Rifle Options - 375H&H / 416 Rigby

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Alistair, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    I didn't know they did dangerous game courses in the UK!
    I'd be interested to get more details if you don't mind sharing them?

    I got my 375 and a slot for a 300WinMag barrel because I told them I was going to Africa and sent them proof of booking.
    It was fortunate because it was an opportune purchase and I had a trip coming up last year even though I didn't take the rifle.

    If you can demonstrate that you have a good reason for owning a larger calibre rifle you should be OK but I suggest a 375 will be easier to obtain. (Firearms Licence Constabulary dependant of course.)
    You will probably find ammunition more readily available unless you home load and can please yourself.

    This year the 375 will be coming with me on a plains game hunt and I spent a couple of hours at the range last week zeroing it, it's a pleasure to shoot. IMG_20190815_160411_360.jpeg
     
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  2. Longwalker

    Longwalker AH Enthusiast

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    I will put a vote towards the Sako M85 Kodiak in .375. I like mine. It meets your price point, is easily available, and is accurate and dependable. I did have one concern, the ejection of empty cartridges was too vertical and would hit the side adjustment turret of a low mounted scope. I replaced the extractor with a custom made one that cost less than a box of cartridges, and problem solved. I have not had the slightest hiccup with feeding or ejection otherwise, in fact I prefer it's smooth action to my CZ 550 AHR custom "controlled round" .375 or the Ruger RSM that I owned previously. The sights and scope mount system are excellent. Good value for money.
     

  3. Alistair

    Alistair AH Veteran

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    Sure, no problem. This was the first trial run for this course I think, but I think it went pretty well and they're planning to continue offering them every year for the foreseeable.

    The course is run by a chap who is ex-Game Warden from Zimbabwe. I think he was doing that full time around 20 years ago, but has maintained connections in the country and the industry. As such, the course is based loosely around the training and testing that the current wardens undergo, with a few tweaks to better suit the recreational hunter, as opposed to a PH type role.

    The course itself is run down in Cornwall and lasts 2 days. It's a fairly even split between general rifle skills and practical shooting with the drills and skill set fairly heavily biased towards a mauser type bolt gun (although a few guys quite happily adapted a lot of it to double rifles and I muddled through with my Tikka, despite not being able to top load). Attendance was 12 on the first day, 9 on the second.

    On the general skills side of things we covered off safe misfire drill for a Safari type situation (ie how to cycle the bolt safely with a round which may cook off when you don't have the time to wait the customary 30 seconds), general considerations for safe but rapid deployment of the rifle, ammo storage and it's influence on actually topping up the mag, kit, what the 'accepted' procedure for a warden or PH in a charge type situation would be (mostly so as a client you know what to expect and how to act so as not to get in the way), safe ways to carry a rifle in field conditions such as underloading etc, a few drills to familiarise yourself with the rifle under pressure such as timed loading and blindfolded manipulation, stuff like that.

    The shooting side of things basically aimed to practise the training items under field conditions and was entriely done under a degree of time pressure. We covered static target shooting in field positions, which also included stuff like a hang-fire situation with snap caps, deploying the rifle from a sling and making ready under time stress, reloading against the clock, fire and movement type stuff. Basically all the things you may need to do in the course of general hunting, and potentially need to do sharpish under stress if you end up injuring an animal and needing a fast follow up, especially for DG species.

    An example stage, and one I particularly enjoyed was to start with 3 rounds loaded, 2 live, 1 snap (mag loaded by the RO so you didn't know when in the sequence it comes). On the command you have 10 seconds to shoot 3 targets at 25, 20, 15m, but you also have to perform the misfire drill when the snap cap fails to fire, and load an additional round into the rifle to complete the stage. The target had a 2" bull, and then a 5" and 10" roundel for lower scoring hits. Was certainly interesting to see which of the guys with the big bores had a bit of a flinch on that one as well...

    We also practised some moving target stuff, so procedure for a charging lion, anchoring shots on the rear end of a hippo type target (running away from the shooter) and all the usual stuff like aim points and drills for a charging buff. We also did a few practice runs on the lion target where you start with an unloaded rifle and have 4 seconds to move a couple meters to the firing point, load 3 rounds, cycle the bolt and assume a kneeling position before it charges, at which point you have roughly 3-4 seconds to get 2 shots off into the kill zone before it 'gets' you (I would have been eaten twice on this round, to my shame).

    The Buffalo was probably my favourite round. You start standing with 3 rounds loaded, 2 live over the top of a snap cap. You get 5 seconds to shoot into the heart area at roughly 50m and then on report the buffalo charges you and again you have roughly 2-3 seconds to put the second live round into the head kill zone. The timer then stops once the shooter has taken two shots and cycled the bolt to load the snap cap.

    On the whole, I can't directly comment on how applicable the drills would be to a safari or DG hunt, having not done one, but the chap seemed to know his stuff and I had a good time. There were also a few bits and pieces I hadn't really considered as a UK stalker, some good practice for varous drills and even really mundance stuff like how to rapidly cycle the bolt that you wouldn't ordinarily practice for stalking. The 4 or 5 attendees who had done some African hunting before, both DG and PG seemed happy enough with the instruction as well, so I guess it is at least a little applicable for the real thing.

    Plus the shooting aspects were good fun and I hadn't used one of the 'charge box' systems before, so shooting targets coming either towards you or directly away from the shooter was novel.
     
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  4. BeeMaa

    BeeMaa AH Elite

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    I'm a big fan of the CZ for a few reasons.
    One of the biggest is the double square bridge action with indexing notch for QD scope rings.
    This is one area you will never be able to upgrade on any other rifle you buy.
    Also consider that Rigby was using CZ actions for years on their $xx,000 rifles until they restarted production of their own.

    I won't bore you with the rest of the good stuff you probably already know.
    Yes there are some glitches, but don't be fooled into thinking that any other manufacturer is perfect either.
    Fact is the CZ problems are well known and easily sorted for wicked cheap.

    Let us know how it goes.
     
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  5. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    Forgive my stupidity as an American when it comes to gun laws in other countries, but why in the UK would one be denied a license to buy a large bore, low magazine capacity, bolt action hunting rifle? I’m off thread here, but have been meaning to ask this question for some time. I’m just trying to understand the logic? If someone would respond, thank you in advance!
     

  6. Alistair

    Alistair AH Veteran

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    It effectively boils down to the requirement in UK law to have a 'good reason' for possession of each specific rifle you own. The Home Office provide some guidance on which calibres are suitable for each type of activity and you need to link each calibre to a good reason for ownership.

    For stuff like 270 this could be deer stalking, for 308, it could be target shooting, but for stuff of 375 or above, the only firm and cast iron 'good reason' you can give that they absolutely cannot question is Dangerous Game. As such, if you want to apply for a big calibre, to guarantee that you will have good reason you would need for example a Buffalo hunt booked and the invoice to show the fuzz.

    This isn't to say that other reasons will never be accepted, a fair few people have stuff like 375 for driven boar as an example, but at that point it comes down to the individual FEO, police force and also the experience of the indiviual. As a rule, most forces push applicants towards the minimum calibre for each 'good reason', hence why a lot of shooters use a .243win (minimum deer legal calibre and therefore minimum allowance for an applicant with deer stalking as their 'good reason'). This makes it even harder to get a calibre from a 'higher' category (416 as an example) for a 'good reason' which could be served by a smaller rifle (boar or deer in the UK for example).

    The other challenge is that there is no absolutely rock solid 'good reason' for shooters to have a big bore rifle conditioned for use in the UK, what with us having no dangerous wildlife. As such, it's not unheard of for people to have rifles on their ticket which they are strictly speaking not allowed to use at all in the UK and for which they have no ammo allowance. This is I think getting less common, mostly because even the fuzz can grasp the concept that you may not want to take a rifle that you haven't zeroed or practiced with on safari, but it's not unknown.

    As with much of our legislation, its based on only the most tenous of logic and facts and bears little relation to the actual danger presented by the class of firearm to the public. It's simply a case of big and high muzzle energy=bad and that's as much thought as they put into it.
     
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  7. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    Thank you for your reply! I would have just thought that magazine capacity and rifle action (bolt action vs. pump vs. semi-auto, etc.) would outweigh the rifles caliber? Thanks!
     

  8. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Both are excellent cartridges. I have used both and own two rifles in the .375 HH Magnum. One is a Model 70 Winchester. One is a BRNO ZKK - 602 ( which l much prefer to the Winchester ). I have used the .375 HH Magnum successfully on everything from White Tail to Grizzly Bear here in the States , and Australian Water Buffalo. Never needed more than 3 shots on anything. Usually needed 2 shots for Water Buffalo .
    The .416 Rigby , l have fired in the UK , as well , from an Original Magnum Mauser Rigby rifle. In determining which to choose , l want you to consider the following :
    The .375 HH Magnum is the most VERSATILE cartridge in existence. You can use it , just as comfortably as a deer rifle as you can , for an Elephant. Think of it , like the " Swiss Army Knife " of rifle calibers. It can do it all. However , there is no single area where it shines the best. The single area where it shines the best , is that it does Passably well in EVERY type of shooting using the right loads.
    For A client hunter , being backed by a PH , a .375 HH Magnum is an extremely sensible choice. Recoil is very easy manage . Your PH gets you into position for an optimized shot . You don't fire , until everything is just right when you squeeze that trigger. From Personal experience , l can tell you that two Kynoch 300 grain Round nosed full patch solids , through An Australian Water Buffalo's lungs will put short work of your Buffalo. For about 80 yards , it will run , blowing blood as it goes and then , it will drop. In retrospect , l understand at the moment l am writing this , that Full metal Jacket Bullets are now considered obsolete for Buffalo by most seasoned hunters. And they are right. A 300 grain Swift A frame expanding bullet is just as good on Buffalo and safer too , as you don't have to worry about the animals behind your target. There is another member on these forums , a gentleman named Pondoro , who actually dispatched two bull elephants ; each with two 300 grain Rhino Monolithic meplat brass Solids from a .375 HH Magnum BRNO ZKK - 602 ( one took two brain shots. One took two heart shots ) . As much as l Adore the .375 HH Magnum , it is not a charge stopper. I wouldn't use it on a charging Elephant or even an Australian Water Buffalo which was charging. The .375 HH Magnum is THE tool for the client hunter who is being backed by a PH armed with a heavier rifle , and is making picked shots. But the difference between a Client Hunter's rifle requirements and a Professional Hunter's rifle requirements is this : Client Hunters shoot at unsuspecting beasts unaware of their presence. Professional Hunters have to deal with large , angry , wounded Beasts , like 6 ton Bull Elephants , who have tons of Adrenaline pumping through them and are trying their best to attack who ever shot them. For this kind of work , the .375 HH Magnum falls short.
    Now , that's where your .416 Rigby Becomes useful. You can use it to confidently stop a charge with a good shot to the vitals. It has a lot more stopping power than a .375 HH Magnum , owing to the Heavier 400 - 410 grain Bullet of the .416. Granted , recoil is greater. But by no means uncomfortable .If you can handle the recoil , and plan on shooting a LOT of Thick skinned dangerous game , go for the .416 Rigby ! :)
    Of course , both are great choices and you can never go wrong :)
     
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  9. Adrian

    Adrian AH Fanatic

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    Alistair covered the reasons very comprehensively, the UK are very proud of their firearms policies and although it can be easy to get guns for the right reasons we don't have a constitution like you do in the US, therefore we have to demonstrate good reason to own a firearm.

    In my experience of purchasing my 375, I saw the rifle and paid a deposit to hold it while I applied for that calibre for my licence.

    I sent off the necessary forms to apply for a 375 slot and added a 300WinMag for good measure explaining that as I make regular trips to Africa for hunting, the above combination would serve me well with the changeable barrel and mean I wouldn't need two rifles. (They like that sort of thing).

    A few weeks later I got a phone call from the firearms licencing officer who explained that he had my forms in front of him and wanted to approve them but couldn't because my intention to use the rifle wasn't good enough, I needed to prove I was actually going to Africa.
    Fortunately I had a trip coming up and sent him the details and got my application approved.

    However, because I stated that I was using the firearm in Africa, I can only use it outside of the UK unless I am zeroing it at an approved range for that calibre.
    I can't hunt with it and I will be committing an offence to even have it with me unless I am travelling to the range or a port or airport with intention to travel.

    It all comes down to 'good reason'.
     
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  10. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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    Don't make them in the bigger calls..9.3x62 is biggest in m12 I think and don't think m18 goes that big...could be wrong
     
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  11. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Alistiar, you should consider sending "njc" a PM and suggest a phone conversation. He just went through what you are thinking about. His short post represents only a portion of the challenges he faced with the 416 Rigby. I agree with the many other AH members that the 375 H&H would probably be your next bet. Often a used but well cared for firearm offers good value for the money.
     
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  12. Jeff75

    Jeff75 AH Member

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    Why would the FLO really care about .375 vs. .416? If anything, it would be more of a risk that the license holder would stockpile .375 in excess of what's permitted on the license as it is much less expensive. The .375 also gives the shooter more reach than the .416.
     
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  13. thi9elsp

    thi9elsp GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I agree with others on the 375H&H. I have the CZ550 in that caliber and have had no problems feeding, etc. using Federal ammunition. I'm not a reloader. It is a pleasure to shoot with a 1-4 Leupold scope. Either the CZ or Winchester would be the option for me if I was shopping today.
     

  14. AZDAVE

    AZDAVE AH Elite

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    Based on your requirements the 375 would be my first choice out of the 375 vs 416. The question that only you can answer is "On your some day African safari what is the largest animal you plan on hunting?" If elephant is on the list the 416 would be a better call if not the 375 will be much cheaper to shoot and easier to shoot. In 375 look for a Bruno 602 or a M70 and don't look back. As mentioned the 9.3x62 is also a fantastic option. (It is my favourite below 40 cal round.)

    Like the sound of the course you took!
     

  15. Sika98k

    Sika98k AH Veteran

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    Take a look at gun trader.co.uk. There are usually a few 375s for sale there.
    2nd hand large caliber rifles don’t command a high price generally. I picked up my Browning A bolt in 375 for a relatively small song.
     

  16. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    Very interesting! I still think the UK government officials (maybe by law?) are focusing too much on the rifle caliber and not the rifle action type (I.e bolt action), and magazine capacity? But, it is what it is. At least you can still purchase and use some weapons, even if you have to go through a lot of red tape! Thanks for explaining this.
     
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  17. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    Yeah, “risk?”. What risk? I agree with you on this. We’re talking about large bore, 3-5 cartridge magazine capacity in a non-detachable magazine in a BOLT ACTION hunting rifle! Not exactly a criminal or terrorist’s weapon of choice! But, that is their law and they can still wade through the red tape and be somewhat successful in finding an appropriate African hunting rifle.
     

  18. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    BTW, not trying to be too facetious here, but when my wife needs a “good reason” when I want to purchase another firearm, I can now tell her it’s written in the UK’s firearm’s laws! The law states there are MANY good reasons! Ha!Ha!
     
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  19. njc110381

    njc110381 AH Enthusiast

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    That's not a stupid question at all. It's common sense. But that kind of common sense isn't how our laws are laid out.

    As has already been said, we have to prove a need for the firearms we want. Shotguns are somewhat different to rifles - they require a shotgun certificate (you need to pass a basic suitability list, doctors report to say you're not unstable and a criminal record check) but once that's done you can buy as many as you can fit in your safe as long as they are single or double barrelled, or can hold 3 or less cartridges in total (2+1 pump, semi auto etc).

    Rifles are very different. We need to apply for a firearms certificate which has the same checks as the shotgun one, plus a check on target club membership or permission to shoot letters from land owners, along with details of what they are allowing you to shoot and a map of their property. From that there's a basic energy/calibre system we have to vaguely adhere to - air rifles over 12ft-lbs to possibly a .22 centrefire for rabbits and small quarry, small centrefire (up to .243 generally although 6.5xsomething may be ok) for foxes, then up to .30 cal for deer and those guns can be used on land passed for that class of firearm by the police (they go out and inspect the area). That list isn't always set in stone, they will allow a little bigger sometimes but that will depend on the experience of the shooter, how close to dwellings and layout of their land etc. That's entirely up to the chief of police in the area we live in. Some give more than others.

    Interestingly we also get restricted at the lower end of this energy/calibre system too. Many forces (yes it can vary by the opinion of the licensing department in the area we live!) won't allow .22lr or .17HMR for fox for example and would force you to get a small centrefire - a niggle for some if they mainly shoot rabbits and have been asked to deal with the odd fox now and again. That means the expense of a second rifle/scope which they don't really need, but cost is not a factor in the decision. Quarry is listed on the terms of the certificate, so in some cases a firearm may be approved just to shoot rabbits, foxes or deer and nothing more. Once a little more experienced is gained we can be given a clause called Any Other Lawful Quarry which allows us to shoot anything legal, and our land clearance system is replaced with any ground we have permission to shoot on and deem suitable ourselves. I have both of those options applied to me which gives me considerably more freedom. I can essentially shoot rabbits with my .416 in my own garden if I choose to, although doing so would probably get my certificate revoked for being stupid!

    Our certificates expire every five years and we need to repeat the application process. Land checks, doctors checks etc. Ammunition purchases are logged and they can see roughly how many rounds we shoot, and by that can have a vague idea of our commitment to the sport and level of experience. Things get easier as we get better. I'm at a point now where my force respect me. The list of guidelines issued to the police from the government suggests they approach other people experienced in what's being requested to gain more insight into a calibre when they're not sure, and they have called me a couple of times to ask my opinion on other people's applications as I may know something they don't! That puts me in a good position when I ask for something out of spec.

    That said, when I asked for my .458 Lott I provided a ton of information to them about loadings that could duplicate a .45-70. I have one of those for deer already and planned to sell it. But that wasn't good enough, it was too much gun. I went back with drop chart and energy data showing that much past around 180m, my .338 Win Mag retained more energy than the .458 even with full power loads due to bullet efficiency, so it should in fact be safer than the .338 on my land.... Still no! At that point I went to the station for an interview with the chap dealing with my case. We sat down in I laid on the table my requirements. He listened and came back with a suggestion of a .416 as a middle ground. It's a charge stopper (just) but more suited to plains game, an vitally, a smaller calibre! I backed down and went for that, and that's where I am now. It's much harder to download, more dangerous at longer ranges than the .458 but he's happy and his superiors were happy. That's just how it goes here!

    When I spoke to the chap coaching me the other day I found out that the police had approached him for his opinion on my Lott. They'd not given him my name, just my case and hadn't included my intentions of loading it like a .45-70 to use in the UK. For that reason he suggested it wasn't a good choice and that partly sealed my fate. Had he known who they were talking about and the loading ideas he may have given a different answer, but from the point of view of the police they knew that I know him well and they don't want any help from a mate going on!
     
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  20. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    Your allowed in the UK to own the semi-auto rifle in your photo? If so, now I’m really confused with the gun laws there?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 22, 2019

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