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45-70 Handgun for Cape Buffalo

This is a discussion on 45-70 Handgun for Cape Buffalo within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; I have been arranging hunting safaris to Africa for fourteen years and have taken several buffalo personally. I have a ...

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    Default 45-70 Handgun for Cape Buffalo

    I have been arranging hunting safaris to Africa for fourteen years and have taken several buffalo personally. I have a client that wants to hunt Cape Buffalo with a 45-70 TC handgun and would like my opinion.
    I am not a handgun hunter and have always used a .416 Taylor. The client wants my honest opinion on using this handgun and I do not feel qualified to give him an answer. He has hunted exclusively with a handgun for years and assures me he is proficient with it. There seems to be a lot of expertise on this site so I thought I would throw the question out to you folks for some honest feedback. My concern is always for the safety of the client, the PH and a clean kill on any game we may pursue.

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    AfricaHunting.com is online now Jerome Philippe, Founder of AfricaHunting.com
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    Here is a story that you might want to read: Handgun Hunting Buffalo

    Jerome Philippe, Founder of AfricaHunting.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfricaHunting.com View Post
    Here is a story that you might want to read: Handgun Hunting Buffalo
    Thanks for pointing me to the story. After much research it is beginning to appear that I had a subconscience bias against handgun hunting DG or, I'm a little paranoid ;-)

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    Isn't 45-70 a black powder cartidge ? Does that make any difference or is it just speed and bullet weight that counts ?

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    Yes it originally was a black powder cartridge. 45 Cal. with 70 Grains of black powder, thus the name. The smokeless powders of today in the same case produce a slightly higher velocity. The smokeless loads are what the guy I was referring to is using in his handgun. Coincedently, I shoot in long range target matches with a Sharps replica in 45-70 using the original blackpowder loads. These firearms and cartridge combination are extremely accurate out to 600 plus yards. My only concern was what kind of penetration you were going to get from a .500 grain bullet starting out at 1400 feet per second on something as heavy as a Cape Buff.

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    Tim, I replied to your thread on another forum but I'll touch base again with my 2 cents. As I mentioned, I took a cape buffalo with a 45-70 back in 1983. Using 500 Hornady solids with max loads, penetration is not a problem. There were also several elephant taken with the 45-70 during the 80's. I have been fortunate to take three other cape buff with handguns in 375 JDJ and 500 S&W. The one with the 500 was published in SAFARI magazine. With the right load and shot placement, there will be no issues. This is honest feedback based on experience. Best of luck--Mark Hampton

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    Mark,
    Thanks so much for the replies and feedback. Not being a handgun hunter, (or shooter for that matter) I was simply concerned that this might not be an adequate package for buff. Based on feedback like yours and some others it appears that if the hunter does his part the handgun is more than adequate for buff. We are currently working out what area in Zimbabwe he will be going, but we are booking this safari for early 2011. I will try to remember to post the outcome.
    Thanks again for all the feedback

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    congrats you shot a duggaboy with a handgun wow
    All the best
    Ibie!
    Check out my profile

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    Tim:

    I have seen guys taking water buffalos in Australia with the old H&R 1871 45.70 single shots "at close quaters". Those are really skin thick critters. I believe the caliber is capable but short barrel is a different story. As usual is all about bullet placement.

    Handgun hunting is like golf = approach and put!!

    Awesome

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    Wink Amen to the bullet placement

    I would have to heartily agree with the bullet placement comment.
    I would rather put a .270 through a buffs heart than a .470 through the cheeks
    of his arse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tim416 View Post
    Yes it originally was a black powder cartridge. 45 Cal. with 70 Grains of black powder, thus the name. The smokeless powders of today in the same case produce a slightly higher velocity. The smokeless loads are what the guy I was referring to is using in his handgun. Coincedently, I shoot in long range target matches with a Sharps replica in 45-70 using the original blackpowder loads. These firearms and cartridge combination are extremely accurate out to 600 plus yards. My only concern was what kind of penetration you were going to get from a .500 grain bullet starting out at 1400 feet per second on something as heavy as a Cape Buff.
    I take it you were shooting those out of a specialy made modern weapon, I shoot an Uberti Yellowboy in 44-40 (black powder) and they shoould be capable of shooting modern nitro powder too ... but I've seen a few were it got the metal part stredged and there was even one wich exploded in somebodies face !

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    Yes, I shoot a Pedersoli Sharps "Quigley" replica. I can get away with shooting smokeless powder (I typically use Blackpowder) in My Sharps due to the strength of the action and I shoot lighter loads with smokeless.
    When I shoot my old 1886 Winchester in .33 I use smokeless as well but only 14 grains of Unique. this is a light enough load so the bullet does'nt lead the barrel and pressure is no issue at all. The 44-40 is a great cartridge. I do not think you will have any problems shooting modern powders but due to the higher pressures created you will want to use a much reduced load. There are a lot of good sites on loading these old blackpowder cartridges. Let me know if you want me to send you some links.

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    I use 15 grains of Swiss 2 blackpowder in the 44-40, follwed by a wad and a 200 grain bullet, I like black powder shooting and only shoot it in my replica's. The smokeless powder I save for my 9mm Norinco (1911 clone). But thanks for the offer.

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    I have just returned from a month in Zimbabwe.
    I have not posted often on Africa Hunting Forums and you folks were great about providing feedback to this posts original question so thought you all deserved feedback.
    I accompanied the handgun hunter and wathced him take two buff successfully with his SSK 45-70. The first, being a good bull, was shot broadside on the shoulder at about 50 yards. The 500 grain Hornady solid passed straight through the buffalo. This buff required to be tracked and took several more shots to be put down. This buff reacted like several I have seen shot with a rifle. The handgun and hunter did their jobs well. The second buff was shot at just over a hundred yards with the bullet passing through the buffalo, taking out both lungs. This buff travelled fifty yards and dropped dead. No follow up was needed.
    In summary from personal observation I feel the 45-70 handgun is sufficient for buff as long as the hunter is proficient, (Which ours was to say the least). Their was a lot of discussion regarding the hunter using solids and softpoints, he tried both. The softpoints at the lower velocity that the handgun generated caused the softpoint to act similar to solids as their was almost no expansion. If anyone wants more in depth detail please do not hesitate to contact me. I am too jet lagged to type further this morning.
    Thanks again for all the original feedback on my question.

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    Tim, Thanks for the feedback on your client's hunt in Zimbabwe with his handgun.

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