With a new offering from Sturm, Ruger and autumn’s hunts not all that far off, here are five good reasons to get into the market for a new big game gun now.
Not long ago, Sturm, Ruger reintroduced one of the company’s most popular rifles in recent memory, the Hawkeye Alaskan, chambered in three slamming calibers that are known for their stopping power.
It’s a superb rifle, especially for conditions one is likely to encounter in the fall, when if it’s not raining, sleeting or snowing, it’s probably getting ready to – am I right?
Hitting the scale at 8 pounds (unloaded, without scope), the Hawkeye Alaskan is chambered for
the .375 Ruger, the .338 Winchester Magnum or the .300 Winchester Magnum. Either/or, you’ve got a
potent load for anything on four legs.
This rifle features a Hogue Over Molded synthetic stock with a nonslip, cobblestone-type texture that allows a firm grip even in a downpour.
The Hogue stock is impervious to changing weather conditions, which is common during any autumn hunting season.
It is fitted with sling swivel studs and a good recoil pad. With an overall length of 42 inches, the Hawkeye Alaskan features an LC6 trigger three-position safety (which I prefer on any centerfire bolt-action rifle) and integral scope mounts. It’s based on the Ruger Guide Gun platform, and has a solid-steel hinged floorplate and a nonrotating Mauser-type controlled round feed extractor.
IF YOU THINK
this is just a sales pitch for a good Ruger, think again. Ruger’s timing on the reintroduction of this rifle may have been no accident. Springtime is the best time to be purchasing a new rifle for fall’s hunting seasons and there are five good reasons why.
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First and foremost, this is kind of the “off season” for gun shops and sporting goods stores, so it is likely that you can find the rifle model you’re looking for in stock. If not, it shouldn’t take too long to order one up before the long Memorial Day Weekend. Wait until late summer or early autumn and you just might be out of luck to get what you want because chances are, 50 other people are looking for the same rifle.
Secondly, buying a rifle now gives you a little more time to pair it up with a good scope, yet another item that procrastinators often find themselves rushing around to find at the last minute. Properly mounting a scope is no simple undertaking, and it’s a bad idea to be hasty about this process.
I once helped a young lady zero a new rifle that came with a factory-mounted scope and much to my surprise, the scope had not been installed so the crosshairs were lined up vertically and horizontally, but tilted to one side.
No wonder she couldn’t produce a good group!
A quick loosening of the rings to rotate the scope, re-tightening and voilà, within five rounds that .270 Winchester-caliber rifle was dead-on at 100 yards, shooting off a backpack as a rest.
A third good reason is that buying a rifle now affords one a very long, warm summer for not just sighting in a rifle, but for packing it around on weekend jaunts, including scouting trips. Those lazy summer evenings also provide lots of lingering light at the range to sample different loads in your new rifle, whether factory ammunition or something from your own loading bench.
If you are a handloader, you will have the summer to work up loads that perform best for your intended purpose. This will allow time to experiment with different bullet weights, perhaps different propellants and get that rifle down to shooting minute-of-angle groups from a cold barrel.
Lastly, a spring purchase puts you ahead of the pack in terms of familiarizing yourself with the rifle.
Get used to working the safety so it becomes a reflex. Learn the bolt throw and get used to the trigger let off. The more familiar you are with your rifle, the more likely you and the gun will become a team in the fall.
NOT ONLY HAS
Ruger revived a popular rifle model in plenty of time for hunters to grab one up for this coming fall’s activities, SIG Sauer reported – just in time for inclusion here – two new additions to its popular premium-grade Elite Hunting ammunition family.
SIG is now offering a load in .243 Winchester and another in .30-06 Springfield.
The .243 Winchester is topped with an 80-grain Copper Game projectile, which seems a bit light for what I would recommend for deer-sized game.
But this pill goes out of the muzzle at a reported 3,425 feet per second with 2,084 foot-pounds of energy, and that’s guaranteed to ruin some game animal’s day.
That’s a round that seems perfect for coyotes, antelope, mountain goats and similar-sized game, and I’ve heard of smaller deer being taken with similar loads.
The ’06 is certainly more potent, pushing a 150-grain projectile out of the muzzle at a reported 2,920 fps, with 2,841 foot-pounds of energy. Goodbye, bucks and even bull caribou or elk, with the right bullet placement. Sheep, you’re history. Goats, say a prayer. SIG Sauer’s ammo is already on sale.
WE MENTIONED STURM
, Ruger earlier. Well, the company has also introduced another variation of its popular 10/22 from the Custom Shop. It’s the Competition Rifle, and from what we’ve seen, it’s a keeper.
The down side for any Washington state readers is that, thanks to Initiative 1639 passed last fall by seriously misguided urban voters, the Ruger 10/22 in all of its configurations now falls within the definition of a “semiautomatic assault rifle,” a gun that Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told me during an interview a couple of months ago doesn’t really exist. But now that it has been defined by statute, the gun control crowd may try to ban these guns with some future multi-million-dollar initiative.
That said, the Custom Shop Competition Rifle is quite a package. It naturally comes with Ruger’s superb 10-round rotary magazine, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
It has a CNC-machined heat-treated and stress-relieved 6061-T6511 aluminum receiver with a 30 MOA Picatinny rail on top. Inside is a CNC-machined match bolt that has been heat-treated and nitrided, and the rifle features a dual bedding system to guarantee that the action is securely bedded to the stock. The bolt handle is oversized for easy charging.
And about that stock; it’s brown laminate with sling swivel studs, a fully adjustable synthetic cheek rest that may be moved vertically and horizontally.
The 161/8-inch stainless steel bull barrel is free floating and features black Cerakote accents. It is threaded with a ½-inch-by-28-thread pattern to allow muzzle brakes or other popular accessories.
Finally, it’s got Ruger’s popular BX Trigger that is smooth with a crisp letoff.
Ruger ships this rifle with a hard case, cleaning cloth, challenge coin and decal.
Story by Dave Workman