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A Trophy-Grade Gun

A Trophy-Grade Gun
H-S Precision’s Model 2000P Proves The Right
Pistol Is Plenty For An East African Safari.

The wooden canoe slid quietly through the slough up against the machan. It was still dark as I gathered my gun and binos. As we began to climb the ladder, I could distinctly hear an animal running away in the papyrus. It could only be a sitatunga—our sitatunga more than likely.

It was somewhat depressing. As daylight emerged over the swamp, birds filled the sky. The clouds were heavy this morning and the wind picked up early. Christian, our professional hunter, was restless. I knew his confidence was in the tank since we heard the animal. Our keen-eyed tracker, Abu, and I kept watching the small clearing in front of us, hoping our luck would take a turn for the better.

As the morning lingered, I was beginning to think it was about time to return to camp for breakfast. I just happened to be looking at a particular spot when I noticed a large reed begin to shake violently. This could not be the wind. Abu and I looked at each other and nodded. I punched Christian and pointed my finger in the direction of the movement. Abu whispered there was a sitatunga coming out.

When the big bull stepped out from the vast sea of papyrus into the clearing, I could hardly believe my eyes; I was momentarily mesmerized. It was one of the most beautiful sights a hunter could imagine—a heart-pounding moment for certain. I placed the crosshairs on his chest as he meandered slightly toward us. Trying to calm my nerves, I watched this magnificent bull feed leisurely around the edge of the clearing. When he turned broadside I placed the crosshairs on his shoulder, gently squeezing the trigger.

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This trophy-class sitatunga was taken with a single .270 WSM 140-grain Nosler AccuBond.

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When topped with a Leupold 2.5-8X scope, the highly accurate H-S Precision Model 2000P makes
an ideal hunting handgun, along with a Leica 1000 rangefinder, Nosler ammo and Cold Steel knife.

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This is a typical dwelling in remote East Africa.

Not Typical

This was not your typical safari with double rifles or common cartridges frequently used in Africa. I was hunting with an H-S Precision Model 2000P handgun chambered in .270 WSM. While it is challenging to hunt with a handgun, I felt in no way handicapped with the H-S Precision. The South Dakota-based company is well known for fiberglass stocks and precision barrels. Their Pro-Series Model 2000 rifle is used by the Israeli Special Forces and by the FBI.

While the rifles have a reputation for superb accuracy, many folks are unaware the Model 2000P handgun comes with the same guarantee—1/2 MOA for three shots at 100 yards. This lofty claim is backed up by actual performance, which I had previously seen firsthand with two different pistols. The .270 WSM with quality factory ammo is capable of producing bug-hole groups that would make any hunter smile.

The single-shot Model 2000P is basically a semi-custom handgun built to order. One intriguing aspect of it is the company builds every component in-house—nothing outsourced here. All the actions, triggers, bolts and stocks are produced at one location. Even the tooling, chamber reamers and production dies are all manufactured in-house. From start to finish, everything is manufactured and assembled at the South Dakota plant. This is certainly an asset in the quality-control department.

The H-S center-grip composite stock featuring a full-length aluminum bedding block chassis comes in two configurations: varmint and silhouette. I chose the varmint model, as the wide fore-end offers a good platform when shooting off bags or backpacks and such. Many color options are available and I had difficulty deciding on one of the many nifty camo patterns the company offers.

The superb accuracy comes from the 10X cut-rifled barrels. A 15-inch barrel is standard, but you can custom order a longer one. Both fluted and non-fluted barrels are available in matte-black Teflon. H-S also offers two different style muzzlebrakes, although I fitted my pistol with a Holland brake before realizing H-S provides their own version.
The trigger linkage is molded using a carbon fiber composite that reduces the linkage weight by 75 percent, eliminating the need for counterweights. The pull weight is fully adjustable from 3.5 to 2.5 pounds. The trigger on my gun was adjusted to 2.5 pounds with a crisp break and no creep.

Mounted on the bolt shroud, the 3-position safety is a feature I really like. An oversize Sako-style extractor helps eject cases with certainty. The external bolt release is another user-friendly component. I also appreciate the fact the receiver is drilled and tapped for larger screws than you normally find on handguns. I don’t concern myself with heavy recoil shearing off H-S base screws. Even with the short magnums I have never encountered a problem. I mounted a Leupold 2.5-8X scope with a Leupold base and dual dovetail rings. When scoped, the gun tips the scales at 7.5 pounds.

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Premium bullets like Nosler’s AccuBond proved to be good insurance on this big-bodied Defassa waterbuck.

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Transportation while hunting sitatunga consists of a 14-foot canoe.
Don’t rock the boat! This river is home to both crocs and hippos.

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Most shots entailed shooting off Bog-Pod’s tripod
system—a rock-solid setup for handgun hunters.

First Impressions

On the range, several different brands of factory ammunition were tested. Initial testing was conducted at 100 yards with two loads from Winchester, CorBon’s 130-grain DPX, three separate loads from Federal and DoubleTap’s 130-grain AccuBond.

All of these factory offerings shot pleasing groups, but Federal’s 110-grain Barnes Tipped Triple Shock produced tiny clusters that would make a benchrest shooter grin. Even my own handloads—consisting of Norma brass, Hodgdon powder and Nosler’s 130-grain Ballistic Tip—shot well. Without tweaking seating depth or experimenting with powder charges, the handloaded ammo kept groups inside an inch.

I am not one for shooting paper all day, but the range performance with a variety of ammunition confirmed the H-S to be extremely accurate. This gave me a lot of confidence for the upcoming safari.

Prior to Uganda, I had taken the H-S to west Texas on a free-range aoudad hunt. When I took a mature ram at 240 yards, my confidence soared immediately. Then a hunt to South America for several big-game species in Argentina continued to build my confidence with this pistol. I felt it would be a great companion in Africa. For that, Nosler’s Trophy Grade factory ammo with their 140-grain AccuBond got the call.

When that impressive sitatunga stepped out in the clearing, I had placed the fore-end of the H-S on the edge of our machan for a rest. The shot was not very far, perhaps 50 yards at the most. Believe it or not, it’s fairly common for your nerves and anticipation to jeopardize such an easy shot.

When the .270 WSM barked, it shattered the morning silence in the swamp. The bull flinched and staggered toward us, then dropped. The next thing I knew Abu was hugging me while Christian was slapping my back. I couldn’t wait to climb down from the machan and get a closer look at this magnificent animal. The AccuBond had performed well and we were off to a great start.

There were several species targeted on this hunt, specifically those endemic to East Africa. The next day, while stalking around in the savannah brush country, we bumped into a nice bush duiker. These little guys don’t offer much target area. I was shooting off a Bog-Pod tripod system that offered a reasonable rest. The duiker ran off some 60 yards and made the mistake of stopping to look back. One shot from the H-S was all that was required to head back to the skinning shed with our trophy, plus meat for the locals, which was greatly appreciated.

Our first few days were spent hunting near the Mayanja River in the Uganda Wildlife Safaris huge concession area. The region had a high density of game—an African nirvana perhaps. We had booked this hunt through our good friend Ken Wilson of Sportsmen on Film, and he had informed us Nile bushbuck were crawling all over the place. He certainly was correct. We saw many of these beautifully colored antelope, and after several failed stalks, an opportunity finally presented itself. The shot was not far, perhaps 80 yards, and I placed the H-S on the shooting sticks. Due to the tall grass and heavy bush, all I could make out through the Leupold scope was the shoulder area. But the AccuBond had no difficulty finding its way to the vitals, and we were all thrilled over this impressive spiral-horned beauty.

As most good safaris go, the days flew by all too fast. The area had been exceedingly kind to us as we supplied the skinning shed with East African Bohor reedbuck, oribi, Nile bushbuck, East African sitatunga and East African bush duiker. It was time to move camp as we pursued other game on our wish list. We were headed further north to an area near Murchison Falls. Hopefully we would encounter Uganda kob, Jackson’s hartebeest, Uganda Defassa waterbuck and maybe, just maybe, Nile buffalo.

Even though we hadn’t traveled a great distance, the heat turned up a notch, with temperatures reaching 100 degrees by noon. After the first day of walking through the savannah without seeing much game, I knew we had our work cut out for us. The area did not support the amount of animals our first camp did, but they were there. We just had to work harder.

Walking the bottom of a ravine in a thick, brushy draw, we bumped into a past-his-prime waterbuck. I couldn’t get the sticks up quickly enough to satisfy Christian. He urged me to take the big bull before he disappeared in the bush. When the bullet struck the waterbuck’s massive shoulder, he stumbled a few yards before dropping. The trackers went wild. They had never seen a handgun in action before and they couldn’t believe what was taking place. Me? I was just grateful for the whole experience and couldn’t have been happier with the performance of the H-S pistol.

The following morning we spotted a lone Uganda kob feeding leisurely in a clearing. After a lengthy stalk, we set up the sticks. The kob noticed our presence and took off running. Luckily he didn’t go far. When he stopped to look back, the crosshairs settled on his reddish-colored shoulders. The Nosler connected and one of Uganda’s most elegant antelope would be destined to feed several hungry people in the days ahead.

Later that evening dark clouds began to gather, as a storm was in the making. The upcoming rain had game moving. A duiker ran in front of us as we were searching the savannah for possible movement. Two elephants were spotted in the distance. The bulls were going about their evening feeding ritual. The hunting gods were smiling on us when we spotted a herd of Jackson’s hartebeest. But as the rain started to pour, shooting light was fading quickly.

We managed to get within 60 yards but I couldn’t get on the tripod fast enough for a shot. Cleaning my glasses and scope quickly, I hurried in position for one last attempt. Both males and females have horns so we had to scrutinize the animals carefully. Christian told me to shoot the one on the right. The bull was standing broadside from over 100 yards and looking directly at us, trying to figure out what those strange creatures were doing standing in the rain. I could barely make out the shoulder area. At the shot, the bull stumbled and ran for maybe 50 yards. When he fell, Abu came running up to me with a big hug. We were lucky. Again.

Once in a while you have a good hunt. But on rare occasions—if you’re lucky—you have one of those hunts you can hardly believe. This had been one of those great hunts where everything came together. We had one day left to look for Nile buffalo. But that’s another story. I can tell you my luck continued (although with a different gun and caliber).
Christian began this safari very skeptical of the handgun. He had never taken a handgun hunter previously, but at the end of the hunt he looked at me and said, “That thing is better than a rifle.”

I don’t know about that, but I was more than pleased with the Model 2000P. So much so that I have already sent a deposit to H-S for another one. You can bet I’ll return to Uganda for more adventure, and the H-S Precision pistol will be in my case.
By Mark Hampton

Model 200P
Maker: H-S Precision
1301 Turbine Drive
Rapid City, SD 57703
(605) 341-3006
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/hs-precision/

Action Type: Bolt action
Caliber: .270 WSM (tested)
Capacity: 1
Barrel Length: 15 inches
Weight: 5.5 pounds
Finish: Matte-black Teflon
Sights: None, drilled and tapped for scope
Grips: Synthetic, Price: $2,760

BOGgear LLC
P.O. Box 1698, Fredericksburg, TX 78624
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/boggear/

Ken Wilson, Sportsman On Film
231 Earl Garrett, Suite 300
Kerrville, TX 78028
(800) 910-4868
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/sportsmen-on-film/

Leupold & Stevens
14400 NW Greenbrier Parkway
Beaverton, OR 97006
(503) 646-9171
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/leupold-stevens-inc/

Nosler, Inc.
107 SW Columbia St., Bend, OR 97702
(800) 285-3701
(830) 990-2500
http://gunsmagazine.com/company/nosler-inc/

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