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December 29th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Jack O’Connor .270 Winchester Tribute Rifle

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win
“If the hunter does his part, the .270 will not let him down” — Jack O’Connor.

Classic hunting rifles never go out of style. We thought our readers would enjoy this very special high-grade Jack O’Connor Tribute rifle in .270 Winchester. This unique Model 70 was a SHOT Show featured rifle back in 2013. It was auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting hunting and shooting sports. Jack O’Connor, a legendary outdoorsman and hunting writer, would have been proud. In his 1964 classic work The Rifle Book, O’Connor wrote: “I like a handgun. I hold a shotgun in high regard; but rifles — well, I love the darn things…”

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Winchester Repeating Arms declared that this 2013 SHOT Show Winchester Model 70 would be the last-ever Jack O’Connor Tribute rifle. The stock for this rifle is AAA grade Claro Walnut with Ebony forearm tip and shadowline cheekpiece. The rifle’s metalwork has been hand-engraved by the artisans at Baron Engraving. The rifle features a featherweight contour, free-floating barrel with target crown. Interestingly, the Leupold 4X Mountaineer riflescope mounted on this rifle is an original 1950s-era Mountaineer from the vaults of Leupold & Stevens.

Click each image to see larger version with detail.

“A good sporting stock should enable the shooter to get a shot off quickly and accurately, and it should also be a thing of beauty. Many fine sporting stocks are handsome but of little aid in accurate shooting. Many others that hold and shoot well are homely and clumsy.

The very best sporter stock design results in a stock with handsome, graceful lines and one which also enables the man behind it to do his best work.” — Jack O’Connor, The Big Game Rifle (1952).

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

About Jack 0’Connor “Dean of Outdoor Writers”
Jack O’Connor, sheep hunting, and the Model 70 Winchester in .270 are linked in our collective subconscious. In 1939, O’Connor was appointed new guns editor for Outdoor Life, and in 1941, he took over the Arms and Ammunition column. In those days, Coues deer and desert sheep were his passions, and a lot of rifles came and went through his hands. By the end of 1946, O’Connor had hunted enough North American sheep to complete three grand slams.

By 1954, he thought he had his ultimate rifle, a custom Model 70 in .270 Winchester that he had taken to Wyoming for elk, to India for blackbuck, and to Iran for red sheep and ibex. He liked the rifle so much, he called it his No. 1 and set out to build a second to give his favorite a break from testing new bullets and developing loads.

From Outdoor Life magazine Feature Story: Jack O’Connor’s Perfect Model 70.

Model 70 Winchester Jack O'Connor .270 Win

Jack O'Connor hunting classicsSporting Classics offers a collection of great Jack O’Connor stories from the pages of Outdoor Life, Field & Stream, Petersen’s Hunting and other popular magazines of his day. This 440-page book, entitled Classic O’Connor: 45 Worldwide Hunting Stories, is a sequel of sorts to Sporting Classics’ popular compendium, The Lost Classics of Jack O’Connor.

In this collection, Jack O’Connor recounts his worldwide hunting adventures, during which he pursued everything from ducks to grizzlies, pheasants to kudu. Classic O’Connor presents several of the author’s greatest gun stories and a large selection of never-before-published photographs of the celebrated sportsman and his family on hunting adventures around the world. The book is illustrated with 40+ drawings by acclaimed artist Ron Van Gilder. This excellent O’Connor collection is available on Amazon in hardcover or paperback, starting at $38.99 (used) or $59.98 (new).

The Hunting Rifle by Jack O’Connor
Another O’Connor title worth reading is The Hunting Rifle, still considered one of the definitive works on selecting a hunting rifle and cartridge. One owner of The Hunting Rifle explains:

“It would benefit every hunter to take the time and read this book. It offers a corrective to the spirit of things that have gripped the hunting scene lately. Today, if one reads a hunting magazine, [one is] offered the view that you need the fastest and loudest cartridges, rifles with special finishes and the most expensive of anything. Ole Jack reminds us that many have killed game with ‘lesser’ guns for a very long time, and that these new gimmicks will not make you a more lethal hunter.”

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April 17th, 2019

Extreme Ammo: 5000 Ft-Lbs from the .500/.416 Nitro Express

300 .300 Winchester Win Magnum Mag Swedish Norma Cartridge of the Month Norma USA

When you need the ultimate in “knock-down” power, bigger is better. One of the most potent hunting rounds ever created is the mighty .500/.416 Nitro Express. For those who yearn for “More Power”, this is true “Extreme Ammo”.

Kreighoff unveiled the .500/.416 Nitro Express 3 ¼”, based on the proven .500 Nitro Express case, with a nice, long neck for good bullet tension, a good taper for easy feeding… and enough case capacity. The result was a winner — the .500/.416 NE pushes a 410-grain bullet at 2,325 fps, for just under 5,000 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle.

On the Norma website is a collection of Cartridge of the Month Articles, currently numbering 29. Here’s Norma’s run-down on an ultra-powerful big game cartridge, the .500/.416 Nitro Express.

300 .300 Winchester Win Magnum Mag Swedish Norma Cartridge of the Month Norma USA

The .500 / .416 Nitro Express

Text by Norma Staff Writers
The history of double rifle cartridges is a long and colored one. These cartridges were largely designed around the heavy-for-caliber cup-and-core round-nosed and full-patch bullets of yesteryear, and the guns were regulated for relatively close shooting. Almost all of the designs were rimmed cartridges; the rimmed case giving just about the best headspacing available. While the rimmed cartridges didn’t work very well in the repeating rifles, they work just fine in the single-shot and double rifles.

There are some double rifles chambered for the rimless and belted cartridges, but the rimmed cases offer the easiest and most positive extraction. The reputation and performance of the .416 Rigby (and later the .416 Remington) were undeniable, and while there are doubles chambered for these cartridges, Kreighoff saw the wisdom of a rimmed cartridge using a .416″-diameter bullet.

Early in 1996, Kreighoff unveiled the .500/.416 Nitro Express 3 ¼”, based on the proven .500 Nitro Express case, with a nice, long neck for good bullet tension, a good taper for easy feeding under duress, and enough case capacity to mimic the performance of the rimless .416s. The result was a winner — the .500/.416 NE pushes a 410-grain bullet at 2,325 fps, for just under 5,000 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. This ballistic formula has been used on the largest game on earth with great results, and in a double rifle, will allow for the reliable, immediate second shot that double rifle shooters have come to appreciate.

Photo courtesy Namibia Hunting Safaris.
Namibia Hunting safari

The .500/.416 NE bridges a huge gap between the .450/400 and the .450 NE, and offers a shooting experience closer to the .450/400, while giving plenty of power for hunting any and all dangerous game. I think that the .450/.400 and .500/.416 make a great choice for the traveling sportsman. When comparing the two, the .500/.416 offers a bit more frontal diameter (.416” v. .411”) and a considerable increase in velocity (2,325 vs. 2,050 to 2,125, depending on manufacturer), so it boils down to whether you desire a bit more reach-out-and-touch-‘em or the lesser recoil of the lighter cartridge. What I see in the .500/.416 NE is a double rifle cartridge with a performance level on par with the highly familiar .416 Rigby, yet available in the quick-handling double rifles. [Norma’s African PH .500/.416 NE ammo, loaded with excellent Woodleigh projectiles, is an excellent choice.]

Cartridge of the Month Norma USAIf you haven’t checked out NormaUSA’s website, you should. There you’ll find Norma’s Cartridge of the Month Archive. This great resource provides a detailed history of popular cartridges, along with a discussion of these cartridges’ hunting and target-shooting uses. There are currently 29 Cartridge of the Month articles, including the popular 6.5 Creedmoor.

Also on Norma-USA.com you’ll find information on Norma cartridge brass, bullets, powder and factory ammo. The site also offers a video archive plus links to Norma Reloading Data.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
January 10th, 2010

30 Cal Magnums Preferred by North American Big Game Hunters

30-caliber magnums are the chamberings of choice for North American big game hunters. Although the venerable .30-06 and .270 remain popular, Boone and Crockett Club records show that the 30-caliber magnums (of one variety or another) take more North American trophies than any other caliber/chambering. (Note: “30-caliber magnum” includes .300 Win Mag, .300 WSM, .300 Wby. Mag, 300 Ultra mag. Records do not distinguish specific 30-cal magnum chamberings.) Boone and Crockett compiled the data from records-book entries from 2007 through 2009. Surprisingly, the second most popular trophy-taker isn’t a firearm—it’s a bow.

300 Weatherby Magnum

Here are the most commonly used calibers across all Boone and Crockett categories over the past three years, along with percentages of trophy entries credited to each:

30-cal Magnum (all types)—18 percent
Bow/crossbow—16 percent
.270—12 percent
.30-06—11 percent
7mm Magnum—11 percent
Muzzleloader/shotgun—10 percent
6mm—3 percent
.338 Magnum—3 percent
.257—2 percent
.30-30—2 percent
.308—2 percent
.375 Magnum—2 percent
Other—8 percent
300 Weatherby Magnum

30-caliber magnum cartridges appear among the top three calibers for 11 of the 15 species recognized in Boone and Crockett trophy records. Species for which records are kept include: Whitetail deer, Coues’ whitetail deer, Blacktail deer, Mule deer, Black bear, Brown Bear/Grizzly, Pronghorn, Elk, Moose, Caribou, Bison, Muskox, Cougar, Rocky Mtn. Goat, Sheep (Bighorn, Dall’s, Desert, Stone’s).

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