I mentioned a few days ago that my list of "rifles I'd like to get" contains no rifles chambered for the same cartridge. In other words, all of the rifles use a different type of ammunition. This is planning FAIL, since I'd end up with a thousand rounds of ammo just to be able to plink for 30 minutes, and if the press is going to write ZOMG he had a THOUSAND ROUNDS OF AMMO!!!1!one! then you should at least have enough on hand for a decent range day with one of your rifles.
In any case, the Œcumenical Volgi (The Notorious ŒV) asked which rifles were on my short list. As a public service to the two people who care (The Volgi and me), here's the list. You'll quickly see that there's a common theme.
Man, what a rifle.
Although I'd look for one with a shorter barrel (Carbine length), the Winchester is perhaps the "American Rifle". Designed by The Man himself, John Moses Browning (Peace Be Upon Him), the greatest gun designer who ever lived.
Short, Magazine Lee-Enfield (SMLE)
The rifle of Empire.
Commie, which means constructed with questionable quality, but #2 Son wants one so badly that he can taste it. To Old To Work, Too Young To Retire let him shoot it at last summer's blogshoot, that that was all it took. Fortunately, they're cheap as chips, and the old Commie Mil-Surplus ammo is even cheaper.
Browning Auto 5
Yes I know - not a rifle. Still, ho gun safe is complete without a shotgun for skeet/trap/burglars, and this is another John Browning (PBUH) design. The first semi-automatic shotgun, there are still a bunch around at more or less reasonable prices.
I confess that the AR does not move me the way the others do - it's black, plastic, ugly, and it's a much younger design (more on this in a minute). But it's infinitely accessorizable - sort of a Lego gun.
Also, Lissa tells me that every time someone buys one, it makes Sarah Brady cry, and that every time she cries, an Angel gets its wings. I guess that makes it my duty.
The (mostly) common thread here is pretty obvious. With the exception of the AR-15, these are all old rifles. Each of them is older than I am, and the Winchester is older than Dad (I'm talking about the design). There's history that whispers in your ear every time you line up the front sight on the target, and I'm a sucker for that.
Not to bad-mouth the AR, but it's a little, well, antiseptic in comparison. Accurate as all get out, sure. If I had to hump one of the rifles on a 20 mile, full-pack maneuver I'd want it (it weighs maybe half what the others do). But what you gain in practicality you pay for in loss of historical interest.
Still, that's the list. We're behind where we had originally planned to be in our rifle acquisitions, but Lord willing (and the creek don't rise), we'll start to fix that. After all, BAG Day is coming up.