Popularized by gun writer Jeff Cooper about 40 years ago, the Scout rifle concept called for a fast handling, hard hitting short rifle that could be thrown to the shoulder and used immediately at near point blank range when the target was suddenly up close and personal - but which still had the capability of placing shots with a relatively high degree of accuracy at 300...400...or more yards.
Recently, the Davide Pedersoli arms making firm of Brescia, Italy shipped me one of the coolest looking modern in-line ignition muzzleloading rifles I've ever seen for test shooting. What makes this rifle so different from other No. 209 primer ignition in-line rifles on the market is that it is actually built to look like something that "could have" existed back in the 1860's. This .50 caliber modern muzzle-loaded big game rifle is being built on a modified variation of the old Remington Rolling Block type of action. In fact, Pedersoli refers to the rifle as their "Rolling Block Muzzleloader".
The Hi-LuxM40 scope is very true to the original scope used by the Marine Corps. For years, many tactical shooters have wanted to build a clone of the 1960's M40 sniper rifles. Remington even came out with an M40 version of the Model 700 center-fire rifle, in .308 Winchester, a few years back ... but there simply was not a proper scope in production.
This year, we used two .50 caliber No. 209 primer ignition in-line muzzleloading rifles for conducting the test - one of the exquisite Model 22 ML rifles produced by Cooper Firearms of Montana - and one of the .50 caliber Strike models now offered by Thompson/Center Arms. The Cooper rifle sported one of the Hi-Lux 3-9x40mm TB-ML model scopes...
I think I'm really going to like this rifle! This next week, I'll be loading the same 45-grain charge of Accurate 2520 behind some of the 168-grain A-MAX bullets...to see if they perform as well. I'll also do some shooting to determine bullet drop at 300...400...500 yards. In two weeks, the Montana deer and elk season opens, and my first hunt will be for mule deer...or whitetails...in the Missouri Breaks. There's one river-bottom hay field on the ranch that can call for shooting to 700 or 800 yards. Once I know my"hold over"to 500 yards, I most definitely would have no problem taking the shot with this rig out to that distance. I'll then refine my hold over for still longer ranges through the winter.
As I begin to wring out some of the newer Hi-Lux long-range scope models, you are sure to see more of this rifle on this blog.
In some Midwestern states, hunting whitetails with a center-fire rifle has never been allowed. Instead these hunters have had to rely on a shotgun that shoots a slug with some reasonable degree of accuracy, limiting shots to under 200 yards. Today, an ever growing segment of those hunters are moving away from the smooth-bored...