Best Caliber for plainsgame in Africa ? Your opinion

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Frederik, Jun 6, 2009.

?

Best caliber for plainsgame

  1. various 7mm's

    22 vote(s)
    10.3%
  2. 308

    14 vote(s)
    6.5%
  3. 30-06

    35 vote(s)
    16.4%
  4. various .300's

    69 vote(s)
    32.2%
  5. 338 win mag

    31 vote(s)
    14.5%
  6. 358. norma magnum

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  7. 9.3 x 62

    12 vote(s)
    5.6%
  8. 375 H&H

    31 vote(s)
    14.5%
  1. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

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    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 ?
  2. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

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    My choice would be the 338 win mag a lethal combo with 225 gr premium bullets.
  3. Gerhard

    Gerhard AH Veteran

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    I would take a 338 Win Mag with 250gr premium bullets for the big heavy boned plains game any day.

    For smaller plains game the 225gr out of the 338 Win Mag is a killer.
  4. Karl Stumpfe

    Karl Stumpfe AH Veteran

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    Frederik, I chose the various .300's, but would lump the .30-06 and .308 in there as well. There is not a lot of difference between all of them, and they all work excellent for most PG, eland and giraffe being the exception.
  5. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

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    Karl,

    Knowing you I thought you would have commented why I didnt have the 8x68S in there on the list. :biggrin2: Super caliber btw but not very common in the rest of the world.

    The reason why I separated the 308.s and 30-06's is because the 300's are very wide in range even if they use the same bullet but look at the 300 RUM or weatherby its quite a step up in energy and speed from the 30-06 and 308's.
  6. Karl Stumpfe

    Karl Stumpfe AH Veteran

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    Thats why I did not even ask! My favorite any day (8x68 S with 220 gr premium bullets, in my case Swift A-Frames.)
    I just do not believe that a .308 kills anything less than a .300 RUM, if shooting the same bullet. The faster bullet has more effective range, but I have had very few clients that could shoot past 300 yards consistently, so whats the point of having all that "energy" at distance. (Not that I think energy kills, but thats a separate topic...)
  7. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    .. The 30/06 by all means!! You can load it to do any job needed for plains game animals.... As Doctari Mr Robertson says keep the bullet speed down to 2400fps keep it in the animal so everything is spent inside the animal & no chance of killing other animals!! From reading another thread some got excited when another member cut Mr Robertson's theories & knowledge - but everyone seems to not listen to him about bullet speed & all the souped up rounds!!
    ....14 african trophies- 12 - 1 shot kills- 2 required a 2nd shot - and 2 misses...animals taken - Kudu,Red Hartebeest, Blue & Black Wildebeest, 2 Gemsbuck, and smaller animals..4 spring buck, 2 impala, blesbuck,and Warthog..Distances from 50 - 500 yds.
    ...There is no doubt in my mind that it could handle Eland, Giraffe ,or Water buck. Proper bullet placement is 90% of the game!!Another point about the 30/06 is you can get bullets darn near any place you go..I even found them in a couple places in the LImpopo... It has proven itself through time ..Everywhere!!
  8. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    I said 30.06. Simple enough for me. I have shot one for a very long time. Feel very comfortable with my accuracy. Sufficient firepower to take the plains game.
  9. billrquimby

    billrquimby AH Veteran

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    I started to pick the .30-06, because nearly everyone here owns at least one and it is more than adequate for game animals up to and including eland, but I ended up voting for "various 7mms" instead. That's because I've taken almost all of my antelope with the 7 mm Remington Magnum with 175 grain Nosler Partition bullets.

    As I've stated elsewhere, too many American hunters are overgunned when they go after Africa's antelope. They've heard that African game is tougher than American elk, moose and bears (Baloney!) and they buy a new shoulder thumper for their first safari.

    They'd be better served if they took their favorite deer rifle if it's at least .270 in caliber.

    Bullet placement is everything, and unless a hunter can handle the recoil of rifles that kick more than a .300 Winchester Magnum (my personal limit), he cannot shoot as accurately as he can with a rifle with mild recoil.

    The .338 Win Mag is a fine caliber but -- if I were a PH and a client showed up with one or something heavier -- I would want to see how he handled its recoil before I put him farther than 50-60 yards from an animal. A great many people simply cannot handle the .33s, 35s, and larger.

    Bill Quimby
  10. derekwest

    derekwest AH Member

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    Took my Weatherby .340 to Namibia last year and shot six animals with six bullets (250 grain Nosler Partitions). May be overkill for the smaller animals but worked like a charm for me. Taking my 300 Win Mag next time for the cats.
  11. ndsnowman

    ndsnowman New Member

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    Whatever rifle in the above battery that the hunter shoots the most accurately, I voted 30-06.
  12. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Frankly, any of the thirties will do fine for any plains game with premium bullets. That said, I absolutely loved the way my .338 handled averything. I have not shot an Eland with it, but bullet recovery with 250 gr partitions or A-frames on anything else is very unlikely. It has plenty of reach to nail a zebra way out there, and plenty of accuracy to do the same with a springbok. A stout bullet tends to drill through the small stuff with limited damage while taking the wind out of anything bigger with authority.

    As noted above, the .338, particularly with the 250 gr load, does often seem the break point between tolerable and unpleasant recoil for some. A well stocked rifle with just a bit of heft will make all the difference in that regard.
  13. Die Ou Jagter

    Die Ou Jagter AH Member

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    My preference is the 338 WM with 225X bullets. Thus far I have taken numerous Impala (bait), Warthog, Blesbok, Bontebuck, Springbok (4), Bushbuck (2), Kudu (2), Nyala, Oribi, Cape Grysbok, Klipspringer, Common Duiker, Blue and Black Wildebeest, Mt Reedbuck, Common Reedbuck, Zebra (4), Eland, Giraffe, Waterbuck and Leopard, so it is good on largest to the smallest. I must admit (my fault) the Eland required a follow up shot.
  14. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    There is no "Best" caliber, and any of the ones you mention will work fine..I suppose my choice would be the 300 or .338, the 338 Win is my all time favorite do anything caliber and considering Eland are on the agenda it would probably be the best chioce in my mind, but that is just my preference..

    I would happly hunt anything on this planet with a 30-06 with proper bullets, but it probably and arguebly would not be the best choice..

    Just hand me any caliber off your list and I will have a good safari.
  15. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Senior Member

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    I'm going to go with the 7mm Mag and 175gr Swift A-frames. Reason being, that's what I own and can use it effectively. I've never owned/shot a 338 WM or 300 WM so can't comment on them.

    Granted, I'm supposed to be getting my 375 H&H in the next day or two and my opinion might change.
  16. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I voted for the 300, because I use a 300 Win Mag. and feel 180 grain bullets in Interbond or Accubond is all you need. I would normally say the 7mm but the Eland, Kudu, Waterbuck, zebra and giraffe are just plain big and tough. I did feel way overgunned on the bushbuck, springbok, impala and blesbok, they could have been taken with a 243 Win. but it is a pain to bring a more than one gun to Africa.
  17. 375lvr

    375lvr AH Member

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    Heeler75, If you have a 375 H&H, I would suggest taking it. It is big medicine for anything you may run into. I shot Federal power-shok 270gr SP. All 5 animals dropped in their tracks. Including a Gemsbok @250 yards. More a testimony to the power of the round than my shooting :) Only problem with the Softpoint is that it is not bonded. The picture below is from a Blue Wildebeest @75 yards. entry junction neck/shoulder the core exited behind the opposite shoulder, the jacket against the skin.
    [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

  18. Michael Snyder II

    Michael Snyder II AH Member

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    I went with the various .300 mags because I feel they are excellent for whatever situation presents itself.
  19. oscar1975

    oscar1975 AH Veteran

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    I have chosen the 338 WM, because it is very versatil ride bullets from the 180 grains to the 250 grains, by covering many animal species except the big five.

    Regards,

    Oscar.
  20. madabula

    madabula New Member

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    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.

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