When have you needed your "back up" gun...

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by gxsr-sarge, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. gxsr-sarge

    gxsr-sarge AH Veteran

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    I was just reading a thread where a lot of advice was given regarding bringing a second rifle as a "back up gun". I was just curious as to some stories where any of you have had to use your second rifle due to some mishap, etc. involving your primary rifle (whether in Africa or elsewhere).

    I only brought my 375 H&H during my DG hunt last year (shot DG and plains game) and I'm contemplating bringing only a 404 Jeffery for my next DG in 2015. Maybe your experiences will change my mind....
     
  2. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I will be taking two rifles this summer, but only because my boy is going along this trip. I used one rifle on all my preceding 6 safaris and never gave it a second thought.
     
  3. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Enthusiast

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    although both the 375 and 404 are both fantastic calibers ,IMHO if taking one rifle I would suggest the 375 as it will give you better longer shooting options than the 404

    however I could not think of a better 2 rifle selection for Africa than the 375 and 404.

    regards
     
  4. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    On my last trip, I took 3 rifles, one of those for my son. The other two were a .300WM and a .375H&H. I didn't need to, just wanted to. What I did need was an extra scope. I'll always have one more scope than rifle on future trips.
     
  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    The only time I have used me second rifle was by choice, not by necessity.
    Loaned one out, while I used the other.

    It is nice to have a caliber choice.

    I have used a loaner before and trust my Outfitter to provide a decent backup gun if I really need one. (Check though)

    I'll knock on wood now.
     
  6. Paw Print

    Paw Print SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Just check, but your outfitter should have a loaner available in case of some mishap.
     
  7. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    I always take an extra rifle.
    I have never needed it.
    I have loaned it out to a friend which needed it once.

    It is better to have one and not need it that to need it and not have it.
     
  8. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    This.

    Right, so I'd have to say "it depends". Plains Game? Well, I KNOW my PH has a spare rifle. And perhaps I'm not as concerned about PG since the ranges are likely from 70-300 yards.

    But DG? Yeah, I darn well might just bring a spare rifle.

    In all my years of shooting (appx 35 years...and I'm 44 years old) I've never had a rifle fail me. Sure, I've had a few mis-fires...but a rifle and and unto itself fail me? Nope. I've used Rem. 7's, Win Pre-64's, many thousands through a Rem. 541...I've had my revolvers screw up (ejector rod back out causing some agony over getting that fixed in the field) but...

    Nope. Never had a rifle fail. I mean, FAIL. As in, broken firing pin...linkage, whatever.

    In the end this is all a game of "cost vs. consequences". My last deer hunt I brought one rifle, five rounds. Yep, my Merkel K1 and just 5 rounds. Granted, I grabbed the wrong box of ammo when I left but still. I fired one round, dropped a pig. End of story. Rifle did just fine.

    If I'm going to Africa (gee, isn't that what this site is about?) and I'm hunting PG, well, my first question to the outfitter is whether or not there is a back up rifle available. Crap happens, rifles get lost, ammo gets lost. Is there a contingency to handle it? Generally, yes.

    But DG? That kind of changes the game. The need for familiarity with ones tools is critical to success...and in some cases survival. I have a Montana 1999 in .375 H&H in the safe...but if I was going on a DG hunt I darn well might pack a spare rifle in case something went wrong with my Montana. Sure, that Montana has never misfired or failed but it could happen. The real question is whether or not I'd like to face DG with an unfamiliar rifle.

    In that case, nope. i'd likely want a familiar back up. On the other hand that brings to question if I actually was familiar with a rifle enough to trust it.

    I suppose in a perfect world the ultimate answer would be two identical rifles of the same caliber. No need to swap ammo or learn anything new. Just a perfect back up.

    Yet the world isn't perfect.

    So, for today, I have one .375 H&H...no back up. It's claimed one deer. And fired about 400 rounds. I'm confident it will work when needed. Of course, Life is what happens when planning goes to pot...
     
  9. gxsr-sarge

    gxsr-sarge AH Veteran

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    Interesting... I was expecting to hear sad stories of how stocks cracked, rifle falling muzzle first into the dirt (and you without a snake or cleaning rod in the field), scope rings came off, airlines damaging guns or losing ammo, firing pins broke, etc.... (by the way, I always take a gun snake into the field).

    My DG list for next year includes tuskless FOR NOW (I know about the US ban), buffalo and croc. I acquired the 404 mostly for the elephant. I'm also planning on heading down to Chifuti's Neunesti (sp?) area in Southern Zimbabwe for some more PG. My curiosity stems mostly from whether I should bring a backup to my 404 as my DG rife - i.e., also bring my 375. I LOVE my 375 but for PG, would rather take my 300 Win Mag with a longer scope. My 375 shoots great -- I shot baboon in a tree across a river bed with my 375 at about 175 yards but kinda wouldn't mind taking the 300 instead of the 375 just for the sake of variety.

    I'm waiting to hear "war stories" that will persuade me to take my 375 as my "backup"...

    Thanks
     
  10. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Two times I have experienced the need of a back up gun.

    First time it happened, it happened to me. The wooden stock cracked, but sadly I didn't notice till after I missed a huge Fallow stag when taking a shot that should be easy.
    I didn't have a back up gun with me then, but it for sure made me to always do it whenever I travel a few hours from home to hunt.
    I did my best to glue the stock together and readjusted the scope, but I didn't feel sure about it for the rest of the hunt. And it cost me 1 1/2 days of hunting.
    The gun got a composite stock when I came home.

    Second time it happened was for a friend where his gun suddenly could not hit a barn door when we hunted Moose and Roe deer in Sweden.
    Didn't matter how much we tried to adjust the scope and tighten all screws, the shots went all over the place.
    We thought it was the scope or the scope mount, but we could not do anything with it during the hunt, but luckily for him, I had brought a back up gun he could use for the 5 days that was left of the hunt.

    My friend also had a very close call on another hunt in Sweden once, where he managed to leave his bolt on the car roof and we drove some kilometers on gravel roads before we stopped and he was SO lucky that the bolt was still on the roof.

    When I went to SA to hunt PG in 2011 with a gun I made sure the outfitter had a loaner and just brought one gun.
    On a DG hunt, I tend to agree with rnovi and would most likely like to bring my own back up gun, but that also depends a bit on what loaner the outfitter/PH would have available for me.
     
  11. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Sarge,

    Knowing your situation and what you're going to hunt I think I'd personally take that itty bitty win mag as my second rifle, just to save your shoulder... ;) In all seriousness, you know Richie wil have a good back up rifle and the 300 will be perfect for everything else. I would also bet that you won't even need to have someone carry the 300 while you are hunting the big stuff. You'll be able to shoot an opportunity shot with the 404, then switch once you move down south for PG.

    I'll say this too. I know you're already a really good shot, but after you take the SAAM course I will bet that you come away surprised at now far out you can comfortably reach with that 404.

    Take the 300, or another option is to bring me and I'll carry the 375 AND a shotgun for you, while you take the 404 and the 300. I'm making a really good offer.... ;)
     
  12. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Oh, and the only failure I've ever had in the field was the gas leaking out of the scope and the scope fogging up. I had no back up.... I just carried the gun for the rest of the weekend while hoping that it wouldn't be fogged when I needed to shoot....
     
  13. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Sarge,

    A little irony here....the two rifles I used on the hunt I just returned from this week were a 404 and 375. The 375 is scoped giving me an option on DG. It has QR mounts if I want to use open sites.

    After the DG hunt with Nyamazana, I went to RSA and hunted with Bos en Dal for plains game and used the 375. On a PG hunt in Africa (in my experience) the PH will probably never let you take a shot beyond 300 yards. Probably nothing much beyond 200 yards. Ballistics on the 375 are more than adequate at that range. My recommendation would be to take the 375 so you have the option on the DG hunt but the choice is obviously yours.

    Back to your first question. I have had a scope malfunction. With heavy rains during a Colorado bear hunt two years ago an o ring on a 37 year old scope decided to give up the ghost costing me a bear in the last 15 minutes of light. I noticed fogging earlier in the day and if I had brought a second rifle would have swapped them out.

    Hope you have a fantastic hunt.
     
  14. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    My stock on my 300 Win Mag cracked last time in Africa, Ishould have had a back up gun. It made shooting quite interesting the rest of the trip.
     
  15. Rob44

    Rob44 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Being your typical Wealthy American I always bring two rifles to hunt with,,one over the Top Fancy Inlaid Jeweled Action,with a Show Grade Bastogne Walnut Custom Made Stock and Lizard Skinned Covered Scope,not sure what Caliber it is ,along with a Clunker to shoot myself with if I drop the Fancy one.:)
     
    tarbe likes this.
  16. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Besides the wooden stock that cracked for me when hunting, I have also experienced it once on the shooting range with another gun.
    This has really made me leaning more towards synthetic stocks and I have that on most of my rifles now even if I think wooden stocks look better.
     
  17. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Yeah, I bought a premium synthetic stock when I got home.
     
  18. gxsr-sarge

    gxsr-sarge AH Veteran

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    Done, you can be the rifle sherpa.... LOL.

    I kinda like the idea of bringing a backup SCOPE and a roll of duct-tape instead of a second rifle.

    I guess that my field testing of the 404J over the course of the next year or so will determine my comfort level. If it's a real consistent shooter out to 200-250 yards, then I'll just take that one and roll the dice on taking a second. Though some of these experiences have me still thinking about it.
     
  19. gxsr-sarge

    gxsr-sarge AH Veteran

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    Wheels

    Congrats again on the new development re your elephant trophy!

    I also plan to mount a QR scope on the 404J. My 375 already has one on QR rings but I've never touched them as it's a 1/2MOA shooter and I don't want to mess with it!. I plan to use the 404 with open sights for my DG hunts. I was originally planning on mounting something like a 1x4 or 1x6 scope on QD's on it "just in case" I had to take a longer or harder shot on that "have to get" trophy. However, now I'm thinking about mounting something a little more versatile that has a nice low range (1.5x or 2x) up to a 10 or 12x. This should cover most of the hunting situations.
     
  20. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Dgxr-sarge,

    I only take one rifle each time (or, none at all for one particular trip**).
    (**Used a loaner that was to my liking/Brno ZKK .30-06 and 220 grain round nose bullets)
    All my rifles, for Africa or otherwise, now have iron sights so, after my first Safari, I no longer carry a spare scope either.
    Perhaps if I were planning to hunt with any outfit that had no spare rifle for me in the event of my rifle failing, I might bring my own spare.
    So far I have only hunted with two separate outfits and they both had decent spare rifles among their possessions.
    The more stuff I have to carry with me to the ends of the earth, the less fun I have on a trip.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     

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