Note: Guns of our Fathers is a regular monthly feature in the print edition of Western Shooting Journal. If you have a story you’d like to share about a gun you inherited, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Brian Lull
I met this gun in 1984, the first year I was licensed to hunt deer. My dad’s deer rifle (Marlin Model 336 in 30/30) became my deer rifle that year, so he bought a more than slightly used Remington Model 600 Mohawk from his “right hand man” in our family business.
The Remington Mohawk is a short-barreled, bolt action rifle that feels very heavy for its diminutive size. Back in the day (sometime in the late 70s in this rifle’s case), firearms manufacturers had yet to figure out lightweight composite stocks, fluted barrels, etc. that make today’s rifles such a joy to carry all day.
This gun also has a safety that requires one to push it forward to the “fire” position to unload each bullet from the chamber. Also with a fixed box magazine, this rifle requires all rounds to be cycled through the chamber to unload it. It is definitely not a gun for beginners or those who don’t treat the First Commandment of gun safety as the religion it should be. That is: never, ever point any gun at something you are not willing to destroy!
This was the gun that my father used to teach me that all important lesson of always keeping your rifle pointed in a safe direction at all times in all situations …. No matter what.
Most of the deer seasons in the 80s were good ones in the Ponderosa pine forests we hunted on the east side of Washington’s Cascade Mountains. Our rifle deer seasons were three weeks long in October, and any buck was legal. I got to see my dad kill several fork-horned mule deer/blacktail hybrids during those years with the old .308. All of them were one-shot kills.
I lost touch with the old Remington along with my father during the 90s when I was distracted with school, girls and cars. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until he died in 2001 that I inherited the old .308 and started hunting again with it.
Hunting with your dad’s rifle carries an emotional attachment that is hard to fathom. If your dad is no longer around to hunt with, it’s the next best thing. It was an exceptionally heart-felt experience to watch my wife kill her first deer with Dad’s old Remington on the high plains of Montana last year … a one-shot kill at 250 yds. Watching his favorite rifle notch more of her tags over the years to come is something I’ll continue to dream about each fall.