A Man Left Behind

2 replies [Last post]
Mak's picture
Joined: 03/01/2011

I have started to follow some of the latest developments in firearms, and rifles in general of late. Spurred on by curiosity, I've looked a bit into brands that don't start with a W, M, or C.
What I have seen makes me feel a couple of different ways. First, is a sense of being perplexed, second best described as "huh"??? Let me explain. A big hot new cartridge is the .450 Bushmaster. Apparently, folks are pretty excited about putting a cartridge into the AR 15 that can't match either the 45-70 or the more compact 450 Marlin. I've actually done a bit of still hunting, weaving through thick brush and steep grades, and never once have I wished for an AR with a banana clip that holds a couple more rounds than the traditional tubular magazine.
There's more, in fact. Now, you can carry your I phone thingy, a calculator, and your wireless rangefinder, type in the pertinent details, and supposedly get your reticle to display exactly where to aim. Now, maybe I just don't get how wonderful this is supposed to be, but what does this have to do with squeezing off a good shot? 
I mean, assuming this system actually works, doesn't it remove individual marksmanship skill?
Perhaps the latest bit offering perplexity comes with the so called precision rifle craze. Frankly, I can't recall any time when poor shooting was admirable. The whole point of shooting a rifle, or any gun for that matter, is to deliver precise shots. I once threaded the needle through brush and struck my target precisely with an outmoded Winchester 70 at over a hundred long paces through brush, without a rangefinder, iPhone, calculator, or internet connection. In fact, I made such shots more than once. Considering this, I am at a loss to comprehend why I need all this new complexity. If you know, feel free to tell me below. Last I knew, you learned your rifle and your cartridge, and you made your shots accordingly, or you went home sagging some. Apparently now, the precision rifle must look like it really wants to be an AR, sport all kinds of plastic-read polymer-an weight significantly more than 10 lbs.
All this has me convinced that reinventing the wheel in order to increase cost, complexity, and that intangible sense of modernity has indeed left me behind. I've watched videos flatly stating that if you don't have a high capacity semiautomatic pistol you are not able to defend yourself. Still hunting today can only succeed when equipped with AR, never with one of them relics, y'know like a levergun sporting iron sights.
Change is constant. Yet what surprises me is that today one pays significantly more to get significantly less. I personally cannot imagine gleefully exchanging fine wood for p-p-p--plastic and celebrating it. It amazes me that people would rather fidget with multiple electronic devices than teach themselves to be capable shots, and it stuns me that someone would spend thousands on a "modular" gun that weighs as much as a truck.
I still believe that the young must learn to shoot with irons, must read the wind and the distance. These are the skills that ensure marksmanship. Furthermore, resourcefulness doesn't come from a product line. I've known people who had to make do with less than optimal, and they made it work, maybe because nobody told them they couldn't. Somehow, when I look at today's trends, I see a grasping for tools rather than a development of skills. Hard times are on the way again for this country, they're never far behind, so I guess I hope that internet aiming, newer weaker cartridges, and boat anchor rifles will still put food on the table. The new generation will still have to eat, won't they?

Joined: 06/15/2018
Several things are fueling

Several things are fueling the AR craze I believe. 
First, a lot of prior military folks want what the rifle they trained with, slept with, relied on to live through battle etc. Some guys hunt and want better hunting calibers than 5.56/.223 but in the same rifle so we get rounds like the .450 Bushmaster. The .300 Blackout only makes .30-30 ballistics with light for caliber bullets but it was designed to be used with a suppressor. 
Another reason is video games, the war on terror is just far enough in the past (though its not over only no longer reported on) that kids grew up playing video games about it now want one of those guns. 
The last reason is people buying guns that appear to be fully banned in the near future.  Doesn't matter if they intend to use them to defend them selves or not when that inevitable ban comes (hopefully after my life time). 
If the argument is why do you need that many rounds to hunt with because it only takes one well placed round to kill your game then everyone should be hunting with a single shot. Coyote hunting is a wonderful place for an AR, call in multiples and you have a great gun for getting all or most of them (IF the shooter does his part). 

All those fancy gadgets aren't for shooting through brush at 100 yards. They are meant for the long range crowd. It's becoming popular with some these days to take big game animals at 700-1200 yards. To me that's not hunting but as long as the animal it taken cleanly and humanely I'm not going to complain. 

Contrary to your post many "precision rifles" these days are cutting weight. The trend is light and shorter barrels etc. 

Its not just guns where people are looking for tools rather than developing skills. Todays cell phone is more powerful than the computers that put men into space and onto the moon. Who uses and encyclopedia or dictionary anymore? They just look up the answer on their phone! 

I'm sure my reply sounds like I'm arguing with you. I am not. I own an AR with a lot of stuff hanging off of it. Last time I fired it was probably several years ago, I carried one for more than one combat tour through an arab speaking country. At one time I was pretty handy with one, that familiarity thing you were talking about. Now that my life doesn't depend on it they don't do much for me. I too much prefer fine wood and blued steel over plastic and matt black baked on finish. 

Mak's picture
Joined: 03/01/2011
Odds and Ends

Yeah, I can understand why someone would want to buy a gun that is about to be banned. It's a whole nother discussion trying to figure out why a large group of politically powerful people always get away with punishing the innocent for the crimes of others, which is exactly what gun bans do.
I can also get that someone would want to shoot at extremely long range. I've known some who have done exactly that, I just think that in this case, the doodads are more powerful than skill.
I'm not dumping on the AR 15, but I am suggesting that it might not be the prefect platform for doing what has been done better before. Yeah, in the carbine version it is short, but with the grip and magazine it's two to three times the height of my older rifle. I guess if someone can plop down $1,500 for a really good AR, they might want to actually use it, but having shouldered more than one, it would never be my first choice on the hunting field.
I don't know, maybe what some say is correct, that change isn't good or bad, it just is. Maybe I just don't get where the young are at. After all, just in my little area, I've seen a huge swing towards restriction of rights, movement, and a big step up of tension. Maybe facing this for the rest of my long adult life, and looking at my new family, and attempting to make sense of it all would give me a different perspective.
In terms of the precision rifle platform, I look at it with an understanding that prices are starting to come down to Earth, but I don't see your assertion that weight is dropping with it. There is a bit of a gun store in the big city that has a great selection of powders, which is why I visit them, and they build precision rifles of all stripes. They are younger guys, pretty friendly, and in their store are suppressors costing four figures, camouflage clothing, and a tiny used gun section. They are crazy over 6.5s, love to trade for barrels, and consider bipods as necessary as breakfast. They have barely heard of leverguns, and view revolvers of all types as quaint. I see them filling a niche that the big box stores can't. A part of me is glad they are here, providing for a segment of the population that finds a way to enjoy shooting besides all the hysteria. Maybe this is the future, and when it's my time to go,  maybe someone will say he recalled some of the virtues that gave a quality to a previous time. Well, I can hope.