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First Hunt Questions

This is a discussion on First Hunt Questions within the Before & After the Hunt forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I just booked my first hunt im South Africa, For plains game. and Just bought a new 375 H&H, I ...

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    Tom071 is offline AH Member
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    I just booked my first hunt im South Africa, For plains game. and Just bought a new 375 H&H, I am going to start shooting it so that by the time next year rolls around I am comfortable with it, What bullet wieght do you all reccomend (I reload) , and what scope magnification do you all reccomend? Also when I get there is it better to have the taxidermy work done there or just to Dip and ship?


    Thanks

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    Tom,

    My preference for a scope on the 375 is a VXIII in a 2.5 by 8 Leupold and 300 Grain bullets (for me North Fork softs and now Cutting Edge Solids). they have served me well.

    Which .375 did you buy?

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    I bought a CZ550 Classic Safari, the wood is abslutly beautiful. I am planning on having it ported and polished once it gets here.

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    Good choice on the gun, and I agree 2.5X8 Leopold. There are lot of choices for bullets. Any of the Barnes, Hornady or Nosler in the 300 would be fine.

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    Dont port that .375 unless you are quite sensitive to recoil. Besides not really being neccessary it makes the rifle very obnoxious to other shooters at the range, your PH and his trackers. It also lessens resale value should you decide to sell it later. Bullet weight depends on animals you intend to hunt. If nothing bigger than kudu something in the 250 gr range is perfect, even eland is OK. If buffalo go with 300 premium bullets. Scope; same thing. Ask your PH about probable ranges, but usually a .375 wears a low power variable but even up to 3-9X is good if distances will be long. Having said all that, if its a PG only hunt, you dont need a .375. Perhaps a .300 mag would suffice or if you are recoil sensitive, stick with something in the '06 class. A .375 is way more than needed for most plains game unless you just want one and thats OK too, but it takes more dedication to master it.

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    I live and hunt in Namibia.My favorite and go-to rifle is my CZ 550 in .375.Come May this year,my eyes will be 53 years old and though I don't need glasses yet,I cannot hunt without my 4-12x40.Sometimes you will want,and need,a little more than a 3 to 9 by.I use Warne QD medium rings which they make for the 550's.

    I also hand-load all my ammo for hunting PG and have a pet load that prints one-and-a-half inches at 200 metres.I use Norma or PMP brass,CCI BR-2 primers and Sierra 250gr GameKing's.This is a combination that works extremely well for ME.(and my hunting buddy's).

    As Scott says,don't port that rifle.It is not necessary and you will regret doing it.There are many other ways of handling the recoil,if that is the reason you want to do it.Good luck and good hunting!

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    Thanks for all the info guys. I will forgo the porting and think I amgoing to go with a trijicon 3-9. I know that my 30-06 would have been enough gun, but this could be my only safari so I wanted to go with something classical

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    You've gotten a lot of feedback on the gun, but not much on the taxidermy question. From all the research that I did, it was overwhelmingly in favor of having your taxidermy done here (in the U.S.) and not in Africa. I'm sure there are plenty of capable places in Africa, but I like knowing that my taxidermist is only 75 miles from my house.

    I have seen his quality first hand, and know several others that have taken their stuff to him. He does quality work, and stands behind it too. I couldn't find someplace in Africa that could provide that for me.

    Just my $0.02.

    nd

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOCMAN View Post

    I also hand-load all my ammo for hunting PG and have a pet load that prints one-and-a-half inches at 200 metres.I use Norma or PMP brass,CCI BR-2 primers and Sierra 250gr GameKing's.This is a combination that works extremely well for ME.(and my hunting buddy's).
    DOC, would you be willing to share what powder and charge weight you use for that load? I understand if you're uncomfortable doing so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom071 View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys. I will forgo the porting and think I amgoing to go with a trijicon 3-9. I know that my 30-06 would have been enough gun, but this could be my only safari so I wanted to go with something classical
    Tom, indeed this could be your only safari but not if you can help it. You've already bitten on the bait and booked. Africa is just waiting for you to arrive before she sets the barb. So, all you've really done is got a very early head start on preparing for your buffalo hunt or other DG hunt!

    Another round you might consider for PG is the 250gr Barnes TTSX. The 300gr TSX shoot very well in my M70. But this is heavy for PG and the ballistics aren't as desirable as a lighter/faster bullet. Furthermore with the tipped version of the TSX you get the much better BC. I don't have a load to recommend for you, but if you give me a couple of weeks I should at least have some results from a first go.

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    I think you will be glad you didnt port that rifle and yes if I was only planning to go once I too would take a .375 for the same reason. The thing is very few people only go once. One that I do know was my brother who went to Namibia with me in 2007 and has shown no interest in returning despite the fact that he had a blast and shot well, but he is the exception. As to taxidermy, I tend to agree with the above. I have done it both ways and both ways have had issues. I had a skin get badly treated in RSA last trip, my nyala of course, but have had sort of marginal work done here as well by big name shops. It cost less generally to have the work done down there assuming you are not having everything shoulder mounted which takes up lots of room in the shipping crates and drives costs up big time. Have fun and good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom071 View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys. I will forgo the porting and think I amgoing to go with a trijicon 3-9. I know that my 30-06 would have been enough gun, but this could be my only safari so I wanted to go with something classical
    Going classic is a good enough reason for me.

    But if you change your mind, the .30-06 is plenty. I took a greater kudu with a .30-06 and everything else with a .308 Win Encore handgun and .480 Ruger handgun.

    And, BTW, it *won't* be your only safari. Once you "mess up" and go once, you'll be going again. ;D

    Have fun. (I know that you will!)

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    If you chose to have your taxidermy done in Africa may I suggest Highveld, they are about the best in all of africa. Good luck on your trip.
    Brian
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    www.blueskieshunting.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHOENIX PHIL View Post
    DOC, would you be willing to share what powder and charge weight you use for that load? I understand if you're uncomfortable doing so.
    No problem at all,Phil.Will help where I can.I always run my new brass through the neck-sizer first-WITHOUT the ball and pin-just to get uniformity.After fire forming,I then neck size only.Maybe I'm just lucky,but my brass seems to wear out before I need to full-length re-size (usually 8 to 10 reloads).Trimming,with Norma,if ever,is minimal.

    My pet load is 66.5 grains Somchem S 335,Sierra 250gr GameKing,Norma brass and a COL of 3.640 inches (92.46 mm).Avg speed of 2650 fps.

    My hunting Buddy does something I have'nt tried yet,but will.AFTER he has re-loaded,he then files off the lead tip of his bullets,level with the copper jacket.I will test this on a target and on a hunt myself and see what happens.

    Hope this helps.Let me know.

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    Tom,

    Yeah! The 375 is not necessary for PG but it works just fine. In Africa your often are not offered that perfect broadside shot so the extra penetration of the 375 might come in handy when you have that going away shot on a 38" eland or 60" kudu. Also wit ha few solids you have great medicine for those really small guys that an expanding bullet would blow up. Your really not carrying the wrong rifle with the 375 for any animal on the African continent.

    I like the 270 TSX or 260 ACB over a max load of R-15. This load shoots as flat as an '06 and hits really hard.

    Another vote here for the 2.5x8 Leupold. I think it's about right for the 375 but your choice of the 3-9 Trijicon may be perfect. I bought one for an upcoming cat hunt and put it on my 375. I can't find a thing wrong with it.

    I always recommend that clients get there taxidermy done here in the States by someone that specializes in African mounts. The local guy that might have done a couple of deer for you probably is not who you want for your safari mounts. Even if you don't consider quality what do you do once you receive your mounts from Africa and they are not mounted in the manner you wanted. You really have no recourse.

    Mark
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    Having just completed my 4th African hunt (see South African hunt reports here) I would like to add to the comments. My friend went for the first time with me and used a Browning A bolt in 375 and just loved the way it handled. He shot waterbuck to a genet with it (full mount on the genet as he used a soild on it). The 375 did well. PHs don't like porting. They're all hard of hearing (as I am) anyway. Just place the shots well and the job will be done. He used 275 grain bullets. Taxidermy- humm. I've done it both ways. Now, with the way Fish and Wildlife is here in the states, they don't even follow their own rules. Their book says that dip and pack with salt dried hides and clean skulls can be released directly to the owner BUT NO, they won't do that. It must always go to an "approved" taxidermist to be reprocessed. If your taxidermist is not "approved" your trophies will have to go elsewhere first, at extra cost. It's happened to me twice. This time I'm doing everything over there and importing finished trophies only. I'll leave you with a comment that was told to me before my first African hunt, and at the time, a once in a lifetime trip-
    If you go once- you will return!

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    Nothing wrong with taking the 375 it kills !!!!! For plainsgame I would go for a 270gr bullet but that will depend where you will be hunting up North thick bush or down in the eastern Cape where you will have longer ranges. If up north dont go overboard with velocities it is not needed 2550 fps is more than adequate for shots to 200 yards without holding higher sight in to shoot 1 1/2" high at 100 and you should be dead on at 200.

    Scope for plainsgame would be anything good 3-9 and keep the magnification below 6 when hunting, longer shots you will have time to move it up if you want but with close shots you won't have time to turn it down and miss something at 30 yards.

    Taxidermy Highveld and Life Form are some of the best you will find and don't go overboard with shoulder mounts really mount them only when you know it is very big or very special and do euro mounts for the rest Taxidermy bills easily doubles your safari bill when mounting, Euro mounts with a good blown up photo below it looks very good as well.

    Otherwise get them dipped and packed and do the mounts over there.

    Then the most important point its your safari your holiday go and enjoy the time of your life untill the next time you kick some African dust.
    Frederik Cocquyt, Outfitter and Professional Hunter
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