African Rifles and Cartridges - By Richard Nemec

November 10,2004. Several weeks prior to the November 2004, meeting I had an interesting experience that reflected on the theme of my display, titled “African Rifles and Cartridges". By chance encounter I was introduced to a gentleman who lives on the next street. We live in a semi-rural, equestrian community and it is quite common not to know your neighbors. The afternoon was sunny, autumn foliage was at its peak. His property bordered the Metro Park so we strolled about and chatted. The grounds were outstanding, however I remained fixated on a large tented cage toward the rear. Our conversation was casual and I was happy to learn that he was pro gun. I took an immediate liking to him. He excused himself and went into the house. Several minutes later he returned with a package of pork chops and said, "let's feed the cat". As we approached the cage, without warning a black leopard sprang onto a ledge and peered eye level about four feet from me. Smallest of the Big Five, this feline is the most lethal predator in Africa. It is never domesticated. The cat devoured those chops quicker than a kid could inhale a bag of M & M’s, then she retreated. Later, I thanked my host for a very memorable day.

Remembering the stare of that big cat influenced my decision to choose the correct firearms that a person would need when hunting the Dark Continent. I wanted to provide an entertaining and educational display that would please our members. With diligence and simplicity, I selected rifles and accessories that would stimulate interest and generate a spirited dialogue. My theme “African Rifles and Cartridges” is the title of a popular book written by professional hunter John (Pondoro) Taylor in 1948. It is the definitive text on the subject. I highly recommend you read it.
The meeting was well attended and I was happy to see an enthusiastic response to my display. Your compliments are appreciated. I purposely downsized the exhibit, restricting the number of rifles for a reason. Less is better. I firmly believe that only a bolt-action magazine rifle of Mauser design incorporating a controlled-round feed and claw extractor or double rifles should go on safari. Without exception, the characteristics of a dangerous game rifle combine the qualities of flawless reliability and accuracy 100% every time. By presenting rifles that are proven undeniably dependable, I easily defined my objective and avoided confusion. There are three categories of African game. They are as follows:

Category (1) Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino and Hippo - use no rifle less than .400 caliber.
Category (2) Leopard, Lion and Eland - use no rifle less than .375 magnum.
Category (3) Zebra, Kudu, Hartebeest, Wildebeest, and Sable Antelope class - use no rifle less than.300 caliber

Regardless of my bias, anyone hunting Africa must comply with the country of origin’s Game Department regulations regarding caliber. Mandatory guidelines are instituted for the hunter’s safety and the senseless wounding of animals. Current laws are based on years of accumulated facts by such famous hunters as Elmer Keith and PH Harry Selby. An SCI membership is very advisable. There is no substitute for a reputable outfitter.

Inevitability, the most often asked question was not related to technical or ballistic details, but value. “How much does it cost?” I chuckled and replied, “the price of a rifle is like speeding, how fast do you want to go?” Most men understood my ambiguous answer. In closing, I wish to thank the OGCA staff for another great weekend and members who took time to stop and talk with me. My guest, Grove Taylor enjoyed himself thoroughly. He said "this is the best show I’ve ever attended". Unfortunately, time flies when you’re having fun and Sunday afternoon pack-up came much to soon. I hope to see you in Wilmington in January 2005.

Very truly yours,
Richard J. Nemec

Editor's note: Richard Nemec is one of OGCA’s most outspoken supporters. At age 8 or 9 when other kids were reading comic books, he was reading gun books. He attended his first OGCA meeting at Veterans Memorial Hall in Columbus at the age of 12, and purchased a Life membership so long ago that it was all of $60.00. He is a past Featured Displayer, and won First Prize at the 1999 Annual Display Show. Mr. Nemec welcomes your questions and comments. He once said, “At the beginning it was all about guns, but as I reflect back in time, it’s really about people.”