The Gift of a Gun: Passing on a Favorite Rifle
Russ Chastain 07.28.17
It’s the little things that make for great memories, and sometimes, those little things are kinda big.
I’ve never had any young ‘uns of my own, but I have enjoyed a succession of nieces and nephews over the years, and one nephew in particular loved hunting and made sure I knew it. My heart was never hard enough to deny a young hunter, so I took him with me a time or two each year while he was growing up. We always had a pretty good time together, but then he got old enough for education and employment, which kept him pretty busy. Our hunts together didn’t happen nearly as often as we would have liked.
Somewhere along the line, I ended up with a Savage 110 rifle in 270 Winchester, and although I like to think of .30 caliber as a big game minimum, it was just too accurate, handy, and light for me not to carry it in the woods. And every time I used the 270 to put a 150-grain bullet through a whitetail, I went home with venison. So just like that, it became my main deer rifle.
When my nephew turned 17, I took him for a hog hunt at a friend’s place, and he used that 270 to slay his first big game.
A few years later, I was given the opportunity to pick up a Savage Model 10 Sierra chambered for 308 Win. With its short action, short & slim 20″ barrel, and larger-diameter bullet–together with outstanding accuracy–it just naturally replaced the 270 as my go-to gun.
Then my nephew needed a rifle to take on a hunt which I couldn’t attend. Being tenderhearted, I loaned him the old trusty 270, and after he used it to slay his first deer on that hunt, I proved to also be tenderheaded by giving him the rifle.
After all, he’d used it to take his first hog and his first deer.
The years rolled on by and whenever he went deer hunting, that rifle went with him. I believe the gun itself was part of his motivation to get out there, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
When I finally managed to secure a place in a good hunting club, he was one of the first folks I invited. And on the final evening of his first hunt on the property, he bagged the buck in the photo above using that same old rifle.
It wasn’t a family heirloom (though it’s arguably one now) and it’s nothing fancy or expensive, just reliable and accurate. And although I was probably a bit crazy to give it away, I believe it holds more value for him than if he had gone out and bought a rifle.
Plus, stuff like this helps keep hunting alive and knits generations together, creating family bonds and treasured memories that money just can’t buy.