Written by Ballistic Technician Gary Prisendorf
In either 1968 or 1969 my father purchased a Remington O3-A3 rifle in unissued condition from GDisco, a local discount store that went out of business years ago.
The one on the rack had a few dings in the stock, so dad asked if they had any more still in the box? The clerk advised they had two more and brought them out for him to look at.
Dad picked out the one with the best wood and put it on layaway because he didn’t have the $69.00 asking price.
I was born in 1969, so that old rifle has been around my entire life. In fact, it was the first center fire rifle that I ever shot. I remember dad telling me I was going to shoot a 30-06 and I was only about 6 years old at the time. I had to get up on my knees to get high enough at the shooting bench to see through the sights.
Over the years, the old rifle pretty much had a steady diet of cast bullets. Other than twenty rounds here and there for target shooting or the occasional deer that either dad or my brother Billy shot with it. But the rifle rarely saw a real 30-06 load.
Around 6 months ago, I was talking with dad and told him I wanted to load up some 168 grain Sierra MatchKings #2200 and just see what that old rifle could really do. We agreed that when the weather warmed up we would head to the range and do just that.
So this last weekend it was off to the range with the old rifle.
After a few sight in shots I was ready to go.
I sat up 3 targets at 100 yards and went to work.
I shot 3-5 shot groups, the first being 3.177”, a little disappointing, but I was having some difficulty seeing well using the aperture sight with my 47 year old eyes. I also had to use a 6 0’clock hold because the rifle hits a little high at 100 yards.
The second group was quite a bit better 1.911” which I was happy with, but decided to try one more group to see if I could improve. I’m glad I did, my third and final group measured 1.614”, which I consider pretty good for iron sights and bad eyes at 100 yards.
I gave dad’s old rifle a good cleaning and tucked it safely away in the back of my safe.
I failed to mention earlier that this old rifle isn’t just any old 03-A3, this one is special, it is a one of a kind. What makes it so special? Well it’s special because it is my dad’s rifle.
My father passed away on June 25th after a long battle with cancer and emphysema.
He was my best friend, my hunting buddy and the best father anyone could have ever asked for.
It was dad who got me interested in hunting, shooting and reloading. If it wasn’t for him, I doubt I would even be here at Sierra today, doing a job that I really enjoy.
Even though the old rifle is tucked away inside of my safe right now, I don’t think of it as mine. It will always be dad’s rifle.