Taking your own rifle: Is it worth the hassle?

375 Ruger Fan

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In my case I've never had the option in three trips to carry my own gun. Each time I traveled to Africa from Saudi Arabia on the company's dime as part of my home leave travel expense. With that said I had the chance in Botswana to use two different CZ 550's (30-06 and 375 H&H). That put me on the quest to purchase one for myself and wound up with a 550 American in 7X57 that is my favorite rifle by far to hunt with. This would have never happened if not for hunting with a loner. Last trip was with KMG which again gave me the opportunity to hunt with a suppressor for the first time and will have one of my own as soon as the government gets the permit crap straightened out..................I hope.
My experience is very much the same as Sand Rat's. I have lived and worked in Angola and Nigeria for quite a while and my guns are all safe queens in Louisiana. I've done 4 safaris with 4 different outfitters and rented guns from them with no issues or complaints. That being said, I look forward to being back home in Louisiana and Texas soon and plan to take my own rifles on future hunts. I did take my own rifle to Canada and there is probably about the same level of hassle doing that as there is going to Africa. A very manageable level.
 

Hogpatrol

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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.
Red Leg, My syntax isn't correct. What I meant to say was between the .243 and .270, one of those would kill PG, dependent on their size and distance. I agree for the average skilled hunter to not using the .243 for the large animals but the tiny ones, springbok, blesbok and others of that size, a .243 is sufficient. Elan, waterbuck, zebra, etc., the .270 works. As you said, shot placement is the main thing.
 

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On my hunt I thought about taking two rifles of different calibers but soon decided not to.

The big reason was that most of the hunting I did was for a animal of opportunity and I didn't want to be under-gunned should that trophy of a lifetime should just pop up within rifle range.

The only time that I went out for a specific animal in mind was the last day of the hunt when we went after my kudu. Other than that we went after what we saw while we were hunting.
 

Red Leg

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On my hunt I thought about taking two rifles of different calibers but soon decided not to.

The big reason was that most of the hunting I did was for a animal of opportunity and I didn't want to be under-gunned should that trophy of a lifetime should just pop up within rifle range.

The only time that I went out for a specific animal in mind was the last day of the hunt when we went after my kudu. Other than that we went after what we saw while we were hunting.
Have only brought two rifles once, and other than checking zero, the lighter rifle stayed in the case for the whole hunt for that very reason.
 

James Cook

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Understand some may prefer to rent and taking a gun may be considered to risky. But I'm not going to make that memory of a lifetime with someone else's gun. Took two rifles last time. The paperwork was not that difficult in my opinion. A little additional time at the airport well worth it. There's nothing in life that doesn't take a little work to accomplish or that doesn't have some level of risk. The satisfaction of accomplishing the task with personally chosen and set up equipment - priceless.
 

tarbe

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Well, I'll just say that I am an incurable gun nut and hunting with someone else's rifle is, to me, like kissing your sister.

To the non-incurable gun nut, it doesn't matter.

Each hunter should be guided by his own feelings on the matter.

I guess I am just being Captain Obvious!
 

Eric Anderson

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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?
For me? Absolutely, even though I completely stumbled into it, not knowing anything about the process. I have friend who live in RSA, and I had a standing invitation to go hunting there. I showed up IN JNB with an old Lee-enfield, a 4457, and nothing else. The JNB police held my rifle until I could hire a PH, get a letter of invitation, and get my rifle out of jail. I flew through Frankfurt on the way there, but flew through dubai back, big mistake. I didn't have a importation permit for a 2 hour layover... something never flown internationally with a firearm, i had no idea I needed. My flight was leaving in 4 hours, and I did not have the money to get a permit, and buy a last minute, one way ticket back to the US. So I went back to the police station to surrender my rifle to be cut up. They told me to pick it up next time I come back to South Africa to hunt. I picked it up this April, 10 months later, and brought it home.
 

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One of the things I'd check out about any outfitter in Africa is the rifles being offered for clients to rent. As it turns out, on my first African hunt for plains game I was offered the same model Sako rifle that I have at home and have used extensively. I was very familiar with the feel and operation, it had a good scope, and the only difference was that it was equipped with a clumsy but quieter suppressor. Not a big adaptation.
For my next trip I've been developing loads for a couple of Sako .375 H&H rifles and practising shooting in all sorts of situations with them. The winner in reliability, accuracy, ease and speed of use will be chosen for use on a buffalo hunt. And so my opinion has changed. When hunting for dangerous game I'd much prefer to use my own rifle.
So, my answer is, it depends!
 

40inarow

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There is a saying, not all shooters are hunters and not all hunters are shooters. If you are a shooter then there is no reason to ask the question.

I would like to warn the Africanhunting community about Riflepermits Inc. We used them this year and they met us at the airport in Johannesburg and got our guns through. The problem was we paid for Riflepermits Inc. to hold our guns for a couple days while we went to visit Victoria Falls after our hunt was over. When we arrived at Johannesburg I talked with the lady from Riflepermits Inc. about the procedure to bring our rifles to them on our return. She was disinterested and gave no information. When we returned from our hunt, it was a Sunday and Riflepermits Inc. was not available. Our PH from Numzaan Safaris personally held our guns and met us a the airport when we arrived back from Victoria Falls. Riflepermits Inc. never returned correspondence from us and kept the fee to hold our guns. Riflepermits Inc. is not trustworthy to hold your guns.
 

Jeff Sholes

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Echo what @Philip Glass said above and then some. Your rifle really is an extension of you on a trip like this, and while some people find it easier to rent, knowing every inch of that rifle makes each shot more sure. Quite frankly, even know looking and handling my rifle that went to Africa brings a sense of joy to me like being a kid all over again. Very much worth the time and effort to travel with one.
I agree! It is like tying your own fly for fly fishing. It is more satisfying catching a fish off of your own stuff than someone elses.
 

Tom Leoni

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There's no way I buy a fine English gun and then use someone's rented Savage for the trip of a lifetime (no offense to Savage).

The hassle and expenses are part of the experience.
 

curtism1234

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I think the stress of planning a international trip is high; those who travel a lot may not think so. Therefor, I would very strongly consider renting a rifle on your first trip because you have enough to worry about. This can eliminate part of that.

That being said, you have to find out what rifles are available to rent ahead of time. While I would not go with one outfitter over the other based on available rifles alone (I'd bring my own rifle if I had to), it is nice to know what you will be using. Perhaps I am spoiled with a Cabelas and Bass Pro nearby, but I am always monkeying around the used gun rack. Even though I don't own them, I know which models I like and fit me and which ones will not work.

Most shots are off a decent rest at 150 yards or under. I think those who have shooting all their life can adjust rather quickly with a rifle that feels good.
 

dmyers

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Depends on whether you see your rifle as “an extension of you’’ or simply a really neat tool to do a job. For me, the tool I use is secondary to the hunt itself, so it makes sense to rent.

Most guns, even budget rifles and optics, shoot better than the people shooting them. If the rented gun is on at the bench on day one when you check the zero, then it will do the job in the field if you do. Good Safari companies want you to be successful, so they will likely have solid guns to work with.

And if you have never shot with a suppressed rifle, rent one- they are wonderful.

I however, am right handed, a man, and of average build, so most firearms are made to fit me.
 
 

 

 

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