For quite some time I have been wanting to take Cumberland Tactics' Practical Rifle class with Randy Cain. Beyond whatever practical application there may be (from hunting to the idea that bolt-action rifles are likely the last to be confiscated) I also happen to think that it has the potential to be a true skill-builder and really work the fundamentals in ways that I can then carry over to other platforms. Every time I learn something new on the Glock I think of how it applies to the AR, and vice versa. I see no reason that broadening the base would not help improve the pinnacle.
Clearly, the first thing I need, then, is a “practical rifle”. Discussion abounds as to what this means but in the simplest terms it is a light, compact, bolt-action rifle in .308 that wears a conventionally-mounted and low-power magnified optic. It can be seen as a takeoff on the Scout Rifle concept, or a more real-world version of the precision rifle, or can simply be a hunting rifle. Tweaks abound, as with all things males involve themselves in, but the basics are there in the description above. My take on these criteria, for what they are worth:
To this end, I ordered a Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Compact rifle in .308 from Bud’s Gun Shop and did the transfer, as is my usual, through Ben Simonson of Boresight Solutions. Suggested retail on this model is $900 but judicious web-shopping should get you one in the $700-$750 range including shipping and transfer costs. Now that name is a hell of a descriptor and long as hell to boot. Let’s start at the end and work out way back to explain what it means.
So that gets me to the concept, why I am interested in it, and the gun
I bought to explore it and why I chose that make/model.
The rifle, new in box, sitting on the shop floor at Boresight Solutions
Note that the rifle ships with the bolt removed and nestled in it’s own slot in the styrofoam
The rifle, on the scale, at 6lbs 10.3oz, which is 2.3oz heavier than advertised
As of this writing the only other thing I have acquired is a Ching Sling from Andy Langlois at www/shottist.com based on the recommendation of Randy Cain. The sling came with three swivels, two swivel studs (one long and one short thread) and a drill bit. Because the rifle comes from the factory with only two sing studs the owner must add a third, just in front of the magazine floorplate, in the stock. Langlois includes two studs in case one is too long and protrudes into the action, and the drill bit to ensure that the buyer uses the correct size. The sling package with all hardware retails for $65 from Mr. Langlois. Cain advised to request the “long” version, which is what I did, as some folks find the standard too short, and being 6’-1” tall I may appreciate the longer length. No idea if that is what I received, or how to verify if it is, but I trust that Langlois sent me what I requested.
Langlois Ching Sling with swivels attached
I finally got registered for a Practical Rifle class, and in typical fashion am getting everything put together this week for the class next weekend (3/16-18). The scope came in last week, a used Leupold VXIII 1.5-5x, rings come in this week sometime, and at some point I need to get out and function-check the gun to make sure it's going to reliably eat the ammo I intend to feed it. But, I did get the sling mounted up today. To install a Ching Sling you need to add a third sling swivel stud, which Andy included with the sling, along with a drill bit of the correct side. I drilled the hole 1.5" forward of the magazine bottom cutout on the wood stock. This left just barely enough space between this and the existing front swivel for my left hand, but room there is.