In 1985 I plunked down a couple hundred bucks for a Ruger M77 in .30-06. I traveled the country and shot 7 elk, 2 sheep, 4 moose and God only knows how many deer with that old workhorse.
Five years ago, I had Texas gunsmith Lex Webernick build me one of his lightweight custom rifles in .270. The short, little thing goes 5 pounds and shoots the lights out with a 130-grain bullet.
Cartridge-wise, I have always been pretty boring.
Until last season, when I tried a sexy new Model 700 CDL in 7mm Remington Ultra. Mag. (RUM).
The CDL is a beautiful rifle with a throwback design: walnut stock with classy finish and a black-tipped fore-end; clean, sleek lines; and 26-inch barrel.
The 7mm RUM is the best deer round you might never have shot. Introduced in 2001, the cartridge has never caught on big-time with hunters, but I’m betting it will over time. It’s one of the fastest, flattest and hardest-hitting deer cartridges on the planet.
The 140-grain Core-Lokt Ultra bullet sizzles along at about 3,400 fps. That’s Remington’s ballistics data; I see no need to chronograph because the cartridge has performed so well for me. Sight-in 2” high at 100 yards and you’re dead-on at 250 and 3” low at 300, the max range at which you should shoot at a deer. If your rangefinder says a buck is farther than that, stalk closer.
With the well-designed, 8-pound rifle, there’s hardly any felt recoil.
Last season I shot 4 of the 140-grainers at 4 bucks (including the cool old Oklahoma 8-pointer pictured here) and dropped them all on the spot. I take that back. The 22-point monster I killed up in Canada ran 20 feet.
If you’re in the market for a new rig, give the 700 CDL and the 7mm RUM a hard look.
BTW, new for 2006, Remington introduces a 150-grain Premier Scirocco Bonded bullet and a 175-grain Premier A-Frame for the 7mm RUM, giving the round even more versatility for elk and heavier game.