Kudu Rifle

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Code4, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    7
    My Photos:
    44
    Member of:
    SSAA
    Hunted:
    Australia, Zimbabwe, RSA, NZ, UK.
    Yes, this is one of those questions.

    What size rifle do you need for Kudu ?

    I'm in the camp that believes a lot of hunters go to Africa overgunned. I used a 9.3x62 on my last hunt on the recommendation of my PH (I always listen to my PH) as Eland was at the top of my list.

    I was also after Kudu having missed out on successfully hunting one fair chase during my first paid safari. I got three, one 50" and two male cull animals with the 9.3x62 and 286 woodleighs. On that limited number and various conversations I formed the opinion that Kudu were not that tough.

    I'm taking a 7x57 with 154 Interlocks back for a larger Kudu on my next hunt. A .308W with 150/165's would IMO be even more of a good thing. I will even go so far and say a .243W with 100's with careful shot placement would be enough if prepared not to 'blaze away' at the first sight of the quarry.

    What would you use, just for Kudu ?
  2. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    25
    My Photos:
    68
    Member of:
    NRA, NA Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia, South Africa (2)
    Well as I said I think the 9.3x62 is perfect especially if eland are nearby and on the menu. In fact the 9.3 is a minimum caliber for large game in some places including for eland in Zim at least, and is a minimum buffalo caliber there as well. While it may be true that kudu are not overly tenacious as some are reputed to be, they are still a big animal and I have seen lots of video of kudu bulls running away with bullet holes in them. Many opine that .30-06 class cartridges are about right and I would not disagree with that but the 9.3 has an edge over any of them and certainly over the .308 class. Having said that I remember a couple of years ago the editor of one of the glossies here took a near world record kudu with Eden Safaris in Namibia with a .257 Roberts! Now I am a big fan of the Roberts but would not have been hunting kudu with one but it did the job. Of course many large animals have been taken with any number of small bore rounds over the years but my thinking is why take the chance? A bullet that lands a little off the intended spot can be a little less critical with a bigger, heavier bullet whereas when you are shooting the smaller bores shot placement is just that much more critical. Now dont start yelling about shot placement being not critical, it is of course. But you can gain just a little leeway with a bigger hole in the barrel and I would rather be over gunned than under gunned any day.
  3. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5,838
    Likes Received:
    88
    My Photos:
    32
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    I don't want to start a war (lol), I think a kudu is not that tough of a animal...I think elk are tougher...that being said a 243 to anything upward will kill a kudu...if the shot is right on the target...but sestoppelman is correct...bigger is probably better. I have used a 300 Win Mag and thought that was super tough on a kudu...no chance he was going anywhere with a well placed shot. On elk I have used muzzleloader and my 270 Win. , both were one shot kills.
  4. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2009
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    3
    My Photos:
    110
    Member of:
    NRA, DU, DSC
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania
    First question: "What size rifle do you need for Kudu ?"

    Legal minimums vary country by country if you want to use that as the criteria.

    Zimbabwe:

    • Class C Game
    3000 Joule
    Minimum caliber 7.0mm in diameter
    (Leopard, Crocodile, Kudu, Oryx / Gemsbok, Hartebeest, Wildebeest, Zebra, Nyala, Sable Antelope, Waterbuck, Tsessebe, etc.)

    I am sure more than one kudu has succombed to a 270 Winchester in Zim. Requirements vary by country.

    Under the right conditions I am sure a 243 Winchester would kill a kudu with relative ease.

    Second Question: "What would you use, just for Kudu ?"

    Kudu only? 338 Win Mag, smaller will work but I prefer more than the minimum. My 375 H&H is even better.


    I have a question, why travel over 8000 miles and use the minimum on any game? I always want something that will penetrate sufficiently under the worse conditions, bad angles on follow ups etc.
  5. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Veteran

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    249
    Likes Received:
    5
    My Photos:
    2
    I'd use my 30-06 with a 168g TSX. But then again, that's what I'd use on just about any animal short of large dangerous game. Not a very interesting choice, I'm afraid, but easy enough to shoot well and gets the job done without fuss and bother.
  6. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,394
    Likes Received:
    25
    My Photos:
    68
    Member of:
    NRA, NA Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia, South Africa (2)
    Be hard to argue with your choice especially with the premium bullet.
  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,227
    Likes Received:
    42
    My Photos:
    23
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    USA, S. Africa
    From a purely trophy hunting point of view, i.e. disregarding meat damage, I'd say shoot the largest calibre you can shoot accurately to the distances you expect to shoot with one of the premium bullets be it an A-frame, TSX or Partition.

    I think it's a safe bet that your PH and tracker would rather you shoot your .308 if you shoot it accurately versus a .300 Weatherby if you can't place the bullet. Conversely if you can accurately shoot a .375, well why not?

    EDIT: By the way, I agree with enysse in that I think elk are at least as tough as Kudu. My last rifle shot elk was a large 6x6 bull. I took him with single shot from my 7mm Magnum using a 160gr Nosler Partition at 287 yards. I have to believe that it would be plenty sufficient for Kudu.
  8. daggaboyblog

    daggaboyblog AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    28
    Member of:
    Peninsular Firearms Academy
    Hunted:
    Australia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malta
    I did kill my kudu with a .270 but I felt terribly undergunned.
    On a subsequent hunt I nailed a waterbuck with my 300 WBY and felt much better about it.
    And while carrying my 450 Ackley Magnum I've had shot opportunities where I was very much over gunned. Can confirm it's a ripper of a warthog cartridge and works just as well on pigs at home.

    Going to Africa, I will never consider anything below the 300 magnum class again. And Up to .375 is fine by me.

    I'm with Mike from Cow Island on this one. If you've got a big gun and you can shoot it, then take that one.
  9. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Elite

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,287
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Eastern Cape, South Africa
    My Photos:
    58
    Member of:
    PHASA ; SCI ; DSC ; Eastern Cape Game Management Association ; PE Pistol and Rifle Club
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Namibia, New Zealand
    John,
    Any of the rifles you have just mentioned will be good enough, with exception to the .243 . I would not recommend hunting Kudu with this calibre. Sure, good shot placement will bring anything down. But, this is hunting. In South Africa, on the low fenced farms, it is also illegal to shoot Kudu with a .243, and its for good reason.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Best Regards
    Marius Goosen
  10. hunting

    hunting AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    244
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    Sweden, USA, Brazil, Mexico.,
    I am with Marius on this one, a 243 can do it but i will never recommend it . Bullet placement is very important and i have seen Impala running away with a shot out of a 500 nitro . If i had one good shot or lets say a lucky shot with my 308 on Eland then it does not make the 308 the best gun for the job . We hunt a good number of animals every year and my recommendation is use the biggest caliber you can handle or shoot without flinching . Personally i have hunted many Kudu with my 30-06 loaded with 220gr not just trophy but meat also and i will go as far to say that to me this would be the smallest caliber i will use on Kudu. But i still like my 375 better.
    Johan
  11. Jriley

    Jriley AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    6
    Member of:
    NWTF, RMEF, SCI, NRA LIfe
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Canada, U.S.A.
    I used a .30-06 on my kudu with 180-grain Nosler Partitions. It ran 40 yards and fell stone dead. Again, it's not exciting, but it works.
  12. Frederik

    Frederik AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    9
    My Photos:
    100
    Member of:
    BASA
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Sweden
    Kudu are not tough animals its 80% shot placement and 20% bullet and caliber combination.

    The trick comes in the terrain they hang out so most of the time you do not have a clear view of a broadside kudu and people are shocked on how small they actually are for frontal shots. So you will need a bullet that can penetrate enough if you need an angled shot and shoot trough small openings in the bush to find the correct spot. A good scope will be more of an assest than a bigger caliber for a kudu hunt in my view.
  13. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    5,838
    Likes Received:
    88
    My Photos:
    32
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    The frontal shot on a kudu, should be avoided at all cost...very small target, and a lot of room for error. I think if I was going to Africa the minimum for kudu would be the 7mm Mag, I say that...because it's a long flight, the 7mm doesn't recoil that bad, and 160 grain bullets will get the job done. But for the most part I agree bigger is better and a 30 caliber is probably the right gun for the job.
  14. seattlesetters

    seattlesetters AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    0
    First, I have absolutely zero experience with kudu so take this for what that's worth.....

    However, I've been researching African plains game for the better part of two years and have spoken with several who have quite a bit of experience with elk and kudu. To a man, they all say a bull elk is much tougher to kill than a mature kudu bull. And, having hunted elk for 20 years myself, I can attest that shots on elk are very often difficult, with tough angles and small windows just a part of the game.

    I would not choose a .25-06 as a primary elk rifle; however, I would have no hesitation using that caliber/cartridge on even the biggest bull elk because I've seen it be wildly effective a number of times. Same goes for the .270 Win.

    In fact, the single most spectacular kill I've ever seen was on a very large 6x6 bull elk (about 850 lbs on the hoof) that was just walloped at 435 yards with a 125gr Nosler Partition fired from a 6.5x.284. The bull hit the ground so hard he bounced!

    I believe in placing good bullets in the right place. I do not believe in taking risky shots because a larger caliber and/or more powder (read: Magnum) may (or may not!) be able to help make up for my mistake. I'd like to think my shot selection and ethics remain the same regardless of if I'm toting a .25-06 or a 9.3x62. If I can put one in the vitals, I do. If I can't...with either cartridge...I don't shoot, regardless of what I've payed for the hunt.
  15. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,552
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    My Photos:
    40
    Member of:
    RFEC, RFETO
    Hunted:
    Finland, RSA ( KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, North West ), Spain
    For large plainsgame I use a .338WM, Remington 225 grs. Swift A Frame.

    Just to be on the safe side.
  16. Blue Skies Hunting Adventures

    Blue Skies Hunting Adventures AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2011
    Messages:
    297
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    12
    Member of:
    SCI, RMEF
    Hunted:
    Limpopo, Eastern Cape,Natal
    The most important thing is shooting in Africa is shooting with a rifle you are comfotable with and shoot well, next part is shot placement, put in in the boiler room and anything from a .243 and up will do the job. Do not worry about meat damage on these animals as you can't take the meat home with you. I have shot 2 kudus on my trip one with a 7mm 08 and one with a .300 wm both went into the salt. Hope this helps.
  17. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Messages:
    2,523
    Likes Received:
    25
    My Photos:
    73
    Member of:
    NRA, ATA, PITA, NAHC, NAFC, DU, TU, DSC, SCI, RMEF
    Hunted:
    USA - Canada -Tanzania, South Africa, Zimbabwe
    What Gun do I to chose?

    Some good advise and council have been forwarded to you...the question is what will you decide on.:agree:

    By the sounds of things you appear to be recoil sensitive...:oops:

    What will be the distance that you are comfortable with shooting your different guns.:huntingrifle:

    Select the one that you are able to shoot straight and accurate out to say 100 - 200 or 300 yards...and that is off shooting sticks...and after you have walked a mile or two miles...:sharpshooter:
  18. nsok

    nsok AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    11
    Just my opinion and what I will carry this August, only one rifle, thick bush, large antelopes in the menu, 9,3x62 with 286 grains Swift A Frame. I hope it works fine, an me too...
  19. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
    Messages:
    452
    Likes Received:
    7
    My Photos:
    44
    Member of:
    SSAA
    Hunted:
    Australia, Zimbabwe, RSA, NZ, UK.
    nsok. You will have a great time.

    The Kudu in my Avatar was shot with my 9.3x62 and a 286 Woodleigh which at the low impact velocity penciled through. Range was a lasered 237 yards. I had to use a bit of Kentucky elevation so practise shooting out to 250 yards to learn the actual drop. Don't rely on ballistic tables.
  20. nsok

    nsok AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    11
    [​IMG]

    This was my 8 shape kudu hunted last August in the Eastern Cape. It was with a 300WM bullet Norma Oryx 200 grains. For this August I having made a custom 9,3x62 and I can not wait to see how it wll work.

    Attached Files:

Share This Page