Is that metal on metal racket that’s growing louder and louder a bad wheel bearing, a dying mower or possibly a wreck in progress? Hardly. It’s the machinery that makes firearms turning out the beginnings of an inventory of new rifles that Ohio deer hunters are already looking forward to buying and using when the state’s fall deer season comes around.
Why another gun? That’s like asking a bowler why he or she needs a new bowling ball, after all isn’t the old one still round and still capable of knocking down a few pins?
It’s because recently adopted regulations will now allow the use of a wide variety of guns in addition to the traditional shotguns, handguns and muzzle loaders.
Just approved are rifles that use straight-walled cartridges, the same type and sizes that are used in the handguns already allowed in the hands of Ohio hunters.
According to state wildlife officials the new gun list will allow additional opportunities for hunters who own — or will soon own — legal rifles.
According to these same spokespersons, these rifles will in fact have significantly reduced recoil compared to many of the shotguns now in use and they will be much more accurate than handguns of the same caliber.
New rifles that meet the measure include calibers; .375 Super Magnum, .375 Winchester, the .38-55, .41 Long Colt and Winchester Magnum, .44 Special and .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .444 Marlin, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt and Winchester Magnum, .45 Smith and Wesson, .454 Casull, .460Smith and Wesson, 45-70, .45-90, .45-100, the .475 Linebaugh, .50-70, .50-90, .50-100, .50-110, and the .500 Smith and Wesson.
Sound like an awful lot of rifles? Not really because some of these calibers will probably never see the light of day while others will.
My guess is that the .44s, the .444, and the 45-70 will lead the race, at least at first with other favorites coming on strong as they become more available as well as appropriate ammo. The .44 and the .444 are already available in some attractive and proven rifles; mostly lever action and single shot models. The 45-70 should also be a hot seller.
The .45-70 is an old caliber, real old. As the U.S. moved west, the .45-70 was the caliber of choice by many buffalo hunters. But old fades and just like an old shirt the venerable .45-70s star faded offering the Marlin gun company an opportunity to introduce the .444 and then the .44 Magnum models of the 1895 lever-action rifle. Good, hard hitting, and accurate hunting rifles, but limited in range, much like shotgun slugs.
But the .45-70 refused to die and it’s back, ready to take a leading role in the hands of modern Ohio deer hunters.