We often think of the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) as applying to personal defense. Obviously, it has a far wider ranging effect than that. It is really good advice concerning most things in our life. But I assure you that it applies when it comes to hunting rifles.
Suppose you are about to purchase a rifle for dangerous game. You will quickly realize that this sort of rifle ammunition is really expensive. In addition, you will find that those big calibers tend to have a lot of felt recoil and extended shooting of these guns may just give you the kind of flinch that will ruin all of your rifle hunting.
What you need is an understudy rifle. And there is no better choice that the medium-power rifle that you hunt your deer, pronghorn, and elk with. Yep, that .270, .308, .30/06, or whatever, can be the beginning place for you to start tuning up for your dangerous game hunt.
When selecting rifles, it is best that they be of the same type and from the same manufacturer. You don’t want to be switching from a tang safety to a 3-position bolt safety. And you don’t want to be going back and forth between a push-feed action and a controlled-feed action.
In my case, I like to hunt with the Ruger #1 rifles. My medium-power rifle is a #1A in 7x57mm with a Leupold 1.5×5 scope. My dangerous game rifle is the Ruger #1H, in .375 H&H, with an identical Leupold scope mounted. Both rifles have tang safeties, very similar trigger pulls, stock design, and stock dimensions.
On a recent practice day, getting ready for a cape buffalo hunt, I ran about 40 rounds through my 7×57 in general comfort. I worked on position, sight picture, trigger squeeze, all the basics. Then I switched over to the .375 and finished my session with about 10 rounds of the 300 gr ammo that I’ll be using in Africa. No discomfort, no flinching, and, yet, it was a very productive shooting session.
So if a dangerous-game rifle is about to become part of your personal battery, give some thought to matching it with a good understudy piece. Keep it as simple as you can, you won’t regret it.