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Shooting large powerful rifles

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by guitarguy314, Oct 7, 2012.

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  1. guitarguy314

    guitarguy314 Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
  2. 56hawk

    56hawk Member

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    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.
     
  3. guitarguy314

    guitarguy314 Member

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    Thanks for replying! Now by leaning into it, do you mean before you shoot? Doesn't that throw you off balance?
     
  4. 56hawk

    56hawk Member

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    Here is the general idea:

     
  5. Flatbush Harry

    Flatbush Harry Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  6. Joe_m107

    Joe_m107 Member

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    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.
     
  7. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2012
  8. huntershooter

    huntershooter Member

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    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.
     
  9. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    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.
     
  10. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    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.
     
  11. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    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.
     
  12. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    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.
     
  13. jimwill48

    jimwill48 Member

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    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.
     
  14. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  15. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    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.
     
  16. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    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.
     
  17. guitarguy314

    guitarguy314 Member

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    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?
     
  18. Robert

    Robert Moderator Staff Member

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    The Winchester M70 Safari Express is one heck of a rifle. You can get it in 375, 416 and 458.
     
  19. luv2safari

    luv2safari Member

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    The best advice is NEVER get sloppy! You'll get hurt if you do. :uhoh:
     
  20. TwoEyedJack

    TwoEyedJack Member

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    Two words: lead sled.
     
  21. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Member

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    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
     
  22. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    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...)
     
  23. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    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
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2012
  24. Pete D.

    Pete D. Member

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    Recoil

    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
     
  25. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    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
     
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