We affectionately call it a “bait rifle” because its primary purpose must have been to shoot the bait an African safari hunter would need for leopard and lion hunting. Of course, it’s also just about right for shooting camp meat and any small to medium size trophy – out to about 125 yards, as it has only open sights. There are 200 and 300 yard flip-up leaf’s on the rear sight, but I’ve never used them.
Double rifles in smaller calibers are fairly scarce – not something you find at your average gun show or auction; typically, an early 20th century safari hunter would have carried a small caliber bolt gun, with a Mauser or Springfield action, as Roosevelt did in his safari of 1909/10. A bolt action rifle would be more “heavy duty”, shoot a bit further – especially with a scope, and carry a few extra rounds. It would also likely be less expensive.
This “bait rifle” is a delight to hold and shoot. Friends, who have had the opportunity to put a few rounds downrange with it, have marveled at how well-balanced and lively it is in the hands – and how accurate it is. It weighs 9-1/4 pounds, has
26” barrels and even has an original Silvers solid rubber recoil pad.
We had taken this rifle on earlier safaris and shot a couple of trophies with it. Back home, I took it whitetail hunting a few times, without success; but did shoot a mule deer in southern Colorado – in 1995. Between those times afield, it was just a fun little rifle to blast a few rounds through, after the serious target shooting was over.
In the case of the bushbuck, we had just left camp for the morning hunt. As we were looking for elephant, we waited until there was enough light to see fresh tracks crossing the road from the night before. Just leaving camp and having traveled only a couple hundred yards to the south, the trackers spotted the bushbuck off to the left. We drove out of sight, then stopped the safari car and walked quietly back. The bushbuck hadn’t moved, and my shot was from the sticks at about 110 yards. We were close enough to camp that the trackers simply carried the bushbuck to the skinning shed, then quickly rejoined us and the elephant hunt continued. It was a perfect use for the “bait rifle”.