T/C Icon in Africa
We just returned from a ten day hunt in Namibia with the T/C ICON rifle in .30 T/C. We hunted plains game in the northern part of the country on a couple of huge game farms and also in the Namib desert. The .30 T/C was loaded with 165 SST's at about 2950 fps and it actually impressed a lot of people. It does not set any new standards but it does shoot flatter than a .308 Win. and it kills very well.
The ICONS were sweet, absolutely a trouble-free rifle that shot superbly right from the start. My rifle, good old #12, placed one shot touching the next at 100 with consistency, never measured any groups but #12 is a shooter. Our range was only good to 375 yards and I can tell you there are no rocks left out to that distance, of any size or shape. My rifle handled so well I did not have any familiarization time, it just went to position and hit everything I shot at.
I killed a variety of critters from the little Jackal to a very nice Oryx. Only regret was I lost a huge (probably 58"+) kudu bull because of a situation that developed where I was pressured to take a fairly difficult shot, made two hits but he was never recovered. Incredible effort by the trackers but no joy. We killed a very significant number of fine animals, the other guys got wonderful kudus and a wide variety of plains game. This was pretty tough hunting, very rugged and heavily covered with trees and bush. Learned that Africa's thorns deserve their reputation. I had knee problems during the hunt so spent a lot of time in blinds at water points. Saw a lot of game and so much bird-life I am still in awe.
The ICON's worked perfectly, despite a lot of red dust and absolute minimal care. No problems reported during the entire trip. Kifaru folk will be pleased to hear that the T/C gurus shaved several ounces off the rifle, mostly in the receiver area. This is one fine handling and carrying rifle! I put a Nikon Monarch Gold 1.5-6 scope on #12 and I did not take it off 6x the whole trip. About as fine a scope as you could want for the type of hunting we did. There were times I considered taking it down to 3-4 but did not have to. All eight critters I shot took lethal first shot hits, I actually fired additional (but un-necessary) shot on two that were very sick but not down. Ranges varied from 35 yards to 270 yards.
I had heard much about the toughness of African critters. Also about shooting them low in the chest because their heart/lungs are positioned lower than N. American game. I did as they asked, shot low-chest and every critter died quickly. Only 1/3 dropped in their tracks, the tendency was to run and then stand, very sick, trying to stay upright. Some ran and crashed, no getting up and very little kicking. I believe the tenacity thing is true, we shot deer sized critters that took bullets and ran that I doubt a whitetail would have. Also some critters did not bleed much, some left lots of blood for trailing. The SST's were very deadly on deer sized game, DRT type shots were common but the bigger critters took more killing. Many recovered bullets had mushroomed and jacket/core separated. We found a few jackets and no cores, also some perfect mushroomed cores and jackets. Many pass-throughs with good exit hole size.
The ICON action is smooth, ergonomic and easy to become familiar with. Safety is perfectly placed, cocking indicator is perfectly placed, extraction and ejection were flawless, feeding was smooth and problem free, clips inserted nicely and cleared well, bolt stop is reliable and easy to work, stock is as nice as any I have shot, checkering is superb. I am not a fan of the chubby Euro-look bolt handle but it functions very well and is easy to replace. I will suggest they consider thinning it out a bit, but...
The rifle handles so well it seems lighter than it really is. Yes, the wood on every rifle we took was superb. They have access to some superb walnut.