Sporting Classics Digital

Jan/Feb 2017

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AFRICA : A PLACE TO TEST EQUIPMENT AND ASSUMPTIONS C entral and southern Africa are truly magical regions of the world. My first safari was to the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 2005, and I have been utterly hooked on the adventure, people, and bountiful wildlife populations ever since. As someone who has been lucky enough to work in the firearms and outdoor industries for a long time, it also became apparent to me that there are few better places for putting newly designed equipment through its paces. For two years now I have been eagerly planning to travel to Mozambique with five friends in pursuit of Cape buffalo, sable, and other legendary species. It was going to be my next great African adventure. But a pleasant surprise came earlier this summer when I was assigned to travel over to the mountains of the Eastern Cape to help test a new rifle and scope from two of America's most storied manufacturers. I would be going to Africa twice in the same year—it's apparently true that getting older isn't all bad. It would have been silly of me to dream of such a thing as a young hunter chasing deer in the woods of northern Virginia. James Debney, Golden Ring of Freedom member and CEO of Smith & Wesson (which owns Thompson/Center), and Bruce Pettet, his counterpart at Leupold & Stevens, would share camp with me. The equipment to be tested would be the new T/C Compass rifle, chambered in .30-06, and Leupold's new VX-3i scope, designed from the ground up to excel in the low-light conditions that offer hunters so many of their shooting opportunities. By Darren LaSorte PhotograPhy By MichaeL iveS

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