” is fully adjustable from 1.5 to 3 pounds. I set mine at exactly 2 lbs. and its just right.
Leupold’s Vari-X III 2.5x8x36mm
Leupold’s Vari-X III 2.5x8x36mm is a rugged hunting scope. Offering a good range of magnification and excellent light gathering capabilities in low light. I cheated a little on the base and rings and mounted the scope with a set of Leupold’s QR (quick-release) bases and rings.
These bases and rings allow the scope to be removed and then replaced without loss of the scopes zero. The 2.5x8x36mm should take most hunting situations in stride. However, developing loads, shooting from a bench, and at times in the field it’s nice to have a higher power than eight. The use of a detachable base and rings really opens the door to versatility. Being able to carry a back-up scope already sighted in or change to a different scope on a hunt provides a level of comfort.
300 Remington Ultra-Mag
I have always been happy with my 30-06 Springfield and 300 Winchester Magnum. When I found this rifle in 300 Remington Ultra-Mag I knew it would have to be a good one. The case is a modern design with a sharp 30 degree shoulder, minimum body taper, and no belt. Not having a belt reduces the chance of the case becoming slightly misaligned in the chamber. I’m a big fan of the 30 caliber and what it brings to the table. Larger frontal diameter than the .270 or 7mm bullets with high ballistic coefficients coupled with a wide range of weights and constructions to meet almost any need a hunter may have.
I put this rifle together with the intention of being able to hunt and cleanly take any game in North America. Properly loaded with the right bullet it should just as easily take a trophy Moose in Alaska, as it should a White-tailed deer in Texas and any game in between.