BLUE WILDEBEEST PRACTICAL CALIBERS

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by BARTFRNCS, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. Rohan

    Rohan

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    Hoping to take my first BW this year! Can't wait!

    By the sounds of things they are indeed a force to be reckoned with if that first shot doesn't sink the tank. By June or so I should have a .303 BSA that I will later convert to a .308Win. With a good shot in the spot 'low' just behind the shoulder with a well constructed soft-nose he should run a bit then drop shortly afterwards, will also avoid quartering and frontal shots (except under the chin). When I get my .375 I will take him on the shoulder broadside and feel a lot more confident with a 270 grain for all other angles.
  2. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Rohan, Curious about the .303 BSA you plan to convert to .308? Are we talking about the SMLE?
  3. Rohan

    Rohan

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    Yes, its a BSA in .303 SMLE No1. Not sure if the.308 conversion will be possible(?) Its my idea to have it rebarreled to .308, glass-embedded... What are your thoughts? Stock is already sporterized and its quite a fixer-upper.
  4. Rohan

    Rohan

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    Not sure how I will deal with the magazine issue...suppose a gunsmith will customise it for a typical internal mag set up
  5. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Its not a real good idea I'm afraid. Not like the gun will blow up but its not designed to handle the sometimes over 50000 lbs of pressure of the .308. True most factory loads wont go that high but some do and handloading would be out of the question but for light loads and what would be the point? Later SMLE guns made by Ishapore already come in .308 so you might want to look for one of those and they are in the No. 1 configuration but are stronger newer guns than an early SMLE like the BSA #1. Actually the .303 is just as good a round for most purposes, a known killer of moose in the northwoods. I have been playing with a Ruger No.1 in .303 and love it. Of course in that rifle it can be boosted somewhat but still is no better than the .308 but just as good. I would not recommend converting your BSA to .308, just not practical and eventually might lead to headspace issues etc. Plus it would likely cost more than you could buy a brand new .308 for to do the work.
  6. Rohan

    Rohan

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    Oh I see, that's really good to know Scott. I got the general idea from an Outfitter who said he had a .243 Enfield converted from .303. But I suppose the type of Enfield is important and the cartridge. I will just get it rebarreled if the throat is worn etc and accurized and the works instead of spending on a conversion that would be costly and pretty pointless. I'm ok with the performance of the .303 have used one or two on blesbuck and warthog etc but I thought I could convert my one to a more yummy .308. Unfortunately my application is in and the next rifle I intend on getting is a .375. One learns so much on this forum.
  7. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Yes the type is important. I should clarify also that not all the Ishapore guns are .308, most were .303 but they did make .308 as well and those would be fine. In fact I had a carbine version for a while, neat gun, good shooter. Your BSA should be fine as is, a classic in every sense. Its been said about World War 1 that the Germans had the best hunting rifle (98 Mauser), the Americans had the best target rifle, (Springfield) and the British the best battle rifle, the SMLE.
  8. Rohan

    Rohan

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    Its for that authenticity of the rifle that I only want to rebarrel etc only if its totaly necessary(like rebarreling it to .308 for hunting). I like good old Mausers, Enfield etc the way they were when they were in use back then. For very necessary and practical purposes I don't mind seeing one get tweeked here and there, but I'm definitely a classic rifleman at heart. According to an article I read regarding Enfield actions, the actions of the Enfield were good in battle due to being a cock-on-closing mechanism which allowed the men to reload and fire easier and quicker - its supposedly less strain because there is less resistance when lifting the bolt as opposed to typical mauser type action. How accurate and practical that observation is I will never know.
  9. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Why would you not just take him on the shoulder with a 308 as you would with a .375?

    I am not so eager at shooting a Blue Wildebeest. I don't know why. I could have shot one last year, but I just didn't want one. I will see when I go to Marius this year. Maybe he will change my mind and I will try to shoot one with my bow:p
  10. Rohan

    Rohan

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    I learned to take animals just behind the shoulder broadside and it works. Enjoy your hunt (go for a Wildebeest!).
  11. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    HDP while I undestand your way of thought with taking a shot "tight" behind the shoulder I do not 100% agree with it, this is personal though and is not intended to point a finger at you just my experience has tought me to do otherwise. Let me explain...

    A 308 is more than enough to punch through a shoulder joint on a Wildebeest, and is way more than enough to do the same with only penetrating through the muscle by coming straight up with the front leg when presented with a broadside shot. 1 Rule use a good bullet.

    What I have seen is that most of our US and Canadian as well as European friends have a simple muscle memory, this would be to take a shot behind the shoulder, due to the fact that most deer type game's vitals, stretch much further behind the shoulder, than African game, where there is no doubt that the heart and a large portion of lung is located between the two front legs, behind the two front legs the largest portion of lung tends to go higher up in the cavity rather than lower.

    Point is, when instructing a client that has hunted North American game for 25 years plus to take a shot just behind the shoulder on a fully broadside shot the old muscle memory kicks in and the shot is placed to far behind the elbow, this creates another problem as the vitals are then missed, if the same shot was to be placed slighly high it would be good as you would connect with both lungs.

    However,.... I try to tell guys to hit bottom third "middle" as this puts the shot right over the top of the heart and is one of the most leathal shots you can make.
    Also with calling a broadside shot on the shoulder (and by this I do not mean joint or Scapula), as I am reffering to coming up straight with the leg the shot will be entering right in the middle of the vital zone giving the shooter the largest margin for error possible. Something which is really handy when excited.

    Not doing so on a broadside shot, and going for the "behind the shoulder shot" leaves a shooter with a large margin for error towards the right on an animal (not Cat) facing to the right.... but virtually nothing should the shot be tweaked to the left as he would be running into paunch.

    Going for the middle of the vital zone is always highly reccomended by myself and many others, and I have seen it works the best, we should always remember that our vitals are foreign to most and although our clients and hunting friends have seen diagrams it boils down to what they grew up with as far as hunting is concerned and upon hearing the words behind the shoulder (yet again on a broadside shot) muscle memory sets in and a shot is taken like it would be done on a white tail Muely or other deer like species, if placed in the bottom third this will most definitly end up in hours of fun and good excercise.

    HDP not to say that you are wrong as you have learned to go "tight" but as a word of caution.

    My very best always
  12. Trophy Game Safaris

    Trophy Game Safaris AH Senior Member

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    I took my Blue Wildebeest at approximately 75 yards using a 358 STA and 250 grain North Fork bonded soft. The shot was slightly quartering towards me, hit it just in front of the left shoulder. The wildebeest went approximately 100 yards and dropped. The bullet was found on the opposite side just under the skin behind the right shoulder. Perfect mushroom, those North Forks are great.
  13. Rohan

    Rohan

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    Jaco, this information is duly noted.

    My appraisal of 'tight behind the shoulder' is different to US or European hunter's appraisal of 'tight behind the shoulder' as you have noted, due to the difference in the way the vitals are lodged in the vitals area. As Marius has said to me, there are some things one cannot learn form a book, only from experience in the field. And I have learned a new view from an experienced professional, this I value greatly. So, my understanding of African game and taking them tight behind the shoulder and my experience in doing that successfully over the years is not necessarily the best advice I should give to foreign hunters who's idea of 'behind the shoulder' would lead to their idea of a foreign animal's 'behind the shoulder'. Even if they are informed of the difference in vital area betwen the two, as you said, muscle memory could take over and this will lead to wounding... I as an African game hunter who lives in Africa know what I mean by taking it behind the shoulder and I have the muscle memory for African game, but it's not advisable to tell foreign to do the same. I understand fully and I will note this.

    As for shooting a WB on the shoulder (or any larger game) with a .308, I agree that the .308 is sufficient to take on the shoulder, but I am used to taking the tight shots behind the shoulder with the .308,.303, 30-06...it's just how I started shooting and carried on. I think the 'behind the shoulder' shot placement for me started because when I started huting I used smaller calibres like the .222 and 22-250...and the elders would say "net agter die blad"... And with the .375 I just always took game on the shoulder. Its a habit that I erroneously placed the .375 above any and all by implyng that I will only take larger game behind the shoulder with a .308, and on the shoulder with a .375. I have taken Hartebeest and Kudu on the shoulder with a .223 before, but I just never took to taking game on the shoulder with anything smaller than the .375 as a normal practice, again it's just a habit that I grew up with, but now I see your point of view as a person who guides international clients, and I take that advice to heart.

    So, I appreciate your comment and I will carry it forward in my future.

    Thanks,
  14. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    David North fork's rock!!!!, I only discovered them 2 years ago on my 375 I think it was a 350gr or something not quite sure, but they sure do work, also used them on Cape and got full broadside penetration with 87% + bullet weight retention (multiple times on different Bulls)

    I am struggling to find some though, in S.A they seem to be difficult to get!

    HDP very true it is what you grew up with and what you are used too.

    My very best always.
  15. joester

    joester AH Veteran

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    Shot mine 2 years ago in Namibia- .375 H&H w/300 gr soft points handloaded by PH, 1 shot @ about 80 yards in the chest, dropped right down. Guess I got lucky.
  16. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Rohan,
    Sest has given you true advice about that action on your .303 BSA. They were not the strongest made and will be dangerous under .308 pressures.
    Here is an idea. Why not look up our local GS Custom bullets. They are light for calibre full monolithic solids. Like you Barnes X. Read up on their website what they are about. Look at their HV series. I use their product from my .243 all the way through the .375.
    They prescribe a 140gr bullet for your .303. This ultimately turns that that little .303 of yours into a .270 Win. Velocity with S335 will be 2925 fps. That is is flatter than any .308 or .3006 and will give anything a good wallop. I will take a bet with your that you will break both shoulders on a BWB.
    Pressures are low, less recoil from your rifle, barrel lasts longer , accuracy is unmatched, and they penetrate the length of a kudu. ( First hand experience)
    Here are two bullets that I recovered. Each 100% retention.

    View attachment 10014 DSC_0011.jpg

    Cheers,
    Marius
  17. Rohan

    Rohan

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    Marius,

    I will look into GS Custom bullets and get a gunsmith I know here to introduce me to reloading. I will do a field test on a BWB, I will take him on the shoulder broadside(if possible). Will try and retrieve the bullets and show you, if they haven't passed through. I'm sure it will work favourably. I used a .270Win Musgrave M90 quite a bit as I grew up and if this load you talk of can convert my .303 to match the velocities and ballistics of the .270Win I will be more than happy. Also low recoil and longer barrel life is just awesome in my books. It's going to be fun.

    Thanks,
  18. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Per the above conversation about running a 140 GS bullet over 2900 fps in a .303 Brit, I would like to know what rifle they safely achieved that speed in. The .303 and the .308 Win have almost exactly the same powder capacity. The .270 has more. About the best a .270 can do safely with a 140 gr bullet is about 3000, maybe a tad more, so to attempt to get that type of speed out of the smaller .303 case will neccessarily require some pressure. Granted the .311 bullet has a bit more base to push on than a .277 bullet which helps some but still..It may be asking a lot of the old .303 if loaded in Rohans BSA #1 SMLE action. Not saying it cant be done, but it would require caution.
  19. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

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    Shot my young(er) mature male front on at 40 paces whilst kneeling with a .308W and 165 Woodleigh PPSN. He ran 217 metres (GPS) and was found dead.

    I had a choice of two shot placements.
    1) Under the chin as he looked at me.
    2) Low in the chest.

    I shot him low in the chest which is the wrong place to shoot a Blue Wildebeest front on, as they have a sternum and rib cage built like the bow of the Titanic. The projectile did not enter the chest cavity but travelled around the right (outside) of the rib cage and was found in the skinning shed under the right shoulder blade. There was no blood loss internally or externally and cause of death was not obvious.

    Recoverd Projectile. Weight.
    144.5 grains or 87.5%.
    [​IMG]

    We assumed the force of the impact had stopped the heart, similar to a Precordial thump.
    Precordial thump - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Attached Files:

  20. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Im not sure how much it would help but they look like they have even less bearing surface than a TSX with the cut grooves. That should give them a bit of extra speed anyway.

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