Caliber for small plains game?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Parsons, May 5, 2014.

  1. Parsons

    Parsons AH Senior Member

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    I am going on my first South African safari in 2015 and do not know what is a good caliber for baboon up to Impala. I am in gunsmithing school and am building a 375 H&H. Of course I will shoot it many times over and over before going to make sure it is 100% reliable. I know this will handle any of the bigger game I want to hunt but assume (we all know what that does) it is way to big for a baboon and monkey and some of the smaller cats I am wanting to hunt. So any thoughts on a smaller caliber? I was thinking maybe a 300H&H so I could have a matched pair. Place I am going with says .270 is their smallest caliber allowed. I do not have a good gun above .260. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. greyfox

    greyfox AH Veteran

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    Where are you in gunsmithing school? I'm getting ready to send a young man off to Lakewood, CO, to their school.
    Plaines game = deer cartridge. .308/'06/270/280/7mm.
    Now if you're building the rifle,,,, a 275 Rigby.

    Search this forum, lots of discussion, and listen to your PH.
     
  3. Parsons

    Parsons AH Senior Member

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    I am at Montgomery Community College in NC. Seems 7mm or 30 cal is good for plains game. I want something that is relatively common so the 275 rigby is probably out. Have't looked into it but don't think I have seen it much. I will check it out though. I kinda want to stick to a classic africa cartridge just because. It will be built off a mauser action like my 375. Thanks for the thought I will look into the rigby it would be interesting and different from most around.
     
  4. Paw Print

    Paw Print SPONSOR AH Elite

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    A .30 calibre will be good. If you want to stick to the classics the .300 H&H is an excellent choice.
     
  5. Norwegianwoods

    Norwegianwoods SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    .300 is a great cartridge and makes for a great matching pair with the .375 H&H.

    But personally I would most likely make a .275 H&H.
    It is not exactly a common cartridge, but still a great one with a great history :)
    If I am not mistaken, both .275 H&H and .375 H&H were introduced in 1912.
     
  6. EDD

    EDD AH Veteran

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    Cant go wrong with the 375 H&H. You'll have all bases covered....
     
  7. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Your .375 will do fine on springbock up - particularly in .270 gr guise. It might limit you a tad on range compared to a 7 mm (or .288 like the .275 H&H) but not much. I have taken Duiker with a .375 using solids and it simply punched a .375 inch hole through the animal without catastrophic results. The .300 H&H is a great round and you might also consider the .275 Rigby for that light twin of your pair - it is the 7x57 by another name.
     
  8. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    300H&H would make for a nice pair, I would go the 7x57 / 275 rigby route personally.
     
  9. Parsons

    Parsons AH Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. I will look into each cartridge and see which I think will suit me best. If the rigby is even longer than the H&H it will probably be out due to opening up the parts on the mauser bottom metal. Already have to extend the bottom metal for the H&H by .300".
     
  10. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    the .275 Rigby is the 7mm mauser. The 98 was built for it.
     
  11. Parsons

    Parsons AH Senior Member

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    I found out it was exactly the same. I was expecting it to be another long cartridge.
     
  12. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Hello Parsons,

    I have used the .375 H&H, with 300 gr round nose bullets, as well as the .300 H&H, with 180 gr pointy bullets, in Africa with perfect results.

    Those two were definitely designed for hunting in Africa in the first place, classic stuff.

    Another one I have had excellent results in Africa with is the .30-06, with 220 gr round nose bullets but, I didn't have any shot over about 200 yds with it (black wildebeest).

    You can hardly go wrong with any of those three.

    HOWEVER, my recommendation is (like some others here have already said), just take the .375 H&H.

    I would ad:

    In .375 H&H I like the 300 gr Hornady round nose but will admit they are not very good for shots over about 300 yds.


    If you will be hunting in a wide open place (not the usual thorn tree forest in other words) I'd say to use 270 grainers for everything (Swift A-Frames if your rifle will group them well enough).

    If hunting the Eastern Cape or some other part where long shots are common, they shoot about the same trajectory as a 180 grain .30-06 so, such longer shots will not be a problem.

    The A-Frames will do well on eland, zebra, blue wildebeest and other such tough guys among the plains game species, yet not be too awful destructive on impala and such.

    Perhaps you can bring a half dozen 270 gr solids that you have experimented with to get them to shoot to about the same point of aim as the softs? (for tiny critters that you wish to preserve the skin).

    You're gonna flip when you see Africa.

    Regards,
    Velo Dog.
     
  13. Parsons

    Parsons AH Senior Member

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    The site of the place I am going with says 20 yards up to 200 yards. I am sure that is a rough estimate but i will plan on those ranges. I kinda want to build the 300 H&H just to have a nice matched set of mausers and caliber family. I am glad to know the 375 will work on most anything with different weight bullets but this just gives me an excuse to build another gun honestly.
     
  14. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Parsons,

    I like the way you're thinking.

    Furthermore, you cannot go wrong with the .300 H&H.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
  15. buffybr

    buffybr AH Veteran

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    I think anything in the .30-06 class is fine for most Plains Game. I used my .375 RUM on two African hunts, and took a variety of PG animals from Steenbok to Eland with it, shooting 270 gr Barnes TSX bullets. I had no problems shooting some animals at 200-300+ yards, including a Vaal Rhebok. There was, however, a lot of damage on a Jackal and a couple of Steenboks shot at ranges less than 100 yds.

    On my last African hunt, I used my .300 Weatherby, and had some 150 gr Hornady FMJ bullets for the smaller animals like Caracal and Civet cats.
     
  16. Parsons

    Parsons AH Senior Member

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    The .300 did well with the smaller game? Just don't want to ruin any of the hides as I want to have them mounted.
     
  17. Parsons

    Parsons AH Senior Member

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    What about .270 weatherby? Is ammo more readily available for it? Looking to build something I will also be able to use on white tail after the trip to africa even though I already have guns for deer
     
  18. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Elite

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    Parsons,

    I have taken 5 springbok, 3 caribou, plus a half dozen other African species, from about 50 yds, out to 411 yds with the .300 H&H.

    Pretty sure it would knock any white tail directly into your stew pot with one well placed shot, near or far.

    I have never known anyone with a .270 Wby but myself and several of my friends have had .270 Winchesters (I sold mine after I figured out that anything I could hit with my .270 Winchester, I could also hit just fine with my .30-06 Springfield).

    The .270 Wnchstr sometimes is a bit tough on small animals (foxes/coyotes/bobcats) and edible deer meat at close range, (of course, so is any .300 magnum, including the original one that I like).

    I will guess the .270 Weatherby version is potentially quite destructive on small skins and edible meat, due to hyper-velocity.

    Perhaps you could try some of these all-the-rage-lately TTSX type bullets in the Weatherby, to throttle down the violent destruction of hide and meat, or like buffybr said, use FMJ?

    I am old and prefer my bullets to have real lead in them ("if it works, don't fix it") but, that is just me talking, not Moses himself.

    (Furthermore, I agree with the old saying, "use enough gun".)

    Blah, blah, blah,
    Velo Dog.
     
  19. rnovi

    rnovi AH Veteran

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    Hello Parsons, and welcome to the board!

    I did my first Safari in 2012 and will be headed back out on my second safari in 6 weeks. Good times abound!

    Just getting calibers out of the way: 300 H&H = 300 WinMag. Give or take 50 fps pending bullet weight two are virtually ballistic cousins with a few decades separating them. In my Pre-64 Winchester my 300 H&H with a 26" barrel gave 2,950fps with a 180gr. TSX. I used it on Steenbok to Kudu.

    The 275 Rigby = 7x57 = 7mm-08 (*sorta). The 7x57 tends to work better with longer bullets but that's debatable. In my Ruger #1 the 7x57 delivers 2,850 fps with 145 gr. Speer HotCor's and 2,550 with 175 Hornady IL Round Nose bullets. Both loads in my rifle are 3/4" performers. Historically the 7x57 has been one of the great unsung heroes. It's taken everything in Africa including and up to Elephant with the right loads.

    So, I used my 300 H&H on my first safari. My second safari I'm using a 7mm Rem Mag and my wife is using a 7x57r. Any of these rifles will work just fine on virtually any Plainsgame critters. The real question is what your load looks like. The mono-metal bullets (TSX, E-Tip, GMX) penetrate incredibly well and don't do as much cape damage relative to the traditional fast expanding cup & core bullets. So if you want to hunt small critters I'd recommend sticking to the Mono-Metals.

    Given that you have a .260 already, stepping up to a .300 makes a lot of sense. The .300 also gives you a bit more margin for error over a 270 with a bigger bullet and better penetration. That's arguable. All other things held equal, a .300 does offer a bit more killing power than a .270.

    About the only thing I can add on the .300 H&H is this: I only got about 6 reloads out of the big 300 case before they started showing signs of distress and I started seeing case head separation. That long case just doesn't handle stretching as well as the new .300 WMag case does. Accuracy of the H&H is superb, my 60 year old rifle still delivers 1.5" groups at 200 yards.

    I also have a .375 H&H that I've used on deer. If you're concerned about small game with that rifle, don't be. A lot of those bullets are designed to expand on thicker skinned game. For instance, the Texas Whitetail I shot with a 300 gr. Partition did not expand...but that deer was dead so fast I thought I'd missed! (*he vanished into the tall grass where he was feeding, dead without ever taking a step). The exit hole was .375...not that it mattered.

    The real question isn't "which cartridge is best". Any of them will work on Plainsgame. The real question is "what gets you excited". If it's a .300 H&H to have the matched, classic pair, then do it. I did and I have no regrets. It's a wonderful, classic old gal that still has the legs to run with the best of them today.

    IMG_2526.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2014
  20. Parsons

    Parsons AH Senior Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys. I will probably go .300 H&H like I originally planned. Just wasn't sure it was the best choice for the smaller animals I wanted to hunt but seems as long I have the right loads I will be fine.
     

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