Shortly after I completed my “Outdoor Journal” column for this week, listing some major changes firearms owners will have to adhere to in the coming year due to the governor’s signing of the New York state Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, I was again very upset.
How could this “passed in the middle of the night” legislation totally ignore our Second Amendment rights? As a relief from my frustration, I knew of only one remedy, call my friend Dave and visit my local gun shop, where I could get lost in the gun aisles. And who would have thought that this therapeutic visit would result in an added “self-purchased” Christmas gift.
To say I have had a lot of firearms (rifles, shotgun and pistols) would be a huge understatement. The firearms that have stood in my gun cabinet, most of which have had a short visit, might tally up in the three-digit category.
I’m sure the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System has me earmarked on their files, but as I tell everyone, especially my wife, I have an obligation to my readers as an outdoor writer to keep them abreast of all the new firearms available to them. And in order to do this thoroughly, I “have to” do a test and evaluate of all of them. And obviously, the only way to do it is “hands-on.” That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
With the passage of the SAFE Act and its restrictions, I’ve curtailed my gun purchases somewhat and actually thinned out my gun cabinet, all legally. Right now, I only have one shotgun, two deer rifles, a varmint gun, an old-single shot .22 plinker/squirrel gun and a CVA muzzleloader. Why two deer rifles? That happened during my last visit to Beecroft’s.
When Dave and I visit gun shops, it’s never with the intention of buying, just browsing. This two-person approach isn’t necessarily a good thing, because between the two us, one can always persuade the other they need another gun. That’s what he did to me that day (I have to blame somebody).
It happened rather quickly, while I was browsing the wall gun racks and talking to other shoppers. Dave called to me over to the “high-end” locked, glassed, gun cabinet on the wall. Normally, I glance into this cabinet, but I didn’t that day, until Dave pointed and said, “There’s the one you’ve been looking for,” a Model 7600 Remington .30-06 carbine.
He was right. It was one that’s been on my wish list for some time. I called to Mr. Beecroft, he unlocked the door and handed me the 7600. I immediately noticed the beautiful engraving on the receiver and the high-grade Turkish walnut stock and forend, which lead me to believe it may have come out of Remington’s custom shop.
Beecroft, Dave and I all examined the gun and agreed that it may not have ever been shot. Anyway, and I knew it was going to happen, once it hit my shoulder and I sighted in on a sign on the wall, I told him to lock up the cabinet because this gun was headed for a new home — mine.
On the way home, Dave asked me about the optics, and said a quality gun like that deserves a quality scope, and I agreed. The next day, I called Pat Mundy, communications manager for Leupold optics.
Having visited their booth at the Shot Show on numerous occasions, I was quite familiar with their scope lines and picked their VX-3 2.5 8x36mm scope. Mundy agreed with my choice, and I placed the order that included the Leupold STD Mounting System (base and rings).
Later that day, before the SAFE Act’s ammunition background check became mandatory, I ordered several boxes of Winchester 168-grain Ballistic SilverTip bullets with their rapid controlled expansion polymer tips. They’re recommended for deer, bear and antelope.
And speaking of bear, I plan on hunting them in Maine in late September and Pennsylvania in November. I also have a reservation in March at the Bear Bridge Ranch in Eustis, Fla., to hunt hogs (www.hoghuntingtrips.com). Come fall, my 7600 and I will spend some time in the Northern Zone, followed by the Southern Zone deer woods in New York when their seasons open.
Remington Arms dates back to 1816. The Model 7600 was introduced in 1981, offering a standard walnut stock and long barrel. The carbine was introduced in 1986 with an 181⁄2-inch barrel which quickly became very popular, especially with deep-woods, deer-tracking whitetail hunters.
I’m sure many readers have heard of the Benoit brothers (Shane, Larry and Landon) of Vermont, who have hunted public lands from parts of Canada, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. This threesome has taken more than 150 whitetail bucks over 200 pounds.
Their sportsman show presentations, seminars, books and videos are classics, and so, too, is their rifle — the Remington 7600 which they all use. In fact, they also offer their own Trophy Tracker Signature Series 7600.
That Remington 7600 really looks good under the Christmas tree.