Bradley Johnson – Talley Sales Professional
At Dallas Safari club 2022 I met Andrew Pringle and Rad Robertson from Crusader safaris. We hit it off right away and my good friend Patrick Adams looks at me and says, “you need to hunt with these guys for your honeymoon.”
Fast forward to the following October and my wife and I had an amazing trip and on the last day of our hunt my wife says we must go back next year.
A hunt for the following year was planned and I started planning my next rifle on the plane ride home.
The rifle started life as a stock Remington 700. The Remington 700 is one of the most popular rifles in America and for good reason, they are accurate, relatively affordable and have a wide variety of aftermarket parts.
Sadly, a few years ago Remington had to close its doors due to bankruptcy. America had lost an icon in the firearms industry. As luck would have it a new company, RemArms reopened a manufacturing facility in Georgia. I was particularly eager to try out one of the new 700 rifles from the new facility.
Fast forward 6 months and my friend at Brownells said they had just received some of the first production run Remington 700 ADL models in .308.
I ordered one and had it shipped to Mark Bansner at Bansner & Co. Bansner makes in my opinion the best sporter style synthetic stocks on the market currently. Life is too short to shoot ugly or inaccurate rifles, Bansner solves both.
In addition to a killer stock made to my long length of pull Mark bedded it for me, added a red pad and cerakoted the metal. For plains game in Africa with good shot placement and bullet selection a .308 is all one needs if you are willing to stalk close which is what I personally enjoy.
To top the rifle off I went with a Swarovski z3 3-9×36. For a stalking rifle, this is an ideal optic and one of my all time favorites. For mounts I went with our standard Talley steel bases and our screw lock detachable ring.
For ammunition I turned to Superior ammunition, I told him I would be hunting plains game in Africa and he worked up multiple loads with the Barnes 165gr TTSX. The second load I tried in the rifle shot one ragged hole at 100 yards off my Bipod. The rifle was ready for the dark continent.
It was mid-morning with the heat of the day slowly creeping in. We walked very slowly down the mountain stopping frequently to glass for the herd of zebra we were trying to cut off.
My camera guy, Luis is very new to hunting and this was the stalk he learned “how to be quiet” on. We were hunting in the mountains of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa with Crusader Safaris. Our professional hunter on this trip was Rad Robertson, one of the greatest hunters I have ever had the pleasure of hunting with.
When hunting with Rad, if you make a noise during a stalk he turns around and gives you “the look.” It is a look that peers into a man’s own soul. His look says all that needs to be said without the use of words. Luis and I were getting “the look” on this zebra stalk.
As we rounded to edge of a big boulder, we crawled to a big white thorn acacia tree for concealment while Rad set up the sticks. I inched my way forward moving as slowly as possible while rocks were grinding like sandpaper into my knees. The zebra were feeding behind a thick patch of bush below us slowly grazing while the dominant stallion established his pecking order.
I waited perfectly still on the shooting sticks for what seemed like an eternity while I got my breathing under control. Very slowly the zebra Rad had signaled me to shoot began feeding to the right towards an opening in the acacia.
As the zebra stepped out into the opening perfectly broadside the world and time seemed to stop, I do not remember the recoil of the rifle or the sound of the shot itself.
I only remember the sight of the 165gr Barnes TTSX impacting on the shoulder and the very distinctive THUMP sound the bullet makes when it impacts.
The feeling of accomplishment washed over me as I had taken an animal with a rifle that was over a year in the making.
Photos By: Luis Daniel Ettorre