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The Working Man’s Dangerous Game Gun

by Jason Vincent | Aug 13, 2019 | HUNTING, SAFARI & INTERNATIONAL, Slider

https://sportingclassicsdaily.com/t...-70788495&mc_cid=db60cb4e09&mc_eid=c0f7844ecc



John Hill was frozen in his tracks. He got busted trying to sneak across a narrow opening to the spot where I was carefully setting up my shot on a very old and very large Cape buffalo bull. The two were now in a staring contest and John stood statue-still with his rifle pointed to the sky. I watched in silence hoping the bull would relax and go back to feeding and, after about a minute, he began grazing again.John took the last two steps to get to cover and the bull lifted his head. It was just enough to show us that we had his undivided attention. Moments before, I could see the circular motion the bull was making with his massive jaws while he chewed on a heap of grass that hung down on both sides of his mouth.
He wasn’t chewing anymore.
Now, he was giving us a glaring look that suggested he was deciding if he was going to kill us. In an instant, the bull squared his stance leaving me with only a frontal shot. As my thumb flicked off the safety, I exhaled and squeezed the trigger. I kept both eyes open as my rifle recoiled sharply and I watched as the bull took the hit to his chest. John leveled his rifle at the bull in the event that we’d need a backup shot, but the bull pivoted off his hind legs and ran into a dense thicket. We stood silently with our PH, Scot Burchell, for several seconds without any of us saying a word.
Months earlier, John and I were surprised as we opened the boxes to find our CZ 550 American Safari Magnum rifles in .458 Lott. We’d both chosen the “Fancy Grade” option from CZ, but neither of us expected such good-looking stocks on dangerous game rifles that sell well below the $2,000 range. After all, we didn’t choose the CZ’s for looks; we chose them because of their legendary reputation for reliability in the field.
CZ Safari Magnum rifles are a working man’s gun and, as such, are overbuilt for the guides and professional hunters who bet their lives on them.

CZ Safari Magnum rifles, in my experience, have always been very utilitarian grade with plain wood stocks. They’re a working man’s gun and, as such, are overbuilt for the guides and professional hunters who bet their lives on them. Aesthetics don’t really top the list of necessities for a professional hunter whose main job is to keep you alive during an elephant or buffalo charge. That said, our rifles were different. They were both very good looking with dark figuring throughout the Turkish walnut stocks.
Manufactured in the Czech Republic, the CZ 550 action is a Mauser-style controlled-round-feed design. The massive magnum-size bolt utilizes a claw extractor that controls each round’s movement from the magazine to the chamber. The same claw rips the spent cartridge from the chamber and pulls it rearward until the fixed position ejector makes contact with the case, sending the spent round into next zip code. The entire function is forceful and reliable.
This is the bullet recovered from the author’s Cape buffalo.

One surprising feature of the CZ 550 American Safari Magnum is the rifle’s capacity. The oversized action and magazine allow this robust tank to hold five of the extra large .458 Lott cartridges, six if you chamber a round and then bottom load the magazine. If you need six rounds of .458 Lott to bring down an animal, you should probably rethink your involvement in the world of dangerous game hunting. But they’re there if you need them.



The rifles ship with 25-inch cold hammer-forged barrels. John kept his at the factory length while I had a competent gunsmith cut mine down a bit. Atop the barrel are a set of very heavy-duty iron sights of the 3-leaf variety. At 50 yards with the open sights I was able to cover three shots with a quarter using the rifle’s single set trigger, but I added a set of Talley steel quick-release rings and a Zeiss 1-4x24mm optic. That extended my accuracy out to 100 yards where I was able to average 1-inch groups with the factory-loaded 500-grain Barnes TSX solid copper bullets. I took the scope off using the quick release levers and re-installed it to check my zero. The release operation takes less than three seconds and the return to zero was perfect. Sixty days later, I was in Africa standing over a dead Cape buffalo bull.
After being shot, the buffalo ran into thick cover. It was found less than 100 yards from where it was shot.

It took some time to find the old buffalo. The frontal shot meant we had to track the bull without finding so much as a drop of blood. The sun dropped below the horizon and we were in an area so thick you couldn’t see eight feet in front of you. Scot made the prudent decision to abandon the track for the night and pick it back up in the morning. Nobody in their right mind tracks a hit buffalo in the dark in thick brush.
The next morning we found ourselves back on top of the hill where the buffalo stood at the moment of the shot. After searching, we located the bull. He was dead less than 100 yards from where he stood when I pulled the trigger on the CZ, but the seemingly impenetrable bush made him very difficult to locate. He was old with textured hard bosses and good width. He was exactly the bull we set out to hunt.
 

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The CZ 550 is still very much a proper dangerous game rifle. And quite nice.

For a faux - dangerous game rifle suitable for hogs, I enjoy my rifled 20ga and brass cartridges loaded with 93 grs Ffg black powder under a 62 cal 370 grs pure lead ball (I call it the 626 Pigpocalypse). It gives a poor man's flavor of the old African dangerous game guns and is hell on hogs. A massive boom, fire shooting through a massive cloud of smoke and a big absolutely walloped. Every now and then on a bush drive, a big will get up and run sort of at you, and you can imagine that it weighs 20 times more and is in a death charge. Well, if you try really hard...
 

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Beautiful Guns. I want one, but fear I'd never have an occasion to use it.
 

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“For a faux - dangerous game rifle suitable for hogs, I enjoy my rifled 20ga and brass cartridges loaded with 93 grs Ffg black powder under a 62 cal 370 grs pure lead ball”

Im sorry but I’m going to need a better explanation of this. Your loading a gauge rifle? A 20 gauge shotgun with a rifled barrel? An accident waiting to happen? I’m confused.
 

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“For a faux - dangerous game rifle suitable for hogs, I enjoy my rifled 20ga and brass cartridges loaded with 93 grs Ffg black powder under a 62 cal 370 grs pure lead ball”

Im sorry but I’m going to need a better explanation of this. Your loading a gauge rifle? A 20 gauge shotgun with a rifled barrel? An accident waiting to happen? I’m confused.

It is I who requires further explanation. Why does a 20 ga rifled barrel perplex? Why would a 20 ga slug rifle be "an accident waiting to happen"? This load is just over 3 drams of black powder and just under 7/8 oz ball, a rather pedestrian 20 ga black powder load, but quite fun for knocking down hogs.
 

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I have a Remington 870-20 gauge rifled barrel and I don’t think I would put a slug loaded with FFG black powder in it. Am I missing something here? Is this a antique or special type of rifle that you load shotgun shells into? I’m confused.
 

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I like CZ rifles! Been thinking I might want a 557 in the near future because I like my 527 so much...and my 455. I have no use for a 550; I do not see me hunting dangerous game nowadays. But, CZ has impressed me with their rifles that are at remarkably low prices for the quality. Now, about turning my 20 gauge into a smoke pole to shoot hogs...not hardly!
 

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I have a Remington 870-20 gauge rifled barrel and I don’t think I would put a slug loaded with FFG black powder in it. Am I missing something here? Is this a antique or special type of rifle that you load shotgun shells into? I’m confused.
It's an H&R Tracker II slug gun. Again, I am perplexed by your apparent concern. As I previously noted, 3 drams and a 7/8 oz load is a fairly pedestrian 20 ga load. What precisely is the nature of your concern? I'm unsure as to why you imagine such a round not function just as well in a rifled 870, provided there was good ball-barrel fit?
 

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Hey it’s just me personally speaking. If you want to go with black powder and brass shell casings, have at it, but I don’t see the reason and not that I know what I’m talking about but I just think a loading of this type could be dangerous. It may be completely safe and as you say a rather pedestrian loading but why not just shoot what it was designed to shoot? I shoot Hornady SST sabots. It never occurred to me to do what you’re doing. It just seems like an odd thing to do but whatever pulls your trigger.
 

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Sorry for the digression from the OP's post on the excellent CZ550, but the "why" for the 626 Pigpocalypse is that it makes for an amusing faux dangerous game gun that knocks down hogs rather well!



626P (2).jpg Next to a 30-06 cartridge for comparison.
 

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