We are back in Namibia with Werner von Seydlitz of Immenhof Hunting Safaris and discovering our Savage AccuFit rifles can handle it for three reasons:
- M110 bolt-action Savage rifles with AccuFit stocks are tough, MOA accurate, and inexpensive
- Savage AccuFit rifles adjust to fit 5′ 2″ Betsy and her 5′ 10″ husband
- AccuFit rifles are rough-and-tumble durable
We set sail for Africa with two Savage AccuFit rifles, one in 30-06 Springfield and one in, of all things, 223 Remington. We’ll elaborate on that in later blogs and an upcoming American Hunter magazine. For now, look what those rifles have already accomplished:
We were still-hunting and had just missed a crack at a small herd of oryx due to thick bush when Werner heard the distinct clicking of a walking eland. The two halves of their heavy hooves slap together audibly when they lift them off the ground. We froze as the gray bull flickered through the thorn brush to emerge in an opening. Betsy made the shot from about 80 yards.
The eland is the world’s largest antelope. The Lord Derby variety is actually larger on average than this more common southern eland, but with mass approaching 2,000 pounds, this bull is big enough for us. After considerable struggle, four of us, a winch, and a farm tractor wrestled it aboard Werner’s Toyota Land Cruiser for the five mile ride to the farm butchery. There a flurry of able hands began reducing it to steaks and roasts that will feed a large staff of farm workers. Game meat that isn’t eaten on the farm is sold to restaurants and supermarkets, just like beef and lamb. My wife and friends Karla and Janelle discovered this while dining at a fine restaurant in Omaruru where they enjoyed giraffe steaks.
My chance to test the Savage Accufit rifle on game came at the other end of the size spectrum. Instead of the 30-06, I used the 223 Remington. Instead of tackling the world’s largest antelope, I keyed on its smallest — a Damara dik dik. Hunting these territorial little antelope is akin to stalking cottontails in a woodlot back home. We weave slowly through the thorn brush until we spot one of these dainty antelope. Then we use the binoculars to sort hair from horn. Dik dik grow a thick bush of forehead hair that covers most of their tiny horns. Fortunately Werner, who grew up on this Namibian farm, can judge dik dik rams as accurately as he does eland.
“This is an old ram. See how his ears are torn? There, he is marking his territory.”
“I saw that! He poked that twig.” What the ram had done, quick as a wink, was deftly and daintily poke his preorbital gland on a small twig, smearing it with a gummy secretion that tells other rams whose backyard they’ve violated.
“He’s hoping to keep his competitors away, but I don’t think it’s working,” Werner elaborated. “I don’t see a female with him.” Dik dik are almost always seen in pairs, often a female with a kid of the year and the ram nearby. As we tiptoed after this one, we spotted no others. “Either a caracal has caught his partner or she’s run off with a younger, stronger male. This is a good ram to take.”
A few more minutes of stalking opened a narrow window to the ram and I took advantage of it, sending a Federal bonded, 62-grain Fusion bullet behind its shoulder. It dropped instantly. As I’d hoped, the tough, heavy-for-caliber bullet had punched through with minimal meat and pelt damage. Ideally one would hunt small antelope like dik dik with a 22 Long Rifle, but Namibian game regulations specify a minimum muzzle energy that isn’t met by the rimfire.
Our shared AccuFit 223 Remington has also racked up a scrub hare, dassie, and jackal. The 30-06 Savage Storm has also brought down an old oryx bull. The hunt continues with kudu, red hartebeest, steinbok, warthog, and more on the list.
Ron and Betsy contracted safari fever more than 20 years ago and return to Africa often to cool it. Immenhof Hunting Safaris is one of their favorite outfitters.