Many dangerous game rifles fail the field test...


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Preacherman
January 18, 2004, 10:20 PM
The following is a very interesting article from African Hunter magazine (http://african-hunter.com/lessons_learned.htm - photos at URL):

Rifle Lessons learned from the Zimbabwe Professional Hunter Proficiency Exam

By Don Heath

Every year Zimbabwe holds two events which provide the perfect testing ground for rifles. These are the Rifa Professional Hunter and Guides training/refresher course, and the actual proficiency exam itself. As shooting is an important attribute of both a hunter and a guide, marksmanship and speed and dexterity of handling and reloading a rifle under great stress are fully tested with quite high grades required to pass. Consequently a fair amount of time at the Rifa refresher course is set aside to riflemanship. Most of the hunters have grown up with firearms, but a great many of the guides have simply grown up in the bush and the only hunting they may have done before commencing with their apprenticeships has been with spear or bow. The confidence with a rifle needed to protect one’s clients in a close quarters contact with lion, elephant, hippo or buff requires complete familiarity with the rifle and a good deal of practice as well. During this year’s Rifa course about 600 heavy calibre rounds went down range whilst on the proficiency some 50 shots went into dangerous game and over 500 crashing down range on a variety of shoots. All in all the five day refresher course and the week long exam provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate the different makes of rifle.

Most rifles work perfectly on range when zeroing a rifle or shooting off sticks in an accuracy test. A surprisingly large number fall apart as soon as the pressure is on and you have to shoot and reload in a hurry. Ten rifles out of 32 on the Rifa course came up with a problem, whilst 17 out of 51 came up short in one way or another on the actual exam. Only training can render one competent to carry a rifle in the bush and that is not the topic of this article, but it pains me to see poorly paid apprentices shelling out hard earned cash for sub standard rifles, especially sub standard new rifles. Also many of the student/candidates were well aware of the flaws with their rifles, but with all the hassles of licencing plus the costs involved in doing a trade, they were unable to change them. This article is intended as a guide so new purchasers don’t get burned.

To set the tone, I think nobody sums up the American attitude to rifles better than W.W. Greener in his classic book The Gun and its Development (1910 edition). “In no country are better sportsmen to be found than in the United States of America, nor does any country posses keener buyers or better men of business, yet in no country is so much worthless rubbish of the (mass production) gun-factories offered for sale. The Boers are a race of sportsmen, but it is of no use to offer them rubbish at any price, and the author can hardly believe that the astute American will sacrifice everything to cheapness”. That fortnight in the Zambezi valley showed that not a lot has changed in the last 90 years except that nasty rather than purely cheap describes most of America’s offerings in the dangerous rifle field.

I’ll start with my least favourite rifle: - the Weatherby. We don’t often see them out here, thank goodness. The one we had this year exhibited the usual Weatherby failing of going off when the safety catch was disengaged. Like all I’ve seen with this problem, they work fine on the range. It is only after they have been bounced, bumped or jolted whilst loaded and on safe that they do this. I’m sure the problem is correctable and not all do it, however, this one would also not extract at all after the eighth round. It showed decidedly sticky extraction after the first three shots and finally died on number eight. It gives me great pleasure than to dig out my 2lb hammer and beat the bolt of a new rifle open whilst giving the owner a lecture on the benefits of reloading. Weatherby factory ammo always gives extraction problems and needs to be down loaded for use in hot conditions. The .460 is notorious and this .416 proved no different.

Remington 700. The 700 may be a very fine hunting rifle. I don’t know because I’ve never used one, but I do know that it is a piss poor dangerous game rifle especially in .416 Rem calibre. Apart from the odd inexplicable misfire, a broken extractor cost us an elephant wounded and lost at Rifa. This is not the first year that I’ve seen a broken extractor on a Remington 700 in .416 either. In addition they are just about the hardest rifle to refill the magazine in a hurry. My memories this year of students and candidates using them is that of youngsters frantically trying to thrust cartridges into the mag, only to have a double feed, the rounds pop straight back out or many other problems. A two round reload took on average, twice as long with the Model 700's as it did with just about any other make of rifle. The difference between the Remington and the Weatherby is that the latter can be downloaded a little so as to operate flawlessly and the safety fixed, whilst I do not know that anything can be done with the Remingtons except to re-barrel them to a plains game cartridge and leave them at home when out after the dangerous stuff. To be fair though, all of the extraction problems seem to be confined to rifles in .416 and .375. and they seem reasonably reliable in .458 provided you are prepared to tolerate the awkwardness of the reload. I am not. A good single shot or even a Weatherby is a better choice.

Then we come to one that surprises me. Ruger. The early Ruger M77's with the non rotating claw extractors but still a push feed mechanism, in .458 Win could be relied upon to jam if the bolt was worked quickly. In the 1980's the National Parks culling teams found this out the hard way and the new Rugers were quickly disposed of or issued to stations where a heavy rifle was seldom required. The new MkII Ruger with a proper controlled feed seemed to be a vast improvement and were reputed to work a whole lot better and of course come at a top dollar price. I learned differently. All but one out of seven I’ve seen or handled this year (6 in .416 Rigby and one .458 Win) would not eject if the bolt was opened vigorously. Slow down just a fraction and they throw the empty case half way into the next province. For a client coming out to Africa this may be acceptable. Any really fast fancy shooting is going to be the PH’s.

For the Professional Hunter or Guide though, a rifle that is guaranteed not to eject when worked at speed is a death sentence waiting to happen. The fault lies with the sprung loaded ejector that springs into place as the bolt is withdrawn. Work the bolt at a moderate speed and the ejector is in place to cleanly throw the case clear. Work the bolt fast and the ejector is still on its way up when the case passes over it. A few will work provided the ejector is scrupulously clean and well oiled but many will not do even that (and how do you keep it clean AND oiled in the usual dusty conditions?). A much stronger spring and a little polishing of the raceway that it fits into may cure the problem, but they are not safe as they come from the factory. A local gun shop tells me that they have sent two new rifles back this year because of this problem, and our local top gunsmith tells me that while most can be made to work perfectly, some cannot. Ruger needs to wake up, their No.1, single shot rifle is a far safer and more dependable weapon than their bolt action.

The Browning A Bolt. The Jury is still out on this as there are very few around at present and all the ones I’ve seen have been left handed models. One out of two had a problem with the magazine. Beating the floor plate back down with a rock is nearly as much fun as taking a hammer to a Weatherby. I must say I really LIKE the safety catch. It is certainly the best out of any of the rifles I’ve used this year, but I’m not sure on the push feed and extractor. Time will tell, but I have no intention of being the guinea pig.

Winchesters new M70 with the controlled feed back, is light years ahead of the old version which just about rivalled the Remington 700. I have only three complaints about the new ones. The bolt anti bind rail on one of them bent and briefly jammed the rifle, but I threw it away and the rifle worked just fine after that. The stocks need to be properly bedded and pinned. They are a good shape, nice wood, but they crack (and worse) if you don’t take them to somebody and have the bedding seen to before you start throwing a few hundred rounds down range. My biggest gripe about the Winchester is that the safety catch is on the WRONG side. On the right handed model, the safety catch is perfect for a left hander and visa versa on the left handed edition. Heavens to Hiawatha, surely somebody at US Repeating Arms (who make Winchester) has walked outside and tried to swing the rifle up for a snap shot from either the trail or from a sling! You cannot grab the pistol grip and take the safety off in one movement, and on average it took Winchester owners a second longer to disengage the safety and fire the first shot compared to Mausers or Browning A Bolts. Time and fumbling around with an awkward safety can get you killed in a tight corner, and the real insult is that they make both, and that the current “left handed” safety is quicker and easier to use for a right hander than a Mauser type “flag” safety. More and more PH’s are seeing the light and fitting a good Ghost ring aperture sight to their dangerous game rifles so I suppose the pathetic excuse of a rear sight that Winchester fits at the factory can be ignored.

Interarms Mk X. Apart from the fact that the barrels are soft and wear out very quickly, these are intrinsically sound rifles that are simply shoddily put together. They are famed for springing the magazine floor plate open and dumping the contents on the firers feet. Never seen one that wouldn’t feed reliably though, and with a little bit of gun smithing to make the safety catch more positive (it is also on the “wrong” side) so that it doesn’t get accidentally swept on as the bolt is opened (or accidentally knocked off in the bush) and the stock properly bedded to cure the “magazine dump” they can be made into very workable rifles. They are though, very definitely rifles that you take first to your gunsmith and only then into the bush as the two students at Rifa discovered.

That sums up the American offerings for this year. The Winchester is definitely the best, but it still requires work and a replacement safety and rear sight when it comes out of the box before it can be considered serviceable.

Most of the European made rifles are priced well out of the reach of all learners and even most qualified PH’s. The one Mannlicher in evidence this year worked superbly with much to recommend it if you can stomach the price. By far the most common big game rifles we see here, and the biggest single make on the exam, was the Bruno/CZ.

This is one of the most rugged but also the cheapest heavy rifles available in Africa and has been for many years now. There have also been a variety of different models. The early ones dating from the fifties and sixties were absolutely tops (I have a 1950 model), and these probably represent the best buys on the second hand market along with the Fabrique National made Mausers. The current models coming out are not bad, but far from perfect. CZ has finally got around to doing something about the safety catch which was perfect on the 1950's models (which was superior to an original Mauser) and singularly awful there after as it worked the wrong way around (back to fire) and was located on the wrong side of the action. The safety still isn’t great, being small and still located on the wrong side of the receiver for a right handed person. It also comes on and off too easily. The biggest problem that arose with them was the firer accidentally knocking on the safety whilst manipulating the bolt. At least five Bruno/CZ owners had trouble with this either during the training sessions or in the exam.

Another problem patently apparent with all of the .458 Win models is that they will not reliably feed soft point ammunition until quite a lot of work has been done to the magazine box and feed. The .458 Win case is simply too short for the huge Bruno magnum action (which comfortably accommodates the .416 Rigby round), and the rounds slide around in that cavernous magazine under recoil and then feeding problems occur. The best thing anybody can do with a Bruno/CZ in .458 Win is to have a competent gunsmith re-chamber it to .458 Lott. This not only solves the feeding troubles but also gets away from the problems of the .458 Win cartridge. The only problem now though is that the stock needs to be properly bedded and pinned or it will crack. The other interesting phenomena arose with some of the older rifles chambered in .375 H&H. The chambers were fantastically oversize, and the spent cartridge cases emerge looking like an Ackley or Weatherby improved round. The head space is fine and it is not dangerous but forget about reloading. One thing is for sure, a little dirt in the action isn’t going to tie up these rifles!

The remainder of the field was made up of Mauser actioned rifles. The original Mauser in .404 and the FN in .458 worked great, as expected. The trouble for a learner Hunter or Guide is that these makes are hard to come by. Original Mausers are beginning to wear out, and apart from .404 and 9,3x62, most are chambered for rounds unsuitable for serious hunting. As soon as you see a Mauser chambered in .458 or .375 you know that it is a conversion, (see my comments on custom rifles below). FN’s are seldom seen on the second hand market. They represent the peak in the Mauser rifles development, and those lucky enough to own one seldom find a reason good enough to sell it.

“Custom Rifles”. The Mauser is one of my all time favourite rifles, but apart from a very few original rifles all the ones we see are “custom” built. This year’s exam reiterated that a “custom” rifle can vary greatly in quality. Two were fine, the other two not. There are an awful lot of armourers out there posing as gunsmiths, and only the best gunsmiths should be allowed to build a dangerous game rifle. The biggest problem with all custom Mausers occurs with the feed. Mausers were originally built with the magazine boxes machined to match the cartridge for which the rifle was being chambered. The magazine box on a 9,3 is quite different from that for a 8x57. Too many “gunsmiths” simply screw on a .458 barrel and forget that the magazine box must be altered (best option) or the feed rails extensively worked. I had a .308 Mauser that had been converted from a 7x57. It gave endless feeding trouble until I got it to a top ‘smith. The conversion from 8x57 to .308 works fine but the 7mm magazine box is too narrow at the front and problems arise. One custom Mauser on the exam would not feed more than one round from the magazine and even loading a second round half way in so that it could be chambered (giving the shooter two rounds before a reload) was a bother. The fancy stock, the Ghost ring sight, etc did not alter the fact that this was a useless rifle. One of the two candidates who’s custom Mausers worked on the exam told me that she had had feeding trouble and had taken the rifles to a competent gun smith to have the problem solved. It had cost a considerable amount of time and money to get her rifle into full working order. The last was from a local supplier of custom rifles who knows about such things and the requirements for absolute reliability, and it worked great. I retain an intrinsic mistrust of any “custom” rifle unless I’ve tried it thoroughly and I know who built it. That is the biggest advantage of purchasing a new “custom” rifle locally. It’s guaranteed and you can take it back at the slightest sign of trouble. It should also come with all the required “extras” such as sights, safety and stock bedding already attended to.

We didn’t see any of the English made rifles this year, but as a warning to potential purchasers there is a considerable difference between an English top grade rifle and a second or third class weapon. Back when they were originally sold the purchaser knew what he was getting, but these days any rifle with an English makers name on it is taken as being a good quality rifle. This is decidedly not true. Perhaps the two best examples are the Westley-Richards .425 “White Hunter” models and some (but decidedly not all) of the Cogswell and Harrison .404's. Westley Richards turned out a great many superb .425's but they also produced a cheap line intended for government service or the “native” trade, known as the “White Hunter” model. These were built on war surplus K98 Mauser actions, without due attention to magazine box dimensions or the feed rails. They make a Weatherby cross Remington 700 look like a dream rifle. Much the same can be said for some of the Cogswells built on war surplus P14 actions. The second grade guns work fine, but the third grade weapons are on a par with the “White Hunter”.

That completes the overview on this season’s rifles. Too much rubbish is being sold, at vastly inflated prices that will get a tyro hunter killed. It annoys me, to put it mildly!


(Continued in next post)

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Preacherman
January 18, 2004, 10:21 PM
(Continued from previous post)


My last observations were on ammunition. Heavy calibre ammo is expensive, especially for apprentices who are on nominal salaries. The ammo produced for the training and exams tends to be old and scrounged from any available source so all sorts of “ammo” related problems occur. Most ammo is remarkably long lived. I and a few others are still using vintage Kynoch ammo in our rifles for training with only the occasional hangfire, and those confined to early (pre 1960) lots. Two calibres though have a very definite shelf life. .458 Win mag and .416 Rem. A quick glance at the round will often reveal that the bullet has begun to move forward out of the case and the factory crimp is gone as the bullet moves out past the cannelure. I presume that this phenomenon is caused by the heavily compressed powder charge expanding with the heat or perhaps the brass just gets weak after a number of years of holding a bullet back that is constantly trying to pop out of the case and begins to let go. Whatever the reason, this causes two problems. Firstly the cartridges often no longer fit in the magazine perfectly causing feeding trouble (particularly noticeable in short actioned rifles like FN’s, Interarms or Mausers). The second is that velocity becomes erratic. How old is old? And how long does this take to occur? I have seen the bullets creeping out of the cases on most makes of .458 ammo but it is often difficult to determine exactly how old. In 1991, however, National Parks purchased a huge batch of A Square monolithics for use in the culling programme. Almost all of this ammo is now beginning to push the bullets out of the case. In 1996 I chronographed a selection of this ammo, which was then still in good condition. Velocity averaged 2174fps with a mean deviation of 37fps. After seeing what was happening to the ammo, I chronographed the same batches again recently. Mean velocity was 1780fps and mean deviation was 180fps. A few rounds where the bullets had not begun to pull themselves were fine delivering the original specs, but most is now reject - less than ten years from date of manufacture to throw away! For hunters this is not often a problem since their ammo gets used up at a regular rate, but with too many guides, the “good” carry ammo sits in their gun belts for years.

.416 Rem is another problem cartridge in this regard. One candidate had some fairly fresh (so he thought) Federal trophy bonded rounds. 17 out of twenty in the box were beginning to shed their bullets. Velocity for the 400grn bullets varied from 2120fps to 2390fps. Another disquieting fact about the .416 Rem cartridge is beginning to show. Inexplicable pressure problems in the occasional factory round. As mentioned under the Remington rifles, the model 700's in .416 seem to break extractors with unreasonable regularity. Is this due to pressure problems with the cartridge as much as design failure of the rifle? I have seen stuck cases and had to beat the bolts open on other makes of rifle chambered for this round before this last exam. Nimrod cartridges also tell me that they have had great difficulty coming up with a good load for the .416 Rem due to the occasional pressure spike. PMP in South Africa reported likewise.

One last, fairly humorous incident occurred which simply confirms my case against Weatherby. An apprentice PH was using a rifle chambered for the .375 H&H. He had a whole pile of ammo given to him by a client, which was .375 H&H made by Weatherby. He also had a few rounds though that were also head stamped “Weatherby” and marked .375 but they were .375 Weatherby rather than Holland & Holland. I’ve never seen a rifle chambered for .375 Weatherby but the rounds sure didn’t fit into chamber of the said fellow’s rifle and caused an almighty jam. It was during a training session at Rifa so we all simply had a good laugh.

The lesson though remains. Cycle each round through the chamber of your rifle before you put it in the magazine or your cartridge belt. Reloads especially but even the best factory ammo may be damaged or not quite what it seems at first glance.

Dave R
January 18, 2004, 11:46 PM
Fascinating reading. Always nice to read real-world results.

Jim K
January 19, 2004, 12:04 AM
Superb! The point about bullets moving out of the case is a new one on me, and I wonder if heat has anything to do with it.

The mention of the need to rework the receiver rails and the magazine box when changing rifle calibers should be read by all those who think just sticking on a different barrel is enough.

Jim

tc300mag1
January 19, 2004, 12:15 AM
Great Reading an eye opener for sure. I Dont really care for my rem 700 anyways but didnt think it would fall that low on list.. If only they made a true mauser action in lefthand

cracked butt
January 19, 2004, 12:16 AM
The mention of the need to rework the receiver rails and the magazine box when changing rifle calibers should be read by all those who think just sticking on a different barrel is enough.

I ran into that problem a few years ago- it seems mausers are very finnicky about feeding. I found a load for one of my 8x57's that was very accurate usinf RN bullets, but found that the rifle would not strip the rounds from the magazine if more than 2 rounds were in the magazine at the time. A gunsmith friend of mine showed me how to modify the feedramp and receiver rails to allow it to feed RN bullets. This was a very minor tweaking that took alot of time to do, I couldn't imagine what technical difficulties would come up with rechambering for a longer or even larger diameter case.:uhoh:


I read an article awhile back from "Safari Club Int'l" magazine that talked about dangerous game rifles. Out of the PH's polled- the only rifles they saw fail were custom rifles on mauser actions. I would bet it was because of the same reason.

Tag
January 19, 2004, 02:54 AM
Winchester :D

good read, very informative

what is a 'bind rail"?

Gewehr98
January 19, 2004, 10:56 AM
But it was in passing, and the article wasn't focused on singe-shot rifles. They aren't considered optimal for dangerous game, where a quick follow-up shot may be needed. :(

Langenator
January 19, 2004, 11:20 AM
How do these big-bore dangerous game cartidges compare to slug or sabot-slug shotgun rounds?

Dave R
January 19, 2004, 02:14 PM
Lang, they have LOTS more power. More accuracy, flatter trajectory.

Don't know how much energy a slug has, but the .458's, 416's, 375's have 5kft. lbs or more. Someone correct me if I'm off on that.

Nightcrawler
January 19, 2004, 02:23 PM
Brilliant idea.

Ultra-reliable dangerous game rifle. And it'd be a semi-auto, in case you need a fast follow up shot.

Super-strong RPK-Kalashnikov Action, scaled up and lengthened to accomodate the .375 H&H Magnum cartridge. Five and ten round magazines, 20" hammer-forged, chrome-lined barrel. Good, cushy recoil pad.

Be a heavy beast, but if it could be made strong enough it'd be reliable. I don't know that I'd want to fire .375 Mag out of a 7-pound rifle anyways. Ouch.

Hell, I don't even hunt dangerous game and I"d want one. Just to wake people up at the range. :D

Lee F
January 19, 2004, 02:38 PM
You really need to follow the link that was provided and read the rest of the site also. Once you read the other articles it places this particular one in a larger overall perspective.

I especially enjoyed the one about the lion charge when three rifles and a shotgun all jammed simultaneously in the span of one charge.

Nightcrawler
January 19, 2004, 02:49 PM
when three rifles and a shotgun all jammed simultaneously in the span of one charge.

Wow. Sometimes it's just not your lucky day.

P95Carry
January 19, 2004, 03:00 PM
Excellent read Preacherman .. thx.

4v50 Gary
January 19, 2004, 04:33 PM
Fascinating read Preacherman. Thanks.

Mulliga
January 19, 2004, 04:38 PM
Nice read. Thanks, Preacherman!

Anyone have any personal experience with the Browning action? I might buy a Browning A-Bolt since I heard the barrel, finish, and trigger were all above-average for hunting rifles.

RightIsRight
January 19, 2004, 05:23 PM
Langenator, per Remington's website, a 12 gauge 1 oz. slug full load in a 3" shell will get you about 3000 ft/lbs engery @ 1760 fps at the muzzle.

Gewehr98
January 19, 2004, 05:43 PM
With apologies to Preacherman's thread, witness this display of hunting savvy:

http://myweb.cableone.net/jlflanagan/lion.wmv

P95Carry
January 19, 2004, 06:11 PM
Gewehr98 ........ those guys were more than a little lucky eh!! Phew!

Gewehr98
January 19, 2004, 06:13 PM
I've got a strong family hunting background, but I found myself cheering for the lion. ;)

Deadman
January 19, 2004, 06:20 PM
In regards to Gewehr98's video - :eek:

H&Hhunter
January 19, 2004, 07:52 PM
Anyone have any personal experience with the Browning action? I might buy a Browning A-Bolt since I heard the barrel, finish, and trigger were all above-average for hunting rifles.

I had a Stainless Stalker A-bolt in .338. It had extractor problems and it was a push feed action. That kills it for me. Only becuase I don't like to get killed because of my rifle.

BigG
January 19, 2004, 09:26 PM
Lots of food for thought. Thanks, Preacherman!

Feanaro
January 19, 2004, 10:57 PM
In regards to the video: I was rooting for the lion. :D

Soap
January 19, 2004, 11:07 PM
Very good article!

Vern Humphrey
January 19, 2004, 11:22 PM
Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
what is a 'bind rail"?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

It's an anti-binding device, meant to keep the bolt from twisting or moving sideways and jamming when being worked rapidly. The bolt sllides back controlled by the rail.

This is one of the new devices incorporated in the "Classic" Model 70s -- the Pre-'64 version didn't have it.

JohnDog
January 20, 2004, 12:01 AM
What kind of Winchester Model 70 safety is he talking about? The standard right handed Model 70 Classic has a safety that is released by the right thumb in a forward throw. His last photo in the article shows some sort of safety that is released in a rearward press by the left thumb! Is this the way the safety is on a Win 70 Safari or African Custom?

JohnDog (Slightly confused):confused:

tex_n_cal
January 20, 2004, 12:16 AM
Hmmm....terrific video.

I guess Alaskan bears aren't the only animals requiring howitzers to stop a charge!

The chap who got knocked down is luckier than he can imagine.

JNewell
January 20, 2004, 07:46 AM
I'm wondering if the .416 Remington 700s have a weaker extractor than versions for cartridges with a smaller case head? I don't recall reading about these kind of failures in, say, .308 or 7-08 rifles. (?)

Vern Humphrey
January 20, 2004, 11:07 AM
Quote:
-------------------------------------------------------
What kind of Winchester Model 70 safety is he talking about?
---------------------------------------------------------

He's talking about the standard, 3-position, side-swing safety.

To understand his point , take a Springfield or military Mauser (without any modifications or scope) and release the safety. Your right thumb ends up on the left side of the stock, very near the proper gripping position.

Then try a Model 70, or a Ruger MKII, Your thumb winds up on the right side of the stock, and you have to make a separate motion to achieve the proper gripping position.

It's a very small thing (although a PH in Africa apparetly would think different.) For what it's worth, I replaced the Bhueler safety on Bigfoot Wallace (my custom '03 Springfield in .35 Brown-Whelen) with a Winchester style safety. I like that safety.

JohnDog
January 20, 2004, 01:29 PM
Ah! Less confused now.

I'm a big fan of the Win M70, but I've never hunted anything that that extra half second to get the thumb over grip would make any difference. Of course I've never hunted anything that could smash or eat me either. Good info to question/observe about your PH if your ever on a Safari.

JohnDog

Vern Humphrey
January 20, 2004, 01:33 PM
I've never been in a situation where getting the safety off fast was that important. I HAVE shot running game and had no problem disengaging the Winchester safety.

HankB
January 22, 2004, 09:32 AM
Hmmm . . . lots of good info here. He mentions the Brno/CZ rifles having stocks that crack . . . I can confirm that. On my last safari (to Zambia) the PH had Brno rifles in .375 and .458 . . . and these were older versions that had the pop-up ghost ring in the rear receiver bridge. Upon examining these one day at the end of the safari, I noticed that BOTH were beginning to crack the stock. There was a clearly visible hairline crack just ahead of the magazine box on the .375, and hairline cracks were visible both in front of AND behind the magazine box on the .458.

The PH didn't believe me until we took the rifles into the sunlight and looked closely . . . then he was rather shaken . . . a firm believe in Murphy's Law, he felt that if the rifle were to self destruct, it would no doubt happen at the worst possible time.

I have a "push feed" M70 Winchester that I've glass bedded, and all I'll say about that is that I've never had the least difficulty manipulating the safety in a hurry, nor has the rifle malfunctioned in any way whatsoever in thousands of rounds both on the range and in the field, no matter how fast I worked the bolt. But it's only a .30/06 and I don't feed it questionable ammo . . .

My Browning/FN .375 doesn't have controlled feed . . . but I've glass bedded it myself and put in reinforced crossbolts. It, too, works 100% no matter how fast I manipulate the bolt.

DougCxx
January 22, 2004, 11:54 AM
How do these big-bore dangerous game cartidges compare to slug or sabot-slug shotgun rounds? - Langenator
-A typical 12-gauge shotgun slug drives a 1-ounce projectile at about 1600 FPS, for about 2500 ft-lbs of energy. The fastest 1-ounce slugs I could find listed online are up around 1850 fps, for about 3300 ft-lbs.
-A 375 H&H goes up to around 4800 ft-lbs.
-A 416 Rigby is around 5000 ft-lbs.
-A 450 Win Mag is also right around 5000 ft-lbs..... as is a 470 Nitro Express...
-------------------
- It is interesting to browse through a current ballistics summary table and see that there are all these new-fangled custom calibers out now that have way more power than the older traditional ones. A 450 Dakota goes up to around 7000 ft-lbs. A 460 Weatherby Mag goes up to 7500.
~

BigG
January 22, 2004, 12:05 PM
DougCxx: What the paper figures aren't going to tell you is the high sectional density of a proper heavy bullet in one of the large rifles will penetrate, break bones, and generally hurt a target more than the 1 oz slug.

Vern Humphrey
January 22, 2004, 12:06 PM
It would be interesting to see how these new, more powerful cartridges fare in a course where they're shot several hundred times. :D

BigG
January 22, 2004, 12:14 PM
416 Rem Mag: My opinion, after viewing the ctg ONCE was that it was going to be a problem. Those old Nitro Express ctgs are LARGE for their size for a reason. The Weatherby at first, and now newer USA magnum type ctgs seem to be trying to pack the biggest bang for the buck into the smallest package. The Win 458 has the problem of reacting to temp/atmosperic conditions and just plain pressure of trying to put 2 pounds of powder into a 1 pound sack, if you will. The 416 Rem is also guilty of the same overzealous expectations given its size. The 416 Rem IIRC duplicates the 416 Rigby performance but in a much smaller ctg case. When you crank the ambient temp up to 120 and touch one off. The probably 55-60,000 psi swells the brass to fit the chamber like it was made there, hence extraction becomes difficult at best. After a couple rapid fire shots you may seize a case in there, pull off the rim, or break the extractor (pick one). The old Nitro things developing 4-5000 foot pounds all extract like butter due to low pressure for the size of the shell. Can't get no free lunch. :uhoh:

Iain
January 22, 2004, 12:52 PM
I'm going to ask questions that will probably show up my lack of experience/knowledge - but stupid question is the unasked one right?

Ok. One - from another article on that site that Preacherman linked to it states that when getting through the massive muscles on a lion's chest velocity is very important. So does someone in the group have something he can fire lots of times without shattering his shoulder or risking developing a flinch at a bad moment? Say a semi in .308?

Two - do leverguns exist in any of these cartridges (after all they are used in Alaska) and do people use them in Africa?

HankB
January 22, 2004, 01:01 PM
The comments about the .416 Rem are interesting. I believe it's supposed to put a 400 grain bullet out at around 2400 ft/sec. Now, go back a couple of decades and you'll see that a wildcat cartridge, called, IIRC, the .416 Taylor, was supposed to do the same. The problem is, the .416 Taylor was based on the .458 Win Mag case, which is noticeably SHORTER than the .416 Rem.

So . . . this wildcat with LESS capacity gave equal velocity! Maybe there's a reason it never caught on . . .

BTW, the old Brit cartridges were intentionally loaded to low pressures for two reasons. First, many were chambered in double rifles, which simply don't have the strength of a good bolt action. Secondly, they were usually loaded with some variation of cordite, noted for MAJOR sensitivity to temperature. In some cases, the Brits had a "tropical load" with a smaller powder charge, meant for use in hot conditions. More often, they just underloaded the cartridge, figuring it was "big enough" to still do the job in colder conditions, but should the weather turn hot, the underload provided enough "headroom" so that rising pressures still wouldn't exceed the limits of the gun or cartridge case. (The .416 Rigby is a good example. Huge case, and "only" 2400 ft/sec or so.)

Today's powders are much less sensitive (but not entirely immune) to temperature variations than cordite, and Hodgdon claims to be engineering their "Extreme" line of powders to have even less sensitivity.

Getting back to the .416 Rem . . . if it's loaded to max at say 70-80 deg, one wonders how it will perform at an ambient 100 degrees . . . and how hot will the actual CARTRIDGE be, after a couple hours in direct African sun?

BigG
January 22, 2004, 01:12 PM
HankB: No doubt, no doubt. However, the modern Double Rifle ala H&H et al comes std in .458 Magnum. The problem is not so much in the strength of the action but rather is a limitation in the cartridge, i.e., trying to put too much of a good thing into too small of a package. Your comments are right on but the old tune about doubles aren't strong enough is no longer true if it ever was. The big weakness I would say is lack of primary extraction power, perhaps, although I am not an engineer. when you break that sucker you want those to shake right out or fly out if it has ejectors. Not pull a jackknife out and try to pry it out while something else may be trying to get your attention. My $0.02.

HankB
January 22, 2004, 01:57 PM
Big G . . . can't really argue much with you, other than to say that some people don't believe DB guns should use anything other than a rimmed case. Rigby's (?) has had spring loaded extractors for rimless cases for quite a while, but not everyone trusts them. And the camming action of, say, a Mauser bolt action will reputedly "break loose" a stuck case more easily than the opening motion of a DB gun, particularly one with spring-loaded ejectors. "Strength" doesn't mean solely "Will the gun blow up?"

Since I'm unlikely to own a DB rifle - I mean, I could buy several very nice bolt actions for even the cost of a "cheap" double - I just have to go by what I've read. I'll eagerly listen to the advice of someone who has first hand experience with using a DB rifle as well as a bolt under adverse conditions.

BigG
January 22, 2004, 02:38 PM
You can go right to H&H's website and check for yourself. Their Grand Wazoo Premier Majestic Royale grade double comes std in .458 Win Mag. I was flabbergasted myself as I thought the .465, .470 etc were still the kings but don't think so. BTW, be prepared for sticker shock unless $100,000 + is in your budget. :eek: You have to remember Kynoch and Eley are long defunct and the old Nitro Express ctgs have not been produced in years.

HankB, although I have as much practical experience as you do drawing down on Jumbo or other exotic creatures in a life and death confrontation :D my belief is not having a stuck cartridge in the first place is the way to go. Loading a cartridge to the last SAAMI PSI is not always the wisest thing to do. The British seem to always have recognized that while the American companies keep pushing the envelope. Regards, bud! :)

Vern Humphrey
January 22, 2004, 03:29 PM
Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------
One - from another article on that site that Preacherman linked to it states that when getting through the massive muscles on a lion's chest velocity is very important. So does someone in the group have something he can fire lots of times without shattering his shoulder or risking developing a flinch at a bad moment? Say a semi in .308?
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

In general, a bolt action is about as good as it gets (some will hold out for a double rifle, but those are for people richer than I!) Semi-autos, especially under the conditions they face in Africa, are less reliable than bolt actions (remember, they are mostly used in the military, where the rest of the squad can take up the slack when one man's rifle packs up.)

Many a lion has been killed with a .303 Brit. The .30-06 is even better -- with modern Hi Energy or Lite Magnum loadings and premium bullets, the modern .30-06 is right up there with the .300 magnum (which is also a good choice.)

Quote:
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Two - do leverguns exist in any of these cartridges (after all they are used in Alaska) and do people use them in Africa?
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Teddy Roosevelt used a Model 95 Winchester in .405 Winchester and called it "Lion Medicine." The Browning BLR is avaliable in .30-06 and magnum loadings. There has even been a minor resurgance of the '95 Winchester and the .405 cartridge. A Marlin 336 in .45-70, in a modern loading would be fine.

HankB
January 22, 2004, 04:25 PM
...my belief is not having a stuck cartridge in the first place is the way to go. Loading a cartridge to the last SAAMI PSI is not always the wisest thing to do. AMEN TO THAT!

For each of my African safaris, I followed a philosphy that if my big game rifles (a .30/06 and a .375 H&H) actually produced the ballistics that the factories advertise - but rarely deliver over a chronograph, when fired from a regular rifle - it was cause to be happy. So a 180 at a bit over 2700 for my '06 and a 300 at right about 2550 for my .375 were just fine. I worked the loads up in the summer, and have never had the hint of a problem.

BTW, several years ago I attended the SCI convention and I guess I came to the H&H booth while the guys were in a good mood - they let me pick up and shoulder one of their .700 H&H DB rifles. It weighed something near 20 pounds, and cost $5000 a pound, or so. Even if I had the money to spend on something like this (I don't!) this is just too heavy for me to lug around all day and then shoot accurately. (But I did buy ONE cartridge for my collection.)Kynoch and Eley are long defunct and the old Nitro Express ctgs have not been produced in years. Federal is producing .470 NE ammo - I've seen it for about $140 a box - and various small custom makers are putting out the others. Cases and reloading components are also available. Not cheap, but if you can spend $100,000 on a rifle, what's 10 bucks a round for the ammo? :rolleyes:

Gewehr98
January 22, 2004, 05:38 PM
Kynoch and Eley are long defunct and the old Nitro Express ctgs have not been produced in years.

See below, Nitro Express listed, no problem:


http://www.kynochammunition.co.uk/

BigG
January 22, 2004, 06:14 PM
I just want to say I thoroughly enjoy these discourses with fellow enthusiasts. :D

St. Johns: Semis are illegal for hunting in Africa, to best of my knowledge.

Gewehr98: Bud, mea culpa, I should have said YMMV with my dogmatic statement that Kynoch was defunct. I really thought it was. Dang memory! BTW, hold on to your hat when you check the prices of dem ole NRs. :what: My last recollection was that some place in Kenya had bought up all the old stock and had years worth but that was the last of it. :uhoh:

HankB: $140 a box (.470) makes .458 @ $60 or 70 a box seem right affordable. And .375 for $30/40 a downright steal! :evil:

hillbilly
November 5, 2006, 10:43 PM
Langenator, there is actually an article on the linked site specifically about the use of shotguns on dangerous game, specifically wounded leopards.

http://african-hunter.com/Rifle_Choice_4_Dangerous_Game.htm

Onmilo
November 5, 2006, 11:03 PM
Everybody knows the best dangerous game firearms in Africa are the Russian PK and PKM machineguns.

ajax
November 5, 2006, 11:31 PM
When in doubt buy Savage.

H&Hhunter
November 5, 2006, 11:59 PM
Since I'm unlikely to own a DB rifle - I mean, I could buy several very nice bolt actions for even the cost of a "cheap" double - I just have to go by what I've read. I'll eagerly listen to the advice of someone who has first hand experience with using a DB rifle as well as a bolt under adverse conditions.

Well ok it's two years later but here goes.

Never never never never use a high pressure non rimmed cartridge in a double rifle meant for dangerous game. Ask any of the serious double users and makers and they'll all tell you the same. It may not happen today it may not happen tomorrow it may not even happen next week but you will have a failure to extract at some point with a non rimmed high pressure round in a double.

I've used both Mauser style bolt guns and doubles in hunting DG and they both have their advantages and their disadvantages. But hands down in a serious SHTF situation at close range the double is king. their is nothing faster handling nothing faster pointing and nothing faster for two shots and in some cases four shots on the planet. For everything else the edge goes to a quality mauser style bolt gun.

You won't find a serious in the know African DG double gun user with a .458 win or similar cartridge in a double. That is quite simply a stupid human trick. Doubles sold in those calibers tend to go to wanna be's who have no idea what they are doing or rifle collectors who have no intention of hunting with said rifle. There are of course a few exceptions to every rule. I tend to see the odd .375H&H in a double in use from time to time.

What never fails to amaze me however, is that some of the most experienced DG hunters on the planet with literally thousands of head of DG under their belts will warn against using certain types of rifles (push feeds and M-700's in particular) on DG yet some tourist hunter is always there to defend their pet rifle simply based on the fact that they own one. It's kind of like a battered woman defending the honor of her abusive husband.;)

PS

When people talk about the expense of a double they invariably mention a Royal or Dominan grade H&H double in the 6 figure dollar class. There are quite a few very useable solids doubles out there for a mere tenth of that price.:D

That is kind of like saying "those sports cars sure are expensive" and then immediately going to the Ferrari web sight to find prices. There are many good sports cars outside of the Ferrari just like there are many good doubles that don't have Holland & Holland carved on their sides.

As far as ammo goes the .470NE is probably the cheapest of all of the NE rounds to feed. that was until this year when Ruger announced the #1 in a .450-400NE and Hornandy will be loading ammo for it commercially.

I reload for my .470 and have the cost "down' to about 4-5 dollars a round. with hunting ammo and about 3 dollars a round for plinkers.

beerslurpy
November 6, 2006, 12:32 AM
Why not 50 bmg? There are bolt action and semiauto 50 BMGs that are plenty reliable and less bulky than the barrett. And there are plenty more in development.

All the emphasis on balky exotics shooting odd calibers seems silly when we have perfectly reliable military arms in a beefier caliber, readily available.

AndyC
November 6, 2006, 07:56 AM
A few reasons I can think of:

1. The .50 is rimless - see the point above re tearing off the rim on extraction.
2. Semi-autos are not allowed for hunting in any African country that I'm aware of.
3. Bolt-actions aren't as fast as a double for a second shot at something bent on eating you - haven't yet seen a .50 BMG double and I wouldn't want to walk all day with one.

H&Hhunter
November 6, 2006, 10:43 AM
Why not 50 bmg?

The .50 BMG is simply not a realistic caliber to use in a fast handling, light weight, well fit rifle that points like a divining rod.

If you ever have the privilege of following up a buffalo or an elephant or possibly a lion in thick thorn jesse, or long grass where the visibility is limited to mere feet you will very quickly figure out why you need a rifle that is lighting fast to shoulder, aim and fire.

Because when he comes, you have less than a split second to either become a swatter or the swatted. Which is why many people who are in the know don't like the M-70 safety, it is awkward and slow to slide off while raising the rifle to make a split second snap shot on something that will kill your sorry butt if you don't do it right the first time.

That is why I like a double. It just like rising with a well fit shotgun. The safety is on the tang and slides off without conscious effort and the gun naturally is pointed where ever you are looking. At close very range the sights aren't even needed just point and shoot, like a shotgun.

To me caliber is less important than the package it comes in. But in general a DG should produce about 5,000 Ft lbs and be .400 or larger in diameter.

beerslurpy
November 6, 2006, 02:25 PM
People just havent put their minds to it yet. There is no reason that someone couldn't make a lightweight pump, bolt or semiauto 50 bmg with a big muzzle break. It might be a bit brutal on the shoulder, but it wouldnt fail IMO. You dont need 1000 yard accuracy in a brush gun so a lot of the features required in a long range target rifle can be tossed aside. If it held 4 moa out to 600 yards that would probably be outstanding, so long as it was lightweight and reliable.

A lot of the problems I saw described in that article never should have happened in the first place. Who the hell still uses a spring loaded ejector anymore (besides the US military that is)? What sane person bets their life on reloading by stuffing rounds in the top of a gun? We've got all these excellent innovations that have been around in the military and self defense field for decades and "sporting" manufactures seem to disregard them.

Honestly I would be happy with something a bit beefier than the 7.62x54 in a saigunov type game rifle- maybe a 458 socom AK made from a rebarreled 223? Reliable and hard hitting. With a long barrel, you could probably get very respectable power from it.

H&Hhunter
November 6, 2006, 10:44 PM
beerslurpy,

You must have missed the whole thing about no semi autos allowed anywhere in in Africa for hunting purposes?:)

The .458 Socom doesn't even come close to making the grade for a DG round.

As far as a massive break on a light weight .50BMG first of all that would redefine the term OBNOXIOUS when it comes to muzzle blast. The darn thing would do serious, permanent hearing damage to any and all hunters and staff within close proximity.

As I've mentioned there is no problem with the rounds currently used for DG. And there are plenty of good rifles available as well. A hunter must simply choose to use one.

Your .50 BMG idea is a solution for which there is no problem. It is fun to dream of these things though isn't it!;)

Dr.Rob
November 7, 2006, 01:29 AM
So what I got from that is... all American rifles suck but CZ will do in a pinch. Don't buy a .458 for any reason.

So the CZ 550 Magnum in .375 is still a reasonably priced and respected rifle for the average hunter?

I'm not planning on being a professional guide.

Oh and there are caliber minimums for dangerous game in most countries... .375 H&H is the minimum.

ArmedBear
November 7, 2006, 12:09 PM
What I got from this:

The bolt action, a relatively slow repeater that dates back to the black powder era and was designed for military use when rifles were for long-distance shooting but bayonets were used for close combat, doesn't suddenly become the best choice for short-range rapid firing when the shooter is being charged by a lion or cape buffalo.

The push-feed bolt action, designed for simplicity and minimal maintenance, doesn't suddenly perform like the more complex and better-engineered controlled-round feed action, which is designed and built to feed reliably, cost-be-damned, when the shooter is under extreme stress. (I have a push-feed hunting rifle I like, but I am aware of the limitations of the design.)

The Mauser action, if and only if perfectly built and maintained, still feeds the most reliably, like everyone has said for the past century (CZ's are Mauser designs, too, AFAIK).

Problems that don't manifest themselves with the .30-06, appear with great frequency when you stuff enormous, high-pressure rounds in the same actions and expect them to work perfectly in hot, dirty, high-stress conditions.

Those who frown on the use of the bolt action on charging dangerous game are right, and have always been right, especially if they favor the quick-pointing, quick-shooting, reliable double rifle.

It's a bummer that double rifles are more expensive than Land Rovers.:)

There's no free lunch.

This was instructive, and thanks for reminding me of the limitations of my boltie. It's important that I do remember, because we, too, have a few dangerous animals around. I'm not going to sell it in disgust, though. I knew about a lot of this stuff when I bought it. I just won't expect a $500 gun to do the job of a $5000 gun.:)

H&Hhunter
November 7, 2006, 02:50 PM
So what I got from that is... all American rifles suck but CZ will do in a pinch. Don't buy a .458 for any reason.


Dr. Rob,

Except the M-70 which is moot point because it no longer exists. The CZ is a solid action that has been ruined by the BS safety that has been put on the newer ones.

The CZ safety issue can be fixed with an after market bolt shroud.

I just won't expect a $500 gun to do the job of a $5000 gun.

Armed bear,

BINGO!!:D

If a guy is looking for a solid reliable accurate double for about 1/3rd the cost of a land rover go get a Searcy PH model in the caliber of your choice. They are the best most reliable double in that price category without a doubt.

www.searcyent.com

redneck2
November 7, 2006, 06:37 PM
Now, I'm just a simple guy, and the most dangerous thing I've had the opportunity to is a white tail deer, but I've gotta get this straight....

every single American made gun is a total piece of crap. Pretty much totally unreliable. I can buy the thing about the .416 Rem. I see that as a disaster in progress. I've never been impressed by Weatherby rifles (I have a Weather shotgun that's great).

Doubles are too expensive. Mausers can't be made to feed well. The .458 Win is a wuss round unfit for chipmunks.

So......if I'm going to Africa, what the heck do I get that spits out more than one round before self destructing???

I assume it's the Searcy listed above. At 10k, guess I'm not going any time soon. Fun to dream though. Kinda sad that the "majors' can't make something reliable.

H&Hhunter
November 7, 2006, 09:39 PM
Doubles are too expensive. Mausers can't be made to feed well. The .458 Win is a wuss round unfit for chipmunks.


redneck2,

The major difference between what Don Heath of the Zimbabwe Professional Hunters Assoc is reporting and what you read about in gun rags is quite simple really.

Don is reporting it how it happened. He's got nothing to sell.

There are plenty of rifles that with a small amount of tuning are fantastic DG rifles. Very few are truely servicable out of the box.

swingset
November 8, 2006, 01:03 AM
Good article, with the exception of this quote:

no country are better sportsmen to be found than in the United States of America, nor does any country posses keener buyers or better men of business, yet in no country is so much worthless rubbish of the (mass production) gun-factories offered for sale.

There's a reason we have such a wide gamut of quality in guns, from the world class to junk.....because even the poorest of our society can and does own weaponry, whereas in most countries, all but the most elite cannot. So, when you're the Earl of Snobhash, and you want a gun you buy a Sachs and Fuchs double gun, not a $279 Savage.

To people who don't live here and understand our gun culture, they see it entirely wrong.

Gun snobbery, meet culture bias.

BigG
November 8, 2006, 09:17 AM
I think Swingset nailed it rather well.
There's a reason we have such a wide gamut of quality in guns, from the world class to junk.....because even the poorest of our society can and does own weaponry, whereas in most countries, all but the most elite cannot. So, when you're the Earl of Snobhash, and you want a gun you buy a Sachs and Fuchs double gun, not a $279 Savage.

To people who don't live here and understand our gun culture, they see it entirely wrong.

Gun snobbery, meet culture bias.

That is an excellent observation. Although the writer's views of the weapons are valuable information, he is a guy who has been in the petri dish of social experimentation too long.

AndyC
November 8, 2006, 10:48 AM
The point is that to hunt dangerous African game, you need the right tools and, for the reasons swingset pointed out, few - if any - are actually made in the USA. Pity - would be nice to own a suitable, relatively inexpensive DG double.

Ash
November 8, 2006, 03:06 PM
The point that really needs to be made, which has been made more or less, is that American rifles are built for American hunting by and large. The largest single block of hunters go after white tailed deer, pronghorn, and elk. For these animals, a push-feed Remington 710 is enough (and I really hated to say that). The numbers of riflemen heading to Africa to hunt dangerous game is small enough that the big companies would not make too much money in catering to them. Custom guys can, but the margins just aren't there for Remington or the like. Sure, there are many fellows who go dg hunting in Africa, but as a percentage of hunters in the US, it is well below 1%.

The dangerous game rifle is such a niche product that it really depends on a niche producer. Grizzly bear is our dangerous game animal, and even it is a very small percentage of total hunted animals. American rifles are more than enough for bear hunts.

Ash

AndyC
November 8, 2006, 07:25 PM
I dunno, I'm pretty leery of those grizzlies - I'd prefer a double for them too :neener: ;)

H&Hhunter
November 8, 2006, 08:00 PM
That is an excellent observation. Although the writer's views of the weapons are valuable information, he is a guy who has been in the petri dish of social experimentation too long.


I have to respectfully disagree. Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries on the planet. Most PH's make very little money. Most shoot what ever they can afford. However the rifle chosen will be a solid, serviceable, reliable rifle for the most part. Rifles that meet that description are getting harder and harder to find. The CZ or the older BRNO are the most common working mans rifle I see over there.


Once again whether it upsets you or not he is simply reporting it as it happened. And the plain simple fact is that most mass produced American rifles fail the test.

These guys are looking at a rifle from a different standpoint than your average deer hunter. If your rifle fails you, no big deal you don't get your deer today. If their rifle fails somebody may well get maimed or killed whether it be a hunter a staff member or worse yet a paying client.

I'd hardly call that snobbery or cultural bias. It's called cold, hard, reality. Sometimes the truth hurts.

Every DG rifle I own is American built. And all of them are rock solid DG platforms. It just takes a bit of know how and fine tuning.

If you go back and read the original article Don never even mentions double rifles. He also warns against English rifles of unknown pedigree and states that not a single one was present.

All of the guns he mentions are pretty much working class rifles. These comments about snobbery and class distinction are totally off the mark. They are completely without foundation

Z_Infidel
November 8, 2006, 11:28 PM
It will be interesting to see how Ruger's new rifles chambered in .375 Ruger are accepted by DG hunters. Controlled feed, shallow-V rear sight with large bead front in 20" and 24" barrel configurations.

Logan5
November 9, 2006, 12:03 AM
I'd be interested in hearing about the performance of the new Winchester 1895 in .405 Win as well. They would appear to represent a significant cost savings in a medium-heavy rifle, but I'm not hearing anything about them shaking the world. I can walk into my local Griffin & Howe, (Hahaha, I love saying that) and they still go for less than half of your typical FN build mauser action .375 H&H (with German scope, to be fair.) Personally I think the new 1895 sights suck, and need a lot of $ in terms of reciever peep installed, but I'm not doing this for money in Africa.

.41Dave
November 9, 2006, 03:59 AM
Every DG rifle I own is American built. And all of them are rock solid DG platforms. It just takes a bit of know how and fine tuning.

What kind of tuning needs to be done?

BigG
November 9, 2006, 09:04 AM
H&H Hunter - I probably was not egzactly clear - I meant most guys with the European outlook also have the view that only nobility should have guns. This comes from conditioning in their school system, etc. I don't know much about Zimbabwe, but I would hazard that they came up under the olde Englishe school system where the poor people are considered less than worthy of owning personal weapons, at least since WWII.

That was what my comment was about. Here in USA everybody can own guns and guns of all prices are produced to suit all pocketbooks. In Britain, only handbuilt guns are available to the upper crust. Your comments about the working class bolt actions are well taken, and I'm sorry that we seemed to disagree. We are in total agreement.

The other comments about American guns are designed for American hunting is right on. We don't need or want to pay for elephant stoppers here. In Rhodesia, you need the big bore thumpers. It's a fact of life.

atblis
November 9, 2006, 12:45 PM
So does 458 Lott make it? I realize it is a marginal step up from 458 Win...

H&Hhunter
November 9, 2006, 12:59 PM
What kind of tuning needs to be done?


On Win M-70 controlled feed gun the following things need to be addressed.

1. If the gun is an SS you need to throw away the plastic stock and re stock it with something that is either aluminum pillar block bedded or a really good synthetic that is properly bedded like a Mc Millian.

If the gun is a wood stocked gun it needs to be properly bedded and cross bolted otherwise it is going to crack especially in larger than .375 H&H calibers.

2. Most guys replace the claw extractor with one made of a stronger stiffer steel.

3. The bolt shroud MUST be checked for play. If it is to loose it must be tightened up. If the bolt shroud is loose the bolt can be slightly lifted with the safety on the full aft position locking the safety on! This is exactly what happened to Keith Attcheson while his wife was being mauled by a buffalo and he couldn't get his safety off on his M-70. She was very nearly killed before the buff was finally shot again.

4. The feed lips must be checked and modified as appropriate so as to make sure the darn thing feeds EVERY time from any angle. Along with the feed lips I recommend changing the follower spring and the follower to the old metal type that locks into the spring head.

5. I've heard of problems with the anti bind rails on M-70's some people modify them as well.

atblis,

Yes the .458 lott makes it because it does what the .458 Win was supposed to do. It will reliably fire a 500gr bullet @ 2150 FPS each and every single time with no compression of the powder.

The 458 win was supposed to replicate the old British nitro rounds IE a 500gr bullet @ 2150. The .458 win has been infamous at producing far less velocity than that in factory rounds. I think the hand loader can make good use of the .458 win however.

Guys being the kind of guys we are (gun nuts) try to make the Lott into a fire breathing super mag. It can push a 500gr bullet up to 2300 + but there is no reason to this. All that does is cause some serious recoil and high case pressure. I load my Lott to about 2150 to 2200 and it is a very reliable consistent killer of thick skinned DG.

Just like my 470 NE. Gee.... It also fires a 500 gr bullet @ 2150. Hmmmmm. There might be something to that.

H&Hhunter
November 9, 2006, 01:28 PM
I don't know much about Zimbabwe, but I would hazard that they came up under the olde Englishe school system where the poor people are considered less than worthy of owning personal weapons, at least since WWII.


BigG,

Thanks for the reply.

Here is an amazing little factoid about Zimbabwe. Citizens can and do own guns in Zimbabwe. Of course it is not nearly as free and easy as it is for us here in the USA. It is still like the old british days where you have to get a permit for each weapon from the local constable. But outside of South Africa, Zimbabwe may well be one of the most liberal gun ownership countries in all modern Africa.

Another thing that amazes me about Zimbabwe is the liberal rules on citizen hunting. They have hunting licenses and hunting areas for common citizens. Hunting is a pretty easy thing to do in Zimbabwe if you are a citizen. I've seen just regular working Joes (both black and white guys) out for the weekend hunting with their buddies. Most are carrying CZ'z in .30-06 or .375. I have not seen any upper crust weapons in Zim in the hands of either PH's or citizen hunters. These guys are all just pretty much serious hunters who want serious no BS rifles.


The reason all of this amazes me is that there is indeed still a hint of the old colonial snobbery with some of the guys of old British decent. But the really amazing thing to me is that any citizen at all can own a weapon considering that the country is now ruled by a vicious, brutal, Marxist dictator who was put into power by non other than the U.N. and Jimmy Carter.

Now you move up to Tanzania and you'll defiantly catch a look at some of the finer "lord Snobershod" style weapons. Gee look ain't that one "Purdy".:)

pete f
November 9, 2006, 02:52 PM
I often wonder what condition these rifles are in.

I just got off the phone with Ahlmanns, for years one of the largest warranty service providers for factories anywhere. I talked to the head of the repair division and asked him how many remington extractors they had replaced, He commented that he knew about 7 - 8 of them in the 20 plus years he was working there. He said all but one were in rifles so filthy that crud had gotten in the slot in the bolt head and provided a fulcrum to crack the part. Makes me wonder what the condition of the rifles he was using was?


Re the Ruger ejector. I just went down stairs and ran empty 375 shells thru mine slamming the bolt back as fast a could and not one falled to kick out, I was slamming them hard enough to actually have a little dry wall repair in the den, but not one of them failed to kick out, small test lot, i agree, but I have never seen a ruger fail to eject unless it was completely fouled with dirt.

Just my two cents

atblis
November 10, 2006, 11:02 PM
First, the one in a thousand thing is what you don't want.

I don't think it's that the Remington extractors break, it's that they fail to perform.

I think there's some other issues, such as figure in some really hot conditions, fire the gun, and then see how it extracts (not in your basement).

Newton
November 11, 2006, 11:16 AM
Puts the .45 versus 9mm debate into perspective don't ya think :D

Great read.

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