Thoughts On Bringing Vs Renting Rifles To Africa

Discussion in 'Before & After the Hunt' started by ILCAPO, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

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    I have a friend who hunted plains game in South Africa a few years ago. He apparently had problems previously on a hunting trip for the U.S. to Canada, where his gun case went missing. Fortunately, the airlines finally found it and got it back to him, but way too late for the hunting trip. He had to rent a gun. He decided against chancing it on a trip to Africa and said he was rented a Weatherby rifle in 270 Magnum, with which they ensured he was comfortable before he went hunting. Turns out he tagged out on his first day -- lucky hunting -- and wound up traveling for the remaining 9 days of his trip. Loved every moment of it noting it would have been a major problem trying to carry out travel with a gun in tow. He also complained of the incredible amount of paperwork and time involved in trying to clear the guns for travel before he just gave up and decided to go with renting.

    I've seen different comments herein, but really wonder, could this have just been his personal experience, which was out of the norm, or have any of you had problems as well? Advice? I like the idea of bringing my own guns simply because that's why I bought/built them, and because I know what to expect from each. At that, my thoughts are a new 30.06 I've having a stock made for and my 35 Whelen, which I had built years ago for Elk and Moose.

    Any insight would be appreciated.
     

  2. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    If he filled his list on day one, it was either a short list or he spent all day shooting! I think that is a very unusual situation. I know some guys are luckier hunters than I ever was but geez. I have gone days without firing a shot, more than once.

    As to the rental question. Its a tough call, traveling with guns is a PITA for sure and adds to the costs of the trip and can cause some delays and anxiety. Whether its worth it or not depends, like so many things. I have always taken my own, but have considered not doing so as well.
     

  3. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Elite

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    We and I took our own rifles on both trips. The 1st time I did it all myself with paperwork and such. I learned and it cost me almost as much in bribes so we did not miss our plane. The 2nd time I used Henry for gun importation and just breezed right on thru. The 1st trip we also took a side trip sightseeing out of Cape Town for a week. The hotel held our rifle cases without any problem. The 2nd trip I stayed with my outfitter for a month and we did all sorts of other things plus hunted way more days than I paid for. This was the same outfitter we used the 1st trip and they are really special people.

    I also like using my own firearms(I did borrow a suppressed 22RF for monkey control shooting) and using my own hand made ammo. I took a 338win mag, 30-06 and on the 2nd trip my 338win mag and a 257W. My daughter used her 257R and killed everything(also Zebra and Kudu) one shot each and no tracking. We both used Swift A-Frames and I also used some Barnes TTSX in the 30-06 and 257W.

    I would take my own rifles/ammo BUT always use Henry for doing the paperwork and such. He knows the people there so well he just walks in and to the front of the line. NO actually he just walks in and goes behind the counter to get stuff signed off. It took all of 5 min to be done instead of 2 hours doing it myself with LONG lines.
     
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  4. JimP

    JimP AH Elite

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    Getting a rifle into South Africa for hunting is no problems, there are some steps that you need to take to make it as easy as possible.

    The first step is arranging a meet and greet along with a pre approved SAP's 520 form. You will need to fill out the form yourself without signing it and then send it to the company that will get it approved for you and meet you as you step off of the airplane. They will then whisk you through customs and then pick up your rifle case and other luggage and take you to the SAP's office. Once done there they will escort your out to your waiting outfitter or to the check in counter and then to security if you are flying elsewhere in the country.

    Getting the forum pre approved and arranging a meet and greet was some of the best money that I spent on my safari.

    Now if you plan on doing a tour of the country after your hunt then you will need to arrange for the secure storage of your rifle until you are ready to leave. Some outfitters will provide this service along with some of the companies that do the pre approved SAP's 520 form.

    Now for me after having one safari and using my own rifle and reloads if I go back I will rent a rifle just to make things go a lot faster
     

  5. 1dirthawker

    1dirthawker AH Enthusiast

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    my 2 cents,

    if plains game hunting, RENT IT.

    if dangerous game...shoot it a lot and bring it.

    i could monologue for a while about the why's, but, that is the bottom line, distilled down into an answer.

    don
     

  6. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    For sure a meet and greet at whatever airport you go to is a must, but there are other things along the way that also can be a pain, like your own home airport. Just lugging the thing around can be a pain. If you take your own guns, endeavor to ensure using partner airlines so they will make the transfers for you or you will have to do it yourself and believe me, lugging rifle cases around JFK is no joke?:mad::mad::mad:
     
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  7. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Fanatic

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    I know exactly the feeling of using your own (guns and ammo) especially if you have some sweat or unique work invested. They are the tools you are most familiar with therefore less likely to foul up with. I took my own rifles and ammo the first several trips to Africa and had no real issues with traveling with them to various countries. I always used a hunting oriented travel agency for assistance. It added only a small level of stress and that I was willing to put up with. With much of it in the US upon return after loooong flights and no sleep... having to act sane while some US Agent is asking for the serial number on the stock- ugh!!

    After the "new" SAPS requirement for "current year" 4457 and the distance I have to travel just to get to a CBP office and the increase in various stories about other's problems traveling with guns and ammo plus my small but growing stress of traveling with them I gave up last year and borrowed a couple of my PH's rifles and a shotgun. I traveled stress free with no hassles. I knew the guns and ammo before going, they were quality firearms and proved excellent for the job.

    I can see going both ways so it will be largely up to the individual. If you communicate effectively with your outfitter/PH and they honestly assure you of and describe good quality rifles or ammo there is little downside to using theirs. Just get an idea of what they have and practice with similar guns/ammo you have and spend a lot of time on the sticks.
     
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  8. Speedster

    Speedster AH Senior Member

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    Went to SA for first time in May. Took my own rifle and did all of my own paperwork. Was in and out in 5 minutes. Two other guys staying at the same place as I, did not have their paperwork correct. $100 bribe and an hour later before they finally got out of the SAPS office. I was extremely anal about the procedure and asked a lot of questions on this forum that definitely helped.
     
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  9. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    My 2¢:
    Option 1. Take an heirloom rifle or one with a lot of sentiment value, e.g. Grandpa's M70 and worry it gets waylaid.
    Option 2. Take a rifle that doesn't fit option 1 and is easily replaceable, e.g factory rifles and worry it gets waylaid.
    Option 3. Take your own rifle(s) and enjoy your hunt without worrying about them. (This is me. Hey, I'm in Africa. What's not to like?:))
     
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  10. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I used to take my rifles. Then I took my rifles for DG only, and used a camp rifle on pg hunts.


    So far I have not had any real issues with the camp rifles, and have used the following:

    Christensen 300wm
    ? 223
    M70 270
    Musgrave 30-06
    ? 22lr
    CZ 375
    Musgrave 7x57
    Musgrave 22lr
    An assortment of shotguns.

    The upcoming trip will be the first time to use camp rifles for a DG hunt. I can choose from a CZ in 416 Rigby or a Merkel in 470. I have a CZ and am comfortable in how it shoots so will probably use it.

    The world is making it more difficult and expensive to travel with firearms. I also tend to make side-trips to other countries when I go to Africa that preclude me from carrying firearms. I understand my choice isn't for everyone, but so far it has worked well for me. "Your mileage may vary".
     
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  11. Speedster

    Speedster AH Senior Member

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    Also, the Afton house (where I stayed) will do the paperwork for you. I think, but am not sure, the fee is $100, which ironically was the bribe amount the 2 guys had to pay. Absolutely nothing bad being cast at the Afton house at all when I say this. Like I said, I just found it ironic.
     
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  12. Areaonereal

    Areaonereal AH Enthusiast

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    There always seems to be the yearly issue du jour regarding your bringing your own rifle....export license from the USA ..TSA...2015, BS....2017 ...4 locks on your rifle case ..USA..TSA. BS....2018...TSA locks on you rifle case..or on your ammo case....and Now....factory ammo in factory boxes.....SAA. ...ammo shipped separately or in checked baggage as per their policy
    WTH.....when does it’s all stop




    201
     
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  13. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    One thing I learned about renting rifles in SA is that you are most likely going to be using a rifle that your PH or Outfitter uses also. In SA folks are not allowed lots of extra firearms so the one that they rent you is most likely also their personal rifle.
    That said, I like using my own rifle and hand loads. But no matter how you cut it, traveling with firearms and ammo these days is a PITA and only getting worse. So I don't begrudge anyone that uses rented rifles, it makes lots of logistical sense.
    My other thought the issue is that it if folks are going to travel with guns, resist the temptation to take the irreplaceable handed down from generations great great grandfathers guns and leave them in the hands of the worlds luggage handlers and customs agents. Taking these rifles to hunt with around the globe sounds cool and nostalgic, but there is just too much uncontrollable risk for me.
    I take a good solid familiar gun that will get the job done, but if it gets damaged or lost it can be repaired or replaced and it is not the end of the world. I built a custom hunting rifle just for this purpose. It has a solid durable stock, good scope but not super expensive, shorter barrel and relatively light so it all packs well, good metal coating so it won't rust if its exposed to condensation in a baggage hold. And if something tragic were to happen to it, life would still go on.
    At the end of the day it is going to be up to the individual and their specific circumstance if they are going to take a rifle or rent, but regardless, I believe it should be all about having a good time and enjoying the experience.
     
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  14. IA diver

    IA diver SILVER SUPPORTER AH Member

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    If my air travel ends in Jo'burg or Durban (not a connection) I bring my own...if I have to fly within the interior of SA, I make sure to select an outfitter that will include a rifle as part of the deal. An example is Karoo Wild Safaris which provides both choice of weapon and ammunition at no charge. If the outfitter is one of those that think they need $50/day over the course of a 7+ day hunt and $70 per box of ammo I select another. At most I am willing to pay for the ammunition used, maybe. No one has asked me to take my business elsewhere...yet.
     

  15. JimP

    JimP AH Elite

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    There was a mention of factory ammo in factory boxes.

    That appears to be only a problem down in Australia and no were else.

    Multiple locks on a case, no problem. Any hardware store will sell you a set of keyed alike padlocks so one key fits all of them. Or you can purchase a few combo locks and then reset the combo on them to the same combo. Again no problem.
     
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  16. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    +1 on this
     
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  17. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I take my own because I have to have my stocks shortened so they fit me; I know how they shoot with my own home manufactured ammo; I don't have to worry about dinging someone else's gun; I don't have to pay rental for gun and ammo.

    Use a meet and greet agent to handle the paperwork and there is no problem. Download the SAPS form, fill it out and email it, a copy of the 4457, letter of invitation, passport and flight itinerary to Henry or Mr. X and follow them through the procedure at the airport. Done deal.
     

  18. Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson AH Enthusiast

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    I have always brought my own. I have a 30-06 I have absolute confidence in, including being able to snap shoot a baboon at 300 yards.
    For me, personally, the shots I mess up are the ones I overthink, so having a rifle that I never have to think about, just flip the safety and shoot is a huge help for me.
     
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  19. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    Two trips to Namibia I brought my own, paperwork was pretty easy and transitting Frankfurt was a breeze in 2013 and 2016. Things may have changed since. One trip to South Africa last year and I rented. Both rifles worked well. Dealing with paperwork wasn't the issue, travel was. I planned nine extra days of travel after my hunt including four national parks. The parks don't allow them in and they do check your car, and if it were stolen life gets really complicated in a bad way. One other reason is it's getting more and more expensive to add an extra piece of luggage. In the end both are options.
     

  20. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

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    Apparently lucky. It was his only trip thus far. But he plans to go back. I believe he was with Sky Safaris. I'm not in Facebook right now to double check, but I recall him saying he got a Warthog, Blesbok and a Black Wildebeeste.
     

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