Ruger African 9.3x62

A classic platform for a storied German metric

The Ruger African in 9.3x62 has the classic looks of an African rifle.

As time ticks by, common guns lose their shine and we want something different. Something to put the green-eyed monster in friends’ eyes, making them wish they owned one too.

Jason Cloessner, VP of Product Development at Lipsey’s, has a knack for stirring those kinds of things up. He tweaks factory guns into Lipsey’s Exclusives, using his knowledge and leverage to persuade the factory honchos to make guns to his specifications — in limited runs, so markets aren’t flooded — to create a tinge of excitement. This is how the Ruger African came to fruition.

African Roots

We all know guns serve as vehicles for our dreams and Lipsey’s African series is just that. First in the series was the .275 Rigby, also known by its more common name of 7×57 Mauser.

Just using the Rigby moniker seduced guys like me with visions of 20th Century hunters such as W.D.M. Bell braining elephants, with the precision of well … a brain surgeon, but with an affordable rifle within reach of working stiffs.

It shoots! Three rounds of 286-gr. Hornady Custom at 100 yards.

Otto Bock

In 1905, Otto Bock designed an all-around cartridge for German settlers in Africa. Wanting to get the biggest bang for his buck — and using a standard-length 1898 Mauser as his platform — he developed the 9.3×62.

First loadings pushed a 286-gr. .366-diameter bullet around 2,150 fps. This was later raised to the standard 2,350 fps, nipping on the heels of the great .375 H&H, but made in a peasant-affordable Mauser (my kind of gun).

The 9.3×62 is basically a European .35 Whelen with a shorter neck. The 9.3×62 packs a little more punch than its American cousin but there is more behind the story.
The 9.3×62 has a rich history of use in Africa by farmers protecting crops from marauding buffalo and other large bovines, as well as being a man-stopper for anyone intending harm. Being more peasant than prince, the 9.3×62 was a natural for me. Ballistics aren’t flashy, they just plain work for this metric meat maker.

The 9.3x62 (left) is basically the .35 Whelen’s stronger cousin. The 9.3 has a shorter neck,
more powder capacity and slightly better ballistics.

A Shooter for Sure

Shooting was done at 100 yards with a sandbag perched on a carpeted block of wood. I fired three-shot groups using two different loads from Hornady, and one handload using Speer 270-gr. Hot-Cor semi-spitzers loaded over a stiff charge of 3031.

The Hornady Custom ammo features a 286-gr. bullet and shot under 0.75″. The Hornady Superformance International uses a 250-gr. bullet and printed just under 1″. Lastly, my handloads shot just under 1.5″. The Ruger African was obviously a consistent and accurate shooter.

The Rifle

Good stuff here: The walnut stock is sleek, with a delicate wrist, and feels good in your hand with stylish, tight-line checkering. The forearm is also checkered and has a contrasting ebony-tip forend in traditional African rifle style. The barreled action is a high polished blue with the traditional barrel band for both form and function.
The thin contour 24″ barrel swings smoothly and effortlessly — the balance point is just forward of the trigger guard, as it should be.

The rear sight is a marvelously sculpted bridge-base with folding rear sight, while the front sight is fully banded and just as handsome with a brass bead. A soft red rubber butt-pad will absorb any felt recoil for those afflicted with cream-filled shoulders.

A well-rounded bolt knob makes cycling the Mauser-like action a joy. It’s got a non-rotating extractor with controlled round feed and fixed ejector for positive extraction. This, incidentally, marks the first time Ruger has blued their bolt knobs since the old tang-safety Model 77.

The Ruger Hawkeye African is a dandy. It’s built Ruger tough with the stylish good looks of a turn-of-the-century safari rifle, without the cost. Chambered in 9.3×62, you’ll be well armed for anything on this continent, as well as most African game.

The MSRP is $1,279. If you want one, have your local gun dealer order you one from Lipsey’s before they’re gone.

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