First Dangerous Game Rifle - Struggling to decide

BourbonTrail

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@Paul Miller - my first bolt action was an M77 (Not safari though) in 270 win, I only traded it because it got me my M1903.
 

Mark Biggerstaff

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My 2 cents. For your first DG and all around Safari gun. Winchester Model 70. 375 HH or 416 Rem Mag.
I had a Winchester 70 416 Rem mag, with the proper optics it can still be an all around gun. I had a Leupold VX5HD 2-10x42 CDS Firedot on it. Custom dial for load I shot. Worked perfect out to 300 yards with CDS.
 
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JHT

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My recommendation: (Full Disclosure- I have never been to Africa but am going July 2022) If your plan is to shoot a buffalo, an elephant, and some plains game then get a .375 H&H. If your plan is to shoot a couple of buffalo and an elephant (no plains game) then get a .416 Remington Magnum. I believe you will be happy with a Winchester Model 70 Safari Express in either caliber depending on your application.
 

Tra3

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.375 H&H. You can use it in North America too. If/when you decide to step up in caliber, it will be very easy to sell. But, after hundreds of rounds you might find that your shoot it really well and don’t want to change anything.
Get good Quick release system and then two scopes, one for general hunting (higher magnification) and one for your DG hunt (1x-4x or similar). The scopes can move to a new gun easily.
I second @sgt_zim that the rifle is a very small part of the price of a hunt.
 

Neil Molendyk

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Suggestion, before you commit to one rifle for DG, find a copy of Africas Most Dangerous by Kevin Robertson and give it a read. There is a wealth of good information in it. Depending upon your budget get the best rifle that you can shoot comfortably that fits you well.
 

matt vejar

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Elgin Gates killed an elephant with what appeared in the picture as a side brain shot with his .300 Weatherby. I believe once you reach 300 grain slugs no animal on the planet can withstand a direct hit.
 

John Telford

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Bourbon- be practical start with .375 (pre 64 or similar) . Load with 300gr solids for DG .
For buff 300 grain expanders like Barnes TX , for plains game 270 gr.
your PH will have a bigger caliber for back up which hopefully won’t be necessary if you do your part. Your 404,416 etc will sit in your safe after the Safari.
I have seen this happen so often...
 

CBH Australia

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I have, and because of that I have considered a weatherby vanguard in 375 H&H ...new they are only $1100. However I have done a fair amount of simple machining/gunsmithing.
Weatherby Vangaurd is a Howa action , functional and affordable procured under Weatherby who put the reputation on the line .
Don't ask the CRF vs PF question . It is a rhetorical question like what's the best cartridge for a purpose.
If you know you're own mind pick the best out of the information we relay.

As far as the debate I will not enter my Tikka T3 rifles can be loaded upside down if I get bowled over. Extraction issues are rarely an issue but will be if they fail at a critical moment.

If AHR were set up around CZ550 upgrades so be it. They are highly regarded.

You said you have a bit of practical experience. You could smooth it up, improve it. People Tweek Tikka but people hunt straight out the box too.

I had a 458wm, I considered the .458lott might feed better but I sold it to fund the .375H&H , rechambering, rebarrelling may have lead to a custom I can't just study. O have my elephant gun and if get to hunt Buff I will take my .375H&H, DG or not practice and make the first shot count. If, you need another shot you will be familiar with the rifle .
 

Alaska Luke

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I have no ballistics expertise that hasn't already been mentioned but just an idea.

You mentioned wanting to get used to a bit more recoil. How about a lighter 375? It will kick more then a heavy one and get you ready for a bigger rifle if you go that direction. And a lighter 375 is very flexible for non dangerous game (which means more practice). Just a thought.
 

Nhoro

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I hate to break it to you but I have seen rifles from all manufacturers give problems at the Zimbabwe PH shooting tests. Original mausers, through Winchesters, CZ, Whitworth etc. Mauser based actions often need work to make them feed correctly. Also if you watch youtube hunting videos, you will see a lot of jams on reload on dangerous game. Most PH's will get a gun that works and stick with it.

Ironically, the least problems I have seen are with push feed actions in well practiced hands. Simpler action-no timing needed as long as you dont double stroke it. And I think the excitement of dangerous game (or an exam) is what causes the problem. The only trustworthy action is one that you have used under pressure again and again (and fixed any problems.
Have you read some of the issues surrounding factory CZs? Might not be such a good buy if it requires a lot of time spent at gunsmith to be functional. I have never owned a CZ but it concerns me if an entire gun smithing business was set up to work on them.
 

IvW

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The problems with pushfeeds on DG rifles often result from extraction and double stroking rather than feeding.
I have become reliant on ZKK 602 DG rifles, 500 Jeff and two 375 H&H, have never ever had any issue loading or extracting, some may say it is the same thing as a CZ....trust me it is not...

I would recommend being patient and shopping around until you find a 375 H&H on a ZKK602 action, do not be in a hurry it is not like you need it tomorrow.....

Personaly I would stay well clear of a Weatherby Vanguard in 375 H&H, pushfeed, too light, shite stock........
 

nksmfamjp

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Frankly, I would only be looking at a Winchester 70 unless you want something bigger than 458 Lott/470 Capstick or are going full custom rifle.

IMO, the reason for this is that the Winchester 70 has a great stock for most and needs only lop set generally because of this.

It also has crf, fixed ejector and a nice smooth feed cycle generally. It may need some smoothing, but the gunsmith isn’t starting from ground 0!

It also has pretty good sights to start with. To me, a DGR really needs good sights. A scope is nice with lower recoil, but I don’t want taken out of the hunt by my optic. I don’t know if we can count on the scope being far enough away in the heat of the moment.

I’m not sure it is a case of buy and hunt, but it is pretty close.

Also, 375 h&h is kind of the standard and maybe a little more flexible, but the 458 Lott is much better than it is given credit for. 458 Lott is considered by folks as a solid stopper, but it’s flexibility is often not considered. Shooting reduced load 300gr-350gr softs would allow plains game flexibility....velocities are quite high.
 

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I hate to break it to you but I have seen rifles from all manufacturers give problems at the Zimbabwe PH shooting tests. Original mausers, through Winchesters, CZ, Whitworth etc. Mauser based actions often need work to make them feed correctly. Also if you watch youtube hunting videos, you will see a lot of jams on reload on dangerous game. Most PH's will get a gun that works and stick with it.

Ironically, the least problems I have seen are with push feed actions in well practiced hands. Simpler action-no timing needed as long as you dont double stroke it. And I think the excitement of dangerous game (or an exam) is what causes the problem. The only trustworthy action is one that you have used under pressure again and again (and fixed any problems.
That’s not any news to me, my feelings aren’t hurt. However, I made that post because if you’re buying a rifle on a tight budget and you know you will have to put money in to get it to reliable working order, it should be a big consideration.
 

375Fox

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Suggestion, before you commit to one rifle for DG, find a copy of Africas Most Dangerous by Kevin Robertson and give it a read. There is a wealth of good information in it. Depending upon your budget get the best rifle that you can shoot comfortably that fits you well.
I just bought that book and am slowly working through it. It is a really good resource for buffalo hunting. I found two very similar sources of free information. He made two very good episodes on “the big game hunting podcast” as well, one was on African hunting bullets and the other was on African hunting rifles, both extremely informative.
 

spike.t

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I’m disappointed that the CZ 550 production ended, but there is one left in the Rigby at my local(ish) gun dealer.

Well your sorted...I was going to say yes your original choice of the 416 Rigby is perfect for what you need...but with that rifle being available I would jump on it
 

Bonk

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I do like the 375 H&H from a practicality perspective, and I like the idea of taking it elk hunting.
I was just wondering if it was enough of a step up from my weatherby in terms of recoil to see any gain any big caliber experience.
By your name I assume you live in KY near the BT. So do I. If you're close you're welcome to come by my place and shoot a couple of 375H&H rifles if that will help you make up your mind. I also have a 375 Ruger. PM if you're interested.
 

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I started with the 375H&H as my first, and that turned into 416 Rigby, 458, 470, and now a 50....its a sickness. I'll be taking my 416 Rigby on my first buff hunt. I'm more practiced and comfortable with it, and my loads in 300gr & 400gr still make it ideal for the species Im looking to go after. The ability to load it as I wanted for both PG and DG capabilities really make it more versatile than most would think. For me, the 416 Rigby has replaced my 375 m70 almost entirely.
 

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