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Survey of guides & outfitters

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Old 02-08-2014, 11:18 AM
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Default Survey of guides & outfitters

I was recently given a new book by a friend that's a reprint of an earlier one I'd purchased a few years ago "American Hunting Rifles" by Craig Boddington. The new one is pretty much an update of the original and simply carries a "II" in it's title.

In writing the first book Boddington sent out hundreds of questionaires to guides and outfitters asking pointed questions about rifles, optics and bullets and asking their opinions on each. This second volume contains the results from both the first survey (1994) and the latest (2012) with at least 100 respondents in both and with average experience levels being over 20yrs in the 1st and over 25yrs in the 2nd survey.

Some interesting differences occurred over the span of about 18 years between them. When asked for a recommendation for a deer rifle cartridge for their clients, the .270 did very well in both, finishing 1st. A big change was the decline of 7mm cartridges, most specifically the 7mmRM, which was second in '94 and was not mentioned by "name" at all in #2. The '06 jumped into 2nd place and if all .30s were figured together, they then outnumbered the .270. The overall number of different cartridges mentioned actually declined by two, even though lots of new ones have come out in the interim.

As far as rifles recommended, in the latest survey the largest share went to "bolt action", while some specific models were also mentioned. The venerable M70 picked up the most "likes" with 16, the M700 got 14 and surprisingly enough Ruger jumped to a very close 3rd with 13. They were followed by Savage(8), Browning(6) and Weatherby(4).

When it came to scope recommendations (again in the newest survey), it seemed quality ruled the roost with #1 being Leupold with over 1/3 of all mentioning them (36). Leupold was followed at a distance by Zeiss(23), Swarovski(19), Lecia(7) and Nikon(5). Surprises might be the low number that recommended both Weaver(2) and Redfield(2)

As far as scope sizes, the 3-9 size was most popular, followed by "low range variables" of 1-4, 1.75-5, etc and then higher variables of 3-12 & 4-12. Low on the list were the old standards of fixed 4 & 6X scopes, so much for fear of a variable scope's quality by the professionals (**my comment**)

I'd suppose a lot of very experienced hunters might be able to guess what bullet was mentioned the most times....yup, the tried & true Nosler Partition, now some 65+ years old. The much newer Barnes "Xs" were second followed by "Hornady" brand and then by Nosler Accubond(11) and TBBC and TBBT(8) and swift A-Frame(8). I'd say that although some today might not still see the upside of the very fine Nosler Partition, those who see many hunts have certainly not gotten past it proven performance. I'd personally also give NOSLER a big attaboy seeing as how they landed two bullet types in the top four! These bullets statistics were also the ones from the newer survey as I think they make the most sense to look at with the number of bullets today not even offered 18 yrs ago.

There are lots more facts and tidbits comparing hunting methods, terrain hunted, game hunted and so forth that would likely interest many within both these surveys. Although these surveys themselves are but a small portion of either book, I have found both these books, volumes I & II to be outstanding reads in the format Boddington used to write them. He used three major sections: One for Cartridges for NA hunting another for NA rifles and a 3rd for recommending specific guns and cartridges for specific hunting & game animals.

I'd highly recommend either of these books to anyone interested in hunting and hunting rifles. There are very few individuals that have the breath of experience Boddington carries, having hunted 40+ states, 50+ countries including over 100 African Safaris. There is little Boddington has not experienced and I find his experiences make his opinions, whether they match mine or not, completely viable.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:47 AM
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Sounds like the ideal rifle is still a 270 w low power scope and good ammo. Oh wait. I think Jack O'C said that 40 yrs ago for 50 yrs before that. That is all.
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