Bullet/Rifle good enough?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Divernhunter, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    I have hunted and reloaded for many years here in the USA. I have sucessfully hunted wild boar/deer/pronghorns/bear. Loaded ammo for sucessfull elk hunts, moose hunts and some others. I am no stranger to bullets and differences in construction and application.
    I am going to SA for a PG hunt with my daughter. The rifles I want to take include 338Win mag,25-06,for myself, 6.5X55 for both of us and her 257Roberts. I have always had vey good results with Nosler Patrition or Swift SciroccoII or Hornady Interbond or Hornady SST bullets.
    After much reading from everyone I settled on Swift A-Frame bullets since the normal choices were ruled not good enough. This is my only(due to age and $$) trip I will be able to do and I want to be sure I am set up as well as I can be. My hunting shooting skills have always been fine.
    I am planning on taking a wart hog,Gemsbuk, impala, blesbuck, Blue Wildebeest, springbuck and we each want a Kudu.
    Loads under consideration all Swift A-Frame bullets all data from my daughters and my rifles over a chrono average of 5 shots. I am looking for the fastest loads which I can shoot under 1" @ 100 yards off one sandbag under the rifle front.
    257Roberts - 100gr bullet @ 3016FPS
    25-06--100gr bullet---3300 or 3431FPS
    6.5X55---120gr bullet---2824FPS
    6.5X55---140gr bullet---2677FPS
    338Win Mag--225gr Bullet 2902FPS
    I have some loads worked up with 120gr Swift A-Frames for the 257Roberts and 25-06 I still need to test.

    After all that background my questions are. I have shot many animals with my other bullets with no problem. Never lost an animal yet. I sure do not want to in Africa. However after checking the size of the animals I want to hunt I wonder if maybe the Swift A-Frame bullets may be too stout and not expand for a quick kill. I had this trouble with too heavy of Nosler partitions and others on our small deer. Went to a lighter and pushed faster Nosler Partition and no more trouble.
    After reading just how tuff the African game is I wonder if they have Kelvar skin and armor shields under the hide. The way some talk I should load up my 50BMG rifles with 647gr Barnes X-Bullets or 700gr AP bullets at 2900FPS+ for the African game. Whats the facts?

    After all this work I am told that "THE" bullet to get is the North Fork Bullets and they do not make a 25cal bullet. If they are so much better I will go to them. But are they? Do I need them? I have other rifles I can use but wanted to use the above ones. Are they poor choices?

    If I had to I could use one of the rifles in 257Weatherby/308win/30-06/7mmRem mag/300Win mag/6mmRem(too light for me)/7mm-08 or 45-70. But I really would like to take the ones I started with or the 7mm-08.

    Just how much tougher are the African animals I have choosen? Any suggestions as to cartridges and especially bullet selection.
    I am reluctant to use the Barnes bullets because of the way they screwed us here in Calif,USA in forcing a large no-lead bullet zone and pushing for it to be statewide. I do not like to give money to people who restrict my rights.
     
  2. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Except for the buffalo and warthogs, I have shot all my african animals with a .338 WM and 225gr. Swift A-Frames. Most were one shot kills.
     
  3. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I wouldn't over think this. The swift is a wonderful bullet. If you have the time to work up the 120's for those two .25's, I would do it and I would leave the 100s and Swedish 120's at home - the 140 is a terrific plains game bullet. Like hunting everywhere, it is rare that a game animal offers a perfect presentation. Too heavy a bullet or too much penetration is never the problem. In fact, I would rather use monolithic solids than have perfect expansion and only reach one lung of that gemsbok or wildebeest. A bazillion head of game were taken with solid .30's and .33's over the years. Give a tracker an exit wound and it is a rare animal that will be lost. Like Nyati, I have used the .338 a lot for plains game and I prefer the 250 gr. but both it and the 225 are superb. On the little stuff, the .338 makes neat holes going and coming, and on the larger species it is decisive.

    Took my son to Africa on my first trip in '08. You are about to embark upon a truly wonderful experience with your daughter.
     
  4. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    divernhunter dont outpsyche yourself before you have even got to africa. the animals if hit in the correct place will die. if you cock it up then no different to anything else they will take off with the survival instinct kicking in. certain animals such as zebra and wildebeest have a reputation of being tough to kill, but if the bullet is where its supposed to be they die. on the other hand if you gutshoot or hit a leg then yes you will have problems , as this is when the toughness kicks in. i dont reload and have used factory ammunition with various bullet types over the last 20 plus years of hunting/messing around in africa, this runs from .22wmr, .22 hornet , .223 through various calibres to .500 nitro, and havent had a problem. i think they were nosler partitions, trophy bonded bearclaw, brenneke tug, woodleighs plus others that i cant remember , but they were all that was available in that calibre at the time. the one thing i noticed ( not a loader as i said so could be wrong)is that your loads look fast, just remember chances are you wont be shooting long distances, and light bullets deflect and break up on impact if going too fast and the animal is close. what you have loaded for elk,boar and deer will work fine for what you are going to hunt. so dont let yourself be put into a headspin. :)
     
  5. Fritz Rabe

    Fritz Rabe AH Veteran

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    Not trying to be obnoxious or anything but why do you want to take such an arsenal for the species that you stated?

    For you, the .338 will do for everything. For your daughter, the 6,5x55 with 140gr will do for everything.

    Why do you need 3000fps?

    I see that most foreign hunters for some or other reason believe that faster is better. Not so!

    Accuracy with a premium bullet is what kills our animals. A small hole through both lungs is far better than a big hole through one.

    Most people say that the flatter trajectory is better etc. etc. etc. For most of us that live here in Africa we do not share that same thought. Many thousands of farmers hunt everything with a .303Brit, 7x57 Mauser, .308Win. or normal 30-06Spring. Few reload so they use normal ammo and they all hunt their animals well no matter if it is Springbuck in the Kalahari or Karoo or Kudu in the thick bush.

    By having so many rifles to carry around on a farm in SA I can guarantee you that you will have the wrong one in your hands when an animal becomes available unless you plan on driving around in a truck and shooting from it.

    My advice only:
    Choose one rifle for yourself and one for your daughter and enjoy your trip.
     
  6. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    My first hunting trip to Africa for plains game for me and my wife, I took a .338 Win Mag (me) and a 25-06 (her). I loaded 180gr Nosler Ballistic Tips & 210gr Nosler Partitions (for an Eland) for the .338 and 115gr Nosler Partitions for the 25-06. All worked extremely well. These should be all you need to carry. All the bullets you mentioned are fine, just shoot whatever your particular rifle likes. I would opt for the heavier bullet in the 25-06 though. Shoot straight and have fun.
     
  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    I am glad to see that you enjoy reloading so much. It is obviously part of the fun for you.

    Like several guys have said; Don't over think this and psyche yourself out.

    "Accuracy with a premium bullet is what kills our animals." Nothing truer.


    The biggest issue I ran into was deflection off of brush. Good bullets help with this.

    .270, .270WM, .338WM, .300WM were all used on our hunts. They all did the job on the species you listed.
    Just because they worked well in our rifles we used TTSX 130 to 225 in the respective rifles.

    (Bart will have you loading up a .458 or .500 for kicks, literally)
    They won't ruin the cape and you can take a herd out in one shot.

    Choose your premium bullet and have fun.
    If reloading and playing is part of your fun, have at it.

    Good luck on your hunt.
     
  8. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I agree and agree to disagree.

    Divernhunter, I agree that you only need to take 2 rifles. I would take your .338 and her .257 Roberts. You will each have one of your own rifles and should have no problems. I do not have anywhere near the experience shooting African game as many on here but I have taken plenty, enough to be convinced that they are no tougher than NA game animals. their kill zone is smaller and further forward than NA game which I beleive lends to teh bulletproof myth when a shot that would be excellent on NA game results in a long tracking job, keep your shots between the point of the shoulder and the elbow and you will have no problems killing African game, furter back and you will be in stomach which also results in long tracking jobs on NA game. A-frames will do you proud.

    Fritz, I think I can shed a bit of light on the NA faster and flatter is better ideology. In africa, say huning Wildebeest, you can mess up stalk after stalk and no big deal, there will always be another herd around the next corner. Day after day you can shoot mature Wildebeest. In NA this is not the case in many areas or for most species. For example Pronghorn antelope are a wide open country species that you can see avery day. In many areas they are hunted so hard that the mere sight of a vehicvle or hunter will send them running for the next county, there is no walking in the open to close the gap a bit, they are GONE in a flash. When you get an opportunity at one you need to make it count, that may mean a 450yd shot. If that opportunity is blown another may not come easy. Pronghorn is a high success hunt that often involves long distance shooting to get the job done. In relation to Bighorn sheep, Pronhorn are a breeze, in Alberta for example sheep hunters "enjoy" about a 10% success rate, the average sheep hunt is 14 days. that works out to 140 days of hunting for each successful sheep hunt (Success on a guided hunt skyrockets to 50% on this 21 day $15,000 hunt). These animals live in open country that is sometimes so treacherous that to move 450yds to reach a downed animal could take several hours. Although we make every effort to close the gap as much as possible, sometimes that means taking sone very long shots, the average shot at a ram is about 300yds. Miss that shot or blow that opportunity and it could be years of hard hunting before you have another opportunity.

    This, I beleive, is in large part responsible for the big difference in ideology of weapon selection between our 2 continents. There are of course plenty of those who carry a big gun to make up for other certain... Ahem... "lacking" physical atributes! LOL
     
  9. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Almost forgot. When I saw your velocities for the 25-06 it made me nervous. These seem several hundered fps high for this caliber/bullet weight. Although it is possible to stumble across a powder/bullet combo that severely outperforms all others (with RL 19 in my .257 WBY I stopped adding powder despite no signs of pressure after I was 150fps above posted velocities) this is extremely rare. I would be very shy about firing a load like that, I scrapped the afformentioned load in the interest of safety. Depending on powder and signs of pressure a 100gr bullet in the 25-06 should not exceed 3200fps by very much.
     
  10. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I think you are right about NA fixation with velocity. For a long time, modern rifle and ammunition design was driven by western hunters where faster, flatter was the gold standard. In the East and South, though much less written about, slower and heavier at moderate ranges was the ideal solution (with the exception of the latter day "beanfield" rifles). Africa is a different experience all together. As Fritz notes, you will leave the truck with a .25 anticipating a 150 yard shot at an impala only to run across a kudu at 50 yards with exactly four inches of shoulder visible through the brush. Or the warthog stalk becomes a 200 yard shot at a trophy gemsbok. I brought a .338 and .270 to Africa the first time, and other than verifying zero, the .270 never left its case. Since then, I take the rifle which is most practical for the heaviest animal I will be taking. In so doing, by the way, I discovered that the .375 makes a pretty terrific PG caliber - but that is another discussion.

    I would keep it simple for your daughter. Let one rifle be "hers" and let her focus on practicing and then hunting with it. If you want to drive yourself crazy with bullet selection and caliber that's fine (and part of the fun of being a rifle nut), but you want to keep it simple for her. I can't speak to yours, but the typical 6.5 swede comes in a handier, easier to manage package than a .257 Wby. I would find her an accurate load using a 140 gr bullet and let her do all her work with it.
     
  11. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    And obviously, I meant to say 25-06 rather than 257 wdy.
     
  12. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    The 25-06 load is one I got from Ken Waters book and have used for many years with no trouble in hot or cold weather at different elevations. My Ruger M77 shoots better the faster loads The slower loads(14 tested) do not group as well for some reason. I will go to the 120gr 25cal bullet for both the 25-06 and the 257Roberts. I was going to take 3-4 rifles because I alway carry a spare just in case of a problem with one. That has never happened yet but would not want to have it happen in Africa especially. Also I was hopping IF the airlines lost some of the baggage that at least one rifle case would make it to wher we were.
    I really wanted to use the 6.5X55 but others did not think it was as good a choice. It is in a Tikka and is light and handy for me with my health problems.
    More speed means less correction for drop and such for me and since I am in NA it has worked for me. I may have to rethink it for Africa some. Heiver bullets will slow it down. I was concerned that the Swift A-Frames would not open up enough at lower speeds.
    Actually the PH suggested the 25-06 for me. Since I wanted to carry and use the 6.5X55 I was taking it also. So many have said I needed the 338Win mag to do the job especially on Wildebeest/Gemsbuk/Kudu that I am taking it. I was taking the 257Roberts as it is my daughters rifle and has a new stock and stainless steel Douglas Match grade barrel on it. It shoot excellent now. However she has been trying to claim my 6.5X55 for herself so maybe take it for her since she only wants to take a Kudu at this time.

    Maybe I should take 2 rifles in 2 different rifle cases and use the extra room for my tri-pod and other items. I would hate to only take one case and end up with it not making the trip over there.
     
  13. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    With the BC you get on a 140gr 6.5x55, only someone with no practical experience with it would not recommend the swedish mauser for Africa. With a premium, slow opening bullet (a good thing) it will really drive on larger game like that kudu. If she likes that mauser, I think I would make a virtue of it and make it hers. That 25-06 is a fine caliber and if you are more comfortable with it than the .338, then use it. But I really would use a heavy for caliber bullet. As noted, PG die as readily as a mule deer, but everything is farther forward and lower. You will be around the shoulder and I would not trust 100's punching through bone and both lungs. I am much more confident the 120's would do it. And I know the 6.5x55 will!
     
  14. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Barnes bullets tend to handle large bones better in light weight bullets.

    As for as your aversion to Barnes re: california lead ban, this is simply a company trying to get any edge on the competition they can no different than so many other companies (read all successful companies) If you boycott Barnes for this then you really should be boycotting Microsoft, Walmart, etc, etc as they have all done, and continue to do, their part to corner the entire market for themselves. I cant say I blame them for supporting it, 100% of the market pays way better than sharing it with others, rest assured it had nothing to do with consumer rights but rather $$$.
     
  15. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    I fully understand it was the money for Barnes as they were the only producers of non-lead bullets at the time. However they stated in the hearings for the state that they could provide all the bulletsAND AMMO we needed at APPROX THE SAME COST as lead bullets. A bunch of lying BS. Their bullets are 2X+ the cost of standard bullets. They did not even produce ammo at the time. You still cannot get non-lead ammo for many cartridges used for hunting. They did not make the tripple shock bullet then and the original X-bullet was a hit or miss as far as shooting well of of many firearms. They STILL do not make a non-lead 22RF round and that is part of the ban.
    It may not have been about rights to them but it sure effectedthe rights of many hunters as a result of their testaMONEY at the hearings. They screwed us in Calif. That said I do have some TSX and TTSX bullets but also some Hornady GMX bullets. When I hunt in the no-lead zone I will have to use them but out of spite back at them if I can use the Hornady bullet in an accurate load I will.
    I do understand that they and other companies will put their profit over being just to the public. I just choose to not support them anymore than I have to. If I can find a bullet which will work WELL other than a barnes then I will.

    RE 6.5X55 ---Thanks that is what I was thinking since it is used in Europe for large bodied animals as I have been told. I would really like to hunt with it. Maybe I will.
     
  16. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

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    Hi Divernhunter. Congrats on the trip to Africa. You have been given so pretty good advice. I've been to Africa 2 times and killed most of the animals on your list. I'm not nearly as experienced as some, but I have been around the block a time or two. Everything on your list can be readily killed with a 7mm with a good bullet. Your biggest animal is a Kudu and he is the size of a bull elk. The Wilderbeast may be the toughest animal on the list. I'd still use my 7mm and feel good about it. If you have health issues that make a larger caliber rifle painful or difficult to shoot you could use your 6.5. Just have to be CAREFUL on bullet placement. The A frames will work fine the animals you have selected. The Scirocco's, and partitions will also work just fine. You'r 7mm-08 will work just fine for all of the animals on your list. Take what you are comfortable with. My last trip I took a 7MM and used Barnes TTSX. It did a good job on everything I shot. Make sure that you spend some time with shooting sticks. First trip I had never tried them and it took a while to adjust to them. 2nd trip I took my a set of Trigger sticks. I saw my PH on a video on here a while back is now using them. I practiced dry firing almost every night for a month before I went. I shot over 200 round of ammo in the month before I went. Practice and not just from a bench at the range.
    The bigger calibers are fine if you like shooting them. They give you a greater margin for error. They allow you to take some shot angles that you might have to pass on with a smaller caliber. Anything you would fell comfortable with on a elk hunt here in NA will kill any of the animals on your list as long as you hit it in the right place. Good luck. Bruce
     
  17. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    The most compelling things you have said is you like the 6.5X55 and like to shoot with it and carry it well. (Health or otherwise)
    It sounds like a favourite. Quality bullet you like and a little heavier bullet as suggested and go have fun.

    Shoot straight and study the shot placement pictures/guide.
    It is still tough for me to put that shot into the shoulder meat.

    Practice off of the sticks at home.
    It is simple once you get used to it.

    Good luck.
     
  18. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    Africa, a meat hunters nightmare! LOL

    I have a hard time shooting up a perfectly good cape, especialy with the short hair on those critters. Taxidermists nightmare! LOL
     
  19. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    I shot all the game you mentioned with the exception of a wart hog with a 300 Ruger Compact Mag. loaded with 180 grain partitions to around 2800fps. I had a 338 with me for a backup rifle but just like carrying the little ruger. The world is full of good plains game rifles. Just do like others say and shot for the shoulder. I started doing that here in America on elk after one I lung shot went to the bottom of a cayon and died.
     
  20. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    Here I shoot for the shoulder or just behind. I would rather anchor them than chase them. Heck some of the places I have hunted you had better anchor them and close to you or someone else will be putting their tag on it when you get to the animal. This is no joke it happened to me. I just made sure the tag was his and completely filled out so the "hunter" would not be able to be out in the woods the rest of the season.
    I want to use the 6.5X55 because it is light but mostly I have not had a chance to take any game with it. All the other rifles have taken game already.
    I have Trigger Sticks bipod and tripod. Had planned to take the tripod version with me.
     

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