There's just something about hunting with a single shot rifle for big game that's kind of special and also a bit different. Whenever you see a hunter uncase a single shot rifle as he or she is about to load and begin to hunt, you somehow know that they are confident and serious about their hunting, no doubt of that. They have accepted that if they are not sure of a shot, it simply cannot be taken because a second can be a while in coming.
Thu, 2010-12-30 14:23
The single shot rifle
Sometimes this can be of no concern, but certainly, more times than not, it makes a huge difference in the possibility of a second shot, should one be needed. I find that particular point part of the allure of hunting with a single shot. They would not be the wisest choice for most hunting of dangerous game, but with a trusted friend or professional guide as a backup with a substantial rifle, I still feel it could be done safely.
Another special aspect I like about single shots is the design of many of them. To my eye they are simply eye candy. I find the Ruger #1 in any configuration to be a very handsome rifle, and the Browning single shot was an absolutely gorgeous classic as well. Even the old Savage 219 in 30/30 I own is a very good looking rifle. I own five single shots now, all purchased for deer hunting and they all are especially pleasing to the eye, except perhaps the T/C Encore. As nice a gun as it is and as much as I like it, it's still pretty tough to call it anything more than "nice". My single shots range in chamberings from 30/30 to 45-70. However, I may be getting a bit ahead and off of my original premise here though.
I think that the idea of single shot rifles has never caught the attention of the shooting and hunting public here in the states as much as say in Europe, because we are a different type of hunting "person". We, hunt as average people, many for meat and trophies and not at all like most in the "other" continent, where many hunt as priveledged peoples, whether that be because of income, status or land ownership.
We are simply a different type of "hunting culture" than they, IMO. We want to be sucessfull, no doubt; many wanting, and even perhaps needing the meat for subsistence. Please do not scoff at my seemingly outdated idea/theory. We, here in the south, have a bit different idea of seasons and bag limits than do many other American hunters. In my county, here in the great state of Tennessee, we have a 3 deer a day limit for a season that stretches for over 100 days.
I can guarantee you that some people here feast on wonderful and healthy venison year-round because they can legally collect so many deer a season. I know no one fills all their tags, but believe me there are families here who enjoy our obviously liberal bag limit for all the right reasons. There are other southern states that have similarly long seasons and bag limits as well.
I have strayed a bit off the track here again, I'm sorry, but only to prehaps showcase our reasons not to use a non-repeating rifle for deer hunting. The reasons why our older,more(?) cultured predessesors (across the big pond) may choose to use a single shot rifle are much more reasonable to me than those reasons we might choose to use one here. From experience I can tell you that as an avid deer hunter (perhaps 50 days a year) I make a concious decision as to when I might bring one of my "singles" along with me on a day's hunt.
A few of the reason's might be so superfluous as to be the time of season or type of weather at that time. I'd likely not use one on opening day when thinking I would be in the tangled thicket that's the bedroom of a good buck and needing to be assured of dropping him on sight. Or, still perhaps even sillier, I won't take my fine singles out in a driving rain or snowy day. I have other rifles I'd prefer to use then.
This leaves, for me, special considerations for using one of my singles and I'm fine with that. I can tell you honestly though that at one point in my hunting "career" I would like to use single shot rifles for deer hunting (perhaps all hunting) exclusively. At that moment, I might consider myself a more "consumate" hunter. Note, please, not an "accomplished" one, but simply among the more complete of the hunter people.
I'll make no bones as to my enjoyment and liking of a specific firearm because of it's looks rather than function, but along with that, I'll also suppose most fans of anything do and will change their tastes after being "fans" of anything for a while. I can tell you that a rifle's ability to group 3 shots into 1/2" at 100yds is much less important to me than it's looks, feel and ability for it to group 3 shots into definate M.O. Deer at whatever range I am willing to restrict myself to.
Knowing when and when NOT to shoot, is perhaps the biggest challenge to the modern hunter. Just because you are shooting a .300 whizbang mag in a Deluxe Namedropper semi-auto, doesn't mean you can or should let loose at Mr. Buck some 450 yds distant, without careful consideration and plenty of practice with said firearm. So my ideas are this: enjoy your hunting as you please, always giving the game the respect it deserves. Practice, practice, practice, (did I mention SHOOT!!) and consider at some point, the idea of one good shot for one special animal.
Again, on a personal note here, I'd like at some point like to do all my hunting with a single shot rifle, not because I have lost my thirst to "hunt", but rather that I consider the hunt more than my blasting my way to a trophy. And, for the record I'd never say that all hunting should be done with a single shot, only that which makes the holder feel especially empowered to perform his deadly deed. Whether that be stricly for meat, or satisfying his ancient "hunter" urges matters not. I happen to agree with both, done ethically and legally. Good luck, and squeeze very slowly, and also very confidently.
** As a little sidenote here, I do enjoy the function and dependibility of all other rifle types, owning most other types as well; double rifle, combination rifle/shotgun, bolt action, lever action, and semi-auto in my personal collection. All have a firm place, at least for now, in my hunting plans and gun cabinets.