Why Tia Chose a D’Arcy Echols 416 Remington
As an Alaska Registered Hunting guide, I used to carry a backup rifle in 375 Ruger. I now carry a D’Arcy Echols 416 Remington.
- More punch than 375 H&H or Ruger, but still tolerable recoil
- Perfectly balanced for easy carry and flawless function
- Trajectory similar to 30-06 to 300 yards
Most anyone who has actually experienced a bear charge wishes they had a larger caliber rifle. I for one have had my fair share of bear encounters and, although the 375 usually offers plenty of stopping power, I opted to go up in caliber. I decided on the 416 Remington as I still wanted a versatile, yet powerful rifle. The modern Remington round was introduced to fill the desire for a modern equivalent of the older 404 Jeffery, introduced in 1905, and the 416 Rigby, which came out in 1911. Both offer a “step up” in stopping power from the 375 H&H (which was introduced later) without losing its valuable versatility. The 404 Jeffery was what L. S. Chadwick chose for his sheep rifle in 1936 when he killed the largest sheep ever taken in North America.
When D’Arcy Echols agreed to build me a 416 Remington Legend I was beyond pleased. I have little use for rifles claiming to be “built for women” as we are all physically quite different. That is where the custom built rifle shines. D’Arcy Echols & Co. have been building custom rifles well over 30 years and have established a reputation for flawless reliability. D’Arcy is widely esteemed by rifle connoisseurs as one of the world’s premier stock makers and rifle builders. No detail on the rifle is overlooked: the action, trigger, barrel, contour, rifle twist, feeding, finish, fit, balance…D’Arcy takes no shortcuts. He even builds his own scope mounts, magazine boxes, and followers for each rifle.
Tia Calls D’Arcy Echols 416 Remington Her “Lightweight Rifle”
I requested a short, lightweight rifle suitable for carry in Alaska’s often tight bear cover, so D’Arcy built my Winchester Model 70 416 Remington with a 21” barrel and 12.5” length of pull. The balance of the rifle, with a rugged little 2.5X Leupold scope mounted, is at the front action screw. With four rounds in the magazine, tape on the muzzle and a rubber scope cover, the rifle weighs less than eight pounds. I can wrap my hand around the stock in front of the scope and carry it all day. The weight of the rifle has raised a few eyebrows in regards to recoil, but recoil is momentary while toting a heavy rifle all hunting season can be rather tedious.
One of my favorite features of the Legend is that it will hold four belted magnum rounds in the magazine and one up the spout giving a total of five rounds. When approaching a downed bear this gives great comfort.
Because the little Leupold compact scopes have proven to be so reliable (my father has had the same one on his 458 for 34 years) I elected to not have iron sights installed. But I did request D’Arcy install a Picitinny mount on the underside of the barrel for attaching a flashlight. The flashlight beam lies perfectly in line with the bore which is a pretty useful addition when chasing bears away from camp during the night!
D’Arcy Echols 416 Remington Stock Design Fits Well
Stocks built by D’Arcy are famous for their handling due in part to full rounded fore-ends and open grips. They seem to fit everyone, from men with massive hands to women my size. His synthetic stocks are his design built by McMillan and popular on serious hunting rifles. The stock on my 416 is built with lightweight carbon fiber with his “magnum fill” bedding in order to handle the heavier recoil from the 416.
The 416 calibers, whether Rigby, Ruger, or Remington are almost as versatile as the 375 calibers and are regarded by many African PH’s and Alaskan brown bear guides as having substantially greater “stopping power.” The late Kodiak bear guide Andy Runyon became an avid proponent of the 416 Remington after a close call with a wounded brown bear. Long time family friend and Alaskan bear expert, Joe Want, purchased a 416 Rigby after selling his 500 H&H Royal double rifle. With lighter weight 350- and 300-grain bullets (which were Andy Runyon’s choice for bears) the 416 Remington shoots flat enough for distant sheep and caribou. In addition, it recoils less and as anyone who has ever tried stopping a charge will tell you, less recoil means you can get back on target faster!
Eager as I was to use my new 416, I wanted a chance to try it on something other than an enraged brown bear first. Now a 416 Remington with a fixed 2.5X compact scope may not be everyone’s ideal sheep hunting rifle, but when I was invited to try my hand at sheep hunting I knew just what rifle I would take.
D’Arcy Echols 416 Remington Sheep Rifle?
What I had read about sheep hunting is that one ideally wants a lightweight, flat shooting and accurate rifle. My rifle fit these parameters perfectly. I was using a 300-grain, .416 diameter bullet which gives a trajectory similar to a 30/06 out to 300 yards.
As for the scope I have very little interest in combining long range shooting with hunting. Long range shooting is an impressive skill, but when hunting, much like the sentiment of a bow hunter, I prefer the excitement, thrill and challenge of the stalk. I didn’t want a ram so bad I was willing to take a long shot and short myself the experience of a close stalk. That is where all the primal skills come into play and stealth and instinct are needed. And let’s not forget to mention how much heavier those large variable scopes are.
Another contributing factor was that there is no substitute for familiarity when it comes to rifle choice. While I hadn’t shot an animal yet with my 416 I had spent numerous hours becoming acquainted with (and impressed by the accuracy of) the rifle. I was shooting lightweight rounds out of it all summer as well as throwing it to my shoulder and working the bolt every day. The age old saying “beware the man with only one gun” also applies to women.
Last of all, you know how it is with a new rifle. You want to use it. Sheep season was my first chance and if L.S. Chadwick was able to take a monster ram with his 404 Jeffery, by golly I was going to try and take one with my 416 Remington.
How did that turn out? You can read about my sheep hunt next month right here on ronspomeroutdoors.com.
Between flying her bush plane, guiding fishermen, outfitting camps, and guiding hunters, Tia Shoemaker finds time to write about her adventures. Catch her monthly on www.ronspomeroutdoors.com.