If you have read my preface to the double rifle, you may wonder if it is a disadvantage to carry a bolt-action rifle on a safari.
The clear answer "no"!
The rifle should be a choice of personal preference. The important thing is to be comfortable with your rifle and to shoot it accurately.
Bad shots and critical situations are largely due to human error. Caused either by the hunter himself or by the accompanying professional hunter.
The advantages of a bolt-action rifle are the significantly better precision and that even after numerous shots. As well as the compatibility with different ammunition types. It is even possible to change the ammunition on the spot, in case it is lost during the journey.
The disadvantages are that you have to change your grip while reloading. Which makes the quick second shot not quite as fast. Another loss in handling is the construction wise rear shifted weight that does not allow a swing quite as well as with a double rifle.
But no matter with which type of rifle! The stalk and the final shot with open sights demand everything from the hunter and give the piece of game an honest chance.
For me the most beautiful form of hunting.
CZ Safari Classic II
Calibers: 300 H&H Mag., .375 H&H Mag., .404 JEFFERY, .458 Lott , 416 Rigby
List Price Start at: approx. 5,000.00€
The CZ 550 SAFARI (2005) & later the SAFARI CLASSIC 2 (as of 2017) rifles are heavily based on the Mauser Magnum 98 model and have all the features that the Mauser system does. The fairly basic 550 models were often very rough and needed a few more hours at the gunsmith before use.
On the later Classic 2, the rifles were refinished by hand again at the factory and therefore had a better finish. The rifles are and were honest workhorses and make a solid basis for a custom rifle. CZ stated themselves: that the rifles represent the highest quality and craftsmanship. The bluing was clean and the fits precise. The first 550 Safari models were still equipped with a plain and painted walnut stock.
The Classic 2 then had a matte oil finish that also highlighted the more beautiful wood grain, of the better woods. The all around front checkering improves grip. Minimal tolerances were achieved by hand fitting the system and barrel into the stock. The barrel and system are finished with an extremely durable DLC (Diamond like Cabon) coating.
Dakota Model 76 African
Calibers: 416 Remington, 404 Jeffery, 416 Rigby and 450 Dakota
Source: Ron Spomer
In 1986, master gunsmiths Don Allen and Pete Grisel had a dream of bringing together the latest technology and proven techniques. They fulfilled that dream with the Dakota Model 76.
The Dakota 76's system borrows heavily from that of the Mauser 98 and features a long case extractor and a three-position Winchester Style, slide safety at the rear of the rifle's lock. The magazine is a classic box magazine that loads from the top and holds four magnum cartridges. For quick emptying of the magazine, the rifle has a button at the front of the trigger guard that unlocks the magazine plate. The release button is located in a way that accidental unlocking of the magazine cover is unlikely.
The stock is made of good walnut wood and the system is glass bedded. The system mounts are made of aluminum and are permanently attached to the glass bedding. Another intricate detail is the flat ground system that ensures maximum bearing surface and pressure distribution.
With the Dakota 76, you get a solid and cleanly finished bolt action rifle "Made in USA".
Calibers. 375 H&H Mag, 416 Rigby, 404 Jeffery, 458 Lott, 450 Rigby, 505 Gibbs
List Price Start at: 7,900.00€
Source: Heym Germany
Source: Heym USA
The "Heym Express" rifle made its new debut in 2013. For its 25th anniversary, German-born gunsmith Ralf Martini was chosen to redesign the stock and profile of the rifle. Borrowing from the 1914 Mauser Magnum system and visually following the English sporting rifles "between the wars," Martini says the "Express" rifle is a modern interpretation of the classic design.
The bolt action features a three-position safety on the lock and a classic stock magazine with a hinged cover. The rifle has a weight of about 4.3kg and a standard barrel length of 61 cm. The overall length is about 114 cm.
Heym offers the rifle in different variants and all variants can be ordered as left-hand version. Of course, Heym's custom store offers a variety of finishes to those willing to spend the money.
The rifle is priced above the CZ and a little below the new original Mauser 98 Magnum model.
Source: Heym Germany
Holland & Holland The "Bolt Action"
Calibers from: .240 to .500.
Price: start £ 49,000
Source: Holland & Holland
Adventurers and professionals have relied on this classic British magazine rifle since the early twentieth century. It set the standard across the Empire for handling, reliability and practicality. Holland & Holland have been building it since the end of World War One.
The modified Mauser '98 action at its heart is available in most modern calibers; from .240 to .500. The most noted incarnation being the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum. This belted rimless cartridge is the most versatile yet developed for a bolt-rifle, famed as the 'one rifle for the whole world'.
The system is a Mauser model 98-style action with a modified bolt, a single-stage trigger and an optional wing or side safety for use with telescope sights. Fitted with a standard wide-V rear sight with one folding leaf and a standard foresight with a folding protector, the rifle is ready for harsh hunts. The quick-detachable sling loop is attached with a barrel band.
Each Holland & Holland rifle comes with excellent selected walnut wood for the stock with an optional traditional or Monte Carl comb style cheek piece. The pistol grip and the front stock have hand crafted chequering with a superb oil finish. Additional options are the rubber recoil pad or horn butt plate, an optional gold oval engraved with initials or crest and a hand cap box for spare foresight.
The quick-detachable mount allows a telescopic sight to be removed and re-fitted in seconds without the need to re-zero. The rugged bolt-action and box-magazine have served dependably, in the harshest hunting conditions, for generations. There is no finer hunting rifle.
The weight depends upon bore and specifications
Calibers: .375 H&H Mag., .416 Rigby, .450 Rigby
List Price: 9,143.00€
Even the legends of African big game hunting knew exactly what to rely on in the savannah and thick bush: either the powerful double rifle or the bolt-action rifles with the indestructible Mauser Magnum system.
Following this tradition, the new Mauser 98 Magnum, makes it clear in every detail that there is no challenge out there that it cannot master. Based on a Double Square Bridge system milled from the solid, this big game classic is crafted to the highest quality and perfection. The double cross bolt action as well as the slightly longer stock are the answer to the high forces of the .375 H&H Magnum, the .416 Rigby or even the .450 Rigby that optionally fill the chamber.
The rifle has a barrel length of 62 cm and an overall length of 118 cm. The classic box magazine stores almost up to six rounds (.375). With 4.6 kg, the rifle brings enough dead weight to shoot the strong calibers properly. All metal parts are plasma nitrided. The coating reliably protects against corrosion and, more importantly, reflections that could make shooting difficult.
With a Mauser 98 Magnum, the big game hunter holds a rifle in his hand that, with its reliability and uncompromising firepower of six (.375) or five rounds (.416 and .450), offers exactly the reserves that a double rifle lacks. Moreover, thanks to the legendary long Mauser extractor as well as its sensational action, the next shot is available safely and quickly.
The cartridge opening is about 10 mm longer with the Mauser Magnum as with the standard Mauser system and operates without adjustments up to 505 Gibbs.
Purdey Bolt Action Rifle
Caliber: .375 - .500 Jeffrey
Price: On Request
Source: Purdey and Sons
Our Founder, James Purdey the Elder, was apprenticed as a gun maker in 1798. After joining Master gunsmith Joseph Manton, he went on to forge a gun making dynasty that would surpass all others. While he had lived in 'Rifle Cottage' in Bayswater, it was his son, James Purdey the Younger, who developed the famous 'Express' double rifle. He took the name from the newly introduced Express Trains, to reflect the velocity, power and accuracy of his new product, something which was eagerly adopted following its introduction in 1852.
The bolt action rifle has the unique Purdey Chassis System, at the heart of this highly innovative rifle. Made from titanium, the chassis, running from the pistol grip to the forend and is embedded into the walnut stock. Unseen when the rifle is assembled, the action is built directly into the titanium chassis rather than into the wood. The result is an exceptionally stable bedding platform, one of the key aspects of an accurate hunting rifle.
The 'Purdey Chassis System' provides a level of stability unseen in Best Quality rifles in the past, the stock is prevented from moving due to atmospheric conditions and moisture level changes. This major advance has allowed Purdey to incorporate a free-floating barrel into the design allowing consistent barrel harmonics, another key prerequisite to rifle accuracy. The Safari model is fitted with traditional open sights.
Whilst this rifle has been driven by innovation, the tradition and elegance one would expect of a Purdey was at the forefront of the design brief. The standard model comes with a traditionally London "Blacked" barrel and action finish, the deluxe grade Walnut stock is traditionally shaped and the magazine floor plate lid is engraved with the classic fine Rose and Scroll engraving pattern.
The rifle includes swing-off mounts and scope rings and the trigger is set from the factory at 3 lb for the Safari model. All triggers are adjustable and delivers a crisp break with no creep.
Source: Purdey and Sons
Caliber: .375 H&H Mag bis 505 Gibbs / 500 Jeffery.
Price: starts approximately 9,000€
Reimer Johannsen's gunsmith shop was founded in 1968 and has been for over fifty years the place to go for hunters who want to own a handmade rifle based on the proven Mauser-Magnum-98-System. Johannsen big game rifles are characterized by the highest quality and precision.
The system is made of round high quality steel 42CrMo4. The material for the production of the action is the even more difficult to machine as it is the special durable steel 14NiCr14. All parts are prefabricated with the highest precision by the Weinheim-based company Gottfried Prechtl. The rifles are available with Single-Square-Bridge and Double-Square-Bridge. The Single-Square-Bridge models, which are mostly made for professional hunters, have an added thumb-hole, which allows for much faster reloading from the top.
The Double-Square-Bridge system is usually manufactured without a thumb-hole, has an adjustable fine trigger and a 3-position safety at the side with a horizontally pivoting lever. Nevertheless, hunting over open sights is no problem here either. The rifle has a Holland & Holland bead front sight with a 2 mm silver bead front sight and a 4 mm ivory flip-up front sight, as well as an express rear sight with 2 flaps.
A rifle from Johannsen means that you have a safe and reliable hunting weapon in your hand, even in extreme situations. Each rifle, whether a standard or special model, is custom made; matched to the ammunition used, to the preferred sights and to the hunting possibilities of the hunter.
In addition to the "Classic Safari" model, which is the typical PH-style rifle for a quick shot at the Big Five, also the "Safari" model for hunting with a telescopic sight and a safe shot at dusk or at longer distances is available. For the professional hunter Johannsen manufactures individual models up to caliber 505 Gibbs/500 Jeffery.
Source: Reimer Johannsen
Rigby "Big Game"
Calibers: From 375 H&H (Double Square Bridge) until 450 Rigby (Single Square Bridge)
List Price: Starting from £ 8,340.00
Source: John Rigby & Co.
A Modern Classic
A century and more ago, Mauser made barreled bolt-actions for us and shipped them to London, where they were assembled, finished and proofed by Rigby craftsmen. Today, in an echo of halcyon days before the Great War, we have resumed this arrangement with Mauser for our new range of Big Game rifles, making aspirational but affordable rifles for use around the world.
These outstanding rifles have the classic Rigby design features, plus a robust, ergonomic stock shape with a higher comb for better fit and absorption of recoil. They also feature plasma nitriding on all exposed metal surfaces for a tough but attractive anti-glare and rust-resistant finish. The Rigby express sights have a single fixed V and two folding leaves (sighted for 65, 150 and 250 yards) dovetailed into the quarter-rib. With original pattern engraving, case-hardened recoil bars and a heat-blued extractor, these rifles represent exceptional value and are a benchmark in modern sporting firearms manufacturing.
The Big Game is available on a single or
double square bridge action (depending on the model), and offers professional
and sporting hunters a more moderately priced alternative to our London Best
The Single Square Bridge style is the professional hunter's rifle of choice. Available in .416 and .450 Rigby calibers, it is designed for use with express sights only. The action is fitted with the classic three-position flag safety and a 22-inch barrel. Unloaded, the rifle weighs 10 pounds 8 ounces; the length of pull is 14 ½ inches, including a recoil pad.
The Double Square Bridge model is available in .375 H&H or .416 Rigby calibers. With its lightweight 24-inch barrel, this rifle is ideally suited for a telescopic sight. The horizontal Winchester-style safety catch accommodates a variety of scope-mounting systems on the machined action bridges. The weight of this rifle is 10 pounds, unloaded, and the length of pull, including the red rubber recoil pad, is 14½".
The Big Game PH is designed to be the perfect tool for the Professional Hunter, the PH boasts the classic lines and rock solid engineering of the original Big Game rifle. Made in consultation with Professional Hunters in Africa, this version of the multi-award-winning Big Game rifle has been designed as a utilitarian, hardwearing gun for the field with a price point that is considerably lower than the original.
Rigby pattern magazine holds five rounds in .375, four in .416 and three in .450, plus one in the chamber.
Ruger Hawkeye African
Calibers: 300 Win. Mag, 338 Win. Mag, 375 Ruger, 416 Ruger
List Price USA: $1,883.00
Source: Ruger USA
Source: Big Mountain Mike - shows the more classic first generation of the Ruger African!
The Ruger M77 Hawkeye African is a classic rifle for big game hunt. The ergonomically pleasing, American walnut stock has rounded contours and wrap-around checkering on the grip and the forend. With the LC6 trigger the M77 features smooth, crisp performance right out of the box for increased accuracy on the range or in the field.
The Ruger Muzzle Brake System includes a removable, radial-port muzzle brake that significantly reduces felt recoil. For times when the brake is not preferred, it may be replaced by the included dynamically-matched muzzle weight. Switching between the brake and the weight will not change the bullet's point of impact for a particular load. The included thread protector may be used if neither the brake nor the weight.is used.
The rifle has a 23-inch cold hammer-forged barrel that results in ultra-precise rifling that provides exceptional accuracy and longevity. The three-position safety is easily accessible and allows the shooter to lock the bolt or to load and unload the rifle with the safety engaged. With its Mauser-style bolt and the long rotating extractor, it guarantees reliability when it is needed. The overall length of the Ruger is 45-inch and the weight is approximately 8 pounds.
As any good rifle for African game the M77 has a shallow "express-style" windage-adjustable "V" notch rear sight and large white bead front sight for instant target acquisition. It also is prepared for mounting a scope. Therefore, the integral scope mounts, machined directly on the solid-steel receiver, provide a stable mounting surface for scope rings, eliminating a potential source of looseness and inaccuracy in the field (scope rings included).
Very interesting are the Ruger cartridges .375 & .416 Ruger. Both do not have a belted cartridge and a modern case geometry.
SAKO 85 Safari
Calibers: 375H&H, 416 Rigby, 450 Rigby, 500 Jeffery
List Price: 9,450.00€
Source: Remi Warren
Sako's master gunsmiths make the Sako 85 Limited Edition premium Safari rifles. These beautiful rifles are made one by one and with an eye for detail and perfection.
The Sako Safari rifle is manufactured with either the Sako 85 L or the XL bolt action, which has an integral dovetail profile for scope mounting. All Sako 85 models are equipped with the Cartridge Feed Control System (RCS), which prevents the feeding of two cartridges or the cartridge jumping out during loading. The chamber locks solidly with three lugs. One of the three bolt lugs is guided in a rail within the system, thus the bolt runs as smooth as butter. The case ejector is mechanical and guarantees case ejection only in the rearmost position, this reliably prevents empty loading. The chamber stem is designed to place the hand in a natural position on the stock. This supports a fast reloading.
The Sako 85 barrels are manufactured with a passion for quality and the very best knowledge of Sako. Barrel blanks are drilled, honed, cold- hammer forged, finished and finally individually inspected by an optical fine-tuning instrument: the human eye. Twist rates are chosen for each caliber to optimize accuracy and bullet performance.
The adjustable iron sights of the Sako 85 Safari model feature a quarter rib, a rear blade shallow-V and band type front sight with ivory white bead. Each Sako 85 Safari has the option to install a premium scope with the Sako Optilock mounts.
The classic appearance of the handmade Safari stock is finished off with a custom-made Pachmayr recoil pad. The high-grade walnut stock features traditional hand-cut checkering and the force-end tip and pistol grip cap are made of ebony.
Each Safari rifle is hand-finished and the barreled action is epoxy-bedded to the stock to provide you with the best and most durable fit and accuracy.
An alternative if you have to keep an eye on your budget could be the Sako 85 Brown Bear in action size XL. This extends the caliber selection of the Bear series to 416 Rigby, 450 Rigby and 500 Jeffrey. The laminate stock has been redesigned to accommodate larger calibers, while the barrel profile has been redefined for the new calibers. (4,515€)
Westley Richards & Co Ltd
Calibers: Up to 505 Gibbs
List Price: Start at £35,500
Source: Westley Richards
In 1812, William Westley Richards founded the company that bears his name and continues to flourish today. In over 200 years of continuous gun making, Westely Richards has been credited with some of the greatest designs in both military and sporting firearm history. Such was the ingenuity and success of these patents and designs, that today we are still building our guns and rifles on the best of them, a testament to their enduring capabilities.
The bolt action rifle
Many sportsmen will have at least one bolt-action rifle in their battery - a classic type that has remained largely unchanged for more than a century. At Westley Richards we believe that a bolt action rifle bearing our name must be as elegant as it is strong, reliable and accurate. Our bolt action rifles - whether for stalking deer, plains game or the most dangerous species - are built on one of the four appropriately scaled Mauser '98 actions: Short, Intermediate, Standard or Magnum. Our attention to every detail when building your rifle means you can expect to gather years of sporting memories, wherever in the world the hunt takes you.
We know that the pursuit of big game often necessitates arduous and lengthy international travel, and transporting a rifle can be a concern. Conventional rifle travel cases tend to be long, obvious and can be susceptible to damage in handling; not exactly a recipe for a stress-free journey. Our take-down big game rifle offers an elegant solution to your worries. Breaking down neatly into a compact package, we can ensure the accuracy of your rifle, no matter how far you roam. Our carefully designed system of technical threads ensures a solid lock up, time after time, whatever caliber you have chosen.
We apply the same rigorous standards of construction to both formats of bolt-action rifle that we manufacture here in our factory. By taking great care and pride in regulating all of our rifles in our indoor electronic range, we can guarantee supreme accuracy. Ultimately, one shot is all you might ever get or need, so we would like to be sure that every rifle leaves Westley Richards with the advantage firmly in your hands. We actively encourage our clients to visit and shoot their rifle for added peace of mind.
Winchester 70 Safari Express
Calibers: 375 H&H, 458 Win. Mag, 416 Rem.
List Price USA: $1,559.00
Source: Winchester USA
Source: Winchester / Pancho 22222
Perfect for your once-in-a-lifetime hunt.
Perfect for your once-in-a-lifetime hunt. The Model 70 Safari Express in its matte blued finish is the perfect choice for your once-in-a-lifetime hunt because it is built to handle the heavy cartridges necessary to take dangerous game.
The Model 70 Safari Express has the Pre-'64 type claw extractor which, works like the famous Mauser 98 one. The Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad is actively supporting the second shot and the swivel base is attached with a barrel band. The hooded-blade front sight and the express-style rear sight make the Safari Express ideal for any African hunt.
The forged steel receiver with double integral recoil lugs is bedded front and rear to eliminate shifts for exceptional long-range accuracy. With two stock reinforcing cross bolts the Safari Express is handling the punishment from heavy magnum loads easily. A cold hammer-forged and free-floating barrel gives pinpoint accuracy for years and the Three-Position Safety has been a hallmark of the Model 70 for decades.
The satin finish Grade 1 walnut stock with the good cheek piece positions your eye instantly and firmly on target. With the matte finished metal surfaces that, reduces glare, the targeting will be done as a natural movement. The M.O.A. Trigger system with zero take-up, zero creep and zero over travel gives you outstanding accuracy.
Large calibers are available, making the Model 70 Safari Express a fine big game rifle.