I use it, regularly. I hunt with it; stand hunting is ok, but I prefer still hunting on the ground. One shot in the chamber, and a buttstock saddle holding 3 more. Rifle is set on halfcock. Pulling it fully back still makes a bit of noise, but that is part of the fun. I shoot military/civilian reduced course competitions. Since preparation is key, I work on the rapid stage. I am able to complete the rapid stages with time to spare. Accuracy, with factory ammo, is not bad. At 300 yards, I can hold the 9/10 rings, with an occasional X or two.
IF I could, without destroying its historical significance, I would lighten the stock. However, recoil can be stiff, so that is a tradeoff to think about. The main glitch with the gun is unreliable ejection of spent rounds. Failure is about 25%, and the hotter the gun, the more you see an increase in failure to eject. Hunting, one shot, New England Woods ranges, not a huge problem. Competition, with clock ticking, a problem. My solution is to use a ram rod to force the cases out. It becomes part of the practice routine. Get some interesting reactions in competition when it happens. The problem was corrected in later models, open the breech and the shell ejects.
For my money, this is a fun gun to shoot. Big Bore and affordable. I will be reloading for this rifle, now that I have over 100 rounds of once fired brass. Factory new runs about $1.50-$2.00 per round. So, in a 50 round course of fire, it gets expensive. Data is easily obtainable, and I use a Lee Loader. They are available, for the fact that they are historic, the purchase price is reasonable.
I would recommend this rifle to anyone that enjoys reliving the old days with an affordable, quality firearm.
By: Paul Bartomioli