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THOUGHTS ON TWO CLASSIC RIFLE CARTRIDGES FOR AFRICA?

This is a discussion on THOUGHTS ON TWO CLASSIC RIFLE CARTRIDGES FOR AFRICA? within the Firearms & Ammunition forums, part of the HUNTING EQUIPMENT, FIREARMS & AMMUNITION category; Being a gun aficionado, especially for some of the classic cartridges, I just wondered what you all thought about two ...

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    Default THOUGHTS ON TWO CLASSIC RIFLE CARTRIDGES FOR AFRICA?

    Being a gun aficionado, especially for some of the classic cartridges, I just wondered what you all thought about two old timers for hunting in Africa.

    One is the 8x57 Mauser and the other the .404 Jeffrey. I'm curious if anyone has had experience using them, especially in Africa, and how effective they are. I know both have been overshadowed by more modern and more powerful cartridges, but the point is not which is more powerful, but if these have been shown in modern day hunts to be effective.

    All feedback, pro and con, is welcome. Just curious.

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    seattlesetters is offline AH Senior Member
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    I don't have Africa experience but I do know the 8x57 essentially performs the same way on game that a .30-06 does....and that's pretty good.

    The .404 Jeffery, from what I gather, has a sterling reputation on the Big 5 that holds up to this day.

    Interestingly, one of my dreams is to go to Africa on a classical safari with two rifles....a .318 Westley Richards for PG and a .404 Jeffery for DG. Those are my two favorite classic cartridges...by far!

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    A mate has a .404 built by my gunsmith and used it on Zim Buff.. It is still as effective now as when it was introduced. Considering those two calibres have accounted for millions of head of game over the last 100 years I doubt anyone can complain about them.

    The 8x57 was to German colonists what the .303 was to the British. The standard 'go to' round. The .404 was standard issue to numerous Game Departments when one of their main roles was shooting out country to clear it for settlers.

    They actually make a nice pairing for an all round African battery.
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    I have both. A 98K Mauser which shoots way better than it should and a CZ .404 J. Each is just as good now as they ever were, better actually due to more choices in components. Dont have a sporter in 8mm but will someday. The .404 will go for buff in the near future. So far my best loads use IMR 4064 and Barnes TripleShok for just over 2200 fps., which is actually a little faster than original loadings whereupon its stellar reputation was built. And of course with modern bullets, well, its as good as anything else out there. Reloaded the .404 will equal .416 factory ballistics and will get over 2400 fps with the 400 gr. The Rigby being larger can surpass its own factory specs too as well that the .404 wont be able to match. But by the time you get up to that power level its not fun anymore.

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    Thanks. Figured as much, but wanted to see some reactions. I'm thinking, if I were ever to get a big bore gun for Africa, perhaps the .404 Jeffery would be the one. If it does the job, but has less recoil than the other more modern cartridges, then it would be more to my liking.

    As for the 8x57 Mauser, I knew it was much like the .30-06, but with less factory loading choices. That said, I'm just a fan of the 57mm case and was thinking of adding an 8x57 Mauser to my line up. I already have a rifle in 7x57 Mauser, as well as the 6mm Remington and .257 Roberts, which are both built on the Mauser case.

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    Ditto, The .257 is another fav of mine. I currently shoot a beautiful stainless Ruger #1-A so chambered that shoots fantastic. Even in the 22" barrel I can get over 2800 fps with the 117 Sierra with MOA accuracy. Love the little gun.

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    I doubt either will be useful on modern day animals. From what I have read, you need at least a magnum or better yet an ultra magnum of some sort to have a prayer of killing the animals that our ancestors killed just fine with an 8 x57 or a .404. It seems that modern-day animals are never taken at a range of less than 400 yards, and since the advent of laser range finders, it is no longer possible to compensate for bullet drop of more than two inches.

    While the uniformed would have you believe that these old cartridges are still perfectly suited to the job, just as they were 100 years ago, it is simply not true. Despite advances in bullet technology raising the terminal performance of these antiquated rounds, advances in gunmaking improving accuracy, and advances in optics making it easier than ever to see what we are doing, we have just not kept up with the remarkable evolution that has taken place in animals over the last century.

    An 8x57 might be adequate for a whitetail deer, but only barely. That 404 might do on a cull elk, but not a trophy. And don't even think about risking using it on the ever-menacing feral pig.

    Realizing that the ultra-magnums will soon be rendered obsolete by the rapid technological advances in game animals, I am attempting to develop a round that I can count on to still work by the time my plane crosses the ocean to Africa. I am planning to neck down a 50BMG to 338 caliber for plains game. I am undecided for dangerous game. The lathe-turned .605 depleted uranium solids are good to go, but I am unsure if I should go simple with a necked-down 20mm case, or a sabot in a 37mm case for better velocity. Of course, I will improve the 20mm by fire forming it to remove any taper and thereby increase powder capacity, so going to the 37mm case may not be needed and would unfortunately reduce magazine capacity to zero.

    In all seriousness, you should be just fine with an 8x57 and a 404

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    Well said Bert! Amen!

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    Bert, go the Sabot in 37mm case. That's a no brainer. It will only be current for another 6 months until the marketing gurus get wind of it but hey, why not.
    Time spent in Reconnaisance is never wasted.

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    Seriously. Everyone knows the only way to kill any plains game above the size of impala is to neck down a 105mm Howitzer case to something lethal...say, .416-cal...and put at least 2 -3 500gr slugs in the vitals.

    Shoot until they blow up. :-)

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    Bert that is one of the best comments I've ever read on any site. I can't wait to buy a factory 50BMG/.338 for coyotes, man they're growing 'em big these days.

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    Bert, thanks for the laugh this morning! I litke the concept. Of course the rub comes in when you try to put those catridges on a double. It may be slightly heavy, you know, maybe 11lbs? If you can get that into a 7.5-8lb package then you would really have something.

    I think the 8x57 and 404J are really great and will do absolutely anything you need. Your 8x57 will handle all PG and the 404 everything else.

    My nostalgic choice today would also include the 404J, but I would pair mine with the 9.3x62. I have probably thought way too much about this but a modern 2 gun battery would be either a 280Rem and 375Ruger or a 338WinMag and a 416WinMag depending on how much heavy stuff we would expect too hunt.

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    I like the 7 X 57 Mauser and the 404 Jeffrey! A great classic choice for hunting Africa.

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    sestoppelman,

    Nice. I have a No. 1 in .22-250. I think it's a 20" barrel. But it's a bull barrel, heavy gun too. Topped it off with a Bushnell Elite 4200 6-24x40mm, and has a bipod, the combo of which makes for a fine prarie dog gun.

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    Bert,

    Has anyone ever told you you're a hoot?

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    BigBullet,

    Interesting choices. I am planning for my first Africa trip at this time.... saving for it really. I never considered it prior to a few months ago when I learned it's more affordable than I thought, and the price of hunts out west for Elk and such have gone through the roof. I don't know that I'd ever be able to afford the trophy fees on a big five animal, so I'm looking plains game only. However, I'm fixed for that.

    I have a .35 Whelen custom built on a VZ-24 Czech Mauser, which isn't far off from the 9.3x62 when loaded with the new offerings from Double Tap (they're all over 3600 ft/lbs, with one exceeding 3700 ft/lbs). This should serve me well all the way up to eland. For the other of the two-gun battery, I have an FN Mauser action I'm looking to build a rifle on. I am planning to go with a .280 Remington Ackley Improved, although I've been considering the venerable .30-06 due to the heavier bullets available.

    I like the 8x57 Mauser, but was thinking of eventually picking one up used. I've seen some nice ones for sale on gunbroker.com.

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    The 404 is an sterling African Safari rifle for all but the long range small antelope hunts (which takes part of only a small portion of the average African Safari) and although the 8x57 is great for up to Eland size game I do prefer the 9.3x62 due to its ability to step that limit all the way up to Elephant with a similar type of round.

    Testing the sights on a mates 404 prior to an Elephant hunt;
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    ILCAPO,
    I have hunted with the 35 Whelen on three of my african hunts and it will do anything you can ask for a medium bore. I load 225gr Barnes TSX's (plain X's before the TSX) to 2625fps out of my 1903 Springfield. Never felt undergunned and I have taken a lot of game with that rifle.

    My last hunt in RSA I hunted with a 7x57 and 160gr accubonds. And thought it really great. Expect for kudu everything was knocked over very nicely. We had to track a kudu for a couple hunter yards and found it dead. Your 280AI will be better yet. I like the heavy for caliber bullets so I think I would go with the 160gr bullets in the 280 as well.

    Good hunting.

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    Bigbullet,

    Would you recommend the .280 Remington AI or the .30-06? There's not a huge amount of difference, except that the .280 is a little flatter shooter and maintains energy a little better outside 300 yards, while the .30-06, of course, allows for the heavier bullets. The .280 factory loads max out at 165 grains, with most coming in at 160 grains, whereas there are plenty of 180 grain options in the .30-06 and even several 200 grain options. Wondered which would be the more useful in most situations.

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    ILCAPO

    I would stick with the Whelen and the 280 AI.

    The Whelen is made for Africa in the thick brush. My guess is that unless you hunt in the open plains (where the 280 would be perfect) you will only use the Whelen with the 280 as a back up.

    In Africa one never knows what animal will appear next so you always want to be ready.

    I took a 375 RUM, over gunned but fun, and a 300 win. I sighted the 300 in when I got there and never took it back out of the case.

    My concern would would be the bullet, something that expands on an impala yet holds together on a kudu or eland. My thoughts would be Accubond, Partition, or Barnes TTSX probably not the TSX it may not open on a impala at 200 yards at the Whelen's speed. I'm sure that many other bullets would work these are the ones that I have worked with.

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