Our ongoing evaluation of semiautomatic versions of famous machine guns continues with this comparison of two bipod-mounted guns, the stolid BAR and the beautiful German MG-34.
According to Gun Digest 2002, there are at least 42 semi-automatic rifles chambered for centerfire calibers available today. But how many of them are classified or readily identifiable as hunting rifles? By this we mean a non-military appearance, available with barrel length of approximately 20 inches or more, and a two-piece stock with receiver drilled and tapped for mounting a scope. The answer is seven. (Eight, if you are willing to include the Ruger Deerfield 99/44 carbine, based solely upon its name.) Among this short list are the Browning BAR, or Browning Automatic Rifle, and the HK SLB 2000, both of which are available chambered in .30-06 Springfield.
Anyone seeking an all-around cartridge for North American hunting would be well served by the .30-06. In fact, the cartridge would be pretty handy just about anywhere one wanted to hunt, worldwide. Make the rifle out of stainless steel, put it in a synthetic stock, and you've got a versatile, durable tool that ought to last several lifetimes.
The .30-06 is the most popular cartridge all over the world, and rightly so. The many varieties of bullet weights, types and velocities available, in both factory loads and as components for the handloader, are unmatched in any other cartridge. There are saboted lightweight bullets at varmint-getting velocities, heavyweights up to 220 grains with eno...
In spite of what some people may say or think, we feel a semiautomatic rifle is a worthwhile hunting arm. A bolt-action rifle may work just fine for most hunters, but manually-operated firearms are extremely difficult, if not impossible, for physically disadvantaged people to use. Also, a semiautomatic rifle's ability to deliver a fast follow-up shot can prevent wounded game animals from suffering needlessly.
There is, of course, a downside to the semiautomatic rifle. It typically weighs about 1/2-pound more than most bolt-action sporters, making the gun tiresome to carry around for any length of time. However, the .30-06 Springfield rifles in this test solve the weight problem. They are...
Bolt-action rifles are so popular that we often forget there are other types of manually-operated long guns available. One such class of firearm is the single-shot rifle. Although most shooters dislike these rifles for their lack of firepower, single shots are capable hunting arms.
Currently, there are two general types of single-shot rifles available. On the lower end of the price scale are guns, such as the Harrington & Richardson Ultra and the New England Firearms Handi-Rifle, which have break-open actions. This type of rifle has a barrel that is hinged to the frame, like that of a over/under shotgun. The other, more expensive type of single-shot rifle, such as the Browning Model 18...
Many hunters believe that one gun is as good as another, and that any old bolt action will kill a deer. In some extreme cases this may even be true, such as hunting in heavy brush or forest, where shots will almost always be under 50 yards. But a recent test of four bolt actions suggests that not all such guns are created equal; in fact, as informed Gun Tests readers know, performance among similar, and in this case very common, products can vary widely enough to ruin a season's worth of hunting effort.
Case in point: We recently bought and shot a quartet of the most prevalent centerfire bolt guns in the field today, all of them chambered for the .30-06 Springfield. According to ammunition makers, this round outsells all other centerfires, mainly because of its long-standing performance record and versatility. .30-06 cartridges are offered in bullet weights from 125 to 220 grains, the former a top choice for medium-size game at long range, while a 220-grain bullet traveling at 2,400 fps will take just about any North American game animal.
Interest in the bolt-action .30-06 never seems to dim, especially when hunting season rolls around. We recently tested (May 1999) a handful of similarly configured hunting rifles that all had composite stocks and 22-inch barrels, the rifles bearing the names Savage, Winchester, Remington, Howa, and Century. The winner of the test was the inexpensive Savage M111F, $395. Because you may be considering the purchase of a new hunting rifle for the coming deer-hunting season, this month we tested two more rifles whose reputations precede them, the Beretta Mato (which means bear in the Dakota Indian dialect) and the Browning A-Bolt Composite Stalker with BOSS, both with synthetic stocks and blued barrels. These are more expensive rifles than the $395 Savage. The Browning retails for $640 and the Beretta for $1,660.
The question: Does a higher price bring improved performance or greater pride of ownership? Does it give you more of a hunting rifle that even the more budget-minded hunter simply can't overlook?
Let's take a look at each gun and find out.
Rifle power may be succinctly defined by the velocity at which a cartridge can propel a given weight of bullet, and that’s a simp...
Ruger's Magnum takes the cake as a dangerous-game gun, and we also like Sako's 75 Hunter. Pass on the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express.