Rodenbeck On African Rifles

By Jörg Rodenbeck

Jörg Rodenbeck is an international member from Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Rodenbeck took this unusual orxy with is “pet” rifle, a Sauer 202 chambered in .300 Weatherby.

I like the idea of asking our fellow hunters what they like and use. My pet rifle is the first rifle I bought after acquiring my hunting license–a Sauer 202 in .300 Weatherby Magnum with a Zeiss 2.5-10x 48mm scope. This rifle was very accurate right out of the box and shot (and is still shooting) sub-minute-of-angle groups with Norma 180-grain PPC (Vulcan) factory ammo. It’s my favorite because it has so many “firsts”–first rifle, first hunt, first red stag, first wild boar, first kudu, first moose and so on.

This rifle was with me on 30 hunting trips on three continents and never let me down. From 1993 until today, I’ve shot roughly 300 game animals with it and the confidence in this rifle really improves my shooting. With its detachable stock, it’s easy to transport.

African Battery

I have 15 African safaris under my belt and the 16th was scheduled for August. Over the past 12 years, I took more than 30 species of African game from dik dik to elephant and used a couple of different rifles for those tasks. I always take two rifles to Africa, but my battery changed over time and it depends on the area and the game as to which battery I take.

Mauser rifle 416 Rigby 071112
German custom gunsmith K.H. Ritterbusch built this .416 Rigby rifle on a Magnum Mauser action and equipped it with a 1.5 -6 X 42mm Swarovski scope (detachable) and open sights.

On my first buffalo hunt, I used a .375 H&H for the big stuff, but to my mind this caliber is overestimated and has not the stopping power I want from a “dangerous game” rifle.  So I went to the German custom gunsmith K.H. Ritterbusch and ordered a .416 Rigby rifle with a Magnum Mauser action, equipped with a 1.5 -6 X 42mm Swarovski scope (detachable mount) and open sights. This rifle is a joy to shoot, very accurate with Romey ammo and 410-grain Woodleigh Bullets (20mm group at 100m) and all I want from a DG-rifle.

My second Rifle for the first four safaris was my pet rifle, but I realized that in areas with thick bushes, the .300 Weatherby is not the best choice. So I switched to the following batteries.

This Sauer 202 in .300 Weatherby is Rodenbeck’s “pet” rifle.

Battery For Dangerous Game

I use the.416 Rigby as mentioned above. Also, I use a .338 Winchester Magnum Winchester Model 70 rifle with classic receiver; 24-inch fluted Shilen barrel, Jewell trigger and JRS laminated stock, with Swarovski 3-12 X 50mm scope. For all the different plains game I may shoot on DG safari for bait or as a trophy, including leopard, eland or sable, I find this caliber to be very, very versatile, hard hitting and accurate.

Battery For Plains Game In Open Country

On plains game safaris in open country like parts of Namibia, the Kalahari and so on, where I may have to shoot at distances of 300 yards or more, I like a flat-shooting rifle. So my Number One for this kind of hunting is my .300 Weatherby Magnum pet rifle. For the “little ones” like duiker, dik-dik, steenbok or small cats like caracal and for jackals, my second rifle is a Sauer 202 Outback in .243 Winchester with a Zeiss 3-9x42mm scope.

Battery For Plains Game In Bush-Country

With the .338 Winchester Magnum, Rodenbeck prefers the 215-grain Sierra Game King on lighter game.

When I hunt plains game in bushy country like Zulu-Natal, I prefer the .338 Winchester Magnum as the first rifle and the .243Winchester as the second.


Ammunition and bullets are a never-ending discussion, and everybody seems to have his pet brand and pet loads. But since I have hunted on three continents and have shot about 500 game animals, I’ll try to explain my point of view.
I use factory ammunition as well as handloads, depending on which rifle I am using.

In recent years, I have become a fan of the bonded-core or welded-core bullets. Those bullets usually deliver good penetration, have good weight retention and leave a good blood trail to follow. With the .416 Rigby, I use the Romey factory load with 410-grain Woodleigh welded core bullet for buffalo and lion. For elephant and hippo, I use the Romey factory load with 410-grain Woodleigh FMJ bullet. With the .300 Weatherby Magnum, I prefer the 180-grain Norma PPC load for longer shots, and the 180-grain Norma ORYX (bonded core) load for closer shots.

With the .338 Winchester Magnum, I prefer the 215-grain Sierra Game King on lighter game like red stag, fallow deer or hartebeest. On larger game like eland, kudu, sable, boars and bears, I prefer the 250-grain Swift A-Frame.

For the “little” game such as dik dik, Rodenbeck uses the .243 Winchester with 105-grain RWS factory soft-points.

With the .243 Winchester, I use 105-grain RWS factory soft-points, and with the .30-‘06, I use the 180-grain Norma ORYX or 180-grain Norma PPC loads, depending on the hunting circumstances. “Waidmannsheil!” (good hunting)


6 thoughts on “Rodenbeck On African Rifles”

  1. Very good report! Exellent choice of rifle/calibers and scopes. I myself also use a 243 Win ( CZ 550 with 6×42 Schmidt& Benders) and a CZ in 375 H&H with Kahles 1.5-4.
    This are my only rifles and so far I can’t complain….( 3 continents). If I could only choose one caliber it would be the 375 H&H but I can see the shortcomings…
    Vielen Dank fuer den Bericht und Weidmannsheil!

  2. After six African safaris under my belt and taking only one rifle with me each time, my favorite has been a custom made rifle in .378 Wby magnum. I hand load 250g TTSX’s with 7828SSC and get a muzzle velocity of 3260 fps. I’ve taken springbok at 600 yds and cape buffalo at 20 yds. I do think it was just a little too much gun for the steinbok at 80 yds. especially since I did a full body mount. Thank goodness for the great skills of my taxidermist. If I was just heading over for some of the tiny ten, I would seriously consider taking my .220 Swift.

  3. Waidsmannsheil! Many years ago during the Cold War I earned my Jagerbrief in occupied West Berlin. My instructor emphasized enough gun with good bullets…my favorites are Barnes regardless of caliber. I don’t think the .338 & .375 can be beat. My load for plains gave in the former is 185 gr TSX bullets @ about 2900 fps and in the latter, 250 gr TSX bullets @ about 2800 fps, both kill quickly and are pleasant to shoot. I have also enjoyed 1shot kills on African game with 140 gr TSX bullets @about 2600 fps in the venerable and classic 7×57 Mauser.

  4. On my most recent trip to Africa Im sorry to say that I went underguned, I took a Browning hells canyon in 6.5 creedmore,it did a fine job on nyala,duyker, springbok and a large jackel but I wounded 3 gemsbuck that we’re not found . sadly I had to pay the price which took the fun out of an otherwise good hunt. Next time I’ll be taking the 338 model 70 . My suggestion carry a big stick

  5. On plains game to as large as an Bull Eland my 300 Mag Weatherby 200 grain bullet did fine. Anything Above to Buffalo and Elaphant 375H&H 300 gr . plus shot placement..

    1. Love the .300 Wby Mag. Used 200 grain Nosler Partitions and had seven one shot kills on plains game including Kudu, Gemsbok, Wildebeest, Zebra, Warthog, Impala and Blesbok. The Gemsbok, Wildebeest and Zebra were all approximately 200 yard shots.

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