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Rifle / Bullet recommendations for plains game?

This is a discussion on Rifle / Bullet recommendations for plains game? within the Firearms & Ammunition forums, part of the HUNTING EQUIPMENT, FIREARMS & AMMUNITION category; BryceM - I suppose there are as many opinions on bullet types and velocities as there are hunters who buy ...

  1. #21
    browningbbr's Avatar
    browningbbr is offline AH Enthusiast
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    BryceM - I suppose there are as many opinions on bullet types and velocities as there are hunters who buy them. For my hunt in May, I chose a hand load for my .300 SAUM based solely on the load that gave me the best group and most consistent velocity. It turned out to be the 165gn TSX at 3050 fps. I tested 180gn TSX, Nosler Partions in 165 and 180gn and Swift A-Frames in 180gn, but the 165's were the most consistent. Ditto for the 140gn TSX for my wife's 7mm Rem Mag. It was also the best out of many loads tried.

    I was nervous about the choices because I'd seen so many differing opinions about bullet weight from hunters FAR more experienced than me.

    When we got to the sight-in range on the first day of our hunt, our PH looked at the bullets and said, "Good. I'm always glad to see Triple Shocks." He went on to explain that we'd be taking shoulder shots and that TSX's would blow all the way through and leave a blood trail if we needed one.

    He was right. Except for the eland, every round we fired blew through both sides and left a nice wound channel. The bullet that hit the eland stopped only 2" short of going through.

    Don't worry too much about your bullet choice. You have MORE than enough gun to kill plains game. I asked my PH what he uses for plains game. His reply: "A .270"

    - browningbbr

  2. #22
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    I like what a old meat hunter told me over a decade ago...How many times do you want to kill a animal??? What he was refering to...was the fact that proper bullet placement is everything.

    Both the 200 gr. and the 180 gr. will do awesome damage...quick kill on any plains game animal in Africa. And I agree with browningbbr 100%. I wouldn't over think things too much. In the end if you hit the animal in the heart, lungs area you will not have to look have especially with a 300.

  3. #23
    BryceM is offline AH Veteran
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    Quote Originally Posted by enysse View Post
    How many times do you want to kill a animal???


    Each one, just once.

    I think I'll stick with what I've been using. I have loads of experience with that particular rifle/load combination. I know it shoots well. Most days at the range I can get MOA accuracy out of it. In the field it "feels" right and I trust it. More variables are probably not a good thing.

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    I laugh about my comment too...that gentlemen made me rethink everything I thought I knew. At the time I thought bigger was better. He certainly put me in my place.

    I was watching "Tracks across Africa" yesterday and can definitely see a need for a PH to have a double rifle for elephant hunting. When a elephant charges at less than 5 yards through the brush...you better carrying a big stick!

  5. #25
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    Short answer: At least .270, I will be more than happy with a 30-06 shooting premium 180 grainers. This together with proper placement, you will have many one-shot kills.

    Regards

  6. #26
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    Default 300 is the way to go

    Quote Originally Posted by BryceM View Post
    I'm planning a plains game hunt sometime in 2011, location yet to be determined. I've been debating about getting a new rifle specifically for the experience, but after working in a few new rifles lately I'm really considering taking my tried & trusted .300 Weatherby Mark V that I've had for 20 years. It shoots like a dream and what's more, I instinctivelly trust it. I haven't touched the scope in well over a decade and it'll put bullets into a pop bottle at 250 yards every time (at least when I'm shoting well, never the rifle's fault). Other newer guns that I've acquired are OK too, but I'm never quite as confident in them and they don't feel as natural.

    I've been using 180g Nosler partitions with 81 grs of H-4831 with great success. I'm looking at the ballistic-tip Barnes-X though (tipped TSX).

    For plains game, dik dik through kudu (maybe eland) I suppose that's plenty good enough. Any reason to choose the TTSX over the Nosler?

    I know people have all sorts of issues with Weatherby's in general but I've fallen in love with them hunting mulies and antelope out west. Any reason not to use that particular gun? It's obviously small for anything dangerous except maybe leopard.
    Hey I really like the 300 caliber. Any make or model I used the 300 ultra mag with the barnes 180 gr triple shock. It was very impressive on all kudu, waterbuck and black wildebeest. A bit to big of impala, springbuck, warthog, but it sends them to the ground. I really like the remington core lokt in any caliber. The bullet coafficant is higher than even the barnes. They are cheaper and that old fashion boattail has brought down more animals than a ford pickup truck.This is just my opinion but for 500 yard plus shooting that I do I trust the core lokt of elk, mulies, coues deer and antelope. Just something to think about.We could talk about this for hours. Hope this helps. Warty09

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    ...You have plenty of velocity, actually a lot more than you need. If you read the Perfect Shot by Kevin Robertson 2400Fps is what he recommends. My 30/06 with 180 Gr bullets only gets 2496 fps. It never comes close to the speed the bullet manufacturers claim. I shot Kudu, Wildebeest, 2 Gemsbuck & 3 small plains games animals with none of them going more than 30 yds. 2 of them the bullet was under the skin on the other side!
    ... One doesn't need all that speed! In my years of Silhouette competition these young guys would come out with their hand guns or rifles loaded for bear. Us more experienced guys down loaded the heck out of the loads so you didn;t beat your self up for a 40,60, or 80 round match! As previously stated in the correspondence ( how dead do you want to kill it!). Shot placement is 90% of the game!

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    solid bullet is offline New Member
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    Go with what you know. A number of friends have hunted with exactly your combination. If the bullet concerns you change with a Swift. Same structure just built tougher.

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    BryceM is offline AH Veteran
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    Thanks everyone.

    I decided to try the Barnes TTXS 180gr for this rifle. After working up a load, the accuracy was better than anything I'd ever seen using Noslers. Groupings didn't seem to depend too much on the powder charge which was also new. The rifle had previously only produced nice groups with the hottest loads.

    My final load data is:

    Norma brass
    Federal GM215M primers
    H-4831SC 82.0 gr
    Barnes TTXS 180gr Bullet
    fps not checked yet
    3 groups of 3 averaging 0.75" at 100 yrds.

    So far, 1 dead bull elk - no complaints from him, dropped in his tracks with a shot through one shoulder & both lungs. Entry and exit wounds were really about the same size. Much less meat damage than I am used to with partitions. I wonder a little what would have happened with a straight-thru lung shot. Ask me what I think after another dozen animals......

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    Canuck is offline New Member
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    Look at Swift A frames - I have use both A frames and Nosler Partitions - A frames win without question - Partitions tend to loose the front end not offering deep penetration.

    They should shoot similarly too.

    I have had good sucesss with accuracy with the MRX in my 338 win mag - but haven't used them on game yet.

  11. #31
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    A .300 is fine for general plains game. It's definitely an overkill for Dik-Dik, but maybe not suitable for larger species like eland. Check out my website for general guidelines on rifles and various African species.

  12. #32
    BryceM is offline AH Veteran
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    It's sort of funny to read back through this thread. My 2011 hunt has turned into a Sep 2010 hunt, lol. I started talking to people and one thing sort of lead to another.....

    To get ready I've been shooting more than I ever have before. I've also started shooting from a variety of more lifelike situations: prone, sitting, kneeling, off shooting sticks, in windy conditions, uphill, downhill, and at targets at 100, 200, and 300 yards.

    It's been very interesting to me to see just how much a strong crosswind affects the bullet at longer ranges. I'm getting reasonably confident from the sticks out to 200 yards or so. A prone position with a bipod extends that to 300 or 350. Beyond that, the gun and bullet are surely doing better than I am.

    Along the way I also found the best cure for .300 Wby recoil issues. Every other week I shoot the .416 Rigby. Before I got the .416, the .300 used to require concentration after 10 or 15 rounds to avoid the flinchies. Now I can go 30 or 40 rounds before I need to start thinking about it.

    Can't wait to see Namibia!

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    Default Can of worms

    Boy, you sure are opening a can of worms. Everyone, myself included, is going to have an opinion on these topics.

    I'll open with an analogy to set the stage. Most of my life I'd been a freshwater fisherman. Catching bass and trout and such on light tackle. The first time I tried saltwater fishing my world was rocked. Everything hit harder, swam faster, and was more difficult to land. That's what it is going to be like going from hunting game in the states to hunting game in Africa.

    Having said that, the .300 WBY should be fine for most plains game with most of the bullets you mention. Will a 200 grain bullet kill better than a 180? Maybe. Depends a lot on where you hit the animal. But if you need to take a raking shot, or find yourself at a difficult angle, you may find the 200 grain gives a little more umph. But I've killed plenty of game (US and Africa) just fine with 180 grain bullets out of a .300 WSM so who is to say what will work best.

    Sometimes heavier bullets have better ballistic coefficients and will actually be more accurate then lighter bullets. This was the case with my .300 WSM. Most bullet manufacturers list the BC on thier websites. Wouldn't take you long to research.

    The bullets you mention should be fine. Personally I prefer the CT Failsafe's if you can find them (out of production). Easily next in line are the Swift A-Frames. Very similar to the Nosler Partitions but with a heavier construction. Either the Swift or Nosler would be great. My .30 eats the Nosler AccuBonds best. The last bullet I recovered had held 80% of the weight. It will shoot the same as your Ballistic Tips but should hold up better. People either seem to love or hate the Barnes. I run Barnes banded solids out of my .375 H&H without complaint. They are surprisingly accurate. But have no working experiance with any of the sharp pointed expaning Barnes bullets.

    Take what I say with a grain of salt. Do what you are most confortable with and have fun working up some loads. Good shooting!

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