Rifle Lessons Learned from the Zimbabwe Professional Hunter Proficiency Exam

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

  1. Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson AH Veteran

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    I do not think anyone makes a 12 gauge loading appropriate for the task. That doesn’t mean they can’t. Shotgun loadings use really fast powder. That allows a shotgun to use a relatively thin barrel. You put a barrel with more meat forward, you might be able to use a slower powder. You would have to use all brass shells, like some of the first cartridge shotguns. A solid copper or a copper jacketed steel projectile would give you better sectional density than current lead slug designs. Slower powder will also give you a lot more wiggle room on slug design.
    Such a design also alleviates another issue the original author brought up, fumbling with reloads trying to single load from the top. A magazine fed weapon could simply allow a mag to be dropped, and a fresh one inserted. Magazine retention should not be an issue. If a clients life is one the line, let it fall to the ground and sacrifice it.
     

  2. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    This is just to bizarre for me& I have that long flight to catch tomorrow & 3 weeks out of the Bush is just to long.
     

  3. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    Still confusing!

    The only smoothbore I use on DG is either my 9.3x74R/12ga combo or my "poor man's double", which is a sxs, double trigger, sidelock Brno shotgun with barrels cut back to 24 inches, front sight fitted and ghost ring on the back.

    The application however is limited to follow up on Leopard and hunting bushpigs in the thick stuff and warthogs for kicks.

    Loaded with Brenneke slugs it is perfect for this use, however that is where it ends. Using this on any other member of the DG brigade(except perhaps lioness in a pinch) would be, well, suicidal!

    As for DG bolt actions and "drop away" magazines, well, another disaster waiting to happen!

    My 375 H&H takes 6 rounds, a 404 Jeff on the same action 5 and my 500 Jeff on the same action 4. Now trust me if you cannot stop what you need to with that amount of firepower, you should probably not be guiding clients hunting DG or on foot safari in a DG area.

    If you do need to reload(top up) either after firing the first or second shot or even if you get to the point where the mag is empty, it is much faster to top load another round in a proper DG rifle than to try and dump the magazine and fit another. This topping up can be done while on the move without taking your eyes off of the action so to speak.

    The tools of the trade are either a proper double rifle or a proper bolt action DG rifle, my choice has always been the bolt action and the above mentioned doubles for leopard.
     

  4. ChrisG

    ChrisG BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    It has already been tried. The old Black Powder Elephant guns were truly "guns" not rifles. The 6 bore, 4 bore, and exceedingly rare 2 bore were almost universally smooth bore guns firing a hardened lead ball using some 300-600 grains of black powder and their repective bore-appropriate weight ball. They STILL lacked penetration at 1600fps. Recoil, even without rifling was so atrocious that most men couldn't fire them with any precision out past stomping range.

    The thin barrel on a shotgun has nothing to do with the speed that the powder burns at, but the ridiculously low pressures at which shotguns operate. even a 3.5" 12 gauge magnum only generates 14,000psi or so. Using slower powder would mean you would need more powder to get the same velocity at a given pressure. THAT is the advantage of slower powder, you can lengthen the pressure curve by using more powder and imparting more overall energy to the projectile without increasing chamber pressure, giving you more speed. This would actually reduce the amount of slug opportunities or payloads because there would be less space in the case.

    It would be a complete redesign to produce a gun capable of higher pressure and able to sling a heavy, high SD bullet fast enough to penetrate an elephants head on the longest, bone traversing course. Correct me if I am wrong @IvW , but that is probably the "The elephant is on top of me and I need to put a bullet up its trunk, through most of its face and into the brain" shot. Thats a couple of feet of pretty tough bone. I am fairly certain there isn't a 0.60"+ bore operating at 14,000 psi that could do that. A .600 Nitro might, which is a 20 gauge diameter (0.620") but much heavier bullet at much higher pressure(like 45,000 psi).

    Rifles really are the absolute best thing for close in performance on almost any dangerous game. I would dare say they are probably the best for any of the dangerous cats as well, I think the only caveat being that any hit on a leopard or mountain lion is better than a miss with a rifle so a shotgun is preferable due to their speed and difficulty in scoring a hit on an incoming, camoflagued, 175lb cat. Keeping a solid copper slug on course without it being either a sphere or a traditional foster designed slug (weight up front for stability) would be problematic without rifling. Even the brenneke design might have issues with the lower density metal allowing the slug to tumble. Not to mention a copper or steel slug would take up a bunch more space in the shell over a lead core design, reducing powder capacity.

    I haven't been hunting in Alaska yet, but a good number of my friends and aquaintances have, and almost to a man, they said their guide carried a .375" or larger rifle. They have better knockdown power, are more accurate, and penetrate and damage heavy bone better than either a shotgun shooting any sort of ammunition or a handgun. Even the mighty .500 S&W is outclassed by fairly sedate rifle rounds. I would say that given Don Heath's experience in dealing with dangerous game, plus centuries of others experiences, or failures (and subsequent death at the hands of various species of DG)... the rifle will always come up trump when it comes to stopping dangerous game.
     
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  5. mark-hunter

    mark-hunter AH Enthusiast

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    Great overview.
     

  6. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY New Member

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    All true, but nothing beats seeing the face of a person whose gun just went full-auto because of an aftermarket trigger install. <giggle>
     
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  7. 1dirthawker

    1dirthawker AH Enthusiast

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    the initial article by don heath was very interesting.

    i have had a small taste of his commentary of my own. i had a 416 remington model 700 bdl, i got it for a deal. ($850 bucks for the rifle topped with a leupold vx3, and was muzzle broke, with 2 boxes of shells) bought it in 2002.

    planned on using it on a brown bear. on its second trip to the range, it failed to eject, multiple times. the problem turned out to be the very small extractor was worn too much and failed. i took it to a gunsmith, and the ejector button spring was replaced and the extractor was also replaced. at that moment, i became a believer that push feed guns should not be used on DG.

    the ejector button is a hotspot for corrosion (living in alaska, i get lots of it) and that will keep a rifle from ejecting. unfortunately (??????) in 2003 my rifle was stolen and lost forever. :cry: my current rifles used on brown bears are CRF or ...double rifles.

    my experience was only one experience, but the article above validates that experience and expounds on it. some individuals on the forum have had different experiences than mine, thats ok. if you want to take a push feed to africa, more power to you. it will probably work fine, but a PH wants something that will guaranteed, no joke, go off EVERY time you pull the trigger and then feed the next round flawlessly to do it again.

    i hunted DG one time, a PH will be hunting DG 10-50 (or more) times each season. their rifles just have to work, every time. and therein lies the reason that we, the clients can bring about any rifle we want. we have a PH with a proper rifle ready and ABLE to bail us out if needed.
     
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  8. ZG47

    ZG47 AH Enthusiast

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    Exactly, anything that traps water and/or dirt (and fails as a consequence) is a no-go in a mechanism that must work reliably in all weather and terrain. Amateurs can sometimes cut corners without suffering bad consequences. Professionals do not have the luxury of such experimentation.

    In my line of work, a Japanese company called Kango created the electric breaker and Hitachi later took the market for themselves. Hilti, a German maker, brought out their own breaker, which was complicated, less powerful; and useless for general site work. Makita have essentially copied the Hitachi recipe but have a long way to go in market share.
     

  9. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Veteran

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    i have a dakota 76, win m70s and mausers.
    the only one of these that has failed is the dakota believe it or not.
    the reason was that the ejector got sluggish due to gummy oil (my fault) and camu up too slowly to catch the cartridge case as the bolt was pulled back, thus no ejection.
    i put this down not only to my slackness, but to too fine a tolerances in manufacturing the action.
    kept clean and freshly oiled it has never failed since.
    the old military mausers had looser tolerances deliberately, and this along with design is where reliability of function came from.
    to a degree the same with factory m70.
    the latest iteration of the 98, also i believe used by rigby, claims far tighter tolerances than the original as a selling point.
    is this in fact a valid case?
    bruce.
     
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  10. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Enthusiast

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    Is this generality about tolerances and reliability under all conditions valid?- Yes, IMO
     
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  11. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Late to this party but for a custom, I like the Kelbly Atlas with a mechanical ejector.

    kelbly.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2018 at 2:26 AM

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