Basically the Dakota 76 is a derivative of the Mauser 98 which influenced the Winchester Model 70. An amalgam of two legendary rifles,this classic combines the best features of both.
Only on a very rare occasion does a rifle arrive for review which impresses me as being something out of the ordinary and special. Such a rifle is the Dakota 76 “Classic” grade rifle in the traditional .375 H&H chambering. Resulting from a partnership between stockmaker Don Allen and metalworker Pete Grisel back in 1988, the Dakota 76 is a beautifully crafted gun that in my humble opinion shows superior design and workmanship to vintage bolt-actions made by such prestigious British custom makers as Holland & Holland, John Rigby and Westley Richards. It not only outdoes them in terms of fit and finish, but the way it is stocked to utilize both iron and scope sights. The quality of the checkering definitely puts the Brits’ turkey scratchings to shame.
Functionally, the Dakota’s bolt cycles more smoothly than guns built on the original Mauser 98 action which has considerable endplay. The smoothness of operation and end-play of the bolt on the Dakota rivals those of my Model 70 Classics.