Best bullet for Cape Buffalo

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by colorado, May 13, 2013.

  1. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hello,

    Having only shot one buffalo I am but a toddler on the subject.
    However, I speak with anyone who hunts big game (and who is foolish enough to hold still for a minute), about hunting, especially rifles/sights/scopes and bullet related topics.
    The common opinion among several PHs that I have cornered on this, is that most (not all, but most) prefer clients who are not rifle nuts, to use a sturdy bolt action with low power scope in .375 H&H.

    They told me they like clients to shoot 300 grain Swift A-Frame for the first shot and 300 gr monolithic solids with a flat tip AKA "meplat" or similar shape for all follow-up shots.
    Also, it is worth mentioning that all but one of the PHs I have had the great pleasure of conversing with about buffalo hunting (and hunting in general) either have a .458 Lott and prefer it for their own buffalo hunting, plus backing up clients or they have a .458 3" but loaded to the same ballistics as the others generally load the Lott version (2.85" ?).
    In those, they use the 500 gr A-Frame for their first shot when hunting and 500 gr solids for follow-ups and backing clients of course.
    To quote John Luyt of Duke Safaris, "I've never seen a Swift A-Frame fail".

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
  2. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    bushstalker are they the same rifle as the one in the 1st photo leaning on the skull mount looks like its a take down , but in this photo it doesnt seem to have that capability, or do you have 2 rifles in .416 taylor? just wondering why you chose this calibre ? as years ago i nearly had one built for my brother as a bday present. i thought it would have been interesting to have had the headstamps for cases made with his initials on i.e. .416 s.j.taylor. sense prevailed after working out the logistics of doing it back then though...................:)
  3. Bushstalker

    Bushstalker AH Member

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    Hello Spike, no its two different rifles the first one if from VO rifles and the other one is a Varberger mod Africa, both in 416 Taylor. The reason I use the 416 Taylor caliber is that I start many years ago with 375 H&H and after some time I come to a point where I understand that its a bit soft for buffalo, its working but its not perfect and can be comparable to hunting moose with 6,5x55, it will also working but its on the border to be a too small caliber. So when I order the new VO rifle 12 years ago I decide to go for the same 416 Taylor because its never let me down and give me everything I need in a short action TD rifle, the other barrel on this rifle is a 7mm re.mag and therefore I can use the same bolt.

    Reason : Its give the same speed and impact energy as the 416 Rigby or 416 Rem.Mag with modern powder and rifled bullets like N-F 400 gr (2395 fps) vo/0 but with a shorter case.

    Velo Dog, I do not agree with you ! People (the not gun-nut) that ending up on a safari and do not know what bullet or load to use are not prepared and will not winning any kind of respect from a PH, and its people like this that need guidance from the PH what bullet to be used. I have never ever had any kind of discussion with a PH of what bullet to use on buffalo, and if he of some kind of reason would tell me to NOT use a NF Cup point solid on buffalo I will first kindly ask him to explain why ! If the explanation is not good I will probably tell him something before I start to packing my bags. I hear that some old timers want the concept with first a solid and then a soft, but most of us more experienced hunters know that this is not working in reality because it is pure generalization, also that you with this must have a perfect broadside shot first and then a running away 2 shot. What about the small angle shots when a soft nose will have problem to penetrate ? Or you must take a fast front chest shot on a big bull with a soft in the chamber ?

    I think that Kevin Robertson rely know what he speaking about : http://kilimanjarorifles.com/press-kevin-robertson-article.html

    Cheers, M
  4. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    bushstalker great if you reload but i dont. as for the KR article in the link i think kevin was saying the northfork cup solids are the perfect bullet for backing up on buff, these are his words (I am now of the impression that they are the perfect bullets for all buffalo backing shots.) but he also says that for clients the soft first is better due to the fact there might be other buff behind and you dont want the bullet whistling through as the NF did when he shot his one. his words again inc the above sentence (From a safari clients perspective, it is usually recommend that the first shot at a well-positioned buffalo be taken with a good quality expanding type bullet because they create significantly larger wound channels than solids and this is what makes them a lot more effective. Expanding bullets usually do not exit buffalo either even from side-on. This is an important consideration especially as it is often not possible to be sure of what is behind the target animal. Follow-up or ‘backing’ shots invariably involve awkward ‘going away’ angles. Such shots require deeper penetration and it is for this reason why solids are recommended for all such shots. But after seeing just how well North Fork’s CNS’s penetrate and perform, even from the rear, I am now of the impression that they are the perfect bullets for all buffalo backing shots.) also most of the newer heavy duty softs/mono softs in cals from .375h&h up will penetrate well into the vitals of even a big buff on a frontal shot.
    Velo Dog likes this.
  5. buffybr

    buffybr AH Veteran

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    I have only shot one buffalo. He died from a 300 grain TSX bullet from my .375 RUM that went through his shoulder and lungs.
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  6. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    One of the reasons I like NF bullets besides their performance is that I've had the opportunity to talk with the gents that design their products on numerous occasions. The engineers there work other jobs during the day, then show up at night to work on bullets. So as an engineer it's been fun for me to discuss with them my results and challenges that I've had.

    In one of the conversations at DSC where they have a booth, we were talking about the cup point solid (CPS). I just wasn't quite getting why they even made it. It's neither truly a soft point nor is it truly a solid in the tradition sense. The reply I got to that was a simple yes, exactly.

    The motivation behind the CPS was to have penetration depth similar to normal solids but with a larger wound channel. They actually wanted to have somewhat less penetration depth in comparison to the their flat point solids because essentially they were getting more than they needed. So the expansion of the CPS not only creates a larger wound channel, it still gives great penetration but not more than you need. I'm not sure on a broadside buff shot that I would trust it to not exit, nor does it expand quite like the bonded cores, but it seems like they achieved what they intended.
  7. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    (?)
  8. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Spike.t,

    Thanks and I wish I had said that.

    Regards,
    Velo Dog.
  9. CAustin

    CAustin AH Fanatic

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    Interesting looking Buffalo sir and nice rifle as well.
  10. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Thanks, he now presides over my dining table.
    Likewise, the horns you hold in your photo, indicate a huge old warrior, massive bosses, etc.

    As for my rifle, you must've seen it in my photos under the recent Hornady DGX bullet discussions.
    It was an Army & Navy .450 No2 Nitro 3.5", with 28" barrels, Jones underlever, rebounding hammers, blah, blah, blah.
    I do enjoy Pre-War firearms / old time things in general.

    Cheers.
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2014
  11. Bushstalker

    Bushstalker AH Member

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    So.. I guess you are a "rifle nut" then ? o_Oo_O:unsure::unsure::unsure:
  12. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hello Bushstalker,

    I plead - Guilty As Charged.

    In that same vain, after viewing both your .416 Mausers, I salute you for your excellent taste in walnut and steel.

    Regards,
    Velo Dog.
  13. Bushstalker

    Bushstalker AH Member

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    Hi Veldo Dog, yes we are probably not very popular by the PH's .... only like to add a photo from my first
    buffalo 25 years ago, Zimbawe (Lake Kariba) a nice buffalo score 93 sci points, noting very special
    trophy but a 10 year old bull and probably that one I remember best. During that time I was using a 375 H&H (Kimber) broadside shoulder shot and going down after 30 meter with a 300 gr Hornady Solid (handloaded).
    Regards, Bushstalker 375buff..jpg
  14. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hi again Bushstalker,

    I like your buffalo picture very much and I know almost nothing about SCI scoring but he looks like a very fine bull.
    Kimber makes very sturdy rifles and I would happily use one for DG.
    They are quite popular here where I live in caliber .375 H&H.
    I almost bought a used one in .416 Rigby but ended up with a CZ instead and then had it somewhat modified to my taste (saved about $2,000.US that way).

    From my meager 4 African safaris, I must have been lucky with PHs.
    The only one that was somewhat hostile toward me was one named "Kevin" with "Burchell Safaris" (I think now out of business but not sure) in Namibia, about 12 years ago.
    It had nothing to do with my rifle choice I'm very sure.
    He seemed to rather like the one I brought on that trip, it was a Model 98 Mauser in .300 H&H, with Zeiss 4x scope.

    His noted disgust with me began after I had to say, for about the third time that:
    "During our emails we had agreed to do spot and stalk hunting on foot as much as possible and not just ride around to shoot animals from the bakky".

    Also, it didn't help when I asked if there was any place where myself and my hunting partner could be free from his (PH's) children each evening, as we wished to enjoy our sun downers around the fire, instead of having to endure the nightly game of screaming grab-ass.
    (Our drinks frequently held high so the hideous brats couldn't bash them out of our hands - his mob of screeching snot-nosers acted more like wild animals than humans).

    I'm ranting again.....sorry.

    In closing, the other PHs I have met seemed to enjoy my presence, perhaps especially due to my preference in rifles and related things.
    One in particular (Hannes Swanepoel) has become a friend to the point of visiting us each year in connection to his touring several states while advertising for his safari company.
    He is for sure a Rifle Nut.

    Best Regards,
    Velo Dog.
  15. Bushstalker

    Bushstalker AH Member

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    Interesting and thanks for sharing that experience Velo Dog, I had the same bad luck ones in west Africa some years ago with a Danish PH and his wife and them two wild children during a tented safari...

    All the best,
    Bushstalker
  16. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    velo dog, that sounds awful! not many things would ruin my hunting trip faster then having to deal with a herd of screaming kids in the hunting camp. one of my favorite parts of hunting is the peace and quiet that comes with it.

    as for the best bullet: Barnes TSX, Swift A-frame, North Fork softs, or Woodliegh softs would all be fine choices according to the various articles and reviews ive read. which ever one of those shoots the best in your gun should bring down a buffalo quite nicely. my PH is very fond of the Barnes TSX and believes if you use these bullets that no solids are required. for my upcoming buffalo hunt I will either use Barnes TSX or Swift A-frames (depending on which shoots the best in my rifle).

    -matt
  17. Bushstalker

    Bushstalker AH Member

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    Hello Matt, I do not like to step on toes here, but I think that the TSX bullet is build on the same principle as the old Barnes X, correct me if I'm wrong... Shot two Buffalo with the 416 Taylor and 350 gr Barnes X in Selous and it was the worst bullet I ever use for buffalo !!! The first one took two shoulder hits, and then running off for 500 meter and standing with low head, tracking it for 20 minutes and shot the 3 shot high (spine) to get him down. The other one a huge old bull took 10 shots before it was down, all of them good hits in the central area but did not penetrate enough, so this was the last time I use a pure copper bullet like that for buffalo. Smaller games taken during that hunt was all dropped with the first shot and looks like its did the work.

    M
  18. matt85

    matt85 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    its not fair to compare the new TSX to the old X bullet, the new TSX is a vast improvement over the old bullet. while I haven't used it on DG yet, you can always ask the many PH's on this forum what they think of the new TSX bullet. I will be hunting cape buffalo next year with KMG safaris and they highly recommended the TSX bullet for this task.

    -matt
  19. Bushstalker

    Bushstalker AH Member

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    Improvement... that's a big word, for me the X & TSX bullet looks exactly similar after expanding. The other thing is why to use a sharp nosed bullet like the TSX for buffalo, many times you have grass and small bushes and a round nosed or flat nosed bullet would not be so sensible than a sharpnosed TSX, on other hand it comes with a little higher BC than a NF bullet but BC bearing no interest in this case for shots on buffalo out to maximum 100 meters ! Read and listen what other say... but try it in reality then your opinion would be interesting ~!
  20. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Nose shape really means nothing when it comes to deflecting brush. Plenty of tests have proven that myth wrong. I think a lot it has to do with the force behind the bullet. And the TSX works best when you push it fast. I killed an elk in Montana with one of those old Barnes X at 50 yards. I hit in the lungs and it went no where, rolled down the mountain. I was using a 270 Win. I don't know how a cape buffalo could take 10 shots to the lungs. Other than to say, genetically it might have a greater tolerance. It was dead and just standing on it's feet.

    Obviously have a lot of hunting experience Bushstalker. I think their are some better bullets than the TSX. But the TSX is a pretty good one. I do think the North fork and CEB are better.

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