Guns Rifles

The Stopping Rifle Myth Exposed Photo Gallery

A hunter aiming a CRF Mauser rifle.
“Stopping rifle” is a term widely used to describe a rifle/cartridge/bullet combination supposedly big, strong, and deadly enough to protect humans from death and destruction at the claws, fangs, horns, and physical pummeling from myriad large beasts, most especially those of African lineage. Ron Spomer

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A 416 shot group.
An advantage with bolt-action stopping rifles is the ability to easily adjust them to put all bullets to the same point of aim. Ron Spomer
A rifle and hunting ammo and gear.
Rifles built on the Mauser Controlled Round Feed action gradually won over traditionalists used to the side-by-side double rifle. Ron Spomer
A lineup of hunting rifle cartridges standing on a table.
The .30-06 on far left gives perspective to the big bores chambered in stopping rifles. Ron Spomer
A box of Barnes VOR-TX ammo.
The .458 Lott was created by stretching the .458 Win. Mag. back to the original case length of the .375 H&H and sticking to the 45-caliber bullet size. It adds a bit more speed and power to the .458, endearing it to many dangerous game hunters interested in maximum “stopping power.” Ron Spomer
A Kimber rifle in .458 Winchester Magnum
A controlled round feed action like this Kimber in .458 Win. Mag. has become quite popular with African PHs. While not the ultimate stopping rifle, it is realtively light, affordable, and quick for 4 or 5 shots. Ron Spomer
A belt loaded with ammo rounds.
A belt load of .470 Nitro Express rounds is only as useful as the speed with which a shooter can load them in a double rifle. Ron Spomer
Close up of a double rifle barrel.
The .470 Nitro Express was created for double rifles, its rim ensuring plenty of surface area for the extractor to grab. Ron Spomer
A loaded double rifle barrel.
Big stoping rounds like the 470 NE in the breech of a double rifle look more like shotshells than rifle cartridges. Ron Spomer
The .577 Nitro Express closeup details.
The .577 Nitro Express is one of the largest stopping rifles, bested only by the rare 600 NE and rarer 700 NE, neither of which is commonly used. Ron Spomer
The double rifle bore muzzles.
A look down the muzzles of a double rifle explains the meaning of “big bore.” Ron Spomer
A Mauser bolt removed from a rifle holds a cartridge with grips.
This Mauser bolt removed from the rifle action shows how its claw extractor holds cartridges like this .416 Rigby against the bolt face for straight-line push into chamber. Ron Spomer
Collection of hunting gear and rifle.
The only difference between a big bore dangerous game rifle and stopping rifle is the moment at which it is fired. Many sporting rifles work well as stopping rifles, but hard core guides can’t often afford higher grade guns like this Heym double. Ron Spomer
Hunters trek through the mud in Africa.
Hiking through elephant country often reveals tracks that suggest your stopping rifle might be undersized. Ron Spomer
Five hunters trek through an African plain on a safari hunt.
Any stopping rifle’s power is enhanced by the addition of several more, usually carried by clients and assistant guides. Ron Spomer
A hunter aims a rifle on an African plain.
Practice and more practice can make the CRF bolt-action nearly as fast as any side-by-side for two shots and much faster for 4 or 5. Ron Spomer
Two hunting rifles on a pelt with ammo beside them.
Even a starter double with intercepting sears and articulated triggers like these Heym M88s costs many times what a base model CRF bolt action costs. Ron Spomer
Close up detail of a rifle stock on a CRF Mauser rifle.
The CRF Mauser perfected in 1898 slowly began showing up in the hands of professional dangerous game hunters in Africa because it was durable, reliable, and provided 4 or 5 shots instead of just 2. Ron Spomer
Closeup detail of a rifle stock showing custom engraving and an elephant inlay made of gold.
Plain or fancy, the double trigger double barrel remains a popular option as a stopping rifle. Ron Spomer
Close up of a rifle stock custom engraved with a cape buffalo metal plate.
Engraved dangerous game heads do not a stopping rifle make, but they suggest the possibilities. Ron Spomer
A hunter aims a Mauser CRF rifle.
The Mauser CRF action in a properly fitted stock can prove more effective for multiple shots than the best double rifle. Ron Spomer