Ask Doctari

Q: Could you please specifically tell me what characteristics you added to the Doctari rifle by Kilimanjaro Rifles? I have read the website information and I do not understand what is new or improved. I also do not understand why it costs $14,000. That is the price of a new double rifle! I am aware that you know a great deal about rifles, and I am curious to know what specific modifications would be made to make this “the perfect rifle” for you.  

 


A: I agree, $14,000 may seem a lot for a bolt-action rifle, but please let me explain why this is so.

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Question:

What do you think of the .416 Ruger? I'd like to see Barnes, Nosler, Speer, or Swift to make a .416-cal bullet of 300 grains with a polymer tip for plains game and for all of us in the USA who shoot deer.

 

Answer:

I have no practical experience with the .416 Ruger. It is simply too new on the market for African PHs to have gained sufficient experience with it. I have, however, a sample of this cartridge in my collection and I must say that it sure is good-looking.

Ballistically, the .416 Ruger is no different than the .416 Rigby or .416 Remington, and I have considerable experience with both of these well-proven-in-Africa cartridges. All three can send 400-grain .416 caliber bullets downrange at velocities up to 2,400 fps which, believe me, is considerable.

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Question:

I will be elephant hunting in Botswana next year. Is a .375 H&H with a 350-grain solid enough gun?


Answer:

Yes, it is. Karomojo Bell proved to the world that even the .256 MS (6.5x54 mm), the 7mm Mauser (7x57 mm) and the .303 British, with 160-, 175-, and 215-grain steel-jacketed solids, respectively, were adequate, provided shot placement was perfect and the bullet reached the brain.

I presume you'll be backed by a competent, suitably armed professional who will help out should things not work out as planned so I have no hesitation in recommending this fine, Africa proven caliber/cartridge combination. The .375 H&H was the choice of professional elephant hunters like Harry Manners and it is the minimum recommendation for PH backup work. With regard to huge bodied, thick-skinned creatures like elephants, a larger caliber and heavier bullet will always be better, but only if shot placement is equally as good. If it isn't, the .375 H&H, which is certainly more shooter-friendly, is definitely “enough gun.”

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Question:

I'll soon be going on my first African safari and I want to make the most of the experience. What are the most common mistakes you see clients make on African hunts?


Answer:

As I see it, the most common fault is not a mistake as such, but more of a problem, and it can be generalized as a lack of preparation in what I’ll describe as the being able to shoot my chosen safari rifle really well in a field or hunting situation department. This is especially true for those planning to hunt dangerous game where heavily recoiling, large-caliber rifles will have to be used.

In my opinion, the most common cause of this problem is an inappropriate choice of rifle, caliber, and cartridge, compounded by insufficient range, field, or simply rifle-handling practice. The end result of all this is the undeniable fact that many of the safari clients who come out to Africa for dangerous game hunts are either scared of their rifle or not sufficiently confident with it to shoot reasonably well.

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Question:

I am working up a load for my 9.3x62 and am getting hammered with recoil. I weighed the rifle and it came to 8 1/4 lbs. I added an 8-oz. mercury recoil reducer and it might have helped a little bit. I don't have the time to restock the gun as I leave for Africa soon. Can you give me any tricks to absorb the recoil a little better--foot placement, body stance, or something? I am not used to heavy recoiling calibers.


Answer:

8 1/4 pounds is, in my opinion, way too light for a 9.3x62 mm rifle. I believe it should weigh at least 10 pounds when scoped and loaded. This extra weight and a perfect fit will make all the difference to perceived recoil. What a pity you do not have the time to rectify this.

I assume you have been doing your load development off the bench, the very worst shooting position for feeling the full effects of a rifle's recoil. These are the perfect conditions for quickly developing a flinch and this is when your shooting performance will deteriorate rapidly. So this is what I suggest:

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