Best left-hand rifle?
I was just curious on what is the board's opinion on what is the best left-hand rifle available that would be suitable for use in Alaska? I don't know of a whole lot of controlled-round feed lefties out there. Let's just leave it open: if a man came into the country and said he needed a left-handed rifle that was dependable, rugged, and of quality, what would you tell him to buy, and why? Let's stipulate that it needs to be a bolt-action.
Tikka T3 Lite
Have seen them go go for as little as 4 bills on gunbroker.com.
I'm also a leftie, and I share the frustration of fellow southpaws who walk into a gun store, greeted by a full wall of fine rifles...and way down at the end is a very small rack of "left-handed bolt actions" from a limited number of manufacturers. The pickins at every store have almost always been slim...and gun shows...well those are usually mission impossible. The unfortunate reality of our left handedness is limited availability of left-handed bolt rifles and calibers. Push feed Vs CRF is a secondary issue to availability...IMO.
Despite scarcity of options, you can find left-handed bolt actions out there. I'm a fan of Browning A-Bolts and Tikkas. I do have a Remington 700 which I am less pleased with, although it is a shooter. All are push feeds, and I am just fine with that.
There is one advantage of being left-handed that I have noticed. Since I usually have limited options in bolt actioned rifles, I tend to put additional money into the ones I do buy, so I end up with a customized rifle.
I agree with Doc here. I have had several rifles built because I cannot find what I want on the shelves etc. Most of mine are based on Remington 700's and I have not had an issue in 27 years with them. I do have a custom Sako in 35 Whelen improved, a custom mauser in 9.3x62, and a custom 300 WSM built on a Hart action. I own a Browning in 338 and it never had any problems although I eventually had another 338 built on a 700 action because I wanted a stainless synthetic for use in bad weather.
Remington's custom shop has some good offerings and I have picked up a few of them over the years on the used market.
Lone Wolf builds a fantastic lightweight stock, even for us lefties. They will also make a stock for just about any action although they are a bit pricey. I have found them IMO to be superior to a McMillan.
Ruger, Tikka, and Winchester build lefties also. I have never owned any of them but all seem like a quality piece. I just cannot get past the looks of Savage although they do get good reviews.
If you have deep pockets Dakota, Cooper, and Blaser make lefties. Montana offers bare actions and barreled actions, but the stock is up to you.
There are lefties out there, you just have to keep your eyes open all the time. Gunbroker and Guns America usually have listings. Good luck!!
If you have a gun dealer who is willing to work with you, you can get a basic Cooper for about $1400, at least here you can. They are a great rifle but they have a limited medium and large bore selection.
Originally Posted by NATTY BUMPO
Sorry I forgot about this part of the question. I guess if I was just buying an over the counter rifle, I would be looking for a stainless synthetic or stainless laminate because of the weather conditions. If you also want CRF I think Ruger offers some models in stainless laminate, not sure of the stainless synthetic. All Rugers seem to be pretty rugged. I have had excellent service with the Remington 700 and the custom shop offers some excellent choices. In fact there is a 700 KS left hand stainless on Guns America now for I believe $1600. After these suggestions I would not be afraid of the Tikka or Savage. When you throw "rugged" into the requirements I just do not get that warm fuzzy feeling for the Browning A Bolt, and I do own one.
So MY choice would be something along the lines of the Remington KS 700 because I can get a stainless synthetic that weighs about 6 lb 8 oz in a caliber like 338 Win Mag that would handle anything in Alaska!
I might as well offer an opinion as well and I am sure it will ruffle a few Remington feathers but honestly is best.
I started out shooting only Remingtons in various calibers. They are accurate, always feed and eject and resonably inexpensive. About 7-8 years ago I sold off my entire Remington left and right hand collection. The reason was because every trip we took to Kodiak for deer hunting we would suffer our triggers freezing up due to the wet conditions and below freezing conditions. It was easily fixed in camp by pouring a little alcohol over the trigger but I kept on thinking, what happens if we experience this while hunting? The Remington trigger is in an enclosed box of sorts and once it is adjusted the tolerances are tight and water has a difficult time getting out of the box and then it freezes everything solid.
Now I will admit I am will be the first person to say I am talking about isolated hunting trips to Kodiak. But since we do this trip most every year it is important to us. But the entire situation raises my level of concern because it does rain and snow in other parts of the state as well. If I lived in a warmer climate I am sure I would migrate back to adding Remingtons back into the mix.
So, Remingtons are off my list as a good choice for all around hunting IN ALASKA. I do admit to owning a Rem 300 Ultramag that I have never shot yet. It may one day find itself as a long range plains rifle. I just couldnt pass up the deal, lol. They are currently selling on Gunbrokers for $499 in either 300 or 338 Ultramag (left handed BDL's).
My move from Remingtons lead me into purchasing Winchester model 70's and there assorted "clones" which include the Dakota and the Montana Rifle Company action. They are all controlled round feed which the Remingtons are not but I could care diddly about that. They all have a the most durable foolproof trigger ever devised. Two levers and one spring, easily adjusted and they have never once froze up on us.
The Ruger's trigger is sort of inbetween the Remingtons and model 70's style. I own a .338 WM stainless Ruger and it has been my go to rifle for a couple of years. It has bee rebarreled with a Lilja barrel and dropped in a McMillan stock.
Over the counter rifles my choice would be to find a used or new (they are still out there) Win 70 and restock it in a glass stock of your choice. Followed by that I would look for one of the out of production Rugers in stainless in the gray laminted stock. Heavy, but nice rifles and the least expensive option. But for about $1,100 you can order a MRC barreled action in stainless in just about any caliber you want and drop it in a nice glass stock and add rings and bases and the price justs to about $1,600.
Coopers are very nice and I have owned one in the past and have another on order in .22 LR. But there trigger system is similar to Remingtons and for this reason I havent bought any for big game hunting.
My rifles I use for big game hunting are tools. They are all stainless or have stainless barrels and all are stocked in McMillan or MP stocks. They must go bang everytime and feed and eject 100%. I love when I get lucky enough to own an accurate rifle but I accept 1.5 MOA as acceptable and don't try to fine tune from that point.
Hey Snowwolfe, you won't ruffle my feathers. I like different opinions. I have hunted in many varying conditions for over 27 years with my 700's and never had the ice trigger problem. I generally take a little precaution if it is snowing or raining to keep as much moisture out of the action as possible. Must be working as I have yet to have such a problem.
If you want rugged, goes bang, shoots well, not gonna kill the pocketbook, AND left handed, try a Savage 116 weather warrior in stainless, composite, 338. I don't own many guns and look for "do all" calibers and rigs, and for Alaska...this is all you would need.
When I was looking hard for a larger caliber lefty, I tried em all but price or options available were as we all know...sparse. So i got the 116, lopped off 4 inches of the barre, put sights on it, with quick detach Warne rings and a Burris 1.75x5 scope and added a Limbsaver recoil pad. With the budget I was looking at, the Savage left money for me to modify it to the shorter, quick pointing brush gun that I saw so often with right hand models, I just had to make my own.
ps, I love it, it shoots better than I can, I love the accuetrigger, and I don't feel bad when it rains on it. A perfect Alaskan bush gun.
No, they ain't pretty but what stainless synthetic gun is.
I love my Browning A-Bolt .300 Win Mag Stainles Stalker, it is a fine rifle. I would like to try a Tikka T3 or Savage in a lighter caliber like .308 though.
Lots of good information being posted for NB!
It's nice to see all the help that NB is getting with his question...seems like us lefties pull together.
I agree with all the comments about stainless and synthetic for Alaska, although there are people who have posted preferences for blued steel and wood in other threads over the years on this forum. For me, my "go to rifles" up here are all stainless and synthetic.
As posted by another, I also really like my Browning A-Bolts. In my experience they have been durable and unfailing in the field. My A-Bolt I in 375H&H has been a regular favorite each fall for the past umteen years. I'll admit that the bolt sleeve on my A-Bolt II's require some attention during really crummy wet and cold weather (which is typical for up here)...so I usually end up chemically flushing any moisture from the bolt sleeve when I return home with Break Free to prevent rust...not really much of a hassel. I know some will disagree (and that's ok by me), but IMO a Browning A-Bolt is a fine and durable rifle for Alaska...and it is left-handed available.
Thanks for the replies, guys. I sure appreciate it. I'm gonna look things over and see what I can find.
Wife is left handed too
Lefty's get the short end of the stick when it comes to selection. There are a few good choices though. She has a Browning A-bolt micro hunter in 7mm-08 and a Remington 700 in 30-06 which is what she uses in Alaska. If I was wanting a lefty over the counter that was stainless/syn. I would look at the Brownings.