Choosing a rifle for African Buffalo is really no more important or different than choosing one for Alabama whitetails. Any time you’re hunting you desire a reliable and accurate rifle that has enough power to cleanly take your intended quarry. Sure, from time to time, all of us might hunt with an old rifle that may not be completely reliable or extremely accurate. But, when we do, it’s often for nostalgic reasons. For my African buffalo hunt, I wanted reliability, accuracy and nostalgia.
That’s why I chose a lever gun. I was not looking for African nostalgia. I did not want to wear a pith helmet, pretend I was Teddy Roosevelt or that I was hunting with Harry Selby. No, I wanted to take my American heritage to Africa. I wanted to let that American cowboy spirit sing out in Africa. The same cowboy spirit that formed the Lafayette Escadrille during WWI, that inspired the First Army that hit the beaches during WWII and the Seals that rousted Osama in 2011.
I also didn’t want to do it with a high-end, custom lever gun but with a classic and affordable iconic American rifle chambered for an American military cartridge. That left one option; a Marlin 1895 in .45/70. It just so happens that I own a Marlin 1895SBL. It’s the same rifle I used in Alberta to take the largest black bear I’ve ever seen.
Now, I’m not really a cowboy. It’s been a long time since I worked cows or owned horses but that doesn’t really matter. Why? Maybe it’s because everyone has a little cowboy in them or maybe it’s like Sheriff Jim Wilson says, “The world is full of cowboys because everyone is from WEST OF SOMEWHERE”
Next week: Scope selection