Tools Of The Trade: Rifles & Reliability

Major Khan

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Tonight , l commence writing another new article for our members of African Hunting Forums and this time the topic is 1 of my favorite parts about hunting , to write about : The rifles of the hunter . Specifically , this article will detail all of the factors which must be taken into account for determining the reliability of a rifle for field use.
The information provided for this article shall be mostly derived from my 61 years of hunting experience , 10 of which ( 1961 - 1970 ) were spent as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India working for Allwyn Cooper Limited ( India's largest shikar outfitters who used to cater to both local and international clients until 1972 ) .
However , l shall also be using some data most generously provided to me by my good friends @Kawshik Rahman , @Captain Nwz , @Shootist43 , @spike.t and @Wyatt Smith .

This article shall be broken down in to the following sections :
> You & Your Rifle
> Magazine Problems
> Extraction Issues
> Push Feed Phobia
> Stocks Splitting
> Iron Sights Versus Telescopic Sights
> The Double Barrelled Rifle Myth
> Barrel Rifling
> Lever Rifles
> Most Reliable Rifles Personally Seen
> General Remarks

Below , is a photograph kindly provided to me by my good friend , fellow forum member and former fellow professional shikaree , Sergeant Kawshik Rahman of his 7×57 mm Mauser calibre BRNO ZKK 600 bolt rifle ... a design which l personally feel is pretty much up there , in terms of reliability and quality .
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Let us begin , dear readers .
 

Major Khan

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You & Your Rifle

A shikari without a fully functional rifle , is like a works man without proper tools .
You must always take care to purchase only the very best rifles for hunting , in terms of reliability. Any compromise with reliability may lead to a lost animal in the shikar field , or worse .... a dangerous animal which can charge you without you having any means to defend yourself , often culminating in almost certain death ( or at least very grievous injuries ) on the part of the shikari or anyone in the shikar party .

Reliability is always a very serious concern when purchasing 2nd hand fire arms . You do not know how the previous owner of your fire arm treated the fire arm while he enjoyed ownership of it . Purchasers of 2nd hand firearms , always must take this unforeseen factor into account. I had a Portuguese client come to Nagpur once , who had booked a shikar with Allwyn Cooper Limited , for a sambhur deer and a forest panther . He had brought along a .300 Weatherby magnum calibre Mark 5 bolt rifle , which he had recently purchased 2nd hand . Subsequent field use and a few practice shots proved that you could not hit the broad side of a barn with the rifle , even if your life counted on it . We eventually realized the rifling of the barrel was almost completely worn through , or “ shot out “ . Clearly , whoever owned that Weatherby rifle prior to my client was not in line for any “ gun owner of the year “ awards anytime soon .
Of course , there are times when you get lucky ... real lucky. For example, in 1959 l purchased a shot gun 2nd hand from an English tea plantation owner who was leaving for Great Britain permanently. This shot was a double barreled side by side box lock , made in Belgium . It was of 12 Bore , with 3 inch chambers, extractors and 28 inch barrels ( The left barrel was fully choked . The right barrel was modified choke . ) . It has now been now been 61 years since l have had that Belgian shot gun in my proud possession and l have been using it extensively ever since then ( In fact , l used that old gun exclusively until 1996 , as l did not personally own any other fire arms until 1996 . ) . In the last 61 years , ( including the 10 years of my life spent as a professional shikaree ) , that grand old gun never let me down even once . I have pitted it successfully against royal Bengal tigers wounded by clients , forest panthers , gaur bison, Asian Sloth Bear , Indian bush boars and crocodiles and l have always emerged victorious ( Whether or not l recommend using a smooth bore against dangerous game is a completely different subject ...) .
Below , l have provided a photograph taken by myself of my “ Old Belgian “ .
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When purchasing a any rifle , the very 1st thing which 1 should always look out for , is whether the gun has any visible defects or any visible alterations made to it . This could be a split stock , a bulged barrel , or ( in the case of a double barreled rifle ) barrels which have separated near the ends of the muzzle .
Try to ascertain if the rifle stock is being held together by epoxy or bolts or if the rifle has lost any of it’s original parts , which have been replaced with after market parts or makeshift replacements. Sellers will often attempt to hide these defects from the purchaser , when trying to get them to purchase their wares .
Below , l have provided a photograph taken by myself of the 2nd hand gun rack of a local Bangladeshi fire arms store . Observe the single barrel 12 Bore Baikal shot gun on the far left. It has a bulged barrel . The single barrel 12 Bore Topper shot gun in the middle , has a cracked stock . Fortunately , no Bangladeshi hunter actually uses these battered , cheap old guns for hunting . No , these are for poor farmers who need a cheap gun to shooting crop damaging Muntjac deer and wild boars .
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When purchasing a bolt rifle , the purchaser should always feed at least 100 cartridges through the action of gun . You do not necessarily need to fire 100 cartridges through it , but just cycle the bolt and see how smoothly the rifle action extracts a " spent " cartridge and picks up the next cartridge . If you experience even 1 jam in 100 cyclings , get rid of the weapon immediately or identify the root cause of the problem and work to resolve the problem . Do not just shrug the problem off , thinking " It only happened once . It will not happen again . " . Faulty hard ware has a tendency to always fail you at the most inconvenient of moments . You can try to make a rifle fail 100 times unsuccessfully , in a home made " torture test " ... But then 1 day it will suddenly happen in the shikar field and that day you will certainly be in a fix !
When purchasing a double barreled rifle , always check to make sure that the action is " tight " and has not been "shot loose . "
Older double barrelled rifles sometimes tend to " double " when fired , i.e firing off 1 barrel often causes the 2nd barrel to get discharged simultaneously . I have personally seen this happen even with a best grade .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled side by side rifle , built by Westley Richards of Great Britain .

Before taking a newly purchased rifle to the shikar field ( be it brand new or 2nd hand ) , the purchaser always benefits from having a competent gun smith inspect and work on the gun .
Take the pre 64 Winchester Model 70 , for example . It is my favorite bolt rifle of all time , but l would be very hesitant to take 1 to the shikar field without reinforcing the wooden stock with cross bolts and re bedding it with fiber glass . I would also like to give the feed rails a closer inspection to see whether or not it feeds both solid metal covered bullets and soft point bullets equally reliably . From personal experience , l have seen several brand new pre 64 Winchester Model 70 bolt rifles brought by my clients to India for shikar , which would have seriously benefitted from a few small alterations .
( More on this , shall be detailed in another section of this article ) .
While l have no personal experience with them , it has been brought to my attention that the ( recently discontinued ) CZ 550 line of bolt rifles were ( almost always ) taken to a competent gun smithing service before being taken to the field .
These rifles were notorious for never functioning 100 % flawlessly out of the box ... or so l have read .
Always take good care of your weapon . After a long day in the field , the gun should always be properly oiled and cleaned . The barrel should be carefully swept with a proper bore brush .
When not in use , the gun should always be kept in it's proper case ( or bag ) . A small clean piece of cotton should always be inserted into the muzzle , to prevent any insects from entering the rifle bore and resolving to make it it their " Home sweet home " .
Always try to avoid high pressure ammunition in the older guns . I only feed my Belgian shot gun Eley brand cartridges and Hull brand cartridges . They perform splendidly in my grand old gun and l have never had a reason to use any higher pressure cartridges.
My Belgian shot gun can even live on a regular diet of the Eley 3 inch High Brass Alphamax magnum cartridges with perfect impunity .
As noted by the knowledgeable @kurpfalzjäger and @Pondoro , older rifles are not the best for use with the new solid brass " monolithic " bullet . This is because older rifles are made from softer steel than their modern counterparts . An added reason to warrant caution is that we often do not know the exact bore measurements of many of the older rifles.
Take , for example the .405 Winchester calibre model 1895 lever rifle . The original rifles made until 1936 ( as owned by my maternal grand father , Sepoy Jalaluddin Khan ) had a slightly different bore diameter from the modern .405 Winchester calibre Model 1895 lever rifles ( as endorsed by the highly experienced @crs )
The English company , " Kynamco " as run by a gentleman named David Little provides excellent , carefully tested factory loaded ammunition , specifically for many vintage rifles ( mostly for the vintage English calibres ) . If you are not a hand loader , yet you wish to put your old vintage English rifle to service once more ... Then David Little , at Kynamco is your man .

Coming up next .... " Magazine Problems " .
 
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gesch

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Thanks for another fascinating article. The thoroughness is impressive. I am looking forward to the rest of it. Your friend Brian
 

MMAL

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Can’t wait for push feed phobia. Personally I believe that is an overblown issue push vs controlled feed.

Thank you Major, your writing, stories, knowledge and silliness to share is much appreciated.
 

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Thanks Major. This is an interesting article you are writing. I have seen or had every type of rifle (not doubles as had very limited exposure to them) except one, fail in some way, including Mauser 98 and their derivatives fail to extract or double feed. The only rifle-I have had several - that has not failed me is the SMLE. Hell yes there are ones that will fail. Just that I have not had one fail.

That last sentence is, I believe, the key. As you say test the rifle you will use to make as sure as possible it will not fail.
 

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Poton, another excellent article, I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of it.
 

Major Khan

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Magazine Problems

All repeater rifles use a magazine of some sort , and it is imperative that this magazine function properly ; immune from any issues whatsoever , in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable shikar.

Since 95 % of bolt rifles for hunting purposes use a floor plate design , let us talk about some problems associated with this part of the rifle at 1st.
During my 10 year career as a professional shikaree , l have seen DOZENS of bolt rifles of different makes have their magazine floor plates pop open , due to recoil , causing all the remaining cartridges to be dumped at the shooter’s feet . This invariably happens after the 1st shot is fired . As you step up the calibre of the rifle , the probability of this issue occurring increases. Imagine firing the 1st shot at a 200 pound forest panther ,500 pound royal Bengal tiger , or 2000 pound gaur bison only to realize that the brute is still alive and about to charge you , while you are hopelessly attempting to pick up your cartridges from the ground , or you are desperately digging your pockets or bandolier for fresh cartridges ?
So how and why does this issue occur ? Let us take a closer look .

Suppose you ask someone , "'I am planning on having a bolt rifle built for my African Safari . What action do you suggest l use ? " . I can guarantee you that 9 out 10 people will say , " Mauser 98 " .
I am very much inclined to agree with this view . The Mauser 98 is a time proven platform for building dangerous game rifles on , ever since it 1st graced the world with it's presence in 1898 .
It is 1 of the best platforms to build a bolt rifle on . However , it is not perfect .
A small feature which l personally dislike about the Mauser 98 action is that the magazine floor plate release catch is located INSIDE the trigger guard. Why is this a problem , you may ask ? Here is why .
In a large calibre rifle , the recoil can cause the shooter’s knuckle to strike the release catch of the magazine floor plate . This causes the magazine floor plate to pop open , and all your remaining cartridges fall to the ground , essentially disarming you. I am not just saying that this CAN happen. While not a common occurrence by any means , I can state for a fact that It DOES happen . I have actually seen it happen more than 2 dozen times during my 10 year career ( often at the most unfortunate moments , given that l used to predominantly guide International clients on shikars for dangerous game. ) . Aside from Mauser 98 action bolt rifles , the “Monarch “ and “ Majestic “ series of .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifles , produced by Birmingham Small Arms also had the magazine floor plate release catch located INSIDE the trigger guard . Thus , both the early control round feed “ Monarch “ bolt rifles ( produced until 1958 ) and the later push feed “ Majestic “ bolt rifles ( produced until 1965 ) were prone to occasionally having their magazine floor plates pop open when the shooter’s knuckle struck the release catch located INSIDE the trigger guard , due to recoil .
There is , however a very simple way to remedy this problem. Before taking your bolt rifle to the shikar field , you should take the rifle to a trusted gun smith . Have your gun smith put a pin through the release catch of the magazine floor plate. This effectively solves your problem altogether. No more magazine floor plates popping open , ever.
Below , l have provided a photograph taken from the internet of a .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifle built by Holland & Holland on a salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 action . Observe how the release catch of the magazine floor plate is located INSIDE the trigger guard .
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During my 10 year career as a professional shikaree , my FAVORITE bolt rifle of all was ( and still is ) the pre 64 Winchester Model 70 . A feature which l really love about the Winchester Model 70 is that the magazine floor plate release catch is located OUTSIDE the trigger guard , rather than INSIDE. This practically guarantees you ( by design alone ) a magazine floor plate which will NOT pop open for the aforementioned reasons . The Springfield Model 1903 action has a similar set up and l find the Springfield Model 1903 action to be quite an underrated classic for building high quality bolt rifles on.
Below , l have provided a photograph taken by myself of my good friend and former fellow professional shikaree , the late Tobin Stakkatz in America with an American Black Bear which he had just successfully hunted . The rifle is Tobin's custom made .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifle , built on a Springfield Model 1903 action .
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Below , l have provided a photograph taken from the internet of a really beautiful little sporting bolt rifle , built on a Springfield Model 1903 action , with interchangeable barrels for both the .30-06 Springfield and .318 Westley Richards calibres . Some day , l really do hope that l cross paths with a gentleman who owns a rifle like this . It looks beautiful .
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.
Recently , l have fallen in love with the BRNO ZKK series of bolt rifles . These used to in come 3 lengths : Standard length ( ZKK 600) , Short length ( ZKK 601) and Magnum length ( ZKK 602 ) . My good friend , fellow forum member and former fellow professional shikaree , Sergeant Kawshik Rahman recently became the proud owner of a mint condition BRNO ZKK 600 bolt rifle , chambered in the venerable 7x57mm Mauser cartridge. While helping Kawshik develop some hand loaded cartridges for his 7x57mm Mauser calibre bolt rifle , l have had the privilege to fire the rifle several times . Just like the Winchester Model 70 , the BRNO ZKK series of bolt rifles have their magazine floor plate release catch located OUTSIDE the trigger guard rather than INSIDE. This simple design feature completely negates the chance of the magazine floor plate popping open , since there is no release catch for the shooter’s knuckle to strike due to recoil . In fact , a potential advantage of a ZKK series rifle over a Winchester Model 70 is that a ZKK series rifle generally has a larger magazine capacity than a Winchester Model 70 of the same calibre .For example , a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre BRNO ZKK 602 will hold 6 cartridges, while a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre Winchester Model 70 Safari Express will only hold 4 cartridges. A pre 64 Winchester Model 70 chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum will hold 5 cartridges . A BRNO ZKK 602 chambered in .458 Winchester magnum will hold 6 cartridges , while a Winchester Model 70 will only hold 4 in total .
Now , in practical terms , l do not consider the 4 cartridge capacity of the Winchester Model 70 to be a serious disadvantage ( It is , after all... the very 1st shot which counts the most ) . I have never seen a bolt rifle with a 4 cartridge capacity prove to be inadequate in the shikar field. In fact , if a man cannot bring down his animal with even 4 shots ... that that man has no business hunting and should take up another hobby ! However , no one l know has ever complained about a larger magazine capacity . That is for sure . For professional cullers of dangerous game , such as elephants , cape buffaloes and wild boars , a larger magazine capacity is always an added + point , especially since they often need to drop entire herds of dangerous game at once.
Below is a brace of photographs kindly provided to me by good , old Kawshik of the magazine floor plate of his BRNO ZKK 600 . Observe how the magazine floor plate release catch is located OUTSIDE the trigger guard.
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If any of you gentlemen are fans of the Fabrique Nationale Mauser / Browning Safari Hi Power line of bolt rifles , then you will know that the early rifles were all control round feed. However , by the 1960s their design was changed to push feed in order to reduce manufacturing costs . The early control round feed Fabrique Nationale Mauser / Browning Safari Hi Power line of bolt rifles were also notorious for having their magazine floor plates pop open , due to recoil . This was exceptionally prevalent in the .458 Winchester magnum calibre variants. However , in this case the magazine floor plates were not popping open ,due to the shooter’s knuckle striking the release catch. No. In the Fabrique Nationale Mauser/ Browning Safari Hi Power bolt rifles , the magazine floor plates were some times popping open , even if the shooter’s knuckle was NOT striking the release catch . What these rifles needed , was a stronger coil spring and more overlap in the area of the magazine release catch .
Another magazine related problem which plagued many bolt rifles , during my career was the magazine follower springs would sometimes break. Yes , gentlemen... metal fatigue used to be a very real thing during the 1960s ( of course , this is hardly a concern today with modern metallurgical developments in the last 50 years )
Numerous custom gun makers were building large calibre sporting rifles on salvaged World War 2 military surplus Mauser 98 actions . These actions were originally built for accommodating 7x57mm Mauser and 8x57mm Mauser calibre cartridges. When gun smiths were turning out .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre and .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifles on these salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 actions ... you knew that there was going to be trouble . Indeed , l have had more than a few magazine follower springs break on my client’s military surplus Mauser 98 action rifles in the shikar field , during my 10 year career . I have even seen this problem occur with an expensive best grade Holland & Holland bolt rifle , chambered in .458 Winchester magnum , which was built on a salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 action .
To my eyes , this is an understandable occurrence . These salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 actions were originally designed for accommodating 7x57mm Mauser and 8x57mm Mauser and thus getting them to feed .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre or .458 Winchester magnum calibre cartridges reliably will obviously necessitate more work than merely a re barreling job . Extensive work needs to be done to the feed rails and the magazine follower spring needs to be swapped out for a proportionately sturdier 1 .
My learned friend , @kurpfalzjäger states that the Mannlicher Schoenaur rotary magazine bolt rifles chambered in larger calibres like the .375 Nitro Express also did not have strong enough springs to reliably push up the next cartridge from the magazine some times . I am very much inclined to believe him . However , l have never personally seen a Mannlicher Schoenaur rotary magazine bolt rifle chambered in .375 Nitro Express which had an issues with their magazine follower springs . I have had 3 clients bring such rifles to India for shikar and they have always functioned flawlessly . Nevertheless , just because you have never seen something happen , does not mean that it never happened at all .

A final magazine related problem , which plagued the bolt rifles of our day were the feeding problems caused by the soft point cartridges of the 1960s . Soft point cartridges , like those from the German brand , RWS were prone to deforming inside the magazine of the bolt rifle , due to recoil . The soft point bullets would repeatedly slam against the magazine wall whenever the rifle was being fired , causing their tips to deform . This would invariably end up causing feeding problems. During our time , the ONLY soft point cartridges guaranteed NEVER to deform were the Winchester Silvertip soft point cartridges . These had an aluminum silver colored tip ( hence the name ) , specifically guaranteed not to deform inside rifle magazines due to recoil . Today of course , most modern sportsmen would find the problem of soft point cartridges deforming inside rifle magazines due to recoil , to be pretty unbelievable . Thankfully , modern bullet technology and manufacturing techniques have completely relegated this problem to history books talking about days long gone , never to return.

Below , l have provided a brace of photographs taken from the internet of a box of .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre Winchester Silvertip 300 grain soft point cartridges . Sadly , these magnificent cartridges have long been discontinued. Chances are , that you any of you gentlemen remember these fine little gems , then you are at least 50 years old .
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Coming up next ... " Extraction Issues "
 
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Please continue major Khan, excellent and educational narrative! Thank you for your effort!
 

Brian Rothhammer

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Mannlicher Schoenauer:

Animation of 'Greek' military (Y1903 and variants) MS. The sporting rifles and stutzen (fullstocked carbine) had turned down 'butterknife' bolt handles and double triggers were available.







The Mannlicher Schoenauer certainly has no 'unscheduled' opening floorplate issue as you've described with some other magazine fed arms. To open the plate, one presses a bullet tip (or other blunt object) into a hole on the plate to release a spring, then rotates the plate 90 degrees to release the magazine assembly which can then be pulled downward. When closed, the plate locks securely in grooves machined into the receiver. To empty the magazine, however, one needs only to press the magazine release button alongside the right receiver rail and any cartridges held therein will cascade into your waiting hand (with practice).


 

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Major Khan

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Extraction Issues
“ Extraction “ refers to the ejecting of the expended cartridge casing from the receiver/ breech of the fire arm . In a problematic fire arm , the operator will encounter great difficulty in extracting this empty cartridge case . So how and when does this occur ?
Let us discuss this phenomenon in a little bit of detail , and how it occurs in double barreled rifles , lever rifles and bolt rifles .
During my 10 year career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India from 1961 to 1970 , the LARGEST CALIBRE for which double barreled rifles used to be manufactured, was the .458 Winchester magnum calibre . Custom built double barreled rifles chambered in this calibre were being turned out by the bespoke English gun houses , Holland & Holland and Westley Richards. Continental gun makers who were turning out custom built double barreled rifles , chambered in the aforementioned calibre included Franz Sodia from Ferlach ( Austria) and Auguste Francotte from Liege ( Belgium ) .
Below , is a photograph kindly provided to me by Kawshik of 1 of his English clients with a male royal Bengal tiger , weighing in excess of 500 pounds . The rifle used by this gentleman , was a .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled side by side rifle , built by Holland & Holland .
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Whilst all of these gun makers were all master crafts men in their trade , there was only so much that they could do with the .458 Winchester magnum calibre in their double barreled wares. Every single 1 of these double barreled rifles were prone to having difficulties in extracting the expended cartridge case .
Given that the .458 Winchester magnum calibre is a rimless cartridge ... this is hardy surprising . I have personally seen Holland & Holland .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled rifles which had issues in extracting the expended cartridge . I have seen Westley Richards .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled rifles , which had issues in extracting the expended cartridge case . I have seen Franz Sodia .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled rifles , which had issues in extracting the expended cartridge case. I have seen Auguste Francotte .458 Winchester magnum calibre double barreled rifles , which had issues in extracting the expended cartridge case.
All of these brands made flawless double barreled rifles , chambered in other calibres . So what exactly was going on with those double barrelled rifles , chambered in .458 Winchester magnum ?
The answer is that double barrelled rifles are designed for being used with rimmed cartridge cases . When a double barreled rifle is built to chamber a rimless cartridge case , like the .458 Winchester magnum , it uses 2 very small pawls ( 1 for each barrel ) to extract the expended .458 Winchester magnum calibre rimless cartridge cases. Often these pawls are unable to “ pick up “ the expended rimless cartridge case .In a high pressure cartridge like the .458 Winchester magnum , this issue only gets exemplified especially in tropical countries such as India during the summer .
If you wish to own a double barreled rifle which will not give you endless extraction issues , then get 1 in a traditional English or Continental rimmed calibre such as a .476 Westley Richards or 9.3x74 Rimmed calibre . A .458 Winchester magnum is meant for bolt rifles .
Below , I have provided 2 photographs taken from the internet for reference . The upper photograph is of a rimmed cartridge ( a .476 Westley Richards) . The lower photograph is of a rimless cartridge ( a .458 Winchester magnum )
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Let us talk about lever rifles for a moment . My maternal grandfather, Sepoy Jalaluddin Khan used to hunt predominantly with a .405 Winchester calibre Model 1895 lever rifle which he had purchased in 1932 from a shop in Kolkata , named “ Manton & Co . “ during the British colonial era . For this rifle , he used to use 2 different kinds of ammunition from ICI Kynoch. He would use 300 grain ICI Kynoch soft points and 300 grain ICI Kynoch solid metal covered bullets in his Model 1895 lever rifle . Aside from the ordinary table fare which he used to shoot for the pot , Sepoy Jalaluddin Khan also used his Model 1895 to slay 5 man eating forest panthers, 2 man eating royal Bengal tigers, 1 rogue bull elephant and Asian Sloth Bears . It was a swell weapon and in fact , I shot the very 1st sambhur deer in my life with that old rifle in 1952. However , the rifle used to have 1 small problem . If you loaded the rifle to full capacity ( 4 cartridges in the magazine + 1 cartridge in the breech ) and operated the lever quickly , you would sometimes experience a jam . Sepoy Jalaluddin learnt to get around this problem by loading only a grand total of 4 cartridges into the rifle ( 3 cartridges in the magazine + 1 cartridge in the breech ) . However , there were times when that old rifle would jam , if you attempted to load the magazine in a hurry .
The photograph below is of me and my grand father on the day we had killed a pair of man eating royal Bengal tigers ( a tigress and her fully grown , mature cub ) together . My grand father had shot the the tigress in the head and killed her on the spot with a 300 grain ICI Kynoch soft point cartridge from his Model 1895 lever rifle. He then gave the cub a 300 grain ICI Kynoch soft point cartridge to the region behind the shoulder . This bullet did not kill the royal Bengal tiger and only wounded it and so my grandfather worked the lever of his Model 1895 to give the brute a 2nd shot. Unfortunately, the rifle jammed . As the enraged royal Bengal tiger charged us , I snapped up my Belgian shot gun to my shoulder and gave the brute the contents of an Eley 2.5 inch 12 Bore Grand Prix Lethal Ball cartridge to the region right between both it’s eyes. This made short work of the brute.
In the future , I intend to share this story as well with the members of African Hunting Forums.
Screenshot_20191201-080801_01_01.png



I will never know why my grand father’s old Model 1895 used occasionally to experience this issue. After reading a few educational articles on the internet , I would subscribe the reason to the rimmed design of the .405 Winchester cartridge. Nevertheless , in the currently produced Japanese Winchester Model 1895 lever rifles , as owned by our learned forum member , @crs ( which he successfully used to devastating effects on an African cape buffalo by modifying it to chamber 400 grain bullets . ) .... there have been no reports ( to my knowledge) of any jams occurring in the .405 Winchester calibre variants.

Let us now talk about extraction issues in bolt rifles . In broad categories , there are 2 platforms of bolt rifles , commonly known to the world . The 1st platform is called a “ push feed “ action . The 2nd platform is called a “ control round feed “ action . The general consensus among members of the international shikar community , is that the control round feed action is VASTLY superior in terms of more reliable extraction of expended cartridge cases than the push feed action . However , exactly how much rooted in fact , is this belief ? And should we generalize all control round feed actions and all push feed actions ? To answer that question , we shall need an entire separate post.
Coming up next ... “ Push Feed Phobia "
 
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Thanks Major. This is an interesting article you are writing. I have seen or had every type of rifle (not doubles as had very limited exposure to them) except one, fail in some way, including Mauser 98 and their derivatives fail to extract or double feed. The only rifle-I have had several - that has not failed me is the SMLE. Hell yes there are ones that will fail. Just that I have not had one fail.

That last sentence is, I believe, the key. As you say test the rifle you will use to make as sure as possible it will not fail.
Rule 303 and friend Ponton
I agree rule303 one rifle that I can't get to fail is my old Smelly.
I have both push feed and CRF and both are flawless IF used correctly. Yas the push feed can double feed if SHORT STROKED shooter error not rifle. If well maintained no weapon should malfunction.
The 2 malfunctions I've had were a fail to chamber but that was operated error failure to resize a case properly.
The other time a 12 gauge coach gun I borrowed. Both barrels fired at the same time, a painful lesson of borrowing weapons and trusting the owner that it was a great pig gun. I have no doubts as hit a pig at 15 yards with 9 pellets of buck shot and a solid slug at the same time sure takes the argument out of a pig.
Cheers gentlemen
Bob Nelson
Nice to read your writing a again friend Ponton.
 
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Magazine Problems

All repeater rifles use a magazine of some sort , and it is imperative that this magazine function properly ; immune from any issues whatsoever , in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable shikar.

Since 95 % of bolt rifles for hunting purposes use a floor plate design , let us talk about some problems associated with this part of the rifle at 1st.
During my 10 year career as a professional shikaree , l have seen DOZENS of bolt rifles of different makes have their magazine floor plates pop open , due to recoil , causing all the remaining cartridges to be dumped at the shooter’s feet . This invariably happens after the 1st shot is fired . As you step up the calibre of the rifle , the probability of this issue occurring increases. Imagine firing the 1st shot at a 200 pound forest panther ,500 pound royal Bengal tiger , or 2000 pound gaur bison only to realize that the brute is still alive and about to charge you , while you are hopelessly attempting to pick up your cartridges from the ground , or you are desperately digging your pockets or bandolier for fresh cartridges ?
So how and why does this issue occur ? Let us take a closer look .

Suppose you ask someone , "'I am planning on having a bolt rifle built for my African Safari . What action do you suggest l use ? " . I can guarantee you that 9 out 10 people will say , " Mauser 98 " .
I am very much inclined to agree with this view . The Mauser 98 is a time proven platform for building dangerous game rifles on , ever since it 1st graced the world with it's presence in 1898 .
It is 1 of the best platforms to build a bolt rifle on . However , it is not perfect .
A small feature which l personally dislike about the Mauser 98 action is that the magazine floor plate release catch is located INSIDE the trigger guard. Why is this a problem , you may ask ? Here is why .
In a large calibre rifle , the recoil can cause the shooter’s knuckle to strike the release catch of the magazine floor plate . This causes the magazine floor plate to pop open , and all your remaining cartridges fall to the ground , essentially disarming you. I am not just saying that this CAN happen. While not a common occurrence by any means , I can state for a fact that It DOES happen . I have actually seen it happen more than 2 dozen times during my 10 year career ( often at the most unfortunate moments , given that l used to predominantly guide International clients on shikars for dangerous game. ) . Aside from Mauser 98 action bolt rifles , the “Monarch “ and “ Majestic “ series of .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifles , produced by Birmingham Small Arms also had the magazine floor plate release catch located INSIDE the trigger guard . Thus , both the early control round feed “ Monarch “ bolt rifles ( produced until 1958 ) and the later push feed “ Majestic “ bolt rifles ( produced until 1965 ) were prone to occasionally having their magazine floor plates pop open when the shooter’s knuckle struck the release catch located INSIDE the trigger guard , due to recoil .
There is , however a very simple way to remedy this problem. Before taking your bolt rifle to the shikar field , you should take the rifle to a trusted gun smith . Have your gun smith put a pin through the release catch of the magazine floor plate. This effectively solves your problem altogether. No more magazine floor plates popping open , ever.
Below , l have provided a photograph taken from the internet of a .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifle built by Holland & Holland on a salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 action . Observe how the release catch of the magazine floor plate is located INSIDE the trigger guard .
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During my 10 year career as a professional shikaree , my FAVORITE bolt rifle of all was ( and still is ) the pre 64 Winchester Model 70 . A feature which l really love about the Winchester Model 70 is that the magazine floor plate release catch is located OUTSIDE the trigger guard , rather than INSIDE. This practically guarantees you ( by design alone ) a magazine floor plate which will NOT pop open for the aforementioned reasons . The Springfield Model 1903 action has a similar set up and l find the Springfield Model 1903 action to be quite an underrated classic for building high quality bolt rifles on.
Below , l have provided a photograph taken by myself of my good friend and former fellow professional shikaree , the late Tobin Stakkatz in America with an American Black Bear which he had just successfully hunted . The rifle is Tobin's custom made .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifle , built on a Springfield Model 1903 action .
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Below , l have provided a photograph taken from the internet of a really beautiful little sporting bolt rifle , built on a Springfield Model 1903 action , with interchangeable barrels for both the .30-06 Springfield and .318 Westley Richards calibres . Some day , l really do hope that l cross paths with a gentleman who owns a rifle like this . It looks beautiful .
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Recently , l have fallen in love with the BRNO ZKK series of bolt rifles . These used to in come 3 lengths : Standard length ( ZKK 600) , Short length ( ZKK 601) and Magnum length ( ZKK 602 ) . My good friend , fellow forum member and former fellow professional shikaree , Sergeant Kawshik Rahman recently became the proud owner of a mint condition BRNO ZKK 600 bolt rifle , chambered in the venerable 7x57mm Mauser cartridge. While helping Kawshik develop some hand loaded cartridges for his 7x57mm Mauser calibre bolt rifle , l have had the privilege to fire the rifle several times . Just like the Winchester Model 70 , the BRNO ZKK series of bolt rifles have their magazine floor plate release catch located OUTSIDE the trigger guard rather than INSIDE. This simple design feature completely negates the chance of the magazine floor plate popping open , since there is no release catch for the shooter’s knuckle to strike due to recoil . In fact , a potential advantage of a ZKK series rifle over a Winchester Model 70 is that a ZKK series rifle generally has a larger magazine capacity than a Winchester Model 70 of the same calibre .For example , a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre BRNO ZKK 602 will hold 6 cartridges, while a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre Winchester Model 70 Safari Express will only hold 4 cartridges. A pre 64 Winchester Model 70 chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum will hold 5 cartridges . A BRNO ZKK 602 chambered in .458 Winchester magnum will hold 6 cartridges , while a Winchester Model 70 will only hold 4 in total .
Now , in practical terms , l do not consider the 4 cartridge capacity of the Winchester Model 70 to be a serious disadvantage ( It is , after all... the very 1st shot which counts the most ) . I have never seen a bolt rifle with a 4 cartridge capacity prove to be inadequate in the shikar field. In fact , if a man cannot bring down his animal with even 4 shots ... that that man has no business hunting and should take up another hobby ! However , no one l know has ever complained about a larger magazine capacity . That is for sure . For professional cullers of dangerous game , such as elephants , cape buffaloes and wild boars , a larger magazine capacity is always an added + point , especially since they often need to drop entire herds of dangerous game at once.
Below is a brace of photographs kindly provided to me by good , old Kawshik of the magazine floor plate of his BRNO ZKK 600 . Observe how the magazine floor plate release catch is located OUTSIDE the trigger guard.
View attachment 332753 View attachment 332754
If any of you gentlemen are fans of the Fabrique Nationale Mauser / Browning Safari Hi Power line of bolt rifles , then you will know that the early rifles were all control round feed. However , by the 1960s their design was changed to push feed in order to reduce manufacturing costs . The early control round feed Fabrique Nationale Mauser / Browning Safari Hi Power line of bolt rifles were also notorious for having their magazine floor plates pop open , due to recoil . This was exceptionally prevalent in the .458 Winchester magnum calibre variants. However , in this case the magazine floor plates were not popping open ,due to the shooter’s knuckle striking the release catch. No. In the Fabrique Nationale Mauser/ Browning Safari Hi Power bolt rifles , the magazine floor plates were some times popping open , even if the shooter’s knuckle was NOT striking the release catch . What these rifles needed , was a stronger coil spring and more overlap in the area of the magazine release catch .
Another magazine related problem which plagued many bolt rifles , during my career was the magazine follower springs would sometimes break. Yes , gentlemen... metal fatigue used to be a very real thing during the 1960s ( of course , this is hardly a concern today with modern metallurgical developments in the last 50 years )
Numerous custom gun makers were building large calibre sporting rifles on salvaged World War 2 military surplus Mauser 98 actions . These actions were originally built for accommodating 7x57mm Mauser and 8x57mm Mauser calibre cartridges. When gun smiths were turning out .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre and .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifles on these salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 actions ... you knew that there was going to be trouble . Indeed , l have had more than a few magazine follower springs break on my client’s military surplus Mauser 98 action rifles in the shikar field , during my 10 year career . I have even seen this problem occur with an expensive best grade Holland & Holland bolt rifle , chambered in .458 Winchester magnum , which was built on a salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 action .
To my eyes , this is an understandable occurrence . These salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 actions were originally designed for accommodating 7x57mm Mauser and 8x57mm Mauser and thus getting them to feed .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre or .458 Winchester magnum calibre cartridges reliably will obviously necessitate more work than merely a re barreling job . Extensive work needs to be done to the feed rails and the magazine follower spring needs to be swapped out for a proportionately sturdier 1 .
My learned friend , @kurpfalzjäger states that the Mannlicher Schoenaur rotary magazine bolt rifles chambered in larger calibres like the .375 Nitro Express also did not have strong enough springs to reliably push up the next cartridge from the magazine some times . I am very much inclined to believe him . However , l have never personally seen a Mannlicher Schoenaur rotary magazine bolt rifle chambered in .375 Nitro Express which had an issues with their magazine follower springs . I have had 3 clients bring such rifles to India for shikar and they have always functioned flawlessly . Nevertheless , just because you have never seen something happen , does not mean that it never happened at all .

A final magazine related problem , which plagued the bolt rifles of our day were the feeding problems caused by the soft point cartridges of the 1960s . Soft point cartridges , like those from the German brand , RWS were prone to deforming inside the magazine of the bolt rifle , due to recoil . The soft point bullets would repeatedly slam against the magazine wall whenever the rifle was being fired , causing their tips to deform . This would invariably end up causing feeding problems. During our time , the ONLY soft point cartridges guaranteed NEVER to deform were the Winchester Silvertip soft point cartridges . These had an aluminum silver colored tip ( hence the name ) , specifically guaranteed not to deform inside rifle magazines due to recoil . Today of course , most modern sportsmen would find the problem of soft point cartridges deforming inside rifle magazines due to recoil , to be pretty unbelievable . Thankfully , modern bullet technology and manufacturing techniques have completely relegated this problem to history books talking about days long gone , never to return.

Below , l have provided a brace of photographs taken from the internet of a box of .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre Winchester Silvertip 300 grain soft point cartridges . Sadly , these magnificent cartridges have long been discontinued. Chances are , that you any of you gentlemen remember these fine little gems , then you are at least 50 years old .
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View attachment 332769

Coming up next ... " Extraction Issues "
Friend Ponton
That's why I like blind magazines, no floor plate problems. Yes some magazines in surplus rifles have spring issues that's why I choose the m17 or P14 for custom build, less use never had a spring failure.
Cheers my friend
Bob Nelson
 

leslie hetrick

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let me tell you a story about what happened on my last trip to Africa, lu and I have been on three hunting trips to Africa together and I have known him for over 20 years. on the third morning we left before sunrise and lu left his rifles soft case on a table and we went on the hunt, when we got back he put his rifle barrel first into the case left on the table and zipped it up and I did the same putting my rifle in its case. the next morning we took our rifles out of their case again before daylight and climmed onto the trucks. we drove for about 3-4 miles looking for game and I looked over at lu and noticed something didn,t look right with muzzle of his cz-550in .375 H&H, I said to lu whats in the muzzle of your rifle and he looked and it was plugged with some thing, we stopped the truck and looked and it was plugged with peacock shit. a peacock shit on lu,s open rifle case on the table and when lu put his rifle the case the peacock turd rolled to the bottom of the case and when the rifle was put in the barrel was jammed it to the turd. thank god I noticed it before lu fired it.

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let me tell you a story about what happened on my last trip to Africa, lu and I have been on three hunting trips to Africa together and I have known him for over 20 years. on the third morning we left before sunrise and lu left his rifles soft case on a table and we went on the hunt, when we got back he put his rifle barrel first into the case left on the table and zipped it up and I did the same putting my rifle in its case. the next morning we took our rifles out of their case again before daylight and climmed onto the trucks. we drove for about 3-4 miles looking for game and I looked over at lu and noticed something didn,t look right with muzzle of his cz-550in .375 H&H, I said to lu whats in the muzzle of your rifle and he looked and it was plugged with some thing, we stopped the truck and looked and it was plugged with peacock shit. a peacock shit on lu,s open rifle case on the table and when lu put his rifle the case the peacock turd rolled to the bottom of the case and when the rifle was put in the barrel was jammed it to the turd. thank god I noticed it before lu fired it.

View attachment 333255
Leslie hetrick
Beautiful blue wildebeest there mate.
 

Major Khan

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Push Feed Phobia
The SINGLE BIGGEST controversy of all time among hunters of dangerous game in the international shikar community is this : Is a push feed bolt rifle less reliable than a control round feed bolt rifle ? There are 2 schools of thought , regarding this subject. 1 school of thought is vehemently opposed to using push feed action rifles for the shikar of dangerous game. The other school of thought believes that push feed action rifles are equally as reliable as control round feed action rifles .
This hotly debated topic was 1st born in 1958 When Birmingham Small Arms replaced their .458 Winchester magnum calibre control round feed “ Monarch “ model with the .458 Winchester magnum calibre push feed “ Majestic “ model . For the novice , a quick and very basic definition of a push feed action and control round feed action is requisite.
A push feed action is 1 which uses a recessed bolt face and a “ plunger” type spring ejector to get the expended cartridge case out of the receiver . The most commonly recognized push feed action rifle in the world , is without a doubt ... the Remington Model 700 .
Below , is a photograph taken from the internet of the bolt face of a push feed action rifle.
Screenshot_20200304-034639_01.png


A control round feed action is 1 which uses a long non rotating extracting claw , to get the expended cartridge case out of the receiver . The most commonly recognized control round feed action rifle in the world , is without doubt ... the Mauser 98 .
Below , is a photograph taken from the internet of the bolt face of a control round feed action .
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Conventional wisdom dictates that the long extracting claw of a control round feed action makes for much more reliable extraction of expended cartridge cases , than the “ plunger “ type spring ejector of a push feed action . Critics of the push feed design allege that the design may experience issues with extracting expended cartridge cases if the operator “ short strokes “ the bolt . Other critics allege that the push feed action will not be reliably able to extract the expended cartridge cases if cycled UP SIDE DOWN . When your adversary happens to be dangerous game ... you want as much reliability as you can get . By contrast , these critics allege that the control round feed action is practically “ fool proof “ . The long non rotating extraction claw gives the operator extra insurance for extracting the expended cartridge case from the receiver , thus making the control round feed action the infinitely superior design for the shikar of dangerous game .

Proponents of the push feed action allege that ANY rifle action ( be it push feed , control round feed , lever action , fall block or double barreled ) is vulnerable to jamming if not properly taken care of . They also argue that a skilled operator who has enough experience not to “ short stroke “ the bolt of his rifle will have no problems hunting dangerous game , ever . They then go on to argue that no sensible hunter of dangerous game should ever put himself in a situation where he may need to cycle the action of his bolt rifle UP SIDE DOWN in the 1st place .
Below , is a photograph kindly provided to me by good , old Kawshik of 1 of his American clients who managed to dispatch a large male forest panther , with a single 175 grain Remington Core Lokt soft point cartridge , fired from his 7 mm Remington magnum calibre Remington Model 700 push feed action bolt rifle .
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I have done some research on this topic by reading multiple books on the subject , as well as articles on the internet . My research has led to the the conclusion that the very 1st proponent for the use of push feed action rifles for dangerous game used to be an American gentleman named John Bushmiller. This gentleman was an extremely skilled gun smith who personally shot 164 African elephants , for the game department in Tanganyika , Africa from 1955 to 1962 . What is even more remarkable is that he managed to lay low all of these elephants with rifles and cartridges of his OWN DESIGN ( I believe that the appropriate word , is “ Wild Cat “ ) . Initially , he would build all of his rifles on the French Brevex magnum Mauser 98 style ( control round feed ) action . He eventually discarded these rifles , and built new rifles on Weatherby Mark 5 ( push feed ) actions , which served him well. Mr. Bushmiller’s rationalization was that the traditional control round feed actions available at the time did not have enough clearance in the receiver to allow for a loose cartridge to simply be dropped right into the breech of the rifle . The only way an original Mauser 98 action rifle or French Brevex magnum Mauser action could feed a cartridge properly , was if the cartridge was fed up in to the breech via the rifle’s magazine .
By contrast , a push feed action ( such as the Weatherby Mark 5 action ) could allow a single loose cartridge to be simply dropped into the breech of the rifle’s receiver .
This feature could potentially prove useful , in a life or death situation where the operator has a bolt rifle with an empty magazine and quickly needs to load in a loose cartridge , to shoot a charging dangerous game animal.
Attempting to “ snap” the extractor over the rim of a cartridge ( which the operator is attempting to directly feed in to the breech of the rifle ) can actually break the ejector of the rifle . I am not merely saying that the ejector CAN break , in theory . No , I have actually seen it happen in 1966. It happened to an American client’s 9.3 x62mm Mauser calibre Mauser 98 action sporting rifle in Uttarakhand . The gentleman had booked a shikar for a royal Bengal tiger with Allwyn Cooper Limited and even though he had a fully loaded magazine filled with 286 grain German RWS soft point cartridges ... he decided that he could force the extractor over 1 extra cartridges , because “ More ammo never hurt anybody “ . Unfortunately , this gentleman ended up breaking the ejector of his beautiful Mauser 98 action bolt rifle . If this was not bad enough on it’s own , then let this sink in for a moment ...
The rifle was a pre World War 2 piece . The client had to return to America empty handed , having only been able to shoot 15 water fowl ( of assorted species ) and a 4 horned buck with his 12 Bore Fabrique Nationale Browning A 5 semi automatic shot gun .
There actually IS a way to make the original Mauser 98 action bolt rifles capable of chambering a single loose cartridge directly being dropped into the rifle’s breech .
The rifle should be taken to a VERY COMPETENT gun smith , who is capable of beveling the extractor . This allows the extractor of an original Mauser 98 action bolt rifle to be capable of snapping over the rim of a cartridge directly being loaded in to the breech of the rifle . However , I must stress the words “ VERY COMPETENT “ repeatedly . The margin of error for performing such an arduous gun smithing task is nil. If even the slightest error is made , then all of a sudden ... you have a big stick in your hands which will serve you little better than a bludgeon .Only entrust this sort of work to a gun smith who is very well reputed and/or happens to be 1 whose standard of work you are quite familiar with.

So , which action is better for the shikar of dangerous game ?Is it the control round feed action or the push feed action ? Is the push feed action really as unreliable for the shikar of dangerous game , as it’s critics will have you believe ? Let me assess this hotly debated topic now , based on my personal experience.

It must be remembered that I used to be a professional shikaree for Allwyn Cooper Limited in Nagpur , India for 10 years , from 1961 to 1970 . It goes without saying that the 1960s era was the era of the push feed action . After the 2nd World War ended in 1945 , the original Mauser factory in Germany was no longer making Mauser 98 actions . Magnum length Mauser 98 actions were practically impossible to find after the 2nd World War and the only standard length Mauser 98 actions available on the market were invariably salvaged military surplus Mauser 98 actions .
In order to chamber magnum length cartridges such as the venerable .375 Holland & Holland magnum ... these standard length Mauser 98 military surplus actions had to be opened up quite a bit , and then re hardened ( a controversial procedure ... Nevertheless , I have not heard of any misfortunes caused by doing so . )
In 1958 , Birmingham Small Arms replaced their control round feed line of bolt rifles ( the "Monarch" series ) with their push feed line of bolt rifles ( the " Majestic " series ) .
In the same year of 1958 , Mr. Roy Weatherby began to use his Mark 5 push feed action design , to build his bolt rifles .
At the same time of 1958 , Colt began to manufacture their “ Sauer “ line of push feed action bolt rifles.
After 1960 , Steyr Mannlicher replaced their classic Mannlicher Schoenaur rotary magazine control round feed bolt rifles with a push feed variant , which used a plastic magazine .
In 1962 , Remington introduced their Model 700 line of push feed action bolt rifles .
In the same year of 1962 , Schultz & Larsen introduced their line of push feed action bolt rifles
In 1964 , Winchester altered the design of their original control round feed action Winchester Model 70 and turned it in to a push feed action .
In the same year of 1964 , Fabrique Nationale / Browning replaced their control round feed Mauser / Safari Hi Power bolt rifles with a push feed design .
In 1966 , Mauser began to produce their Model 66 line of push feed action bolt rifles .

I have personally had all of my international clients , at 1 time or other bring each of these rifles to India for shikar between 1961 to 1970 and therefore I do believe that my experience with push feed action bolt rifles is fair .
Let us attempt to analyze for a moment why so many push feed action bolt rifles were being manufactured in the 1960s ... and also why so many well known manufacturers , such as Winchester and Fabrique Nationale / Browning were altering their wares from control round feed action designs to push feed designs .
Back in those days , the manufacturers would have you believe that the push feed action is actually superior to the control round feed action . While there may be a grain of truth to this ( in the sense that the push feed action had a few perceived “ advantages “ over control round feed actions at the time ) , the real reason is that the manufacturers simply wanted to reduce manufacturing costs and the push feed action was more economic to manufacture than a control round feed action.

During my career I actually HAVE seen quite a few push feed action bolt rifles experience extraction failures in the field . I have seen post 64 Winchester Model 70 bolt rifles experience extraction problems ( 2 of which were chambered for the .458 Winchester magnum calibre ) . I have seen Remington Model 700 bolt rifles experience extraction problems ( admittedly , only in the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre ) . I have seen Weatherby Mark 5 bolt rifles experience extraction problems ( Mostly in , but not limited to the .460 Weatherby magnum calibre . )I have seen Birmingham Small Arms Majestic bolt rifles experience extraction problems ( admittedly , only in the .458 Winchester magnum calibre . )
I have seen Steyr Mannlicher push feed action bolt rifles experience extraction problems ( especially in the .458 Winchester magnum calibre . )
I have seen Fabrique Nationale / Browning Safari Hi Power push feed action bolt rifles experience extraction problems in the field ( especially in the .375 Holland & Holland magnum and .458 Winchester magnum calibres ).

These occurrences would have you believe that the push feed action is inherently unreliable for hunting any game which can potentially hunt you back . However , this would be a very generic statement , which is undeservedly critical of the push feed action design. While extraction issues CAN , HAVE and DO occur with push feed action bolt rifles ... The truth is that these occurrences happen A LOT less than critics of the push feed action design will have you think . And they occur under a very specific set of circumstances.

1stly , ALL of the above mentioned push feed action bolt rifles which experienced extraction issues , worked in " apple pie order "once again after being taken to the shikar camp and given a good cleaning .
Make no mistake about it . When kept very clean , these push feed action bolt rifles were extremely reliable and did not fail to extract an expended cartridge case . I have personally cleaned countless rifles belonging to my clients at the shikar camp every evening after a successful shikar. Therefore , I have been able to identify the reason why all of the aforementioned push feed action rifles had experienced extraction problems .
The extractors of these push feed action bolt rifles would often give out , due to dust and dirt accumulating unseen under them . A thorough cleaning and taking proper care to ensure that no foreign particles got in under the extractors almost guaranteed you a flawlessly functioning rifle.
( An interesting side note : I have never ever seen a Colt Sauer push feed action bolt rifle experience any extraction problems . I have never ever seen a Mauser Model 66 push feed action bolt rifle ever experience any extraction problems. Nor have I ever seen any Schultz & Larsen push feed action bolt rifles experience any extraction problems . )

A more in depth understanding is required to understand the difference between a control round feed action rifle and a push feed action rifle .
A control round feed action rifle has a non rotating extraction claw .This extraction claw grabs on to the rim of the cartridge and guides it into the chamber. Where ever that bolt goes , the cartridge goes.

In a push feed action , the bolt does not have complete control of the cartridge and merely “ pushes “ it into the chamber .
A little known fact ( except among those operators who actually use push feed action rifles ) is that the push feed bolt has an extraction claw too. However , instead of being a stationary piece in the receiver part , it is a small spring loaded piece on the bolt face , itself. Such an extraction claw is far smaller than the one on the control round feed action rifle variety.

Let us discuss a strength of the control round feed action rifle , shall we ?
That large non rotating extraction claw is an added insurance to remove empty cartridge cases in almost any scenario . Why is this an advantage ? We will get to that momentarily.
Let us discuss a perceived “ weakness “ of the control round feed action rifle .
The traditional Mauser rifles ( the definitive control round feed ) of my time were designed to strictly feed only those cartridges which were loaded into the rifle THROUGH the magazine . If you fill the magazine and then attempt to load one extra cartridge from the top by trying to get the ejector to slip over the rim of the extra cartridge , then you will probably be fine for a while...until you eventually break the extracting device . This is because , whenever you are attempting to get the ejector to slip over the rim of an extra cartridge , you are placing increased strain on the ejector , which can never be a good thing.

Let us discuss a strength of the push feed action rifle , now .
The push feed action rifle , on account of the lack of the non rotating extraction claw , lends itself to a simpler loading by putting cartridges directly into the rifle from the top , without the need for the cartridges to always necessarily come vertically up through the magazine always.

Let us now discuss a perceived " weakness " of the push feed configuration rifle . Push feed mechanisms are susceptible to a type of double-feed malfunction that does NOT occur with controlled feed mechanisms. In a push feed rifle, if the bolt goes MOST of the way forward, but not completely, it is possible to bring the bolt back (leaving the cartridge sitting loosely in the chamber) and start feeding another cartridge. The result is a double-feed where the second cartridge is blocked by the first cartridge .
Now , under most normal circumstances , this will not occur . Under what circumstances then , can this problem occur ? The answer is STRESS .

If you introduce stress , into the equation , then it becomes evident how a shooter may operate the bolt erroneously in a highly stressful situation .
Allow me to elaborate , gentlemen .
If you are shooting targets at the local firing range , one is typically relaxed and is operating his rifle in a calm , collected manner .
The same applies when one is in a macchan ( or " blind " ) and calmly taking a shot at a cheetal deer or sambhar deer . As challenging as these situations are , they are not typically stressful situations .A push feed action rifle here will certainly not leave anything to be desired .
However , suppose you are now pursuing a 200 pound forest panther , 500 pound royal Bengal tiger or a 2000 pound gaur , and you ( by some misfortune ) are suddenly facing a charging brute. Very ugly and very determined to exterminate your existence . Unless one is an unusually cool customer who has years of practice of operating that bolt instinctively , under his belt , chances are that stress becomes an uninvited guest to your otherwise finely tuned senses . This is where one might experience errors in operating the bolt of his rifle and a double - feed problem may invariably occur .
Sadly enough , this is the one situation where your choice of a push feed rifle may lead to your death or injury or a similar fate to anyone in your party .

Now , yes . There are probably thousands of gentlemen who have gone about their entire lives ( or shikar careers ) by using push feed action bolt rifles to lay low dangerous game , by the 6 figure sum . These gentlemen are no doubt unusually cool customers , who treat cycling a rifle bolt as if it is 2nd nature to them . However , at the end of the day ... man is not machine .
I have done my research on the previous threads of African Hunting Forums and I came across a most depressing incident , which I wish to use as an example for further illustrating my point .
There was a professional White Hunter in Africa by the name of Ian Gibson who was killed by a wounded bull elephant . This unfortunate gentleman was known to carry a .458 Winchester magnum calibre post 64 Winchester Model 70 bolt rifle , as his dangerous game back up rifle . The story of that fateful day goes like this :
A client of Mr. Gibson’s had wounded a 6 ton bull elephant which had charged the safari party . Mr. Gibson attempted a frontal brain shot on the charging brute , but the 500 grain solid metal covered bullet did not penetrate into the elephant’s brain . As Mr. Gibson attempted to cycle the bolt of his push feed action Winchester Model 70 , he experienced an extraction failure . The wounded bull elephant managed to get ahold of this unfortunate White Hunter... and the rest was a foregone conclusion .

Here is a photograph taken from the internet of the dearly departed , Mr. Gibson . May He Rest In Peace .
Screenshot_20200304-041707_01.png


Now , it must be remembered that Mr. Gibson used to be a professional White Hunter , who had years of field experience with that rifle . He knew how to cycle the bolt of that post 64 Winchester Model 70 , as if it was 2nd nature to him . However , on that fateful day when the wounded bull elephant had charged the safari party ... fate had played a fatally cruel trick upon Mr. Gibson.


My verdict , thus is this : A push feed action bolt rifle is a perfectly adequate choice for a client hunter , even when used on dangerous game . A client hunter’s philosophy should be to always place his very 1st shot accurately on a game animal . Doing this essentially negates the need to give the animal a 2nd shot .
However , professional hunters who use bolt rifles would indeed benefit from the added insurance of a control round feed action . This is because the professional hunter always needs to open fire , either when :
1) The wounded animal is making good it’s escape.
2) The wounded animal is charging the hunting party .
In both of these situations, the professional hunter will not usually be able to opt for a picked shot .He must take the shot available to him quickly and thus may need to cycle the bolt in a hurry in order to give the brute a 2nd ( or even a 3rd ) bullet to anchor it . In such situations , a control round feed action is preferred , because it essentially takes the element of human error out of the equation .

For the pursuit of non dangerous game ( for example : Muntjac Deer) , it goes without saying that a push feed action bolt rifle leaves nothing to be desired , under any circumstances.

In modern times , control round feed actions are MUCH more widely available than they were , in the 1960s . Magnum length Mauser 98 actions are once again being manufactured by excellent companies , such as Mayfair Magnum Mauser , Granite Mountain Arms and of course ... the original Mauser company .
Winchester has ( since 1992 ) re introduced their beautiful pre 64 style control round feed action for their new Winchester Model 70 " Safari Express " line of bolt rifles .
However , “ Push Feed Phobia “ in recent years has ( fortunately ) dwindled . While many sports men ( myself included ) prefer a control round feed action bolt rifle for use against dangerous game ... It is now almost universally recognized that blanket statements which decry all push feed action bolt rifles as being inherently unreliable should be avoided .

In recent years , a revolutionary push feed action bolt rifle has appeared on the market ; The Model R 8 from the German company , Blaser . This make and model of rifle is known for being extremely reliable ( aside from having other advantages ) in the field , and is a heavily praised rifle , even by professional White Hunters in Africa for follow up work on dangerous game . 1 of my favorite fire arms writers and professional hunters of all time , the late Don Heath / “ Ganyana “ in fact , in 1 of the final articles which he had written prior to his death mentioned that his dream rifle to back up clients on elephant and lion hunts would be a Blaser Model R8 , chambered in .500 Jeffery . The fact that several knowledgeable and experienced members of African Hunting Forums , such as @BeeMaa and @Red Leg have successfully used these rifles on dangerous game without even the slightest misfortune only serves to further demonstrate the commendable qualities of the Blaser Model R8 .
Below , is a photograph taken from the internet of a Blaser Model R8 push feed action bolt rifle , chambered in .500 Jeffery for reference .
Screenshot_20200304-035206_01.png


I sincerely apologise for the delay I faced , in completing this portion of my article , dear readers . It was an area which required a great deal of thoroughness on my part , along with a great deal of research regarding some of the more modern fire arms .
Coming up next .... " Stocks Splitting "
 
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Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris wrote on jfowler812's profile.
hi Mr fowler

im happy to do these deals for 2021

i will knock off 10% off each deal if you take 2 so $18000 per package

look forward to your response

regards
Mule deer and Colorado elk seasons almost done! Hunters driving farm roads, looking for racks, their PH driving them along, I ask that you not pull into my drive. The buck behind me, on the boundary line of the GMU somehow knows. The hunter laughs, I would invite you in to see my Searcy rifles but social distancing prevails, darkness arrives and the buck slides away into secret tree grove...
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Ellwood Epps has 1 box of 25-20 in stock. Look them up on the web. They are located in Orilla Ontario.
Lkhntr wrote on Warpig602's profile.
On the vx6 2-12 what does the zl2 stand for?

Thanks, Oliver
bowjijohn wrote on AfricaHunting.com's profile.
Many thanks for re formatting my article for the forum

I served my time in both the bush and during the bush war

I hope it did it justice

Education is where it is at - without it the wild places are history

You - sir - are well placed to make a difference

J
 
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