Several years ago in north Idaho I bumped into an old elk hunter on a little-used trail leading deep into the wilderness. “Heard any?” I asked. He hadn’t. “You got partners down the ridge?” He smiled and shook his head. “You don’t worry coming back here all by yourself?”
“I’m not alone.” He patted the butt stock of an old Model 70.
“Oh, got your dependable old rifle, do you,” I acknowledged.
“Three hundred H and H. But it’s not just that. Got my hunting partner with me. Brother Ben.”
I looked around, confused.
“Not out there. Right here.” He patted the stock again. “We hunted together since we were kids. I couldn’t let that end. So I sealed some of his ashes in a hole I drilled in the butt. I take Ben hunting every year.”
The stainless, synthetic, custom 280 Ackley I was packing felt pretty cold and ordinary for a day or two after that.
Ballistics and Punch Aren’t Everything
Ballistic performance, precision, punch and rugged dependability are all features you want in an effective, all ‘round big game rifle. It’s worth shopping for them. But sometimes, often, things come along to supersede all of that and make the most unlikely firearm the best hunting rifle you’ll ever own. Here’s hoping you find yours.
Take pity on author Ron Spomer. He’s one of those unfortunates who has hunted with so many rifles that he hasn’t established the kind of special connections that makes one the best ever.
How To Find Your Best Rifle Ever — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com