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GUNS Magazine July 2012 Digital Edition - Page 52
CONTROLLED ORPUSH FEED? John Barsness ver the centuries, rifle shooters have developed many arguments to keep them fired up: matchlock versus wheel-lock, .45-70 versus .30-30, O’Connor versus Keith, walnut versus synthetic, and on and on and on. These days, many hunters like to argue over whether a bolt-action hunting rifle should be controlled round feed (CRF) or push feed (PF). From the fierce arguments flying around campfires, barstools and cyberspace, you’d think the CRF/PF debate is as old as the bolt action, but really it began in 1990. O actioned rifles made in Europe, but in the late 1950s switched to the PF Mark V. Sako started making PF actions in Finland, and Fabrique Nationale, the maker of perhaps the best-known commercial 98 Mauser action, introduced a PF version called the FN Supreme in the 1960s. In the late 1960s, Ruger introduced their PF Model 77 in the late 1960s, to compete with the dressed-up version of the Remington 721/722 called the 700. Bolt actions rose to dominance in the first half of the 20th century, and until after World War II they were almost all CRF, including just about every military action, along with the Model 54 and 70 Winchesters and Model 30 Remington. Push feed actions didn’t become common until after the war, beginning with the Remington Model 721/722 in 1950. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, PFs continued to proliferate. Winchester “redesigned” the Model 70 in 1964, though the only functional change was the switch from CRF to PF. Weatherby started with 98 Mauser- New Generation Of Shooters While a few old-timers grumbled about all this, a list of other whines about aluminum floorplates, impressed checkering and, eventually, synthetic stocks diverted attention from the basic functions of bolt actions themselves. Essentially, we went directly from the CRF era to the PF era, as a generation of new shooters grew up with Remington 700s, Sakos, Weatherby Mark Vs and post-’64 Winchester Model 70s. I was part of that generation, buying a pair of Remington 700s in 1973, a .243 Winchester BDL and a .270 Winchester ADL. I never once noticed anything wrong with the way they worked, just like thousands of other hunters who bought post-war PF rifles. Then in 1990, the United States Repeating Arms Company brought back the CRF Model 70 Winchester, when modern manufacturing methods made producing a new version of the old action economically possible. At first the USRAC marketers believed this new/old Model 70 would be a minor part of their lineup, a deluxe rifle for the few true CRF addicts, while most hunters would remain happy with the PF model. Wrong. As soon as the CRF Model 70 reappeared, every gun writer in the known universe had to explain the difference between CRF and PF. In fact, right now we’ll explain the difference yet again, so the 1.37 precent of hunters who haven’t been bombarded by the arguments can understand what the big deal is. The Ruger 77 was converted to CRF in the 1990s. John Nosler used one in .458 Lott to take this Tanzanian buffalo. 52 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • J U LY 2 0 1 2