It was time I had a big rifle. Over the past sixteen years, I have owned two valueless rimfire contraptions; a rusty BSA .22 with an unpredictable safety catch and an exceptionally long barreled Brno. Those two guns killed thousands of rabbits, hundreds of crows and precisely two foxes, but they were immediately overshadowed by the sheer scale of the ranges on the Chayne. I began my search by looking for a rifle that would reliably knock a fox over at two hundred yards
I’m not a big “long range” enthusiast, and I have enough respect for foxes to want to kill them instantly. Although it sounds unpleasant, I don’t understand the concept of overkill on an animal that you have no intention of eating. The most important thing when you see a fox through a telescopic sight is putting his chin on the ground as quickly and as humanely as possible. In my opinion, it is impossible to kill him “too much” with a heavy calibre.
With an extremely limited budget, I couldn’t afford separate rifles for roe deer and foxes, so I settled on the farmer’s favourite, the .243. The calibre is a little on the heavy side for a fox, but knowing that it will happily handle anything from a crow to a red stag was enough to convince me. Tell anyone who knows anything about rifles that you have a .243 and they visibly roll their eyes. It is the most common centrefire rifle in the country and, as I have been told again and again, it is not particularly good at doing anything. My friend Richard knows a great deal about rifles and has a .22-250 and a .25-06. His accuracy is unbeatable. He hand-loads his own bullets and I’ve seen him shoot a crow at 380 yards. It was a hard act to follow.
I fell in love with the first .243 that I came across. It looked fantastic and it was completely unlike any other rifle that I had ever seen before. The short barreled Ruger No. 1 rsi with a full stock and a 6×60 scope was sitting amongst a clutter of centrefire rifles in the Glenluce Gunroom. A devotee of the film ‘Zulu’, I have always loved the underlever action and didn’t know that it was possible to find falling block rifles available for sporting purposes. It was too good to leave, but the price tag of £480-00 was beyond me.
Over the next few weeks, I thought about it. It so happened that I sold a couple of articles to the Shooting Times and the Shooting Gazette and my budget of available cash crept up. And then there was my savings account. On the first of December 2009 I decided that I could stand it no longer. I threw caution to the wind and drove to Glenluce. It was a big hit to my bank account, but I have never looked back.
I named my new Ruger “Little Meg” because of its 20 inch barrel and because only Mons Meg, the ancient cannon on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle can equal the earth shattering din of its discharge. It is such a loud rifle that my first few shots distorted my hearing for the rest of the day. After spending £480 on a rifle, I didn’t think than an extra £10 on ear defenders was too much to ask.