Ultimate light African sporter – Part II

Posted by on Feb 15, 2014 in The Faraway Blog | Comments Off

The Hunting Blog

A while back I promised an update on a light rifle for Africa. Well, it’s built now, and while it may not suit everyone, it suits me just fine.

The heart of any rifle is the action, in this case a small ring, double square bridge Mauser built in 1949 by BRNO. Why that one? Well, it has integral scope mounts milled into the receiver, making a QD mount very easy. Alaska Arms makes a beautifully machined steel model that locks on like a limpet but flips off in a second, perfect for those occasions when a scope isn’t needed.  I grew up on open sights, and sometimes going old school can be essential or just fun. There are other retro touches there that are hard to resist – the double set trigger, the barrel band, that wonderful butter knife bolt.

Calibre is very much a personal issue. The job description – a light rifle, easy to carry all day, mild to shoot, good for camp meat and light to medium game – is a pretty broad one. To be honest almost any light centrefire would do just fine…but if that’s true, why not have a little charisma and style as well?  The 7×57 (or 7mm Mauser, or .275 Rigby, depending on your preference) is an African legend. It also happens to meet the requirements exactly, and can even offer a few improvements. OK, with light 140g bullets, it’s the impala master. But if something bigger pops up, a quick switch to the nifty 156g load from Norma (loaded well above most American made ammo) or better still the long-for-calibre 175g loading from Federal, and a steady marksman can get by on much, much bigger game.  A wonderful all rounder with lots of history behind it.

That decision made, the cosmetics were easy. Satin blue, not high gloss. Stock based on the early Rigby and Holland designs, albeit with a little less drop at comb for personal fit. The scope was a problem for a while, with some special demands driven by the spacing of the action, the distance to the rear sight, and eye relief. Ultimately a little Leupold 2.5-8×36 solved all that nicely. The end result is light, easy to carry and shoots like a dream.

I don’t do safe queens, this rifle goes to Africa soon as the weather cools. It’s story began sixty five years ago in the ashes of post-war Europe, but is only now entering its most exciting chapter.  I hope it’s a story that goes on for a long, long time yet.

Pete Ryan