308 Win or 300 WSM for plains?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by bachekermooni, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. bachekermooni

    bachekermooni New Member

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    I just joined this forum. I have been reading the articles here for a while. I am planning a trip to Africa for 2012 / 2013. So as you can imagine the depth and breath of information is overwhelming - but highly educational and fun. Thanks.

    I have a Kimber 84M Classic in .308 topped with a Nikon Monarch 2-8x 32, being carried by a very light sling. Ringing wet and fully loaded it is just under 7#. I can shoot various Hornady 150 / 165 gr ammo with it into 3-shot groups of 0.75" at 100 yards off of sand bags. My handloads have provided 0.5" groups here and there.

    I am also considering building a custom 300 WSM - for this trip and perhaps it can double for NA large games (Elk, brown bear, ...). This will be a 22 - 24", Carbon-barreled, carbon-stocked rifle weighting in the 9# range - depending on scope.

    Is a 300 WSM needed for african planes - especially larger ones? Will my trusty 308 win do the work with the proper bullet selection? In an emergency, will 300 WSM even be available in most african countries?

    I am not a fan of large calibers that go BOOOOOM and take out your forehead, shoulder and ears. Nor do I enjoy dragging around heavy rifles - without cause. I have seen folks bring xxx magnums to the range to zero them in for antelope hunting in Wyoming :confused: I much rather carry an extra bottle or two of water.

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  2. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Welcome to the forum. Everything I say here needs to be understood that it's coming from a one-timer to Africa. I'd say your .308 would be fine for most of the PG up to and including Kudu. From what I saw of the PG, they are mostly thin skinned and for that matter lightly haired. I would feel even more strongly about this if the shots are held to 100 yards and closer, the big magnum just isn't necessary in those short ranges.

    Now if you are going for zebra, Eland and I might throw in waterbuck too or longer distance on the smaller species, the flat trajectory and/or power of the magnum starts coming into play.

    As far as being hurt by the magnum recoil that's a pretty subjective thing with everyone's tolerance being different. I shoot a .300 Win Mag in a Tikka T3 Lite, emphasis on LITE. It screams recoil at roughtly 6.5 lbs. But I put a Limbsaver recoil pad on it, and truly it does not bother me. If you're seeing shooters routinely being hit by the scope from a magnum, then they've either mounted the scope too far back or they need one with more eye relief or they're just getting too close. There's no reason to avoid a magnum calibre due to that problem. Even the Zeiss Conquest 3-9x can be had for $400 from Cabelas and it has very good eye relief.

    Concerning the 300WSM, while I've not figured out just what the fascination is with the short mags, I really have no problem with them either. However if you and I show up in Africa on the same plane, you with your WSM and me with my regular old Win Mag but our ammo doesn't, I'd bet I would find ammunition before you did. Something to consider.
     
  3. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    welcome bachekermooni,
    First welcome, as you have already noticed there is alot of knowledge, mine is just in books on Africa thus far, but, will change in June. As far as calibers, 308 all the way, 308, 308, 308. One of the best cartridges ever designed, most of you shooting will be done under 300 yards and IMO all you gain by using a mag. is added range, plain and simple, and at less than 300 yrds (or less) I just cannot see enough of an advantage over the 308.
    I will admit I love the more traditional calibers 308 being one of them, the only (odd ball calibers) I own would be a 35 Whelen and a 8mm rem mag, which have proved themselves time and time again.
    My advice is that, if you are not already caught up in the new cartridge faze, dont' get caught up in it. If you have trained and have confidence in the caliber you choose, then it is the right one for your trip. I think the great Craig Boddington spoke of the ultamags or XXX mags as you stated, hope I get this right, "There is nothing you can kill with a 30 caliber that requires that much velocity". I totally agree, I would rather close the distance, more like hunting, don't you think. Scott.
     
  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Go with the .308 and 165 grain bullets. If you do your part and aim for the heart and lung area.....no plains game animal will go far. Please pass on the front quartering to shots....because sometimes bullets skim of the rib cage and all you end up doing is injuring a leg. Take a broadside or quartering away shot and you will be alright. 308 shells are 100 times easier to find overseas than odd ball calibers. And I have no problem with the 300 win short....it's just that the 300 Win Mag bullets are easier to find.

    Welcome to AH!
     
  5. bachekermooni

    bachekermooni New Member

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    Thanks everyone. I am not recoil shy or intolerant. I started deer hunting in Southern Minnesota where shotguns / handguns are required. Shooting a 3" magnum 12ga solid slug in 5 degree weather where the rubber puttpad becomes rock solid, is quite an experience. I am told it has the same force as a 375 H&H :) Unless I wore a shoulder protector, I would come home with bruises on my shoulder from the range when zeroing those slugs.

    I am leaning much more towards my 308. I shoot it really well, it is light, and it seems to get the job done. Plus, I can find 308 ammo anywhere.

    Edit:
    I just checked Chuck Hawks site. At 52 ft lbs, 12ga 3" shells have 50% more recoil than 375 H&H, twice as much as 300 WSM, and three times as much as a 308.
     
  6. johnfox

    johnfox AH Senior Member

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    +1

    I took a 300SAUM running handloads with 165gr Woodleighs and I was very pleased the way it performed.
    Having said that, I could have taken the same shots with a 308 and the result would have been the same. Take the Kimber, feed it premium 165's and you won't be sorry.
     
  7. kuduman

    kuduman AH Veteran

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    i shot the 300wsm and was very impressed with it. some shooting was at long distances and this is where the wsm really shines.
     
  8. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

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    Take the 308 load it with 165 gr Barnes TSX you will be able to shoot any plainsgame in Africa with it.
    If you are going to go where shooting range will be over 200 yards for most then the 300 would be a better option.
    Shoot what you shoot best shot placemnet counts much more than energy in any case the 308 or 300 uses the same bullets just different speeds.
     
  9. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

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    I took a CZ .308W and 165 Woodleighs to hunt Africa on my first trip. It performed flawlessly. I hunted the open grassveldt around Bloomfontein and thick Bushveldt NNW of Jo'Burg.

    I then had a 9.3x62 built and got caught up in the 'calibre creep disease' and took it on my 2nd trip. I should have stayed with the .308W. I had by then (like an idiot) traded off the CZ.

    I've got a custom 7x57 for my 3rd trip for PG and also a .30-06 in the works. Either will do but the .30-06 is just more of a good thing.

    Stay with what you have and practise, practise, practise. There are no benches in the African scrub so don't use any other than to sight in and make up a pair of shooting sticks.
     
  10. RickP

    RickP AH Veteran

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    The Encore handgun that I took to RSA in 2009 was in .308 Win using Winchester Supreme 150 gr. XP3 bullets. It worked on everything (5 critters) that I used it on including zebra.
     
  11. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Hi bachekermooni,
    Welcome to the forum.I believe that you have just answered your own question. Your .308 will take anything on a plains game hunt. The weight of the rifle is not critical, except on the recoil front. Since most hunting is done on spot and stalk, you wont be expected to carry the rifle for miles.

    Best Regards
    Marius Goosen
     
  12. bachekermooni

    bachekermooni New Member

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    Thanks everyone. I have been researching. Barnes has the TSX and the TTSX (Tipped TSX). The later is supposed be a bit more BC, but the tip is also supposed to help with expansion. Has anyone had any experience with these?
     
  13. graybird

    graybird AH Veteran

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    I used the Barnes 180 grain TSX last year in my 300 Win Mag being pushed by IMR7828 at a slow 2825 fps. The bullets performed flawlessly. I took 2 kudu (168 and 225 yards), black wildebeest (271 yards) blesbok (70 yards), mountain reedbuck (125 yards) and common duiker (~30 yards). Only the blesbok required a secondary shot as he broke to run and I was past the point of no return on trigger squeeze and gave him the ole Texas heart shot, which immediately dropped him, but the second shot was required.

    I have since taken a bull elk, scimitar horned oryx and blackbuck with these bullets llast fall. Every single bullet has been a complete pass thru with no bullets recovered. Only one petal has been recovered on the exit wound from the kudu taken at 225 yards.

    I've loaded a set of 168 gr TTSX bullets to try when I get a chance, but I have absolutely nothing to complain about with the 180 gr TSX performance.

    I would think that either of the 165 or 168 grain TSX or TTSX would be an excellent choice in your 308W.
     
  14. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    I've been hunting with the Barnes TTSX for the last couple of years. Recovered a couple of bullets. The 1st 2 pics were from my .270WSM w/ a 130 gr TTSX on a nice mule deer at about 150 yards. Went through close to 30 inches of animal. The next 2 are from my .300WSM and are 150 gr TTSX. They were from a bull elk this past fall and went through perhaps 30 inches of animal. Weight retention is good. My accuracy has been great. Only thing is they shoot best in a clean barrel. My accuracy starts to suffer after as few as 8 shots from the .300. They seem to be getting the job done. We'll see if the pic's loaded! Bruce

    barnes .300 -2.jpg barnes .270 -2.jpg barnes .300.jpg barnes .270.jpg
     
  15. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    Well the order on the pics is mixed up, but they are identified at the bottom of the pic. Bruce
     
  16. tim416

    tim416 AH Veteran

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    From your initial post it sounds as if you are comfortable with your .308 and it shoots beyond excellent. This combination of factors should allow you to place a bullet where you want it to go. At the end of the day proper bullet placement is far more important than velocity.
    I will chime in with the others above and recommend easily the .308. I have used 180 grain bullets in my 30-06 in Africa for sixteen years. I use 55.5 grains of IMR 4831 which only provides a little over 2500 fps and have shot dozens of heads of plains game successfully with this load. I have used Sierras and Noslers both with good success. I switched to the Barnes TSX last year and they were used only twice on, kudu and impala. The bullet performed well on both animals.
     
  17. sammysafari

    sammysafari New Member

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    Shot placement is everything. If you can place your .308 bullets where ever you want them, then you have everything you need. I've shot and hunted with both the .308 and .300WSM and I like them both. But I shoot the 300WSM much better, I think it's a function of a better balanced rifle. (Both are Model 70 Featherweights with the same scope. But the .308's barrel is shorter and lighter. The WSM's meatier, longer and therefore slightly heavier. Ideally, a rifle should be heavier up front.) I've been to Africa twice, the first trip I took my 300WSM and it performed beautifully. (On my last trip I was only going after dangerous game, so I took my 416 Rigby only. Otherwise, I would have taken my WSM again.) The first animal I shot was at about 80 yards and I had to shoot through heavy brush. The video showed that the bullet (a 180 grain XP3) hit several branches on the way to the kudu. Still it dropped it on the spot. This is significant cause a criticism of high velocity rounds is that they break up in brush. Mine did not. I then shot an eland, waterbuck, zebra, lion, and springbok at varying ranges the longest being only 170 yards. On 3 of those, the bullet ended up underneath the skin on the other side. The lion I hunted with a .457 magnum. But my shooting was so bad (Hemingway was right, don't trust a hunter's abilities until you see him shoot something dangerous that's right in front of him), it was literally spray and pray. That poor thing had 3 holes in it and was still hopping around though I emptied my magazine. Instead of reloading, one of my PH's handed me my 300WSM. When I shot that lion it seized up and dropped dead on the spot. That was the first time I had seen anything close to hydrostatic shock.

    While it's true that the .308 is common in Africa and the 300 WSM is not. For plains game, I would bring my 300WSM back to Africa every time. But that's because I shoot better with it than any other caliber I have.

    Have fun practicing and planning for your hunt.
     
  18. BigBullet

    BigBullet AH Member

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    Much of what is required by a rifle is dependent on the terrain and the game to be hunted. The longest shot I have ever taken was in Namibia at 340 yards at a mountain zebra and that was taken with the "rainbow" trajectory of my 35 Whelen. That was a oddity and most other shots have been well short of 200 yards. You certainly do not need speed for plains game. A good solidly constructed bullet of either 165 or 180 grains at between 2600 and 2800 fps will do the job and leave a blood trail as well. What your 300WSM gives you over the 308 is about 50-100 yards more range. And typically that range is not required for the majority of your hunting.

    BTW, you don't really have to choose...you can take both. Good hunting.
     

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