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  #1  
Old 08-24-2003, 08:10 PM
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Post the .308 as a hunting rifle


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since i have a .308-and hunt with it, i would like to offer some observations and advice.

i believe that the .308 is the most versatile rifle there is; followed very closely by the .30-06. mine is a herter's mj9 (yugoslavian mauser manufactured by zastava in the mid-sixties) topped with a tasco (phillipines, NOT china) 3-9x44mm scope. it is a good all-around combo for anything i am likely to hunt in montana, from proghorn antelope , to mule deer , to whitetail deer to elk . the first thing i will say is practice practice practice!

regarding "point blank range," i would suggest a 250-yard zero, which will put you in an 8-inch kill zone out to 300 yards. a 200-yard zero is fine, but a 250-yard zero will compensate for any error in estimating range. i STRONGLY recommend going to www.huntingnut.com and downloading the free POINT BLANK program. play around with it a little and learn a few things about ballisitics. not only is it fun, but it will prepare you for the field, helping you to kow exactly what your rifle can do. before i got this program, i had visions of popping mulies at 600 yards with my .308.....this program woke me up, and made me a little more aware of what a rifle can do, and do WELL, as long as you know its limits.

with a .308, i would say that 165 grain is optimum up to mule deer. 150's are more than adequate, but it doesn't hurt to adjust the percentages in your favor.

for elk and larger, you definitely want to at least look into using 180-grain. 165's would probably be fine for a broadside kill-shot, but the 180's would penetrate much better and pack a little more punch, which is a plus when going after big animals which can run fast and disappear into thin air after they are wounded, but not killed outright.

regarding ammunition, "rolling your own" is probably the best option. you can tailor the bullet, load and other factors to your rifle, and achieve some very surprising accuracy. for 20$, you can buy a lee loader in .308 and see for yourself. along with the lee loader, i would recommend forking out an extra 13$ for the two-piece case trimmer and lock stud combination made by lee. this is really all you need to start loading very consistant ammunition that will be much better than factory. if that milsurplus ammo you bought for practice has a standard "boxer" primer, SAVE THAT BRASS and reload! you will save money and have a great time, and have great ammunition. if it is berdan-primed, then take it to the recycler and invest a little $dinero$ in some virgin winchester, federal or remington brass.

if you choose not to reload, any factory ammunition will be adequate, especially if you have a newer, quality rifle. remington , winchester and federal are proven names with good stuff. the pointed soft points (spitzers) are the best all-around choice for any game.

bullet selection. the top two that i would suggest for game up to and including mule deer are hornady interlocks and sierra gamekings , both in the boat-tail variety. this is not the most popular choice, but i believe that the boat tail gives you a distinct advantage at ranges past 200 yards. even if you don't plan to shoot past 200 yards, it is not always easy to judge distances, and the boat tail might make up for the error. one guy, whom i trust, said that he had some dramatic failures with the interlock system, but i believe that these were due to the extreme velocities that he was pushing in his rifle, and the older-style interlocks were simply not designed for it. premium bullets ( nosler partitions , trophy bonded bear claws , barnes x bullets )are a good idea on black bear as well as elk-sized game and larger, but not always necessary. once again, it is a good idea to adjust the percentages in your favor, and a premium bullet will do this for large or dangerous game.

ballistic tips by nosler and SST bullets by hornady are great for antelope and deer, but i personally do not trust them on elk-and larger-sized game. this does not mean that they don't work, it simply means that i don't know anything about their performance on large game. one thing is for sure, those b-tips with boattails will fly as fast and far and flat as the .308 will push them. for mule deer, this could give you the edge. for any b-tip style bullet i would suggest at least 165-grain and NOT 150's. a 150-grain b-tip MIGHT work fine, but under some conditions i believe that they are closer to varmint bullets, and when making meat it is best not to take the chance.

in case yuo are wondering about one bullet that would serve as an all-around bullet to cover any situation, there is none, but the closest thing to it for the .308 would probably be the 165-grain partition. you can load the nosler partition, or winchester makes this in factory ammo in their " supreme " line.

any questions, just ask; lots of people here willing to help. most of them know more than me, but these have been my observations. the last thing i will say is PRACTICE, PRACTICE PRACTICE!!!

Last edited by tasunkawitko; 08-24-2003 at 08:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-19-2004, 04:54 AM
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Thanks for the great info, I just bought a BLR in .308 and I'm looking forward to seeing what shoots best in it for whitetail.
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  #3  
Old 07-19-2004, 08:34 AM
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Lets see you say you live in Montana and shoot a 308. I thought all those folks in the big sky country shot 7mm ultra-mags or STW's or 30-378 Weatherbys. I was sure that at "Montana" distances you had to shoot something with magnum in the name and salt the bullets so the meat wouldn't spoil before you got over to dress it out?

I heard there were no recoil sensitive folks lived in that fine state. Here in Idaho we have no recoil sensitive folks, not even the wimmon and children. Why you can't even buy a gun in Idaho unless it has magnum stamped somewhere on it. Oh I know some folks sneak off to Washington and pick up a 270 or such under the table, but they are usually tarred and feathered if they are cought.

All kidding aside how could you have the gall to tell the world that a cartridge as wimpy as the 308 is capable of taking deer sized amimals and even (gasp) elk at out to 300 yards!!! Why no self respecting shooter would be seen dead with one of those (gasp) light, low recoiling, accurate, pleasent to shoot rifles in this day of the Ultra, Ultra mags capable of shooting the eye out of a knat at 2000 yards.

I don't know but if I was you I would be watching out for the peasents with torches and pitch forks showing up in crowds at your front door.

Good Article and a lot of good information for folks just getting started in the hunting game.
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  #4  
Old 07-19-2004, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faucettb
Lets see you say you live in Montana and shoot a 308. I thought all those folks in the big sky country shot 7mm ultra-mags or STW's or 30-378 Weatherbys. I was sure that at "Montana" distances you had to shoot something with magnum in the name and salt the bullets so the meat wouldn't spoil before you got over to dress it out?

I heard there were no recoil sensitive folks lived in that fine state. Here in Idaho we have no recoil sensitive folks, not even the wimmon and children. Why you can't even buy a gun in Idaho unless it has magnum stamped somewhere on it. Oh I know some folks sneak off to Washington and pick up a 270 or such under the table, but they are usually tarred and feathered if they are cought.

All kidding aside how could you have the gall to tell the world that a cartridge as wimpy as the 308 is capable of taking deer sized amimals and even (gasp) elk at out to 300 yards!!! Why no self respecting shooter would be seen dead with one of those (gasp) light, low recoiling, accurate, pleasent to shoot rifles in this day of the Ultra, Ultra mags capable of shooting the eye out of a knat at 2000 yards.

I don't know but if I was you I would be watching out for the peasents with torches and pitch forks showing up in crowds at your front door.

Good Article and a lot of good information for folks just getting started in the hunting game.

To each his own, but the craze with magnums is really funny to me. I went to the range Saturday and there were three other rifles being sighted in. One was a 30-06 auto, one a 30-30, one guy had a bolt action 300 Win Mag. Now remember I live in Alabama, our Whitetail just arn't that big, and I don't know of many people that plant green fields over 250yds long. I consider my .308 a little of an overkill for them as is, but a 300 win mag, just seems like a crazy to me. I've been at hunting camps before and actually felt looked down on because I was using a .270 and not at least a 7mg, come on people.
With the right bullets I don't believe ther is any critter in NA that couldn't be taken with my .308 or .270. Funny Jack O'Conner thought and did the same thing. Don't get me wrong. I'd love to have a new A-Bolt in .270 WSM but the increase in trajectory and energy just isn't worth the price for me and I just don't know of a real world circumstance that I am going to encounter that would require the increases offered by the WSM or WSSMs. But hey, if if floats your boat, more power to ya. Thats what so great about this sport, choices. I'd rather focus my money on trying different bullets to see what groups best balanced by which bullet will have the best performance on the given game I am hunting. Then have a rifle that won't kill my shoulder so I can spend a lot of range time practicing from different field positions. Growing up we never really practiced from any other place than the bench and I am convinced this was a big hinderance. I am now spending time practicing shooting offhand, kneeling, sitting, and with a rest when standing. I need a lot of work, but its fun and should really pay off down the road. Sorry to get so far off subject, just needed to get on my soap box for a while
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  #5  
Old 03-15-2005, 09:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattpair
To each his own, but the craze with magnums is really funny to me. I went to the range Saturday and there were three other rifles being sighted in. One was a 30-06 auto, one a 30-30, one guy had a bolt action 300 Win Mag. Now remember I live in Alabama, our Whitetail just arn't that big, and I don't know of many people that plant green fields over 250yds long. I consider my .308 a little of an overkill for them as is, but a 300 win mag, just seems like a crazy to me. I've been at hunting camps before and actually felt looked down on because I was using a .270 and not at least a 7mg, come on people.
With the right bullets I don't believe ther is any critter in NA that couldn't be taken with my .308 or .270. Funny Jack O'Conner thought and did the same thing. Don't get me wrong. I'd love to have a new A-Bolt in .270 WSM but the increase in trajectory and energy just isn't worth the price for me and I just don't know of a real world circumstance that I am going to encounter that would require the increases offered by the WSM or WSSMs. But hey, if if floats your boat, more power to ya. Thats what so great about this sport, choices. I'd rather focus my money on trying different bullets to see what groups best balanced by which bullet will have the best performance on the given game I am hunting. Then have a rifle that won't kill my shoulder so I can spend a lot of range time practicing from different field positions. Growing up we never really practiced from any other place than the bench and I am convinced this was a big hinderance. I am now spending time practicing shooting offhand, kneeling, sitting, and with a rest when standing. I need a lot of work, but its fun and should really pay off down the road. Sorry to get so far off subject, just needed to get on my soap box for a while
well i gotta gree a little bit. but i do have to put my two sense in about the 300 win mag. I use federal factory 150' s in mine and I dont feel over powered at all for deer, I used it this year because well i was havin problems iwth my ought six holding zero and because my 300 is one very accurate hunting rifle and i just wnated to hunt something with it. However i was even suprised at the lack of damage done to the meat where the bullet hit( one exception was a doe i hit right on the shoulder socket i los that whole shoulder) other than that u couldnt have told whether itw as hit by a 300 or a 243
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  #6  
Old 03-16-2005, 01:14 AM
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Regarding spitzers vs boattails.. boattails will give you better downrange velocity than the spitzers because of their better ballistic coefficient (ie less "drag") in the same weight. This would only be a factor at over , say 350 yds. Personally, my rifle, a Remington 700 bdl in 7mm08 shoots tighter groups with spitzers. Could this be because of the base design of the bullet? (I'm using Hornady 139 gr spire points vs Hornady 139 gr btsp)
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  #7  
Old 03-16-2005, 11:09 AM
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Boy! Someone dug a long way back in the archives for this one!

Yes, the flat base bullet will seal better than the boattail and give better initial performance/accuracy, or so my personal findings have been, also.

The boattail shows it's stuff out at the longer ranges - past 300 yds or so. Due to the bullet design, better BC and better ballistics compared to the flat base.

Most of my rifles prefer the flat base over the boattails for accuracy within the 350 yd range that is a personal limit.
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  #8  
Old 03-16-2005, 07:30 PM
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Since it's been dug from the grave like a few other threads recently, I suppose I'll keep it breathing a bit longer.

I've still got a lot more bullets I'd like to try in my 308, but so far, the boattail designs have been the most accurate, not by much though. The only flat base bullets I've tried thus far were Speer HotCor and Remington CoreLokt 165's in my handloads. The CoreLokts did surprisingly well considering their relatively inconsistent weights. I've gotten sub-MOA 3-shot groups with all of them, but the Ballistic Silvertips have shot the best by a couple tenths of an inch. I'm thinking that it probably has more to do with the consistency of these bullets in comparison. For the extra money they cost, I suppose they should be more accurate.

The first post really was an interesting read. My current hunting load would be great for a longer shot on a deer, being a 168 gr Ballistic Silvertip at about 2650 fps. But, where I hunted last year, it's pretty thick woods with some oak groves and tall grass. Shots would be 50-75yds max, which is a bit close for my Ballistic Tips. A 30-30 would be perfect. Have any of you guys experimented with trying to get the 308 to perform like the good old 30-30? Lower velocities with 30-30 designed bullets. Good enough to put a deer down quick but not shred them up or ruin an entire shoulder.

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  #9  
Old 03-16-2005, 07:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amndouglas
Since it's been dug from the grave like a few other threads recently, I suppose I'll keep it breathing a bit longer.

I've still got a lot more bullets I'd like to try in my 308, but so far, the boattail designs have been the most accurate, not by much though. The only flat base bullets I've tried thus far were Speer HotCor and Remington CoreLokt 165's in my handloads. The CoreLokts did surprisingly well considering their relatively inconsistent weights. I've gotten sub-MOA 3-shot groups with all of them, but the Ballistic Silvertips have shot the best by a couple tenths of an inch. I'm thinking that it probably has more to do with the consistency of these bullets in comparison. For the extra money they cost, I suppose they should be more accurate.

The first post really was an interesting read. My current hunting load would be great for a longer shot on a deer, being a 168 gr Ballistic Silvertip at about 2650 fps. But, where I hunted last year, it's pretty thick woods with some oak groves and tall grass. Shots would be 50-75yds max, which is a bit close for my Ballistic Tips. A 30-30 would be perfect. Have any of you guys experimented with trying to get the 308 to perform like the good old 30-30? Lower velocities with 30-30 designed bullets. Good enough to put a deer down quick but not shred them up or ruin an entire shoulder.

amndouglas
I like the 165gr. Partition, myself. Works great on hogs at close range; will definitely kill deer. Under 300 yards, I would not feel handicapped with that bullet.

My sub-100 yard experiences with Ballistic Tips have not been too good. Maybe the Accubond if you want to stay with that style of bullet.
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  #10  
Old 03-17-2005, 06:56 AM
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MikeG,

Like you said, the Partition is probably the best all-around bullet, but it's also not cheap. I know the whole bit about the extra insurance that the premium bullets provide, but hear me out.

I was just thinking that I should be able to develop a load specifically for sub-100 yard shots that would perform more like a 30-30 than a 308. At 30-30 type velocities, premium bullets shouldn't be needed, although bullets designed for the 06 and 308 probably wouldn't expand reliably. So, using the standard 30-30 bullets, I could do a lot more experimenting and hopefully find a great load. It seems like it would be almost like a reduced recoil load for the 308 with a more readily expanding bullet, but not a ballistic tip. In my opinion, it should also make a good practice round for honing my skills at the various field shooting positions, which is another thing that I really want.

This is what I really enjoy about handloading anyway. It's not churning out a 50 round batch of tried and true loads. It's developing new ones. I think that I just enjoy working up loads too much to settle on that one "do-it-all" Partition load. Then I'd have to buy a new rifle just so I'd have another excuse to reload. Such a vicious cycle....

amndouglas
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  #11  
Old 03-17-2005, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amndouglas
MikeG,

........

This is what I really enjoy about handloading anyway. It's not churning out a 50 round batch of tried and true loads. It's developing new ones. I think that I just enjoy working up loads too much to settle on that one "do-it-all" Partition load. Then I'd have to buy a new rifle just so I'd have another excuse to reload. Such a vicious cycle....

amndouglas


That's what it's all about!!
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Old 03-17-2005, 04:10 PM
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Color me crazy (at least on this thread) but I like my 300 and if I had it to do all over again I would still choose it over the 30-30, 308, & 30-06.

I can load it up and down the power scale with a large bullet selection used for a variety of purposes, and do. There is a huge selection of powders to play with and you don't have to live with teeth-jarring recoil. I can do what any can do with their 308.....and more but it doesn't work the other way around. That's what appeals to me about the 300.
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Old 03-17-2005, 07:14 PM
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amndouglas, you are right. No big trick to load bullets designed for use in 30-30 in an '06, 308, etc. Just keep the muzzle velocity to no more than 2200 fps or you may not like the explosive effect at short ranges. Most 30-30 leverguns will not give a true 2200 fps with factory ammo but that should be a workable velocity for loading in other 30 cal. cases. Obviously, access to a chronograph would be helpful in developing this type of load.

And yes, the original post contains a lot of good ol' barnyard sense. Frances E. Sell, Lawrence H. Koller, and George Mattis made careers out of writing just such advice back 40 or so years ago. They all had high praise for .303 British/.300 Savage/.308 Win. class cartridges as all around hunting rifles. Today you can see the same thoughts occasionally from Wayne Van Zwoll and maybe one or two others.

Personally, I know this approach works. I load for my '06 but rarely exceed .308 Win.-class ballistic levels. A good 30 cal. bullet (165 - 180 gr.) driven between 2400 and 2700 fps will serve very well in the hands of a competent marksman...every time.
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Old 03-17-2005, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amndouglas
MikeG,

Like you said, the Partition is probably the best all-around bullet, but it's also not cheap. I know the whole bit about the extra insurance that the premium bullets provide, but hear me out.

I was just thinking that I should be able to develop a load specifically for sub-100 yard shots that would perform more like a 30-30 than a 308. At 30-30 type velocities, premium bullets shouldn't be needed, although bullets designed for the 06 and 308 probably wouldn't expand reliably. So, using the standard 30-30 bullets, I could do a lot more experimenting and hopefully find a great load. It seems like it would be almost like a reduced recoil load for the 308 with a more readily expanding bullet, but not a ballistic tip. In my opinion, it should also make a good practice round for honing my skills at the various field shooting positions, which is another thing that I really want.

This is what I really enjoy about handloading anyway. It's not churning out a 50 round batch of tried and true loads. It's developing new ones. I think that I just enjoy working up loads too much to settle on that one "do-it-all" Partition load. Then I'd have to buy a new rifle just so I'd have another excuse to reload. Such a vicious cycle....

amndouglas
Sure... understood. Keep in mind that I shoot a critter per Partition, generally, and pretty much don't use them for anything else. I do make sure I've got some other loads ready that will hit the same point of impact at 100 yards, for checking zeros, and whatnot. 125gr. Ballistic Tips are fun for varmits, if the zero isn't too far off.

Never know what I'll find in the mesquite thickets here; could be a 50 lb coyote, 90 lb whitetail, or a 500 lb hog!
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Old 03-18-2005, 04:23 AM
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The .308 Winchester is one of the most efficient cartridges extant considering this

energy / # grains of powder burned

the 165s are excellent, I like to load the ballistic tips when I need a light bullet, and Barnes X when stopping heavy game
Find what your rifle shoots best and stick with it!

I shoot these loads in the Winchester Classic Compact. A great rifle proving itself season after season.
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Old 03-18-2005, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG
Never know what I'll find in the mesquite thickets here; could be a 50 lb coyote, 90 lb whitetail, or a 500 lb hog!
In the woods I hunt around here, the biggest thing I'm likely to run into is a black bear who's already heading the other way, and even that's not very likely to happen. With that in mind, a partition would normally be overkill.

With my 270, I went the varmint bullet route for practice, using 90 gr Sierra HP's at just over 3000 fps, which do hit fairly close to my normal deer load at 100 yards. I also get to use them along with my hotter 110 gr VMAX load on Pdogs in Kansas, so it's a dual-purpose load as well.

I just thought I'd try something a little bit different with my 308. I mean, I can shoot Remington CoreLokt deer bullets for less than the price of Ballistic Tips, so why not make a dual-purpose practice and close-up deer load? I've been planning on getting a 223 for quite a while now, so with that in mind, I don't see too much use for developing varmint loads in this 308.

Anyway, thanks Mike.

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Old 03-20-2005, 09:19 AM
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When someone asks me what is a good all around cartridge I recommend the 308 for a number of reasons. Recoil is tolerable for the majority of shooters. You can get generic (read cheaper) ammo for practice or even cheaper military ammo. Accuracy is generally very good regardless of the manufactor. Ammo is available anywhere. If you handload, components are easily available and data is plentifull. A good practice load is the 130 gr Speer loaded with a starting load of your favorite rifle powder. This load will have light recoil and will surprizing accuracy. If you must use the 308 on large animals, then the Federal 180 grain extra power factory load with the partition bullet can be used. My current 308 is a Ruger MKII ss scout rifle I built. I also have a Remington 760 Carbine in 308 with a scout scope, folding stock and 10 rd mags. I dont think you can go wrong with a 308.
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Old 07-12-2005, 11:34 PM
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Nice info in the opening remarks of this thread.
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Old 07-13-2005, 02:59 PM
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.308 Winchester / 7.62x51 Nato

Excellent cartridge, now you be an excellent hunter by knowing the range limitations of the cartridge as opposed to the game you are after and stalk better rather than trying to stretch the range of the cartridge beyond reason!

It will drop all North American Game with well placed shots within a reasonable range.
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Old 07-29-2005, 09:16 PM
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I just built one from an old commercial mauser that I found a deal on....ended up with a real nice rifle that is very accurate and a load of fun to shoot....adding a picture of the engraving on he receiver ring...
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