(Last Updated: July 2013)
A quick thought on rifles
July 2013 - Hunting Season in South Africa
So it's that time when you are allowed to hunt. But before you can hunt, here in South Africa, you need to have a rifle and have it licensed to you.
The whole fire-arms act makes it very difficult to own a rifle, but it's not impossible. There are a few limitations though, one of which is the amount of firearms owned by
a normal person. You can only own four rifles if you don't have a shotgun or a pistol or a revolver to take up one of the other slots. So if you plan to have a shotgun and a pistol or revolver,
you are only left with a possible two rifles. You could always go through the trouble of registering with an association like the SA Hunters which entails quite a bit. This will allow you to own
more rifles for the purpose of hunting. But for the normal person this might be too much of an effort. Thus you are left with some hard choices. And that is: which two calibre rifles do I get?
Which two calibres do I choose?
This can really become a complicated question, lets simplify
Okay, so I already went through the time consuming process of getting a legally owned rifle. It was at a time when it was even worse to get a rifle licensed, just before the CFR was investigated and all the personnel changed with new ones (To make a long story short) it took me basically 3 to 4 years to get my current rifle licensed! I believe the current system is more efficient these days so I am tempted to do it again. But have to make a good choice of calibre. Okay, so at the time when I acquired my first rifle I wasn't very knowledgeable within the fields of rifles. I knew some basics like how to fire them and set the rifle scope and had somewhat practice on shooting with them, but no knowledge of the technical data on them or the science behind them.
My father helped me to my first rifle, a SMLE No. 4 Mk. 1 obviously in calibre .303 as the name suggests. I also got it for a very cheap R 200.00 considering an average new rifle went for about R 10 000.00 at the time. The rifle needed a lot of work but the barrel was still good and I took it to the gun smith a couple of times to put on scope mounts with a new scope, to bed the action, to mount a rubber but "plate", to fit a missing ejection screw, etc.
So, now I have a rifle with a lot of history and I love to shoot with it, but, it's not the most accurate of rifles and while it packs a punch, it's not very suitable for long range. So I decided to keep the rifle but make it my bush rifle for ranges of about 25 meters to 100 meters.
The last few years I have been studying rifles in my spare time on the Internet and in books, went to hunting expos and visited gun smiths. I have put a lot of time and effort in researching the field and to make a long story short, I came to the following decisions. Because I won't ever hunt anything bigger than a Kudu (Yeah, even they are a bit expensive and out of my budget) and also want to shoot at targets from time to time, I settled for a general purpose type of rifle with a relative flat trajectory in comparison.
I settled for a .270 calibre. I think that this calibre will compliment my .303 (.312 calibre) rifle nicely. I know that a 30-06 would also have been a good choice, but I also want to hunt smaller animals over long ranges from time to time and I prefer the longer bullets to the shorter ones, more stable over long distances.
So there are two rifles I have researched and which I like a lot and which I can afford to buy, namely the Winchester sportster and the Voere (from Germany). Both are well build and accurate out of the box. Both have awesome trigger assemblies and the slots works well. I really like the Voere and would probably buy that one. Now I have to save up the money to buy it. (P.S. I will someday write an web article where I explain the technical details and compare the rifle calibres and rifle brands to one another, maybe even put in some history, but in the meantime, check out some of the links below for some good resources.)
What other combinations are there?
Well, it depends...
Other good calibre combinations depend on a number of things. For instance what do you want to shoot at? Targets at 200 meters targets at 300 meters, Kudu at 80 meters or Springbuck at 350 meters, or targets at 800 meters or do you want to shoot people at 1000 meters, lol. Well lets consider the average person who want to use the rifle for hunting and shooting at targets from time to time. For animals in the range of big equals Eland and Kudu and small equals in the range of Jackal here are your basic recommended choices.
.30-06 paired with a .243
.270 paired with a .223
.308 paired with a .223
.30-06 paired with a 6.5mmx55 Swedish Mauser
In the mean time
What am I to do now?
In the mean time, I only have the SMLE (.303 British) which I will use. But it needs some tweaking to squeeze out that last bit of accuracy I can get out of it. I will make sure that my bedding is done correctly. Also I will be fitting a Thor trigger assembly to get a better trigger pull and eliminate flinching and the need to really pull the trigger. (The SMLE by standard have a very high trigger pull, we want about a 5th of what it has.)
I also ordered a book "The 2012 Complete Book on Lee Enfield Accurizing B&W" which I will use to make my SMLE accurate to design specifications. I already ordered the book and am looking forward to reading and applying the knowledge in there.
Other than that I will target practice my shooting, because in the end, that is of utmost importance, knowing your rifle and knowing how to shoot accurately with it.