What caliber should I bring for Plains game hunt

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Vetaikaran, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Vetaikaran

    Vetaikaran AH Member

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    My first African hunt will be for plains game targeting Kudu, Gemsbok, Wathog, Impala & may be a pig or other small antelope. The country that I am inclined towards is Namibia or free range South Africa.

    I hope to take 2 rifles & would like your suggestion on which to take.

    The criteria I want to specify are
    1. Appropriate for the game to be taken humanely at sporting range
    2. Nostalgia - using a classic rifle / caliber in Africa :cool:

    The rifle battery to choose from is.....

    1. Mauser 98 Simson - 9.3X62 (made before 1912 - octagon to round barrel with full length rib) - shooting Woodliegh 320 gr RN, Lapua 285 gr RN & Barnes 250 Gr TSX - topped with Leupold 2-7X scope - accurate to 200 meters
    2. 1903 Mannlicher Schoenauer - 6.5X54MS carbine 18 inch barrel (1930 military conversion) with full stock that I did myself & Leupold 4X scope - shooting 160 gr Hornady RN @ 2100 fps - accurate to 150 meters
    3. 1903 Mannlicher Schoenauer - original sporter made in 1924 - with 24 inch barrel & peep sights - same 6.5X54MS load @ 2300 fps. - accurate to 150 meters
    4. 1910 Mannlicher Schoenauer 9.5X57MS take down model made before 1924 - open sights shooting 270 gr & 250 sp bullets @ 2200 to 2300 fps.- accurate to 100 meters
    5. Sako L61R 280 Ackley Imp with Swarovski 2.5- 10X scope & shooting 150 tsx or 160 gr Accubond @ 2900 to 3000 fps - accurate to 400 meters
    6. Kimber Montana SS 7mm-08 with Leupold 2.5-8X scope & shooting same 7mm bullets @ 2600 to 2700 fps - accurate to 300 meters

    I would appreciate any comments. Thanks
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2009
  2. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

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    You state Gemsbok so the .280 Ackley would have to be the minimum there as far as bullet weight and trajectory are concerned.

    For the rest, either of the 6.5x54MS with 160 load will do perfectly.

    You like classic calibres, but longer ranges may have you wishing you took one rifle, the .280.
  3. speedbump

    speedbump AH Member

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    Any of your Mannlichers should do for warthog &/or impala as the ranges will probably be close. The 9.3 has plenty of authority, but which do you shoot most accurately ? Either the 7-08 or 280 Ackley will do well across the board, but the Ackley would likely be useless if your ammo is misplaced en route. I'd be more inclined toward the 7-08 and more practice & ammo availability.

    Have you posed this question to your potential PHs ?
  4. Vetaikaran

    Vetaikaran AH Member

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    Thanks guys. My inclination has always been to take the 9.3X62 - it has a double set trigger & would be perfect for long shots with shooting sticks as well as quick close shots. I'll probably take the 6.5MS Carbine as it is scoped & I did the stock work & am proud of the rifle.

    Yes the 280 Ackley would be perfect & I shoot it very well, but the ammo is head stamped 280 rem & might be an issue with customs. I'll take that to the US or canad for Elk & mule deer!
  5. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    Of the rounds you stipulate I would probably go with the great 9.3x62 and the 250 gr. Barnes X or better yet the 230 gr. GS Customs bullets of So. Africa..I dont' see anything nostalgic about the 280, but thats a good hunting choice...

    My personal choice based on your stipulations would be and has been the 7x57 mauser...
  6. owenowen

    owenowen AH Veteran

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    info

    Take number 6 !!
  7. peter weismann

    peter weismann New Member

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    Received an email yesterday, telling about this site here and don't have any idea, what ever turned that to me.
    I did once one single hunting trip to South-Afrika, Eastern Cape, but I am surely not typically fpr hunters roaming this fields.
    Well, just registered because of this thread, even, when I had considered never again spending any time sitting in front of PCs and writing about hunting instead doing it.
    But.
    I am reloader, almost nothing else but rifle ammo and I have a strong fondness towards wildcats and use some of my own design also and such, I hardly can hold back when it turns to discussion concerning this field.

    So, of course, in every (nearly every) point of view, I would say: use the 280 Ackley!
    There is only that one drawback, you might run out of ammo and cannot buy it locally. Every loader never trusts ammo out of a shop anyway and I would recommend, take enough ammo and store it properly. You may loose it during the flight, but you may loose something else too and my experience (from other trips) ist such, that you will not loose those baggage that easy that you had to claim as important carriage.
    In short, I wouldn't fear that as much, as it would be fun for me, hunting a wildcat.
    Even, if this would be the lesser accurate rifle, I would tend to use that, but, in your case, it is the best shooting out of your choice, so what?
    What is wrong with beeing able to hit maybe 100m further out, than is considered maximum for your hunt? You still will hit on the shorter distance and will do probably better with it, than with the rest of your guns, plus, what if... your dream of a buck stands youst 350m broadside and good conditions, but not the right rifle? Why running in such a situation, without a need for it?
    You will be happy with a good scope on 4x to 5x and a good reticle in and shooting 160grs Accubonded in 7mm on your desired game. You have a tick over the 7mm-08 in using the 280 AI, especially with that bullet.
    Consider: you may have to sight in your rifle in Afrika. It is better done with good scopes and accurate rifles.
    If at all, my second rifle would be the 7mm-08 than. Maybe with the lighter bullet, but I don't like barnes X and its later cousins as much as the accubonded. That is one accurate bullet that realy performs very well at low costs!
  8. mlg

    mlg AH Member

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    Number 3 would be my choice - there is nothing there it won't deal with - given good shot placement. What a great rifle.

    Then i would go the 9.3x62 and the 7mm08.....
  9. Vetaikaran

    Vetaikaran AH Member

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    I checked the 280 Ackley yesterday with a new load - 160 gr Accubond with VV N560 powder - giving 3050 fps in a 24.5 inch barrel!! That is duplicating the Nosler manual! The bolt lift was easy on the Sako & the load looks safe! Accuracy was ok but not great. May be worth reducing powder by 1 grain.

    I also tried the Simson 9.3X62 at the club competition last week & did surprising well agains others with 223s, 22-250, 270, 7mm-08 etc.! Even at 200 meters I was able to hit the 3 inch bull on 3 out of 5 shots. I guess I would have got the animal 8 out of 10 times. With regular practice on the set trigger I am confident I can shoot 10 out of 10 in the bull with shooting sticks. I am still inclined towards this rifle.

    This is a great thread & would love to hear more posts.:)
  10. Gerhard

    Gerhard AH Veteran

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    The best calibre will be the one you are most comfortable with and shoot the most accurate.

    You will need to hit the vital triangle every time you put the rifle in your shoulder.

    The 9.3 x 62 is a great calibre for African Plains game. So stick with it and keep on practising with it.

    Enjoy your preparations and the hunt and remember to take lots of photos.
  11. peter weismann

    peter weismann New Member

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    N560 in some cases is shooting better with using magnum primers. I would suggest that and reduce the actual charge by one grain at least to start with.
    Other choices to reduce pressure can do good on accuracy, but will reduce m.v. too.
    With AccuBonded I like putting a MoS2 surface on them, what looks good, but what does good almost ever. In my .27x68, my "African Load" brought the 140grs AccuBonded to a measured 3345 fps (1020 m/s) V3 (3m from the muzzle). Without MoS2, the same load did 1040 m/s. But, without MoS2, I had to clean the rifle at least after 20 rounds to keep accuracy. With MoS2, I tested over 70 rounds on the range and could not see a loss of accuracy and the gun was cleaned very easy afterwards.
    Depending on your chamber and tools, it might be chance that you do not need to use the expander during resizing the brass. You should not try this, if the neck ist reduzed to a diameter, thet would be to heavy for the bullet to open up during seating. And, you should egalize the neck by trimming out-/inside. Take a closer look inside the neck, at the line, where shoulder meets neck. Especially Cases with sharp shoulders tend to build material up here, prodocing a ring that does no good for accuracy. Depending on brass, you might have to remove this ring after three to five loadings in the case. It could allready be helpfull, to seat the bullet so, that it sits in front of this ring, but that is seldom possible.

    OK, only a few suggestions, because I love doing it with wildcats ;-)
    You should realy take the rifle, with that you feel the best and shot the best and not listen to much on ballistic benefits. It first sounded to me, the Ackeley would be that one in your rig and so I wanted to encourage you using that.
  12. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    I agree! Take the gun you shoot the best & are comfortable with. My only thoughts with the reloading is "do you really need all that velocity?" everything I ever read & was told by outfitters was keep the velocity down. Granted the smallest caliber i shot in Africa was a 30/06 my 180 gr load was at 2484 fps & my 150 at 2932 fps. These loads were no where near top of the book in pressure which helps as far as sticky loads especially if you go in the hotter part of the season.
    I never used VV for gun powder as I had already worked up decent loads long before VV hit the market in the States! The only change I made before I went on my first Safari in 2003 was I switched to Hodgdens heat sensitive powders. They made a minimal change in everything & I had a better piece of ind considering most of the days I was there it was 90 + degrees!
    The 280 ackley is something I have considered getting for a while I hope it works out good for you!!!
  13. Gerhard

    Gerhard AH Veteran

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    I have been reading a lot about the 280 Rem and 280AI and the majority of the guys love the calibre.

    I would suggest 160 and 170gr bullets for African Plains game. Unless you are going to hunt in open plain areas your shots should not be more than 200 yards at most. So there is not really a need to chase max velocity....
  14. Ray Atkinson

    Ray Atkinson AH Enthusiast

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    I would be as happy as a pig in s--t with any one of the guns you mention but would probably opt for the 9.3x62 as I really like the gun description, it must be an old beauty and lots of nostalgia there and I'm a nostalgic sorta guy!:)

    I would not feel the least bit of intimadation hunting long range with the 9.3x62..I have made some mighty long shots with it...The difference in trajectory between any of the calibers is pretty miniscule in the field where one wiggles on about as much as one wiggles off on those shots! :) and it kills like a .375 H&H...darn nice caliber.

    Im more into properly constructed bullets and bullet placement along with real nice old guns, than I am into caliber.

    I think the most fun hunt that I ever went on in Africa was a plainsgame hunt and with my grandads 30-30 and 170 gr. Factory Rem. Corelokts..I shot about everything with it including one Eland that I shot through the shoulder as he ran by at 150 yards and again in the rump as he passed..He went about 75 yards and went down..The rump shot broke the hip and the bullet ended up perfectly expanded in the throat, not bad for an old punkin roller IMO..and it makes one think, since that is about where a .375 would have ended up also.

    I also observed Phillip Price, Swartkei Safari kill and eland with a going away shot out of a .243 Sako, it went about 100 or so yards and went down, but I shot it about 3 times with a .375..What amazed me was the little 100 gr. Rem Corelokt went all the way to the shoulder, cut a hole in the big shoulder bone and was a perfect mushroom under the skin...Proper bullet performance is amazing when it comes to killing game...
  15. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Vetaikaran,

    Take .366 (9.3x62) and bag all your listed game .

    happy hunting

    Monish

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