Bolt Action Rifles
Probably one of the most popular and reliable types of bolt action rifles are the Mauser controlled feed variants. The straight pull bolt rifles are an excellent choice especially for left-handed shooters as left and right-handed bolts can often be used in the same rifle.
Advantages Of Bolt Action Rifles For African Hunting
- Bolt actions are repeating rifles with usually a capacity of four shots, one in the chamber and three in the magazine, before reloading is required.
- Bolt actions are, generally, the most reliable type of repeating rifle.
- The bolt action, because of its camming action when the bolt is opened, has more extraction power than any other type. An advantage in the high temperatures of Africa when the cartridge pressures go up.
- They are generally capable of very good accuracy, much better accuracy than double rifles.
- Bolt actions are as strong or stronger than any other action type and can handle the most powerful high-pressure cartridges.
- The bolt action is not as complicated than other types and can be field stripped and cleaned without tools.
- These rifles are usually very easy to equip with a telescopic sight.
- There is a wide selection of different brands and models of factory made bolt action rifles, something for every taste and budget.
- They are comparatively affordable when compared to most other rifle types.
.500 Jeffery with Sporting Magnum Mauser and African Stock
Photograph by kind permission of Eugene Combrink of Sabi Rifles, South Africa www.sabirifles.co.za
Disadvantages Of Bolt Action Rifles
- They are the slowest of the repeating actions for a follow-up shot.
- Operation requires removing the shooting hand from the grip and the trigger, disturbing the aim.
- They are physically longer and thus less handy than a single shot or double rifle with the same length barrel(s).
Other Types Of Firearms For African Hunting
- The falling block single shot rifles are, in addition to the bolt, generally recognized as offering superior accuracy.
The obvious disadvantage to any single shot rifle for Africa is that it is a single shot. An experienced shooter can reload a falling block rifle fairly quickly but it is not the action to choose if a fast follow up shot may be needed. On the other hand, there are some situations where a fast follow-up shot isn't needed, or there is plenty of time to deliver it. For these situations, the classic falling block may still be a good choice in the right hands. It is definitely not an option for dangerous game hunting.
- Semi-automatic firearms are not permitted to be imported in most African countries. A semi-automatic shotgun is only allowed into South Africa for wingshooting. There are additional requirements to fulfil with the firearm import process for semi-automatic shotguns. See the South Africa section of Firearm Import Regulations
- Shotguns are permitted in most African countries for wingshooting. The number of cartridges you are permitted to import is the same as rounds of ammunition for rifles but to comply with the airline ammunition weight restrictions, you will not be able to bring very many cartridges. Most organised wingshoots will be able to supply ammunition.
- Handguns are not permitted to be imported in most African countries. They are permitted in South Africa for hunting purposes only and with special import requirements. See the South Africa section of Firearm Import Regulations