COLUMN: It’s a joy using traditional single-shot rifles for hunting | Sports
The second attempt is in case you have already missed your first opportunity. Some think that second chance opportunities increase your chances of success. To me, relying on them only promotes failure.
Whether they are human or not, very few would likely place their wager on a die roll, with the exception of hardcore gamblers. For this reason, the trend in hunting rifles since the 1920s has revolved exclusively around magazine rifles with bolt action rifles. Now everything revolves around the semi-automatic modern sports rifle. It’s about having the ability (we’re talking about hunting now) to blow a stem and a shot and immediately have the reserve to follow up a lousy shot. It’s a second chance if you will.
For this reason, if you ignore modern muzzle loaders, you rarely come across single shot rifles in the field these days. Their use is usually reserved for target competition. But single shot rifles are far from dead as a hunting tool. There are occasional traditionalists like me who tend to enjoy the challenge of hunting with just one shot. Besides, life is too short for inaccurate or ugly guns, right?
So accuracy is a reason. Symmetry and elegance of form are another. How beautiful can a tool be (the actions of the modern bolt-action and semi-automatic rifle) that was inspired by a simple door lock? There are of course bolt action rifles that were built by masters of the trade and feature fantastically patterned woods that one has to die for. However, these are unusual and expensive, especially in this day and age of synthetically tipped, functional firearms that are suitable for everyone.
Granted, most of my arguably obsessive obsession with outdated single-shot field rifles is mostly about tradition and history. Ranging in time from the arrival of the self-contained cartridge to the present day, these rifles have killed every form of dangerous and not-so-dangerous game on Earth in actual use, some to the point of extinction or near extinction.
I’m not an expert, but I’ve read that when it comes to accuracy, magazines, and feed mechanisms common in bolt actions and semi-automobiles, not only do they affect rigidity (hence accuracy), but the easier a gun moves, the easier it is to compromise the trigger design and sear engagement. The fewer moving parts a rifle has and the stiffer the breech area, the smoother it should be if it has a good barrel and ammo it likes. Consistency usually equals accuracy. High quality single recordings are usually much stiffer than repeaters.
Admittedly, it is a self-imposed hurdle to make the hunting activity more challenging and therefore more sporty. It’s a setting that tells the one-shot hunter that he is good enough to do so with just one shot. And maybe it’s some kind of homage to the single-shot rifle and the skills of our ancestors who lived and hunted generations before us, using nothing but single-shot muzzle-loading rifles, even flintlocks. Hunting is essentially more about tradition to me than just filling a shopping list or hanging oversized antlers on the wall.
A few days ago I picked up my Uberti High Wall from Randy Selby, who expertly converted it from caliber .40-65 to .38-55, shortened the barrel to 24 inches and turned the full octagon barrel to the octagon / round style which I prefer . The first shot from the new barrel hit a broken piece of clay pigeon lying on the target bench at a distance of 100 meters.
As did the next five shots. This with semi-Buckhorn open barrel sights. Then I decided to work on some rocks about 300 meters away. I’ve had Randy reconfigure a few rifles for me over the years, and all of his work has been top notch – none better. The verdict that this rifle, like the others he’s worked on, will fire in the middle. If I miss, it’s me, not the gun.
Firearms bring so much joy to those of us who shoot them, and most of us want to make them as special as we can afford. It is difficult to understand why some members of the Democratic Party demonize them and insist on taking them all away, either through registration / seizure or taxing their possession, until only the rich or politically affiliated can afford to own them. Firearms are the tools of freedom. Why should that scare her?