A Push Feed Rifle Or A Control Round Feed Rifle?

Discussion in 'Articles' started by Kawshik Rahman, Nov 18, 2019.

  1. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    As l read many of the excellent discussions carried out on African Hunting forums , l see that there is one topic above all others , which is the most passionately debated among my respected forum members : Is a push feed rifle superior to a control round feed rifle , or is a control round feed rifle superior to a push feed rifle. A little prologue is requisite here . A control round feed rifle is one which has a mauser type extracting claw device, while a push feed rifle lacks any such mauser type extracting claw device . I would like to express a word of gratitude to fellow forum members , Mark Hunter , Shootist43 and Hoss Delgado for helping me learn many of the appropriate terminologies used here. Without their assistance, my article today would be far more grammatically incorrect than it is now . I would also like to add that every photograph used in this article is my personal possession and therefore mine and mine alone. Finally , before we commence , l would like to request my dear readers not to treat anything l have written here as authoritarian. I do not consider myself to be an expert on the subject , and far more experienced and well gentlemen contribute to these forums than l , with a greater deal of knowledge . I am merely laying out my own personal experiences and things the way l personally perceived them to be at the time. If l have made any error in my writing , please forgive me and do not hesitate to correct me as l always consider it a privilege to be enlightened by the more knowledgeable .
    Let us begin dear readers .
    Below , l have complied a small rough count of the general consensus on these forums which took me two days to make a count :
    At least 423 forum members here are vocally outspoken critics of the push feed mechanism for dangerous animals. .
    At least 264 forum members here are very vocal proponents of the push feed configuration.
    In order to make a fair assessment of each configuration and it’s benefits and weaknesses , we must firstly , avoid making any blanket statements to generalize one configuration as being superior to the other or vice versa .
    During my career as a professional Shikari in Darjeeling, India from 1962 to 1970 , more than 60 % of my clients coming to India , for Shikar would bring a push feed configuration rifle for Shikar. Around 35 % would come to India with a control round feed rifle .
    Some of the common push feed rifles present in our time brought by clients were :
    Remington model 700
    Winchester model 70 ( new pattern)
    Birmingham Small Arms ( new pattern )
    Browning Hi Power
    Weatherby rifles

    Some of the common control round feed rifles present in our time were :
    Winchester model 70 ( old pattern )
    Birmingham Small Arms ( old pattern )
    Custom made mauser rifles
    French Brevex mechanism
    Springfield model 1903
    Enfield model 1917

    There were six dangerous animals in old India , which could legally be hunted at the time :
    Royal Bengal tiger, leopard , Gaur , Asian sloth bear , crocodile and Darjeeling bush boar ( even though they are not considered very dangerous by many seasoned hunters , l still label them as dangerous animals , because these beasts tend to go for the femoral artery in one’s leg if they charge at you with their tusks ) .

    Now , l can assure you all with my testimony and photographs , that a great deal of dangerous animals were slain by my clients , using push feed rifles . The bulk of them did not suffer any problems . Pay close attention to the word “ the bulk “. We shall expand on that further down.

    From top to bottom :
    1) Client with Weatherby push feed configuration rifle , calibrated for .300 Weatherby magnum , about to shoot a leopard .
    2) Client with his leopard trophy , secured by using a single 175 grain soft nose cartridge from his Remington model 700 push feed configuration rifle , calibrated for 7 millimeter Remington magnum cartridge .
    3) Client taking aim at a brace of mouse deer , with a push feed configuration rifle , calibrated for .22 Long Rifle cartridge . I should have paid attention to which firm built that little rifle .







    Screenshot_20191022-165621_01_01_01.png Screenshot_20191018-013938_01_01_01.png Screenshot_20191016-012108_01_01.png




    At the same time , my clients who used to bring control round feed rifles were , for the most part highly proficient with their rifles , and attained enviable degrees of success with their rifles.

    Screenshot_20191018-001109_01_01.png
    Hoss Delgado's grandfather , Don Fernando Delgado and a with a leopard , taken my Fernando's old pattern control round feed configuration Winchester model 70 rifle , calibrated for the .375 Holland and Holland magnum cartridge

    Screenshot_20191018-001102_01_01_01.png
    Happy European client with his dear wife madame and a Royal Bengal tiger killed with a single soft nose bullet from his 9.3 millimeter mauser bolt operation control round feed configuration rifle.
    Screenshot_20191006-203603_01_01.png
    Our middle eastern client resting with his two rifles on the side :
    A .348 Winchester calibre under lever Winchester rifle , and a .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre Brevex mechanism control round feed configuration rifle .

    Screenshot_20191008-231524_01_01.png
    Two of the three Royal Bengal tigers present in this photograph , were taken with the .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre Brevex mechanism control round feed configuration rifle ( seen in the previous photograph ) and 300 grain Winchester silver tip cartridges .
    The location is what is now known as Buxa tiger reserve .

    Screenshot_20191006-203533_01_01_01.png
    Our respected American client , with a .30-06 Springfield calibre model 1903 control round feed configuration rifle .

    Screenshot_20190926-010411_01_01.png
    The rifle in the bottom is the same model 1903 Springfield rifle , calibrated for the .30-06 cartridge as picture in the hands of my client , above . For five decades , l have always tried to find out what the rifle exactly above it ( with the removable magazine ) was . I only know that it was calibrated for the .30-06 Springfield cartridge. I should not have neglected to ask this question to my client . However , l still have a vague hope that some one on these forums can identify the rifle someday .
    This photograph was taken in the balcony of Darjileeng Circuit House , after a successful leopard Shikar .




    So , which configuration is better ? Let us do a break down. Neither will determine how the rifle is being fired . They come into play , with how the rifle extracts empty cartridge cases .
    A control round feed configuration rifle has an extracting device.This extracting device grabs on to the rim of the cartridge and guides it into the chamber. Where ever that bolt goes , the cartridge goes.

    In a push feed mechanism , the bolt does not have complete control of the cartridge and merely “ pushes “ it into the chamber .
    A little known fact ( except among those Shikaris who actually use push feed rifles ) is that the push feed bolt has an extracting device too. However , instead of being a stationary piece in the receiver part , it is a small spring loaded piece on the bolt face , itself. Such an extracting device is far smaller than the one on the control round feed rifle variety.

    Let us discuss a strength of the control round feed configuration rifle , shall we ?
    That large claw type extracting device is an added insurance to remove empty cartridge cases in almost any scenario . Why is this an advantage ? We will get to that momentarily.
    Let us discuss a perceived “ weakness “ of the control round feed rifle .
    The traditional mauser rifles ( the definitive control round feed ) of my time were designed to strictly feed only those cartridges which were loaded into the rifle THROUGH the magazine . If you fill the magazine and then attempt to load one extra cartridge from the top by trying to get the ejector to slip over the rim of the extra cartridge , then you will probably be fine for a while...until you eventually break the extracting device . This is because , whenever you are attempting to get the ejector to slip over the rim of an extra cartridge , you are placing increased strain on the ejector , which can never be a good thing.

    Let us discuss a strength of the push feed configuration rifle , now .
    The push feed configuration rifle , on account of the lack of the mauser type extracting claw device, lends itself to a simpler loading by putting cartridges directly into the rifle from the top , without the need for the cartridges to always necessarily come vertically up through the magazine always.

    Let us now discuss a perceived " weakness " of the push feed configuration rifle . Push feed mechanisms are susceptible to a type of double-feed malfunction that does NOT occur with controlled feed mechanisms. In a push feed rifle, if the bolt goes MOST of the way forward, but not completely, it is possible to bring the bolt back (leaving the cartridge sitting loosely in the chamber) and start feeding another cartridge. The result is a double-feed where the second cartridge is blocked by the first cartridge .

    Now , under most normal circumstances , this will not occur . Under what circumstances then , can this problem occur ? The answer is STRESS .

    If you introduce stress , into the equation , then it becomes evident how a shooter may operate the bolt erroneously in a highly stressful situation .
    Allow me to elaborate , dear readers .
    If you are shooting targets at the local firing range , one is typically relaxed and is operating his rifle in a calm , collected manner .
    The same applies when one is in a macchan ( or " blind " ) and calmly taking a shot at a Chital deer or Sambhar deer . As challenging as these situations are , they are not typically stressful situations .
    A push feed configuration rifle here will certainly not leave anything to be desired .
    However , suppose you are now pursuing a 200 pound leopard , 500 pound man eating Royal Bengal tiger or a 2000 pound Gaur , and you ( by some misfortune ) are suddenly facing a charging beast. Very ugly and very determined to exterminate your life . Unless one is an unusually cool customer who has years of practice of operating that bolt instinctively , under his belt , chances are that stress becomes an uninvited guest to your otherwise finely tuned senses . This is where one might experience errors in operating the bolt of his rifle and a double - feed problem may invariably occur .
    Sadly enough , this is the one situation where your choice of a push feed rifle may lead to your death or injury or a similar fate to anyone in your party .

    My learned fellow professional hunter and fellow forum member , the White Hunter , IvW is vocally outspoken against the push feed configuration rifle being used for dangerous animals . I try to be more forgiving in my views. However , l have seen a few push feed configuration rifles in my time , which did experience a failure in extracting the empty cartridge case .

    I will attempt to list them out below :
    One Remington model 700 , calibrated for .375 Holland and Holland magnum.
    One Remington model 700 , calibrated for .458 Winchester magnum
    One Remington model 700 , calibrated for .30-06 Springfield cartridge .
    Two Winchester model 70 rifles , calibrated for the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge .
    Two Winchester model 70 rifles , calibrated for the .308 Winchester cartridge .
    One Weatherby rifle , calibrated for the .300 Weatherby magnum cartridge .

    In all fairness , these rifles could all function properly again after a good thorough cleaning . More to the point , these rifles were generally the exception and not the rule . There were dozens of Remington model 700 rifles , Winchester model 70 rifles and Weatherby rifles brought by my respected clients into old India , which successfully laid low the six listed dangerous animals , with impunity .
    While the extraction problems have occurred from time to time over the years , they happen a lot less than people will have you believe .
    Should a few rifles of this class be a fair representative of the push feed configuration rifle , as a whole ?

    Perhaps not , but my young friend and fellow forum member , Hoss Delgado showed me a particularly disconcerting article a few days back . It detailled the death of a most unfortunate White Hunter , named Mr. Ian Gibson . The poor gentleman faced a very angry bull elephant and shot it , with his .458 Winchester magnum calibre Winchester model 70 push feed configuration rifle . When the wounded animal charged at him , he attempted to operate the bolt on his push feed configuration Winchester model 70 , but could not clear the empty cartridge case . The results , for this poor gentleman , were grisly and most unfortunate.

    Even though the extraction problems of a push feed configuration rifle are unlikely to happen, they still can happen , have happened and do happen from time to time. Nine times out of ten , an average hunter will not experience anything of the sort. But what if , that one time , you happen to be facing a very angry , wounded six ton bull elephant ?

    On the other side of the spectrum , there have been a few mauser mechanism rifles which l have seen in my career , which failed disastrously in the Shikar field , to extract empty cartridge cases .
    Living in the post second World War era , l can personally attest to the fact that salvaged military surplus mauser mechanisms were extremely popular for building custom made rifles in my time . I was told about this phenomenon by more than one American client and l witnessed it myself . As a professional Shikari , my reception to this , was mixed . You see , many of these custom pieces were excellent and flawless , including a beautiful .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt operation rifle , made by a gun maker named " Fred Wells " .
    However , many of these rifles built on military surplus mauser mechanisms were most foul weapons and unrivalled in terms of their constant extraction problems . It should be borne in mind that most of these military surplus mauser mechanisms were originally built to handle a 7 millimeter or an 8 millimeter cartridge . Merely attaching a .458 bore barrel to it and modifying the mechanism a little does not make it a rifle calibrated for .458 Winchester magnum . No. The amount of work that needs to be done to the feeding ramp rails , and ALL other parts of the rifle must be of surgical precision . It is imperative .

    I had one interesting client who proved ( much to his consternation ) that both a control round feed and a push feed configuration rifle can fail you . This gentleman was a repeat client of my outfitting firm and was extremely passionate about the art of shooting Gaur bison . When l first met this gentleman , he was using a custom made .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt operation rifle made on a military surplus mauser mechanism . The maker of this rifle , was a firm named " Walter Abe " . The rifle held three cartridges , but one more cartridge could be added to the rifle by feeding it through the top of the rifle ( as opposed to the magazine ) by getting the extracting device to slip over the rim of the extra cartridge ... or so we thought. For two Shikar seasons , our respected client had no problems whatsoever .He had always managed to successfully secure a large male Gaur. It was the third Shikar season , when a problem occurred in the Shikar field .
    Our respected client , my late Shikari partner, Karim Chowdhury , myself , our two loyal Garo trackers and our coolies were pursuing the tracks of a large Gaur , when our client decided to add the fourth cartridge to his magazine , as always . Why , he broke the ejector ! We weighed in , our possibilities . Our client also had brought along a beautiful model 1917 rifle made by the firm , Enfield calibrated for that definitive American cartridge , the .30-06 Springfield . As anyone hunting Gaur buffaloes will tell you ; attempting to hunt one of these 2000 pound thick skinned beasts , nicknamed by us local Shikaris , as " Chai Bhoot " ( Grey ghosts of the forest ) with a .30-06 Springfield Calibre rifle , is something best left for someone who does not value self preservation .
    Thus , our client had to content himself , for that Shikar season with a large Sambhar deer and a male leopard . However , the Gaur Shikar was not to be . The American gentleman certainly was not longer fond of the mauser mechanism at all.
    The next Shikar season , he came to Darjeeling once again. This time , he brought a brand new Winchester model 70 bolt operation rifle , calibrated for the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge . The gentleman was singing praises about the push feed configuration and proudly advertised that this rifle could easily allow one extra cartridge to be loaded into the rifle without the " nasty claw getting in the way ". We simple minded local Shikaris , merely nodded in approval thinking that nothing can go wrong , this time . We went out with the respected client , our loyal Garo trackers and our coolies for a two day Shikar in the hills . Our quarry was a Sambhar deer and the customary Gaur . Our client wanted redemption for failing to secure his Gaur last season . On the first day , that model 70 rifle worked perfectly and secured the Sambhar deer without any problems.
    On the second day , when we finally found our Gaur , we brought our respected client into a side way position of the beast . Using a 510 grain soft head expanding cartridge , our client let fly at the lungs of the beast. The bullet pierced both lungs of the massive bovine and he began to run , coughing blood . Our respected client hurriedly began to operate the bolt of his rifle to extract the expended cartridge case . Why , the rifle was not extracting !
    Had that Gaur decided to turn towards us and charge , then the experience would have definitely been more life threatening . However , the first shot placed by my respected client was true . That soft nose 510 grain bullet had pierced and opened up inside both the lungs . And a Gaur with two pierced lungs will seldom think of charging ( unless some one in your party co-incidentally happens to be in it's path ) . After going fifty yards , blowing blood about like a macabre water fountain , the great beast dropped lifeless on the Indian forest ground , never to raise it's head again.
    Upon examination of the model 70 Winchester rifle , it was discovered that the rifle was infact quite dirty. It had been left uncleaned from the first day , when our respected client had secured his Sambhar deer . A good cleaning in the Shikar camp that night and firing a few test cartridges at a few empty bottles of Gool ( local palm wine ) , proved to our respected client that the Winchester model 70 push feed configuration rifle , was in full operating order again.
    In retrospect , l have always wondered why our respected client was always so keen on being able to keep four cartridges inside his rifle . He never seemed to need more than three shots for any animal that he had opened fire at .
    Thus , what is my conclusive view on this passionately disputed topic ?
    Considering the fact that military forces all over the world , use push feed configuration rifles ( including our very own Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion who opts for the 7.62 millimeter Remington model 700 push feed configuration rifle ) , they certainly are not a bad design.
    For a deer hunting rifle or a small game rifle , a push feed configuration rifle is a completely acceptable format , l should think .
    However , to my old eyes , the shooting of dangerous animals , is best served by a control round feed configuration rifle . The mauser type extracting claw device is certainly added insurance during those stressful situations when adrenaline pumps all over your entire body and you are operating that bolt quickly . And what could be more stressful than hunting something which can potentially hunt you back ?
    Of course , the expert can use any configuration of rifle with clear effortlessness . Indeed , l have seen dozens of well discliplined shooters lay low all manners of dangerous animals with push feed configuration rifles , without any concern about extraction problems. However , these gentlemen ( and four ladies ) were extremely cool customers and certainly the exception to the rule .
    For us ordinary mortals , l would prefer the control round feed configuration , with the French Brevex mechanism being a personal favorite of mine . I still consider it , to be the King of all bolt operation rifle mechanisms .
    And in all seriousness , how many of us really need that one extra cartridge so badly that we need to risk harming the extractor of our rifle , at any rate ?
    With a magazine capable of holding anywhere from three to six cartridges ( depending on make of rifle and calibre , of course ) and the philosophy that our first bullet must be well placed and our aim correct , l doubt that for the purposes of Shikar , yet another cartridge can have any practical benefit to the Shikari who already has from three to six cartridges , in his rifle.
    Do l think that the push feed configuration rifle will be completely cast aside , for the purposes of shooting dangerous animals ?
    No . Push feed configuration rifles are much more economical to manufacture and l think that many client Shikaris coming to Africa for Shikar will continue to use push feed configuration rifles with great success even on the largest bill elephant of six tons .
    However , the off-the-shelf options on the market today are endless compared to the rifles of my time . The firm Winchester has recently reintroduced the old pattern control round feed configuration model 70 ( l believe since 1992 ? ) . No decision could have been wiser , in my view .
    There is also another rifle called the CZ model 550 , which certainly seems very much talked about , on these forums . Then , there are excellent control round feed configuration rifles made by Blaser , Heym and so many other excellent firms . Certainly , the gentleman desiring a control round feed configuration rifle today , is unlikely to be held back by reasons of parsimoniousness or false economy .
    And for the professional White Hunter , l consider the control round feed configuration rifle to be a desirable weapon in every way. One which can work flawlessly , despite the level of stress felt by the operator .
    I am of view that no matter how cool a customer , an operator is , one bad day with a dangerous beast , can quickly tilt the scales of fortunate against your favor . And that day , may very well , be your last.

    I would like to conclude my article by apologizing to any one , if l have sounded authoritarian in my views . I do not consider myself to be much of an authority on the subject and merely laid out my own opinions on the matter , by describing my personal experiences in the Shikar field .
    For those of my dear respected forum members , who prefer the push feed configuration rifle for Shikar , please do not hesitate to continue . It all comes down to preference .
    At any rate , if you place your first shot correctly in a vital region of your intended quarry , then push feed configuration or control round feed configuration , is of little consequence .
    I would also like to apologise to forum member , Mark Hunter for taking so much time to write the article on Indian snakes and reptilian creatures which he requested .
    I am currently in the process of identifying all of the English names of all of the snakes in India and Bangladesh . It is not a quick task.
     

  2. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the good read Mr. Rahman. Having owned all three types of Winchester model 70, pre64 30-06, a post 64 30-06, and a current production CRF 375 H&H. I prefer the controlled round feed the best but I never found the push feed to be lacking in any way, and it never caused a problem, however I kept it clean and it never saw hard use
     

  3. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    Dear Rahman,
    No need to apologize, pls do continue your participation on this forum, in any way you please!
    Thank you for another excellent overview.

    Now, on push feed, or control feed, I must say - in my view it is endless debate, and you most probably have opened a "pandora box" on this forum, so you may expect a lot of forthcoming comments.

    When I started hunting and target shooting this debate caught my interest, and was lucky enough to make tests of reliability of rifles, on the range for many designes. Either from my own rifles, or rifles which my friends and colleagues brought to the range.
    The main issue is reliability, jamming / extracting during operation - from this public debate

    So, I came to conclusion there is no bolt action rifle which is 100% fool proof.
    Feeding and extraction reliability I tested on:
    CZ (zastava) m70, mauser - CRF
    M48 - clone of Mauser 98K, by same maker - CRF
    Sako 85 - said by maker to be CRF, but in my opinion only advanced Push feed
    Tikka t3 - push feed
    few others...

    If one "wants" to jam the rifle, each and every rifle can be easily jammed.
    I tested rifles with dummy/blank rounds in magazine, of course.

    In CRF action, mauser 98 or sako 85 style, when the bolt pushes forward for first 1/4 or 1/3 of movement, the claw is not holding the casing rim tightly, so in that moment if pulling back the bolt, cartridge will not be extracted, and when pushing forward again, new round from magazine sliding forward will/can effectively jam the rifle with previous non-extracted round halfway to chamber.
    So, there is no fool proof rifles.
    However, in final part of forward movement when extractor claw holds the casing well, unfired cartridge can be easily and reliably extracted.

    If a fool is using the rifle, every rifle can malfunction. (pushing the top round so extractor to jump over the rim and brake, no cleaning, or inadequate bolt handling). The user must understand rifle design and mechanic principle, and be familiar with operation of rifle. No excuse for anything less!
    Thats my opinion.

    The difference in operation:
    In push feed to extract the unfired round, bolt must be pushed forward and closed, then opened, and pulled back.
    For CRF round feed - pushed forward, and pulled back will extract, no need to close and open. (two movements less)

    Finally, even if all rifles are being equal in reliability:
    I have never hunted DG - but partly due to sentimental reasons, partly due to my subjective gut feeling, I tend to prefer mauser style bolt action for DG hunt and I am in agreement with your overall assessment.
     

  4. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    DannyArcher and Kawshik Rahman like this.

  5. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    Further to above:
    I remember well, my grandfathers mauser, cal 8x57.
    it could be safely loaded 5+1, in following way:
    Loading 5 in magazine.
    Removing the bolt from rifle
    Placing the round on top of removed bolt, so extractor claw holds well.
    Easily placing the bolt with cartridge back in rifle, and with thumb compressing 5 rounds in magazine down, so
    the 6th would pass to the chamber, when pushing the bolt forward.

    But for such loading, rifle must have a bit of additional space in magazine so loaded rounds could be pressed a bit down, to top-up to full capacity with additional one in chamber.
     
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  6. IvW

    IvW AH Legend

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    Correct but never designed to be done that way.

    When I hunt I do not sling or shoulder carry a rifle with one in the chamber and on safe, when a cartridge goes in the chamber I have the rifle in my hands.
     

  7. gesch

    gesch AH Enthusiast

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    Another excellent article. Thank you for your research
     
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  8. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Wyatt Smith
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I find it really wise how you were not picky about your medium bore ( .30-06 calibre rifles ) , but specifically chose a control round feed configuration rifle for your heavy bore ( .375 Holland and Holland magnum ) . Co incidence , or the signs of a well planned young man with foresight ?
     
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  9. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis . I would not mind having my smaller or medium bore rifle being a push feed configuration rifle , as long as my rifle for dangerous animals was a control round feed configuration one .
    Since clients could only bring two fire arms into India at that time , my choice would be
    : A Remington model 700 calibrated for the 7 millimeter Remington magnum cartridge . This , l would use for anything up to the size of a Chital deer .
    A Brevex magnum mauser .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre rifle , for all the dangerous animals and also Sambhar deer.
     

  10. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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  11. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Why yes . The Brevex magnum mauser mechanism did not have enough clearance to allow this .
     

  12. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    Thank you so much for your kind words and support.
     

  13. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    The theoretical has been hashed here and elsewhere a lot and will continue to be in the future. I personally think it is a bit like the medieval arguments concerning how many angels could dance on the point of a pin.

    The 98 was created with combat conditions in mind, and performed exactly as designed through two World Wars. The US liked it so well that it stole the concept for the Springfield (ended up paying Mauser following a patent infringement challenge). Modern push feed designs have become extremely dependable, and few would argue that the Blaser R8 doesn't cycle a round with both great speed and total dependability.

    So, I will simply add my personal experience. The only design that I learned not to trust for dangerous game is a lovely custom .375 built on a FN Browning (mauser) action. These did away with the standard bolt release and used a hinged design that looks interesting but adds complexity. In Namibia, we had a couple of days to kill before heading up into the Caprivi for my first buffalo. On day two, we were hunting in the sand and the wind, and I potted a big oryx. Upon quickly working the bolt, I found myself holding it in my right hand. Apparently a stray grain of sand had found its way into the bolt release hinge. That could have been rather embarrassing with a bull. Needless to say, I cleaned it carefully, and all went well. However, back in the desert after taking the bull, it did it again. It is still a magnificent rifle, but I have never trusted it on a buffalo hunt again.

    In addition to that rifle, I currently have rifles by Steyr, Sako, Ruger, Winchester, Remington, Heym, Rigby, and several custom pieces using both push and CR actions. Over the last fifty years plus of actual hunting, I have owned many dozens of others. The custom piece above is the only one to actually fail in the field - the only one out of all those many rifles and action designs.

    I long ago concluded most of this debate has to do with pride or resignation in ownership than actual technical issues. I suspect we would see a lot more R8's among professional hunters if they were more affordable. The CZ is popular among the young PH community because it is sturdy and above all, inexpensive. On my last hunt, one young man was using one of the outfitter's rifles because his new .458 Lott was with the gunsmith to have the action "smoothed out." Where have we heard that?

    I am more amazed these days by the consistent dependability of these tools, regardless of design, than I am the merits of any design itself. As far as the dangerous game hunt itself? If the specific rifle is dependable and the hunter is totally familiar with it, it is the right one for him to use.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2019

  14. Wyatt Smith

    Wyatt Smith AH Enthusiast

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    That was planning. I had researched it and knew I wanted a control feed rifle.
     
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  15. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    After this, and several other articles, I would really love to see - at least on the photo, a Brevex rifle!
    So, if anybody has a good photo, HD, color, please share it with us!
     
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  16. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    I just took a peek in the safe. There are 10 bolt guns from .22 to .458 Lott. Over the years I have owned dozens of others. 7 of the bolt guns are CRF. The only failures I can think of in 50 years of shooting were a bolt malfunction on an anschultz .22 and a sear failure on a Remington 788 (that was exciting!). Since I have done a lot of varmint and target shooting, my shot count is into the hundreds of thousands. It is incredible how reliable bolt guns of any design are. I do use CRF M70’s on my DG rifles. I use the new CRF action as I actually think it is superior to the pre-64. Sorry to the purists out there, and I should be clear, I think the pre ‘64 M70 is a wonderful rifle.
     

  17. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I agree with you WAB! Now let me get my helmet on before the rock throwing starts!
     

  18. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    That is a most insightful response with good demonstration of factual knowledge . It is pleasant news to me that the Blaser model R8 which you use , is a push feed configuration rifle . I think that your successful Shikars with it prove that the push feed configuration is certainly not one to be scoffed at and certainly a viable option for hunters in Africa today.
    It is funny that you had an unpleasant experience with a Belgian Browning rifle . I have had a few experiences with these rifles myself which were not too pleasant. A client had the .458 Winchester magnum variant of the same rifle which you mention. During the shot at a Gaur , the trap door hatch on the under side of the rifle ( which you American gentlemen call " floor plate " ) actually sprung open and the remaining cartridges fell to the ground . How disconcerting.
    During my time , the rifles from Browning also had wooden stocks which were treated with salt ( l believe the term is " salted wood" ? ) and this led to severe rusting problems of the barrels and " actions" of these rifles , unless one gave them extreme attention. It is still beyond me why any firm would treat their wooden stocks with salt , knowing that these stocks will come into contact with metal.
    Regarding the model 1903 from Springfield , l find it indeed a beautiful rifle , one which has switched nicely from being a service rifle , to a sporting rifle.
    I find it rivalled only by the model 1917 from Enfield , also in .30-06 .
    Regarding the .458 Lott cartridge , please forgive me . I have no personal experience with this cartridge .
    The five largest which l have personal field experience with , is :
    9.3 millimeter mauser
    .375 Austrian Mannlicher
    .375 Holland and Holland magnum
    .400 Nitro Express by Jeffery
    .458 Winchester magnum
     
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  19. Kawshik Rahman

    Kawshik Rahman AH Elite

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    You are correct in a sense . The old pattern Winchester model 70 rifles with control round feed configuration , were also notorious for developing cracks in the stock . They also had one recoil lug pin initially , but by the time the push feed configuration variety came to the market , they started using a second recoil lug pin . By 1992 , when the control round feed configuration got reintroduced again , the second recoil lug pin stayed , as a welcome addition.
     

  20. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    All but one of my bolt guns are CRF. My push feed is a Savage SR 10 tactical rifle which does not hunt. To me there is something very reassuring about that big claw grabbing a round. Granted, there is a little more cleaning involved but that is a small price to pay for reliability.
     
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