If you’re investing the time and money to go on a great hunting trip, it’s silly to skimp on the gear you’ll take along. I learned this seemingly obvious lesson the hard way on a rainy hunt in Newfoundland when my bargain– basement riflescope sprang a tiny leak. I found myself trying to place the cross hairs on a fine bull moose as a spreading cloud of fog inside the lens obscured my view. I went home mooseless, promising myself that in the future, not only would I always purchase and use only high-quality optics, but I’d also always take a spare along.
These days, my good-stuff-only vow goes for the rest of my gear as well-particularly when it comes to guns and ammunition. With the wide variety of excellent firearms and loads available today, it makes no sense to sacrifice quality for the sake of a few dollars. The dependability of a rifle-or lack of it–can make or break a hunt.
Rifles, shotguns, and ammunition are the main tools of a hunter’s passion. Finding the right gun and load is not only important, it’s fun. It allows us to spend time at the range shooting and experimenting with new loads during the times of the year when we can’t hunt. As we stand on the cusp of the opening days of many North American big-game seasons, now is the time to be sure our equipment is in order and that we’re ready for the hunts to come.
In this issue Sports Afield’s experts bring you a special treat: An overview of some of the hottest new guns and loads available today. Although our writers had the chance to examine many of these products at the winter trade shows, most of these rifles, shotguns, loads, and accessories are only now hitting the shelves of sporting-goods stores, so this is your chance to get a sneak-peek at what’s new.
Check out Chub Eastman’s “Rifleman’s Roundup” on page 43 for the latest in rifles, rifle ammo, and accessories. If you’re a shotgunner, turn to page 18, where John M. Taylor brings you his unvarnished impressions of this year’s new and improved crop of side-by-sides and over-unders.
Now just might be the right time to find room in your safe for that great new gun you’ve been dreaming about. Of course, just buying a new gun doesn’t guarantee the success of your hunt. The accuracy of any firearm depends, more than anything else, on the person pulling the trigger. The guns and loads you’ll find in this issue won’t necessarily make you a crack shot, but they will give you the confidence that your equipment is up to the task at hand. The rest is up to you.
Copyright Sports Afield, Inc. Aug 2003
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