Q. If you could ask God one question about rifles, what would it be?
—Hank Jacobs, Salem, N.Y.
A: Now that is a question. My query to the Almighty would go like this: “Oh Lord of hosts, who hath made the heaven and the earth, why is it that some rifles with the best credentials, from the very finest gunsmiths, will not shoot worth a pinch of dried owl dung?”
Q: I’m 12 years old and looking for a good deer rifle with low recoil that’s under $500. What would be a good choice?
—Andrew Finn, Floyd, Va.
A: Count yourself lucky. Because you’re growing up in the era of cheap accuracy, your choices are many. You almost can’t go wrong with a Weatherby Vanguard Series 2, Ruger American Rifle, T/C Venture, or Savage Axis II XP. Get it in .243, 6.5×55, or 7mm/08. All are mild kickers and more than adequate for deer.
Q: I’ve read that careless use of an aluminum cleaning rod can damage a rifle’s bore. Wouldn’t a little electrical tape wrapped around the rod eliminate the potential problem?
—Mark Diesen, Spooner, Wis.
A: Careful use of an aluminum cleaning rod will ruin a rifle’s bore, never mind careless use. Aluminum is soft and picks up grit, which is what does the damage, and electrical tape will turn into a gooey mess once powder solvent has had a chance to work on it. The only nonlethal cleaning rods are steel and plastic-covered steel. They may cost a little more, but they are worth every penny in the long run.