Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Hunting rifles with synthetic stocks are not widely used in Southern Africa - but it is not that the suitability of composite stocks is distrusted - it is just our culture to own a good looking piece of wood... and then have it wrapped around our culturally based Mauser-actioned hunting rifles. We know that some "plastic" stocks are indeed prone to warping but the designs chosen by member frhunter13 certainly are not. Look at these photos supplied by him. He shall no doubt add further descriptions - I am just opening the portal for him to add in as he wishes.
.35 Whelen (a cartridge even more alien to Africa than a synthetic stock!). This barrel was put onto a BRNO Viz. (Model) 24 action (like the modern Musgraves). The Series 24 Czech must be one of the strongest Mauser-type actions aver built. The stock does not immediately appear to be synthetic due to the wood look-alike composite. One wonders why these are not more common than the black synthetics as it adds traditional looks to the weather resistant ability of composite technology. Apart from the good synthetic stocks frhunter13 surely owns some unique rifles regarding manufacturing origin and cartridge chambering - as will be seen in this thread.
A unique Remington 700 in .375 H&H.
The ballast on the barrel no doubt assists towards better balance out front, and some recoil reduction - but mainly for steadiness in an off-hand hold on close-up dangerous game, I presume; this is normally achieved by the longer barrels we prefer in dense vegetation where a lungshot or a missed brain shot animal can be easliy lost.
Believe it or not this is a CZ 550. Out here we are used to see it clad in the cleverly designed Bavarian style stock. This one is in .458 Lott and I had the honour to shoot this same rifle offhand for maybe 8 or 9 shots. It is pleasingly accurate with absolute controllable recoil. I was a little worried about sweaty hands making the stock slippery after carrying it for a number of hours after Cape buffalo, but there is a comfortable, knobbly semi-roughness to the surface which allows for a firm hold when needed.
Michael shoots this rifle with pinpoint accuracy off shooting sticks and took the aorta group of arteries off the top chambers of a Cape buffalo's heart with a 480 gr Peregrine VRG-2 flat nose monolithic solid, dropping it in its tracks.
This rifle and cartridge interests me no end as it is exactly my idea for the niche of dedicated bushbuck hunting. These gamy white tail deer size antelope live in quite dense wood and my unfulfilled desire has always been for a heavy, well constructed bullet, like a .375" (at least 270 gr) not going much faster than 1900 ft/sec at impact.
The .375 Winchester is totally unknown in South Africa, and lever guns are rare in the hunting field. I own a Marlin JM 30-30 in the USA and have come to like the lever action for dedicated applications, and am planning to have it rebarrelled to .35/30-30, particularly with the hope of one day bringing it to South Africa as a dedicated bushbuck, impala, and warthog rifle.
Look at the photo of a bushbuck below. They are plucky little animals with their beautiful semi-spiral horns - with a great tenacity to life when lung shot. They also have a nasty aggressive disposition to put those sharp horns in a hunter's lower abdomen from very close-in, charging from a few yards out of where it had hidden in dense thornbush after being lung shot. Almost as many good men have been killed by wounded bushbusk as by wounded Cape fuffalo.
A heavy, well constructed bullet at very moderate velocity that does not lose momentum as it passes through the top of the heart, and therefore does not cause any meat damage is my idea of the perfect bushbuck cartridge. This antelope may have the best tasting red meat of any animal in Africa.
Bushbuck ram just emerging from his dense habitat. A bullet to the rear of that indicated impact point - or higher - will miss the heart. With only a lung shot he will live for many long minutes and have enough time to put his rear end into a dark thornbush and attack the inaccurate hunter from a few yards off.
Nature is natural - extend the dotted line . . . . . . . . to the aiming point.
frhunter13's loads suitable for Africa
On left .375 H&H with 300 Peregrine VRG-2 at 2,500 fps, Next is .375 H&H Flanged with 300 Peregrine VRG-3 at 2,400fps, Next is .458 Lott with 480g Peregrine VRG-2at 2,235fps, Next is .458 Mag with Barnes Banded Solid 450g at 2,300fps, Next is .416 Ruger with 350g Barnes TSX FB at 2,450fps, and last is the little High Pressure .375 Winchester 200g Sierra at 2,275fps. He says that none of the big cartridges' loads are at any high end pressure.