First Dangerous Game Rifle - Struggling to decide

CJW

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I'll throw out a rifle that I don't believe has been mentioned and is under appreciated. FN Browning's or any rifle with an FN action. I have one an FN Browning in 458wm and love it so far. I wanted a rifle over .40 for really no particular reason as we all know a 375 H&H will do but I guess I wanted to be able to shoot 400+ grain bullets and wasn't worried about the recoil. In reality, my 12ga 3.5" turkey loads kick just as bad or worse out of a 7.5 pound gun. I wanted a 458 lott but decided I didn't need one if the right one didn't come along and then this Browning popped up. The lott IMO would have been gratuitous punishment to my shoulder The action is slick and one of the best ever made, it's accurate, easy to carry at 8.5 pounds scopeless and it's a pleasure to look at. The only thing to look out for with them is the saltwood stocks. A quick search will tell you all you need to know about them but they were introduced around 1965 and ran to appr. 1971. Mine is a '62. The only work done to it was by the previous owner to help it feed big flat faced bullets trouble free. I can reload the empties from the factory ammo I bought for less than $1 so ammo price wasn't a concern.

Here's a '70 458 but looks like it might be salt wood free.
Browning Safari .458 Win Mag Beautiful Condition - Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com : 890439691

375 FN Browning
Browning Safari .375H&H Mag - Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com : 890561891

Custom FN 375
FN Mauser Belgium Custom 375 H&H Rifle - VERY NICE! - Bolt Action Rifles at GunBroker.com : 890166281

Have fun in your search.
 

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Vintageguy

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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.
I followed this same line of thinking and went 375 H&H in a Winchester Safari. Topped with a Leupold 1.5x5 and QD rings. Sighted in the iron sights and then the scope and found out it’s the most accurate rifle I own so I got another scope a Leupold 3.5 x 10 with QD’s also and now I feel it is the definition of versatility. I can hunt deer, elk, moose or African game. I zeroed the 1.5 x 5 dead on at 50 and the 3.5 x 10 two inches high at 100 for dead on at 200 and about a foot low at 300.
 

fourfive8

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A really good one was just listed in classified. Winchester 70 in 416 Rem. Worth serious consideration!!
 

meigsbucks

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Just my input... Tough to beat a .375 (H&H, Ruger or Wby) as it will do it all. However, if elephant was on my agenda, I’d want to go bigger with a .416 or .458.
Those two are actually my preference for thick skinned DG, but that’s just me.
That’s why you need to buy them all.
 

C.W. Richter

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.375 (H&H.) It is pleasant to shoot, very accurate, greater range than larger "DG" guns, more versatile (use it for elk, moose, big bear in the U.S.) and even practice with it on deer and even varmints as we have. It's like a 30-06 on steroids (2x the bullet weight and same factory velocity.) I've owned 2 and have since sold 1 and given another to my Son (who's bagged buffalo and elephant with it.) If you use the 350 gr bullets, it behaves very similarly to a .416 (on the terminal end-again, a bit more pleasant to shoot-accurately!) I now use a .416, but must admit that the .375 would be MUCH better suited for bagging that 72" kudu by happenstance on a big game hunt. Ammo is widely available (and especially so if there is a delay in landing in Africa.) It seems you'd be dwidling your thumbs in the meantime with larger calibers, rather than hunting (which the .375 is quite capable of.) We even completed the pygmy antelope slam with the .375 using solids. I cannot say enough about the caliber and it's been covered quite well above. PHs like it as most clients are more apt to make a perfect shot at any practical range. This could save lives. You can get a used Whitworth Mauser or Win for $1,000+. I don't recommend the CZ as its integrated scope ring mounts are prone to issues on heavier/hot loads. The configuration changed over the years-IF you find a CZ 550 Safari model without the "Buttes" that's just fine; put some talley's on it and call it a day. 235 gr bullet for deer/varmints/blk bear and 300-350s for the big stuff (the 270 Barnes TSX or TTSX performs just like the 300s with a better trajectory-really good on Elk, Moose, Eland, etc.) Good luck. Oh, OMT....Do you hunt with a .50 BMG? Why not a Tank?
 

IvW

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I hate totally railroad the thread. But I'm always curious. How come no one ever suggests a 45-70 lever action for DG? I have never hunted African Dangerous game. But I would think if it works for grizzly bears in the Yukon. Why wouldn't it in Africa ?
Because it is a very poor choice for the task at hand...
 

Dennis M

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Hello and welcome.

I will pop in with my 2 cents and experience. My experience being that I just did what you are doing. I actually was very lucky and got a package deal on a 458 Lott and 416 Rigby. I also have access to a 375 H&H. I was able to shoot all three of the rifles before I purchased the 458 Lott and 416 Rigby (both are CZ rifles).

Shooting all three from a standing position, with or without sticks, was no big deal. Each is manageable. From a bench, the differences for me came out. The .375 was still fine, no problems. I hunt with a 338 Win Mag and I actually think the recoil from it was heavier than the .375 H&H. The .416 was heavier, but still tolerable and when I worked up my loads to reload, I was able to do all the shooting in one setting. The 458 Lott is all that and a box of chocolate when it comes to recoil from the bench. I had to break the bench sessions into three to get my loads for it worked up. Granted, I shot 67 rounds from the bench to get all three of my loads where I wanted them, but it's not high on my todo list to work up any more loads for it requiring bench work. Now that it is done, I love the gun and once again have no problems shooting in standard hunting positions standing or kneeling. However, I would not shoot it from a prone position.

Accuracy was great in all three rifles. I was able to get sub MOA in the two I bought with reloads and factory ammo. The the 375 H&H was also a great performer (it was a Winchester)

Reloading was very straight forward for the 458 Lott. Easy peasy. I had some trouble with the 416 Rigby though. I had problems seating Nosler Partitions. I was getting crumpled necks. I sized, flared, chamfered, and everything else I could think of. I even tried changing dies to see if that would help. It didn't. I just crumpled a certain number of the necks with the Partitions. I had no problem with the banded Solids or the banded TSX bullets. I am guessing that is because there is less bearing surface on the bullet and the neck. You may not, but it was my first go at reloading the cartridge and that is what I experienced.

Performance, I am working on my first adventure, but I can report they both kill paper targets great!

I ended up buying the 416 and 458, because I got a great deal on the package and, I just liked the 4's. I would not hesitate to buy the 375. In fact, had the opportunity been there to combine any two of the three guns, a 375 and 458 is what I would have done. The ammunition prices, even reloading, were much nicer for the Lott and would be as well for the 375.

Rifles both function well for me. I did have a gunsmith work on the feeding of the 416 Rigby, but it was minimal. The 458 Lott required no work. It was great.

On a side note, I had a bunch of lead cast bullets for the 458 Lott and I loaded up some light loads with Trail Boss. It is awesome. I am actually thinking of deer hunting with it. It's a Lott of fun.......

Good luck and have fun on your new adventure. I did, it has been a great time. I have also received great help here on this site. People here are great.

Best,
Dennis
 
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Chago

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Because it is a very poor choice for the task at hand...
Again it's used by practically every Yukon and NWT guide for grizzly bear protection. Grizzly is much larger then any African cat. I can understand elephants and rhinos are a whole other beast. But I am curious to understand why it's taken down more grizzly and polar bears then any other caliber. But wouldn't be good for a lion or a cape. And the action itself is great for quick reloads etc.
 

Philip Glass

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To beat a thoroughly beaten dead horse...

I am new here, but I have been combing this site for over a year. However, it has led to me being completely overwhelmed by the shear number of DG cartridges. So, I would like to ask for some more (in)direction.

My situation:
I am a ways out from any DG trips, and I want to get a DG caliber rifle to start practicing.
I currently shoot a 300wby and have shot a 50 BMG, but a 30# gun doesn’t really give me much of an apples to apples compare. However, I am pretty sturdy and don’t think recoil will be a big issue nor rifle weight.
Prior to being enlightened by the AH forum I only considered the 416 Rigby, but now I am torn between a 375, 416, 404, and 450/458. The 500 Jeff looks intense, but I really enjoyed the 50 BMG. (I am not looking at doubles currently).
I do think the 375 sounds versatile and like a lateral move in terms of recoil, but I don’t particularly like feeling under gunned.
I know that I want a dedicated DG rifle and to also hunt elephant at some point. Would my original choice (416 Rigby) be the best gateway dru...err I mean caliber? Or should I give something else a more serious look?

Respectfully,
BourbonTrail
Based on what you plan to do the a .416 may be a good bet.
 

tarbe

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Again it's used by practically every Yukon and NWT guide for grizzly bear protection. Grizzly is much larger then any African cat. I can understand elephants and rhinos are a whole other beast. But I am curious to understand why it's taken down more grizzly and polar bears then any other caliber. But wouldn't be good for a lion or a cape. And the action itself is great for quick reloads etc.
Lion and Cape Buffalo would (ideally) utilize different bullets in the same cartridge....Buffalo requiring more penetration and Lion being more affected by rapid energy dump.

And Cape Buffalo will require more penetration than Grizzly, given they weigh (generally) at least twice as much and have a very heavy bone structure.

I don't now about other country requirements, but the 45-70 will have a very difficult time safely achieving the muzzle energy requirements imposed by Zimbabwe. I can do it in my 30 inch Shiloh Sharps, but not my Henry.

I am pretty sure a 525gr Beartooth Piledriver hitting a Cape Buffalo in the right spot at 1,600+ fps will likely do him in. But you know the old saying...just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Think "margin for error".
 

Christopher Kennedy

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I have to agree that the .375 H&H is probably your most versatile choice, and it can be used all the way from deer and antelope to the Big 5. But, if you’re looking for an awesome caliber, you need to seriously look at the .458 Lott - it’s a real thumper.
 

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spike.t

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OF COURSE other 416s exist. They achieve the very same ballistics with 25 grains less powder, in much more compact rifles and actions! ;)

Shit so you aren't that doped up then....think the nurse needs to up the morphine for coming out with such rubbish....:A Banana::D Passed Out::E Big Grin:
 

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