Tuesday, November 21, 2017

110 Years of Semi-Auto Hunting Rifles

Semi-automatic rifles have been common in the hunting fields in the United States for a hundred and ten years and more.  I picked up the Remington model 8 above at a gun show in Tucson a few years ago. The design has been popular for a long time. The rifle pictured was manufactured early in 1907. It was called the Remington Autoloading Repeating Rifle at the time. The Model 8 designation was applied in 1911. The rifle pictured was one of the first chambered in the .30 Remington caliber, Remington's ballistic equal to Winchester's .30-30.

Unfortunately, the Remington model 8 does not have an easy way to mount an optical sight. It could be done, but it would be a custom job.

Looking for a deer rifle for the woods of Wisconsin, I decided on an AR-15 clone chambered in .300 BLK. The ballistics are slightly less powerful than the time tested .30 Remington or .30-30. With modern bullets such as Barnes solid copper, expanding TTSX bullet, it is a perfectly adequate deer killer to 250 yards. With a 160 yard zero, you hold dead on to 200 yards. I put together the AR-15 clone this year, so there are 110 years of hunting rifles in the photograph. 

With modern materials the AR with Leupold scope weights 6 pounds, 12 ounces. The Remington model 8 with iron sights weighs 7 pounds, 14 ounces. Most of the weight difference is in the longer barrel of the Remington and the steel receiver.

Both rifles have excellent reputations for reliability.  The AR, especially with optics, has the advantage in accuracy. With the Barnes ammunition, 1 inch groups at 100 yards are common. For people with good eyes, the Remington's iron sights are perfectly adequate. In a recent test, five shots went into 1 inch at 40 yards. 

The price of the early Remington model 8  rifles was $58. It does not sound like much, but it was 2.9 ounces of gold at the time. It was sold as a high grade sporting arm. Today, you can buy a good AR-15 clone for $600. A decent scope will cost another $200. Together, they are only .4 ounces of gold today.

The AR-15 type rifles are popular in the hunting fields today. The modular design, excellent ergonomics, and variety of calibers make it useful for game across the spectrum from varmints to elk.

Another advantage of the AR-15 is the ease of use of suppressors. Reform of the archaic, complicated, and expensive federal laws on possession of firearm suppressors seems likely. Suppressors are commonly used around the world for hunting. In Europe, they are considered good manners. They are commonly found in the hunting fields in Africa. In New Zealand, they are available over the counter.

Adding a suppressor to the AR-15 platform would increase the weight to about the same as the Remington model 8. I look forward to being able to hunt without wearing hearing protection. The potential was one of the reasons I decided on the AR-15 platform and the .300 BLK caliber.

Another advantage of the .300 BLK on the AR-15 platform is its use by young hunters. The stock is easily adjusted. The weight is reasonable. The recoil is moderate. A small person can use the firearm much easier than the heavier, longer, non-adjustable model 8.

I like the Model 8 Remington. Designed by John Moses Browning, it was a breakthrough for its time.  It will be used in the hunting fields into the next century.  But time, technology, and materials have all improved. From a purely utilitarian perspective, the AR platform is the better firearm.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


ScienceABC123 said...

Is it just me or in that picture is the scope on the AR-15 on backwards?

Dean Weingarten said...

It is you. It is a 1-4 Leupold. On a number of scopes, the ocular lens is larger than the objective lens.


Daniel Lewis said...

I think you are forgetting that the lefts attack on firearms is an elitist thing, its the poor they really want to stop from having firearms. They did not object when it was expensive now that its cheap it terrifies them.

Dean Weingarten said...

To Daniel Lewis:

That is a good point. The AR-15, in terms of labor, only costs one tenth of what the Model 8 did in 1907.

1800GunsAndAmmo Coupon Codes said...

Information regarding rifle manufacturing and their specs is cool. But don't you think people need more information regarding the firearm safety? People take safety so lightly when they use firearms.