Could This Be the All-Round Rifle for Big Game?
by Ron Spomer
Hunters want to be precise. One shot, one kill. We are the only of Nature’s predators that shows concern for our prey. Our goal is to terminate it as quickly and cleanly as possible. Chasing, biting, ripping, tearing and eating alive may be okay for wolves, but not for us.
To date, the best tools we’ve created for delivering a deadly blow are rifles, the more accurate the better. This Borden Timberline is all that and more.
Builder Jim Borden took his famously accurate Timberline bolt-action and mated it to a 24-inch, Hart #3 contour barrel, 1-9 twist and chambered it in 7mm Remington Magnum at SAAMI minimum spec for accuracy precision. Borden, who’s won more than his share of benchrest accuracy competitions, chose a Jewell HVRTS trigger set at 2.25# to start ignition. He also — unnecessarily in my opinion — taper blended one of his sleek Borden Brakes to the muzzle.
Note the small bolt handle knob. Smart. Less weight, less bulk, less likely to get in the way and all any hunter needs to cycle this smooth, slick action via palm or single finger. A machined, aluminum alloy floorplate also holds down overall mass.
In keeping with this theme of all-round rifle, Jim Borden, Jr. mated his dad’s barreled action to a stiff, hand-laid, McMillan Remington Sporter pattern synthetic stock with sharp, effective checkering. Junior further enhanced grip by applying a textured finish, those little bumps you see in the surface. He pillar bedded the rig metal-to-metal, stress free so that the stock may be removed and reattached without changing point-of-impact. The barrel floats free of the stock. It and all metal have been coated in black Xylon to repel moisture.
A versatile Swarovski Z5 3.5-18X44mm scope mounted in Talley aluminum one-piece rings adds 19 ounces to overall weight, but ensures accurate sighting from 20 yards to waaay out there. MOA dots along the horizontal reticle provide holding points for wind deflection and the ballistic turret compensates for long range drop.
As advertised, this Timberline shoots everything I’ve tried in it MOA. Many factory loads cluster .775-inch, and select handloads have gone 1/2 MOA, more than sufficient for pin-point bullet delivery at all responsible hunting ranges, as you can see in this bear hunting video.
As for Borden’s choice of 7mm Rem. Mag., I agree. It can throw an efficient .617 B.C. bullet 3,000 fps. In this 8.5#, field-ready rifle, that will kick up 22 foot-pounds of free recoil (without the muzzle brake.) A 300 Win. Mag. shooting a 180-gr. bullet will put out 4.5 foot-pounds more. But here’s the real news: the 7mm bullet will drop less, drift less and retain more energy downrange. Zero both at 280 yards and they’ll reach peak trajectory 4-inches high at 150 yards and be just 1.4 inches low at 300. At 400 yards the 300 drops an inch more and drifts 1.5 inches more in a 10 mph right angle breeze. At 500 yards the 300 is down 2 more inches, drifts 3 more inches and carries 100 foot-pounds less energy.
The differences aren’t great, but they do argue in favor of the 53-year old 7mm Remington Magnum. Pretty much anything the 300 Win. Mag. can do, the old 7 can do with less recoil. And when it does it with a rifle as trim, durable, shootable and accurate as this Borden Timberline, well, we may be talking ideal All-Round Big Game Rifle.
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