1st Traditional Dangerous Game Rifle

Trout Tracker

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Good morning gang! This same topic may be elsewhere on the site, so my apologies if I haven’t yet found it. I’m wanting to obtain a traditional DG rifle for hunting Cape Buffalo. Currently I have a 45-70 Marlin, using 500 gr. Buffalo Bore Barnes solids. Recoil is significant, but it’s worth noting that I’m not a big guy. 150lbs and 5’8”. I’ve been to Africa 3x and will be going back, God willing, in August of 2021. There are so many choices, sizes etc... I don’t know where to begin. I will admit to being a blue collar guy, so I don’t have 5 figures invest in a rifle. Currently my safe is stocked with a few Remington 700’s, TC Encores, a few Marlins... nothing exotic.
I’ve been following your site for awhile now, and know that you could offer some valuable advice. I don’t dislike my Marlin, it’s done an amazing job on Buffalo and a Giraffe- more importantly, it’s what I could afford and still follow some of my dreams. At some point in my future I’d like to be in Africa with something a bit more traditional. Thanks for your help!
 

Timbo

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There's just so many which fit being a "classic" calibre for Africa, the first (in the modern, smokeless powder, sense) being the 450 Nitro Express that was marketed in 1898 - but this calibre is in the preserve of double express rifles. However you can pick up a nice Ruger No.1 in 450/400. Then there's the 404 Jeffrey which enjoys a BIG following of devotees here on AH. As stated by others, the 375HH is another great calibre, but some light-framed hunters find the recoil a bit punishing. Two "classic" calibres around the 375HH mark are the 9.3x62 and 9.3x64. Cases for the 64 can sometimes be a problem, but both are "classics" with the 62 being the legal minimum for DG. The 9.3x62 was highly recommended by John "Pondoro" Taylor in his heyday, and I've taken cape buff with my FN bolt action.

All the calibres I've suggested wont hurt your wallet, nor your shoulder. (y)
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Take a look at a 375 Ruger. Does everything the H&H does, in a more economical rifle. A Ruger Hawkeye African can be had for under $1,000.
 

USMA84DAB

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I second the .375 Ruger - mine is the Alaskan. Synthetic stock helps dissipate the recoil due to flex and generous recoil pad. .30-06 length action is lighter and less expensive than magnum actions. Mine has a Leupold Vari-X3i 2.5-8x36 on it - nice and light with adequate magnification. Buds has them new for $1K when in stock. I got mine used (with the scope) for $750. Hope this helps.
 

Forrest Halley

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I'd go .458 of cheap practice projectiles. Whether you go .458 WM or Lott is up to you. Other than that it's a .375 H&H for brass and cheap projectiles to practice with. The CZ seems to get the best vote around here.

Of course truth be told, I am a Ruger No. 1 fan and have a .375 H&H and a .458 Lott.
 
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Tanks

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Ruger No1 Tropical in either 375 H&H magnum or in 450/400. Read the Craig Boddington threads on this beautiful and classic little rifle.

Why would you use a single shot for DG, especially the minimum caliber for it? Yes, I know everyone here are dead shots never needing more than one round for any animal, but stuff happens.
 

Forrest Halley

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Why would you use a single shot for DG, especially the minimum caliber for it? Yes, I know everyone here are dead shots never needing more than one round for any animal, but stuff happens.
Because I'm a revolver guy and I've got a pretty amazing reload muscle memory. I've killed two destin the same engagement with an Encore. I'm not going to worry about it.
 

Standard Velocity

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I’m about your build and a 375 H&H is comfortable for me to shoot. Ammo is not cheap but it is less expensive than most other dangerous game rounds. The 375 is more versatile than some of the larger diameters as it is still useful at 200 yards and has less recoil than a 416 Rem.

I second the VX3i 2.5-8 scope. Cheap, lightweight and performs well in good light.

Old FN’s, Husqvarnas and Interarms are not terribly expensive. New CZ and Winchester options are easy enough to find.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Why would you use a single shot for DG, especially the minimum caliber for it? Yes, I know everyone here are dead shots never needing more than one round for any animal, but stuff happens.
Tanks, if the alternative is a double, you have a point, but if you are talking bolt action My amateur take is that one needs to factor in unreliability due to feed and extraction problems. I am no expert, in fact a novice compared to you guys, but I read these posts thoroughly and there are heaps of instances of problems with bolt actions. For example, the recent saga of the current model CZ550's posted just the other day and jamming rounds. Then at the range I have personally witnessed bolts with feeding issues on three separate occasions, and the same thing on a hunt. Then in the local reports on the annual Learner PH qualifying shoots, more problems are outlined. My own double has also given some problems (more on that later). But with my Ruger No1 it is just down to time, and thats probably narrowed to a second or two difference to the admittedly faster bolt actions. Time aside, the confidence level of it all working otherwise is extremely high with the No1. I have never had a feed or extraction issue but trimmed the safety tang nevertheless, as advised on AH. Then finally, I am pretty familiar with the Ruger and shoot it well, I am not a big framed person and it fits well and I can handle it So if the rifle is up to snuff for all the preceding reasons I am probably going to do my part most of the time, one shot and all!
 

curtism1234

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I'm about to say something very unpopular...

If you have a few 700's, might as well get another in 375. They just made a special run of sps for like $600 or there are various gunbroker options. Yes, they are pushfed
 

Standard Velocity

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I'm about to say something very unpopular...

If you have a few 700's, might as well get another in 375. They just made a special run of sps for like $600 or there are various gunbroker options. Yes, they are pushfed
A 700 with a Sako or AR extractor modification is pretty reliable from what I’ve read. For that matter Win 70 push feed rifles had a couple of different extractor designs over the years. I think they all had more surface area than a stock 700.
 

machinistbutler

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If you like the 45/70 and the 375 doesn't float your boat you could pick up a 458 win mag or a 458 Lott. You have bullets that could be used in those calibers already. Recoil is stout with heavy 45/70 loads, so I doubt you would have a problem with the bigger cased 458's in a properly set up bolt gun.

A good part of the fun of planning for a hunt is buying a new rifle anyways!

Share with us what you decide on!

craig
 

chashardy

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Winchester Model 70 Safari Express in 375 H&H with a Leupold 1-6X24 scope. New out of the box you will be at about $2200 for that setup and you can hunt almost everything in Africa with it. There's a reason it's called the Rifleman's rifle.
 

Tanks

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Tanks, if the alternative is a double, you have a point, but if you are talking bolt action My amateur take is that one needs to factor in unreliability due to feed and extraction problems. I am no expert, in fact a novice compared to you guys, but I read these posts thoroughly and there are heaps of instances of problems with bolt actions. For example, the recent saga of the current model CZ550's posted just the other day and jamming rounds. Then at the range I have personally witnessed bolts with feeding issues on three separate occasions, and the same thing on a hunt. Then in the local reports on the annual Learner PH qualifying shoots, more problems are outlined. My own double has also given some problems (more on that later). But with my Ruger No1 it is just down to time, and thats probably narrowed to a second or two difference to the admittedly faster bolt actions. Time aside, the confidence level of it all working otherwise is extremely high with the No1. I have never had a feed or extraction issue but trimmed the safety tang nevertheless, as advised on AH. Then finally, I am pretty familiar with the Ruger and shoot it well, I am not a big framed person and it fits well and I can handle it So if the rifle is up to snuff for all the preceding reasons I am probably going to do my part most of the time, one shot and all!

Bolt actions are reliable if one takes care of them and is using a quality rifle. Heck, we have fought several wars with them. A great majority of big game hunts world wide are done with bolt action rifles. In regards to CZs they do have a reputation for being unreliable out of the box, hence why there are companies out there that make a living tuning CZ rifles. I would not judge double rifles based on Sabati (sp) experience, and you should not judge bolt actions based on factory CZs etc.. I'd also submit that learner PH qualifying shoots in Zimbabwe are not done with the most reliable rifles and ammo. Not to mention there are more PHs using bolt action rifles as the rifle to backup a client than double rifles from what I have seen.

Because I'm a revolver guy and I've got a pretty amazing reload muscle memory. I've killed two destin the same engagement with an Encore. I'm not going to worry about it.

But, we are not talking about you, are we? The OP is looking for his FIRST big bore rifle.
 

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