For those who don't keep an AR under their pillow but want the versatility of one, in a easy handling rifle that's been custom configured to be the kind of rifle they need, I have an answer: the CUR.

CUR stands for Conditional Utility Rifle. In essence, it's a rifle intended for utility service, but its exact configuration and specifications are conditional to the needs and physicality of the shooter. A CUR should be configured to hunt any animal in the geographical location where the shooter lives, while also providing protection to the shooter from bad animals and bad guys. To learn more about the background of the CUR and how it got its name, click here.

To qualify as a CUR, a rifle has to meet the following, non-conditional, criteria:

When the rifle is carried at the wrist and held muzzle down, the muzzle must be at least 4 inches from the ground. This makes for a compact, easy-to-handle rifle. The length restriction is based on the size of the shooter.

The rifle—field ready—must not be so heavy the shooter cannot hold it at the wrist and extend his or her arm horizontally, and hold it there for 30 seconds. This ensures rifle portability and compatibility with the shooter.

The rifle must be fed from a detachable magazine with a capacity of no less than five shots:
This allows for the shooter to swiftly swap out ammunition based on the need at hand.

The rifle must be compatible with the tool-less application of three sight systems:
adjustable aperture sights, a red-dot-style sight and a traditional riflescope. This lets the shooter pick the sight best suited to the application, and allows for an always-present backup.

A true CUR will have adjustable aperture sights.

The rifle must have the provision to mount a flashlight without tools.
To provide personal protection from bad beasties and bad men, a rifle must be useable in low-light conditions. This is also a valuable accessory for predator hunting.

To qualify as a CUR, the rifle must allow for the tool-less attachment of a light. A laser is optional.

A rifle that will not shoot is worthless, and for that reason a CUR must be capable of providing three-shot, MOA accuracy on demand, with ammo intended for the field, not match target loads!

As for the cartridge, this too is conditional on how the rifle will be used. If you need to shoot big, nasty mean things, you'll need power. If, like most folks, you need a rifle for protection from felonious humans and feral critters, and for hunting varmints and deer and such, you won't need so much power.

There are some other accessories that could be used in conjunction with a CUR. The most important is a shooting sling; a CUR would be incomplete without one. You could also include a compact laser sight and even a bipod. The accessories, like most aspects of the CUR, are conditional.

Of the bolt-action rifles currently offered, Mossberg's MVP is likely the best starting point for a CUR. With some work, an MVP in .223 Rem. should be perfect, as it will meet the conditional needs of most looking for a rifle of this type. If you want more power, the MVP is easily converted to the .25-45 Sharps or .300 AAC Blackout cartridge; all that's needed is a barrel change.

I've been working with two MVP CURs. CUR No. 1 was built by Jerry Dove of Dove's Custom Guns and is an extensively modified MVP in .223 Rem. The other I mostly put together, and it's chambered for the .25-45 Sharps. Both these rifles will do anything I'd ever need done here in West Virginia. Depending on where you live, you might need something with a bit more muscle, and Mossberg has an MVP in .308 Winchester.

Just like the cur dog has been purpose bred to serve a utilitarian role in various geographical locations, the CUR is a rifle that provides this same practical service. What if you could have only one rifle? For me it would be a CUR, and you can bet I'd have a dog just as versatile and useful.

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