The “Nearly Perfect” Safari Rifle Project with Larry Potterfield

Capture

Expanding from the gunsmithing videos that make gunsmithing look easy, Larry Potterfield is back as the star in his own company’s interview. The topic is the “Nearly Perfect” Safari Rifle and Larry goes into detail on the selection and smithing of his own Nearly Perfect rifle. Interestingly, he chose the action simply as he was most familiar with the Remington actions.

The caliber was chosen based off of a balance of weight and caliber (further determined by recoil and sufficient for dangerous and plains game). The 375 H&H magnum was good for him which was easy to carry combined with the sufficient power in the optic to shoot out to about 250 yards.

For the full video series, click here to be taken to the YouTube playlist. The series is 38 videos long with various topics including bedding actions, adding magnum crossbolts, and installing a short-chambered barrel.

Getting down to it, the nearly perfect rifle is a work of art. There are hundreds of hours of time that go into creating a functional weapon system. The action is fully bedded, chambering is perfect for the chosen bolt, the bolt is lapped to the action, and the fitment of all parts is as good as one can humanly do.



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • iksnilol

    I always thought safari guns shouldn’t have magnification.

    And preferably they should be double barrel if hunting dangerous game, for regular game bolt actions work fine.

    • JimBobble

      Oftentimes the hunter carries a bolt action rifle of suitable caliber, and the PH carries a big-bore double rifle as emergency backup. Some PH’s carry bolt actions as well. Given the extreme cost of a good double, it’s easy to see why.

      • LG

        Very, very , very few PHs currently carry doubles. They cost too much considering what they make. But the bolts that they do carry are almost all controlled feed types.

    • Renegade

      From what I understand, many big game hunters bring 2-3 rifles with them.

      • Anonymoose

        I would probably take a Browning Gold 10 guage loaded with 3.5″ slugs as well.

        • iksnilol

          Why? You intend to shoot ostrich?

          😛

          • Anonymoose

            Oh yeah. Ostrich meat is tasty. :3c

      • LG

        Considering costs, most client hunters bring one or two weapons, one for plains game and another for up close and personal. The cartridges that do it all are the 404 Jeffery and 416 Rigby, flat yet with some knockdown power. The 375 H&H is great, and beloved by me, but too light for dangerous jobs. I prefer the combination of the 375 H&H Magnum AI for light work and either 416 Rigby or 500-3″-NE for heavy lifting. The 404 Jeffery is a great old cartridge. If you review the old Rhodesian statistics for cartridges putting down wounded dangerous game, the 404 Jeffery has an enviable record.

      • iksnilol

        That I’ve seen.

        Some even pay a caddy to carry their rifles.

    • LG

      ” The cemeteries in Africa are filled with those who put their faith in weapons of under 40 caliber,” the late great Elmer Keith. My PH was the best cat hunter in all of Africa. He was killed up close by a bull ele in musth. He carried only a 458 Win Mag in a shortened modified Winchester Model 70. Even the 458 Win Mag in the wrong circumstances is not enough. For up close and personal I put my faith in my 500-3″-NE double. I shoot a 500-3′-NE because I can not afford a 600 NE.

      • iksnilol

        Eh, the big calibers penetrate less with the same ammo. I’d go for a 9.3×62 with brass or copper solids.

        • ostiariusalpha

          9.3×62 gets the job done on most everything. On an Ellie though, you want to bonk them on the head with something big and heavy without worrying overmuch about penetration.

          • iksnilol

            + a 9.3 Mauser is affordable.

            Something like a CZ 550 in the caliber is a cheap dreamgun. Thinking with a long barrel and the stock with the raised cheekpiece on the side to complete the “look”.

          • LG

            The 9.3 X 62 is a good light rifle. It is the minimum for dangerous game. The 404 Jeffery and 416 Rigby are much better stoppers and penetrators. Shot placement is paramount, but when it absolutely has to be stopped within the next 5-10 yards, a “big stick” is necessary, and that is NOT a 9.3 X 62.

          • iksnilol

            I don’t really believe in the whole stopping power thingy. I know if something was strong enough to throw back a lion charging at me it’d send me flying when I touched off a round. I mean basic physics at play.

            But for dangerous game I presume that bigger and with more energy can never hurt. That and I don’t hunt in Africa so I presume somebody who hunts there (I presume you) knows a bit better, or at least has developed a taste.

          • LG

            Penetration with the largest permanent cut and tear wound channel. You may laugh, but I personally believe that the Taylor Knock Out factors most closely predict stopping power on dangerous game. Pondoro killed more dangerous game than most 100 other hunters. He was the last great ellie poacher. He started the rating by, if an ellie were hit in the skull and the brain not pierced, how long the animal would be knocked unconscious until he awakened. A 600 NE gives one 30 minutes by his DIRECT experience. Bell killed a slew of ellies with a 7mm Mauser, but he was THE shot placement man, and when he rarely missed the game was on! There is a distinct difference in the cramping of a buff hit with a 375 and a 500 NE. See it and believe.

          • Devil_Doc

            What’s an ellie?

          • ostiariusalpha

            A grim reminder of the fragility of innocence?

          • ostiariusalpha

            A disturbing reminder of the fragility of childhood innocence?

          • Devil_Doc

            Was that an American book? I’m not familiar with it…

          • LG

            Penetration and straight line bullet travel. The slug must not deform or be deflected. It must continue along the line of penetration chosen by the hunter with shot placement. Otherwise there is no guarantee of deep organ penetration and damage.

        • LG

          No. Sectional density is king. You should evaluate the Woodleigh hydrodynamical stabilized monometal slugs or heavy for caliber steel cased slugs. A 400 grain monometal slug in the 416 Rigby completely outclasses the 9.3 X 62. Where the rub comes is in improperly designed slugs for the given velocity of target impact. Many poorly designed slugs give better penetration in 458 Winchester Magnum than the 460 Weatherby. Now use the correct slug in the 460 Weatherby for its increased velocity and it makes the 458 Win Mag look like a pop-gun. Terminal ballistics are critically dependent upon caliber of the slug, sectional density, impact velocity, and slug construction for the intended target. Please review the rifle ballistics book for the South African PH licensure.

          • iksnilol

            I think a smaller pointy bullet is more likely to penetrate than a bigger, less pointy bullet if they are made of the same metal.

          • LG

            Totally wrong! American thinking. I suggest that you review the book on bullet penetration by Duncan McPherson. A “pointy” slug is more likely to buzz cut and be deflected during penetration. What good is shot placement if the slug does not continue straight along the path of aim in the target animal?! See Woodleigh Bullets description of dynamical stabilized slugs. A truncated cone convex tip is more likely to go straight through bone, gristle, and meat than the American pointy slugs. Also, as opposed to most all US bullet makers, Woodleigh specific different catalogue numbers for slugs of the same weight and caliber but designed for different velocity impacts. Terminal ballistics is more important than exterior ballistics as long as shot placement can be maintained. It is only the PERMANENT cut and tear cavity through the proper vital organs and tissue that kills. Velocity and pointy bullets are not necessarily tops for dangerous game. Again read McPherson’s book. Look at the thick spongy bone of an elile’s skull. Look at the thick bone of a cape buff’s shoulder, spine and skull. Look at the sloping tank like architecture of a lion’s frontal bone. Expanding slugs loose sectional density. Look at Rhino bullet slugs, look at Woodleigh steel solids. Look at Woodleigh monmetal dynamically stabilized slugs. Look at GS Customs monmetal penetrators.

          • n0truscotsman

            I know a fella who has hunted in africa and seem to recall he was pretty damn adamant about the points you just conveyed above.

            Ill admit, when it comes to safari guns, Im quite ignorant.

          • iksnilol

            I never suggested expanding ammo. So I don’t know why you’re arguing against something I never suggested.

            Also, it does make sense. With the same amount of force behind it, a nail is more likely to penetrate than a hammer. In spite of the hammer being bigger.

            I just suggested something monometal, none of that lead cored nonsense.

      • Tassiebush

        They were really on to something with shell rifles.

    • LG

      Magnification use depends upon the circumstances, terrain, and game. Up close in the jessie then a red dot type is excellent. In following up wounded dangerous game or at dusk and dawn, the red dot is great as older eyes have trouble with the irons. On a plains game hunt magnification is almost a necessity for good shot placement. In cat hunting, at dawn and dusk from blinds, some magnification with excellent light gathering is a must. Match the tool to the job.

  • john huscio

    “And that’s the way it is….”

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Nice rifle but people who shoot big cats for fun are a-holes.

    • JimBobble

      Do some reading on lion conservation. A-holes shooting big cats are what keeps them from extinction.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Experts are divided on whether or not licensed hunting is helping to increase the African lion population. South Africa successfully brought the white rhino back from the edge of extinction with a well managed and transparent licensing program but in countries like Zimbabwe and Tanzania some estimates say only about 3% of the licensing fees go to conservation efforts like anti-poaching patrols. Habitat loss, conflict with humans and unsustainable sport hunting are the main threats to these animals.

        • n0truscotsman

          Its really a complicated problem. Because the governments are so abysmally corrupt and effed up, the claims made that revenue preserves species should be looked at with extreme skepticism (because they’re probably funneled to an interested party of all too common kleptocrats). Likewise, they could completely outlaw all forms of hunting, and marauders would still butcher the animals to extinction.
          C’est l’afrique

          The fact that a mass extinction is in the works shouldn’t suprise anybody, really.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Exactly, there’s no transparency or any way of knowing where the money goes.

    • Ceiling Cat

      Except that those people are the ones paying for the existence and livelihood of the younger big cats, while big mouthed liberal like retards like you are spending time yapping, while Chinese millionaires and poachers are causing the extinction of rare and endangered animals.
      You should kill yourself, or join the Democratic Party.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Can I wait until Monday to kill myself?
        I hate to do it right before the weekend.

        • Ceiling Cat

          Bernie is having a burn out, so pick whenever you want, libshit.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            You sound cranky, maybe you need a nap and your bottle.

      • Anomanom

        Better idea, instead of supply a sport license to hunt lions, supply sport license to hunt poachers. I bet there are people who would pay a handsome fee for the right to hunt armed criminals for sport.

        And yes, I know that the suggestion makes me a horrible person, but i was a horrible person already.

        • LG

          If you happen to run upon poachers in action while hunting in the bush, you will not need a license. Such encounters can escalate into a firefight. In Zimbabwe you will have a “Ranger” with you with an AK-47. What do you think happens next?

        • Anonymoose

          But can I put his head on my wall? Also, a lot of African countries ban semi-auto rifles for civvies. I wouldn’t want to get in a firefight with a .375 (or larger!) against a group of guys with AKs. Maybe if I had a FAL in a larger caliber, like .358 Winchester or that .45 Raptor cartridge, but I’m doubtful that those would be good enough for the Big 5.

          • gusto

            A 9,3×62 works on big game and comes in several semi-auto rifles

            But we shouldn’t hunt the poachers, I mean they are poor, in a poor hostile enviroment, what they do is understandable

            hunt the silly chinese that thinks rhino horns gives them stiffys.

            Or let people breed rhinos for their horns problem solved!” it even grows back and can be harvested again!

          • Anonymoose

            There are no semi-auto 9.3x62s aren’t prohibitively expensive and have respectable mag caps.

          • Jwedel1231

            If it can kill an elephant, it will drop a human with half decent shot placement. PHs kill poachers they come across no questions asked. Most of them just tell the park ranger whenever they come across him where the body is.

          • Anonymoose

            You try getting good shot placement with a hard-kicking magnum round while someone is spraying 7.62×39 at you.

          • LG

            In the bush, I can not tell the difference in recoil between the 375 H&H AI and the 500 NE. If you can not shoot your “big stick” as well as your smaller arms, you need more practice and are dangerous to the PH until you get better.

          • Anonymoose
          • iksnilol

            You can get a Browning Bar MK3 for 1800 USD or less.

            And most 30-06 length firearms can be converted to 9.3

          • Anonymoose

            Still too low of a capacity if I have to shoot it out with AK/FAL-wielding poachers.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Ohio Ordnance Works sells a 30 round mag for their HCAR that works in any BAR.

          • Anonymoose

            You do realize that FN’s “BAR” hunting rifle has no relation to the M1918 BAR, right?

          • ostiariusalpha

            The HCAR is a modernized M1918, it has no relation to Bruce Browning’s sport gun.

          • Anonymoose

            So why did you bring that up? We’re talking about 10lb hunting rifles in magnum calibers here, not 20lb LMGs in .30-06. Assuming it were even legal to bring a semi-auto rifle on an African safari (a lot of countries have gun control laws that may not deter poachers, but definitely would hinder our choices here), it would have to be capable of killing both lions and armed human assailants, and .30-06 is considered underpowered and illegal in many places for lions.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Ha ha! I had some Real Life distractions there. I meant to say that you are correct, the HCAR isn’t the BAR you and iksnilol were discussing; I didn’t have time to write it clearly though.

            I should say that, while perhaps illegal, a .30-06 is fast medicine for making even a big male lion dead on the spot. It’s no joke of a round for putting any predator smaller that a grizzly down on the first shot.

          • LG

            With a good shot an ’06 can and has put lion down. But there is NO safety factor. You must consider a lions skull, it is thick and sloper in front, just like Dr. Porsche’s turret for the Tiger II. A male lion’s chest muscles are thick and strong beyond belief. Most Americans, except those who have hunted grizzly or polar bear, do not appreciate the tenacity and strength of dangerous game. Lions kill and eat cape buffalo. How strong and tenacious do you think that makes them! You need to have the dangerous game down and out with the first shot and a second shot then as life insurance.

          • iksnilol

            Well, couldn’t you get one of those high capacity 30-06 mags and modify it to work in it?

          • gusto

            ? there are several 9,3×62 semi autos
            Browning Bar
            Sauer 303
            Benelli Argo
            Merkel
            Haenel

            and probably others

            there are atleast 20round mags for the Sauer and Benelli

          • Anonymoose

            None of those are available in the US, and the 20 round mags for the BAR are .308 only.

      • RealitiCzech

        You have far more faith in the integrity of African conservation efforts than I do.

      • Dan

        “Big mouthed liberal like retards” and there you go. You went full on idiot. My parents both liberal, own guns and hunt. And here you are typical right wing nut job calling people liberal. Reminds me of the good ol boys calling black people the n word. Bravo way to stay classy.

        • Ceiling Cat

          Rights. Liberals as a whole have done so much good for gun rights worldwide. What a deluded libshit. Did you and your old coots vote Obama twice? Bet you did.

          • Dan

            Wow what are you 10? You are a shinning example of why i distance myself from the rightwing. Have fun doing more damage to gun rights than the progressives. Hell they can sit back and let trump supporters like you give gun owners a bad name.

    • RocketScientist

      Why, exactly?

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        I just dont get it.
        You see this beautiful, wild, animal in its natural habitat of the amazing African savanna grasslands posing no threat to you say Hey! Lets kill it.
        Why not just take a picture?

        • RocketScientist

          I mean, thats all fine. Diff’rent strokes and all that. But anyone who enjoys something you don’t understand is an “a-hole” then? Like old ladies who crochet, or bird-watchers, or stamp collectors?

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I believe that licensed hunting in many countries is contributing to the extinction of some of these animals.
            Stamp collectors dont do that.
            And yes I know that the fees are supposed to go to conservation efforts but a lot of these African countries are notoriously corrupt and that money is not spent where it should be. Its often used to buy weapons.

          • LG

            Without the legitimate hunters, in most of Africa, the locals would just kill all the animals that were left and take the land for their poor farms. Without licensed hunting, the big animals have no chance. On a hunt, the meat can not be exported to the U.S.. All of the meat, not eaten by the hunter on the safari, goes to the camp staff to feed them and all of their families for the rest of the year.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Thats true in some cases like with the White Rhino in South Africa but in far more countries the licensing fees are untraceable and little if any of it is spent on anti poaching efforts. So the poaching is happening along with sport hunting which is not helping the animal population.

          • LG

            The license fees are only a small part of the picture. You need to look at the support of the camp families and locals from the legitimate hunters. Without that all the locals have to survive is poaching.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Yes, but the degree to which that mini-economy offsets all the other illegal poaching is highly debatable. I just think its a corrupt system that I want no part of. Besides I could never shoot a big cat anyway.

          • LG

            The more legitimate hunters are in an area, the fewer poachers. Poachers do not want to be seen, much less caught. The licensed hunters are basically paying to patrol the bush. Do not listen to others. Go there and experience it for yourself. Then and only then make your judgements.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            While I acknowledge the limitations of my own experience on this topic unfortunately I dont have 10 grand laying around to go on an African safari. And if I did I would only take a camera.

          • LG

            I hate to tell you but just the permit for a leopard is about 5.5K and a non-mained lion about 25-30K. That does not include the safari. That is just the added ticket for that particular animal.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            That is insanity.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Heh, my grandfather blew the brains out of a mountain lion when she got frisky with him and tried to stalk him while he was deer hunting.

          • LG

            Exactly. The cats do not agree that humans are the top of the food chain. The cats believe that they are the top of the heap. Yet it is really the hyena that always gets the last of all.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I obviously have no problem with that.

          • Tassiebush

            She got frisky with him? A true cougar!

    • LG

      Leopards are the really fun cats to hunt. They are the real killers and really enjoy it, wether they eat the prey or not.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Wow, I would never shoot a leopard.
        Possibly one of the most impressive and beautiful of all the big cats.

        • gusto

          you don’t have to. but as a gunowner and proponent you should atleast see the similarities that anti-gun and anti-hunters have., and the worst participants in these discussions are the ones willing to give up some rights to try to preserve the ones they like.
          A: it doesn’t work
          B: it is throwing the others under the bus

          we don’t need to argue amongst ourselves.

          these are all in questions.
          Hunting cats is perfectly fine, real hunters wants to have populations alive and well, so we can have them alive in 20 years to continue hunting.
          cats are more in danger from cattleowners and those that sell to the chinese bogus medicine market

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Im not anti-hunting. Ill shoot dove all day.

            Look if a lion ever gets on a plane and takes a cab to my house to attack me then ill shoot it. Im not gonna fly over there and f-ck with him.

      • Anton Gray Basson

        Well that’s an ignorant statement. Many predators have been noted on periodic binge kills. Leopards,like most predators, have preferences for certain parts of an animals. If the hunting is good the more partially eaten kills you will find.

        • LG

          I have seen leopards kill sheep without eating a single morsel. 75% percent of all animal injuries to PHs requiring hospitalization are from leopards. I just love the mastery of the bush by the leopard. When you see a leopard at dusk eating a zebra hind quarter like an ice cream cone and his face filled with gore, your survival instincts sharpen.

          • Anton Gray Basson

            Interesting since most PHs are killed or injured by non dangerous game. Warthog is often listed as cause ahead of leopards according to PHASA.

          • LG

            Yes, but I stated injuries requiring hospitalization, not just ER disinfecting and stitching. The statistics for injury with wounded leopards is eye opening. They can hide behind a single blade of grass and come in an instant with all four paws cutting and clawing. Leopards kill differently than lions. Lions use their size to bring the animal down and crush the throat or head with massive jaws. Leopards claw with all four, disembowl the animal and enjoy the meal. The leopards cut, slice, and makesjulien fries, and sometimes with the hunter.

    • Tassiebush

      You mean like Norwegian forest cats and Mainecoons etc? 😉

  • LG

    Never a Remington action. If it is not a control feed action or double, then the compromise with reliability for the second shot is too great. Plus the standard Remington extractor is too small and prone to failure under extreme conditions. Under pressure a non control feed bolt leaves open the distinct possibility for short stroking and jamming the action. I has happened and will happen again with non control feed actions.

    • Dual sport

      I love my controlled feed action, but aren’t 100% of all military grade weaponry on the modern battlefield based on some type of push feed action?

      Aren’t 100% of the bolt actions being fielded by militaries today a Remington or something similar in design?

      • Twilight sparkle

        The Mauser action is still used in a few Easter European and some African and Asian countries (at least a few years ago)

        Most are switching to something similar to the Remington action though.

      • Anonymoose

        Only because it’s cheaper to manufacture. CRF is still preferred in the worst environmental conditions.

      • Adam

        Bolt actions in military use today are all sniper rifles, so crf isn’t a huge deal. If snipers have to shoot at a charging enemy (and then possibly make a follow-up shot,) odds are they won’t be using their bolt action.

      • LG

        It is all based upon cost. When all the large militaries were using bolt guns, mostly all save for the Lebel etc. of very early design, were controlled feed. Under extreme pressure, anybody can short stroke a bolt gun. If it is a controlled feed little time is lost. If the short stroke is with a non control feed, especially in a closed action where the rounds are easily accessible, then a jam occurs which when the target has to be stopped within the next 5-10 yards, means the difference between life and death.

      • Tassiebush

        For any automatic firearm push feed isn’t an issue since they cycle their own action. For sniping, precision is more important than the edge in reliability a controlled round feed gives. Controlled round feed is really all about reducing the impact of human error from short stroking the action. Instead of having to clear a double feed you can just cycle the action properly to fix it.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    See above comments.

  • disqus_xRDifJ7vnp

    You need controlled-feed, D’Arcy Echols has made an excellent rifle based on Mauser and Winchester actions… you won’t need controlled ound or positive extraction until the Cape Buffalo is charging and your gun jammed…

  • sk

    should stay home and tend to business…tired of “out of stock”

  • Drop the politics guys—–