I bought my first rifle, a .243 Musgrave in Kimberly in 1971, for R120 plus a 4 x weaver scope for about the same price). It was accurate and I thought a little bullet whizzing along was the way to go.
The first 11 shots out hunting killed 11 hartebeest. Ten fell on the spot, one spun around and fell on the spot. I thought I had the Hammer of Thor. I used it for springbok, gemsbok, hartebeest, impala and jackal (actually one jackal but it was a remarkable shot and has stuck in my mind) in Botswana.
Moved to Rhodesia, and over time acquired in addition a .22 Mauser, 22 Winchester, 9.5 x 57 Mannlicher–Schönauer (pretty rifle but a useless round) a 6.5 x 54 Mannlicher–Schönauer (pretty rifle and a great round but the barrel was pitted so I had it re-barrelled to .243, silly me) and a .375 H&H FN,and some mediocre shotguns.
Left Rhodesia in 1981 and did no hunting for 17 years (sold them all). Managed to get some hunting for Mountain Reedbuck, Springbok and Blesbok while working in Lesotho and living in RSA in the late 1990’s using a Remington .243. This was the mountain rifle, relatively rare in .243; a neat package but not a thing of mechanical beauty.
Also managed to do some hunting in RSA; Nyala, Kudu, Warthog and Impala while working in the Limpopo valley 2009 to 2011, using a 3006.
Now I am back in Northumberland, at least some of the time, I mostly stalk Roe and occasionally Reds north of the border. However, in the last few years I have tried to get to Namibia every second year. Namibia has a rational conservation policy that has enabled the game to recover after being poached and shot out during the Angolan war. Hunting in the Kaokoveld is more expensive than on the game farms of South Africa but it is well worth it. It is also the type location for the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra. I hope to go again before the eyes and legs give out. But there has been little rain for the past 3 three years and I hear the first dead Zebra has been seen, and when the Zebras die things are bad; possibly 2018 will be the next trip.
My current, and I think my last rifles, are 6.5 x 54 Mannlicher–Schönauer made about 1950. A similar but stronger and heavier action than the model 1903: a 3006 BSA Majestic featherweight (moderated), a 308 Mannlicher–Schönauer ( this is a pre-1924 action, I guess the 1908, re-barrelled) and a BRNO model 721 in 7 x 57 Mauser, made about 1951. Oh, and an Anchutz .22, very accurate, but ugly with the elegance and ergonomics of a plank.
As to why no .243; the Hammer of Thor, the Hand of Zeus? It is a calibre that has served me well even on game for which it was at best marginal. As I know now. But as time goes by I have developed a preference for heavier and slower bullets. And once I was out shooting hartebeest with the Musgrave, west of Lephepe and just south of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, (honest) and came across an Eland in a group of five hartebeest. It looked like a pack of terriers around a donkey. I felt I had to decline the shot and 45 years later I have yet to shoot an Eland.
Favourite food – biltong and milk. Favourite drink – G&T. Hobbies – making knives, history particularly, military history, shooting, and trout fishing which I do ineptly.