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You Are Headed to Africa on Safari. Which Big Game Rifle Do You Buy?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Kynoch, Sep 9, 2012.

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Which Big Game Rifle Would You Choose if Your Choice was Limited to:

Poll closed Dec 8, 2012.
  1. Browning Safari (in .458 Win. Mag.)

    13 vote(s)
    9.3%
  2. CZ 550 (in .458 Win. Mag.)

    51 vote(s)
    36.4%
  3. Interarms Mark X (in .458 Win. Mag.)

    7 vote(s)
    5.0%
  4. Kimber Model 89 (in .458 Win. Mag.)

    5 vote(s)
    3.6%
  5. Remington Model 700 (in .458 Win. Mag.)

    15 vote(s)
    10.7%
  6. Ruger No. 1 Tropical (in .458 Win. Mag.)

    12 vote(s)
    8.6%
  7. Weatherby MK V (in .460 Wby. mag.)

    17 vote(s)
    12.1%
  8. Winchester Model 70 (post '64 in .458 Win. Mag.)

    20 vote(s)
    14.3%
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  1. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Sorry but the .45-70 pushing a 420gr LBT at 2000fps or a 500gr at 1600fps is a proven stopper. Even lowly handguns firing heavyweight cast bullets that would be considered anemic by so-called experts will penetrate several feet of Cape buffalo and break bones along the way. Energy means nothing.
     
  2. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    Energy means plenty but it does not matter. I doubt if a PH would be prepared to let you use it on an African Hunt.

    There are few calibres that penetrate "several feet" of Buff, through the chest, when is is charging you. I do not have experience of the 45/70 and Buff so would have to bow out here. What kind of bullet would this be?
     
  3. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Google is your friend. If you don't know anything about the .45/70, then how can you comment?
     
  4. Andrew Leigh

    Andrew Leigh Member

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    I said I had no experience of shooting a 45/70 at a Buff, you obviously have and I would be keen to hear your experience rather than your snotty remark.

    Weather it fits your paradigm or not the .375 is probably the most popular big game calibre in Africa and for reason. Many use larger but it is not deemed necessary unless you are a PH and you need to undo some poor shooting QUICKLY, it helps to have something with real whack. To get back to the OP's original question he was coming to Africa. You can shoot nigh everything with the .375 while not having to endure massive recoil. Ammo is readily available
     
  5. Manny

    Manny Member

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    The thing that surprises me about this thread is that hardly anyone wants ANY type of .458, which is what the whole poll was built around. By far the most mentioned cartridge was the .375 H&H. Despite mega love for magnum cartriges for most hunting, it looks like when you get to the real big boomers there are significantly fewer folks who are interested in dealing with the real big dogs...
     
  6. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    A .458 Winchester magnum isn't sexy enough and might hurt your shoulder. I think much of the above is code for you couldn't drop a dik-dik with a .458 because it'll make you flinch too much or is too weak. feh
     
  7. texas chase

    texas chase Member

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    I just fired a 458 win mag for the first time last weekend. It was a commercial action and the rifle was built in Austria. Interesting but not my thing. I voted for the winchester model 70 but if it was me, I'd go with the 375 personally. It'll do everything
     
  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Most consider a 458 as an underperformer and actually prefer the 375,416, or several others. The 45-70 is quite a bit less powerful even in its best loads and is marginal at best. You may find a hard time finding a PH that will even let you use it.
     
  9. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    To answer someone's question, the game will be Cape Buffalo. I have long owned a well-prepared Remington Model 700 BDL in 300 Win. Mag. and a Remington 870 12 gauge that will also be making the trip.

    I listed very specific rifles and calibers because they are guns I have actually seen for sale used or on consignment at LGS's within about 150 miles of my house. The 375 H&H and 416 Rigby are both excellent rounds but my focus is on either the 458 Winchester or Lott Mag. or the 460 Weatherby Mag. I have shot all three a fair amount, feel comfortable with all three and have access to reloading resources for those calibers.

    In the end my choice will be made by whatever ends-up fitting the best, "swinging" the best and costing the least. I am surprised at the popularity of the CZ. While CZ does provide excellent value I am intrigued both at the number of votes they are receiving and their excellent availability. Thanks.
     
  10. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    Very good observation Manny. Both the 375 and 416 are legendary rounds. And for good reason, they get the job done and have for decades. But I asked about specific rifles in specific calibers for specific reasons. I wonder how many respondents have actually hunted or even shot a 458 Win or Lott Mag. or a 460 Wby Mag more than once or twice? I have shot all three (plus the 375 H&H) many times and feel comfortable with all four. That's one reason why I didn't ask about a caliber recommendation. I know what I want from my own actual experience.

    The problem is that I don't always have the opportunity to shoot (or in the past, shot) what mounts nicely at the LGS, hence my posting.
     
  11. cadjak

    cadjak Member

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    SAKO AV 375 H&H with a Kahles Helia C 1.1-4x24mm w/ German #4 reticle. Lightweight, custom Rimrock stock. Africa trip was cut and the rifle has been in the safe ever since. :uhoh:
     
  12. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    I have never shot a 458 Winchester Magnum.

    I have a CZ 550 Safari Magnum chambered in 458 Lott and I really like it. Though I think it will do more, the only thing I ever shot with it is a rabbit.

    I have never shot a 460 Weatherby Magnum but have lusted over one for a long time. I do have a 378 Weatherby Magnum. When I got the latter, I was a bit surprised about how nice the trigger was, how trim and pretty the stock was and how accurate it was. Do to my experience with my 378 Weatherby, I voted for the 460 Weatherby.

    I have several more potential choices for buffalo guns; a 375 JDJ and a couple of 375 H&H Magnums. From what I already have though, if I were going after buffalo with a rifle, it would probably be with the 458 Lott. If I were going after one with a handgun, it would be a 460 S&W Magnum.
     
  13. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    I have two friends who have regularly hunted Africa (each over 13 times)- for a plains game hunt, anything from 243 to 338 is taken. For dangerous game, one uses a 458, the other uses a 416 - these are for elephant, rhino, hippo, buffalo, etc. Neither would be bringing a sidearm or a 30-30. IF birds are on the hunt, then they would both be bringing a 12 gauge O/U; otherwise, 2-3 rifles depending on what game is being hunted
     
  14. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    It's nice to hear from someone who actually shoots the big bores. Rifles chambered for the 458 Lott are great because they can accommodate both the 458 Lott (essentially a necked-out 375 H&H) and the 458 Win. Mag. shells.

    As you infer the Weatherby 460 is nothing to be afraid of, nor will it necessarily cause a flinch. The 460's recoil in my experience is considerably more than the 458 Lott but it's certainly not punishing to me.
     
  15. finnwolf64

    finnwolf64 Member

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    I'd be interested to know what country in Africa allows handgun hunting for dangerous game?
    I voted and recommended a CZ( although in .375H&H, cause thats what I own). The reason I bought a CZ was they are based on a Mauser action (crf), they are accurate, they weigh a bit more than the other rifles(so recoil less), & they are well priced. That said, any of the makes of rifles you list will work, although I would not want to hunt dangerous game with the single shot Ruger.
    A lot of the guides I've met in Africa carry CZ's or old Brno's.They seem to be the workhorse rifle in Africa. The last guide I used in Zimbabwe carried a CZ in 416. He used this rifle for guiding & hunting elephant, but if you want a 458 go for it & buy one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  16. WoodchuckAssassin

    WoodchuckAssassin Member

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    Aside from your caliber selection, I would think a reliable action would be first when considering a Safari rifle. The CZ’s and the Winchester are the only 2 on the list that have controlled fed (mauser 98) actions. In what could turn into a life and death situation, I wouldn’t want anything other than a controlled fed action – it simply takes away a few things that could go wrong (like a frantic double-feed or broken extractor). Of THESE two rifles, I would take the CZ. It’s a little heavier than the Winchester, and will recoil less…not by much, but every little bit helps. Happy Hunting!
     
  17. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    South Africa, Mozambique and I think Botswana and Zimbabwe but I could be wrong on the later two. There may also be others. In fact, I believe there isn't even a minimum caliber requirement in Mozambique; it's between you and your PH.

    As for the controlled feed thing, I think it would probably only be necessary if you were upside down and maybe not even then.

    There is another factor to consider with current airline baggage fees. There is no way you're going to get a couple of long guns on an airplane without being charged oversized baggage fees unless the guns can be taken down. That might be a reason to consider a Blaser R 8 which you can get in 458 Lott or a Blaser R 93 which can be had in 375 H&H Magnum and 416 Remington Magnum. They might seem expensive until you start paying oversized baggage fees each way and on multiple legs then maybe not so much.
     
  18. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    The post-1964 Model 70's do not have controlled "claw feeds" to my knowledge. Push feed rifles were long used in something even more dangerous than big game hunting -- namely combat, so I am definitely not ruling them out.

    Depending on what I end-up with, I'm also not ruling out a red dot sight. It would have to be a combat-robust/non-battery unit like the Trijicon Acog Reflex but the days of "express sights only" because of reliability concerns seem long gone to me.
     
  19. SHR970

    SHR970 Member

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    I already have a Rem 700 AWR in 375 RUM. Unless I am going to a country that has a minimum bore restriction of .400 or greater, I see no reason to get anything bigger. I have more than enough energy on tap to do the job....even of the quarry is a Mack Truck.:neener: Even then, my 45-70 Marlin with the right loads is capable; since I am very familiar with it my confidence and my shot placement are not going to be an issue.
     
  20. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I voted for the Browning Safari simply because I have a Browning Safari in .375 H&H, and the stock dimensions are as near perfect for me as anything I've ever picked up. It wears a Leupold 6x42 'scope simply because it fits me so well that a lower power isn't required - I raise it to my shoulder and it's dead on - and the 4.5" of eye relief guarantees I won't get a brow cut even if I'm shooting quick from a less than perfect position.

    This is an older rifle - something over 30 years old - and is no longer made, so my comments may not translate to any of Browning's current offerings. It has a Sako-type extractor, but has never hiccuped, and yes, it will even feed reliably upside down. Action is very smooth, and with some custom work (some by myself, some by a local gunsmith) it's a fine safari rifle, having accounted for lion, hippo, a couple of Cape buffalo, and various other game.

    With a .30 caliber rifle, a .375 actually makes more sense to me unless elephant is your primary large game; a .375 is regarded by some as marginal for Jumbo, but it's on the right side of the margin and has accounted for a LOT of elephant. IF I were going to .458, I'd go right to .458 Lott. As a handloader, I probably wouldn't load it up to maximum, but it should be easy to equal or exceed the .458's original advertised performance in a shorter, handier package with rather low chamber pressures . . . and you always have the option of using standard .458 ammo in a pinch.

    Of the rifles you list, I would not consider the Remington (I question the extraction system), the Ruger (single shot) or the Weatherby (low mag capacity, poor stock fit for me, and heavy recoil.) Plus, if your rifles arrive but your ammo doesn't you have SOME chance of finding .375 H&H or .458 Win ammo in Africa; finding .460 Weatherby would be like winning the lotto.

    Two rifles, shotgun, handgun . . . better check the law, it used to be the US only allowed three guns per person when leaving the country. And that's a LOT to lug around. I think you're allowed 5 kg of ammo total, and many African countries severely restrict handguns and some types of shotgun actions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  21. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Yet they've all been taken with the .44Mag. :rolleyes:
     
  22. gunner69

    gunner69 Member

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    I vote +1 with Manny. I have a CZ550FS (full stock) in 9.3x62 a caliber which has been killing large game for over 100 years in both Asia and Africa. If I do my part, with this old slow heavy bullet, NOTHING walks far if ever. My Jager Instructor in German introduced me to this caliber in the 1980s and I am still impressed. He had a log book that he entered each and every kill and it was as thick as a dictionary. It does not have to kick like hell and blaze a trail to the target to kill effectively.
     
  23. lefteyedom

    lefteyedom Member

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    If you are hunting game that can kill you. Then question of which caliber is a little mute. You are going to carry something big enough to get the job done. There are plenty cartridges that will handle the great beast. Yes, I do believe that my lowly 338 Win Mag with 250-300 grain bullets could dispatch any animal on the face of the Earth. Yes I am aware of the legal restriction that will prevent me from hunting Elephant with my 338 WinMag. ( Laws against Bank robbery which is the only way I will every afford to hunt Africa)

    The important question to me is the fit of the rifle to hunter. Can the hunter, under great stress, shoulder the rifle and hit an animal charging at close distant at speeds of 30 miles? Animal standing broadside at 100 yards is not much of a challenge compared to teeth at 10 yards.

    A 375 H&H that handles like the deer rifle the hunter has used all his life would be a better bet than 460 Weatherby (or the like) he is not truly comfortable with.
     
  24. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    I don't think the question of caliber is ever moot unless one actually has no choice in the matter. I wouldn't sacrifice proper fit for a chosen caliber unless unless the caliber was inappropriate for the intended application or again, I had no choice in the matter.

    We can all construct scenarios to try and sell our preferences. A 460 Weatherby that handles just as good as any 30 caliber to someone who has owned and shot it for years would be a better bet than a CZ 550 chambered in 375 H&H that the individual never touched before.
     
  25. DM~

    DM~ Member

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    ASSUMEING the Winchester mod 70 would be TODAYS production M-70 rifle, that is the rifle i'd pick from YOUR choises, but i really wouldn't want it chambered in .458.

    DM
     
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