Ideal Rifle for Dual Use

Newboomer

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Winchester 70 in 375 HH. Good variety of bullets and a fantastic action. I have one and have taken everything from springbok to buf. One gun for everything that walks the planet.
 

WAB

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Wow! Thank you for all of the great input and recommendations folks. Here's a little bit more information about me and some of the rifles I have and have used.
I've used the Ruger Guide guns in both 375 and the 416. I'm currently working on testing some reloads in the .416Ruger guide gun with the 350gr Barnes TTSX bullets for a friend. I will be at the range this weekend checking out load development and what kind of accuracy and velocity I can get out of the 20" barrel.

I already have and own a custom 375WBY rifle that I've used to take a coastal bear with. It's built on the M70 classic action in a High Tech synthetic stock and 24" Brux barrel. It's a superbly accurate setup, but is missing a few components I'd like (barrel band, iron sights, short barrel). I know the barrel could be shortened, but I'll probably leave this rifle as-is, rather than have it modified. I also have a Kimber 8400 that I had customized as well. It has a 20" barrel with a brake, McMillan stock, Ceramic coatings and Iron sights. It's main design intent was for deer hunting, with the always possible threat of bears being in the area, especially with dead deer. The surprising thing with the 338 is that factory Barnes ammo with the 225TTSX still keeps a velocity of 2750fps. My hunting partner has an almost identical rifle and it too has similar velocities. I thought I'd give up a lot more speed with the short 338Win barrel, but it didn't seem to happen.


WAB
I remember Gary and his shop he used to have here in town. He put together some nice looking rifles in that shop. Thanks for reminding me about devil's club....ugh.....I'll be down in Sitka here soon hunting goat and deer and can't wait to be reacquainted with those nasty little thorns.

Although I have a couple of possible rifles that would work, I'm really looking for that "niche" rifle that will knock a big bear down if necessary, is handy and compact and totally reliable. The Ruger seems to check all the boxes and I'm really looking into that option. Besides the Ruger and some of the other manufacturer's mentioned, which custom gunsmith would be the go-to person for a build like this? The gunsmith I've used for both my 375WBY and 338 is Kevin Weaver out of Colorado. He's done a great job on everything he's built. They all funtion and I've looked at the Bansner Classic safari rifle as well and that looks like a very nice rifle package for this task.

If you had to break it down into two types of categories on customs, I'd say the one category would be sky's the limit on budget and optics . The other, more reasonable side is what does a nine to ten thousand dollar with optic setup look like and who would build it? The third option is the off the shelf Ruger/Montana/Winchester choice.

Personally I would go to Gary with any metal work without reservation. Every build he did for me shoots sub moa (.325 WSM, .375 H&H, .458 Lott) and looks fantastic. They are all M-70 crf’s. The other fellow I would talk to is LeRoy Barry at Canyon Creek custom Gunstocks. He does AHR’s stock work. However, his metalwork is world class and not many know about it. He did a full custom build for me in 7x57. It is a work of art and shoots sub 1/2” groups. It doesn’t hurt that a friend is Rigby’s main engraver and worked his magic on it at the friends and family rate!!! Here are a couple of pics.

IMG_0544.JPG
IMG_0547.JPG
 

WAB

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Note that the screws have since been corrected on the bottom metal and grip cap. I was in a rush to sight in and get to Africa!
 

curtism1234

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I'm thinking outside the box. There are a couple gunshops (one I believe in Alaska) that can take a Browning BLR lever gun takedown model (which comes in stainless) and can chamber it to a 375ruger

If you ask me, you couldn't ask for a better bear rifle - compact, quick to rack another shell un without the perceived negativity of a 45/70 (if you are one who subscribes to the theory that it is not the best for brown bear), and certainly fits the bill for dangerous game in Africa.

I believe someone here owns said rifle. If interested, you could search
 

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.375 Ruger may be great in Alaska but if you go to Africa and your ammo doesn’t arrive with you (it happens) you may be SOL if you try to find .375 Ruger. .375 H&H will be found almost anywhere hunting ammo is sold in Africa.
 

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From your description, I have no doubt you need a 375. Preferably an H&H, possibly a Ruger. Knockdown power in the alders, 30-06 type trajectory, lots of bullet choices, hands down best caliber for Africa if you have only one. Solids for duiker and other little critters, as well as rhino and elephant. Multiple good bonded bullets for everything else.

Hard to go wrong with a M70 style action. I love my Rugers but the safety is a concern in situations where it gets really hairy. Bossie Mostert comes to mind. The only reason to go with a Ruger in my mind is that you want a solid gun with everything you ask for in a buy and shoot it configuration. Ruger Guide Gun in 375 Ruger has it all, except the safety is not fool proof.

If I was to spend big money on a bolt gun again. It would be the following; 1. A super light carbon fiber wrapped barrel mountain rifle. But in a flat shooter cartridge. Not perfect for bears nor Africa. 2. Rigby Highland Stalker, just because. 3 Rigby Big Game. Be tough to take to Alaska unless given some weatherproof treatment that doesn't detract from the beauty of the gun. 3. Blaser R8, but have not fallen in love with that system yet.
 

NorthernHunter

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That's a beautiful rifle WAB!

FourFive8, I don't have an already scripted agenda, I'm just trying to glean any information on a niche type rifle that could possibly double in Africa. I'm actually surprised nobody has recommended a bigger bore type rifle in 458 Lott or similar by a specific gunsmith(s).
 

fourfive8

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I know exactly what an alder thicket is. I have no idea what a 2 inch shorter barrel has to do with walking through a devil’s club thicket though... as one poster mentioned- I guess to sound more “sage” about AK.

As your previous post mentioned- If you really want to use a Lott as a dual purpose rifle go for it. Your OP? was in reference to specifically a dual purpose rifle for AK and Africa. I don’t believe alder thickets have anything over gamble oak thickets or tangled willow mixed with deadfall and a maze of abandoned beaver raceways as found in some steep canyons of the Mtn West. The absolute toughest AK hunting condition I’ve ever experienced had nothing to do with brush or timber or long barreled rifles. It was in rotten, deep snow and snow drifts mixed with feet of matted grass during two weeks of continual cold rain in steep country requiring snow shoes while hunting spring bear on Kodiak- again nothing to do with long barrels and everything to do with reliability in tough conditions :)

The only thing that has in common with Africa also has nothing to do with long barrels but everything to do with RELIABILITY especially if Africa DG is considered. Africa is NOT like AK.

I’ll stay with my original thought about a dual purpose rifle- the 375 HH Win 70 Stainless Classic in HS Precision stock with low power quality scope. I would not discount the same basic type rifle in 416 Rem Mag either. It’s just IMO, the 375 may be slightly better than the 416 for an occasional 300 yd. shot on caribou on the tundra. I have no issue with those who have a 24” and cut it to 22”... if it feels good whatever. Sorry, I’ve never felt handicapped with a 24 or 25” barrel especially in the larger cals. Using a rest for best shooting has little to do with a 24 or 25 “ on a big rifle or how well “balanced” it feels. But a standard 24-25” length barrel does have something to do with recoil/muzzle jump and muzzle blast and the longer barrel may hold steadier if rested. And come to think of it I’ve never caught the last 2 inches of my barrel on a wait-a-bit either :)

I have limited experience with the Win 70 FN box trigger. IMO, the original (pre-FN) Win 70 trigger was and remains the finest trigger for a serious hunting rifle ever designed. good luck
 
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Mekaniks

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Yep a 458 Lott will qualify as "dual use" for sure....
 

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I know exactly what an alder thicket is. I have no idea what a 2 inch shorter barrel has to do with walking through a devil’s club thicket though... as one poster mentioned- I guess to sound more “sage” about AK.
I guess my five hunts to AK (2 on Kodiak) were all a dream. Obviously you are vastly more experienced than me! I’ll bow to your suggestions.
 

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I'm thinking outside the box. There are a couple gunshops (one I believe in Alaska) that can take a Browning BLR lever gun takedown model (which comes in stainless) and can chamber it to a 375ruger

If you ask me, you couldn't ask for a better bear rifle - compact, quick to rack another shell un without the perceived negativity of a 45/70 (if you are one who subscribes to the theory that it is not the best for brown bear), and certainly fits the bill for dangerous game in Africa.

I believe someone here owns said rifle. If interested, you could search
Ok I want one. Just because;)
 

WAB

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I guess my five hunts to AK (2 on Kodiak) were all a dream. Obviously you are vastly more experienced than me! I’ll bow to your suggestions.

Yep, apparently running a boat out of Valdez for years does not qualify me either.
 

Ryan

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Africa is NOT like AK. [/QUOTE said:
Well, that depends on your view of each. Narrow or realistic. What part of each?

ranging from the cool Cape of South Africa through the equator to the Sahara desert. Alaska is the largest state, over twice the size of Texas going from coastal rainforest in the Southeast to arctic tundra. Each with wide open spaces such savannah and tundra, various open brush and forested areas to tangled thick brush of all sorts, wet rain forests, and cof course open mountainous areas where we chase Dall sheep in Alaska or rhebok in South Africa just as an example.
So yes, as a matter of fact Africa and Alaska do have a lot of similarities
 
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IvW

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I already have and own a custom 375WBY rifle that I've used to take a coastal bear with. It's built on the M70 classic action in a High Tech synthetic stock and 24" Brux barrel. It's a superbly accurate setup, but is missing a few components I'd like (barrel band, iron sights, short barrel). I know the barrel could be shortened, but I'll probably leave this rifle as-is, rather than have it modified.

There is all you need for a dual use rifle....spend the money on the few components you need and you are good to go...

You could even step up to 350 gr bullets to bring the speed down a bit and increase the ability of the caliber especially on larger game species.
 

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While I'm with Red Legs on the Blaser R8 in 375 H&H being the best rifle available, not everyone can afford it. If the Blaser isn't in your budget, I can highly recommend the Mauser M12 Max in 9.3x62. Very accurate 22" barrel, laminate thumb hole stock, 5-round detach magazine (5+1), very smooth and reliable action, and light. Bought mine as a "bush gun" and think it would meet your needs admirably. This is a bear stopper. The M12 with a Leopold VX-6HD 2-12 scope has quickly become my favorite rifle. My next brown bear hunt to Alaska will see this rifle traveling with me. Good luck.
 
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Hello,
First time post for me here on this forum. I've read a lot of information on this site and it definitely looks like the place to post my question regarding rifles for dangerous game. I live in Alaska and am searching for input on having a custom rifle built. This rifle will mostly see use on the coast hunting bears. Wet, nasty weather with the salty type environment in horrendously thick brush (alders) is pretty typical for these hunts. The other intended use is to take it to Africa at some point to hunt. I'm not super particular on caliber at this point, but need one that will work well with a 22" or shorter barrel without horrible recoil that makes a second shot difficult. I'm more interested in what components as well as top gunsmiths are recommended. While I love the looks of the fancy rifles so many of you have on here, this rifle just needs to be reliable 110% of the time in less than stellar conditions. Here's a list of items I'm pondering on a build. Maybe some of you could provide your thoughts or first hand accounts (positive or negative) on this list and gunsmiths.
  • Action (Model 70 CRF)- Yes/No? I'm told the stainless "Classic" action is ideal, but am open to other suggestions. 3 position safety with bolt lock (nothing likes to open a bolt like climbing in alders)
  • Barrel: No longer than 22" with backup iron sights. What's the best type of irons around for low light, dangerous game survival?
  • Stock: Synthetic stock: Is there one that stands out as a better performer for a dangerous game setup?
  • Trigger: Upgrade or get the original Winchester trigger tuned?
  • Gunsmith: Who builds the best and most reliable repeater rifle?
  • Coatings: Nitride metal to prevent corrosion?
  • In trying to keep within a certain budget, is there likely going to be problems if say I purchase a five thousand dollar custom rifle from a reputable gunsmith vs. a gunsmith who has a specific "dangerous game" classic type safari rifle build in their products that costs three thousand dollars more? What is (or isn't) necessarily gained by the price difference?
I appreciate any help on this project.
Northern Hunter.
I personally would go a savage weather warrior and have it rebarreled to the 35 Whelen or 9.3X62. Bother heavy hitters without the magnum recoil.
Cheers
Bob .
 

curtism1234

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Northern Hunter.
I personally would go a savage weather warrior and have it rebarreled to the 35 Whelen or 9.3X62. Bother heavy hitters without the magnum recoil.
Cheers
Bob .

Or better yet, call the custom order department and order it. I would assume they have chambered them over the years
 

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