Best Caliber for plainsgame in Africa ? Your opinion
I know there is hundreds of very good caliber combination out there but between the ones on the pole which I think is the more common ones. Which one would you take if you could only take one and bag all the plains game found in Africa.
Because you have only one rifle you are able to reload for it to find a perfect load for your quarry.
After choosing please state why ?
dittos on the 338 w/225 x bullets
I've mounted and unfortunately on occasion been unable to mount a considerable number of plains game shot with all of the named cartridges. Which , I suppose, does attest to the fact that all are effective at downing game?
As one that give considerable priority to the final mounted trophy I shy away from the super fast loads and rapidly expanding bullets because of the hydraulic shock effect and consequential damage to the cape. Essentially body fluid is driven into the hair follicles and epidermal layers with bullet entry. Commonly referred to as Blood shot, often this is not readily noticeable and can be partially reversed by quick skinning and thourough salting. But other times the hair follicles are damaged thoroughly enough that there will be significant hair loss around the bullet hole.
On thin haired small plains game this is very noticeable and repair via taking an 1 to 3 inches out of a 14 inch impala neck is equally noticeable. (I’ve seen nosler partitions impacting on the point of an eland’s shoulder create a bald spot 4-5" across.
The x bullet enters and departs clean but is devastating to blood vessels and internal organs and the 338 has power and stability way down range and all the way thru even the toughest plains game.
Which leads to another important factor the internal ballistics of various bullets and the effect of speed and configuration of same. I’m inclined to believe that speed has a significant impact on the behavior and integrity of many bullets compounded by what they hit first and successively thereafter.
The screamer bullets tough enough to slam into round bones, hold together and stay true to course often don’t expand enough to do adequate internal damage when they don’t hit that bone. The 338 and x combo has proven to me to be an ideal balance.
I’ve retrieved a 96% 225 x that was protruding from the dark tough skin under the tail of a big stallion zebra after it had traveled the entire length of the animal. It was one of only a few I have ever found since most passed through and in all of those instances the exit was in a straight line from muzzle thru the entry wound.
Not my proudest shot placement but on another instance I took a springbok that was going straight away. Due to stout crosswinds (my excuse) or my pulling the shot a fraction the bullet hit the little buck 4 inches to the left of center and entered the back of his hind leg. I was sitting and at his level so it exited the front of his leg and immediately entered his full round belly only to exit again where his rib cage constricted his girth and again entered the back of his fore leg, exited again and continued across the flat dry pan for who know how far. The little buck went straight down with both left legs shattered and was dispatched as quickly as we could cover the 280 yards. 3 entry and 3 exit wounds were all in perfect line and all neat little holes. At 15 3/8ths length and an overall SCI 45 3/8 score for 17th overall ranking, I was extremely pleased that the bullet did not explode in the ham or deflect and have him continue on 3 legs, and equally pleased that the damage was repairable.