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GUNS Magazine October 2011 Digital Edition - Page 56

I John Barsness f magazines and websites are any indication, few hunters use anything except a bolt-action rifle these days. oh, once in a while there’s a photo of somebody with a single shot of some sort, or an AR-type autoloader, but 99 percent of “hero shots” show a bolt rifle. This is a little odd. I’ve hunted big game in 16 states and seven Canadian provinces and territories, and have seen far more lever and pumpaction rifles than single shots or autos. Admittedly, bolt actions predominate, especially among people who pay for guided hunts, but among citizens who are “self guided” (that really strange term), there are still quite a few pumps and, especially, levers. It’s almost as if two separate hunting worlds exist in North America. One is filled by a camo-uniformed-army carrying, bolt actions chambered for the latest “in cartridges” and fitted with expensive “tactical” scopes. On their backs are internal-frame packs containing energy bars, a high-megapixel digital camera and a Camelback water bladder. Around their necks hang Leica, Swarovski and Zeiss binoculars. The conversation in their Suburban will be about subMOA groups and ultra-long G2 tines. The other world is unevenly inhabited by disorganized volunteers who mix red plaid shirts, camo pants and orange sweatshirts. Actually, they don’t much care what they wear as long as there are enough pockets for a PB&J sandwich, a few rounds of ammo and a can of chewing tobacco. Their camera (if any) is the same single-use film-box they plan to use on Christmas morning. The rifle might be a bolt action, but it might be a Winchester lever action or a Remington pump, and the scope came in a blister-pack, perhaps along with a “free” binocular. You can bet ammo Contrary to what most bolt-action shooters think, both the Browning BLR (above, top) and Remington 760/7600 are usually quite accurate. The original version of the first modern lever action, the Savage 99 (below, top) appeared in 1895. It easily adapted to spitzer bullets and scope mounting, unlike tubemagazine levers such as the Winchester Model 71, the last traditional lever Winchester introduced. 56 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • OCTOBER 2011

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