My intention had been to review Craig Boddington‘s most recent book, Buffalo II!. But in a video interview with Craig at the Dallas Safari Club Convention, he did a wonderful job of reviewing the whys, hows and whats of this book.
Craig managed to pull off what he called ‘insane’, publishing four major works in the last five years. So, on to another of Colonel Boddington’s texts . . .
This book – American Hunting Rifles II – chronicles an amazing revolution in the hunting rifles used in North America. Craig reflected on the vast differences between the first edition of American Hunting Rifles, published only a decade earlier, and this second edition. For example, he stated that he would never have predicted the “incredible influx of fat-cased ‘unbelted magnums'”.
Nor, Craig admits, did he foresee the widespread adoption of the AR, which he describes as “currently the most popular sporting-rifle platform in the United States.”
These and many other observations reflect the value of the historical perspective brought to bear by today’s best-recognized gun writer.
Boddington’s ability to draw our attention to the multiple tidal waves that have swept across the shooting world, particularly for North American hunters, begs the question “What is coming next?”
Craig begins his text discussing cartridges that make sense for application in hunting North American species. These cartridges range from .17 Remington to what he calls his ”over-40 crowd”. The latter include so-called ‘brush-busters’ like the .44 Magnum, .450 Marlin and the AR-platform’s .450 Bushmaster.
These larger calibers, according to Boddington’s experience, are capable of taking all North American game species, but are probably best suited for “black bear and wild boar in heavy cover.”
On the other end are the “ultralights”, calibers .17 – .20 which he considers of limited use; though where legal, he reckons they are ideal for wild turkey.
Of course, there is an incredible number of cartridges between these two extremes – including coverage of the “.270, Jack O’Connor’s Caliber” and “Magnum .30s: The Versatility Kings”.
Reflecting my affection for the .35 Whelen Improved, given to me by my late father, I really wish the chapter covering these hadn’t been [accurately] titled “.35s: A Fine Selection of Also-Rans.”
Of course Boddington doesn’t stop with descriptions of the various hunting calibers, but covers everything from hunting bullets (“better all the time”), slings, recoil reducers, iron sights, scopes and mounts, etc. He also takes significant space to discuss all of the action types, from single-shot to semiautomatic.
The last portion of American Hunting Rifles II is titled “Guns for Game,” and includes responses by professional guides to a survey he sent out. The survey was designed to elicit the hunting firearms favored by North American guides and outfitters.
“Guns for Game” also, of course, directs the readers to Craig’s suggestions for the firearms capable of handling coyotes to brown bears, and everything in between. I particularly appreciate this section because I love to dream about hunts for species I have never seen.
The wealth of information, contained in Craig Boddington’s American Hunting Rifles II far exceeds the book’s price of approximately $35.
(Unless noted, all photos courtesy Craig Boddington.)