Rifle Lessons Learned from the Zimbabwe Professional Hunter Proficiency Exam

BeeMaa

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Tarbe, if your RSM is one you bought off of AH you beat me by about 15 mins!

Question for all, as above I stated I’m wanting some day in the future to acquire a DGR in 458 Lott. I’ve narrowed down to a couple of options.
1) I can get a CZ 550 for $1,000 - $1,100 and send to AHR for option 2 build and have less than $3,000 in a rifle ready to take to field.
2) I can get a 458 win mag and rechamber to 458 Lott. I’ve done zero pricing for this option as of yet.

Interested in any and all pros and cons as I have not been steered wrong on this forum.

Thanks!
David
Option 3 - Go on the AHR website and Wayne has a 458 Lott for $3200 and you are done with the quickness.
http://americanhuntingrifles.com/available-now/
 

TNDave

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I doubt it Tim! And he can wait around as long as he wants, he won’t get mine unless he buys it from my son after he inherits it!

I get it! My grandson will get all of mine and he just turns 3 tomorrow! I got him a lifetime sportsman license for the state of TN for Christmas, God willing I hope I live long enough to enjoy it with him!!
 

WAB

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I get it! My grandson will get all of mine and he just turns 3 tomorrow! I got him a lifetime sportsman license for the state of TN for Christmas, God willing I hope I live long enough to enjoy it with him!!

I hope you do Dave!
 

WAB

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IdaRam

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RSM UPDATE

I had mentioned earlier in this thread (or was it in another, similar thread?) that when I ran the bolt on my new-to-me RSM 458 Lott at max speed, I could get the bolt to the rear before the ejector could get into battery, requiring a double-shuck to get the empty to eject.

I took the advice of @IdaRam and put a slight ramp leading into the slot, and also polished the ramp and entire slot with 6000 grit.

I took the rifle out yesterday and ran it hard. Really hard. As in I had brass flying up to 24 feet from the rifle (I measured!) and the empties were getting terribly banged up on the rifle.

I could not get the rifle to fail to eject in about 20 rounds attempted.

Not definitive...but clearly we are moving in the right direction!

I will continue to shoot/test over the next couple years as I prepare for whatever is coming after the BVC buffalo hunt in August.

Thanks for the advice Dan!

Tim
Good to hear! Happy I could help out :)
 

steve white

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The reason I really like my Sako extractor is because it is on my Sako AIV! Sweet gun, and I got it used for $1250.
 

Luvthunt

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Done both of what you are asking and worked OK . But now I would do some research on a Kimber. Have one in 375 h&h and like it. They make a 458 lott and u can find them used for mid $2000.
 

Philip Glass

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For my own information guys. If you have a Ruger Guide Gun in .375 Ruger already what would you consider necessary to make it into a reasonably reliable "light" Dangerous Game rifle for the lighter weight dangerous game like lion or the Big Bears or is it just better to start from scratch with a CZ? I had a regular .375 H&H before and I'm unsure how I feel about the strait case of the .375 Ruger as compared to the .375 H&H in a Dangerous Game Rifle when it comes to its reliability when extracting and loading. I am a controlled round feed believer when it comes to hunting things that can hunt me back after over 40 years of experience with Murphy's Law.
I have my Rugers at Hill Country rifles now and will report how it goes. Matt there says no problem he can fix my ejecting issue.
 

Paparock94

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I have my Rugers at Hill Country rifles now and will report how it goes. Matt there says no problem he can fix my ejecting issue.

I have heard great things about Hill Country rifles so I am looking forward to your report! I lived in Texas just on the mainland from Galveston Island for many years and most of my relatives live in East Texas around the Tyler/Kilgore area.
 

Nevada Mike

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Me too. But alas, I can eliminate the offenders.
Poof!

Could not agree more.
@Brian Cameron was banned earlier today, just wanted to give this new member a chance to find out who we are as a community before taking any drastic actions.
Ah... I just registered here today, then read this thread. Started off pretty well and is relevant for me as I am just starting to build a DG rifle. Then the nose dive and I started to think I had made a mistake when I registered.
 

Tokoloshe Safaris

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Ah... I just registered here today, then read this thread. Started off pretty well and is relevant for me as I am just starting to build a DG rifle. Then the nose dive and I started to think I had made a mistake when I registered.
Hi Mike, I know where you are coming from. A new thread is started and it ends up being something that really has no bearing on the original subject,but hang in there there is some really good material on this site.

This thread started out as a reprint of observation & opinions of a very knowledgeable man, Don Heath, deceased. He did leave something very important out. For many of these aspiring hunter/guides. Buying one box of cartridges is two or three months wages. Buying the old piece of junk that is their prize possesion is a bit like you buying a house. I attend most of the Zimbabwe proffecincy shooting test and work on many of the rifles that show up.

I will make this statement very few problems with M-70 and CZs. If there is a problem it is usually a problem with the sights, broken, loose or missing!

Look at some of the stuff von Gruff has posted you will not go wrong!!!
 

Nevada Mike

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Tokoloshe - -

Thanks for your response. I have been lurking here for a number of months. My father was a marksmanship instructor and I grew up shooting rifles. I veered of into bird shooting and bird dogs for many years but never really left big game hunting. Now I am thinking that I would like to visit Africa and combine some game hunting and bird hunting.

My project is to build a .404 Jeffery on a Granite Mountain Arms Mauser action. I like the work that Reto Buehler has done building rifles in the English ‘Express’ style. I am trying to educate myself on the finer points of function and use of a DG rifle.

All help appreciated.
 

TokkieM

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I spoke to Don often before his untimely passing. He is not around to clear up any statements he made so I am going to respect his opinion, which I prize very highly. The truth of the matter is as Don stated it, he had enough back ground and experience to back it up. We discussed this very article, often and a few things we discussed was not mentioned in the article, as I am sure space limitations in a publication are often dictated.
A rifle may perform flawlessly for some and seem as smooth as butter, but in another shooters hands it will jam, fail to feed etc, the more space the bolt has to be minipulated the greater the chance of this happening. CZ for one has a sloppy bolt, cross torque it in a specific way and you will get it to bind. I personally have a tendency to place excessive torque to the right of the bolt instead of a more straight aligned action when working the bolt, I am sure this is in anticipation of banging it closed. Point is that more often than not that torque is enough to bind the action solid. Now it does not happen when test feeding rounds or shooting from the bench, but when I try and empty the 5 rounds in the mag on the range as fast as I can work the bolt, it will happen.
I have owned around 6 CZ rifles and the last thing I will call them is smooth, even if worked over, yet many owners insist they are. A matter of perception. I own a FN actioned Husqvarna and it is many things, but smooth is not one of them, neither is my Original Mauser. The mere fact that there are so many GS making money fixing CZ rifle issues from factory is confirmation that Don had it right when he wrote this piece.
 

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I really appreciate the scientific approach the author has. He even timed exactly how long it takes to reload ("A two round reload took on average, twice as long with the Model 700's as it did with just about any other make of rifle."), compiled the data, and worked out the averages. I wonder if these were hand timed or electronically timed?

Odd that he did not address accuracy.

I am so glad to hear yet another opine on the "American attitude", and the shoddy American products (sarcasm intended). Perhaps we Americans should spend much more of our cash to buy wonderful European rifles (if it is not made in Europe it is absolutely substandard!) and less on taking expensive hunting trips to Africa.

Perhaps he is correct in his opinions, but his approach is crude and a bit offensive. Perhaps he knows it all!
Accuracy is usually good on big bores and distance is 10m usually so that one is not real issue ...Don Heath yes quite a CV as above ...so his opinions carry a lot of weight ..... and I despair when a client takes a remmington to Africa ........ Dakota build good rifles .....I like them ........ and not all European rifles are equal have my reservations on Tikka and Sako the more recent models .....and Blaser for the price a decent rifle can be purchased ...Mauser the 225 model I keep one in my teaching battery to show people what not to buy .......
 

Tokoloshe Safaris

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I really appreciate the scientific approach the author has. He even timed exactly how long it takes to reload ("A two round reload took on average, twice as long with the Model 700's as it did with just about any other make of rifle."), compiled the data, and worked out the averages. I wonder if these were hand timed or electronically timed?

Odd that he did not address accuracy.

I am so glad to hear yet another opine on the "American attitude", and the shoddy American products (sarcasm intended). Perhaps we Americans should spend much more of our cash to buy wonderful European rifles (if it is not made in Europe it is absolutely substandard!) and less on taking expensive hunting trips to Africa.

Perhaps he is correct in his opinions, but his approach is crude and a bit offensive. Perhaps he knows it all!

When you refer to the author I assume you were referring to Don Heath. Don was a very experienced man, both in the field of African hunting and general firearms knowledge he freely passed on his experience. African hunting and firearm knowledge is a poorer place without Don. Unfortunately he cannot reply to your opinion.

How much longer if any that it takes to reload two or three rounds in a Remington as compared to most other dangerous game, I do not know. I will say this during the proficiency test some learners pull individual cartridges from a belt, some retrieve from a pocket, some from a pouch with cartridges all pointed the way that they will be loaded. I am not sure how Don took those things into consideration. You ask how he timed that observation, I do not know. This I do know the course is timed electronically and as far as I know the reload time is not timed separately. I will check next month if it is really that important.

Personally, I own and use American, English and European bolt action rifles. Which one is the most accurate? It doesn't really make much difference they are all accurate enough to get the job done every time! Which is the least accurate, undoubtedly my George Gibbs Double .470, which is the fastest to reload for two rounds the Gibbs, for three rounds my pre war .416 Rigby. What is the difference in time or accuracy between the Rigby & the model 70 .375 H&H. At the end of the day or hunt it really does not make much difference, as long as you can reload and your rifle functions properly every time. With that said I do not own or have ever owned a Remington or any other push feed.

One last comment I certainly do know it all!
 

Shootist43

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Nevada Mike, I agree with what was said earlier about not being "put off" by what you read on one AH post. We all are guilty at one time or another of letting our personal experiences cloud our judgements. It starts off with
"I had a (Brand X) rifle that.... or my buddies rifle did..... you fill in the blanks. Systemic issues are what I look for, if enough guys have the same problem it is sorta like "where there is smoke there is a fire." I mentioned to you in another thread that I have two 404 Jeffery rifles. One a CZ that was built in their Custom Shop and a Converted Winchester Mod 70. I would have to say that neither of these rifles can be reloaded quickly, it's because there is a scope on the rifle and doesn't have anything to do with the rifle itself. Both rifles are very accurate, the bolts however are a far cry from smooth but yet they function.
 

TokkieM

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Personally I don't have a issue with either Sako or Tikka rifles. I was fortunate enough to assist in the training of Swedish hunters about to take their hunting exam. Part of this exam is a shooting test, the famous Moose test. Pretty simple, one shot on a standing Moose to the left, Moose starts running and one more shot while it's moving, same from the other side, so 4 shots for one series. The avarage student shot 10 series, 40 rounds, group of students where between 10 and 25 so between 400 and a 1000 rounds per day on 3 rifles. Training would be every single day for 4 days, just our group. So around 1600 to 4000 rounds in 4 days. Times this with 4 groups per month and you get the idea. Now these rifles where never cleaned or taken care of in between a day's shooting. They where wiped down at the end of each day and a bore snake pulled through twice, that was it. Rifles where replaced after 25 000 rounds. Not once a failure to feed, extract or eject. The only failures where the plastic mags on the Tikka rifles. That being said I do not consider either of them as my choice for a DG rifle, what makes them good at accuracy and reliability also makes them a problem for DG, the loading, ejection port is simply too small to blind feed them as fast as a Mauser or Mauser clone/copy.
As far as the Rem 700 is concerned I discount them as a DG rifle simply because of their tiny extractors.
Don probably shot more DG game with his Husqvarna than most us put together have shot plains game. When it came to bolt guns he knew exactly what worked and what did not, now Don may not be here to justify even more facts, which he would probably feel no need to justify. Now there is a argument to be made with any mill spec bolt rifle out there today that if the military uses and tested them surely they can stand up to anything? Same argument I had with Don, his reply was simple, military bolt guns are used for precision at ranges we don't hunt at. They are not used to put down between 1 and 5 tons of nasty 10 feet away and closing fast.
 

Tokoloshe Safaris

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Murphy strikes again!

Today is the Zimbabwe professional hunters shooting test. Yesterday Mr. Murphy struck!
My wifes .404 CZ suddenly decided not to feed cartridge #1 this is after several hundred of cartridges have been cycled through it as late as three days ago. After careful examination it was found that the magazine box had ever so slightly bowed inward and was causing the follower to not be allowed to move downward as the cartridge to be fed! For the first time ever I had left my firearms tools at home! With the help of a couple of members of Cleveland gun club and a diamond file, the rifle is 100% again. There will be close to 30 first timers trying to qualify today plus several who have attempted before and did
not qualify.

A note ammunition in Zimbabwe is running in excess of $20.00 a round. Each aspiring learner PH will fire about 20rds. 700 rds. At $20.00 per ed. $14,000.00 invested, just in one days ammunition. In the next couple of days I will post the pass rate.
I will also try to note types of firearm failures.
 

IdaRam

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Thank you for keeping us informed Lon. Looking forward to the report.
 

Tokoloshe Safaris

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Keep in mind that there are five courses being shot at any one time and I can only be at one at any one time, but I will know how many shooters and how many passes. Most of the shooters (if they enroll in the school) who take the test will about $1,500.00 invested in the test (less rifle cost) for someone living in the states a $1,500.00 dollar loss is not the end of the world for these young people who are giving their best, it may not be the end of the world, but they are awful close to looking over the edge.
 

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