Rifle Lessons Learned from the Zimbabwe Professional Hunter Proficiency Exam

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by AfricaHunting.com, Mar 30, 2010.

  1. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    If I was going to supply a young, aspiring Zimbabwe Professional Hunter with a new rifle. It would be a CZ 550 standard grade. Calibre would either be .375 H&H or .458 Win Mag. I would then have a LOCAl gunsmith disassemble and smooth the action and all internal parts. No other changes should be necessary (although many of the appys are fairly short and length of pull might need to be changed. Why the CZ550? The price is right and it is a very rugged rifle, the way that they are treated they need to be tough! Why .375 and .458 besides both be practical calibers, the big + is clients may give them left over ammo!
     

  2. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I am absolutely respectful of the realities on the ground, so to speak. It humbled me to think of the sacrifice being made for a better opportunity when I take so much for granted. One has to start somewhere, and this course does offer a lot no doubt. Has anyone tried to develop scholarships?
     

  3. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    The answer is a simple, no. I do not know if the PH learner written course is taught as a special course. Most will not pass the written, those that do will usually have to take the written test two or more times to pass. Making it all the way through does not take weeks, but years! Again I believe (I don't know) that Namibia is a leader in learner assistance. Think of your time in school, if your time was like mine most teachers wanted you to succeed, but there were teachers that did not challenge you they just wanted you to fail.
     
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  4. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    I meant to say, "I do not know if the PH learner written course is taught as a SCHOOL special course.
     

  5. John338

    John338 New Member

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    I am planning an African hunt for Cape Buffalo and agonised for years over Rifle make, calibre and bullets. Eventually I realised the process should go like this,
    "Can I afford to go?" Answer "Yes"
    "Whats my budget?" Answer "$X"
    "What do I spend that on?" Answer" Best possible quality Rifle and Optics first and foremost, then the hunt itself" I my case I brought a Rigby Big Game Rifle in 416Rigby and delayed my departure date by 2 years and sold of some surplus rifles to pay for that and also to learn exactly how to use it properly. Then I started saving to pay for my hunt. Will let you know if I have chosen the right path but from Don's article and most of the thread it seems I am on the right track.
     
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  6. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    What stops me personally in this way of thinking is the final question: "And then what?"
    For example: I save the money, I buy the rifle.
    I save the money, I go for a hunt - say Buffalo.
    All going well, I bring the buffalo home.

    And then what?
    Rifle remains in locker, because it is specialized big game, DG rifle?
    Its such shame. Good hunting rifle should be used continuously.

    But regardless of "Then what" question, I believe this is the right path, the only way for proper collecting buffalo.
    Good luck.
     

  7. Gert Odendaal

    Gert Odendaal AH Elite

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    A big bore rifle is just like any other hunting rifle ..you need to use it to hunt any other type of game. To shoot any hunting rifle well you need to shoot it often. Any dangerous game rifle can be use to shoot pigeons and francolin as well as rabbits , moving targets that will keep your eyes and reflexes sharp..and normal game..do not over analise this ..just do it and enjoy it while you still can...(y):LOL:
     
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  8. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Elite

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    Without commenting on the course or the rifles or calibers specifically, this great old thread shows one thing that is often ignored by hunters: The magazine box. Some rifle mfgr's use one action length, and stuff everything from 2.0 inch to 2.62 inch cartridges into it with little modification. This is one primary cause of failures to feed. Check this out on your new rifle. As the author points out, the old Mausers took care of this potential problem, so did M-S. Admittedly, it is not life or death when it jams up with only a whitetail deer in the sights, but damn! A hunter can get pretty frustrated when this happens........................great article.........................Flatwater Bill
     
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  9. John338

    John338 New Member

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    Yes I have thought about that at great length. When you spend that amount of money ( in my case $25,000NZD) it has got to do more than fire one perfectly placed bullet. Included in my price was things that made this a heirtage rifle, silver paque with my initials, gold engraving etc. My son will inherit it and hopefully pass on to his son and continue the hunting history of our familay. However all that aside it is also wonderful hunting rifle so to answer your question "And then what?" I am hunting all New Zealands big Game animals with it. The old question about " what can you shot with a 416 Rigby ?" is clearly "any think you want!"
     
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  10. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Fanatic

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    John338, I envy you for the optimistic thoughts and noble plans.
     

  11. Doug375

    Doug375 AH Senior Member

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    Great article by a real expert with a lot of field experience. I've owned several of the brands of rifles Mr. Heath mentions and have had various failures with most of them...at least the ones I've used enough to tempt Mr. Murphy :(. The most aggravating failure was with a Winchester Model 70 from the New Haven custom shop. It was a 1994 product of the custom shop, so I think it was made near the end of the New Haven run. Anyway, it's a thing of beauty in a most appropriate caliber (.375 H&H) so I was ready to hit the range and get ready for Africa. I've learned to always test a rifle with a full magazine, cycling each of the rounds, rather than feeding them one by one. Well this lovely rifle refused to pick up the next round in the magazine after firing the first round. Not when the bolt was operated slowly. Not when the bolt was operated quickly. Not at all.

    I took it to the gunsmith and he told me that most of the custom shop rifles, especially those manufactured near the end, have to be reworked so that they'd feed properly. This gunsmith does most of Winchester's warranty work, so he knows what he's talking about. A few weeks and a few hundred dollars later, it worked like a charm. I've used it quite a bit and am very happy with it.

    I was aggravated that a custom shop would ship a rifle without function testing it. Even more so because a .375 H&H rifle will more than likely see use on dangerous game. Failure to feed could get a guy killed. I now fully wring out a new rifle out at the range well in advance of any field use. I've become accustomed to paying a gunsmith to work out the wrinkles too. After a nightmare scenario sending a brand new Ruger back to the factory to be fixed, I now just swallow hard and pay a local professional to do the work.
     
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  12. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    After reading this thread my Ruger No.1 in 450/400 may be the most reliable bet for buff
     
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  13. Mlibizi 8182

    Mlibizi 8182 AH Senior Member

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    One thing that I believe has been overlooked in the current proficiency test. Is no one uses a double rifle. Since the test is heavily weighted towards running and reloading. It would be very difficult to pass with a dbl. If caliber is .40 it is 10 additional pts.
     

  14. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Elite

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    Now that’s dedication and good on you! I congratulate you for your determination a choice of rifle and caliber.
     

  15. edward

    edward GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    great,go on a diet.
     

  16. Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson AH Enthusiast

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    No reloads allowed? I wonder why? Reloads allow you to tune the cartridge to something that works well in your particular rifle.
     

  17. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I am going to guess there are several reasons, but mostly too many jams, FTF, FTE etc, attributed to poorly assembled ammo.

    Not everyone who handloads is an expert!
     
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  18. ZG47

    ZG47 AH Enthusiast

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    Beyond that, these rifles should work with any standard factory ammo, in all situations. Limiting that variable compromises the validity of the proficiency test.
     

  19. Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson AH Enthusiast

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    We have a difference of opinion here. Factory ammunition varies wildly. Not a gunsmith by any stretch, but it seems that standard is like expecting an engine to run at peak performance with any engine oil.
    Maybe it is my ignorance of the realities of Africa, but when I buy a new rifle, I test different brass/bullet/powder/primer combos until I find what that particular rifle likes, then I stick to it.
    I understand a hunter can get superated from their ammunition, but how does a PH get separated?
     

  20. bpcr

    bpcr AH Senior Member

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    I here that they don't allow reloading in South Africa so you can only buy factory loads. I think if you're a non-resident coming into the country on Safari you can bring reloaded Ammo from what I have read on Africa Hunting threads.
     

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