Like most other gun people, I like to attend all of the gun shows I possibly can...
and every now and then, I find a gun I just can’t stop myself from buying.
A few months ago I was at one of the local gun shows, just walking up and down each aisle, sort of looking and occasionally stopping to handle something of interest. I really don’t need any more firearms, but I have an addiction that makes me WANT THEM ALL!
I had made a list of things I needed, like gunpowder, a few bullets and some primers if I could find a deal. After walking a short distance I was able to find a few pounds of powder that I needed for some loads I was working on, but that was about all I’d seen that I really needed. (There is that “need” word again...where does it keep coming from?)
Suddenly, there it was, sitting on a table all by its lonesome. This was the H&R Ultra Hunter in .30-06, another H&R single-shot rifle, and a pretty one at that. This rifle has a good-looking, cinnamon-laminated, American hardwood, Monte Carlo pistol-grip stock with checkering and matching foregrip.
Now, I need another rifle like I need the flu. BUT, what has need got to do with anything? I wanted it!
I asked the owner if I could pick it up. With his permission, I broke open the barrel and proceeded to inspect the rifle. I closed the barrel a few times to be sure it locked up as intended, looked down the very dirty barrel, pulled the hammer back, pulled the trigger and performed an all-around good inspection.
Once I was satisfied it was in good condition, I asked for his asking price. To my dismay, his reply was $150.
Now, I knew this was a real good price, but I always like to haggle. I am that way about the asking price on just about everything I buy. So I offered him $75. The instant expression on his face told me this was not going to work.
After a few minutes of back-and-forth, we agreed on $125. I opened my wallet and slid him the greenbacks, and he handed me my new-to-me rifle.
I had accomplished my goal! I’d found some gunpowder and a real good deal on a gun. I was done at this show, so I headed to the house and my gun room to break my new toy down completely and give it a well-deserved cleaning.
Afterwards, it went into the safe to visit my other toys. I later installed a new scope and bore-sighted it. This is really easy with a break-open single-shot. I placed the rifle in a gun vice with the barrel open, looked down the barrel to see a dot I had on the door, then adjusted the crosshairs so they were on the center of the dot, and I was done.
Back into the safe it went. Oh yes, I also free-floated the barrel. I am a firm believer that this step is important with all rifles that allow it, if you want consistent groups.
This is very easy with the H&R rifles. All you have to do is remove the foregrip screw, remove the foregrip and place two rubber o-rings in the hole in the foregrip.
Then slip the foregrip back on the rifle and put the screw back. No sanding, no varnishing – just two rubber o-rings, and your barrel is free-floated.
One day while I was working on loads for the H&R .25-06 (discussed in my May article), I decided to take the .30-06 to the range to see how it shot.
I looked in the ammo box and found three different factory loads and none of my hand loads, but what the heck, I just wanted to see if it shot halfway straight. I set up the rifle on my Caldwell Lead Sled and put a target at the 25-yard distance to fine-tune my bore-sighting.
Afterward, I moved my target to the 100-yard line to try my three boxes of factory ammo (Remington Core Lokt 180- and 220-grain and some ammo I had found a while back on sale for $8.99 a box – Privi Partizan in 150-grain soft point).
The first three shots were with the Remington 220-grain, and the grouping was what I’d expected (around 3 inches). The next was the Remington 180-grain, and these groups were about 2 inches.
It was getting better, but nowhere close enough for me to hunt with. The next was the Privi Partizan in 150-grain soft point. The first shot was dead-on the little dot on the target. I couldn’t see where the next shot hit, so I looked through my spotting scope, and low and behold, it was touching the first hole!
No way was this bargain basement ammo shooting like that! I loaded another round, placed the crosshairs on the dot and slowly squeezed the trigger. I again looked through the spotting scope and could not see a new hole. After a few seconds, and a little adjustment to the spotting scope, I could just make out one hole that looked like a small clover leaf.
NO WAY could this rifle shoot that bargain ammo that good! I chambered another round, found another dot on the target and sent another round downrange. Dead-on again! I followed this procedure two more times, and each shot touched the first shot’s hole.
I could not believe it. I'd found a rifle that shot sub, sub, sub-MOA (minute of angle) with bargain-basement hunting ammo! I've been shooting for many years, and the instances you can find a rifle that shoots this accurately with good factory ammo (much less ammo for $8.99 a box) are few and far between.
When I got home I went online and found this ammo for around $14 a box, as well as many posts about its effectiveness on deer-size animals.
My overall impression of this rifle:
• Lightweight and easy to carry.
• Shoulders good with a comfortable pistol grip.
• The checkering makes for a non-slip grip.
• The trigger is extremely crisp with little or no creep and breaks solid at around 3 pounds.
• The Monte Carlo-style stock is just right for my cheek with a high-mounted scope, and the recoil pad is more than sufficient for this caliber.
• They come with sling swivel studs, scope mount rail and mounting screws, hammer extension, no iron sights. This rifle looks good, and most importantly, IT IS DEAD-ON ACCURATE!
The customer support for H&R is very responsive if you need help. You can purchase one of these new for around $300, or used from, well, $125. For the money, you will end up with a quality shooter.
I am glad I went to that gun show and even happier that I ended up with this extremely accurate shooter.
I currently own several H&R rifles and slug guns, and I now have three of them that are “three-shot, one hole” rifles. This squirrel found a nut!
Shoot straight, shoot safe.
If everyone treated all firearms as if they were loaded,
there would be no accidental shootings.
Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”