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"An Experts Opinion" p. 24 Nov-Dec Rifle Magazine 1999 - Written by Wayne van Zwoll

 Favorite elk rifles should never be sold. I know because I've sold them. One was an early Model 70 in .300 Holland. I wore a 4x Lyman Challenger scope and had reddish plane-sawed wood. It was one of those rifles with no damage but enough gray in the metal and scarring on the walnut to show experience. I sold it to a friend who will not sell it back. He is still my friend because I should have known better. I'd sold my first favorite elk rifle to another friend. It was also a .300 Holland but on a Mauser action. It had a 2 1/2x Lyman Alaskan and striking plane-sawed honey French walnut fitted by Iver Henriksen. There's no getting that rifle back either.

    I'm a slow learner. My third favorite elk rifle was a Model 70 in .300 Winchester with a 4x red field scope. The stock was tiger-tail from butt to forend tip, half heartwood. It had the crude skimpy checkering characteristic of Model 70s in 1963. The metal, again, showed the gray of honest age. The action cycled as smoothly as a piston in a race-car engine. Like the rifles before it, this one shot well but not stunningly. I killed a running elk at 250 yards with that Winchester, the bull somersaulting like a hare. The rifle went to a good home, but I wish it were still in my rack. So too the Model 70 .338 Winchester Magnum with the 3x Leupold that took a six-point Oregon Bull in heavy cover. It had the gunny feel and indefinable grace of handling that makes some rifles favorites.

    By this time I'd decided a .338 kicked too hard with heavy bullets, and the 7mm Remington Magnum had nothing over the .30-06. The .300 Winchester offered a bit more reach than the '06 but with tolerable recoil. I didn't like its short neck, so I switched to the .308 Norman in a rebarreled Remington Model 78. It killed an Idaho bull but is retired now because I have a better elk rifle in a Winchester 70 rebarreled and stocked in synthetic by Rick Freudenberg (11714 Airport RD. Everett, WA 98204). This Rifle wears a Swarovski variable scope in Conetrol mounts. It is chambered in .30-.338 and shoots tighter than my other .300's. It has a buttery bolt throw, the balance of a fine shotgun and a trigger tuned to match-rifle let-off. I expect it will remain my favorite elk rifle for many years. I can't think of any that would serve me better. I can't imagine ever selling it.

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