Q: Dear Ron,
Love your articles! I’m a long-time reader.
I’m planning a long-term expedition that will involve traversing the length of my country (New Zealand) on foot, and living off the land for a few years.
I require a lightweight rifle that can be broken down and stored inside my pack (i.e when moving through public areas), or cleaned in confined space (i.e inside my bivvy bag).
The rifle must be dead reliable, and of high quality.
I’m considering a Kipplauf rifle, such as a Blaser K95 or Merkel K5. My only point of concern is that they are not ‘field strippable’. The firing pin and trigger mechanisms on such guns cannot be accessed without specialist tools. What would happen if such a rifle was to get wet or muddy?
If you were to embark on a similar journey, what sort of rifle would you choose?
A: That’s a major undertaking, AJ. Best of luck to you. Answering your question hinges on understanding what you wish to shoot. Small game only? Or feral goats, tahr, red stags too? And at what range? Take down 22 rim-fires are a different subject than centerfires.
Assuming you want a centerfire, I’d say you’re on the right track with those single-shots. One that might work is the T/C Encore. A small, flat blade screwdriver is all that’s needed to remove the stock and barrel.
Years ago I hunted with a custom rifle called the Kifaru Rambling Rifle. It was a Remington Model Seven or 700 bolt action shaved down to minimal dimensions and fitted with a take-down barrel system that was as simple as loosening a set screw and turning off the barrel from the action. With a light 2-7×33 Leupold scope the whole thing weighed well under 6 pounds, shot very well and accounted for game as large as moose for me. I hunted with one in 7mm-08 and 300 WSM.
The other take down repeaters I’ve used (Dakota M76, Blaser R8) were too heavy for backpack roaming, in my estimation.
To my knowledge, the Kifaru is no longer made, but a good gunsmith should be able to copy the idea and make you something similar. Google it for lots of photos and descriptions. Good luck. Please write back and let us know how your adventure unfolded!
I need a lightweight, reliable rifle. — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com