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Best Rifles for Hunting Africa

Getting ready for an African safari hunt? Read on to learn about the best rifles for hunting Africa.

If you’re planning a trip to the dark continent, you can’t go wrong with one of these great rifles.

The subject of selecting the best rifles for hunting Africa is an extremely controversial topic that has been hotly debated for many years. However, there are a few different rifles that always seem to be at the top of most lists people make of the best rifles for hunting Africa.

Africa is an extremely large and diverse continent and the different species of game that inhabit Africa are as diverse as the continent itself. While there is no “one size fits all” solution to choosing the right rifle for exotic hunting in Africa, there are still a few different rifles that come pretty close and are very popular among hunters in Africa.

All of the choices on our list are accurate, well built, and will work extremely well when used with appropriate bullets and if the hunter places his or her shots properly. Continue reading to learn all about our choices for the best rifles for hunting Africa.

Ruger Hawkeye .30-06

best rifles for hunting africa ruger m77
Ruger

No list of Africa hunting rifles would be complete without a rifle chambered in .30-06 Springfield. The Ruger Hawkeye is the latest incarnation of the venerable Ruger M77 and does the Ruger name proud. Not only is the rifle very accurate, but it also has a Mauser type controlled round feed system, which is a very important feature for any rifle that will be used for hunting the big game of Africa. All Ruger rifles are also made in the United States.

While it is not suitable for hunting thick-skinned dangerous game like cape buffalo, the .30-06 Springfield is a great cartridge for hunting plains game such as kudu and zebra. If you want something with a little more power, the Hawkeye and its cousin, the Hawkeye African, are also available in several other calibers including .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Winchester Magnum.

Weatherby Vanguard .300 Winchester Magnum

best rifles for hunting africa weatherby vanguard
Sportsman’s Guide

Another great rifle for hunting plains game in Africa is the Weatherby Vanguard series of rifles. The Vanguard comes with the standard Weatherby guarantee of  sub-MOA accuracy (less than 1″ at 100 yards). Combine that with the flat shooting characteristics of the .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge, and you’ve got a rifle ideally suited for taking longer range shots. For instance, the Weatherby Vanguard would be a perfect choice for hunting springbok in the Karoo in South Africa or gemsbok in the Kalahari Desert of Namibia.

CZ 550 .375 H&H

best rifles for hunting africa CZ .375
CZ USA

For good reason, the CZ 550 chambered in .375 H&H Magnum is always near the top of the list of the best rifles for hunting Africa. If you could only take one rifle on a hunt and you want to hunt the widest variety of animals possible, the CZ 550 in .375 H&H Magnum is about as close to perfect as you’re going to get.

The CZ 550 chambered in .375 H&H is an ideal rifle for hunting dangerous game and a hunter carrying one is adequately armed for hunting even the biggest elephant and buffalo. The rifle has a controlled round feed action, which is essential for hunting dangerous game. It also can hold six bullets (five in the magazine and one in the chamber), which is great if things go wrong in the bush when hunting Cape Buffalo or elephant.

However, it is not limited to just dangerous game hunts. Indeed, it is also a very popular choice for hunting plains game. When shooting solid or controlled expansion bullets, even the mighty .375 H&H will cause surprisingly little damage to the hides of smaller animals.

Ruger Guide Gun .375 Ruger

best rifles for hunting africa ruger guide gun
Ruger

Even though it is a relative newcomer to the game, the Ruger Guide Gun is compelling choice as one of the best rifles for hunting Africa. Designed to be extremely rugged, accurate, easy to carry, and powerful, the Ruger Guide gun delivers on all counts and is starting to become more and more popular among professional hunters in Africa.

The .375 Ruger is a proprietary cartridge designed specifically to mirror the performance of the .375 H&H in a standard length action on a Ruger rifle. The cartridge was introduced in 2007 and has developed a great reputation in Africa over the last few years.

Like the Ruger Hawkeye and CZ 550, the Ruger Guide Gun does have a controlled round feed action. However, the rifle has two strikes against it when compared to the CZ 550: it only can hold four rounds (three in the magazine and one in the chamber) and the .375 Ruger ammunition is not nearly as widespread or as easy to find as .375 H&H ammunition. However, this is still a great rifle and is suitable for virtually species of plains and dangerous game in Africa.

Mauser M98 Magnum .416 Rigby

best rifles for hunting africa Mauser .416
Mauser

When it was first introduced, the Mauser 1898 revolutionized the shooting world and is the rifle that virtually all modern bolt action rifles are compared to. Fortunately for hunters and shooters all over the world, Mauser recently restarted production of the legendary Model 98 and is now producing a magnum version chambered in .375 H&H and .416 Rigby.

Like the rifle it is descended from, the Mauser M98 Magnum features a controlled round feed action. Additionally, even when chambered in the large and potent .416 Rigby cartridge, the Mauser can hold five bullets (four in the magazine and one in the chamber). This makes it a great rifle for a hunter who does some serious dangerous game hunting and wants something even more powerful than the .375 H&H.

Winchester Model 70 .458 Winchester

best rifles for hunting africa winchester model 70
Winchester

For those who want something even bigger and more powerful than the legendary .375 H&H or .416 Rigby, the .458 Winchester is another serious rifle for dangerous game hunting.

The .458 Winchester developed a bad reputation in the 1950s and 1960s for being unreliable, which lead to the development of similar cartridges like the .458 Lott. However, the issues with the ammunition have been fixed and companies like Hornady are now producing .458 Winchester ammunition that will absolutely hammer a buffalo or an elephant.

Couple this development with the fact that FN Herstal is now producing Winchester Model 70 rifles that feature controlled round feeding and you’ve got a winner. As long as you can handle the fierce recoil of the .458 Winchester, it is a very solid choice and will serve you well in Africa.

What do you think of our choices for the best rifles for native hunting in Africa? Did we miss any?

Like what you see here? You can read more great hunting articles by John McAdams on his hunting blog. Follow him on Twitter @TheBigGameHunt.

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Best Rifles for Hunting Africa