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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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    I don't know why 'some' folks believe otherwise. It's often used as an indictment against the hunter or a particular firearm/cartridge.
     
  2. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    How can they be so diametrically opposed though? It's reasonable to suggest that a bolt-action or double have an intrinsic advantage over a single. It's a big enough advantage that I wouldn't even consider a single unless the were extraneous reasons to do so (ex. I already owned a single, I can borrow a single that I am comfortable with, etc.) That's why I'm trying to "quantify" how big the advantage is. And no, it's not as simple as "how much is your life worth", else people would be lugging around quad barreled or semi-auto (where allowed) rifles.

    Now I'm curious. Why not ever African country would allow one, does anyone make a semi-auto chambered for a DG round?
     
  3. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Plain and simple it means that you need to have the skill, the mind set and the equipment to be able to take care of yourself.

    Hunting with a PH is much like mountain climbing with a guide. The guide can show you the best route and give you advice, but you still have to have the fitness level that allows you to summit the mountain whether it be a 14'er in Colorado or Mt Everest.

    I can promise you that anybody who still thinks they can count on a PH to dig their butts out of trouble 100% of the time has never been in a serious close range charge situation where things went sideways.
     
  4. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    As far as I know there isn't a single African country that allows semi autos for hunting. I could be wrong but I don't know of any. Our opinions are diametrically opposed because I've been in a situation where I had to shoot my own way out of a thumping with severe injury or possibly death as a result of failure. I'm guessing that the other guys hasn't.

    That being said you don't need a double rifle. A good bolt gun with right set up for sights is almost as good and more useful for 99% of the hunting/shooting you'll be doing. that 1% when you NEED a double is the time when it becomes invaluable.

    As far as single shots go I wouldn't hunt DG with one. But there are guys who do it.
     
  5. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    This semi-auto is chambered in .505 Gibbs. The Gibbs is an awesome, physically large round. I could handle the weight of this rifle, but not the price. I'm also not sure how proven they are in DG hunting:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    Yeap, that would do it. Thanks again for the additional inputs.
     
  7. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    One of the elements of a good dangerous game rifle, whether bolt or double or whatever is that it needs to be well balanced with the weight in between the hands. It needs to have a fast light feel, despite the weight and it must fit the shooter properly.

    It needs to have a good fast feel for snap shooting. Which is why these gargantuan rifles like the Gibbs pictured above and .50 BMG's are not viable or realistic rifles to be used in true close range DG hunting.

    You could always snipe your elephant or buffalo from a vantage point at long range with one of these but at what point do we remove the "dangerous" from dangerous game? You might as well just rent a helicopter with a door gun and start laying waste to these wonderful animals. There is a huge difference from killing and hunting here.

    I'll use the Mountain climbing analogy. You could charter a helicopter and have them drop you off on all 100 + (or whatever number there is) of 14'ers in Colorado. You could claim victory over the peaks in a matter of days. But that is totally different than climbing them the proper way on foot, suffering the pain and toil and preparing yourself physically and mentally and taking the risks, and having the proper gear to summit these mountains. Only then have you truly gained victory in your quest. Wouldn't you agree?

    Just like elephant hunting or buffalo hunting. The only proper way to do it is on foot at close range after multiple miles and multiple stalks having risked life and limb and sweated buckets in the sub tropical heat. Until you've experienced a close range, ear shattering, heart stopping elephant charge or bumped a lion in the thick brush and come face to face with a hippo, maybe spent some time running for your life you haven't truly experienced what African dangerous game hunting is. You need to work and suffer a bit for these trophies to make them worth while.

    That's my take on it anyway. And it's why I prefer to hunt with an iron sighted heavy rifle. It forces you to work for and earn your animals. Your mileage may vary.
     
  8. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    That makes a lot of sense.

    It actually seems like a couple of the 50 BMG carbines would be well suited for hunting in this case except most are single shot. On the other hand the Serbu 50a seems like it might well fit the bill except it's a semi-auto and probably not allowed in most African countries.

    That brings up a great point. What is a cricket distance to shoot DG?

    Yes, now that you mention it. Would it be cricket to pop an elephant at 200 yards or must the mighty beast be a lot close?

    Yes -- so long as the suffering does not become too intense. up too and including death.

    Good point. I am a big fan of passive/mil red dots myself. Thanks again for another of your great posts.
     
  9. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    Actually, I'm of the opinion that it's dumb to insist on close range shots on dangerous animals. Of course you have to be close enough to pretty much guarantee a fatal shot but I don't think that means you have to get within 20 yards and do a frontal brain shot on an elephant to be fulfilled; I could be just as happy with a less intense 100 yard heart/lung shot.

    I'm also very disenchanted by the "collaboration" that occurs frequently in dangerous game hunting where the PH shoots at the same time or shortly after the hunter who has paid for the hunt. I guess they do that since they are so stupidly close that they're afraid they'll be killed if they don't let the animal have everything they've got from two guns.
     
  10. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    Doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose???
     
  11. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    I keep forgetting to answer this. ;)

    You're speaking of Walter Dalrymple Maitland "Karamojo" Bell.

    He used to pop elephants at very close range with small caliber rifles -- the famous "Bell Shot."

    Bell was either a lot braver or crazier than I am. Probably a bit of both. I have absolutely no desire to apply the "Bell Shot" in an actual safari.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._D._M._Bell
     
  12. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    Firing on a Cape Buffalo (and other game) at 100 yards could still prove to be very "lively" -- especially if one missed on their first shot...
     
  13. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    W.D.M. Bell lived in a time long gone, the rest of us can only dream of a life such as his or others like Frederick Courteney Selous. Those guys literally killed hundreds of elephants, not to mention others. Like J.D. Jones says, you learn a lot from killin'. The men certainly got separated from the boys.
     
  14. luv2safari

    luv2safari Member

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    Kyonch,

    Actually he and I agree in essence; there is nothing that is a better choice than something with two or more fast shots in your hands.

    I wanted to point out there is a measure of mitigation in having back up with big bores.

    Things go south real fast sometimes. Clients often choke when it happens, too, but not usually or as a rule. Sometimes PHs make poor choices, too. Sometimes seemingly perfect hits get little immediate results, as is the case with buffalo more than one would want.

    If I were asked point blank about using any single shot on dangerous game, or even on animals like Gehmsbok and Sable, which have attitudes, I would always say choose a good quality bolt rifle in something you're not afraid of, like a 375, and get to know the rifle and round WELL! Use good bullets like Barnes, Swift, or Noslers.

    The two buffalo I shot with 9,3X74R in my drilling and BBF were ones of opportunity while I was chasing plains game.

    This gets around to something else here, also. Many hunters have encountered a once in a lifetime chance at an exceptional animal, but they were hunting smaller stuff and had some sort of 300 in their hands. I'd tell you to get a 375 and use it for everything while on a combination DG/PG safari. A 416 is also very good for this. Actually, for me personally I prefer a 416 in whatever...Rigby, Ruger, Remington...they are all the same out the end of the barrel. They do shake up many shooters more than they can handle, however. Since I'm old and numb and dumb, I have little problem with them...notice I said little, not "no". :D
     
  15. CommanderCrusty

    CommanderCrusty Member

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    If I was going to hunt big game in Africa, I would bing a digital SLR, probably a Canon Rebel, a couple of long lenses, and a 12 guage Remington Versa Max or SP10 as backup.
     
  16. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    As I said earlier I'll likely purchase something that I find on a used shelf or consignment shelf of a gun shop that fits me well. I have experience and feel comfortable with shooting the 458 Lott/Win Mags. and the 460 Wby Mag so that's my focus. After doing some research I think my first choice would be a 416 Rem. Mag so we'll see what turns up that actually fits in the next couple of months.
     
  17. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Member

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    No, it doesn't defeat the purpose.

    What would defeat the purpose for me is paying a lot of money to hunt an animal and then have someone else shoot it.
     
  18. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    Something in .375 H&H, it will take anything on earth without ever being too much gun and rarely too little. Also I feel anyone can learn to shoot a .375 accurately, once you go bigger than that alot of people can't overcome a flinch.
     
  19. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    To stand at a distance and snipe at "dangerous game" takes the "dangerous" part out of the equation. The whole point of dangerous game hunting is that it's, uh, dangerous.


    Who said anything about someone else shooting it???????
     
  20. Skyshot

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    375 h&h
     
  21. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    This what I enjoy about hunting and hunters. There is no absolute right way to do it. There are some definite wrong ways to do it on dangerous game especially like using an inadequate caliber at close range that stuff can get you killed on the big stuff. But whether you want to get up to danger close range or wait for a 100 yard shot it's all about your preference and how you like to hunt. And it's all good.

    If I had an 80 pounder or a 48" hard bossed bull dead to rights at 100 or even 200 yards in the right circumstances with the right rifle and that was my shot opportunity you bet I'd take it, in fact I have before, you take the ethical shot that you are presented with when it happens, that is how it usually goes down in the real world. I like to get close but it isn't always an option, just like shooting at longer ranges isn't always an option. Depending on where you are hunting many times your only option is to get in close very close Elephants in the Zambezi early season are a prime example of that. So I like to be flexible enough in my skills and equipment to be able to handle anything that comes about.

    Different strokes is what keeps it interesting.

    I do have one question for all of the guys who are unequivocally recommending the .375H&H. How much dangerous game hunting have you done and how many buffalo or elephant have you killed with a .357H&H? The reason that I ask is that the majority of folks who hunt Africa for a time myself included will generally trade in their .375's as a primary rifle for a .416 or some 40 cal + round at some point. And that point is usually after their first ugly encounter at close range with a big nasty. I am just curious if you are recommending the .375H&H based on real world experience or stuff that you've read.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  22. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    I really enjoy reading your postings. The one thing I am absolutely certain of is that I will not purchase a rifle chambered in .375 HHM. While it's a fine caliber with a truly old school heritage it has its limitations as you point out. It's not the "single caliber for all uses" as Internet lore would suggest. I think many, many people who have never shot a big bore at the range, much less on safari have bought the 375 HHM myth. :banghead: (The head banging is in response to posting #2 of this thread.)

    The more I read the more I think the 416 Rem Mag is going to be my first choice. We'll see what shows up.

    I think the same might be the case for CZ rifles. Almost invariably when I read a first-hand safari account where someone brought a long a CZ, they ran into trouble, from trivial to not so trivial. While CZ seems to offer great bang for the buck I am just a little bit weary. That's too bad too because my favorite cartridge of all is the .505 Gibbs and they are one of the few that camber for it.
     
  23. Kyle M.

    Kyle M. Member

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    edit
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  24. luv2safari

    luv2safari Member

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    Kynoch,

    Your choice of the 416 Rem is about as good a choice as you could make for an all around African rifle, IMO.

    I was generalizing about most hunters, when I suggested a 375, as most would handle it better with the jump from little pills out of 30 cals. to something on the low side of big.

    If you handle a 458 Win well the 416 Rem will resemble it quite a lot. It will smack a bit faster, where the 458 pushes hard in my experience, but all things being equal, I don't think you'll find much difference between the two on your end of the rifle. :D

    Had CZ offered the 416Rem, instead of the Rigby, I'd have gone with the Rem hands down.
     
  25. Kynoch

    Kynoch member

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    We'll have to see what shows up. The 458 WM and the 375 HHM are by far (in my experience) the most common DG calibers to show up on used and consignment racks. That makes sense given how long both have been in production. Because the recoil of the 458 WM does not bother me, I would choose it over the 375 HHM.
     
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