What’s your ideal Dangerous Game bolt gun?

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by Ryanlo, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Fair enough. Let me pick it up.

    In my posts you will note that I have attempted to differentiate between the ideal "client" and PH dangerous game rifles. I truly do believe they represent different sets of characteristics. And if it wasn't clear before, I think it is a mistake for a first time dangerous game hunter, particularly one with limited experience with open sights, to arm himself with a "stopping" rifle - particularly a double. That is not his job - exact first shot placement is. Note that I am not saying a double shouldn't be used by a client for buffalo. But one would hope such a client would have a lot of experience with that type of rifle and sights before adding to the risks of everyone else in the party.

    I obviously have no issue with a fine, well-behaved mauser-actioned rifle. I am fortunate to own and to have owned quite a few. Though I do not believe searching for a period Birmingham or London bolt rifle is necessary to acquire an "ideal" dangerous game rifle.

    And were I the owner of the Blaser you describe above, I likely would not have become enamored with mine. However this rifle is equipped with Blaser's Classic Sporter Stock - not the two-piece/visible receiver design. To my form and function programed brain, it turns it into a different thing entirely. The rifle has the feel and weight of stalking rifle, perfect open sights, the finest trigger pull of any rifle that I have ever owned, shoots sub-MOA with nearly everything I feed it, and is the fastest non-double rifle or semiauto that I have ever used. It is also fast out to 300 meters in .375 - not many doubles do that unless the target is a tank. I'll place it and the three rounds in the magazine unapologetically in any gunrack in any camp on any hunt with any set of clientele in Africa or anywhere else.

    None of this says that I have given up on mausers. Far from it. My current favorite light rifle is my Rigby .275. But I have come to appreciate and trust the R8 - particularly in this form. This one will be making it's third trip overseas three weeks from now.

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    @Red Leg , your comments are spot on.

    Most guys go to Africa wanting to mimic Sutherland, Taylor or some other hunter of old, to taste a bit of the adventure such men lived, to live a page or two of the books we've all read. And for this nothing can compare to a double or old school bolt action (or falling block, for those so inclined). However, as clients this is not our position. Our job is to do exactly as you state, which is to make the first shot as perfect as is possible. In this regard, especially when threading a bullet through brush, nothing beats a scoped rifle. That said, I still hunt with open sights, but keep it close to accommodate and am very careful in heavy cover. I am willing to pass on a shot which would be possible with a scope. My choice. But, it does come with restrictions and if one is unwilling to so limit opportunity then please use a good scope with a good mount on a good rifle.
     

  3. geoff rath

    geoff rath AH Enthusiast

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    I don't think we'll ever get a complete census on this thread. The variations on what we as individuals class as a "Dangerous Game" rifle are too diverse My experience is, in Aussie slang, bugger all. The chance of expanding it is even less. The main factors I've seen espoused so far are for the first totally suitable projectile in exactly the right place. To me that means nothing less than a "heavy" in at least 375 caliber. We trust our PHs to put is in the right place for that, and to get us (including him) out of the sh1t that our shooting may get us in. That means a LOT of practice, practice, practice before we get to Africa, and a totally reliable rifle.
    Is this close enough to our ideal?
     
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  4. Bill Bunn III

    Bill Bunn III AH Senior Member

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    I personally will carry my Kimber Caprivi chambered in 375 H&H when I go on my buffalo hunt with 300 gr. A-frames. Now if money where not a factor it would be a Heym Martini Express chambered in 404 Jeffrey shooting 400 gr. A-frames. Both of these are fantastic shooting rifles, luckily for me I get to shoot my Dad's Heym 404 on occasion.
     
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  5. Rock375

    Rock375 AH Senior Member

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    I will also be carrying a Kimber Caprivi in 375 H&H to hunt Buffalo on my first hunt for them. I’m tentatively planning on 2019? Haven’t booked it yet but leaning toward Paw Print or possibly KMG? I had the chance to visit with Marius at DSC this year and really liked him.
     
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  6. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Legend

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    I'll say this as a matter of personal opinion: While I find many blasers to be "fugly" (like the plastic, semi-functional one I mentioned), yours is beautiful. It looks very, very nice. Thanks for your response.
     

  7. John A Flaws

    John A Flaws AH Senior Member

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    The original question of what is your ideal dangerous game gun hints to the true answer. What is ideal differs from person to person. One man may handle and shoot a 500 Jeffery well while another prefers a 375 due to a more manageable recoil. The right answers is an individual one.

    When you have walked for hours and the condition are less than ideal what will you shoot best. This is most likely the answer to the question. Even matters of sights, scopes, red dots, and so on comes down to what you are most comfortable with. As far as rifle maker I believe you should select the best maker that fits within your budget.
     
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  8. BenKK

    BenKK AH Fanatic

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    Function, cycling, accuracy and stopping ability are all hugely important. But no matter what rifle you have you need to be ready with situational awareness for the terrain / vegetation - and the instinctive reflexes to handle it - for when things happen fast. And no matter what you’ve made it through yesterday, you never quite know how tomorrow’s surprise will pan-out. You just do your best to stay sensible and alert.
     
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  9. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    My "ideal Dangerous Game bolt gun".

    A-Square Hannibal .470 Capstick

    DSC00875.JPG
     
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  10. geoff rath

    geoff rath AH Enthusiast

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    Ben, I'm with you, the rifle has to be a part of us, almost like a third arm...
     
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  11. geoff rath

    geoff rath AH Enthusiast

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    One of the reasons I'm (almost) totally focused on Ruger No 1s; elegant, incredibly strong, compact, even with a 26" barrel.
    Just no back-up when the sh1t hits ...
     

  12. Saul

    Saul AH Enthusiast

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    While I am entirely dedicated to doubles, I have a soft spot for the .505 Gibbs
     

  13. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Legend

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    I think that Boddington and perhaps Robertson had chapters in their books about "2 gun safaris" and "3 gun safaris" that addressed this question beautifully because you can then decide on that basis. If its just a do-all gun that will cover every base in one gun, there really is no debate that the 375HH is that one gun.

    But what if the gun is 80% dedicated to DG hunting and it still needs some utility for the occasional 150 yard shot on Kudu, Eland, Zebra and other stuff, AND you wanted to still have those capabilities that the smaller 375HH provides even better?

    There seem to be two really good DG contenders out there: the 416 rigby and the 404 Jeffery. The 416 rigby is probably the smallest effective "body shot" elephant killer out there and it is still flat shooting and will do buffalo, eland, kudu, zebra, lion and other animals without loss of accuracy at reasonable distances. The 404J covers lion, hippo, buffalo and all the rest very well and still a "brain shot" elephant gun, thus another good option.

    Once you go past the 404J / 416 Rigby you're going into the realm of purpose built large DG rifles that are less versatile and not really practical for the odd impala or kudu due to limited accuracy at distance and heavy carry weight.

    So from my take, if you're going to do Africa a few times and just can afford one gun, buy the 375HH. Its the only one that will do it all and will still have some use in North America on Elk, Moose, Grizzly and other big game here. If you're intending to hunt the big five and you want that extra power, plus some occasional plains game at reasonable distances as well, you might want a 404J or a 416R.

    Almost no one is going to do DG hunting with just one rifle though, because you're not going to chance a very expensive trip on but one gun. Thus, you're back to a 2 or 3 gun battery that always has a 375HH in the mix (the do-all if your smallbore or large bore is out of service) .

    In closing, here is what I've brought to Africa on my hunts:

    Plains game trip including very large plains game:

    7x57 and a 300H&H

    Dangerous game trip that included some plains game:

    7x57, 375H&H, and a 500NE.

    Dangerous game and plains game trip that included some bird hunting:

    12 gauge, 318WR and a 375H&H

    On my next trip to Africa (whenever that happens) for dangerous game and plains game, I'll almost certainly bring:

    375H&H and a 416 Rigby. (and a 12 gauge if there are birds available)


    When I started my journey I did not appreciate how accurate at long distances, nor how reasonably flat shooting my 375HH actually was. Off sticks it has such manageable recoil that I do not see the need for my smallbore rifle any longer which means I can either bring only 2 guns OR I have room left for a shotgun which is really good fun for birds.
     
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  14. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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  15. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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    :sleep:
     

  16. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    After some experience dragging along two rifles, I have only brought just a .375 on my last three African hunts. A .375, alone, will be accompanying me again in three weeks. Doing a bag drag with two or three rifles is fine if one wants to do that, but traveling lighter has seemed ever more sensible to me. Moreover, with modern ammunition, a .375 won’t simply suffice on everything from dik dik to buffalo - it is darn near ideal. Indeed, I would not hesitate to brain or body shoot a tusker with a 300gr Hydro. As I have gained experience, I have come to appreciate this remarkable caliber more and more. I currently have three 40’s that I could bring. I am using the .375 not because I am a one time DG hunter looking for a good enough compromise, but because in it’s modern guise, it is the ideal rifle. At least for me. I suppose it is something like choosing a broadsword or a rapier - I really like the rapier.
     
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  17. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH Legend

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    Everything you said makes sense to me save one: you would body shoot an elephant with a .375H&H? We know a soft won't get there, so you'd use a solid on an elephant and hope it expires before you do or it leaves the continent at high speed? I had always thought the 375HH with solids was a brain shot only affair with the 416 Rigby being the bare minimum for body shots?
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018

  18. Tokoloshe Safaris

    Tokoloshe Safaris SPONSOR Since 2017 AH Enthusiast

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    Agree 1 rifle .375 is a great caliber. With the hydros being a great bullet!
     

  19. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I wouldn’t know for certain - maybe our DG PH’s would help us out - but my supposition is that the vast majority of body shot elephant are hit with solids. Brain shot is the plan and that doesn’t work out for whatever reason, and a shot is made for lungs or heart (or spine or hip to stop him). Though a .375 wouldn’t be my first choice as a pure jumbo rifle, I have no doubt a Hydro or similar solid will drive as deeply as a forty (deeper in some cases), and the damage difference would be marginal. Indeed, I am certain a .375 Hydro would cause more injury than a conventional .40 class solid. Sure, I guess it isn’t traditional, though a lot of elephant have been taken with the .375 over the last century. But ammunition performance has evolved enormously since things became traditional.
     
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  20. BobT

    BobT AH Enthusiast

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    I have yet to shoot my first "dangerous game" animal but when I started to think about what rifle I wanted when the time came I decided that it had to be something I was comfortable with. I have been a bolt action fan for a long time and am very familiar with them so that made action choice easy. Then I had to decide on a caliber, I first bought a 9,3x62 and I still really like it but as my hunt plans started coming together I found out that Tanzania requires a .375 minimum for dangerous game. I decided that the .375 would make the most sense for me and I ended up buying a Whitworth Express in .375 H&H. I added a Leupold 2.5-8 VX3i in Leupold quick detach mounts and while practicing I always try to shoot a few rounds with the iron sights. For the last 2 years the .375 has been the rifle of choice when I head to the woods. I have used it to hunt deer and wild hogs, carried it on my woods walks and while checking game cameras, it is becoming a very familiar rifle. I have fired in excess of 300 rounds in practice and load development with the majority fired from sticks and a few offhand for good measure. I have good loads worked up with 300 grain A-Frames and 300 grain CEB solids and it will accompany me to Tanzania in August for my first try at a Cape Buffalo. I have gained a lot of confidence in the rifle over the last 2 years so for me it is (for now anyway) the ideal DGR.
     
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