I was at the range with my Springfield 1903-A-3 military rifle, preparing for a Canadian black bear hunt. I'd been told by the outfitter to expect close encounters with towering coastal black bears, and I didn't care to go unprepared. Vancouver Island bears are a unique species and have been known to grow up to 400 pounds or more. I had a box of Win. XP-3 in 180-grain for my .30-06 WWII-era rifle.

No sense in taking any chances with big bruins.

Pulling up in my truck, I noticed three beefy men bent over a rifle at the 100-yard marker.

Long story short, the shaven-faced, crew-cut men were SWAT officers from up the road.

The purpose of their labors was the department's newest acquisition: a shiny, new AR-10.

They explained the department had two rifles: the semi-auto AR-15 in .223 and the bolt-action Remington 700 in .308. What they were looking for was ONE gun to replace the guns in their arsenal. They needed an extremely accurate semi-automatic .308.

The gun they stood over had been accurized, and the officers were painstakingly following the gunsmith's cleaning instructions between each officer's four-round test firings. Collectively, they looked at me, and asked, "Care to shoot it?" I'm nobody's fool. I answered immediately, "Oh, yes!"

I have had a Rem. 700 chambered in .308 for years, and it's been a great deer rifle.

I have an AR-15, and I shot the M-16 in the Army. I had never fired a semi-auto .308.

The two-stage trigger fooled me on the first shot, but I was only slightly off the mark.

The Leupold scope worked flawlessly, even with my failing eyesight.

My next three shots were about .5 MOA at 100 yards. I have not shot so well since I had 20-20.

And that was 40 years ago. "Where can I get one of these babies?" I asked. The SWAT guys were cool and let me keep the target. Their training officer smiled, "No one will ever believe you!"

The AR-10 comes from the same fellow that gave us the M-16, Eugene Stoner. It's been in service since 1960, but the AR-10 seems to be making a come-back after never really hitting it BIG.

Only a handful of these guns have been made, yet it's seen action in numerous small conflicts.

This gas operated, rotating bolt, semi- and full-auto rifle is chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Win.). It is capable of 700 rounds per minute rate of fire, and it's effective range is four-tenths of a mile. It measures 41 inches and change and features a 20-inch barrel, replete with a muzzle brake.

The AR-10 uses 10- and 20-round magazines and spits lead to the tune of 2700 feet per second.

Bottom Line: I'm getting one just as soon as I pay off my Canadian taxidermy bill.