Cape Buffalo Cartridge?

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by Joseph 61, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. Joseph 61

    Joseph 61 New Member

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    So im planning on going on a dream Cape buffalo hunt. My trouble is picking out a rifle and cartridge suitable for Cape Buffalo that i like. I really like the .416 calibers. I have heard good reviews about Cz550 safari in .416 rigby but for some reason i just keep seeing Weatherby rifles and just want one so bad. I hear the quality is good and they're a very good rifle over all. So then I was looking at the .378 Weatherby Magnum and the .416 Weatherby Magnum. Both are said to be good for Cape Buffalo but is all that 6000ft lbs of energy in .416 Weatherby really worth it? I also wish to reload and that weatherby ammo is kinda pricey with the brass and reloading dies. I saw a weatherby mark v rifle in .416 remington and figured that seems good for Cape Buffalo; Good amount of ft lbs and good priced ammo. So my real question is, which should I pick??? Keep in mind I wish to reload.
     
  2. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    Joseph,

    This is free advice and is worth every penny you are paying.

    The 416 Rem. or the 416 Rigby will push a 400 grain bullet around 2400 FPS as "standard" velocities. The 416 Rigby can be pushed to higher velocities because of the large case capacity which in my opinion is not needed.

    The CZ 550 in a 416 Rigby is a nice set-up. If going to Africa with a CZ I would spend an extra $1400.00 and have the rifle re-worked by a competent gunsmith like American Hunting Rifles. It is a classic proven combination and will serve you well for buffalo, elephant, palinsgame, or anything else you would ever hunt.

    American Hunting Rifles - CZ Owners

    Winchester is now offering the 416 Remington in their Safari Express Model 70. I have killed a couple of buffalo with the 416 Remington and was very pleased with its performance. The new Model 70's are pretty good rifles from the factory from what I understand. The same goes for the 416 Rem as the Rigby, it is a fine cartridge for anything you can hunt.

    Model 70 Safari Express, Bolt Action Dangerous Game Rifle -- Winchester Repeating Arms -- Product Model

    I am not a Weatherby fan. The extra velocity comes at a price; recoil. If you are an experienced big bore shooter the Weatherby recoil is reasonable. If you are new to the game the Rem or Rigby will be a handful at first but doable and eventually pretty tame.

    A couple of other notes. The rigby is a big case and requires a big action like the CZ 550. This adds weight and a longer bolt throw however the weight will help with recoil. When the 416 remington came out there were rumors of sticky extraction. At 2400 FPS I have never had a problem with 416 Rem case extracting. Not even the hint of a problem, not even in Louisiana where it is typically a hell of a lot hotter than it will be while you are hunting Africa. Bullets: Choose a good premium bullet. North Fork, Barnes, Swift, Cutting Edge Bullets are among my favorites.
     
  3. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Joseph

    Mike has provided some good information.

    What do you currently shoot?

    I would suggest you look around and see if you can shoot some of the rifles you are asking about to see what is right for you. If you belong to the Dallas safari club they have large bore rifles shoots where rifles are available to try.

    If this is your first safari you could look at a 375 H & H the recoil is better managed if you are recoil sensitive.

    A PH will be impressed if you make a great shot with a rifle you can manage rather than a poor shot with a rifle you have trouble with.

    Above all practice with your rifle.

    Weatherby has a good reputation in the States, however it does not carry over to Africa.

    If you look you will see 416 weatherby for sale after some hunters returns from Africa due to the rifles recoil and the hunter inability to handle the recoil.
     
  4. richteb

    richteb AH Enthusiast

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    Joseph,

    Mike and James have given you about all the advice you need to choose what is right for you and type game you intend to hunt. About the only thing I will add is that what ever caliber or make of rifle you decide on, make sure it fits you well. A rifle that fits well will also help you manage recoil.

    I would also give some thought on good optics and QD mounts.
     
  5. .416 Rigby

    .416 Rigby AH Member

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    I have hunted Africa extensively with my Dakota African in .416 Rigby (including multiple Cape Buff) and it has always performed well. I highly recommend Dakota rifles. They need nothing out of the box and mine has been absolutely reliable and quite accurate. In addition to being a 25 yard buffalo rifle, it shoots fairly flat out to 200 yards and hits decisively hard. I killed a lion with it in Zim this past May @ 98 yards.

    Any CRF Winchester 70 is a good choice. The CZ's are fine rifles, but generally require an action job and trigger job, as well as a barrel band sling swivel installation, all of which add to their cost. Sako 85's are not true CRF rifles. I would not hunt DG with a push feed rifle, be it Sako, Blaser or anything else, nor would I hunt DG with any rifle cursed with a detachable magazine. I would also use QD scope mounting so you can access the iron sights if need be.

    My Kimber Caprivi in .375 H&H is a well made, accurate rifle, ready to go without any aftermarket work. It is also made in .416 Remington.

    I use a .470 for elephant, for buff up close and for following up any wounded DG. In a tight spot, there is nothing like a double.

    Your PH will likely be quite unhappy if you arrive with anything that says "Weatherby" on it. They do not have a good reputation in Africa and merely showing up with one immediately brands you as a complete amateur.

    Do NOT bring any rifles with a muzzle brake on them.

    I have never fired a .404 Jeffrey, but it has a good reputation as a buffalo cartridge. CZ chambers the 550 in .404, but it won't do anything that a .416 won't and ammunition may be hard to find. Many buff have been killed cleanly with a .375 H&H. A .416 definitely hits harder, but the .375 has likely dispatched more buff than anything else. It is not generally considered a "stopper", but if things go badly, you have the PH to back you up on a charge. For a one gun safari with a hunter not used to shooting heavier caliber rifles, a .375 H&H is a good choice. For a two gun safari, you can't go wrong with a .30/06 and a .375. Carry the .375 yourself. Your life may depend on having the rifle in your hands.

    James Grage and "Mike"in the previous posts speak the truth. I suggest you read both posts carefully and follow their advice.

    Practice extensively with your rifle both offhand and from shooting sticks. Work the action hard between shots. After sighting in, shooting from the bench is a waste of ammunition.

    Most of all, enjoy your safari. The better prepared you are and the more suitable and reliable your equipment, the more fun you will have.
     
  6. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    You have gotten excellent advice. Look for a control-feed bolt action in 416 Rem, I'd recommend the CZ 550 or Winchestor 70.
     
  7. TerryR

    TerryR AH Veteran

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    Joseph
    I am far from an expert, but I have taken two Buffalo, one with a 375 H&H and one with a 404 Jeffery, and been accompanied by friends who took another two, both with 375 H&Hs. The larger caliber will have a noticeably greater impact on the Buffalo but it won't necessarily kill it any quicker. There isn't a Buffalo walking the earth that a shot through the heart/lungs with a 375 H&H won't kill. Similarly, there isn't a buffalo that will succumb to a shot that misses the heart/lungs/brain/spinal cord with a larger caliber. The key to a successful Buffalo hunt is making an accurate shot. Unless you have a lot of experience with heavy recoiling calibers pick up a 375 H&H, practice with it, go to Africa and kill your Buffalo. If you can comfortably shoot a 30-06 then you can learn to handle a 375 relatively easily. A 416 is a significant step up in recoil. If I were buying a rifle for my sons to use on Cape Buffalo (both adults) I would choose a 375 H&H.
    Regarding Weatherbys, If you like the gun, buy one chambered for the non weatherby caliber. The weatherby 375, 378 and 416 won't kill the Buffalo any more efficiently than the 375 H&H or 416 rigby/rem but it will recoil dramatically harder. Why pay the price when you don't get a better pay out. True story - my late brother, who hunted Botswana extensively, had a custom 375 Weatherby. His PH, Clive Eaton, used to routinely hide his Weatherby ammo so that David would be forced to use Clive's 375 H&H ammo, thus taming the beast. On my first hunt in Botswana the first question my PH asked was"What rifles did you bring?". Upon my reply of "30-06 and 375" Glenn immediately demanded "not your brother's 375 I hope!". It was a 375 H&H and later that afternoon I used it to take my first African trophy ( actually my first non-feathered trophy) a 40 inch Cape Buffalo.
    The moral of the story: as I said earlier, unless you are well schooled in heavy recoiling rifles( and if you were you would probably already have a 375), go with a 375 H&H. Whatever brand floats your boat they all work.

    Terry
     
  8. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Joseph, you have the advice from some wizards already.
    So I'll add my pennies worth for entertainment.
    I have pulled the trigger three times on a .375, ok maybe 4.
    All hit the buffalo.
    The one shot stopper was the neck/spine shot. Nothing less.
    The PH and I looked at each other quite pleased that the Buffalo had chosen to continue in the other direction after the first bullet went through his boiler room. Although he did not have enough time in between to turn really. I was not going to let that happen.
    Kemp is having a custom .458 made for his back up gun. I await his stories of its effectiveness.

    Not sure if you are going to graduate up to bigger critters on subsequent hunts. That may swing your choice or has already done so.

    David Sutherland loved telling his rifle selection story.
    Basically, when he started with the parks board he watched the "old hands" at the parks board always pick up the .375 from the locker when off to "take care of" problem Elephants. As the newby on staff he went for the biggest baddest caliber in the cabinet.
    The "old hands" just smiled and walked out the door.
    Moral of the story:
    He soon found out that putting a .375 in the right place is worth much more than the biggest baddest gun in the cabinet.
     
  9. christophe morio

    christophe morio SPONSOR AH Enthusiast

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    Hello Joseph 61.
    One of my friend is just back from Zambia and he shot a nice old cape buffalo with his new R8 blazer 300 WM, 1 shot....

    [​IMG]

    A few years ago he shot one in Zimbabwe with 7x57 !!! But he shot already 50 buffs. My advice is to use at least a 375HH like this girl on her frist safari.

    [​IMG]

    She shot 3 buffs, each one with one shot in the shoulder. You can also use a 404 Jeffery (excellent killing caliber), 416 Rigby, 458 WM and 378 W. But you should shoot close and be confortable with your rifle, don't be scared of the recoil.
    Enjoy you Buffalo hunt.
    christophe
     
  10. nsok

    nsok AH Veteran

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    And you Christophe, as PH, Would you allow a client to shoot a Buff with a 9,3x62 and say a Barnes or Swift A frame 286 grains?
     
  11. christophe morio

    christophe morio SPONSOR AH Enthusiast

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    Hi Nsok,
    9,3x62 is nice old caliber, I shot some buffaloes in Benin with and it was good. You can go on Buffalo hunt with but as I always say, don't shoot too far.
     
  12. nsok

    nsok AH Veteran

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    Thanks Christophe! Do you still hunt in Benin?
     
  13. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    My all around rifle is a .338WM, when I decided to shoot a buffalo, a good friend of mine offered to loan me a heavier gun, I had the choice of .375HH, .416Rigby, or .470NE.

    I chose the .375HH as I felt I would be able to handle it better, practiced with it before the trip, and went on to kill my buffalo with a neck shot.

    I wasn t worrying about recoil, and just concentrated on making a good shot.
     
  14. classicsafari

    classicsafari AH Enthusiast

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    I've been fortunate to kill several Cape Buffalo with calibres such as 9.3x62, 458W and 470NE and think a mild velocity(2100 to 2300fps) and recoiling 40cal like the 404 or 416Rem to be almost ideal.
    Perhaps the best would be a light weight Double in 450/400 with a quick detachable scope like this one;
    [​IMG]
     
  15. christophe morio

    christophe morio SPONSOR AH Enthusiast

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    You are welcome Nsok. I am not hunting in Benin anymore because between CAR and Tanzania I don't have time. But we are close friends with the owner of the company and if you want I can send you all the details.
    christophe
     
  16. Ardent

    Ardent GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    Joseph smart to ask advice, and you've received the best possible here. I have taken just one Cape Buffalo bull, in Zimbabwe last year, and use the many times mentioned in this thread .375 H&H. Performance was spectacular, and left nothing to be desired. I have also taken plains game with it and just returned from RSA with it three weeks ago. You'll find a .375 H&H a very handy 'tool' to have in the cabinet, and one you'll reach for many times after you've returned from your Buffalo hunt. A larger chambering is less likely to see use in the future, reference the number of 'Used on one Safari' .470's for sale. Doesn't mean I don't desire a stopper myself, however for a first Safari picking up a good, balanced all rounder like the .375 H&H can't be beat.

    I'd stay away from Weatherby rifles for Africa to do yourself a favour. A Ruger RSM, Winchester Model 70 controlled round feed, Kimber Caprivi, or CZ550 would be my recommendation- just bear in mind I'm veteran of but a single Buff hunt, but started down the path you're on not long ago myself. I use a Ruger RSM .375 H&H.
     
  17. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    Rhino Bullets (see site below) in South Africa make excellent 300, 350 and 380 grain solid shank bonded core bullets in .375 caliber. Coupled with good shot placement, you will never need anything more than a well fitting .375 and a premium bullet.

    home page
     
  18. AlabamaGeorge

    AlabamaGeorge New Member

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    Congrats Joseph on getting to experience the thrill of hunting the cape buffalo. You have gotten much great advice but, to me, it is most definitely a personal preference first and foremost. In the end: whatever you choose you have to be extremely comfortable with and capable of accurate shot placement.
    For me, I had a 416 rem built on a model 70 and shoot the 400 grain Swift A-frame. This rifle is extremely accurate and has been the demise of four bulls in Tanzania. I had it built to shoot 350 grain for brown bear but then I tasted Africa and it became buffalo medicine.
    I also have a 458 Lott on model 70 that fires a 500 grain bullet at the same velocity. I will just put it like this: There is a noticeable difference when a big bull gets hit with that 500 grains in the chest compared to the very same shot placement with the 400 grain counterpart. To put it simple; It rocks them back and takes them longer to recover from the initial shock which is a great advantage when hunting dangerous game in close quarters. So, go with something that you are comfortable with both action and caliber and practice shooting often on sticks with enough power to take every advantage you can get. Good luck!
     
  19. philipmoolman

    philipmoolman New Member

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    If I was the Ph I would surely allow my client to shoot a buffalo with a 9,3x62,it is an excellent killer!!!
     
  20. Anjin

    Anjin New Member

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    I am no great expert either, having shot only two cape buffalo and recovered only one. On the first, the action froze on my LH Remington 700 custom barreled in 375 H&H after the first shot and he took off.

    I am not sure whether this should be classified as fact or opinion, but I was just reading Terry Weiland's book Dangerous Game Rifles last night to check on the .375 Weatherby, in which I have had an interest. Weiland seems to have a very deep knowledge of such cartridges and the willingness to speak plainly. He says that the .375 H&H was deliberately designed with a nice taper on the cartridge case for easy extraction. All attempts to blow out that case make it more like a straight cylinder.

    Indeed, he mentions a hunt he did with Robin Hurt, the famed PH, who owned a .375 Weatherby. Sure enough, after a hot day in the sun, a case froze in the chamber and would not extract. They had to take it back to camp, pour cold water on it and open the bolt with a mallet.

    That account has persuaded me that cartridges like the H&H or .416 Rigby are immensely preferable to the Weatherbys. Beyond that, read Mike LaGarde's book on ballistics which says that slower speeds achieve much better penetration in such cartridges, as long as they have good sectional density.

    Again, I say this as one who has personal experience with a frozen case in a dangerous situation, after the first shot on a buff that we tracked for over 14 hours. I had to knock open the bolt with a knife hilt, since I did not have a mallet. <g> Never again. As soon as I got back I had Butch Searcy install a Winchester 70 extractor, ejector and safety on the 700 action. That does not guarantee no freeze-ups, but it should be easier to force a tight case out.

    Norm Solberg
     

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