Pattern for an African Big Game Rifle...

nksmfamjp

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I’m posting this because I wonder if I’m searching for the wrong thing....I’m just wondering what the group consensus is on the ideal big game rifle. I’m thinking Cape Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, etc. I think these are usually shot 25-75 yards.

My thoughts:
Bolt Rifle
Winchester model 70 type 3 position safety
Slick action; controlled round feed
458 Lott, but 416 rem mag - 505 Gibbs would work
4-5 round magazine
22” barrel
3.5-4.5lb trigger
Hooded barrel band front sight like NECG makes....without anything loose
Island or quarter rib rear sight with 1-2 leaves...1 is likely best, but I wonder if a 100 or 150yd leaf would be nice in addition to a fixed 50yd leaf
Walnut or composite stock; bedded at both recoil lugs; real crossbolts, especially the front one aligned with the action lug
Inlet rear sling stud
Barrel band front sling stud
Mercury recoil reducer installed
Thick recoil pad...ideally leather covered for quick mounting of the rifle

So, I’m a total amateur, what am I missing?
 
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nksmfamjp

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I think it's a good rifle pattern for a dangerous game in Africa.
I’m throwing it out there because most models available just barely miss this pattern in the USA.

I see I forgot.

Straight bolt handle with slight oversized ball that sticks out to grab easily.
 

IvW

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I would suggest for caliber 404 Jeff/416 Rigby. In that order of preferance. (Proven, no straight wall cases and no belts).

I would add a 1-6 X scope with QD mounts.

If I redo my DG rifles I am getting rid of the express sights and replacing them with ghost ring sights. Fastest open sight and very accurate.

You will never ever use the other leaf sights in the field only the fixed one.
Mercury recoil reducers can be noisy and there are some more effective ones available now a day's
 

Red Leg

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I suppose I have a somewhat different view. Unless one was born with a significant trust fund or bailed on the tech boom at exactly the right moment, few hunters are going to take an extended safari where they will hunt all the big 5. On the other hand, a very common occurrence is a hunt of more limited duration concentrating on buffalo or perhaps elephant, with plains game thrown into the mix. For an all around Big 5 rifle, I think @IvW sums it up perfectly and either the Jeffery or the Rigby would be ideal, and both also make sense with a low power scope which is really smart for most clients. Your description, regardless of caliber (but particularly in the Lott or .505), would make a superb stopping rifle for a PH, but, in my opinion, is less than ideal or all that practical for a client. Remember, even on the big hairy things, your PH is most concerned that his client make a lethal, accurate first shot - his job is to worry about the mess afterwards.

Now should you wish to have a stopping rifle built, have at it. It would be cool to own, though probably not altogether practical on a modern safari. For that actual hunt, it is hard to beat a .375 - or if you really want a 40 something - as @IvW suggests, a scoped .404 or .416. It will handle any buffalo ever born, and has killed more sport hunted elephant than probably all other calibers combined. I have a lovely scoped, mauser action .375 otherwise similar to what you describe less the miserable recoil reducer (I carry rifles far longer than I shoot them, and a .375 is easily managed at nine pounds all decked out.) In recent years, I have become a huge fan of the Blaser R8. It really is a much better mouse trap. It can be fitted with a .416, Lott, or .500 barrel and a second PG caliber can be contained in the same case. Or do like I and many others do, and just bring the .375.
 

Newboomer

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Ditto on the 375. Make it an H&H. It's been around for over 100 years and has accounted for more animals than most others combined. It's versatile, ammo is readily available anywhere in the world and it is effective for any practical range.
 

sgt_zim

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a 5-rd magazine is literally a tall order for those calibers, particularly the 505. The brass for that is .64" at the head.
 

Hunting Hitman

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Since we’ve kind of left the realm of a single Safari I would agree with all of the opinions above and add my 2 cents. I used to take my 300 win mag for plains game and my trust Heym Double in 470 NE for the dangerous game. As My eyesight is starting to slip a bit I’ve now reverted to scoped rifles for Dangerous Game. My new set ups are custom AHR rifles with Granite Mountain actions chambered in 375 H&H (Plains and Cats) and 505 Gibbs (Dangerous Game other than Cats) respectively.
 

nksmfamjp

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Let’s ignore the caliber for a moment. You guys are spot on that 375 is a better all around caliber or even new client caliber.

I’m interested...why do so many suggest a scope on a 50-100yd high recoil rifle? Can most people get a quick short range aimed shot better with sights?....or maybe a red dot?
 

Inline6

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Let’s ignore the caliber for a moment. You guys are spot on that 375 is a better all around caliber or even new client caliber.

I’m interested...why do so many suggest a scope on a 50-100yd high recoil rifle? Can most people get a quick short range aimed shot better with sights?....or maybe a red dot?

Depends on the scope, if it is a true 1X it will be just as fast as a RDS. The advantage is you will have an extra 4X to 8X depending on which scope you choose. That can help better than hurt you.

YMMV
 

Hank2211

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Let’s ignore the caliber for a moment. You guys are spot on that 375 is a better all around caliber or even new client caliber.

I’m interested...why do so many suggest a scope on a 50-100yd high recoil rifle? Can most people get a quick short range aimed shot better with sights?....or maybe a red dot?

Not sure you can (or should) ignore the calibre.

You're right that a scope is likely entirely irrelevant if you're going with the .505 which as @Red Leg says, is essentially a stopping rifle. I've seen people use the Lott at longer distances, so you might like a scope - detachable - if that was what you were going with. Any smaller caliber I think you'd want a scope just to have the flexibility to shoot at longer distances. I don't think it's reasonable to assume that your shots will all be within 75 yards in Africa, so by foregoing a scope, you're likely limiting yourself - or you'll have to take another rifle along for most of your hunting. Even then no one wants to be carrying two rifles every time you leave the truck, particularly if you're on a tracking hunt like buffalo or elephant, nor do hunters like to miss opportunities because they have a rifle along which fits only very particular circumstances.

I should add that many PH's - and I'd expand that to most PH's if they don't know you - want their clients to use a scope even for relatively close work, particularly on dangerous game. On that type of game, the first shot has to count, especially if you're using a bolt action, as you suggest (and I agree with that), rather than a double rifle (I won't get into the argument of which is faster for the moment, other than to say for most of us mere mortals, a double would normally allow for a quicker second shot than would a bolt action). Even within, say, 50 yards, most of us will still shoot better with a scope than without. You may be an exception to that rule, but missing the kill zone on a buffalo because you were trying to find the bead in the "v" while focussing on a black target . . . well, most PH's wouldn't like the result, and likely neither would most of us. I've shot buffalo within 50 yards with a scope, and then took the scope off for follow up shots . . . one at least is always recommended even if not necessary!

As for red dot scopes, they can be very effective, but again, I'd suggest they are better on a stopping rifle than a regular hunting rifle.

You can lose the scope if you expect to have to make very quick shots on moving game. But since very few of us take shots on running game in Africa, that usually means something has gone wrong and that's not a situation most PH's want to experience. To start with such shots is a very bad idea for almost all of us, given how long a badly shot animal can run (it's not unheard of for wounded buffalo to be tracked for days) and the cost of losing a trophy.

So unless you're expecting to build a battery and have someone carry the extra rifle on your hunts, I'd suggest you program in a bit more flexibility. A set of Rechnagel quick detachable sights would be perfect.
 

Von S.

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NK,

I think that you have gotten some good suggestions here.

I love a good ghost ring set up, and a qd scope set up as suggested. I have them myself and find them very accurate and quick to get on target with.

5 round magazine? How come so many? Is it because you plan on missing a lot, or just not using a round powerful enough to knock the life out of what you're attempting to kill with one almost perfectly placed bullet? Ok

And whereas the "QUEEN" of the medium bore, the 375 H&H, has a tremendous following I have always believed that though it is a very versatile round, it isn't what I consider a premier dangerous game round.

One very nice member here posted that he would like to use something bigger and more powerful, but has found that the H&H is the most powerful that he can handle......and for the most part I believe that is the case for many, many more.

If you really think about it the H&H has killed all sorts of stuff in Africa,though some are more easily made dead than others. The Cape being on the high end. Though many don't know it because most pictures of the Cape kills have the shooter hunkered down and we'll behind the animal to make it look huge...,..the cape is normally smaller than a milk cow, and who would even think that the 375 H&H wouldn't be enough to take out "Ol Bessy"?

One needs to be able to hit with his spiffy new custom made rifle and if the round is too powerful for him to control then everything else is worthless.
 

sestoppelman

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Think the "cape" might just be a little bit tougher and tenacious than Ol Bessy.;);):rolleyes:o_O:D
 

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Your basic set-up x the 505 Gibbs is more than adequate. How much experience do you have with larger bore calibers? Unless you are quite comfortable shooting them, I'd suggest you take a good look at the 375 H&H. As has been stated, your job is to put a first good shot into an animal, it's your PH's job to "stop" it if need be.
 

njc110381

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Since buying my .416 Rigby a couple of months ago I have felt very grateful that the .458 Lott that I had initially set my sights on didn't work out. I'm not overly recoil shy but at the higher end of the load range in the Rigby I'm close to saying that's enough. I would imagine a full power Lott cartridge will make you stop and think.

It's so hard to say as each shooter is different. I know people that flinch with a 6.5x55, I know people who can shoot my Rigby and shrug it off like I would a .22. I guess the best suggestion would be to shoot a bigger round before you invest a lot of money in a rifle chambered for something you may not enjoy. A .375H&H will kill anything, a .416 more so. Something of Lott capacity or greater may just hurt you more than it hurts what you're shooting at if you can't use it accurately!
 

nksmfamjp

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Depends on the scope, if it is a true 1X it will be just as fast as a RDS. The advantage is you will have an extra 4X to 8X depending on which scope you choose. That can help better than hurt you.

YMMV
I agree, but on a short range powerful rifle, I’m always worried about how scope bite prevention will slow me down....or worse, the scope is turned up to 8x when I’m about to get stomped.
 

nksmfamjp

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Your basic set-up x the 505 Gibbs is more than adequate. How much experience do you have with larger bore calibers? Unless you are quite comfortable shooting them, I'd suggest you take a good look at the 375 H&H. As has been stated, your job is to put a first good shot into an animal, it's your PH's job to "stop" it if need be.

Well, funny you ask! I have no experience with these rounds.....other than shooting my friends 375 Ruger some. This post is part of my study of what I want in my personal 458 Lott rifle. I have thought about 416 rem mag, 404 Jeff., 460 Weatherby, 505 Gibbs, 458 Win Mag and 375 H&H. I have selected the Lott for these reasons:
1) The Lott gives me good versatility. I reload. It will put 500 gr bullets into dangerous game at 2300 fps as well as allow me to shoot downloaded 300 or 350’s at deer, elk, paper at 2300fps(basically 45-70 range)

2) The Lott is a real stopper. For a good shooter, it offers 4 rounds of 500 gr solid or softs at nearly 6000 ft lbs of energy.

3) Brass is pretty easy to find. I think I have a good 50 years before I have to worry about it going away. Even 458 Win Mag is a seasonally produced at this time. The Lott is regularly available in Hornady and Norma brass.

4) Bullets are much easier to find in 375 or 458 over 505 and 404. A quick look at Mid South, MidwayUSA, Widners, Powder Valley, etc shows they all have bullets, brass, dies, etc for making ammo. Factory ammo is pretty available online too.

5) Progressive learning....I can make 45-70 level downloaded ammo....and I know I can handle that pretty well, with minimal recoil pad. I can also load 500 gr bullets up pretty hot fo4 the full experience, when I get there! Even if I only get to 450 gr bullets at a moderate pace, that is a heck of a stopping round.

The 460 and 505 were just too big costing me Mag capacity, bigger actions and rifle cost, less opportunity for light loads and no opportunity to use on Ohio deer.

The 458 Win Mag was fine, but seems like it is an overlapping choice with the Lott available.

The 375 h&h looks great, but it lacks the top end I was looking to get to.

The 416 and 404 are fine choices too, but have limited bullet selection, limited brass in the case of the 404, can’t use on Ohio deer.

When/if I go smaller, I will probably get something like the 9.3x62 or 8mm-06/338-06.

For North America and light game, I already have my 6.5x55.
 

Shootist43

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Nk, you make a lot of good points. However the one you seem to be missing is your ability to shoot the 458 Lott well. Before embarking on this journey, you need to find someone that owns that caliber and is willing to let you shoot it and I don't mean just one round. Shooting that bad boy will either confirm your thought process or lead you down a different path. Only your shoulder will tell.
 

nksmfamjp

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Nk, you make a lot of good points. However the one you seem to be missing is your ability to shoot the 458 Lott well. Before embarking on this journey, you need to find someone that owns that caliber and is willing to let you shoot it and I don't mean just one round. Shooting that bad boy will either confirm your thought process or lead you down a different path. Only your shoulder will tell.
I see it a similar way....I may shoot it my whole life at 45-70 level. I doubt that based on my 45-70 and 375 Ruger experiences.

This is also why I want to take caliber out of the conversation. I feel like there is lots to be shared related to the rifle features over caliber.

For example, I find open sights valuable on most hunting rifles. I say this because if my scope goes whacky, I still have open sights to finish the hunt. When traveling to hunt, a broken or just not good enough scope can ruin a hunt. Open sights can get it going again. This is especially true under 150 yds.

I also find hooded front sights valuable for the consistent sight picture and because it protects the sight. My shotgun had the brass bead ripped out! A hood would have stopped that.

I wonder what lop is best....my limiting factor is often based on mounting the rifle over shooting.
 
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njc110381

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When I was looking at the Lott, price of shooting and availability of components to load to a lower level were a huge part of what I wanted. There is so much stuff out there for the .45-70 which can be moved across, right down to cast bullets to make range time really cheap! If you're not in any rush to hunt Africa then in my mind it makes sense, you can work it up slowly.

I'm currently trying to figure out how to make my .416 Rigby shoot cast bullets. Initial outlay is fairly high.
 

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