Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What got you interested in double rifles and Africa? Mike M., USA (question from

What got you interested in double rifles and Africa? Mike M., USA

I’ve got to do some soul searching for this’s been such a long time. I guess my first exposure to Africa, and to a lesser extent, double rifles, would be old movies such as Hatari (John Wayne) and King Solomon’s Mines (Stewart Granger). At the same time period of my life I would be looking at and reading my mother’s books on African hunting. Sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it? But my mom was an artist in her younger years (1930-40s) and loved to paint animals...including African animals. At the time her only source of photos was in books by Hunter, Bell, Taylor, and others. I read and re-read the old classics without knowing how my later life would be influenced so. Today, these first editions are in a special place upon my bookshelf.

With the above in my memory banks, and like most kids of the 60s and early 70s, I liked guns, shooting and hunting. During the spring semester of my 11th grade year in high school, mom shelled out $3.95 for a copy of the 1972 Guns and Ammo Annual. Photos of 8 bores, .600 and .577 rifles and cartridges, Elmer Keith on elephants, an article on Selous, an article on the .577 Snyder handguns, etc...I still have the book and it is still looked at but now is held together with clear tape.

Last of all, in the late 1980s in Alaska, I dated an artist who had a copy of Bartel Bull’s book Safari: a Chronicle of Adventure. In this most excellent book I read a detailed accoount of the African safari and hunters from the early 1800s to the 1980s.It was also at this time I purchased my first double rifle, a Mortimer and Son .500bpe number 5280. A few years later, 1994, I booked my first hunt to Zimbabwe (the year the African Hunter was launched).

I was bitten and had the fever!

Good shooting,