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Packing your rifle on your pack

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  • Packing your rifle on your pack

    I bought one of those rifle packers(Dark Horse) at Barneys a couple years ago and it was junk from the get go. Could never get the top velcro to stay hooked. I always have to run an additional strap around the top to cinch it to the pack frame, walked right into a griz in a drainage in the Brooks at like 60 yards and if he'd a wanted me he'd a had me cause I wasn't getting my rifle off of the pack without first taking it off.I am looking for some ideas on other options. I live in the interior so I will probably have to order it but any insight or opinions of whats worked for you would be much appreciated.

  • #2

    I whittled down a dowel rod to fit in the top (vertical) tube of my pack frame on my right hand side. Stuffed it in there and drilled it where one of the pack pins goes through and pinned it in place. It sticks up about 3" above the frame and I just put my sling over it. I have yet to find anything that will hold the rifle more securely, yet allow QUICK access to the gun.

    My father in law has a nice Rem 700 BDL 30.06 near the top of one of the hills near Sawmill bay after some alders pulled it out of the "gun sock" of his Barney's pack without him knowing it. Gun wasn't worth much, but he had carried it for more than 30 years and was going to give it to his son. On that trip, he and his son had taken a couple of goats and were trying to get back down to their boat. They missed the trail they went up on and ended up trying to get down through some NASTY alders.

    They ended up spending the night on the hill without enough gear (almost died), lost the rifle, and my brother in law ended up tossing his compound bow off of a ledge (hoping to be able to find it when they got past the cliff and out of the alders) because he was unable to fight it through the alders. Never found the bow either.

    Anyway, moral of the story is - Don't trust those intregal rifle holders, even from Barney's!

    The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....


    • #3
      Rifle Pack

      I just ordered a J105 "Just One" pack from Eberlestock, go to the site and have a look. I have no experience with it yet, but I did do alot of research and got some recommedations by word of mouth. Good hunting to you.



      • #4

        I have the same set up but hardly ever use it. I seem most comfortable with my rifle in my hands. On the few times I have used it, I have not had a problem but was concerned about it. Your question makes me wonder about the possibility of installing a snap where the velcro is. Would still be something you could remove quickly but might hold better than the velcro, although still seems a little unreliable in brush.

        Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.
        Genesis 9:3


        • #5
          I use a Dana Designs external frame pack. It has two open top water bottle pockets on the bottom on either side. I place the butt of my rifle in the pocket and snap the compression straps over the rifle to secure it. Very secure but slow to deploy. With a 22" barrel the muzzle is only a few inches above the top of the pack and doesn't cause too much trouble in the brush. Rifle tends to take some wear using this method so I usually hand carry my nicer rifles.


          • #6
            Gun Bearer

            I have been using a gun bearer from Kifaru for several years and am very happy with it. Very easy to put the gun in your hands when you need it!


            • #7
              kifaru gun bearer

              alaska cub;

              +1 on what sheephunter said.

              i too have the kifaru gun bearer system and the barneys one also.

              if you want rapid deployment, the kifaru is the way to go. lets say it is battle ready. they make a high quality product and customer service is excellent.
              Cold Zero
              Member: S.C.I., N.R.A. Life Endowment Member & L.E. Tactical Firearms Instr.


              • #8
                on my barneys frame i drilled and bolted a metal hook down about three inches from the top of my pack post on the right side. i have short arms and reaching up to hang my rifle strap over a post that high isn't comfy for me, so i bolted a hook a bit lower and carry it on that with one arm thru the sling, been doing it for nine years, will be doing it for the next nine as well.
                bonus is there are no extra straps, i can bend over and tie my shoes and it don't come off, if i need it its in my hands in a snap and adds only a couple extra ounces to the weight and durable adn i'll never forget it.
                downside is...well i havne't found one for me yet, i'm sure others wouldn't like it. but thats personal prefrence and we're all entitled to it.
                good luck
                Master guide 212


                • #9

                  Does the Gunbearer get in your way while you are hiking, it looks like it sits in your armpit? I have a Dana External also and I like the idea of the gun being out of the way on the side of the frame. You would think they would have revised that Dark Horse rifle packer as its evident the top velcro is for S%^$. If it had a quick release strap maybe even with a buckle it wold rock. Maybe I can get someone to sew one on in place of the velcro straps.


                  • #10

                    The method I use is very simple and cheap. I replaced one of the top pack pins with a 3" stainless steel bolt. Thread a nut on the end of the bolt far enough that the protruding end will go through the frame and pack. I put a nylock nut on the end and tighten the first bolt against the pack and frame. That leaves enough bolt sticking out to put the rifle strap over. Put the rifle sling over your arm and shoulder as normal except put the strap over the bolt. The weight is transferred to the pack and is comfortable. It is just as quick to get off as if it were only on your shoulder. You will still have to carry it through the alders in your hands, but that is where it should be anyway.
                    Good luck.


                    • #11
                      My .02

                      Couple of ideas:

                      I took an aluminum gutter spike bent it into a u shape with a "tail" Cut the tail to length and drill a hole in it. (Takes longer to describe than to do). I put this through the top hole in my pack frame ad zip tie it down. Rifle sling rides nicely and is easy to get to. If going is tough I slide the butt of the rifle in the side tightening strap of the pack waist belt.

                      Chris Batin mentions a small nylon boat cleat mounted on the frame at some of his seminars. No personal experience, but if it works for Chris it is worth trying.

                      good luck,


                      • #12
                        easy and cheap

                        take the sissy bar off of the top of the pack frame since it does zero good but to hang on alders anyway. (unless its a cheap pack) then you sling your rifle right across where it was. not adding any weight either.


                        • #13
                          kifaru gunbearer

                          i have used the gunbearer for a few years...absolutely great design. not in the way, keeps your gun within reach and out of the alders.
                          gun is in your hands in a split-second...plenty of latitude in adjustment for your gun and pack.
                          used to have the barney's but it doesn't even compare.
                          Alaska Board of Game 2015 tour... "Kicking the can down the road"


                          • #14
                            Takes just a bit to get used to, it is inside your front torso as opposed to the more conventional over the shoulder, but it feels natural and I never hunt w/o it.


                            • #15
                              It depends on the terrain, and whether I'm travelling or hunting. If I'm hunting, my rifle's in my hands and I'm moving slowly. I have a few mental images of nice animals I've missed by not being ready. 3 or 4 second opportunities require the rifle to be in your hands and your pulse and breathing need to be under control.

                              If it's easy, open walking and I just want to make time, I hang the sling over the frame post and use a mini bungee to hold the stock. At that point I'm not a hunter, I'm a packer.

                              If it's thick and snaggy, either I don't shoulder my rifle because I may need it quickly or I tie it off securely to the pack frame and carry my pistol on my chest. I like having the pistol especially when I'm packing meat. The pack's heavy, I'm tired, and I can't stand erect and shoulder a rifle very well. My pistol's even more important if I think I'll be doing some crawling along bear trails under the alders, like around salmon streams on Kodiak or Afognak. At that point my rifle's tied off tight to prevent snagging every twig in sight.

                              If I'm climbing steep faces, I tie it off securely. I'm not capable of wielding a rifle on that terrain without risking a fall. I also don't want a shifting load or a dropped rifle.
                              Last edited by Mr. Pid; 07-08-2006, 09:11.


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