by Bill McLeod (24 Sep 2019)
"Magnum rifles are ridiculously powerful, will break your collar bone, give you nosebleeds, significant concussion, and drive you back down the range leaving furrows from your elbows and knees".
We lapped up this sort of advice.
Didn’t seem to worry Gordon Ford who shot a lot of deer with his 7x61 Shultz and Larsen. I can still see him carrying out a full size hind from Waitui Trig for what seemed miles.
Ever curious, I got hold of a Weatherby 300 Mark V made by J P Sauer. Beautiful rifle but too flash to hunt with. Did cop an earful of abuse from Burt Howlett when I used it in an interbranch shoot. A cobber and I had set our gear up on each others position. Burt thought Rod was a great shot.
Then my first and only significant injury from a magnum. Shooting a friends Weatherby 340 off a concrete topped benchrest while wearing a short sleeved shirt. Took all the skin off both elbows. Last time I’ll do that. My fault. Dumb.
Used a variety of magnums which I did not own, 7x61, 308 Norma’s, 264, 300 Winchester. They did not inspire me to get one of my own.
Then I had to try one of the classic magnums, the Remington 700 in 7mm Rem. It was an eye opener for me. Practicing in the field on targets of opportunity such as goats, rabbits, magpies, hares and rocks gave me confidence in the rifle. Used on game I found it excellent.
Then a couple of Sako WSMs and a Sako 300 Weatherby. I found them to be of sufficient weight to be very controllable. A confidence building session on wallabies taken in difficult circumstances, offhand at challenging ranges in the matagouri up the Hakataramea changed my view a little. You can use them as ordinary hunting rifles. Taking deer off the slips in the Urewera, sika in the bush in the Mangapapa, thar on the Ben Ohau range gave me an appreciation of their capabilities.
One caveat. During the time I was doing the testing of supposedly inaccurate rifles for Beretta, I found a disproportionate number of Tikka T3 lite rifles in 300 WSM showing up. I got to dread seeing another one. But you have to man up. Every one of those rifles would group in the magic inch at one hundred. Keeping everything under control while doing it demanded concentration.
Developing a good technique was important and for me repeating the mantra Sight Picture, Trigger Control while doing the shooting helped.
Magnums kick, they don’t kill you, and when you gain confidence in them they can do a great job.