sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Best Ranch Rifle (A Survey)

This is a serious survey. Not an Internet troll or one of those clickbait sorts of trolls with an eye toward increasing a hit count on a blog. I'm very curious which of the following rifles you all feel is the best all around daily carry rifle for a ranch rifle. I define the ranch rifle as one that is flexible, functional and useable for every day use. Price is of secondary importance, and quite honestly, is of no real importance. Function and reliability over cost.

Barrett Rec 7


The Rec 7 is available in 5.56 NATO or 6.8 REM. If you select this as the best ranch rifle, please also specify a preferred caliber.

The sight options that can be applied to this rifle because of the rail system and the weapon in general are almost endless. You may have smaller "gas gun" platforms that you prefer to the Barrett Rec 7, because of price, but this is the one I would like you to consider for the sake of this survey.


JP LRP-07 

The LRP-07 was designed as a .308 platform to cure the shortcomings of existing rifles and still handle like an AR-15. The felt recoil impulse on the LRP-07™ is also nothing short of amazing as it was designed from the magazine well up to use our Low Mass Operating System (LMOS™). In this case, the LRP-07 mounts a Schmidt and Bender PM 2 scope (5-25). 

While this is a superior rifle for shooting and for longer range shots in particular with a .308 cartridge, it's not a rifle that I'm comfortable knocking around - so while I have it as an option, there is the general reluctance to treat it in the rugged way that a "camp rifle" sometimes is treated. I simply threw it into the list for consideration because it is available.

Marlin 1895

The Marlin lever action in .45-70 throws a heavy round downrange, is exceptionally rugged and is presently equipped with open sights, though just about any sighting configuration is mountable.

It's presently a very heavy favorite of mine in the ranch rifle category because of that rugged nature. The upside of the .45-70 is that it will drop a bear or a buffalo. The downside of the .45-70 is that it's an expensive round to shoot if I decide to plink. (while I will likely never expend all of the 5.56 NATO ammo that I have in inventory)

Remington Model 700 (in .270)

The venerable bolt action Remington Model 700 in .270 is flexible, durable and with a Schmidt and Bender PM 2 scope (5-25) it has the capacity to hit whatever you're aiming at to the capacity of the cartridge and loads you are carrying, in much as the same way the JP LRP-07 has. It lacks the rough and ready characteristics of the Marlin lever action but it's exceptionally rugged. As with the LRP-07, I consider it more of a hunting rifle than a 'ranch rifle' but there is nothing keeping the rifle from doing double duty.

M-1A (M-14)

As a battle rifle, there are few that can match the M-1A. (ok, throw up your arguments) I know that there are a few people who follow this blog from time to time who own M-1A rifles. I left it for last because in many ways, it combines the best features of many of the rifles that I have available to me. It's rugged to a fault, the .308/7.76 NATO round is effective beyond the range of the 5.56 (but not the 6.8) -- but when we're talking ranch rifle, we're not really considering shots at over about 300 meters. The M-1A with open sights is lethal in that range profile. It's not competing for the purposes of this survey with the capacity to reach out in the 800 meter (cartridge capacity) range profile.

So there you have it. Daily carry in the rig, general use options. Or if you have other favorites, mention them. 

I haven't mentioned ammunition. Suffice, that in the military cartridge options, I don't expect that I will ever need to buy more ammo through the course of my life. So while that should not be a limiting factor, it's something that I think about.

64 comments:

  1. If larger animals in close proximity and/or thick cover are a potential problem, the Marlin 1895 has it all over the competition. However, if longer-range shots may be required, and/or two-legged varmints enter into the equation, the M1A has it all over the rest in terms of magazine capacity, range, power, and rate of fire. I'd prefer the 7.62x51mm. over the 5.56x45mm. round if larger animals may have to be dealt with.

    Just my $0.02 worth . . .

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    1. Bears are a smaller problem. More likely wolves than bears, and there are more lions around the place than there are wolves, which have been re-introduced. A larger concern for me is rabid varmints. That problem rises and falls in frequency but it's one of those things that one must be aware of.

      The 5.56/.223 is likely adequate for anything but a bear, and even they won't stand up to a magazine. We're talking black bears, not grizzlys. The same is true for two-legged varmints. A double tap center mass... you know. Larger calibers are useful but there is a question of over-kill.

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  2. I lean toward the M1A for the all around utility of both the rifle and the cartridge. Since I'm getting older, I find a red dot a good choice so would consider adding one.

    Best regards,
    Darrel

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    1. The rifles listed above are all in inventory, so that's why they made the list. The M-1A with open sights is effective and rugged. I haven't used a reflex sight with that weapon but it could be easily added. The advantage of no glass is one of simple rugged use. The rifle will sit in a scabbard in one of two trucks.

      My question to the Internet was more of which rifle is best. And the question is admittedly somewhat rhetorical, since they all operate, they all hit the target. And the range of potential targets and practical distances are likely less than 100M.

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  3. I favor the Marlin, but I own only LA rifles.

    .45-70 is a great round as noted but it is short range, 300 yds might be pushing it. The Hornady LEVERevolution round is the best thing to happen to LA in a long time. Also, check out the Garrett 540 grain Hog Stompers.

    As for the ammo, can a guy that afford a new air plane really be worried about the price of ammmo?;)

    Plus, using the XS sight system is a dream. Which is why I have them an all my LA rifles.

    I would look long and hard at Grizzly Custom rifles. If I could afford it, they would be my first choice.

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    1. Lehigh Defense (https://www.lehighdefense.com) has some interesting bullets for the .45-70. It's worth a look. I had not heard of Grizzly Customs until you brought it up. I checked out the website. Very cool, very interesting. It's worth more consideration - a Marlin, elevated. You get what you pay for in life.

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    2. The .45-70 has had some really good advancements in the ammo lately. I think since Marlin and Henry have kept the price for the rifles as low as they have, interest has spiked in this round.

      Oh, and you should check out Wild West Guns.

      They have a break-down version of the Marlin.

      Then there is Long Hunter Shooting supply that does custom work too. Though they tend to be more for the Cowboy Action shooting types.

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    3. Grizzly Customs appeals to me more than the cowboy action (sort of a fake cowboy thing) shooting does. Actually, dressing up in chainmail and armor (SCA style) and beating the crap out of somebody appeals to me far more than the cowboy action shooting does. I haven't done either, but that's simply my take on preferences. I did look at the break-down Marlin. Interesting. Wild West Guns has a store in Parker, AZ - not close to the WWM, but closer than Vegas. I'll put it on the list for a visit.

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  4. Interesting and very capable choices you have laid out. As long as the added expense of spare parts in inventory and an ample supply of ammo is not a factor I think the Barrett in 6.8 is the way to go. Personally I think one of my old dinged up and painted up HK91s as the ultimate ranch rifle. It's great to have choices!

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    1. I have an HK-91, but didn't list it. It's an excellent ranch rifle as well, but one thought is to go with something more nimble. I've had the HK for at least 30 years and it's an old and venerable friend. The Barrett in 6.8 SPC is a lethal combination.

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  5. M-1A by all means. I never fired that specific model, but used to carry the BM-59 In my Italian Army days.The M-1/ M-14 action is very solid and reliable. 10 or 20 rounds of 7.62 Nato should take care of any conceivable scenario. Though I hope you will never need that level of magazine capacity: one or two .308 should take down pretty much anything.

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    1. I tend to shy away from the larger capacity magazines in smaller calibers and agree with you that 20 in .308 is more than enough. Of course, keeping the doctrine of 2 is 1 and 1 is none in mind, I would always carry extra mags just because.

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  6. My vote goes to the AR in 5.56. That's as much a case of where I am as anything. Large dangerous animals don't happen here, whitetail are the largest critters around and they only attack moving vehicles. Like you I seem to have a lifetime supply of 5.56/.223(which I keep adding to) and that figures in as well.

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    1. One reason that I didn't mention the HK-91 is that the 'ranch rifle' is also a walk-out rifle. If the truck breaks down up near the White Wolf Mine, there is no cell service and it's a walk-out situation. Might be a long walk, depending on where I am. Yes, I carry a Sat Phone, but one must always assume failure. Packing out an HK-91 along with everything else is adding weight. Even though I'm not small and can carry the rifle, if it's a long walk, an AR or the cut-down M-1A is a lighter choice.

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  7. Is your "ranch rifle" spending it's days in a scabbard riding around in your vehicle? If so, the Marlin. Is it spending it's days on pegs over your front door to be taken out for specific purposes, like home defense? M-1. Since you must own more than one tool, why limit yourself to a Japanese snap-on (crescent wrench).

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    1. It will spend days in the scabbard. Home defense is a different rifle/system/solution. If I have to defend myself in my home, and I'm in an Alamo situation, a lever action weapon with a limited magazine is not the best choice.

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  8. Not being a expert like many of your readers, I'd choose the Marlin because of less chance of jamming and faster than a bolt rifle. Semi's tend to jam if 'stuff' gets in them (or I would think they would.)

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    1. I take your point. The rifles are all kept clean (I use Frog Lube products) and even when in the field, I take great care to keep them clean. If you take care of the rifle, it will take care of you. The same is true of ammunition choices, and I hand-load as well. Hunting loads are ALWAYS hand loads. General plinking and general use, mostly not.

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    2. My experience with Frog Lube was dismal. I read some reviews, rah rah , corrosion resistance, etc, all the cool mil spec guys use it, and at first it seemed OK,- although it had a weird perfume smell, like peppermint or similar. Could not imagine a serious hunter would want that smell-
      Then a year later I picked up a weapon that had been cleaned, lubed and sitting in the safe- the frog lube had turned to a really sticky glue like coating. Maybe your experience is different, maybe if a gun is cleaned and re-lubed every month it does not matter, but I would not leave a weapon in longer term storage lubed with that stuff and expect it to work. A caveat, this was several years ago , maybe the formula is changed now.

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  9. Choices... I think the LA fits the bill best because it's rugged, powerful and handy. Mind you, the Barrett has a lot of "zip" and, in 6.8, range.

    Perhaps this means TWO rifles and 2 uppers (5.56/6.8) for the gas gun? That way you can swap them out according to mood/purpose.

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    1. The two Barretts are separate rifles. I guess that I could mix and match but it's not necessary.

      When you come up to the mine (provided that you haven't relocated to the Asian Subcontinent), you can shoot the rifles and let me know what you think.

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  10. No mention above on perhaps a BAR, or maybe a 50-caliber? Or at a minimum, the weapon preferred by John Rambo, an M-60 7.62MM love dispenser?

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    1. I love the M-60. I also love the SAW. But they are illegal and hauling them around in the truck would be less than smart. The BAR is HEAVY, and the weight, necessary in WW2, I guess, is no longer required to provide even better firepower - but I love the BAR.

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  11. Do you need glass? how much walking will you do? That may define the rifle choice.

    A lever action carries well in the hand- the flat side receiver and point of balance make it way easier to carry than a bolt rifle with a big fat receiver, or a box magazine fed arm where the mag always seems to be at the point of balance. Plus, they tend to be light,short and sleek- easy to maneuver.
    Pair it up with a 9422 for the G-kid's.

    45-70 is a great choice for big bears, but has the trajectory of a thrown brick- for the rim country, maybe a .30 cal. would be better. Can't imagine anything you would run into that a 30-30 couldn't handle.

    What do the ranchers there carry?

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    1. I don't need glass.

      Weight clearly is a concern for hiking, etc. The gas guns are exceptionally light and reliable for that purpose.

      The locals carry a mix of 30-30 WCF lever actions, bolt action rifles from .243 to .30-06, and AR type gas guns. I know, that's not particularly helpful because they all carry to their own preferences.

      The same is true of handguns, which I didn't broach here because the topic is broad. I normally carry the .45 ACP (Kimbers, Colts, etc) or the Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan - .454 Casull. And to answer the next question, yes, I wear suspenders to keep the .454 on the holster "up". It has a way of reacting to gravity.

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  12. Either the Marlin or the M1A.

    If you're thinking you might have to use your ranch rifle to engage either large groups of people or any people at (amateur) sniper-rifle range then the M1A is the clear way to go.

    If it's more likely that you might have short range encounters with bear / wild pig / deranged rutting elk, then the Marlin probably has better oomph w/o perfect shot placement and better energy transfer instead of over-pen.

    Honestly, either is almost certainly extreme overkill, but I like that.

    -Kle.


    P.S. - If you already have a lifetime supply of military-caliber ammo, then ammo cost for the .45-70 should not be a factor, yes?

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    1. The cost of the ammo really isn't an issue, but I'm cheap and I do have a lot of military caliber ammo. We don't have wild pigs, but we have Javelina and while they're smaller than the feral pigs that roam much of the country, they're still tuskers and can be mean in their own right. A .556 will put down a Javelina, but it will not put down a large feral hawg. Not easily, anyway.

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    2. I was merely joking that the .45-70 *is* military ammo, but I guess my smirk failed to come through the wires.

      -Kle.

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  13. And here I thought you meant something like a 22..
    Good post. I learned a lot from it and the comments.
    I have a red dot on my pistol. Not sure it would work as well on a rifle to shoot any real distance.

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    1. Nothing wrong with a .22 Long Rifle/rim fire but a little light for a ranch rifle. The .22 Hornet is surprisingly effective within its range constraints but if you're going that way, the .223/5.56 is common, and I own more than one rifle chambered for that caliber.

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  14. None of the above. Unless you are in bear country the ranch rifle I would go with a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch in 6.8SPC.

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    1. I have never owned a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch. I like the Ruger 10-22, which is it's little brother. Ruger makes rugged firearms but since I don't have one in inventory, it would mean buying another rifle...and I have a few.

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  15. All are very capable choices. The M-14 has always made my heart go pitter-patter and, being the traditionalist that I am, as issued. I am a rifleman at heart, and the shortened M1A above does nothing for me. That said, here some thoughts, and I will try not to repeat what has already been noted--

    WSF asked a key question--where will it reside? If it will be slung on your shoulder at all, then weight is (obviously) an issue, which leads me to the AR platform. It cannot be beat for versatility. You could have a different upper for every day of the week if you want.

    My guess would be that if you are out and about, magazine capacity would not be a major issue. I would lean toward the Marlin or a bolt gun. I have an early 1895 that I bought in a military rod and gun club in Germany. I later had a full length octagon barrel and magazine installed. 45-70 has tremendous range. The limiting factor on most of today's offerings is that the sights don't allow enough elevation.

    I am not impressed with some of the QC I see in current Marlin and Remington products. I think I would be looking for something made before 2000, either as-is or that could be customized.

    I know you said price is not an issue, but you (and others here) might check out Brownells. They have Howa barreled actions on sale for stupid cheap. IMHO, the Howa is the equivalent of the 700, but with and M-16 style extractor and a better trigger, and a Hogue stock bolts right on. (I chose the 20-inch fluted barrel 308).

    My 2 cents (well, maybe 4 cents).

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    1. I know, decisions-decisions. The M-1A is possibly the most versatile open sight weapon, throws a 30 caliber bullet, etc. I don't use custom loads in military weapons, finding that they were designed and operate best when using military ammo. But we are talking 'ranch rifle' here, not sniper weapon. The JP-LRP 07 is a really excellent weapon if you're shooting at ranges. It has a heat sink on the barrel so cold bore shots are about the same as hot bore shots. Thus the bullet goes the same place with every shot. The problem with the LRP is that I baby it. I hunt with it, but I still baby it. It's really not a rifle for the truck.

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  16. Honestly, None of them. They are all (except the Marlin) built like Darth Vader's FAP toy. Too much plastic and WAY to much fantasy black rifle nonsense. Put about five inches on the barrel of the 45.70 and get rid of the tacticool rail, and it would make a nice safe queen. Like the .444 it is just too much for anything on four legs east of the Mississippi. Put a wood stock on the Mod.700 to reduce the "slap in the face" effect from the to light plastic stock, and you'd have an OK deer rifle. Around here the 30:30 has always been the king of the farm/pickup rifles.--Ray

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    1. Not that I know diddlysquat, but I agree with Ray.

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    2. The Model 700 pictured is not mine. I pulled the photo stock from the Remington website.

      At the risk of offending Ray and Brig, I'm not a big fan of the 30-30 WCF, even though it is a venerable rifle that has been in use forever. I carried one as a saddle rifle many years ago. It's sort of a pumpkin slinger (larger bullet on a smaller cartridge) and the accuracy, while not bad for what it is intended to do, is not what you'd get from a 6.8 SPC. I've carried plastic Darth Vader weapons in combat against a two-legged adversary and they are effective and rugged. I know that there may be a tendency to play them down - I get it. It's true of ALL gas guns IMHO. But they have a solid track record and have gone through a lot of growing pains to get where they are, which is why I favor the Barrett.

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    3. As pretty as wood furniture can be on a rifle, I'll take plastic any day of the week for a working rifle. Plastic is lighter, stronger, not affected by humidity, but most importantly it's lighter. I'd lean towards the AR platform in 6.8mm, though for some applications, there's something to be said for .458 SOCOM for shorter ranges and targets that really need a thumping.

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  17. I think the first question is which caliber is best for your task. It's hard to fault .308 for anything in the US. Yeah, the .45-70 will stop a charging Volkswagen and pretty much anything smaller than an SUV. Like you say, 45-70 ammo is pricey compared to .308.

    I'd take serious looks at the M1A. Outside the box would be the Remington 700 in .308 or a Ruger Scout in .308. Not in your list, but you asked. OTOH, I have an early model Savage Scout in .308 with their Accutrigger, and I absolutely love the trigger on that rifle.

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    1. When it comes to the best cartridge for North America, I feel that the 6.8 SPC (and the .270, which is almost the same thing) is about the best. If you're going to argue the 6.5 is better, ok, I won't fight with you. The .308 given the available platforms and the available options for loads, and the track record of effectiveness at normal hunting/ranch/etc. range is very hard to beat. The truth is that you don't need a zillion rounds unless WW3 catches you unaware and if it does, the .308 is a very good go-to. So we're down to platform and personal preference. We're down to weight and to sight options. A bolt action rifle allows me to load 'hotter' loads than I can load for a gas gun or even a lever action. Usually those are range loads for me, and I have a chronograph (currently stored until the move to the WWM in a month or so) that helps me get the load right. You can get a very hot load that will blood-shot (hydrostatic shock) a deer or an elk so that the meat is essentially goo. But the secret to one-shot kills is up-loading the round so that you're getting something around a 3" wound channel with each shot. (the capillaries in the brain explode when you're hitting them at those velocities) They're not survivable, and you preserve the meat. I can't load like that for an M-1A. But this is about a ranch rifle, not a hunting rifle with hunting loads.

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  18. I have exactly *ZERO* experience in things Ranch Rifle related. ALL the relatives/in-laws/tribe carry handguns, but if any of them have a longarm in their vehicles, I haven't seen it. But then were not exactly as rural as you're going to be, even though we have some critters here that could easily kill a human.

    When we were at the Country House and I was hearing those weirs noises, I loaded up my 870 and kept it at hand, like back the LBC.

    Here in the city, if I had to grab a rifle, I'd grab my Marlin 1894C in 357, loaded with Hornady LEVERevolution rounds. I can ring steel all_day_long at 100 yds with it, I can run it in my sleep, and 9+1 of 357 should calm things down a bit.

    From talking to lots of them over the last year, I tend to think most of the guys around here would grab either an AR type, or a 30-30 lever action "Deer Rifle", which everybody seems to own here. Well, at least the people *I* hang around with.

    I'll ask some of them what they'd carry up in the mountains if they weren't up there to specifically hunt.

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    1. I spent my life carrying various firearms. So it's natural for me to do that. Applying the right tool to the right application is key.

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  19. After reading all your comments to all the comments, it sounds like you may have made up your mind already and are seeking clarification.

    I always find it easy to put things in a comparison chart and go for the rifle that meets your best parameter.

    I'm thinking either the M-1A, maybe with a red-dot, or the Barrett in 6.8. Both shoot a great all-around cartridge with the ability to take care of all 2- or 4-legged attackers. So can the .45-70, but the ability to have specially loaded mags for different 'threats' is something that tends to lend me toward a magazine rifle. (Unless you're horsebacking out, where the Marlin is a sweet rifle for close or broken terrain and easy to scabbard.)

    Which brings it down to: Sling carry, hand carry and scabbard/holder carry.

    Sling carry: Which one slings better? Nothing is worse than walking around for a long time with a rifle that beats you to death.

    Hand carry: Which feels better in your hands or arms for a reasonable time, if you're going to be carrying it ready to use? I've held some light-weight rifles that are so poorly balanced it is pathetic.

    Scabbard/Holder carry: How are you carrying it off-body? Rifle rack or ATV scabbard? Which one is easiest to get access to and doesn't catch up on the rack/scabbard/clip/hanger/whatever?

    Thus, the reasons why I tend to make comparison tables.

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    1. I own the rifles mentioned above. As you say - clarification and feedback is useful. The light gas guns carry very nicely. My current walk-out rifle is an AR-15. Very light. At the same time, lethal. I don't know that it's going to be the 'ranch rifle' though. Different tool for different problems.

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  20. Not sure how much your future neighbors know about your background, but I try to make casual acquaintances underestimate what I might have in case of emergency. So I would lean toward a bolt- or lever-action for everyday use. From pictures you've shown of the area there's a good amount of brush, so something short will be handier and quicker to get into action. I would pick a 30-30 over the 45-70 unless bear are very likely. Or if you want to stick to a cartridge you're more familiar with Henry came out with a lever action .308 a couple of years ago: https://www.henryusa.com/rifles/the-long-ranger/. OAL is the same as the 1895. Just a thought.

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    1. There aren't many neighbors. There are two households who live within half a mile that are occupied all year. I'm not worried about either of those guys. There are also people who live farther, but the place is somewhat remote.

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    2. I had an interesting dream about a 'transformer' gun based on something like an AR, but it had a wood veneer over the plastic furniture, the pistol grip folded back up into the stock, the magazine well and trigger guard were somewhat different so that with a 5-round box magazine it didn't look much different than a Mauser bolt-action. For a couple of minutes when I woke up, it still seemed like a great workable idea, but as I woke up, I couldn't figure how that could work. Anymore than I could remember where I'd stashed the briefcase of cash I'd found in another dream. Sigh.

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  21. I'd go with a 30-30 lever gun, but I'm an old fart.

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  22. Anything listed will do. Nobody said you could only have one. I would go with the 6.8 SPC over the 5.56x45.

    We live on a working horse ranch a bit south of you. There are some unmentioned considerations. How far can you see through pines and when a little lower through the juniper? I can lose a herd of horses 100 yards away in the juniper. How far can you see at night?

    My GP daytime ranch rifle is a SBR 7.62x35 on a SCAR 16 frame. My nighttime ranch rifle is a 12 ga Vang Comp 870. My saddle rifle is a Marlin Guide Gun. The 12 ga is very effective at dealing with vermin, rabid or not. I often have one loaded with #6 pheasant, #00 on the side saddle and slug on the but cuff.

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    1. Your choices sound prudent. We can see quite a ways through the ponderosa. Mostly grass and the big trees. It gets brushier in the lower elevations through junipers and by the time you're in Payson, there is a lot of brush. Because I tend to roam, it's important to have options. I have a two long-gun rack in the back of the Toyota FJ that can't easily be seen from outside, I keep a Benelli pump action slug gun and load with two OO buck/two slug. The rifle rack has alternately had different rifles depending on my destination.

      One problem with the short barrel 45-70 is that you lose night vision with the first round because of the muzzle bloom. It's not as bad with the longer barrel weapons, but it's an issue.

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    2. I'll add another €0.02's worth. Depending on locale, vegetation can deviate lighter caliber rounds. .308 is not immune but harder to infuence.

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    3. True, and "even more true" when the target is dodging through brush.

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    4. And a lot of cover just isn't for .308, though ammo choice does have bending on this. I keep on thinking FMJ...

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    5. And much cover just isn't for .308, as well.

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  23. It is not a recommendation about a specific gun, more where you likely can make a good bargain of a ranch rifle.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-28/land-confiscations-loom-south-africa-rules-300000-gun-owners-turn-over-their

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    1. Turning over firearms to the government (without handing them over one round at a time) is not sound policy. "I'm from the government and I'm here to help," is a warning sign.

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  24. Replies
    1. I've fired/operated the AUG, but was unfamiliar with the Scout until you brought it to my attention. VERY interesting. It looks to be very close to the perfect ranch rifle, doesn't it?

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  25. I was a early convert to the scout rifle concept, built my first one off a Remington 600 in the 80's, I also have a M1A Scout along with a Jeff Cooper edition Steyr Scout, If I had to Just pick one rifle It would be the Steyr....

    https://www.gunsamerica.com/digest/jeff-coopers-greatest-legacy-the-ultimate-scout-rifle-full-review/

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  26. I think this boils down to semi or not,if semi then the Rec 7 in 6.8, if other I will stand by the Steyr Scout which can be had in 270.

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  27. To me, Ranch Rifle = carbine. Light, sturdy and handy in an effective caliber.
    But what carbine, and in which caliber?

    Bolt actions carbines from Ruger are available in anything from .357 Magnum to earsplittin'. Howa, Mossberg and Savage offer quality rifles that won't break the bank.
    Scout rifles here:
    http://empty-cases.com/blog/blog/

    Leverguns are available in a wide choice of calibers as well. A carbine chambered to match your sidearm is worth considering. I am particularly fond of my '94 Trapper in .357.
    Check Ranger Point Precision for leverguns with a bit of extra panache.
    http://www.rangerpointstore.com/

    Semiautos- ARs, AKs and SKS for instance, enjoy wide popularity and accept a huge array of options. (Well maybe not the SKS. But it offers considerable bang for your buck.)
    I may be in the minority but I prefer the X39 cartridge over 5.56 NATO. It has proven acceptable in my Mini 30, AR and my recent CZ 527.
    See Accuracy Systems Inc. if you want to spruce up a Mini.
    http://www.accuracysystemsinc.com/index.php

    The M1A is a step up in firepower (and weight.) No doubt .308/7.62 will handle anything you are likely to encounter. You might find muzzle blast from the short-barreled versions punishing.

    But why limit yourself to just one? Finding your favorite is
    a pleasant and rewarding process. Have fun, LL!

    =TW=

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    Replies
    1. Yes indeed, it's nice to experiment and trade off this for that to see what functions best in the environment.

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