Ruger 416 Alaskan

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by lil 2 sleepy, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. lil 2 sleepy

    lil 2 sleepy New Member

    Nov 24, 2009
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    Hi. New to the Forum and wanted to get some experienced veteran's opinions on choosing the right caliber and gun for me.

    I have never been to Africa, but it is quickly shooting up my list of hunting destinations. With that said I am looking to choose a gun that is versatile as well as powerful.

    First saw the CZ-550, and was a little scared on the sloppy bolts you here about. Also saw the Ruger No. 1, but don't like single shots. A few others as well, but most are out of the price range of a gun that I have no immediate need for, except to fuel a desire.

    While searching the net I found the new Ruger .416 Alaskan rifle and have to say have been impressed with what I have read. Before I make the purchase however, I would like to get the opinions on pluses and minuses.


    1. Ballistics look pretty good compared to other cartridges of this class. More than 375 H&H and surprisingly the 458WM, Very similar to the Rem. 416 and the Rigby, but less than 458 Lott.

    2. Rifle cost is exceptional compared to some others. I have seen as low as $750. That is a plus that is hard to overlook.

    3. Ammo price & availability. In the US this cartridge is not hard to get and at $3 a round, it is very affordable to shoot and get a feel for. Also a good enough price to stock up on a nice amount of rounds.

    4. Gun control and Design. This gun has a short barrel (20"), lightweight, short bolt action. All these things make for an easily to handle, shoulder, and fire gun.


    1. Ammo price and availability. This is a proprietary Hornady round. Outside of the US this round may not be available at all. Is it possible to mail rounds of ammunition to a PH in advance of the safari? So long as you don't exceed the 200.

    2. Gun control and design. The gun has a short barrel. I see ballistic charts, but that is useless with 15000 pounds of Elephant on top of you. Will this gun perform? Will this gun knock me into next week, since it is so light?

    3. The fact that I know little about Africa and am probably leaving something important out.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  2. Gloucester

    Gloucester AH Member

    Apr 30, 2009
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    Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, England, Scotland, Norway, Austria
    I think if you are going to go to Africa then it's best to get a proven African rifle. I'm not convinced the 416 Ruger calibre has ever made it as a serious African contender.

    The best evidence for this is to look at the rifle that Ruger actually sell for true big game hunting. Their web site advises that the M77 Mk II Magnum is their rifle for "...hunting the largest and most dangerous game..." The Mk II M77 is only available in calibres 375 H&H, 416 Rigby and 458 Lott; i.e. Ruger themselves don't even choose to sell a true big game rifle in 416 Ruger.

    The Alaskan itself is a lightweight version and I would imagine it kicks like a mule. Rifle weight stifles the kick to a large extent: the Ruger big game rifle in 416 Rigby weighs 9.5 lbs, whereas the Alaskan only weighs 7.75 lbs. Ouch! Also, Ruger advertise the Alaskan stock as being: "...non-slip rubber stock for secure grip in cold wet weather." It's just not an African gun.

    If you haven't yet been to Africa then it might be best to first decide upon the game you will be hunting, before choosing the rifle. If you are going to be hunting Plains Game, then a 30 calibre rifle is likely to be sufficient. If you are going after Dangerous Game then take something bigger - my favourite is the 416 Rigby.

    I think you would be putting the cart before the horse by buying a 416 Alaskan first, because you would then have to design the safari to go with it, which would be difficult.

    Godd luck with whatever you choose.
  3. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

    Mar 18, 2009
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    I have no experience with the 416 Ruger, it may be a fine performer but it just does not do anything for me.

    I assume you are planning on Dangerous game for you first hunt if you are looking at one of the larger calibers.

    Choice of calibers: The 375 H & H, 416 Rigby, or 458 Lott are all good choices. If elephant is on the menu I would suggest the Rigby or the Lott. (I know you can kill an elephant with a 375 but that is my opinion). If you you reload, the Lott is hard to beat because of so many cheap 45 caliber bullets available for practice.

    Rifles: I am not sure about the sloppy bolts on the CZ??? I do not like the factory safety or trigger, but the rifles are pretty rock solid. You can buy one, shoot it for a while, send it to a competent gunsmith and have it upgraded. I use American Hunting Rifles for my work.

    To sum it up: If you reload buy a CZ550 in a Lott, shoot cheap bullets at rocks, cans, and squirrels, have it upgraded, go to Africa.

    Good luck and welcome aboard.
  4. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

    Mar 17, 2009
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    RSA, Botswana, CAR, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya way back when, and a few others that I can't remember.
    I have played with the .416 Ruger and the 375 Ruger and I really like the case and the caliber..It makes into a compact light rifle that you can carry all day in the heat, and I could not tell any difference in recoil compared to my .416 REm and 375 H&H..

    I'd call it a plus and would bet dollars to donuts its future is going to be one of outstanding success..For one thing is get rid of the dreaded belt that so many forum folks seem to detest, however I personally have never found fault with the belt.

    I find the CZs big, awkard and clumsy rifles, but that is only my personal opinion..I like a trim, slim gun stocked in English tradition.

    Also, contrary to popular exceptance I personally have never been able to tell much difference in recoil on any big bore with a 1 or even a 2 pound differnce. All big bores kick btw, recoil is a mental problem to be overcome from practice and lots of shooting not a bountiful addition of gimmics.

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