Dangerous Game Rifle Caliber for an Enthusiast

Viral_SIGness

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That is the opposite of my experience. I have used one for years - not because I am a "sissy", but because I want to verify the most accurate load and sight setting for my rifles. I have used one on every rifle I own up through .404 with never an issue with a stock, scope, or shoulder. I even use it with my Blaser S2 in testing new loads in .375 or 500-416 - though I will admit the Blaser is different than other doubles in that regard. In any case, that amounts to thousands of rounds that I have personally fired. I should note, when I actually practice it is off the sticks or from field positions.

I should add, I rarely find any meaningful difference between the sight-in group from the sled and the impact point from any field position. Again, that is based upon many thousands of rounds from many different rifles.

I admit you have me on the Simmons scope - I have never owned one. But my Leica, Swaro, Zeiss, and Leupold scopes have never had an issue. Not once.

A very good friend is in the reloading and load development business and shoots tens of thousands of rounds annually working up loads for client's rifles. He uses a lead sled on everything but doubles. He too has never had a damaged stock or scope. Something that would be decidedly bad for business.

I am sure you "verified" the damage they cause. I simply offer the observations of someone with a decade plus of extensive experience actually using one.
I'm happy you and your friend has had good luck. I do however, respectfully disagree with you about it being the same has your body gaining weight. Your body is soft tissue, which absorbs some of the energy.

I've already mentioned twice, they are fantastic rests without the weight.

As to the scope, the Aetec was given to me with the purchase of the rifle. I had already taken the sled out for a customer, so after I closed the store, I tried it. I never tried it with my Zeiss, or any others.

I'm not the only one that has seen the problems. Google "Damage from Lead Sled" and you will find pages galore. So on that note, we can agree to disagree.

Took 2 mins to find a list of issues, and Field and stream wrote about it too. So don't try to make it sound like I'm a lone wolf running about trying to bash this miracle product lol


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Ike85123

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I have never owned a sled, but seen many at our shooting range. Ive only seen one problem. The guy had clamps on the sled to the concrete table. Not sure if the no give recoil did it or the sled. But it cracked the stock.
But i see them there every week and ive only seen the issue once. But i believe it was improperly secured. Idk? Ive never had one.
Just my 2 cents, from what Ive seen.
 

Red Leg

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I'm happy you and your friend has had good luck. I do however, respectfully disagree with you about it being the same has your body gaining weight. Your body is soft tissue, which absorbs some of the energy.

I've already mentioned twice, they are fantastic rests without the weight.

As to the scope, the Aetec was given to me with the purchase of the rifle. I had already taken the sled out for a customer, so after I closed the store, I tried it. I never tried it with my Zeiss, or any others.

I'm not the only one that has seen the problems. Google "Damage from Lead Sled" and you will find pages galore. So on that note, we can agree to disagree.

Took 2 mins to find a list of issues, and Field and stream wrote about it too. So don't try to make it sound like I'm a lone wolf running about trying to bash this miracle product lol


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I am not trying to make you sound like anything. I also could care less what can be googled up. I simply reported my actual extensive experiences with one in firing thousands of rounds of many different calibers are different from your assertions. I also noted my friend’s far greater business related use of one. It is interesting isn’t it that despite all the apparent internet chatter his business, my rifles, and the product itself are still going strong.

I suspect Petzal ought to actually use one and actually evaluate it rather than pound his chest proclaiming his manhood and what a tough guy he is by avoiding one. The definition of an inane article.
 
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EZRider

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As Iwaters said, don't load them with weight. Yeah they are great as a steady rest, but trying to stop recoil is impossible because those forces have to go somewhere.

Helping around my friends shop and range, I've met and dealt with all types. You would not believe the amount of times someone will something with "Magnum" in the name, with no experience at all. Then they want to use the sled and lead bricks because they are terrified of shooting it. There hence, why I said "sissy" sled. I apologize if that offended you, and you use yours sensibly anyway.

No offence taken and I agree with you completely about inexperienced shooters wanting a quick fix instead of working their way up to a larger rifle.
 

EZRider

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Is the rifle going to recoil the same and have same POI after being sighted in with this contraption and the shot of shooting sticks... I cannot figure out exactly how one would get behind the rifle properly using the sled....

it has the same POI as off of the sticks (if you maintain a grip on the fore-stock). I even use it to fine tune my PCP air rifle it works so well.
It isn’t comfortable to get behind and I use it for a very limited application: checking group size during load development on my competition rifles and sighting in a new rifle scope combination.
 

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idk if th op has found a rifle yet but a model 70 in .375 h&h would be my vote better for north America and better ammo availability. I have a ruger m77 in .458 win mag that I got on a trade and ammo is non existent on the shelf. good thing I reload and hard cast bullets should do the job on North American game other then grizz.
 

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I prefer not using a lead sled, but that is only based on theoretical, and emotional grounds. Not on some fact. And I dont have it. So, it is mostly based on personal preference

What I used sometimes was (and not anymore): a heavy machine gun tripod, bolted to the concrete floor on local public range, and on top was welded a rifle vice, which would allow to secure the rifle for zeroing, and this vice fitted with vertical and horizontal screws to adjust for windage and elevation.
This is not lead sled, but I did not like, what I thought my rifles were subject to, in that process. Even if I placed a blanked to make soft rest for rifle
I would prefer rifle to make its natural recoil. So I stopped using it.

On the other hand, I can be forgiven on this heresy because:
I dont have heavy recoil rifles, that need to be a bit restricted in recoil, during multiple shots for zeroing or during regulating.
 

ldmay375

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I hope this is the right section to post this thread...

I am a rifle enthusiast and I love the history behind African exploration, big game hunting, and rifles/cartridges. I was in a gun shop in Bedford, PA (Cove Creek Outfitters) one day and I was allowed to hand a 470NE Double rifle with the lowly price tag of $36,000.00. From that day onward, it was/is my goal to get one of those rifles.

BUT

I am just a government scientist with student loan debt...Fortunately for me, my soon to be fiancé, is willing to spend $2k on an engagement present for me. I know, lucky man here. With that budget in mind, I found new production rifle choices limited to Winchester Model 70 Safari Express and the Ruger Hawkeye African or Guide Gun. I love Ruger rifles, I have the Ruger Scout and it shoots like a dream, but the action on the Winchester is much smoother ( I have tested a few at the gun store). The Winchester is also offered in more traditional and non-proprietary cartridges.

My options for caliber, in the aforementioned rifles, would be 375H&H (the classic with a ton of history), 374 Ruger, 416 Remington Mag, 416 Ruger, and the 458 Win Mag. I am leaning towards the Winchester in 458 Win Mag to get the real big bore feel (and it seems right for the Winchester Model 70 to be chambered in a Winchester Cartridge), but I understand the practical merits of the 375 and the 416 (still big bore).

I have heard many good things about the Model 70 Safari Express as a good out of the box DG rifle. Is there anything else I should know to dissuade me?
I emailed Winchester and they told me the next run of these rifles would be out in early June, so I am watching all the dealers.

Is there any reason to pick the Ruger(s) over the Winchester? I like the ebony fore end, but I could get a custom stock for the Winchester down the road. No plastic stocks in my "hunting rifle battery".

Factory ammo cost comparison and availability?

Which of these cartridge's are the most versatile in for re-loading (bullet selection, availability, price, etc.)? I am not a re-loader yet, but will be eventually due to ammo costs. I am aware of the price tag there. I read a few forum posts about the 458 having re-loading versatility.

Recoil wise, the most I have encountered was a Ruger No. 1 in 45-70 shooting the Hornady LeverEvolution 325 grains off the bench. Those pounded pretty hard from the lightweight rifle, but I could shoot 4-5 rounds in a row on the bench. How would any of these calibers compare to that? I know the Ruger African and Model 70 are heavier firearms, but the rounds they fire have moor oomph than the old 45-70. I also do not plan to scope them as they would be for fun.

In my search, I have also looked into the CZ 550 (now out of production), Montana Rifles (too expensive), and the Kimber Caprivi (also too expensive). I wish I was a rich man, because I would have a safe full of double rifles. Someday I may be able to afford something like a Sabatti Big Five!

Any tips for sighting in one of these bad boys? I know the bench is somewhere I do not want to spend alot of time...Or so I have read.

Your expert assistance will be greatly appreciated. I also hope I did not say anything ignorant in my post! I tried to do a ton of research on the matter.

Happy Hunting!
I would think, the 375 H&H should certainly offer the ambiance of Africa. Plus it is a great cartridge. It is certainly useful to 300 yards and farther for some, on a variety of game.
As far as the .375 caliber projectile exiting the barrel, it nor the intended target will not know if it came from a H&H or Ruger barrel.
I like both the 375 H&H and 375 Ruger. I think both are a bit more flexible than a 416 or 458 for varied use. I agree with what others have said, I don’t view the 375 as a big bore. I do think of it as one of the best multi-use calibers.
I do use my 416’s frequently in North America, but my shooting distances are limited to about 200 yards.
 

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I would think, the 375 H&H should certainly offer the ambiance of Africa. Plus it is a great cartridge. It is certainly useful to 300 yards and farther for some, on a variety of game.
As far as the .375 caliber projectile exiting the barrel, it nor the intended target will not know if it came from a H&H or Ruger barrel.
I like both the 375 H&H and 375 Ruger. I think both are a bit more flexible than a 416 or 458 for varied use. I agree with what others have said, I don’t view the 375 as a big bore. I do think of it as one of the best multi-use calibers.
I do use my 416’s frequently in North America, but my shooting distances are limited to about 200 yards.
I will start with the 375 H&H, that seems certain now after all the good corroborating advice on here. Then...470NE Double! Haha!
 

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Personally I own a Ruger African in a .416 Ruger. I killed a cape buffalo, and a hippo with it on my first trip to Africa. For the price point I believe it is a pretty tough rifle to beat. Both .375 Ruger, and .416 Ruger ammo can be much harder to find on the African continent, so you may want to stick to traditional standard Mangum Length chamberings, as this ammo is much easier to find in a pinch.

You may also want to look at a Sako Brown Bear/Kodiak it's slightly more expensive than the rifles you're currently looking at, but in my opinion it is a much nicer rifle. I own several Sako's including two brown bears (.375, and .450 Rigby) - their out of the box accuracy is pretty hard to beat for their price point.

Things to consider in regard to the Sako:
Shorter overall length
Superior Accuracy
Larger Mag Capacity
Bigger Nicer express sites
Beautiful, but durable laminate stock
Diverse Group of Chamberings - .375, .416, .450, and .500

If you're planning to use the gun for plains game I would buy the .375, if you already have a plains game rifle I would go with the .416 Rigby - it's a better cartridge for Dangerous game.

It is also my belief that you should bring a plains game gun. The .375 is good at everything, but not really ideal for anything. i.e. It is a little bit small for some dangerous game. The recoil is a bit stiff for longer shots, you can find flatter shooting calibers as well. Pretty sure I stole this opinion from Craig Boddington.
 
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Red Leg

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The double rifle distributors for both Heym and VC recommend NOT using a lead sled with their rifles. Your mileage may vary.

Me, I will listen to the guys that sell the stuff.
Agree. As I say I don’t verify zero with my doubles from a sled. In fact I don’t use a sitting bench at all with them.

Two reasons: 1. The head and wrist of a double (particularly the head of the stock) can be far weaker than the typical bolt action.

2. But more importantly, doubles are far more likely to demonstrate change in POI based upon hold. Virtually all were regulated from a standing rest. That is always a good place to start.
 
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Red Leg

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I prefer not using a lead sled, but that is only based on theoretical, and emotional grounds. Not on some fact. And I dont have it. So, it is mostly based on personal preference

What I used sometimes was (and not anymore): a heavy machine gun tripod, bolted to the concrete floor on local public range, and on top was welded a rifle vice, which would allow to secure the rifle for zeroing, and this vice fitted with vertical and horizontal screws to adjust for windage and elevation.
This is not lead sled, but I did not like, what I thought my rifles were subject to, in that process. Even if I placed a blanked to make soft rest for rifle
I would prefer rifle to make its natural recoil. So I stopped using it.

On the other hand, I can be forgiven on this heresy because:
I dont have heavy recoil rifles, that need to be a bit restricted in recoil, during multiple shots for zeroing or during regulating.
Now that does sounds like a way to damage a rifle. Such clamps on an immovable tripod would direct a huge amount of the recoil impulse into the rifle and scope. A lead sled with 25lb bag of shot still recoils. Not a great deal, but the impulse is dissipated over a relatively large absorption area both physically and over time (travel distance). Rather like 18th/ early 19th century naval guns having recoil absorbed by carriage weight, retaining ropes, and travel distance.
 

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Agree. As I say I don’t verify zero with my doubles from a sled. In fact I don’t use a sitting bench at all with them.

Two reasons: 1. The head and wrist of a double (particularly the head of the stock) can be far weaker than the typical bolt action.

2. But more importantly, doubles are far more likely to demonstrate change in POI based upon hold. Virtually all were regulated from a standing rest. That is always a good place to start.

I’ve shot from the standing bench at Holland & Holland’s range in London. They use it for regulation of their doubles. I don’t know why standing benches are not used much in the US.
 

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Now that does sounds like a way to damage a rifle. Such clamps on an immovable tripod would direct a huge amount of the recoil impulse into the rifle and scope. A lead sled with 25lb bag of shot still recoils. Not a great deal, but the impulse is dissipated over a relatively large absorption area both physically and over time (travel distance). Rather like 18th/ early 19th century naval guns having recoil absorbed by carriage weight, retaining ropes, and travel distance.
This is logical, and resonable. On fixed vice, this is exactly the reason why I decided not to use it.
For lead slead I only learned recently of its existance. So never had a chance to try.

But considering, the calibers I use, and the level of recoil they have, (I mean, I dont have any kind of weatherby, or anyting in 40 calibers class), standard tripod and sand bag are quite useful! Heavy barrel 308 win, or standard weight 30-06, or semi auto 9.3x62, do note make recoil issue for me.

Then I also started practising air rifle plinking in the back yard, field positions. (with my kids), or 22 at range, or 308 for fun or local competition, for years:
This gives me confidence in my trigger discipline, breathing control, full drill, so once I am on the range, shooting prone, from standard tripod, and sand bag, I learned to trust my gut feeling if I made good shot, or I made an error during critical moment of triger squeese. Thus reducing the need for fixed rest, for my self.

Interesingly, I always thought that perfect rest for rifle to eliminate human error during zeroing would be heavy rest, with HINGED rifle vice in three dimensions, fitted with hidraulic, or pneumatic recoil reducer system in horizontal and vertical direction, and in sideway direction. (for s/s barrel guns)
To allow the rifle, to make more or less its normal threedimensional recoil, and be returned to its starting position.
I found something on youtube, but it still doesn not come to full potential of the design im mind. In this case, it restricts free movement of (freefloating?) barrel, by top securing belt, and in this case is a bit too light. The idea is for securing system to replicate hold in shoters hands. But, generally this is Idea, that I have in mind as possibly the best comprimise. Basicaly following video on the link is the cheaper version, of what I have theoritcally in mind.

 

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Mind over matter...just sit at the bench and sight it in....after that sorted...most I have done hunched over the dashboard sat in passenger seat in a roof less cruiser was 16 rounds of 458 lott to get my peep sight/ghost ring sorted after I dropped it...had to work out different angles as the top arm had got bent when I dropped it...so was having to move sight along and up to compensate for the bent arm....was pissed off with myself so wasnt happy till it was exactly on...hence 16 rounds in probably max 30 mins...but miraculously I survived...so yeah mind over matter...let your brain take over and ignore your body :E Shrug: :E Big Grin::D Beers:
 

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And op again go get a nice 404 or 416 Rigby and save your money by playing with a 375 thing....I have never been sensible and never intend to be....but I have had a lot of fun.....;):D Beers:
 

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With a $2K budget you should consider the Ruger Safari Magnum rifles. If you want a nostalgic cartridge look for one in 416 Rigby. They were also made in 375 H&H and 458 Lott. Sadly, Ruger discontinued this model a few years ago but they are readily available on the used gun market. I have one in 416 Rigby and it's accounted for two Elephants.
 

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Buy a 375 H&H. It’s a great DG entry level caliber, you can use it for pretty much anything in North America with appropriate loads. With heavy loads you’ll learn to shoot a big bore properly without taking a pounding and developing a flinch. Then as time goes on you’ll start getting a collection of big bores and love them all.
......all is sayed.

:cool:

HWL
 

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Wouldn't it be nice to have a sled like this...
 

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