First, read Richard Mann's excellent post from his Empty Cases Blog:Never say never again…hmmmmm…sounds like suspiciously like the title of a James Bond movie. I'm fascinated by Scout rifles, use them for training, for hunting and as the "house gun", had input into the hugely successful Ruger Gunsite Scout and count Richard Mann as a very good friend. As I have mentioned before, Richard and I will be in Africa next June on the very first "Scout rifle only" plains
In a description of the Scout Rifle titled, The Scout Rifle Concept, Cooper wrote, “The ‘Magnum Scout’ or ‘Super Scout,’ is in 350 RM.” This document was found in Cooper’s personal files. Additionally, in a 1998 article for Guns & Ammo titled, The Scout Rifle: Some Simple Principles, Cooper, speculating on Steyr’s introduction of the .376 Steyr or “Dragoon” as he often called it, wrote, “The ‘Magnum Scout,’ if it appears, will not make weight, of course.” In case some, as they have in the past, suggest this was an editorial change, I was able to uncover the draft for this article in the files Janelle Cooper provided me.
game safari. I'll be filming for SHOOTING GALLERY/SHOOTING GALLERY ONLINE (SGO).
As you know, I've been working on the gun I plan to hunt with. I started with an ANIB Ruger Frontier bolt action in .338 Federal. The .338 Federal cartridge is enjoying something of a small renaissance these days. It's a necked-up.308, created by Federal and Sako in 2006, and for a while was "this year's blonde." Go back and read some of the adulatory articles on it in 2007/2008. The it cooled off like your grandmother's banana pudding in the dead of winter. The reason it's coming back is that it is an excellent "do everything" cartridge, which seemed to me to make sense in a "do everything" rifle. Bullet weights run 180-210 grains. There is still a very good selection of factory ammo from Federal (you know, Hornady, it wouldn't kill you to do a .338 with a 200-grain GMX, would it?).
The .338 showed up back on my radar while I was in Texas with Bill Wilson, working on his book, GUN GUY. Bill and I were BS'ing over adult beverages — as we have done for 30 some-odd years — and Bill mentioned he was bring out his superb .308 AR-10 platform rifle in .338 Federal. I mentioned that I'd had a similar conversation back when I was in Africa. Short story…the .338 Federal may be the perfect round for any North American game. Not to say there aren't better specific use cartridges, but the .338 will do well from coyotes to elk moose and bear. From a prepper standpoint, it's a necked-up .308, which is one of the most common cartridges on earth. Stock up on bullets, and you're good to go.
I bought one of Bill's .338 AR-10s, and it's a pretty spectacular rifle. I topped it with what I think of as maybe the best "do-anything" scope at a sane price, a Leupold VX-6 2-12 Illuminated. You'll see this gun on SGO as well.
My original plan was to mount one of the new Leupold VX-R 1.5-5 FireDot…I have shot that scope on a couple of rifles and I love it. I bought one, finally found the correct 30mm Ruger rings and mounted it on the Frontier. Uh-oh…I could not get the right eye relief for 5X; secondly, the scope is 12-inches long and blocked a big chunk of the ejection port. I just didn't like it.
So I pulled out my RGS, which is fitted with the Burris 2-7X Scout, a really nice set-up. I swapped the 2 scopes,and viola! Magic! The Leupold is perfect on the RGS; the Burris is perfect on the .338 Frontier. One problem solved.
The little Frontier is going to Bullberry Barrel Works for BUIS, New England Custom Gun's peep rear and banded front. Then it goes to CDi Precision Gunworks for new bottom metal to take AI mags. I'm going to keep the standard Ruger trigger — it is just excellent. And Andy's Rhodesian sling will wrap up the package.
I also plan to bring my Ruger Gunsite Scout…I just bought some of the new Hornady 178-gr ELD-X long-range hunters, and I'll see how they run through the RGS. My plan is to load up some Barnes TTSX 210-gr for Africa in the .338. It's still a 300 yard rifle, I think…maybe 400 if the oon is in the Second House, and Jupiter aligns with Mars. We'll see on the range. Our overall plan is me, Richard Mann and Producer John Carter will take Il Ling New's Africa hunt prep course at GUNSITE in May and make sure the rifles are hammered out.