Is there a sweet spot in the performance/cost spectrum for safari-grade rifles

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Matt_WY, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    Bpcr,

    You don't offend me is any way, shape or form.

    Me...I came for the floor show, some chuckles, tales of daring do and manly exploits like a heroic hunter saving his guides ass by killing the cat who was eating him like a lamb chop.

    You made me go" Woo-Woo," and the money hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up when you offered 5 figures for a rifle that would function on big game.


    A 98 with a 458 barrel and a plywood stock. If you shop right there won't be 500 in parts.

    And don't listen to any sh who wasn't even born when there were talk of the possibility of bad rounds, though these clowns act like they saw bullets bounce off elephants heads or hit the ground 30 feet out the barrel don't believe them cause they are fos.
     
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  2. Neil Molendyk

    Neil Molendyk AH Senior Member

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    Bought my CZ 550 Safari Magnum 416 Rigby four years before my one (and probably only) DG hunt in RSA. Sure the action may have been a little rough before a bit of polishing and repetitive stroking of the action took place, sure I glass bedded the action to add accuracy and reliability to its resume, and sure I went through 150 plus loads in finding a matching set of soft and solids for the hunt that fed reliably 100% of the time. But that was all part of the whole experience. And when I finally got to Africa to use the rifle, it performed flawlessly. And when I opened my gun case and my PH saw my rifle of choice, his face broke into a shit eating grin. I wouldn't trade it for another rifle because this one is mine and I got to know it. Someday maybe one of my children or grandchildren will be able to use it. My only regret is that the dealer had two in his shop at the time of purchase, I should have bought them both. They don't seem to grow on trees in western Canada. I can't comment on the Rugers, Winchesters, etc because I don't own one. But I couldn't be happier with my CZ.
     
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  3. bpcr

    bpcr AH Senior Member

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    Oh my Gawd,
    You don't like my Merkel?
     
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  4. bpcr

    bpcr AH Senior Member

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    Kevin Robertson in his book Buffalo Shot Placement and Trophy Evaluation says the 6 o clock hold is what you want to use. The CZ was rechambered by Triple River because I read on this forum that that would make it feed better. Some days it will not feed any blunt nose bullets coming from the left side of the magazine. The nose sticks in the right side of the chamber hole. A few days later those same cartridges will feed just fine. I feel the .458 Lott is the better round for the simple fact that it's easier to resize after firing than the .458 Win Mag. The .500 Nitro is also easier to resize than the Win Mag. Just saying. 1546039264483.jpeg 1546039237608.jpeg
     

  5. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    No I do not, although the 500 NE is a fine cartridge.
     

  6. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    This type of discussion always makes me smile ;-) In this case, we are discussing the placement within 1/2 inch of a bullet itself almost 1/2 inch in diameter, fired from a heavy recoiling rifle, aimed with iron sights, likely at 50 yd or so, from a standing field position or at best a pair of sticks, on a likely restive animal. God bless the shooter who actually hits the red dot (were it to be painted on the buff)!
    I am not sure what 'Doctari Robertson' meant to accomplish with his advice, but this may be a case of "best" being the enemy of "good." Lord knows 'Doctari' certainly knows infinitely more about shooting buffs than I do, but I am willing to take a pretty solid bet that any PH, 'Doctari' included, would be very happy with a bullet squarely landed anywhere in that yellow dot (representing the front bead).
    By all means apply Robertson's advice bpcr, and practice long and hard to hit that square-inch red dot each time, every time. If you find it challenging, do not despair. You can still cover that 1/2 square-foot upper heart area with the front bead and be happy to hit anywhere within it...

    I full well know that Triple River is the CZ "custom" guns shop, but the reports come with distressing regularity about the somewhat inconsistent quality of their rifles. This is not the first time we see in this blog a report of their rifles not feeding well. This is sad. Do they indicate on their invoice that they adjusted the feed ramp & rails when they reamed that chamber? If not, you can be pretty sure they did not. Another solid bet I am willing to take ;-)

    This being said, rifles and cartridges being somewhat inert hunks of metal, they tend to behave pretty consistently under consistent conditions. My little pinky tells me that there is a variable, likely human, that is left to be identified to explain "Some days it will not feed any blunt nose bullets coming from the left side of the magazine ... A few days later those same cartridges will feed just fine"

    Did Dwayne at AHR work on this rifle AFTER it was rechambered by Triple River? His work has a pretty consistently good reputation...

    When it comes to DG rounds, certainly reloading ease is a consideration, but most of us appreciate the Lott over the Win for its flatter trajectory and its significantly higher power, although as Von S. stated, the Win with modern loads will do whatever needs being done.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
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  7. postoak

    postoak BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Price points: The Mossberg someone mentioned, Ruger bolt guns, the Weatherby Vanguard S2, a Ruger #1 (they aren't making them regularly anymore so you may have to buy used), then CZ and Winchester Model 70, next customs in the $2500-$3000 range. If money is at all an issue then choose from price points 1 or 2.
     

  8. bpcr

    bpcr AH Senior Member

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    AHR did the work on the CZ while it was still a .458 Win Mag. I could maybe send it back and let him do some more work on it however, I have sort of fell for the Merkel for the the simple fact that all I had to do to get it to work was reload some shells for it . I used the Woodleigh reloading data and their 570 grain RNSP and offhand at 60 yards today they stayed within about 2 1\2 " to 3". Right now I don't know if I want any more of the headaches of trying to get the bolt guns to do right.
     

  9. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    ABSOLUTELY agree with IvW here.. I have 2x ZKK 602 IN 375 H&H , 1x ZKK 602 IN 300 Win Mag and a CZ in 458 Win Mag.
    Have hunted extensively with all of them and yet to have anything done to them by a gunsmith!!! More cost effective and a PROVEN successful African rifle...again, just use PREMIUM GRADE AMMO!!
     

  10. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    That does not surprise me. My bet is that Dwayne would resolve once and for all any feeding issue you have on the CZ since it was rechambered to Lott. Perfect illustration that "conversion" from Win to Lott takes more than "rechambering." I think that we are getting somewhere here...

    PS: please note that your previous post lumping together AHR and Triple River was not fair to AHR. You can hardly blame Dwayne for malfunction on the CZ if Triple River worked on it after him ;-)
    My own double is a Kreighoff and I am not sure why the Merkel is not as well considered by some. But some people hate the Kreighoff too LOL. My personal experience with Merkel is to still own an over/under 12 gauge (model 201) and I owned a sidelock side x side 20 gauge (model 126) of the highest grade, both made in East Germany and bought new. That dates me a bit. The only issue I had in 40 years and tens of thousands of shells is a broken sidelock hammer on the 126 that Merkel replaced. A bubble was visible in the metal at the break... Yeah, it happens, and before anyone jumps on their keyboard to bash Merkel steel, please keep in mind that a few Heym action have fractured, and that spare hammers were routinely supplied with hand detachable sidelocks English doubles ;-)
    Merkel used to have a tremendous reputation in Europe. I do not know if they still have it, and see no reason why not, but I do not know of any actual failure of a Merkel double rifle in Africa. Yeah, some people "like" them and some "dislike" them, but we all have likes and dislikes. That means nothing unless there is a specific explanation of why, based on facts. Enjoy your Merkel, is it a fine rifle...
    My point exactly about the little red dot and the big(ger) yellow dot (i.e. the front bead) in previous post ;-)
    3" groups at point of aim is definitely "minute of cape buffalo" and plenty good enough if you can do it consistently every time.
    FYI, the rifle can likely do better off the sticks and the trick is typically to increase/decrease ever so slightly the load to increase or decrease the yaw under recoil and get the shots to converge. Plenty of posts on that in africhunting.com...
    Good question. Many loose interest in big bore turn bolts once they are hooked on double rifles. I have the same case of loss of focus with my own .458 Lott, although mine is a Mauser 66 and functions absolutely perfectly.
    I am on the market for a used CZ with .375 H&H bolt face at "can't pass" price that I will rebarrel to .340 Wby. PM me if you are interested in getting rid of yours...
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2018

  11. bpcr

    bpcr AH Senior Member

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    If you really want it I'll lay it on you. I have.458 WM & Lott dies as well as extra brass and a bunch of 400 and 500 grain bullets Hornady's,Nosler, Woodleigh.
     

  12. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I am not overly concerned with dies, bullets & brass since I will rebarrel it and already have a Lott, and I do not care much about the wood etc. since I will put it in a B&C synthetic stock. Actually, I am only interested in the action... Did you have AHR do one of their upgrade package?
    Send me a PM with a series of pics and make me an offer I can't refuse :)
     

  13. postoak

    postoak BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    mpcr - what kind of accuracy do you get out of the Winchester? On a dangerous game rifle, super accuracy isn't required since most shots are up close and the game (except for leopard) is large.
     

  14. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    Several times a year I attend the Zimbabwe shooting test. I have never seen a controlled feed M-70 malfunction. If I remember right Don did not like the 3 position safety or the sights on the current M- 70. I do not agree especially on the safety! The rear sight I also see no problem. If a safety conversion is done on a fine custom rifle there is about a 99% chance it will be a 3 position wing safety, just like a M-70 safety. I do not think you could go wrong with a M-70 + glass bedding + action smoothing. A CZ 550 is also a great choice after $1,800.00 of work!
     
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  15. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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  16. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    Hi Matt,

    It seems that Don Heath and the Zimbabwe shooting test is constantly being referred. Both are excellent references. I totally disagree with Don (deceased) on the Winchester Safari Express safety, that was Don's opinion. On the rear sight, I believe he was referring to the old fold down site, but if he was referring to the new non-folding it is a great mount with the wrong sight blade easily corrected with either a file or a new shallow V express blade or better yet with a ghost ring. Of course if you are going to mount a scope this is really irrelevant. If you will notice almost all new custom rifles use the M-70 3 position wing safety.

    The one thing that it will definitely need is glass bedding, not for accuracy, but for strengthening the stock to prevent splitting, one additional pin doesn't hurt either.

    I do not consider myself as "The" authority on what works and what doesn't, but Kevin Roberstson is a well respected Zimbabwe PH, Veterinarian, PH examiner and writer, here is what he has to say about the four rifles suitable to be reworked into reliable PH rifles.
    1. The ZKK 602
    2. The CZ 550
    3. The Ruger 77
    4.The M-70 Super express

    I will not go into the mods that need to be done on each to make them Africa ready, those you can find out my reading Kevins, Africa's Most Dangerous.

    I will say that any of the four must be properly pinned and glass bedded. One other thing that I would like to mention on tightening "action" screws a old gunsmith taught me this after you think you have the screws properly tightened, keep the proper size screwdriver in place and hit the screwdriver once with a wooden mallet. You will almost always find that you could have properly tightened about another 1/4 turn.

    As to your PH saying he would not recommend the current M-70, I do not know what to say, I just know you would not hear that from me!
     

  17. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Hello Lon;

    I am reading your posts with interests, and I notice that apparently 'Doctori' Robertson, you, I, and many others, agree with ZKK 602 / CZ 550 being at the top of the common man's list. I also like the Win 70 CRF, but would prefer it if it had integral scope bases, and barrel band rear and front sights...

    Stock $275
    I also agree with addressing the stock cracking issue on the CZ, although I personally believe that a Bell & Carlson Kevlar & Aramid stock with integral, full length aluminum bedding block and pillars (https://www.bellandcarlson.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_ID=1099) is a better investment than glassing and pinning the existing stock. That is a ~$275 investment.

    Safety $300
    I am on record on this forum for being a strong advocate of retrofitting a true firing pin blocking safety (i.e. a Winchester type '3 position' safety) on the ZKK / CZ. That is a ~ $300 investment, installed by someone who knows what they are doing, i.e. a 'smith' (which is needed, to fine-tune the camming surfaces).

    PS: I agree with Don that this safety would be even better with the side lever located on the opposite side (i.e. left side of a right handed gun so that the thumb could push it without shifting the hand grip on the stock, and I note that actually New England Custom Gun, Gentry, and maybe others (?) offers such a safety for the Mauser (see https://www.newenglandcustomgun.com/Gun_Services/item_info.asp?Brand_id=6139&ST=Mauser 98 - 3 Position Safety with Left Side Lever#.XC0DcVVKiwU) but I do not know of anyone offering one for the CZ, so I am happy with my safety with lever on the right side.​

    Action job $20 on your own or $300 by a gunsmith
    I have also posted on page 3 of this thread (and on several other threads) how one can smooth by oneself a ZKK / CZ to silky performance. That is a 4 hours and $20 worth of miniature 'jeweler' files, sand paper and valve grinding compound investment. I reckon that some folks will be reluctant to do it themselves, so let's budget $300 with a gunsmith for that.

    That gets us to $575 if you do your won action job ($875 if you get a 'smith' to do it).

    What else?
    Without getting in minute details, what exactly do you think is still NEEDED?

    I know AHR and others offers to change the trigger, straighten & fill the bolt handle, chop an inch or two off the barrel, replace the front sight (why?), cerakote the metal, etc. etc. This is all great but is this really NEEDED? The CZ sights are fine, the trigger works just fine, etc. etc.

    I could see the logic of a barrel band front swivel, but honestly the forearm is long enough that it is very unlikely someone will actually reach all the way to the swivel stud, and anyway I am willing to bet that you recommend against putting a sling on the gun so removing the front swivel stub addresses any concern...

    I know that you do not want to enter into a detailed list, but I would appreciate a couple of pointers because for the life of me I can't see what else is truly NEEDED.

    Thanks
    Pascal
     

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  18. One Day...

    One Day... GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Yep! I have used this tip myself for 40 years, having learned it too from an old hand.

    However, the modern proliferation of cheap but accurate torque wrenches (e.g. the Wheeler Fat Wrench https://www.amazon.com/Wheeler-Accurizing-Measurement-Gunsmithing-Maintenance/dp/B0012AXR4S ) has rendered the tip mostly obsolete as one gets the same threads mating with the almost 'impact wrench' effect of clicking a few times in rapid succession the torque wrench, and it is a lot safer for the screw head as the force is actually controlled ;-)

    This works really well too on the scope bases screws (Win 70), although I personally combine this with red Loctite that is actually lubricating the threads during the torquing (hence helping overcome threads imperfection and mating the threads) before hardening and locking the screws in place. Ah! if only Winchester had the good sense of cutting a dovetail on their receivers... Alas...
     

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    Last edited: Jan 2, 2019

  19. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Red Loctite? Isn't that the level of once it's set, it's never coming apart? I'm quite hesitant to go that far, but total advocate of using the blue loctite. It holds but can be undone.
     

  20. WAB

    WAB AH Elite

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    Pascal,
    Good points on the M-70. I have added bbl band swivel and front sights to mine, along with replacing the rear sights w NECG sights. I am ok with the non-integral bases but do use loc-tite on them. The same fellow who does Wayne’s stock work (AHR) also restocked mine. My buddy has the top tier AHR CZ in .458 Lott. I don’t think there is a nickels worth of difference between the two. They are both utterly reliable, accurate rifles. Here is a pic of them leaning on a Buff in the Save. The third gun is Clive Lennox’s .450 Ackley.
    Bill
     

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