The following pearls of wisdom come from years of hunting, guiding others and being in hunting camps all over the country. When it comes to rifles, step up to the plate and buy quality. I am not talking about some exotic brand and caliber that cost a fortune just so everyone can "Ooh" and "Ahh" over it when you take it out of the case. I mean buy a top of the line rifle from a tried and proven company that you can carry to hell and back and it will shoot every time you pull the trigger. Don’t go out and buy the first ever released new special model for your depend-on-every-shot rifle. On the other hand don’t go out and buy some cheap rifle put out by a company that makes bargain firearms for your primary hunting rifle. I am talking about buying rifles like Remington, Savage, Winchester and Weatherby that are solid proven designs. I only mention Weatherby for those that have them in normal calibers and not the special Weatherby designed cartridges. I know lots of you have this or that rifle made by so and so that is great, so do I, but when the rifle has to perform every time without a hiccup I carry a rifle I can depend on to fire when needed. If it is a rifle based on one of the solid designs and major companies, that has been worked by some custom gunsmith, so much the better, if you believe in the smiths work. I have seen several shots-of-a-lifetime fumbled because some fancy rifle failed to feed properly or jammed. I have seen outstanding trophies missed because of flinching, caused by fear of magnum cartridge recoil. Both of these things are so easy to prevent and it is sad they occur at all, but it happens to people every season.
I have a Remington model 700 ADL in .243 that my father bought for me at Gibson’s Discount Center in Abilene, Texas when I was nine years old. That rifle has been carried all over Texas, New Mexico and Colorado and you would not believe the game it has accounted for through those years. I carried it often as a guide rifle when backing other hunters and it has put down game wounded by much more exotic and magnum calibers. I have traded it off for a shot to many a hunter that could not hit their game with a magnum rifle but made the shot with that little .243. That rifle has never failed to work and I shoot it still today. It has never been in the shop, nothing has ever broken and I will pass it on to one of my daughters to use and treasure. I can walk into any country store, box store or any place ammo is sold, and purchase ammo for that rifle. Try to buy ammo for some of the exotic calibers in No-where, Texas. If you never had someone show up in camp without their ammo you have not hunted enough. If they have a common caliber someone can usually loan them some ammo or a trip to the nearest town solves the problem. Some of the Weatherby cartridges are great rounds but I never recommend them as they can be impossible to find and the expense of a box of ammo unreal.
I have a model 70 Winchester that my grandfather shot all his life and passed to my father who passed it to me. I am proud that it continues on with no problems. My father shot a Remington model 700 in .264 Winchester Magnum most of his life and I still shoot it today, but ammo is now getting hard to find and expensive to boot. I know some people need to have the latest, greatest magnum to validate their man card, but I can assure you it is much more important to be able to precisely place a bullet than to be able to stand recoil. I am going elk hunting later this year and I will be carrying a Remington 700 tactical in .308. It has very little recoil and sufficient power to do the job with proper bullet placement. Shoot whatever you do well with and feel comfortable shooting. Be honest with yourself about recoil. If your mind tells you this is going to hurt when you sit down at the bench to sight your rifle in each season; you need to get something that recoils less. If recoil prevents you from properly sighting in a rifle or shooting a good group, you need to get something that recoils less. You can validate you man card with game you hang on the meat pole. None of my hunting buddies laugh at my little rifle any more. Have a great season, Wild Ed