Which caliber for me?

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by FFemt5287, Oct 30, 2009.

  1. FFemt5287

    FFemt5287 AH Senior Member

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    I'm looking for my first "Africa" worthy rifle. I'm planning to get there in 2011 for cape buffalo to start what I hope to be a long love affair with hunting the great continent. If I follow suite with my firearm buying habit I've kept up for the past few years, I should be able to purchase 2-3 big bores by the time I head over the Atlantic. I would ideally like to start out with a CZ 550 Safari Magnum and order it in the next week or so. I would also love to get my hands on a double rifle in an N.E. chambering eventually, probably a few years off, though. My choice of the CZ is based upon its Brno 602 lineage, CRF, and extraction mechanism. The triple express sights and high (for cartridge) capacity, 2 position safety, and set trigger sweeten the deal more. The price is very reasonable (roughly $1000).

    My conundrum is over caliber. The .375HH would be the most versatile, I would think, as an African cartridge. However, I've a love for .40+ cartridges (carry a 10mm concealed every day), and feel the .416 Rigby or .458 Win Mag would make me feel a bit better when its between me and an angry cape buffalo. The .458 Win Mag gives me 5+1 capacity versus the Rigby's 3+1. The ballistics and weight of the .458 projectile seem more appealing to me. I have no idea of the availability in African countries of the .458, but I'm assuming the Rigby is bountiful.

    Ultimately, I believe I will be ordering the .458 Win Mag. Is my above reasoning sound? Any and all information is greatly appreciated, as I am totally new to this game of dangerous game and African hunting in general.

    Thank you all in advance, and I apologize for the long winded post,

    Brandon
     
  2. nitro476

    nitro476 AH Member

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    Hi there,

    After a few African hunts, I will say that "your thinking is good". I have shot some Buffalo with a 470 nitro as well as with a 375 Dakota and a 458 Lott. Each buffalo shot died quickly and each received the "insurance shot". The choice is actually yours. Why not buy the CZ 550 mag in 458 Lott? You have a superb cartridge that is definitely a "fight stopper" and in a pinch, you may use 458 Win ammo. Have a gunsmith look over the CZ and I would be certain it has the crossbolts in place as these rifles have a tendency to break stocks. I am also not fond of the factory trigger and this can be changed for a very low price. Finally, be sure the rifle feeds properly and the money it will cost to have the action and feed rails polished is well spent. Good luck.
     
  3. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    +1 on the Lott for the same reasons mentioned above, a little more velocity, a little less pressure, plenty of room in a CZ action for the Lott. Plus if you reload, the 550 grain Woody's will work better with that extra .300 of case length.

    Out of the box the CZ are pretty rough.

    American Hunting Rifles - CZ Owners

    Call Wayne at AHR. They are very good and for a little over a $1000.00 extra you can have an ultra dependable big bore with a great trigger, better sights, bedded etc etc.

    The 416 Rigby is also a great choice.

    Do not get too hung up on availability of ammo in Africa. Chances are your ammo will arrive. If not is luck of the draw but either the rigby or Lott/win should be available in most places just very expensive.
     
  4. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    I have used most of the big bores on Buffalo and they all do about the same thing..Very rarely do you kill a buff in its tracks, and if you do its a fluke..This business about knockdown power and the famous "stopper" is comical IMO...

    I have found that any caliber from 9,3x62 to be an acceptable Buffalo rifle under any circumstances. In my opinnion the 40 calibers are the best all around with a 300 gr. monolithic at 2700 FPS plus, and a 400 gr. at 2400 FPS and even a 450 gr. bullet at 2400 FPS if you prefer is almost impossible to beat and I prefer it to the .458 by a long shot....

    The 416 Rigby is balistically a very good round, but my problem with the Rigby is you need such a large bulky, heavy, action for it..You can use a std. Mauser 98, or pre 64 Win action with the 416 Rem, 416 Ruger or even the 404 Jefferys and have a lighter, trimmer, handier gun..and in the Africa heat on a 15 mile walk, that is a one big plus IMO..

    In a double rifle my two favorite calibers are the 450-400-3" or 3.25" no matter and the 450-3.25, and in that order. I have shot so many buffalo and a couple of elephants with with the 450-400 that I am its greatest fan..BTW that includes 3.5 charges on buffalo and the 40's stopped them cold.

    For what its worth. :)
     
  5. FFemt5287

    FFemt5287 AH Senior Member

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    After looking at the two .458's, I'm starting to side with all of you on the .458 Lott! Seems like this will be the rifle I order, although I'm not a big fan of the straight stock:
    CZ-USA -> CZ 550 American Safari Magnum

    I'd like to get my hands on it now in order to get as much time behind the rifle as possible before entrusting my life to it. Like most weapons I use to defend my life with (my carry handguns especially), this will get upgraded for 100% reliability and flawless functionality. As with my carry handguns, even 1 failure in 500 rounds is unacceptable to defend my life with.

    I like the AHR packages. I'll do some more research on them and put together who/what I'd like to do to the rifle as funds become more available. First on the list looks like crossbolts if the rifle doesn't already have them. Can anyone confirm or deny the presence of crossbolts on this model??

    I do reload, which will make ammo for practice more easily attainable for me, and I like to tweak my loads to individual rifles. Heavy bullets are my preference, so the ability to use the 550 woodleigh solids as opposed to 500's at the same velocity REALLY pushes me in the Lott direction.

    The reason I ask about availability of ammo in Africa is because if the opportunity arises, I would LOVE to live in Africa rather than visit. Whether that's now or during retirement (IF I'm ever able to retire!) is another story!

    Thanks for all the info!

    Brandon
     
  6. BETO

    BETO AH Senior Member

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    cz550 safari magnum kevlar 458lott

    dear friend

    I hunt buffalo to 10 years in one of the most dangerous in the world that is the island of marajó the state of Pará / Brazil, I use a CZ550 Safari Magnum in 458LOTT kevlar stock, I am very pleased with this rifle, with bullets of 350grains you can shots to 300 meters in small antelopes, buffalo for I have been using Hornady bullets or DGS and DGX of 500Grains also Barnes 500Grains banded solid, I have other weapons to hunt buffalo more what I really like is the LOTT!

    butts of kevlar HSPrecision are great for all regions of the world!

    good luck on your purchase!
     
  7. BETO

    BETO AH Senior Member

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    like to make one more comment about calibers for hunting buffalo,

    I have followed many friends in hunting buffalo and I've seen everything, I see many hunters choose to gauge how the 375HH, 9.3 x74R and others who use bullets of 300grains if your shot does not leave much perfect the skill transfer of energy is not sufficient to prevent an escape or an attack, I have seen good shooters with rifle exceedingly reaching their buffalo several times and not having the intended effect, I have seen buffalo with 8 shots of 375 to flee to the forest and after hours of searching still get an attack as the animal had not been reached any time! already with calibers as 458LOTT, 450 Rigby, 460weatherby, and 500 "or more rarely a buffalo can stand more than two shots.

    always use the larger and heavier caliber you can shoot! if you hunt alone like me, your life may depend on it!

    ammunition costs a lot cheaper than a doctor!

    sorry my bad English
     
  8. christophe morio

    christophe morio SPONSOR AH Enthusiast

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    Hi FFemt5287

    As a PH I use a 458 lott (zkk602) and 500 Jeffery for back up. They are both great caliber. As a hunter I shot buffalloes in Ivory cost, Burkina Faso, Benin, CAR, Zimbabwe and Tanzania with many differents calibers, from 12 gauge to 500......
    Most of the buffalloes are killed with 375 HH. But if you go for 40 caliber, go for 416 rigby or 458 lott, you can shoot everything with both of them ( from duiker to elephant ).
    One thing you should remember when you hunt buffalo, get as close as you can to get your shot.
    Enjoy your hunt
    Christophe
     
  9. FFemt5287

    FFemt5287 AH Senior Member

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    Thanks to all for your information and suggestions. Ordered my CZ550 American Safari magnum (the one I linked above) in .458 Lott today! :cloud9:

    Already thinking about my next big bore! This is going to get addicting........ In the meantime, while I'm waiting, I need to go buy a new gun safe as all of mine are full already!
     
  10. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    Congrats on a fine rifle purchase!!! Did you order the Kevlar or woodstock? If wood stock then it will have crossbolts. Also, when you get the rifle in, there will be creep in the trigger. You can adjust that yourself with no problems. I did in my 550 Safari Magnum and made the trigger A LOT better. Also, it should have the Pachmayr pad on it. They are really nice too and mitigate a lot of recoil.

    CZ does offer gunsmithing services through their custom shop for about any rifle you order. Haven't had anything done with them so can't comment on quality of work.
     
  11. FFemt5287

    FFemt5287 AH Senior Member

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    I ordered the field grade walnut stock. I did verify with my smith that it is double crossbolts before I ordered it through him. Any benefits to having mercury recoil reducers put in? I'm not recoil shy by any means, but this is a whole new game to me.
     
  12. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I had a mercury reducer put in my CZ 550 and don't regret it. I think anything to reduce the recoil is a good thing.
     
  13. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    I don't know about the mercury recoil reducers. Mine is a 375 H&H with field grade stock and weighs enough it really tames the recoil well. But, it ain't got the umph that 458 Lott does either. :D
     
  14. FFemt5287

    FFemt5287 AH Senior Member

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    Just picked her up! I'll post pictures either tonight or tomorrow. Thanks for all of the suggestions, everyone! :geek:
     
  15. FFemt5287

    FFemt5287 AH Senior Member

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    Well, got the call from my gunshop today that my CZ AND my Weatherby were in! CZ 550 American Safari Magnum in .458 Lott and Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic in .300 Win Mag. The Weatherby is awaiting a Leupold VXIII 4.5-14x50 as soon as the rings and bases come in.

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  16. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    The 458 Lott is a real killer for sure and a more than acceptable caliber for all that walks in this world..However the Lotts recoil is severe in every since of the word IMO, therefore I have always favored the 416 Rem and 404 Jeffeys..but you can always load the Lott down to a 500 gr. bullet at about 2100 FPS and have a real killer, less recoil and plenty of gas to spare and at very low pressures indeed..

    The Lott is what Win. should produced in the first place. Its always easier to load one down than it is to load one up.
     
  17. Alcornoque

    Alcornoque AH Senior Member

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    Your thought are aiming in the best direction. The CZ 550 is such a good and reliable gun and the price of it is even better.
    There are some well known gunsmith the work a lot with this CZ action to make fine custom rifles. I think is a good option for you to buy.

    Regarding the caliber, in my point of view, if I were you I would rather buying a 416 Rigby or 375 HH. Both calibers are much more versatile than than 458win.. 458win is good and lots of PH use it, but for what you want I recommend you 375HH or 416Rigby.

    I never heard anything bad regarding the 416 Rigby, everyone loves this caliber, but I have heard a lot of bad things about 458win... apparently this caliber has some problems with penetration.

    If you are not afraid about recoil buy the 416 Rigby, its also versatile and kicks buffaloes hard enough... in my point of view the recoil of the 416Rigby is not that hard.
    And going further if you buy 416 Rigby use the Norma PH bullets, 450Grains of premium bullets (woodleigh soft and solids) ... you can not get something better.

    If you can spend some money just customize a CZ 550 in 416 Rigby, and you will get a lifetime rifle.
     

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