CZ 550 Safari Magnum - The Big Game Classic

As a youngster, I vividly recall every weekend and school holiday on my uncle’s hunting farm, where my cousin and I filled our formative years with dreams of one day being big game hunters like the legends of old, bagging impressive pigeon and franklin trophies with our open-sight “twenty-twos” in the process. Uncle Dries was one of the very first professional hunters in Namibia and he had a knack of making sense of the wild that bordered on sorcery.

Over the years I have accumulated a fairly sizable collection of books and articles about the pioneer hunters of old. Chaps like Selous, Gordon-Cumming, Livingstone, Corwallis Harris, “Pondoro” Taylor, Hemingway, Roosevelt and Ruark. These are books that I have collected over the span of some 40-odd years. These were the men who pioneered hunting and who pioneered the wilds of Africa. They made their living from the land and travelled great distances to explore, map, trade, engineer and hunt the dark continent – opening up access routes to indigenous communities and making many great friends with the local tribes in the process.

These men did not hunt for a living… They lived for hunting.

In the modern world, there is no room for this life anymore. “Hunting is cruel,” “exploration is invasion,” “trading is exploitation,” and “guns should be banned!” … And the list goes on. Social media commentary is passed as law and is provided by keyboard activists with no experience or actual knowledge of the world that they so passionately try and protect. No, I don’t know how much fun it is to argue a moot point on Facebook, but I sure know the joy of shooting an old BRNO chambered in .375 H&H… a classic big game magnum.

Those legendary old BRNOs were replaced by what became the ultimate African Big Game Classic – the CZ550. A favourite amongst Professional Hunters and Wildlife Rangers as a working rifle, the CZ is synonymous with reliability and success for dangerous game hunting. Designed for the task and proven in the toughest conditions, there has never been a more iconic Magnum Action African hunting rifle than the CZ550.

The CZ550 action, based on the trusted old Mauser K98 action, although reliable and rugged – everything you need in a big game rifle – is also terribly expensive to build and thus, the decision has been made that in the current market climate, CZ will no longer manufacture them. Sadly, the end of an era! The CZ550 will now, like the great hunters of old, live on only in legend…

Fortunately for the die-hard romantics, A. Rosenthal still has stock of a select few CZ550 magnum rifles. These are the last ones available and will never be replaced again. They offer them in .375 H&H, .416 Rigby and .458 Lott – and you have your choice of American and standard stock Safari Magnums, as well as the ultra-luxurious Safari Classic Magnum Express in .404 Jeffery.

If ever you wanted a piece of the old big game hunting world, now is the time. The sad reality is that the world is changing and traditions pertaining to hunting are being threatened around every corner, mostly by people who have never set foot on a farm. Luckily, we live in a country that protects hunting and understands the value of sustainable utilisation – but our access to internationally made gear is certainly only going to become a bigger challenge as time moves on. So, as the old folks said, “Get ‘em while the getting’s good!”