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What are the top-10 deer rifles? Here's one man's picks(PA)
observer-reporter.com ^ | 3 June, 2012 | George Block

Posted on 06/04/2012 4:54:22 AM PDT by marktwain

Deer hunting has been a Pennsylvania tradition for many years, and each man and woman who goes afield has a favorite deer rifle.

Hunting conditions and technology have affected choices, but there are those models and designs that stand head and shoulders over the others.

I thought just for fun - and controversy - I would name what I think are the best deer rifles produced since 1900.

I decided to concentrate on sporting designs and ignore rifles what were simply military designs used for deer hunting. A good example of those would be the 30-40 Krag. Before and after World War II, the Krag was very popular among deer hunters and downed a large share of the state's deer.

Rate This Story: 1 the lowest - 5 the highest

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Current rating: NaN The top 10 I'm listing are the finest deer rifles there are or have been. I consider popularity now or in the past, while also adding suitability for the job as a criteria.

There is also, of course, a little bias involved.

My No. 10 is the 19th Century designed 1873 Winchester. This was the first successful center-fire rifle, and in the 38-40 and 44-40, it downed many Pennsylvania deer. It's creation dates back to 1873, but it was still being produced in the 20th Century and was Winchester's all-time No. 2 seller.

No. 10 was perhaps my toughest decision because there were so many good designs omitted.

At No. 9 is the John Browning-designed and Winchester-built - just to compete with the big single shots - 1886 Winchester.

I would also include the model 71 Winchester in this category since it is nothing more than an updated 86 with better steel. Both rifles handle large, hard-kicking rounds, and both actions are the epitome of smooth lever actions. Both are also highly collectable.

My No. 8 rifle is Remington's old slide-action rifles, the model 14 and 141. Winchester made lever actions, but it was Remington that dominated the pump-action design. In my youth, this was the rifle of choice of some of the best deer hunters in the state.

At No. 7, why not stay with another Remington pump, the model 760 and 7600?

While the 14 was well made, it couldn't handle modern cartridges like the .30-06 and .270. Thus, with the 760, Remington still made a pump but a more modern one with updated chamberings. At one time, this was a top-selling deer rifle.

My favorite, the model 70 Winchester, comes in at No. 6. If this category was expanded from deer to all big game, this rifle would place higher. Many deer hunters just couldn't afford to buy this outstanding bolt-action rifle. Nonetheless, it is one of the top rifles in the deer woods, especially in the featherweight version.

Decisions get a little more difficult as I get to No. 5, but I will choose the Ruger 77 here. Ruger has offered a quality bolt-action rifle for many years at a reasonable price. Produced in a variety of calibers and versions, the 77 has become one of the industries' top sellers. The idea of offering scope mounts with the rifle was a unique, but good, idea.

Ruger has also always offered a good product and smartly filled some unique voids in the gun market.

No. 4 is a design that dates back to the 1800s, the 99 Savage. From the late 1800s until now, the 99 as been considered at or near the top of the lever-action rifle field. The rotary magazine meant it could use pointed bullets, and its strength allowed the use of modern high-pressure rounds. It adapted to modern pressures well.

Coming in at No. 3 is the 336 Marlin, a rifle that has been sold in high numbers. Its solid receiver allowed the scope sight to be placed where it belonged, on top of the receiver. It also had the advantage of being chambered for the 35 Remington cartridge. Its only drawback when compared to the Winchester rifles was one of weight. It is a tad heavier than the Winchesters.

At No. 2 is what is probably the greatest-selling bolt-action rifle, the model 700 Remington. Actually, the model 700 began manufacture in the 1940s as the 721 and 722 series of guns. From deer to varmints and elephants, there is a 700 that will get the job done.

Many bench-rest shooters have built rifles on 700 actions, and many deer hunters have downed a trophy with the same action. It is safe to say that the 700 is the most successful bolt-action ever made.

My top deer rifle is, of course, the model 94 Winchester. There isn't much I can say about it that hasn't already been said. This rifle and its clones have been around longer than any of us. The 94 and the .30-30 cartridge are mentioned in the same breath. To some, they even mean the same thing.

It was this rifle with which the old timers began hunting deer, and is the same rifle that many of us started out with. It has to be No. 1.

George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Philosophy; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: banglist; deer; pa; rifle
I must be slipping. I only have used and/or own seven of these rifles, not counting duplicates.

Perhaps we should start another thread for military origin rifles. The Remington 700 is used by our military, and the AR group of rifles is increasingly favored by today's hunters.

1 posted on 06/04/2012 4:54:34 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

An Armalite AR-10, an FN-FAL, an HK-91, or an M-1A...IMO ;)


2 posted on 06/04/2012 4:58:22 AM PDT by RC one (this space intentionally left blank)
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To: marktwain

Ditto on the Savage 99. Mine is in .250 and I have had great success with it.


3 posted on 06/04/2012 5:06:46 AM PDT by Texas Colonel (Get as close as you can...then get 10 yards closer..)
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To: marktwain

Ditto on the Savage 99. Mine is in .250 and I have had great success with it.


4 posted on 06/04/2012 5:06:46 AM PDT by Texas Colonel (Get as close as you can...then get 10 yards closer..)
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To: marktwain

I am partial to the Ruger M77 all stainless .338 but with a rubber coated Hogue fiberglass stock. Thats my moose rifle, its technically a deer rifle, moose are in the deer family.


5 posted on 06/04/2012 5:11:31 AM PDT by Eye of Unk (Liberals need not reply.)
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To: marktwain

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??

NO muzzleloaders????

We’ve been around A LOT LONGER than those cartridge thingys.


6 posted on 06/04/2012 5:14:08 AM PDT by Flintlock (THE TRUTH: It's the new hate speech..)
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To: marktwain

Firearms were created for the purpose of combat. To exclude “military origin” rifles would be to exclude every rifle on this list.


7 posted on 06/04/2012 5:21:45 AM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: marktwain

Got my first deer, a couple of decades ago, with a Model 94 30-30. Loved that rifle. Wish I still had it.


8 posted on 06/04/2012 5:23:26 AM PDT by WKUHilltopper (And yet...we continue to tolerate this crap...)
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To: Flintlock

The article did say “produced after 1900”. There are a great many rifles that would have been excellent picks, as the author noted.


9 posted on 06/04/2012 5:23:32 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain; harpseal; TexasCowboy; nunya bidness; AAABEST; Travis McGee; Squantos; wku man; SLB; ...
I have to agree with RC One -- the FAL and M1A work very well on the deer, the FAL especially. The M1A is a bit more accurate, but a lot heavier to lug around, especially in hilly terrain.

I also must point out that the Marlin 1894 in .44mag works as well as the Model 94 out to a few hunded yards. After that, the .30-30 shoots much flatter. With the density of the woods in my area, 150 is all you'll need; often less than that.

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

10 posted on 06/04/2012 5:26:14 AM PDT by Joe Brower (Sheep have three speeds: "graze", "stampede" and "cower".)
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To: Durus
Firearms were created for the purpose of combat. To exclude “military origin” rifles would be to exclude every rifle on this list.

I think that would be a stretch. AFAIK, the Remington pumps were never considered by any military, and there are a lot of rifles that were designed specifically for hunting, even though any hunting gun can be used for military purposes. I do not know if any military ever used the model 94 Winchester or the 336 Marlin. The Savage 99 was produced in a military model, but I do not think it was adopted by any military. Maybe a militia unit in the U.S. bought some. I only know of one drilling that was adopted for military use as a survival gun for the Luftwaffe during WWII.

11 posted on 06/04/2012 5:31:03 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: Flintlock

My Hawken .54 has put a lot of food on the table!


12 posted on 06/04/2012 5:35:05 AM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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To: Delta 21

NICE

13 posted on 06/04/2012 5:45:32 AM PDT by bmwcyle
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To: marktwain

If you are making sausage, an M249 isn’t a bad choice.


14 posted on 06/04/2012 5:49:51 AM PDT by USMCPOP (Father of LCpl. Karl Linn, KIA 1/26/2005 Al Haqlaniyah, Iraq)
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To: marktwain

Growing up in Western PA, I can’t disagree with any of the author’s selections, but I would say there were a small band of .25 calliber diehards for the general PA utility rifle. The .250 Savage, .257 Roberts, .25-06 and .257 Weatherby could be loaded with lighter bullets for reaching out and touching those groundhogs at long range, and loaded heavy for PA black bear and manage everything in between. If you could have only one rifle in PA, it’s the ticket.


15 posted on 06/04/2012 5:50:46 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: marktwain

My dad and I took a lot of game with a Remington 760 in .270. Hand-loads ... Chasing game ... It made for some of the best bonding I ever had with him.


16 posted on 06/04/2012 5:50:54 AM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: marktwain
I have the 35 Remington lever action which is great for hunting in the woods. My favorite deer rifles are the 270 Browning Bar and 257 Weatherby Magnum. The last deer I shot with the 270 dropped like a house fell on its head.
17 posted on 06/04/2012 5:54:35 AM PDT by peeps36 (America is being destroyed by filthy traitors in the political establishment)
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To: marktwain

The drawback with the Model 94 is getting the second shot. The rifle recoils up and you lose you target. The Winchester Model 70 recoils straight back allowing a second shot. IMHO


18 posted on 06/04/2012 5:57:01 AM PDT by Citizen Tom Paine (An old sailor sends)
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To: marktwain
A stretch? I'm not sure I understand your logic. All firearms are military derivatives regardless of general use. It's not required for the individual rifle to be used by the military. Although I'm sure at some point the Model 14 was used in combat someplace and obviously the Winchester 94 was.
19 posted on 06/04/2012 6:08:56 AM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: bmwcyle

Optics on a charcoal burner...

That’s just wrong.


20 posted on 06/04/2012 6:16:42 AM PDT by MileHi ( "It's coming down to patriots vs the politicians." - ovrtaxt)
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To: Durus
All firearms are military derivatives regardless of general use.

I see your logic, but think it a stretch to say that all rifles are of military origin because all firearms derive, at some point, from firearms that were designed for military use.

Clearly, some firearms are designed specifically for hunting and not for military use, even if they can be used militarily.

Sure, the early matchlocks and hand cannons were first designed for military usage, and all modern designs derive to some extent from them.

But it is rather like saying that all knives are military derivatives.

I think we can make a useful distinction about rifles that were designed for military usage, and those that were not. Many were designed with both purposes in mind. For a lot of designers, the military market was the brass ring to aim for.

On the other hand, I cannot think of a single double rifle manufacturer that tried to get military contracts for their rifles.

21 posted on 06/04/2012 6:58:23 AM PDT by marktwain
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To: marktwain

Nothing like a top 10 gun thread to get the whole room yakking.


22 posted on 06/04/2012 7:11:54 AM PDT by lurk
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To: marktwain

The important characteristic is the ability to penetrate blue helmets.


23 posted on 06/04/2012 7:38:04 AM PDT by JimRed (Excising a cancer before it kills us waters the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW AND FOREVER!)
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To: marktwain

Interesting choices for sure. But if we’re not talking about just mass-produced rifles, we should add sporters based on military rifles. The Swedish Mauser in 6.5 x 55 is supposed to be an excellent, low recoil, high-penetrating and accurate deer/elk slayer. I personnaly have a customized FN-built Yugo Mauser action mated to a step-down 308 barrel and sporter stock, custom safety and bolt job—just a sweet rifle with an interesting history.


24 posted on 06/04/2012 7:56:32 AM PDT by mikeus_maximus (I won't vote for Romney, period. Voting for "the lesser of two evils" is still voting for evil.)
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To: marktwain

Silly article.

It’s 99% hunter, and 1% rifle (assuming any of the wide range of appropriate cartridges). The rifles are all fine.


25 posted on 06/04/2012 8:13:31 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Hold My Beer and Watch This!)
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To: marktwain

Silly article.

It’s 99% hunter, and 1% rifle (assuming any of the wide range of appropriate cartridges). The rifles are all fine.


26 posted on 06/04/2012 8:21:46 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Hold My Beer and Watch This!)
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To: marktwain

I like what this guy shoots with!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOoUVeyaY_8&feature=related


27 posted on 06/04/2012 9:01:04 AM PDT by New Jersey Realist (America: home of the free because of the brave)
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To: marktwain
I know where you are coming and I appreciate your opinion but this is not like knives. A knife (in the form of a sharpened rock) was probably first used as a tool rather than a weapon. Guns on the other hand were first invented as weapons and they remain such even if used primarily for hunting. It's a relatively modern notion to create a specialized hunting firearm, especially in America where historically the primary self defense weapon was also used for hunting. It's this modern notion of separating weapons (ie:military type rifles) and "hunting rifles" that allowed the whole "sporting purposes" rationale to be applied. This article completely bows to the notion that we can somehow separate out those evil military guns but still fondle grandpas Winchester 94 because it isn't a weapon it's just a hunting tool.

There are a lot of avid hunters that are union member Democrats that hate the 2nd amendment and would be thrilled if we could ban all "military weapons", including pistols, as long as they can shoot some ducks/doves/deer whatever. We need to fight against the sporting purposes rationale whenever we can while reminding these Fuds that their toys are going to be banned next.

28 posted on 06/04/2012 9:49:10 AM PDT by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: Flintlock

I’m with you. Those suppository guns are for shooting terrorists, not deer!! :)


29 posted on 06/04/2012 9:53:29 AM PDT by ZULU (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd)
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To: bmwcyle

Something not quite right about that.

Sort of like a missle launcher on a square-rigger or a steam whistle on a bullet train.


30 posted on 06/04/2012 10:07:55 AM PDT by ZULU (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd)
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To: bmwcyle

Strange looking contraption!

Now you done and got me thinkin’.


31 posted on 06/04/2012 10:46:23 AM PDT by Delta 21 (Oh Crap !! Did I say that out loud ??!??)
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To: Eye of Unk

I think it is fair to say I actually “love” my Ruger M77 30-06 in Stainless and Composite - Nitrogen Swift scope glass just a millimeter from the barrel - just a wonderful, stable, enormously accurate, confidence-building weapon. I have NEVER had to track a deer.


32 posted on 06/04/2012 10:53:32 AM PDT by golux
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To: Durus

I totally agree with everything you pointed out


33 posted on 06/04/2012 10:58:31 AM PDT by piroque ("In times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act")
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To: marktwain

Thread is nearly useless without gun ‘pron’.


34 posted on 06/04/2012 11:08:26 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: marktwain

The Browning BAR in .308 or .30-06 is a great hunting rifle. Accurate and lower recoil than bolt actions.


35 posted on 06/04/2012 11:33:15 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: marktwain

I have the Sav. 99 covered in .250-300 and .300; 92 Win mod for .45 Colt, the 700 Rem in .25-06, M 70 in .30-06, m95 Win in .30-40, several Marlins in .30-30, .35Rem and .38-55 plus a bunch of others which may have been lost in the floods last year. All of them were deer capable. Am a bit light on the pump and auto rifles. Which one is a favorite? The one that is in my hand at the moment.


36 posted on 06/04/2012 1:31:50 PM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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To: Citizen Tom Paine
The drawback with the Model 94 is getting the second shot. The rifle recoils up and you lose you target. The Winchester Model 70 recoils straight back allowing a second shot. IMHO

Never had a problem making ready for a second shot with any of the above BUT if i am doing my job, won't need a second shot.

37 posted on 06/04/2012 1:36:29 PM PDT by Lion Den Dan
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To: marktwain

I have a Remington 7600, chambered in 30-06. Wonderful all around rifle. Composite stocks ain’t purty but won’t crack or warp. With the std 3 round removable box magazine it is perfect for Deer hunting. And, with the optional 10 round box magazines it works very well for target rich gangsta / urban terrorist hunting . . .


38 posted on 06/04/2012 2:38:48 PM PDT by Petruchio (I Think . . . Therefor I FReep.)
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To: WKUHilltopper
a Model 94 30-30. Loved that rifle. Wish I still had it.

I'll never give mine up. I have a Winchester 70 Featherweight in 30-06 (pre 64 style extractor) with a B&L 3x9 scope which is plenty accurate but almost unnecessary around these parts so I usually just tote the '94 with iron sights. Over the last hundred years the woods have grown back so thickly and the deer have become so abundant that there's little opportunity or need for that matter to shoot anything more than 50 yards away anyway.

Last season I just used a Browning bow.

I might just use a ball peen hammer this year. Just walk up to the and clock them on the head around my gardens - the population has gotten that out of control.

39 posted on 06/04/2012 3:08:30 PM PDT by Sirius Lee (Goode or Evil, that's the choice.)
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To: marktwain

I have a Remington 700 BDL with a left-hand action, from around 1972. How would you classify it? I am interested in selling it, but want to know how much I should ask.


40 posted on 06/04/2012 6:46:50 PM PDT by redhead (Libs can't win without cheating--Conservatives don't have to cheat to win)
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To: Texas Colonel
Ditto on the Savage 99. Mine is in .250 and I have had great success with it.
I have a 99 in .300 Savage. It has downed many Elk, Antelope, Javalina and Deer in its many years. Its a great rifle for hunting. I also have a Remington 700 in 6mm Remington that I really like for deer.
41 posted on 06/04/2012 10:01:58 PM PDT by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: marktwain
Have taken deer with a few different rifles and shotguns. I loved my Model 94
30-30 (like a dummy, sold it right before Winchester quit making guns). I love my Remington 742 30.06 (passed down to me by my late father). And I love my Marlin 1894s in .44 mag and .357 mag.

There's a lot of great deer guns out there.

42 posted on 06/05/2012 12:11:42 AM PDT by Ghengis
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To: Joe Brower
I also must point out that the Marlin 1894 in .44mag works as well as the Model 94 out to a few hunded yards.

While I like .30-06 up on the flats (180 gr Core-Lokt from a Winchester Model 70), down in the bottoms and the breaks here I like the Marlin in .44 Mag. It is short and easy to work with in the brush, with all the knockdown power you need at shorter ranges, and not easily deflected by the stray willow.

43 posted on 06/05/2012 1:02:24 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: Texas Colonel

Say, Colonel, Assuming that is the venerable .250-3000, do you know of any good places to get ammo? No one up here stocks it.


44 posted on 06/05/2012 1:05:22 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing)
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To: Joe Brower
I have to agree with RC One -- the FAL and M1A work very well on the deer, the FAL especially. The M1A is a bit more accurate, but a lot heavier to lug around, especially in hilly terrain.

Concur. The M1A has better iron sights, a consideration for me if it's raining in deer season. Conversely, they're all grooved and tapped for a scope mount if that's one's preference.

The adjustable gas system of the FAL/L1A1 allows a wider choice of commercial ammunition, anything from 125-grain *light recoil* ammo from Remmie, to 180-grain softpoints for double duty in dear country where a surprise encounter with a bear is also possible.

My usual pick is a Garand. But the last whitetail deer I got was with a Kar98k German Mauser boltgun. They'll all do the job if the shooter does his or hers, and the deer are there.

45 posted on 06/05/2012 1:43:04 PM PDT by archy (I'd give my right arm to be ambidextrous!)
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To: marktwain
I do not know if any military ever used the model 94 Winchester

You'll find "spruce" 94s, which were used by military (possibly privite security but don't think so) guarding the spruce forests in the northwest needed for aircraft production during WWI. Early in WWII Canadian militia forces organized to conduct guerilla actions in the event of a Japanese invasion were issued 94s. Interesting, the 95 was used militarily due to chamberings, but in NW Canada (US too), 30-30 would have been easier to come by for guerilla forces. Don't know if that was part of the decision, but the rifles are out there on the used market. Think I've read about 94s being exported under lend lease and to Central America, but don't know specifics. The National Rifleman has had a couple articles on the subject in the last 6 or 7 years.

46 posted on 06/06/2012 4:03:49 PM PDT by SJackson (As a black man, you know, Barack could get shot going to the gas station, M Obama)
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To: Smokin' Joe
Sir,
Winchester Silvertips are still readily available down here, but I am to the point where I am buying some Hornady dies and reloading my own. Silvertips are deadly on our small white tails, but I know there are better projectiles out there and want to take advantage of that.

As an aside, I went as far as having a .250-3000 barrel made for my Encore and it's a tackdriver.
V/R
Texas

47 posted on 06/22/2012 5:57:13 PM PDT by Texas Colonel (Get as close as you can...then get 10 yards closer.)
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