When asked what he hunts with, SCI Member Mike L. replied with an unusual brace of guns he recently took to South Africa. Mike writes:
“Last year I had the good fortune to hunt in the eastern cape of South Africa. I was hunting at East Cape Safaris located near Somerset East. I wanted the hunt to be something a bit different from what most hunters do, so I chose to take a flintlock Kentucky rifle and a miniature (20% smaller) Sharps model 1874. I wanted to hunt with open sights one more time in my life.
“The miniature Sharps was made by Little Sharps Manufacturing at Big Sandy, Montana, by Ron Otto and Aaron Pursley. The rifle has a 29-inch octagonal barrel and is chambered in the old .38-72 Winchester with a .375 bore. The smokeless loads are the equivalent of a .375-06 or a .375 Scovil. I was able to make effective kills with open sights to 300 yards with it utilizing Barnes .375 250-grain TTSX bullets.
“The second rifle is a .54 caliber Kentucky flintlock rifle in .54 caliber with a 42-inch swamped and flared barrel. It was made by rifle maker Charles Heistand of Marietta, Pennsylvania. A 230-grain roundball proved very effective. The sugar based Sanadex powder available in South Africa shot clean and ignited quite easily. I used this rifle on medium sized game and for culling springbok from the herds.”
I saw the “Just Wondering” column in the July/August issue of Safari and your request for info on what hunters are using these days. Having only hunted big game with a rifle since I came to Ruger nine years ago I don’t have a lot of history to fall back on but I have had the opportunity to pick from lots of rifles and calibers. I have used a No. 1 in .30-06 on several trips to Africa and shot plains game with it. I have shot several animals in North America with an All-Weather .270, including the blacktail I shot while we were hunting in Alaska a few years back. I have also dropped a few animals with .44 revolvers over the years and still enjoy that when I keep my skills up through regular practice.
My last four trips to Africa have seen me use either a .375 Ruger African or a wood and blued M77 .300RCM. The .375 Ruger has taken animals ranging from Cape buffalo and sable to bushbuck while the .300RCM has accounted for gemsbok, springbok, kudu, impala and other plains game. I like both calibers quite a bit for their respective applications but if I had to choose one for all African hunting it would be the .375.
I really do like the Ruger Gunsite Scout in .308 Win. While I have used it on hogs, the .308 has never been my first choice as a hunting round, and I am not sure why. My daughters success with the .308 in a 20” barrel Ruger M77 RCM style rifle in Namibia a couple years ago opened my eyes. I did acquire one of the “International” versions of the Ruger Scout with its 18” unthreaded muzzle barrel and do anticipate taking it on more serious hunting trips in the future. Maybe even using the forward mounted Scout Scope optics as I have spent considerable time shooting that way and find it very usable. The Scout rifle/optics package makes a very compact, easy to handle combo when carrying a rifle long distances and the shorter barrels doesn’t give up much with today’s ammo, especially the Superformance loads from Hornady.
In recent years I have become very fond of two rifles and their cartridges. Aside from the .45-70, it has become apparent to me that I don’t need the big guns for most of my hunting. I really like my Marlin Guide Gun in .45-70 even though many of the animals I took with it could have been done just as well with my favorite .308, a Remington Model 7 Custom KS. It’s light, easy to take with, and accurate.
With the .308 I have taken all manner of African plains game, elk and deer at home; and it was perfect for my last hunt in Scotland.
My 45-70 was an engraved parting gift when my term on the AZ G&F commission ended. Though limited by trajectory, it has served me well when conditions were appropriate for it. With it I have taken muskox, elk, American bison, Argentina water buffalo, and wild boar in Argentina and the US.
Mossberg is perhaps best known for shotguns such as the pump-action Model 500 that are tough enough to last a lifetime but priced at a level that belies their quality. In 2005, Mossberg applied that principle to a line of over-under shotguns called the Silver Reserve that was received well enough that side-by-side models followed in 2008.
Now, Mossberg has announced a new generation of the Silver Reserve line—the Silver Reserve II—that has features hunters and shooters expect on high-quality double guns. Those features include black walnut stocks and fine-line checkering. Blued barrels are complemented by silver-finished receivers sporting wrap-around classic scroll engraving. Functionally, the Silver Reserve II line offers chrome-plated chambers and bores, dual-locking lugs and tang-mounted safety/barrel selectors as standard features. There are a variety of barrel lengths and stock options available.
Field Over-Under—Features vent rib barrels with single front bead. Changeable choke tubes mount flush, and cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified and full chokes are included on 12-, 20 and 28-gauge models. .410-bore guns have fixed modified and full chokes. 12-gauge models have 28-inch barrels with 3-inch chambers. Extractors are standard but ejectors are an option. 20-, 28-gauge and .410-bore guns have 26-inch barrels and extractors only. Both Bantam and Combo Field versions are available with the Bantam available only in 20-gauge and with a 13-inch length of pull to better-fit smaller shooters. Combos are 12/20 or 20/28 and come with 26-inch barrels and appropriate forends and choke tubes. Suggested retail of the Field versions ranges from $693 to $1,042.
Sporting Over-Unders—Sport and Super Sport versions feature dual beads (the front is fiber optic) and ported barrels. The Sport model has a 28-inch barrel with 10mm rib while the Super Sport’s rib is 12mm and can be had with optional 30- or 32-inch barrels. Both versions come with five extended choke tubes—skeet, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified and full–that are silver-finished and knurled so you can grasp them better. Ejectors are standard, with select Sport models featuring extractors. Super Sport models offer a choice of adjustable (height, slope and cast) or fixed high-comb stocks; higher profile, extra-wide 12mm ribs; and optional 30- or 32-inch barrels. Suggested retail of the Sporting versions ranges from $851 to $1,145.
Field Side-By-Side—These versions are available in 12-, 20- or 28-gauge and extractors are standard. The 26-inch vent rib barrels have a single front bead and come with flush choke tubes and cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified and full are included. Suggested retail price is $1,005.