Shooting large powerful rifles


PDA






guitarguy314
October 7, 2012, 11:07 PM
Hey guys,

So I've become infatuated with elephant (powerful, large bore) rifles and stories about old safari Africa.

Anywho, I got to wondering, what does one need to do differently when firing a large elephant rifle (.375 H&H, 458 win. mag., 450 NE etc.) as opposed to firing say an AR or an AK?

Also, for those of you who own these kinds of guns, which caliber/rifle do you like best? I keep hearing 375 H&H is enough, but I feel like if I were looking for a gun this size, I'd go all out.

Thanks guys,

L

If you enjoyed reading about "Shooting large powerful rifles" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
56hawk
October 7, 2012, 11:16 PM
The most important thing is to make sure you have the rifle tight against your shoulder. Leaning into it is also good with some of the bigger rifles. I can shoot my 458 Lott like it's a normal rifle, but I'm a lot more careful with my 460 Weatherby. I've actually had the bolt handle cut my hand when I got too relaxed one time. Also it helps to shoot standing up. Sitting down and shooting off a bench can really hurt.

guitarguy314
October 7, 2012, 11:32 PM
Thanks for replying! Now by leaning into it, do you mean before you shoot? Doesn't that throw you off balance?

56hawk
October 8, 2012, 12:10 AM
Here is the general idea:

ycEmhen0HNk

Flatbush Harry
October 8, 2012, 01:43 AM
If shooting from a bench (and you'll probably want to do so to sight in), sit up reasonably straight with a slight forward lean, hold the rifle tight against your shoulder, have a good cheek weld, and let the recoil push you back somewhat. Importantly, ensure you have 4-5" of scope clearance or a ride to a good emergency room for brow repair.

If you have done a good job of bore sighting you should be able to sight in with 6-9 shots. Thereafter, you'll want to shoot standing, with shooting sticks, or sitting. I recommend against prone until you've become quite comfortable with the rifle and then only if an alternative field position just won't work for you. I've found rifles up to .375 H&H eminently controllable and reasonable to shoot; beyond that, I find recoil increasingly unpleasant. BTW, I'm 66 but reasonably experienced. A .375 H&H from a 9+ lb. rifle generates on the close order of 40 ft-lbs. of free recoil, approximately twice that of a .30-06. When I first got my .375 H&H (a Rem 700 XCR II), I put a B&C stock of Weatherby design on it to help with recoil, I also used handloads with 260gr Nosler AccuBonds over 63.0gr of IMR 4895...good starting loads per my Nosler manual. For comparison, my match .30-06 loads use 168 or 175gr bullets over 47.0gr of IMR 4895. After getting used to the 260gr loads with 63gr of IMR 4895, moving up to full loads with a 300gr bullet was not a big step. YMMV.

FH

Joe_m107
October 8, 2012, 05:25 AM
I live and hunt in Alaska. I use a Sako A5 chambered in 375 H&H for moose and eventually Grizzly.

I avoid shooting from the bench except when necessary. I also can't comfortably shoot it from the prone.

The biggest difference I make when shooting it is I sling wrap almost every time I shoot. The sling pulls the rifle tighter into my shoulder and reduces the amount of muzzle rise. The rifle has kissed my brow only once, and it was when I neglected to wrap up.

Kyle M.
October 8, 2012, 06:20 AM
I've got a ruger No.1 in .375 H&H and don't find it being uncontrollable. I'm good for about 20 rounds in a shooting session, after that it gets to be a bit much. I have heard that once you get into the .416's, .458's, and bigger the recoil gets heavy enough that your average shooter just can't shoot them well. I can shoot my H&H just as good as any other rifle I've owned, and better than some I just can't do it all day and shooting it from the bench is ok as long as I keep it to 20rds or less. I also do not have to have a deathgrip on it, I hold it just like I would an AR, AK, or other smaller rifle. I actually shot some 3" 12 gauge slugs through my baikal sxs last week and they kicked alot more than my .375 H&H.

huntershooter
October 8, 2012, 06:59 AM
The only "stopping rifle" I own is a .450 Alaskan (400 gr. Barnes @ 2300 fps).
Load development/sight in from the bench was an endurance test.
Shooting offhand (especially at game) was not bad; forward stance, good cheek weld, as said.

StrawHat
October 8, 2012, 07:36 AM
IF available, a standing rest helps with the large bores. I have fired afew of the larger ones and found that offhand was the most comfortable way to handle recoil. Followed by sitting, as in on the ground, with the knees up and elbows on the knees. With the 475 Jeffery, I was very nearly overturned but my accuracy was better than offhand and I could still manage to get off the second barrel accurately and quickly.

Kyle M.
October 8, 2012, 08:16 AM
IF available, a standing rest helps with the large bores. I have fired afew of the larger ones and found that offhand was the most comfortable way to handle recoil. Followed by sitting, as in on the ground, with the knees up and elbows on the knees. With the 475 Jeffery, I was very nearly overturned but my accuracy was better than offhand and I could still manage to get off the second barrel accurately and quickly.

I also have found that sitting in the position you describe isn't too bad, I just sort of roll with the recoil and don't get the snot beat out of me.

jmorris
October 8, 2012, 09:03 AM
I don't own any of the elephant guns, I skipped over them and built a 50 BMG. Double the power of the 460 wetherby mag and the ammo costs less.

El Tejon
October 8, 2012, 09:29 AM
Bend your front knee, put most of your weight on it.

Get your elbow up, way up. Contact=control.

Move your thumb to the same side as your trigger finger so you don't crack your nose like a noob.

Double up on hearing protection, plugs and muffs.

Twist your hips in your stance (like Warrior 1 in yoga) and ensure that you are leaning into the weapon.

Close your mouth (yes, really). I have seen dipwads open their mouths or even stick their tongues out and end up bleeding even AFTER I tell them that they look like 7th graders that have just failed math. Nothing funnier than seeing a moron jump and a down saying "Eye bit meye tonnnn!"

You want to shoot an elephant? Why not ask a PH? I'd want something big, throwing a 500 grain bullet at least. Think heavy. You want a heavy, in weight, rifle.

I've shot a lot of big stuff but what I really hated was the .378 Weatherby, nasty. Won't do that one again. I think it is 75 ft/lbs or similar; think the original weapon was too light.

jimwill48
October 8, 2012, 09:35 AM
Never had an issue with my .458. Find it easier on the shoulder than a 12 ga Slug load. Just hold tight, lean in a bit. From the bench, again hold tight, but don't lean in stay straight. If you need to, put a small sand bag between you and the gun. I've shot 40 or more rounds from the bench with no issue. Also no one says you have to shoot full power rounds all the time. Load down. My fav is a 405 gr Cast at about 1400 fps. Recoil no much more than a 30/30 in a heavy rifle.

Robert
October 8, 2012, 10:10 AM
I own a Winchester M70 in 375H&H and have shot 404 Jeffery and 470NE. The 375 is a pussy cat. I get a good tight grip with my front hand and pull it in to my shoulder, back hand tight enough but not too tight and I lean in just a bit. Easy. From the bench is not too bad, but not something I want to do a ton of.

Kyle M.
October 8, 2012, 11:24 AM
I own a Winchester M70 in 375H&H and have shot 404 Jeffery and 470NE. The 375 is a pussy cat. I get a good tight grip with my front hand and pull it in to my shoulder, back hand tight enough but not too tight and I lean in just a bit. Easy. From the bench is not too bad, but not something I want to do a ton of.

Just out of curiousity how bad is the recoil of a .470 NE? I've heard everything from it breaking collarbones, causing concussions, and detaching retinas, all the way down to people who say it's not too bad. I've also seen videos of people shooting .470 NE doubles and they were making it look easy. I've always wanted to shoot one but have yet to find anyone nearby with one, I also don't have tens of thousands of dollars to go spend on a nice double. Though I know I'd like to.

Robert
October 8, 2012, 07:19 PM
I know a guy that can litterly double tap with the 470NE. It is not terrible if you know what you are doing. He gave me a quick lesson, told me to use the back trigger first to avoid a double, and turned me loose. After 5 or 6 rounds I tend to get a head ache but man is it fun.

guitarguy314
October 8, 2012, 10:39 PM
Thanks for the info guys! Just to be clear, I don't hunt anything (let alone elephants haha). I just like the...mystical qualities that large rifles seem to have. If you were going to buy this sort of rifle today, what would you look for (model/caliber) assuming a double is a bit out of your budget?

Robert
October 8, 2012, 11:10 PM
The Winchester M70 Safari Express is one heck of a rifle. You can get it in 375, 416 and 458.

luv2safari
October 9, 2012, 12:00 AM
The best advice is NEVER get sloppy! You'll get hurt if you do. :uhoh:

TwoEyedJack
October 9, 2012, 12:47 AM
Two words: lead sled.

lefteyedom
October 9, 2012, 01:06 AM
Go down to your local pawn shop and buy a single shot 12 gauge.
While you are there buy a box of slugs
Once you are home cut the barrel down to 19".
Fire a few slugs out of the 5-6 pound 12 gauge for the "feel" of an elephant gun.
The whole project will cost you less than the $150 bucks for one box of 460 Weatherby
http://www.midwayusa.com/product/381693/weatherby-ammunition-460-weatherby-magnum-500-grain-hornady-full-metal-jacket-box-of-20

Used Single shot 12 gauge $89.00
Box of Federal Slugs 4.00
Hack Saw $7.00

Getting the snot knock out you .......Pricele$$

For every thing else there Master Card

MachIVshooter
October 9, 2012, 01:09 AM
Two words: lead sled.

Yup. If you're gonna bench a gun north of .300 Mag, you want a lead sled. I used regular old sandbags sighting in my .375 Ultra, and I paid for it.

One tip I'll add that I haven't seen yet: Watch how far up the grip your hand is. With heavy recoiling rifles, your trigger finger can get whacked pretty good by the bolt handle, and if it's knurled, you may lose a little skin (ask me how I know...)

Kyle M.
October 9, 2012, 06:11 AM
Thanks for the info guys! Just to be clear, I don't hunt anything (let alone elephants haha). I just like the...mystical qualities that large rifles seem to have. If you were going to buy this sort of rifle today, what would you look for (model/caliber) assuming a double is a bit out of your budget?

As robert said theres the M70 safari, also check out cz's 550. Theres also the ruger No.1 which can currently be had in .375 H&H, 450/400 3" NE, and .458 lott, in the past it's been chambered in .416 rigby, .416 remington, and I believe at one time .404 jefferey. Reloading is your friend with any of these. Or you can buy this and I can stop drooling over it every time I go in that particular store.

http://www.jaquas.com/gunlist/Details.asp?StockNumber=113227&StockTemplate=0

Pete D.
October 9, 2012, 09:21 AM
I have three rifles that are heavy kickers: a Model 70 in .375 H&H, a Ruger #1 Tropical in .416 Rigby, and a Handi-Rifle for hot 45-70. loadings.
From the bench, which I have avoided since sighting them in, I put a 25 lb bag of lead shot between the gun stock and my shoulder. Normally, when I sight in a rifle from a rest, I do not hold the front of the gun; I use my free hand to position and hold the stock to my shoulder. With any of the rifles in question, I use the free hand to grasp the front of the gun around both fore end and barrel for maximum control. Mostly, though, I shoot these guns standing or sitting on the ground. As noted in other posts, the stock is tight against the shoulder, thumb out of the way and mouth shut, face tight to stock and I hold the barrel and fore end the same way as noted above. I usually shoot a box of twenty without too much wear and tear. Leaning into the shot is important; these powerful cartridges will knock you back a step or two pretty easily if you don't.
I remember my son - a grown man at the time - shooting the Ruger Rigby for the first time from a seated position on the ground. No lean. The recoil rolled him right onto his back.
Pete

Kyle M.
October 9, 2012, 09:35 AM
See what you did, you started this thread about big rifles and caused me to go shoot my .375 H&H No.1 last night.:D

musicman10_1
October 9, 2012, 10:08 AM
I am in the same boat as the OP; I love reading about safaris and dream of going to Africa. I also love the big bore guns and have a Ruger No. 1 375 H&H in stainless and I just got a Marlin Guide Gun in 45/70. I really want something in .458 Lott and would love to take a shot with a 470 NE Double Rifle.

My 375 packs a punch with hot loads and shooting offhand is the way to go.

Kyle M.
October 9, 2012, 10:38 AM
I am in the same boat as the OP; I love reading about safaris and dream of going to Africa. I also love the big bore guns and have a Ruger No. 1 375 H&H in stainless and I just got a Marlin Guide Gun in 45/70. I really want something in .458 Lott and would love to take a shot with a 470 NE Double Rifle.

My 375 packs a punch with hot loads and shooting offhand is the way to go.

I've been considering another No.1 this time in .458 lott, but I'm also considering the .450/400 NE. I got started in this whole safari fascination from Peter Hathaway Capsticks books.

SaxonPig
October 9, 2012, 01:31 PM
I wish I knew a secret to controlling heavy recoil. Fact is I get the snot kicked out of me with my big rifles.

I find the 375 H&H to be right on the limit. I can deal with it but it's not fun. I own the 45 bore rifles because they are beautiful and I feel like I should have some big rifles but I don't enjoy shooting them with full loads.


http://www.fototime.com/4B23862FAB641C8/standard.jpg


With this 458 Ruger I can't even imagine full power loads. It would be brutal.


http://www.fototime.com/5D85446A9D079AF/standard.jpg


This custom built 460 isn't as violent as the Ruger but gives a Hell of a shove.


http://www.fototime.com/52A6D986C20B9E0/standard.jpg

Kyle M.
October 9, 2012, 01:42 PM
I personally would say start with the .375 H&H, if thats not enough work your way up. I think you will find that even though the H&H isn't as big as the big bores it's about as much as most people can handle, without a lot of practice. Also that .375 H&H ammo is expensive and it just gets pricier the bigger you go, I've also noticed a big price jump in reloading components going from the H&H to say a .416 rigby, .450/400 NE, or .458 lott. For example. I can buy 50pcs. of .375 H&H brass for $50 and 50 300 grain SP's for $22.49, for the .400, .416, and .458 it jumps to $40 for 20 pieces of brass and $40-$50 for 50 400 or 500 grain bullets. For factory ammo your looking at $50+ a box for .375, and $120+ for anything bigger. I don't think you will let yourself down if you buy the H&H it's a fine 100 year old cartridge with alot of history, versatility, and power. The price of ammo kept me away from the .375 H&H Ruger No. 1 that I've dreamt of since I was 15, but in the 7 years since then I've learned to reload and that helped make my dream a reality.

guitarguy314
October 9, 2012, 07:16 PM
Yes. *wrings hands* My evil plan is working. Soon everyone who reads this thread will be forced to go out and shoot their incredibly fun big bore rifles. *evil laugh* My plan has always been to start with a 45-70 lever action rifle. After that, a .375 sounds perfect. Thanks for commenting guys!

Hizzie
October 10, 2012, 03:06 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=614570

I love my 458! If you already own a 45/70 skip the 375 and go straight to 458. You can build your own loads to your recoil tolerance using .458 45/70 bullets. Trail Boss or 5744 can be used for powder puff loads for fun. I'm still happy with Remmy 405gr RNSP's @ 2200fps.

luv2safari
October 10, 2012, 09:03 PM
If you're afraid of big thumpers to the point of ruining stocks in Lead Sleds or loading down to powder-puff loads...don't get one. You'll never use it as intended, and you'll spend a lot of money better spent on something that is within your comfort zone.

As I get older I have sold off my 458s and 416s, and I now shoot nothing bigger than a 375 Wby in a great old FN action Sako and a pre-64 Mdl 70 375 H&H.

Also, if you sight in without holding the rifle in your hands it will shoot a lot differently when you get into the field and have to make hunting shots. The only way to get dead on zero for field use is to have your hand under the forend where you would ordinarily, and have the butt firmly against your shoulder. ;)

Andrew Leigh
October 11, 2012, 02:24 PM
I like to have the front knee flexed as I lean into the shot a little. This allows the body to "rock" and move "over" rear leg which acts as a pivot, absorbing the recoil, the body then naturally returns to the original position ready for the next shot. Try it without a rifle.

Standing up straight tend to take you off balance which requires require re-adjustment for the next shot.

DON'T be scared but don't be cocky. Don't fight recoil, roll with it.

Njal Thorgeirsson
October 11, 2012, 02:29 PM
I have three rifles that are heavy kickers: a Model 70 in .375 H&H, a Ruger #1 Tropical in .416 Rigby, and a Handi-Rifle for hot 45-70. loadings.

Pete
How does the Handi rifle with hot loads compare to the .416 and the .375? I've been thinking about getting one of those .45-70 handis if I happen to find one used for a good price. Also, is it reasonably accurate?

Mr. Completely
October 12, 2012, 01:00 PM
Take a 10 guage double, load it with 3 1/2 inch magnums and pull both barrels!That will also give you an idea of a large powerful rifle! And ammo is not as expensive.

Cosmoline
October 12, 2012, 01:33 PM
From my experience with Alaskan big bores (not African), the worst offenders are smaller rifles. So the lightweight Mossberg slug gun firing Brenneke magnums is absolutely unforgiving. But the CZ 550 in .375 is a pussycat (though not on the wallet!). With African rifles, though, you're kicking it up several notches and have huge rifles firing VERY potent rounds. So the rifle not only kicks hard, it's gigantic. That makes the recoil issues not just irritating but potentially shoulder-dislocating. Personally for a true Elephant gun I'd want plenty of yoga practice and I'd work my way up to full power loads.

45crittergitter
November 6, 2012, 07:14 PM
My experience with rifles in .416 (Taylor & Rem.), .378 Wby., and .458 is that none are exactly painful, but you get all you want pretty fast. If you want to hunt with them from a tree stand, be darn sure you're stable before firing. My main advice is if it's scoped, be very sure you have adequate eye relief. I wouldn't consider anything with less than 3.5" as you hold it. 4" is better.

CharlieDeltaJuliet
November 6, 2012, 07:24 PM
I do not shoot the "hunting" big bore calibers as much as the 50bmg, 416, and 375 Chey-Tac, but the main thing I have learned over the years, is double up on hearing protection. I agree with Pete D. About not holding the forearm of the rifle. I rest mine on bags or their bi-pods. I like to load the bi-pod with my shoulder, leaning just enough to put forward pressure on the rifle. Other than that, squeeze,grin, and hang on. They are a blast to shoot(pun intended). If I could afford too, I would be shooting my 50 everyday...

Flatbush Harry
November 6, 2012, 09:20 PM
I recently acquired a Rem 700 XCR II in .375 H&H Magnum and replaced the factory stock with a Bell & Carlson Medalist Sporter in Weatherby profile (I liked the idea of the Monte Carlo and the cast-off to help manage recoil). I took it to the range on Saturday for initial sight in after mounting one of my Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40 scopes and bore sighting it.

To begin, if you want to get the sight in right, you have to do it off a bench. I used my Caldwell Rock Front Rest, a nice rabbit-ear rear bag filled with heavy sand and, given the temp was just about 60*F, I wore a vest which freed my arms but gave me a little extra padding over a shooting shirt with a minimal shoulder pad. I'm an experienced shooter (and NRA instructor) so I:

1. made sure I had the buttstock firmly placed against my shoulder
2. had a solid cheek weld on the Monte Carlo (I had carefully adjusted the scope for a 4-1/2" eye relief and good sight picture with that cheek weld (a Tipton "Best" Vise is a good investment, as is a good set of Wheeler scope mounting tools and screwdrivers)
3. had a low bench seat so I could maintain a reasonably upright position with a slight forward lean and a good range of motion to absorb recoil
4. did a function test standing, even though I have shot heavy caliber rifles before to reacquaint my self with the recoil

Now I had prepared 60 rounds for test plus another 20-round box of Federal Premium with 260 gr Nosler AccuBond bullets. While one of my pals said these are great Cape Buffalo loads, I look at them as Elk/Moose/Brown Bear Loads.

Once I got to work, I quickly found that my 67.5gr of IMR 4895 under a 250gr Sierra GameKing was a great load that produced 0.67" 100-yard 3-shot groups. By end of test, my 69.0gr of RL 15 powder under a 260gr Nosler AccuBond produced several 3-shot groups slightly over 0.425" or 0.4 MOA groups. My .375 H&H Magnum is officially one of my three most accurate rifles...and a pleasure to shoot.

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j126/flatbush_harry/sc01c8757d.jpg
I'll quickly admit that the .375 H&H kicks...it's got about twice the recoil of my Savage 116 or Win M70 .30-06s. I was pretty tired by the end of my 40-round test and didn't get to my box of factory loads. The good news is that, with a 0.4 MOA load, I never have to play at the bench again. I will confine my further practice to my shoooting sticks and field positions. If you use good field positions with a .375 H&H or larger, you'll be able to manage with a solid shoulder fit, a good cheek weld, good scope clearance and reasonable forward lean with flexed knees.

The .375 H&H will take any game on earth if you do your job...you really won't need bigger.

Cheers,

FH

justice06rr
November 7, 2012, 02:23 AM
Interesting responses. I have not fired anything larger than a 7.62x54 Mosin M44 and a 12ga Shotgun Slug, but both of those have pretty hefty recoil.

How do those compare to the recoil of larger calibers like 458 and 375H&H?

Also i'm somehow infatuated with a .338Lapua Magnum Rifle (would love to own one someday). Is that considered a large powerful rifle like the others?

Thanks in advance.

finnwolf64
November 7, 2012, 02:44 AM
I own a CZ in 375H&H which is a heavy rifle that helps absorb recoil. When initially sighting in & testing ammo from the bench I was left with a sore shoulder after firing 40 rounds in one sitting.
I don't notice the recoil when hunting with this rifle & would say if you are confident with shooting a 30-06 you will be fine with a .375 H&H.
All my friends have had a few shots from my .375H&H & they all remark that they thought it would kick more than it does. As others have said, you can't get sloppy with your form & must hold the rifle correctly otherwise it will bite you.
I've since rechecked grouping using different types of ammunition, but this time with a lead sled. I found the lead sled is the way to go if sighting in or checking different ammunition off the bench.

Pete D.
November 7, 2012, 08:33 AM
Njal:Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete D.
I have three rifles that are heavy kickers: a Model 70 in .375 H&H, a Ruger #1 Tropical in .416 Rigby, and a Handi-Rifle for hot 45-70. loadings.

Pete
How does the Handi rifle with hot loads compare to the .416 and the .375? I've been thinking about getting one of those .45-70 handis if I happen to find one used for a good price. Also, is it reasonably accurate?

Sorry to be so long responding. The recoil of the Handi rifle is not on par with the .375 or the .416 in terms of free recoil. What does make a difference with the Handi- is the recoil velocity of the gun. Since it is about three pounds lighter than the either the Model 70 or the #1, it takes less to make it come back fast.
The recoil vel. of the Ruger shooting 400 grain .416s is about 21fps; the recoil of the Handi shooting hot 45-70s (350s at 1900 fps) is about 19 fps. So the chart tells me. Sure feels like it. So "felt" recoil is brisk.
Accuracy was acceptable, though, I was mostly testing it for function/recoil tolerance...shooting only at 50 yards. No group sizes to report.

Njal Thorgeirsson
November 7, 2012, 11:21 AM
^ I've definitely decided on something large bore as my next purchase- I just can't decide between a .45-70 handi, or ruger no1 in .458 lott. Certainly a large price (and quality) difference.

I have fired a number of rounds through someone else's rem700 in .300 RUM. Can anyone relate the recoil of the .300RUM to .375h&h, .416, .458 or other large bores?

Robert
November 7, 2012, 07:53 PM
12ga slugs in a pump gun like a 590 kick harder than my Winchester Mod70 375H&H.

If you enjoyed reading about "Shooting large powerful rifles" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!