My love affair with rifles began at an early age when I was around 5 or 6 years old. Dad used to hunt moose with a small local hunting team and I was immediately influenced by the whole procedure of meticulously handling the rifle and cartridges. More precisely a Sako Finnbear 30-06 and its Norma factory ammunition. I still remember the incredible smell of the ammunition packages, the metallic scent of the cartridges and the gun grease whiff from the rifle itself. To this day I can think of no nicer aromas!
For some reason, shotguns never got my blood pumping. Maybe for the same reason as why I became an engineer; I like facts and figures, and this is exactly what you get in a rifle. You have but one bullet and a crosshair inside the scope that shows you the point of aim (and, if you´ve done your homework, also the point of impact). Everything is beautifully lined up in a scientific and predictable fashion. Muzzle velocity, bullet weight, ballistic coefficient, sight height over bore line, bullet drop over distance, etc. One shot, one kill. Unlike the shotgun, where you send a handful of pellets in some general direction, and hope for the best. Now, don´t get me wrong - I have the highest regard for people who know how to handle a shotgun with an above average hit rate, but this is simply not my cup of tea. The concept of shotguns also includes a surprisingly high level of acceptance for poor shots and misses which I am not very comfortable with. But I guess it lies in the nature of things when sending pellets in general directions. The shotgun is of course superior for some disciplines such as shooting flying birds, but that is another story...
I shot my first game with a rifle back in 1994 - a roebuck with microscopical antlers knocked off using my brother´s Tikka M65 in 30-06. The most memorable part of the affair was certainly not the size of the trophy but the ear splitting report from the short barrel firing Norma Alaska factory ammo. After suffering from ringing ears for about 24 hours I promised myself that I would never fire another shot "unprotected". Ever since I have always used either active hearing protection or suppressors. I often hear people saying "I never hear the shot when I´m hunting anyway". Well, neither did I but I heard the result for a whole day! To me it´s simply unfathomable how anyone in their right mind can expose their precious hearing to this horrendous torture.
When working in the US between 2000 and 2001 I once walked into a sports store and wanted to have a look at a Remington 700 Sendero in 7mm Remington Magnum. The clerk looked at me and said "You don´t want that, you want the 7mm Remington ULTRA Magnum!". He was American all right. After coming back to Sweden I immediately bought my first rifle - a Tikka M65 in 300 Win Mag. This gun pounded me from day one and I developed a flinch within minutes. This was a good thing though, because there were only two options ahead: either get rid of the flinch or spend the rest of my life as a crappy shot. After a few months I chose the first option. It wasn´t very easy but by forcing myself to squeeze the trigger when shooting from a bench rest, I soon reached the point where I didn´t know exactly when the gun would go off, and this made it impossible for the body to anticipate the recoil and mess up the shot. My groups size shrunk from two to three inches to around one at 100 meters. But the best feedback was the lack of shoulder pain. When you flinch and jerk the trigger your shoulder usually moves forward to meet the rifle - this is especially obvious when someone unknowingly fires with an empty chamber. This is a disaster for marksmanship but also very painful. Ol´Elmer Keith knew what he was talking about when he coined the phrase "Recoil - relax and enjoy it". That´s right: relax!
Soon after this, I bought my second magnum rifle: a Remington 700 Safari in 458 Win Mag. And the rest is history. Since then I´ve had a number of rifles chambered for magnum cartridges such as 7mm Rem Mag, 300 RUM, 338 Win Mag, 340 Wby Mag, 338 Lapua, 358 Norma, 9,3x66 Sako (known as 370 Sako Mag in the US), the classic 375 H&H, 416 Rem Mag, 416 Rigby, 416 Wby Mag and the big daddy: 460 Wby Mag where I´m now on my 2nd Weatherby Mark V Euromark. You could say I caught a severe case of Magnumitis there for a while and I can´t get rid of it even now - 15 years later.
The purpose of this blog is to share the joy of hunting, shooting guns at the range, tinkering with scopes and handloads, trying different shooting positions and aids, messing with gun powders, primers, bullets, seating depths, etc. etc. I hope you will get something out of this blog and please leave a comment to get some discussion going. I will try to reply as soon as I can as these subjects really intrigue me.
Sincerely, a Nordic rifleman