Recoil Recall

Frederick Courteney Selous first stepped foot on the dark continent in the 1880s as a young 19 year old, wanting to become a famous hunter. High aspirations, indeed! While hunting with a 4-bore muzzleloader, he developed a flinch. Legend has it after a misfire on an elephant, he traded the rifle back to this gun bearer for his back-up rifle. During the excitement, the gun bearer quickly reloaded the first rifle, giving it a double charge.

While shooting at the elephant, the double-charged rifle knocked Selous off his feet, severely cutting his face in the process. Recoil was so severe it broke the rifle stock. Selous stated he developed a nasty flinch after this episode, one he fought the rest of his life.

Selous ordered a light-recoiling .256 Holland & Holland single-shot rifle with drop-block action. The .256 H&H shoots a 160-grain bullet at 2,300 FPS. As most of us are out of reach of a custom Holland & Holland single-shot rifle, you can see the attraction of A. Uberti’s “Courteney Rifle.” Chambered in .303 British, the 180-grain bullet can easily attain over 2,400 FPS in the traditional cartridge widely used by British hunters in Africa.