The .375 and Leopard - I need a bullet

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by Cleathorn, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. Cleathorn

    Cleathorn AH Senior Member

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    Now that most African countries require at least a .375 for Dangerous Game, I am wondering about the bullet chioce for Leopard. I am starting to get too many different bullets for one gun. I have a .375 for most everythig big except for a .458 Lott for that one really big critter.

    I have good controlled expansion and solids for the Bufs, good spitzer sytle bullets for large plains game and lion (NP) but I am not sure about Leopard. I have read, like most of us have, "The Perfect Shot" and agree with the need for a quick one shot kill. A pass through is not that desirable on Leopard and all of the aformentioned bullets will go right through Mr. Spots and probably the tree behind him.

    The one bullet that looks promising is Sierra GameKing's 300 gn Spitzer. From what I have read, Sierra has toughed that bullet up quite a bit (which is the opposite of what I want) but it still seems to be the bullet most likly for rapid expansion on the light skinned/boned Leopard.

    Leopard are a canundrum. Nothing more fierce when wounded but they are actually light skinned and boned, making bullet and load chioces tough.

    Ideally I would hunt the Leopard with a .270 WSM or a .300 Win Mag. at high velocities with a ballistic tip bullet. I really do not care about meat loss from the shock - what I care about is "turning of the switch" as it is written. I want to stay with the 300 gr to try and keep the bullet placement about the same - at least for the first 100 - 200 yards.

    Any other ideas for a rapid expansion .375 bullet for use of Leopard?
  2. Leeukop Safaris

    Leeukop Safaris AH Veteran

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    Cleathorn,

    99% of the time Leopards are shot on close range, not more than 90 yards and when they are on bait even closer. I would go for a 300gr or heavier bullet. A slower heavy soft bullet will have more impact than a light fast bullet.

    Hope this will help.
  3. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ...That's a good question! I would think the Sierra or a Nozler Partition in 300 grs would be the way to go. I do agree I think a smaller faster bullet with a ballistic tip would be the way to go if there wasn't a minimum caliber on the animal! Regardless the bullet will pass through so it is a tough decision!!
  4. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    Nosler partitions would probably be just fine. I'm no expert, and I certainly don't have experience hunting leopard, but in .375 that's what I'd use. In my mind the NP is still the standard against which all the other controlled-expansion bullets are judged. The front 1/2 of the bullet should open up very nicely at that short range. You'll shoot clear through it for sure, but it'll do plenty of damage on the way.

    Whatever you do, keep it simple. Get well acquainted with one bullet in one rifle. Too many variables just increase the chances of something going wrong. You also never know when a record-book whateverbok will wander past. It's hard to beat the NP for a good all-round choice. I'd trade 25% of bullet performace for a 25% improvement in shot placement confidence anytime. Taking four different caliber/bullet combinations will decrease your intuitive feel for where the rifle is shooting.

    If you're also taking a .458 Lott, I'd probably not even load any solids for the .375, that is unless you're worried about the big gun going down.
  5. Cleathorn

    Cleathorn AH Senior Member

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    Thanks for the help. I am a big Nosler Partition fan and it is the bullet I use for almost every type of hunting that I do, from light caliber whitetail huntg, to medium caliber Elk and Red Stag to plains game.

    I have the .375 shooting well with .300 gr NP so I would rather not add another bullet to the mix.

    The reason I have both solids and heavier controlled expansion bullets for the .375 is that I am gogin on a Big 5 hunt and I want to use the .375 for everything but Elephant. I have the .458 Lott and monolithic solids for Elephant.

    For Bufs I will load the gun with the standrad controlled expansion first shot and then solids behind it.

    The .300 gr NP's will handle the Lion, Leopard and any plains game we might take if time permits after our objectives have been met. This is a focused Safari and not just a shoot what happens to be avalaible type of trip. I understand the merits of that but when looking for big tuskers and good bufs, you really need to stay focused and I think that taking that nice waterbuck or great Sable when you had been on the tracks of a Tusker or following a small group of dugga boys can lead to a loss of focus.

    Those Dangerous Game hunts require tremendous mental fortitude and the only way I can do it is to stay focused. THanks for the bullet suggestions.
  6. African Tracks

    African Tracks New Member

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    I would use the .375 from Federal, Cape Shock. This type of bullet has proven over and over to me to be the best on about anything you can hunt in Africa. As a rule stick to the heavy bullet.
  7. Leeukop Safaris

    Leeukop Safaris AH Veteran

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    Cleathorn,

    The secret in Africa is slow and heavy bullets. Tried and tested over many years.
  8. GWH

    GWH AH Member

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    I'd reckon the woodleigh 300Gr round nose projectile would be a great all rounder - plenty of impact area up the front to transfer energy to the game.
  9. Rod Smith

    Rod Smith AH Member

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    Cleathorn

    I would not worry about how fast a bullet expands inside a Leopard, the initial energy transfer from a .375 with any bullet is significant on an animal this size. I would concentrate more on an all purpose expanding projectile that groups well in your rifle and is practical for the other species you will be hunting, the Nosler certainly fits. As with any game, shot placement is key, it is always a great feeling to see a Leopard crumple to the shot and know there is no follow up necessary but a shot through the engine room will kill it within 100 yards and your PH and trackers will find it, as there will be enough blood for a follow up, even if after dark, of course there is the worry of Hyenas damaging the skin if left overnight and for this an instant kill is great, but if you hit it good there should be no worries about either this, or "exciting" follow ups.

    I have shot several Cattle killing Leopards using a .308 will military ball ammunition (not recommended, but all we had to hand) and they didn't ever go more than 60 yards.

    All the best for what promises to be a great safari

    Regards
  10. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Cleathorn............I agree with Rod Smith on this. I have never been a big fan of bouncing back and forth between projectiles in a cartridge and tend to pick one that will do the job on a broad spectrum.

    I also have to say that I am a big fan of passthroughs.........one more hole to leak blood out of if your quarry does not drop like a sack of potatoes. I think the Nosler Partition or a Swift A-frame would be a good pick. I also think (and I have not used it yet on big game) that the new Barnes TTSX might be a good pick as I suspect they will expand quickly with the polymer tip driving into the expansion chamber.

    I can say I have used the 300 grain Partition a lot in my .375 and it ALWAYS does the job nicely.
  11. AndresRam

    AndresRam AH Member

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    Hello my friend this is my humble opinion on the matter:

    In the first place I agree with you (Clearthorn) 100%! But here are my notes in this matter anyway

    Given a chance I would shoot my Leopard with a lesser caliber, with more shock power and very fast opening bullets like a Ballistic Tip or a Silver or Trophy Tip in a caliber like a 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Winchester, or even 30 06.

    But if I had to use the 375 because it's the rifle available of the legal minimum or whatever reason, I would use a light bullet like a 235 grain Speer, 265 grain Nosler Accubond, if I wanted to go with a more standard bullet I really like the good old 270 grain Hornady Spire Point, but if you want to take same-weight bullets and that weight is 300 grains I would definitely not go with Nosler Partitition beacuse IMHO, they are just too tough for leopard!

    I would use 300 grain Sierras.

    About the zero in your rifle you don't need to worry because you will surely check zero before you start your leopard hunt specifically, so a different load and bullet shouldn't be an issue!

    Hope I was helpful!

    Cheers, good hunting and I wish you to have good luck on the leopard and take a monster!
  12. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    If you hit a leopard in the boiler room with a .375 you will have a pass through regardless of bullet, and you will have a very dead leopard. In reality you are using a big stick for a .30 cal job (or 7mm, or .270, or .243 for that matter) With my .375's, I use 270 partitions on everything up to buffalo, but any other premium 270 or 300 grain SP bullet would do as well.

    As a matter of fact, a slow opening SP in your .375 will almost act as a solid on such a small animal. That is not a bad thing. Pelt dammage is a concern on what is often a full body mount. A slow opening, 270 gr bear claw, partition, whatever, will give you a nice neat .40 caliber exit wound with minimal pelt dammage. Gut shoot him and it won't matter very much what he was hit with. I used a 250 gr partition from a .338 on one summer a year ago. 150 lb cat, nice neat hole through the lungs right behind the shoulder, and easy blood trail for thirty yards to a very dead leopard.
  13. 86thecat

    86thecat New Member

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    How about the 270gn North Fork bonded?

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