Buffalo Calibers

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by wildlifehunter, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. wildlifehunter

    wildlifehunter AH Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    6
    Member of:
    United Special Sportsman Alliance
    Hunted:
    South Africa
    I was wondering how much more effective the larger calibers (over .375) were on buffalo. I know proper shot placement and bullet construction are essential, but all else being equal is there a difference? also whats a good bolt-action rifle for buffalo? is bigger better or should I go with a .375?
  2. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    110
    Member of:
    NRA, DU, DSC
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania
    This question can certainly invoke some interesting responses. You are spot on about shot placement and bullet construction.

    I do believe with all else being equal that bigger is better with one caveat; you must be able to shoot the rifle proficiently and not just in the first shot but on a quick follow up also. Recoil does become a factor albeit at different levels for different shooters.

    If I were buying a new rifle today for a buffalo hunt it would be a new Model 70 Winchester in a 416 Remington Magnum. Make certain the stock is the correct length of pull for you (it is easy for a gunsmith to lengthen or shorten it), make certain it functions flawlessly, put a 2.5 by 8 Leupold scope on it, practice shooting from position and off of sticks and go have some fun hunting buffalo. It is also fine for plains game if you want a one rifle safari.

    The CZ is a good choice also. I will not bring one to Africa without about $1000.00 worth of extra work after buying it. Others feel differently about the CZ. If going the CZ route I would recommend the 416 Rigby.

    That is my opinion today. It has changed somewhat over the years based on experience hunting buffalo.
  3. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,128
    Likes Received:
    29
    My Photos:
    23
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    USA, S. Africa
    Mike has a number of buff to his name and I think is giving you good advice here. After about 5 minutes into my once in a lifetime hunt to Africa I was planning my second and DG which had been off the list of want to do's was now on it. A couple months after getting back home I bought my M70 in .375. In my opinion the M70 is a take out of the box, find the load that works for it (I have one by the way if you want to know what it is, PM me.) and go hunt.

    The trigger is a bit heavy but you can adjust that yourself and it will get a bedding job, but that's it. The only gripe I have with mine is that it is a bit front heavy and the gun just feels heavier to carry.

    In December I decided to add to the DG rifle battery and bought a CZ in .416 Rigby. With 400gr rounds it is a noticeable increase in recoil. Not enough to make me flinch, but it is a step up. It may be the heavy front end of the M70 does a better job of taming the muzzle jump, but whatever the case it is considerably more of a thud.

    What I love about the CZ though is the balance. Despite 2 more inches of barrel length the gun does not have that front heavy feel of the M70 and it just shoulders better. The trigger on mine however cannot even compare to the M70. Out of the box it is nothing more than lousy. I'm told however that a gunsmith can remedy this without replacing, we'll see.

    Why did I go to the CZ over another M70? Well it was first of all a great buy for the stock that's on it and I just wanted to try something new.

    I'd recommend checking out both and go with what you like best. But if you've not shot the bigger calibers, it would perhaps be best to start with the .375 to "break" (no pun intended) you in to the recoil difference.
  4. wildlifehunter

    wildlifehunter AH Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    6
    Member of:
    United Special Sportsman Alliance
    Hunted:
    South Africa
    I dont mind recoil, I have shot rifles up to the .460 weatherby but the wby was a bit to much
  5. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,128
    Likes Received:
    29
    My Photos:
    23
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    USA, S. Africa
    Either .416 Rem or Rigby should be no problem then. The .375H&H and .416 Rigby can easily be loaded with 300gr / 400gr bullets respectively and be 200 yard guns. Go one step lower in either and you've got a 300 yard gun. Advantage to the Rigby though because you still have plenty of gun for DG.
  6. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,107
    Likes Received:
    23
    My Photos:
    29
    Hunted:
    Norway, Sweden, England, South Africa
    Since I have never hunted DG, my opinion has far from the same value as the ones from an experienced DG hunter like Mike70560 :)

    But my question is how many Buffs have been lost or have charged the hunter because he used a 375 and not something bigger, when the hunter has put a high quality bullet in the right place.
    My guess is none.
    Buffs are lost or charge because the hunter has either used a shit bullet or because he didn't put the bullet where it should be.

    If you shoot a 416 or something bigger as well as a 375, then get that if that is what you want.
    But if your accuracy gets affected, even if it is very slightly, then you should just buy a 375 in my opinion.

    I have a 375 Ruger and I didn't buy it to hunt DG as I don't think I ever will have the money for it.
    But if I should win enough money to hunt Buffalo and even Elephant, I would without hesitation bring my 375 Ruger and feel 100% confident about it.
    I feel 100% sure I will be able to put the bullet where it needs to be with that gun.
  7. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    1
    My Photos:
    110
    Member of:
    NRA, DU, DSC
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania
    Norwegianwoods,

    And you would be very successful with that approach. Good luck if you are able to make the trip one day.
  8. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss SPONSOR AH Elite

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2011
    Messages:
    1,657
    Likes Received:
    5
    My Photos:
    78
    Member of:
    SCI, PHASA, IPHA
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Tanzania
    Jim, was wondering when you'd post this, I agree with Mike.... From my side penetration on both the 375 and 416 is good, as already stated bigger is not necessarily better, I would go out and shoot both, find the one that you are most comfortable with and go for it.

    Bullet choice is of cardinal importance, many might disagree but I am a barnes fan especially on buff i have seen it work on them without fail in the past on countless occasions.

    Keep well and thanks for all the help.
    My best always.
  9. Nyatiboss

    Nyatiboss AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    17
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe ( before 'Bob ! ), ozambique, Zambia Tanzania, Hungary, Lithuania, UK, Alaska
    Hi

    I always used a scoped .375 H&H and an open sided .416 Rigby

    Roughly half my 12 Buff were shot with each calibre.

    Interestingly, the .375 shot buff expired quicker than the .416 ones, except for two which dropped to the shot by shooting too high.

    Bullet placement rules the Buffalo world.

    They are like pussy cats if you get it right.

    Best wishes and good luck.

    All best

    Tony
  10. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 19, 2009
    Messages:
    610
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Blue Ridge
    My Photos:
    52
    Member of:
    SCI NRA DSC life memberships
    Hunted:
    Mexico, Namibia, RSA, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Canada
    I can't disagree with a thing that has been provided above, but would offer a couple of other considerations. First, if you are doing a buffalo hunt and nothing else, then a .416 is hard to beat. However, if your buffalo hunt is in conjunction with a mixed-bag of plains game, then I am a huge fan of the .375. I have a purpose built mauser that is a true MOA rifle with the 300gr TSX. On the same hunt, I have killed buff with it at 80 yards and a water buck at 250 +. Fully tricked out with scope and ammunition it weighs less than 10.5 pounds. I can carry it all day, and recoil is a non-issue. I would not hesitate to brain an elephant with it. That said a .416 would do the same thing, with typically just a bit more weight and recoil. To me at least, many .375s seem lean, even svelte, while most .416s cross the line into big. But both will do the job.

    Whichever rifle and caliber you opt for, makes sure it is the one with which you are most confident in delivering that first shot. I believe that our first responsibility as a client when hunting DG is to get that first shot right. Do that, and anything north of a 9.3 is enough gun. Screw that shot up and you and your PH can end up in a multi-round rodeo that won't end cleanly even if you are carrying a .500.
  11. wildlifehunter

    wildlifehunter AH Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    6
    Member of:
    United Special Sportsman Alliance
    Hunted:
    South Africa
    Thanks for all the info. if I go with a M70 in .375 ( more versatility ) with a leupold scope, barnes bullets and practice practice practice I should be fine, I dont want to mess it up with buffalo.

Share This Page