Taking your own rifle: Is it worth the hassle?

Red Leg

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I have used a rented rifle once - in Spain - went fine and was necessary due to post hunt travels. Will do so again next year. But I don't like it. Have used rented shotguns (frankly a harder transition) twice in Argentina. Primarily, didn't want to put one of my doubles through that sort of abuse (rounds fired - not baggage handlers). Hopefully, those will be the extent of hired weapons.

A big part of hunting Africa for me is going afield with one of my rifles purchased, glassed, and tuned for that purpose. And I am sorry, I own Leupolds - good scopes - but they aren't a Leica or a Swarovski. Doesn't mean they don't work, but they aren't the same thing and aren't what I am taking on a DG game hunt. I was really glad of the brightness of my Leica equipped .375 twice on my most recent trip to Mozambique. I also think a suppressor on a rifle is an abomination. Turns what should be a balanced extension of eye and brain into something resembling a surf rod. I don't have issues with recoil in .375 and below, and just I don't get the noise reduction excitement when using supersonic rounds. Part of why the US military doesn't mess with them on most of our sniper rifles.

I am also a bit OC with respect to accuracy. I have had to thread bullets into a lot of tight places while hunting Africa. I have also wanted to make absolutely certain on the first shots of the four DG animals I have taken. My experience has been that most outfitters are comfortable with a rifle that delivers minute of buffalo or minute of Oryx on PG. I want sub-MOA. Ammunition tends to be a collection of rounds left by previous hunters rather than the particular weight, make and lot that I know my rifle loves. That is not a situation to encourage confident shooting.

As long as it is allowed, I'll bring my rifles to Africa, Canada, and around the US. It is too important to me not to.
 
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fourfive8

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Agreed- if I spend thousands on a hunt to Africa or wherever, I will gladly pay the extra $200-300 and travel hassle to use my own gun and my own loaded ammo that is very specific to the purpose. I'm not too fond of any kind of "potato" added to or extra holes cut in the muzzle of a rifle but I will say that a suppressor is far superior to a muzzle brake. I'll leave that stuff to the rattle battle rangers who visit the local range on weekends. None of my guns wear either and never will.
 

JTEX

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If I can't take my rifle I ain't going!


.
 

MizzouAg

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Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses. I think the enormity of the trip and all the "new" international travel things are a bit overwhelming. I travel a lot domestically and just role with it but international travel is a bit more intemidating.

I bought this rifle a few years ago and had a custom stock made by my step-father for the sole purpose of one day caring it to Africa.

There will definitely be more questions to come as we prepare for our first trip (note I didn't say only ) to Africa.
 

Aegis

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I took two rifles (Ruger **NOT**PERMITTED** Scout in .308, and Ruger M77 African in .375 Ruger) to South Africa earlier this year, and had no issues whatsoever. I didn't use a permit service, but did the research and prepared my own paperwork...and I sailed through without a problem. As a Delta Skymiles member, I didn't even pay an extra baggage fee.

My hunting buddy, however, was not so fortunate. He had issues both coming and going, and for no apparent reason other than lousy luck. We flew Delta from CVG to ATL to JNB, and somehow his rifle case didn't make it onto the plane in ATL for the flight to Joburg. To make matters worse, although Delta had already put his case on the next flight from ATL, we were already going to be on our way to Port Elizabeth before it arrived. Fortunately, Mr. X was able to wrangle an arrangement out of Delta, South African Airways, and SAPS to get the rifle as far as Port Elizabeth, and it just so happened that Kim from KMG was in Port Elizabeth the day it arrived. They let her have the rifle and she brought it out to the lodge on Day 2 of our hunt.

On our return, SAA put his rifle on the wrong flight from PLZ to JNB. It arrived in Joburg an hour after we did, but at least it caught up, and we had a long enough layover that we could wait.

So I personally wouldn't worry about taking a rifle, as long as you do your homework and make sure you have plenty of time built into your itinerary to work out any hiccups. My buddy would probably disagree...
 

Kowas Adventure Safaris

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So with extra permits, import restrictions fewer options for connecting flights, added cost, etc. I'm beginnings to wonder if it's worth the extra cost and hassle to take your own rifle to south Africa. Thoughts?
MizzouAg
Thank you for the opportunity to air our view based on experience:
Taken into consideration that Outfitters have rifle rental available, the following:
The final decision would be determine by the following factors that have a direct influence in your decision:
- your personality (would you accept that the rental rifle is not the same quality and performance you are used to, and cope with it.)
- would you be able to handle the uncertainty and additional stress it adds to your travel experience when travelling with your rifle
When you figure out an answer on the above questions, then you could find assistance to handle the following, which is not a big deal with individuals working with it every day.
- paperwork to get your rifle out (and back) from your country;
- paperwork to get your rifle into the country of final destination;
- rifle rental in the event there is a delayed delivery for your rifle;
- travel requirements to ensure your airline of choice allow the rifle as baggage.
Consult with your outfitter directly - he have experience in this field and will guide you.

Most of all: enjoy the planning process. Once you took a decision, do not let your "mind play games" with you. Remind yourself that you took the best decision based on the information available at that point and time.

Happy hunting and straight shooting.
 

Hogpatrol

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MizzouAg

Most of all: enjoy the planning process. Once you took a decision, do not let your "mind play games" with you. Remind yourself that you took the best decision based on the information available at that point and time.

In bold, the best advice so far ^^^^. Think about it for ten seconds, make your decision and move on to more planning.
DON'T OVERTHINK EVERY DETAIL. You'll drive yourself nuts.
 

Beretta391

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For what it's worth, my wife and I have been to Namibia 3 times. Always taken our rifles, and shotguns once to do some bird hunting. We Fly Delta. Never had a problem. Maybe we have been lucky but she is 5'3" and I'm 6'3". It's no fun shooting guns that don't fit. We will continue to take our firearms. On another note when Argentina made it impossible to bring your semi auto shotgun to dove hunt we quit going there! We shoot shotguns a lot and it's no fun to shoot a gun 4000 rounds in 3 days with a gun that doesn't fit. We have found other areas that are more gun friendly to shoot birds. I've heard since their presidential election that the outfitters are working with the new administration to ease rules. Maybe we can check into it a little more a DSC event and head back there.
 

Ernie Shipman

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My 1st trip, I used the PH's rifle - I had been in Senegal for 2 weeks & could not have my rifle there. I was a bit nervous using someone else's gun (especially when he suggested the 375 over the 270 - I was only doing plains game) - BUT it worked out GREAT.
My second trip I took my own & VERY glad I did. I used Rifle Permits company & zero hassels. MORE time was spent at JFK departing & coming back thru customs than in SA. I did use my PH's rifle for 2 trophies and did not like it - I just didn't ever get a feel for the gun or where it was shooting...
I would lean, very strongly, with taking your own, unless you are doing lots of other countries, etc...
 

BWH

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First 2 safaris I took my own..... if I sell my 375 I’ll borrow/rent.... if it doesn’t sell. I’ll take. As you can see from aforementioned posts.... 6 to one/half a dozen to other. Your preference.
 

Oddbod

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I'm an absolute lefty regarding rifles, so it looks like I'll have to bring my own.
No bad thing really, as it's one more 'connection' I'll be able to make when looking back at the experience.
The biggest considerations to me are one rifle or two & which calibers for plains game.
I'm thinking .270Win & .375Ruger should cover it, or should I take the .243 instead of the .270?
 

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I'm an absolute lefty regarding rifles, so it looks like I'll have to bring my own.
No bad thing really, as it's one more 'connection' I'll be able to make when looking back at the experience.
The biggest considerations to me are one rifle or two & which calibers for plains game.
I'm thinking .270Win & .375Ruger should cover it, or should I take the .243 instead of the .270?
I'm a lefty, but I shoot single shots most of the time, so a right handed bolt is not a big problem. I just learn to cycle it. To each there own.

As for the caliber for plains game, One rifle I'd say the 270 has a proven record on plains game unless you wanted eland which really needs more, then the 375 Ruger. What's your preference? Two aren't needed but it's your hunt not mine. As for the 243, definitely for the lighter ones only. And talk to your outfitter, some won't allow one below 6.5 mm.
Good luck.
 

Hogpatrol

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I'm an absolute lefty regarding rifles, so it looks like I'll have to bring my own.
No bad thing really, as it's one more 'connection' I'll be able to make when looking back at the experience.
The biggest considerations to me are one rifle or two & which calibers for plains game.
I'm thinking .270Win & .375Ruger should cover it, or should I take the .243 instead of the .270?

The .243 and .270 will kill every plains game with proper bullet selection, reasonable distance and shot placement. From this chair, with today's modern loading components and bullets, a .375 for plains game is a throwback to olden times and is way overkill. YMMV.
 
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Randy Hanson

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If you fly Delta 200 ATL to OR Tambo as we did I think the biggest hassle may be the Delta ticket agents who never seem to handle the check-in procedure the same way twice or know their own regulations. We used a service, had pre-approved permits, and only took a couple minutes with SAPS. I would recommend it if traveling a simple route as we did.

What service did you use?
 

Randy Hanson

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If I can't take my rifle I ain't going!.

I've only been to Africa once, and my rifles didn't make it. I very much wanted to use my own rifles but there is NO WAY I would have gone home instead of using the outfitter's guns. When you travel, stuff goes wrong; we adapted and my son and I had a trip of a lifetime. I'm going back in 2018 and will again try to bring my guns despite the expense and hassle on my first trip. My costs were much higher than what others on this thread had because we missed our connection at JFK trying unsuccessfully to get our guns on board our connecting flight. I had to book a later flight which cost almost $2000 for my son and I.
 

Hutch01

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Haulin guns across the globe is a PIA, but I'm not goin without my rifle. Shotgun is different. If you go down to Argentina use their beretta, Benelli or whatever since your running thousands of rounds thru them and just shooting birds. Of course everyone's situation is different. Hunting the African species with your own rifle is rewarding. Otherwise your just kind of a tourist instead of a hunter. Kindly.
 

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I’ve made three trips with three different rifles all to South Africa. Absolutely no difficulty other than the time to get all the paperwork done. I’m left handed and can’t imagine trying to get used to a right hand bolt gun after shooting lefty bolts for 25 years. I have two browning abolts-one in 7mm rem mag and one in 375 h and h. Both shoot well, same trigger pull and same bolt throw. Familiarity increases accuracy...for me. I can’t imagine in the heat of a shot trying to familiarize myself with a gun that I hadn’t sent hundreds (or more) shots down range. I understand the difficulties of some connections, but as many have stated I spent too much time and money not to use my gear with which I am familiar with.
Have a great trip and post pictures!!!
 

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The .243 and .270 will kill every plains game with proper bullet selection, reasonable distance and shot placement. From this chair, with today's modern loading components and bullets, a .375 for plains game is a throwback to olden times and is way overkill. YMMV.
Maybe. But with regard to the .243, I personally wouldn't use a 100 gr bullet on anything bigger than a springbuck or impala. To my mind , it makes an adequate whitetail round when you have the luxury of picking your shot from a tree stand. That rarely occurs in Africa. On medium and larger PG, shot placement and bullet performance would have to be perfect on every shot. I am not that good with regard to the former, or that confident in the latter regardless of manufacturer.
 

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For what it's worth, my wife and I have been to Namibia 3 times. Always taken our rifles, and shotguns once to do some bird hunting. We Fly Delta. Never had a problem. Maybe we have been lucky but she is 5'3" and I'm 6'3". It's no fun shooting guns that don't fit. We will continue to take our firearms. On another note when Argentina made it impossible to bring your semi auto shotgun to dove hunt we quit going there! We shoot shotguns a lot and it's no fun to shoot a gun 4000 rounds in 3 days with a gun that doesn't fit. We have found other areas that are more gun friendly to shoot birds. I've heard since their presidential election that the outfitters are working with the new administration to ease rules. Maybe we can check into it a little more a DSC event and head back there.

There’s a different feeling when using your own rifle or firearm to borrowing someone else’s.
I think it’s that you and your firearm are stapled and somehow it just feels better.
I always take mine although it can be a chore at times.
 
 

 

 

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