Plains Game Rifle Selection

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Second Wind, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Second Wind

    Second Wind AH Enthusiast

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    Gentlemen,

    I have read lots and lots and lots of articles, opinion pieces and recommendations about the lightweight end of a two (2) gun selection for plains game and now I am ready , at last, for the opinion(s) of my brethren here.

    I have the selection whittled down to two.

    So then, I am heading out for plains game, what do I team up with the .375 Holland,
    30.06 or a .300 Win Mag and why.

    All input, advise and recommendation is sincerely appreciated.
  2. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Second wind...

    In my readings i would take the 300 Win Mag (in my case i would take my 300 Weatherby Mag)....with 180 gr bullets....it would be a great match up to your 375 H & H...
  3. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Well I own a .300 WM, so I'm partial to it and think it in certain circumstances such as longer shots has an advantage over the .30-06. But honestly I think either choice for the pairing will do. If you think you're headed into a spot where longer shots may be necessary, then go with the magnum.
  4. michaelhh375

    michaelhh375 AH Veteran

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    Hi second wind.
    Plains game. Why do you need 2 different calibers ? 30.06, 300WM or HH375 are all enough power, if you use correct ammo. I suggest you bring the rifle that you feel most comfortable with, and have fun.
    IF, you anyway, need to bring 2 rifles, I suggest 30.06 and HH375. Why ? HH375 for little bigger plainsgame, like Eland, Giraffe.... rest of plainsgames.. 30.06.
    Since many years hunting around the world, I have only used my SAKO TRG-S, HH375 for all kinds of animals, only changed ammo, for different animals, however, since a few years back, I dont even has to think about change ammo for different animals, I just use one type of bullet for all kind of animals, anywhere in the world... Impala RN bullet. ( See webpage impalabullets.at )
    I wish you a fantastic hunting adventure.
  5. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

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    Second Wind,
    all advice and suggestions so far are very valid imo.

    As you have allready decided on a .375 for your heavy rifle, (excellent) and wanting to add / deciding on the 'lighweight' end for your second choice, personally i will ask myself only 2 questions - which your outfitter / landowner / PH guide where you plan to hunt PLAINSGAME will (must!) be able to inform you on beforehand:
    * What distances on average will i hunt at? If the animals are not that wild and you are going to hunt at average distances of 100 - 200 meters (app 110 - 220 yds) then i will have no hesitation in taking the 30-06 with 180 gr ammo. Should your distances exceed 220 yds - i will favor the 300 WM simply because it shoots flatter than the 30-06 at extended distances.

    * What animals do i plan to hunt? Will you be hunting primarilly small to medium size plains game (Springbuck / Blesbuck / Hartebees / Wildebees / Oryx, etc) then the 30-06 will be my choice. However...should you be going for larger antelope (Eland / Giraffe) i will favor the 300 WM at longer distances and stick to the .375 at closer work.

    Above is usually the determining factors for me to decide on what cal i will be hunting with. Also very important / just as important - is whether you know your rifles. (trajectory / capability) and whether you are well practised and confident with either cal on the hunt.

    my 5c
  6. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    second wind

    FHM3006 bring up a valid point...however if you have read some great post on AH by forum members returning from there safari some i and i do say some were presented with a longer shot than they were planning on and you know what they made the shot with there rifle with shots in excess of 300 yards...that is one of the reasons that i picked the 300Win Mag over the 30-06.

    Now if you have the chance to look at outfitters and PH web locations and look at caliber recommended you will See 30 caliber or greater with good bullet selection. Quite a few are talking the 300 Win Mag or 338 Win Mag with the emphasis on the larger of the two.

    You have larger covered with your 375 H & H and while it is all the rifle you need i would have suggested a 260 or 270 grain bullet and just take the one rifle...However in your question you were opting to take two rifles...you have not said what plains game you are going after and like michaelhh375 so eloquently indicated the 375 H & H is all you really need. If you are after Giraffe i would stay with the 270 gr bullet and stay with one bullet...and if sighted for 200 yards you would be covered out to 300 yards if you knew your bullet arc drop.
  7. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I would get a 300 Win Mag and 180 grain bullets. It's superior ballistically to the 30-06, bullets are widely available....and it a very good for a long range shots.
  8. TerryR

    TerryR AH Veteran

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    unless you expect to take a shot longer than 250 yds I would stick with the 30-06 and 180 gr bullets. I have used both the 30-06 and the 300 WM on plainsgame in the Okavango Delta, IMHO at ranges less than 300 yds the only difference between the 30-06 and the 300 WM is noise and recoil.
  9. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    As TerryR stated both the 30-06 and the 300WM will do I used the 300WM on the East Cape but was shooting at Ranges of up to 325 yards the 30-06 will do the same but the 300 Win Mag has a little flater Trajectory and has enough nock down power to take the biggest Eland and will still work good on the smallest of game.
  10. Baydog

    Baydog AH Veteran

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    I'd probably just take the rifle I shoot better with and like the most because both are good choices. Otherwise, all things being equal, I like the .300WM.
  11. johnfox

    johnfox AH Senior Member

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    I'd leave the 375 at home.

    The 300WM with good bullets will do all you ask of it and more on plains game. Just practice, practice and practice some more on shooting off sticks. Bullet placement wins hands down over cartridge choice IMO.
  12. CK1

    CK1 AH Member

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    I have one African plains game safari under my belt so I am by no means an expert. But I will share my experience.

    I took two rifles with me for my central Namibia safari this past May; 30.06 and a .300 Weatherby. I took 12 animals in 10 days and all were taken with the .300 Weatherby even though I intended on taking several animals with the 30.06. Why? Well as the say in Africa, you never know what's going to walk out and I wanted a rifle to take the largest animals on the menu easily. I took animals from 60-378 yards so the .300 B was an asset.

    Next time, I'll most likely take only one rifle with me for plains game and it will be one that can take the largest animal on the menu considering range etc. If I need another rifle due to failure, I'll use a camp rifle.

    Good luck with your decision. My recommendation is to take the .300 WinMag.

    CK
  13. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    On my four safaris, I have used a 338WM for all plains game.

    It s easier to travel with one gun.
  14. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I am also a huge fan of the 338WM for plains game. It will handle a springbok at 300 or an eland at 30. That said, I suspect more 300WM are camp guns than any other caliber in PG (and leopard) country.
  15. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    All my 'gotta have one' rifles are gathering dust.I do all my hunting with my .375,it's all I need.From Duiker to Eland,hogs and cats.With a 250gr bullet,I have a maximum point blank range of around 300 meters and thats further than I like to shoot,anyway.On the small buck I use the 286gr solid which gives a neat through and through with no other damage.Take your .375,get to know her real personal like,develop a pet load in 235,250 260 or 270gr and,coupled with factory DG ammo,you won't need any other rifle for any PG or DG on earth.

    But then,to each his own.Good luck with your choice,and happy hunting..!
  16. timbear

    timbear AH Enthusiast

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    Michaelhh375, I take it you are using the 270 gr RNFP? Can you elaborate on performance? Obviously, as you are using this exclusively, it must work pretty well. I admit I never heard of them before, but I read their website, and an universal bullet sounds great.
  17. Second Wind

    Second Wind AH Enthusiast

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    from the host:

    Gentlemen, I want to thank everyone for the input, It has been invaluable in helping me make a decision in this critical matter but after much feedback, both public and private and another exhaustive study of ballistics tables and several trips to the range, I think:

    WE HAVE A WINNER!

    First, from a practical standpoint we have left the days when we pack up the wife, the mistress, the oldest male child, all the servants and attendants, 15 trunks and 10 rifles and take the slow boat to Mombassa for a month of shooting and safari. Nowadays, we pack like Israeli paratroopers, conscious of every ounce, we offer ourselves up to the customs and immigration officers of any number of countries whose entire economies some of us could put on our charge cards.

    So, all this in mind, it comes to this:

    the .375 Holland for plains game. I looked up 'deader" in Webster's and there really isn't such a word so the smaller end of this group is just going to have to deal and not take it too personally. With something like one of the 260 gr super-premium bullets I think I'll be fine.

    the .416 Rigby. A proven performer in the DG category. On paper hits as hard as the .470 NE,
    and out to about 250 yds is flat enough to manage a PG effort.

    I own them both, a Winchester and a CZ (Brno), shoot both regularly and feel very comfortable with either.

    So, with the help of all that have contributed I have cut the traveling arsenal in1/2 and can pack these two guns on a trip to Africa and be adequately armed to face anything.

    Now please, punch holes in my comfortably held position. The experience, recomendation and critique of this group is fantastic and much appreciated, I just want to make sure I have this covered correctly.

    Many Thanks
  18. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    I don't think there's a need to punch holes in your selection. I do find it interesting that you chose the 416 Rigby to pair with the .375 and bailed on both the 30-06 and .300WM. Please post your report when you get back!
  19. michaelhh375

    michaelhh375 AH Veteran

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    timbear.
    You are correct. 270 gr RN bullets, result of these IMPALA bullets are amazing. I have convinced a lot of friends to try IMPALA for what ever caliber they have, from 222-458 LOTT, not one has changed back to "old" ammo !
    As said before, i have only used my Sako TRG S HH375 for all kinds of hunting and all kinds of animals. However, I recently bought a BRNO Safari 416 Rigby, why ? couldn't resist the story of this gun ! Got some IMPALA 350 gr RN ammo, booked second Moz adventure, for this year, and test of 416R will be done for 18-21 days in August. :D
  20. Second Wind

    Second Wind AH Enthusiast

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    Phil, I probably wasn't as clear as I should have been. For PG I am just going to take the .375 in the event of a breakdown I will just use one of th PH's camp rifle. On a hunt that includes Buf or something larger and includes PG ( like say Buf and sable or Buf and Roan) I will pack them both.

    My working theory is to carry a rifle large enough to address the largest game I might encounter on any given outing.

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