Author Topic: If A Rifle Could Talk: Finn Aagaard’s .375  (Read 120 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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If A Rifle Could Talk: Finn Aagaard’s .375
« on: January 04, 2023, 01:13:08 pm »
American Rifleman by Richard Mann January 1, 2023

In addition to having been a field editor of American Rifleman, the late Finn Aagaard worked as a professional hunter in Kenya from 1970 to 1977, and during that time, he owned and used a number of rifles. But he was especially partial to the .375 H&H cartridge in general and to one rifle in particular: a battered and scarred pre-’64 Winchester Model 70 in .375 H&H. Finn kept extensive diaries on every rifle that he owned, and his family was kind enough to allow me to examine not only the diary of his favorite .375, but all of his notes and journals.

The rifle, serial number 70146, was purchased by Finn on Dec. 29, 1969, for 1,200 Kenyan shillings; it had been out on loan to him since Nov. 25. He noted its price was “excessive.” Immediately after acquiring it, Finn worked over the trigger, and four months later, he fitted it to a Winchester Super Grade stock he acquired from his associate, Joe Cheffings. The rifle’s diary indicates that what appeared to be cross-bolts in the new stock were nothing more than “plastic plugs.” Finn replaced the plugs with stove bolts set in resin and bedded the stock. He selected the Super Grade stock because the higher comb was more suited to scope use, as Finn strongly believed that a low-power riflescope was superior to open sights for all African game. He mounted a Weaver K 2.5X fixed power model to the Winchester.

Finn once wrote, “I believe you should have scopes on all your African rifles, even the ‘heavies.’ In the dull light of an early dawn for example, with a black buffalo standing in dark bush 100 yards away across a glade, it is far easier to make out exactly where to place your shot with a good low-powered scope than with any form of iron sight.” He also remarked that on this particular rifle, he never used the open sights to fire a single shot at a game animal, stating, “There is nothing that (iron sights) will do at any range, including charges, that a low-power scope won’t do as well or better.”

In a June 17, 1970, letter to Winchester, Finn described the .375 as a “ … very accurate, reliable and lucky rifle. … Shortly after I got it, I killed 2 stock raiding lions with it, one after the other with just one 270 grn power-point each.” He added, “ … this rifle has become my pet of pets,” and he asked if Winchester could identify when it was made. Winchester responded that the rifle was probably made between 1947 and 1948.