Makers of Fine Bolt Action Dangerous Game Rifles

CDorroh

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I'm getting closer to the point in my life where I will finally be able to fulfill my dreams of taking some real big game trips, and Africa is high on my priority list. A close buddy of mine wants us to plan a big moose trip for his 40th birthday in 4 years, which is fine by me. However, I've already told him that for my 40th, we're going to hunt cape buffalo in Africa. This site is a wealth of information, and I've been trying to learn as much as I can from it.

I've got a MK V .300 Weatherby that has always done its part for me (as long as I do mine) for the past 15+ years that I'm sure would work well for PG. Every time I think about replacing it with something, I can't come up with a good reason to do it, so I'm sure it will tag along for PG.

However, I will be needing a DG rifle. I know my trusty MKV is a push feed, but I want this one to be a CRF, and I don't care to pay extra for some craftsmanship on this one. Like the title says, I'm interested in seeing what are some of the 'finer' makers of DG rifles. My LGS has a couple of Dakota Africans that have really caught my eye (anybody have any input on them?). They also have a couple of Kimber Caprivi's that are very nice, but don't quite have the fit and finish quality of the Dakota's (but are about half the price). They have several CZ models, but to be quite honest I wasn't that impressed with the fit and finish. I'm sure they still function just fine. I haven't seen a Mauser M98 Magnum or a Rigby Big Game in person, but the pictures I have seen do look stunning. I want this rifle to not only function well, but to look the part too. Any general suggestions or other makes to consider? Sorry for the long-winded first post.

Colby
 

Scott Slough

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Save yourself some time ...retract this post ... and read the big bore addiction thread :)! Your problem is not likely to be to few, but competing and VERY specific responses.

But you are going to learn a lot ... and probably find a few new friends.

Welcome aboard!

PS That ain't long :)!
 

Red Leg

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If Dakota is your baseline, then I would definitely look at the Rigby. Give Lance Hendershot a call https://hendershots.net/ He is an authorized Rigby dealer - I am awaiting a .275. You will also see a number of fine quality previously owned custom rifles on his site, along with a wealth of Dakota's. I believe that he has a new Rigby .416 ready to ship.
 
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Code4

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Rigbys are essentially barrelled action Mausers finished to a higher standard.

Shop around. US custom gunsmiths are also able to produce a top level product and I assume you are from the USA.
Be wary of any rifle designated a DG rifle with tight action tolerances. I had a 'lowly' CZ 550 bind with dust and now only use ex-mil Mauser '98 actioned rifles for off-the-truck hunt.
 
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CDorroh

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Save yourself some time ...retract this post ... and read the big bore addiction thread :)! Your problem is not likely to be to few, but competing and VERY specific responses.

But you are going to learn a lot ... and probably find a few new friends.

Welcome aboard!

PS That ain't long :)!

Welcome to AH!

And Scott is right, there is a thread here that you might want to check out.

http://www.africahunting.com/threads/big-bore-addiction-group.16761/

I've started reading through the BB addiction thread, and there is indeed some good reading in there. Thanks! The only gun I currently own that comes close to qualifying as a big bore is a .45-70 Marlin Guide Gun. I'm sure I'll be an addict as well, in due time.

When you see a Rigby in the flesh so to speak you will wonder why you even asked the question. ;-)

That's what I'm afraid of, lol.

If Dakota is your baseline, then I would definitely look at the Rigby. Give Lance Hendershot a call https://hendershots.net/ He is an authorized Rigby dealer - I am awaiting a .275. You will also see a number of fine quality previously owned custom rifles on his site, along with a wealth of Dakota's. I believe that he has a new Rigby .416 ready to ship.

It looks like he does, and what a fine looking specimen indeed.

Rigbys are essentially barrelled action Mausers finished to a higher standard.

Shop around. US custom gunsmiths are also able to produce a top level product and I assume you are from the USA.
Be wary of any rifle designated a DG rifle with tight action tolerances. I had a 'lowly' CZ 550 bind with dust and now only use ex-mil Mauser '98 actioned rifles for off-the-truck hunt.

I am from the USA. Are there any particular US custom gunsmiths that are known for producing similar rifles?

In regards to the Rigby's, I have noticed that they only appear to have one crossbolt through the stock, where as many other makes have 2. Is this of any significance?

Around here, Dakota is about the nicest make of DG rifle I can find on the shelf. Most gun stores in my area don't even stock DG rifles.
 

CAustin

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Welcome to the site sir! Good advice to get on the big bore thread and read through it.
 

sierraone

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I compared a Rigby Big Game .416 to a Mauser M98 Magnum at the Rigby Booth at DSC last January. As someone previously posted the Rigby is a little nicer in the looks dept. The M98 was about $1000 cheaper than the Rigby in both the single square bridge and the double. When you are already looking to buy a $15000 rifle, this is obviously not an issue. If you are buying new from the shop in London, you can easily turn your $15000 Big Game into a $20000 Big Game. For example a solid gold buff or elephant on the floor plate will run you around $6000. Rigby's London's Best gets into small house prices. There is a lot to look at when you can spend this kind of money on a rifle.
Send me a request through a PM with your private email and I will forward you contact and ordering info for the London shop if you would like.
 

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I love Dakotas and I think you would be happy with one. Also check out American Hunting Rifles. They have some good-looking products.
 

AZDAVE

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Let me throw a small wrench in the works, if your budget has a Rigby in it. Consider a Heym or Verney-Carron double rifle. Yea I am one of the double rifle nuts:) but do have several DG bolt guns in the safe. I looked at the Rigby at SCI in 2014 and it was a very sweet rifle. Have fun on your rifle search and enjoy the prep for your first DG hunt.
 

bassasdaindia

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welcome to the site.

I have a different viewpoint :

there are many off the shelf rifles that with that will work just fine for your hunt , Winchester M70 in 416 Rem or 458 Win , CZ 550 in 416 Rigby (they do need some work ) , Kimbers etc as well as many 375's.

I would purchase one of these and most definitely put the money saved towards hunting more species or large and dangerous game on your trip .

Hunting trips are logistically difficult especially when crossing continents , what I am trying to say is take advantage of hunting in Africa whilst you are here. The buffalo ,the elephant or the cat will not know the difference in the rifle that made the fatal shot.

Cheers and good luck.
 

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Welcome to the best forum.
Gunsmith in the USA specializing in "African style express rifles":
Michael Mercer Rifle Makers
mmriflemakers.com

Excellent place to shop for such items new or used:
www.gunsinternational.com
 
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Code4

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Two stock bolts are no better than one stock bolt or no stock bolts if the bedding is not correct, the stock design leaves the 'narrow' parts of the stock too thin anyway and the wood is low quality.

You need a gunsmith who knows what they are doing, to look at a stock and the bedding before deciding on how many stock bolts you may or may not need.

A top quality rifle with all the bells and whistles won't guarantee you success. It may give you more confidence.
Also, if you walk around afraid of it getting scratched and losing value you won't be concentrating on hunting.
 

Mike70560

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Colby,

The title of your post is "Makers of Fine Bolt Action Dangerous Game Rifles". There are some that view these makers as H&H, Rigby (London), Hartmann & Weiss, E. Dumoulin, Griffin Howe, etc. as "Fine rifles". In a big bore caliber in decent shape these rifles will cost over $25,000 used. The new Rigby rifles (owned by Mauser) start of around $15,000. The few rifles of there makes I have shot are masterpieces of workmanship.

My view of fine rifles is more broad. I believe there are still some very good rifle makers that are reasonably priced.

American Hunting Rifles builds custom rifles based on CZ or Granite Mountain Arms action. Wayne is a good guy, honest, his deliveries reasonable, and his workmanship is extremely good. He has built two rifles for me and upgraded another. You cannot go wrong using his services.

http://americanhuntingrifles.com/?page_id=33
 

375 Ruger Fan

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You might want to get a copy of Terry Wieland's "Dangerous Game Rifles." Lots of good info and great photos of all sorts of guns. http://www.amazon.com/Dangerous-Game-Rifles-Terry-Wieland/dp/089272807
BTW, Wieland speaks very highly of the Dakota action.

A couple of gun makers that have a good reputation and that interest me are:

Hill Country Rifles: http://hillcountryrifles.com/
A friend of mine purchased 3 Dakota actions and sent them to Hill Country Rifles and had them make a 270, 300WM and 375 H&H. He was very happy with the results.

Legendary Arms: http://www.legendaryarmsworks.com/
A semi custom rifle based off of the Ed Brown 702/704 action.
 

CDorroh

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Thank you everyone for the warm welcome and sound advice/answers for my rather novice inquiry. I've looked at the other suggested makers, and they appear to build a fine looking product as well. I think its mostly the nostalgia of carrying a Rigby or M98 that appeals to me. Even if I had unlimited funds for this, I doubt I would get too carried away with engravings, gold enlaying, etc. Like was pointed out, I don't want to be afraid to use the rifle for its primary purpose. As for double rifles, that's something I might consider one day, but I'm just a sucker for a good bolt gun.

While I really do find a Rigby Big Game .416 very appealing, I'm not sure that I'm ready to spend $15-$20K on one rifle. Actually, that's a lie. My wife is not quite ready to let me spend that much on a rifle. There, that's better, lol. But a very good point is made that the money saved on the rifle can be put towards the hunt. The critters on the receiving end won't know the difference. That Dakota African at my local gun store would still be the "nicest" and most expensive rifle I've ever purchased. Even the Kimber Caprivi would come pretty close to that for me as well. I've got some time to think about it and lots of reading to do. Thanks again.
 

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