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Old 09-20-2003, 10:32 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 155
the perfect woods rifle

I have looked and contemplated a perfect woods rifle for a long time. I don't like long barrels over 20" inches or so when walking/stalking in heavy brush or timber. A short rifle is what I want I don't want to catch on every bush or tree in the county.

I have used my 7x57 for many years and this is sweet and fits the bill but I have always hankered for a big bore. This is a woods rifle so the long shot would be max 200 yds and average more around 10-25yds cause usually you can't see any farther than that and there is no chainsaw bullets that get through trees that I have found.

Recoil should be moderate, as remember I said "short" rifle, and I would prefer no rubber pad on the base as it just makes the rifle longer.

My thoughts have been a custom mauser on a short action, ( is CZ making a short mauser ? ) with a 20" Douglas/Shilen or Lilja barrel. A fine burled piece of walnut with conventional checkering. The wieght should be light not over say 8-8.5 lbs but not under 7 lbs.

The caliber has where I have been stumped and actually why this project hasn't come to be. I have considered a 9x57, 9.3x57, a 358 winchester, or a custom 375x57 wildact (maybe). The 9x57 seems ideal but bullet selection stinks, and I don't want to scrounge for bullets. The 9.3x 57 is also interesting and I think Speer makes at least a 270 gr for this. My thought on the 358 Winchester is I am concerned about the recoil being excessive as I recall Remington making a short 700 and they had a reputation as stompers. The 35 and 375 calibers seem to offer the best bullet selection bringing practicle to this idea. A 338 caliber would work also it is just a really wanted about 225-270 grain bullets.

Suppose I should say I wanted to use this on deer, bear, elk and moose
( if I can ever draw a tag )

Any thoughts by any others? Suggestions and your wild ideas on this subject are welcome.
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Old 09-20-2003, 11:03 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 260
Have you read Mr. Burns on Tools of the trade Express Rifle?

Personally I am extremely pleased with my Steyr pseudo Cooper Scout in .376 but there is perhaps more recoil than necessary for some purposes ( mayhap we can agree that if exposed lead is peened it's annoying without talking wimps). See the discussion here under Images for some reasons why the best pseudo Scouts are better rifles (which they indeed are but not footballed around as discontinued items at reduced prices)

My best hunting bud - mountain West - is fond of the CZ/9.3x62 which has an adequate bullet selection currently (search 9.3 bullet at MidwayUSA - I wouldn't use the Speer for much myself but what do I know) - perhaps moderately expensive cases at around 75 cents in bulk, 90 cents in small quantities - bearing in mind that they are fine cases.

For a wild idea and a little heavy consider a Valmet 512 O/U in 9.3X74 - I like the idea as a takedown and find that practice with 12 gauge barrels - substantially the same rib heights - on clay birds helps groove the swing for the woods but I do want that scope sight these days.
Old 09-21-2003, 09:46 AM   #3
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 155

Have you done any handloading with the 376 Steyr? How flexible is the cartridge? I notice it is not a magnum, and if the recoil is a little excessive in full house loads, can the cartridge be down loaded some for general use? Say the Nosler 260 gr @ 2200 to 2300 fps. That would tame the recoil for general hunting and leave the option for full house when needed.

I didn't see any scout rifles when I did a quick search but I did see a Mountain and full stock versions in walnut. Very nice.

Are these contolled round feed assemblies? Pictures showed the bolt face and it is definately not a claw type.

I will do some more homework on this one.
Old 09-21-2003, 09:55 AM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 122
I'd look strongly at the .358 Winchester. Bullets and brass aren't too difficult to find. MidwayUSA offers a good supply of bulk 200 grain bullets that would yield lesser recoil. Then there are 225 and 250 grain bullets if you wanted to go after elk or moose. You could even load .357 revolver bullets for low-recoil plinking if you wanted.

Browning is making the BLR in .358 Winchester now if you like lever actions or don't want to go the custom route.

A Reminton Model Seven, Winchester Model 70 classic, Howa/Weatherby or a CZ action sure could be quickly turned into a fine short, .358 Winchester woods rifle.
Old 09-21-2003, 10:15 AM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 155
358 winchester

I have seen the Browning, a friend I hunt with carries one in .308 and he gets a lot of game with it (including Elk). If I went that way I would look and find a old Belguim made one and not the newer Japanese version.

Yeah the 358 makes a lot of sense, find a .308 I like on a short action and rebarrel it for the 358. Pretty much a done deal except for cosmetics. Brass is reletively cheap and bullet selection is good. The bonus is I could find factory ammo. I have a couple of wildcats I feed and while I don't mind and enjoy reloading I don't see much interest from my sons right now in reloading which means when they inherit them they will become closet queens until they get a little older.
Old 09-21-2003, 12:58 PM   #6
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 260
Steyr followup

Not controlled feed, one of the weaknesses as a Cooper Scout is that despite the dual detent magazine access to single load is a little restricted but the action does readily permit it.

As noted on other threads the Steyr SBS design has a lot of complex solutions to problems I don't have. The great appeal to me was that it does meet my needs in a neat complete package that cost me about half the posted prices as a discontinued clearance item. My pair .308 & .376 are both gray stock, my friendly local gun dealer has a pair in black - he took all the clearance .376 at $5 per box clearance from the distributor and kept it. Support for the cartridge may well disappear one of these days.

Notice that Hornady does currently offer both a light and a heavy load similar to say the original .41 Remington (pistol) Magnum. My impression is that the cartridge is indeed versatile - using a selection of powders I would and do have on hand anyway - though I am eagerly awaiting shipping on the new Accubond in 260 grain for what I expect to be a definitive load all my brass for the rest of the rifle's life load - the plastic tip should resist peening, we'll see how the bullet holds together. It's been a long time since I had loads all over the spectrum for a given rifle - I have 35 year old load notes for bullets from 90 grain to 170 grain in a .270 - I'm not the man with one gun anymore - for the .376 I expect to have only one full house load and notes for a reduced load if the occasion comes up to share the rifle with a date who likely won't be pushing the range anyway.
Old 09-22-2003, 08:12 PM   #7
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 443
Perfect woods rifle? It's hard to think of anything sweeter than a 141 Remington pump in .35 Remington with 200-220grain ammo for ranges under 100yards(woods distance) and game under 400pounds. Mine has a Pachmayr Lo Swing scope mount with a steel domestic Weaver 2 1/2 Post reticule. This gun is faster than my .358 Savage 99 (rare gun) with it's 3X Weaver post scope in Redfield mount with flip up peep, but the Savage extends the range to 200 yards and up to 600pound game with 250 grain loads. I used to think a 5 1/2lb Brown Precision Ultra Light .308 carbine on a 600 rem action, with a 2-7 scope or the same kinda rifle with a scout scope was THE HOT SETUP , as the range of the .308 is virtually unlimited, the load is light , the carbine is quick. I've played with a Marlin Guide gun with forward scope and for alders in Alaska with hot loads this IS the hot set up. Of course my dear departed Uncle Gil's(long since mine) Model 1952 Mannlicher carbine in 30-06 with Zeiss 1.5-6 scope is pretty close to the ultimate woods gun. Ain't life beautiful?
Old 09-22-2003, 08:53 PM   #8
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 155
any pics

Do you have any pictures of the mannlicher? Those are nice rifles. I passed a few years back on a mannlicher in 6.5x55 with a butter knife bolt. Regreted it more than once. I have always liked the full stock but I figured if I waited long enough I would run into a big bore version, which hasn't happpened.
Old 09-22-2003, 08:56 PM   #9
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 139

How about the reincarnated 350 Remington Magnum?

Old 09-23-2003, 04:15 AM   #10
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 251
How about a 338-06, or a 35 Whelen. Either one will do everything a 338 Win Mag will do out to about 200 yds. Both are mild in recoil, accurate and can be made light enough to carry. Good selection of good bullets, lots of loading data, and will take anything on the continent if you do your part.

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