What Calibre to Bring on a One-Gun Safari?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Kevin Thomas Safaris, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Kevin Thomas Safaris

    Kevin Thomas Safaris AH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    14
    Member of:
    PHASA
    Hunted:
    South Africa & Zimbabwe
    What Calibre to Bring on a One-Gun Safari?; With a heavy personal bias towards the .375 H&H
    by Kevin Thomas

    With heightened security being the order of the day across the globe, and not likely to disappear anytime in the future – in fact with the passage of time, airline security will probably become more stringent – visiting clientele often end up in a bit of a quandary as to what rifle(s) to bring to Africa. My own feeling as a PH is that now more than at any time in the past, it is wiser and far less hassle for an inbound sport hunter to just travel with one calibre, suitable for use on all of the trophy species you’ll want to shoot.

    Most safari companies have rifles that can be hired by a visiting sport hunter, however, and I’m sure most will agree, a true dedicated hunter likes to use his own rifle(s) for whatever reason, and there are many. With that in mind and in order to avoid a lot of unnecessary stress, whilst trying to fly internationally with a bunch of guns and ammunition, what is the ideal calibre for a one rifle safari? It must be understood that the one-gun scenario I am writing about is for an inbound sport hunter to Africa, not a working PH.

    Important is that one absolute essential for an all round rifle is that the calibre has a wide variety of bullet types. Using the .375 H&H, solid bullets don’t only work on the biggest game; they do a good job on the small stuff too. A 300gr solid will punch a neat hole through a duiker without doing much damage to the skin, and whilst it will do the same on an impala, with them being herd animals, after exiting the bullet may travel on to wound or kill others, thus when used in a herd or bachelor groupings, caution should prevail. Other bullet weights for the .375 H&H like 235gr and 270gr soft-points allow the calibre to kill everything up to eland, whilst the 300gr premium softs and solids do the job adequately on buffalo and elephant.

    Obviously though the first question a visiting hunter should ask themselves is what is on their “Want List” trophy wise? Does it involve a mix of non-dangerous plains game trophies up to the size of eland only, or is there dangerous game species included? If dangerous game is included with plains game up to eland, my calibre recommendation would automatically be the .375 H&H. I have used a .375 H&H for decades now for sport hunting, problem animal control, and culling, and am a firm disciple of this all time great bullet.

    When Holland & Holland gave the hunting world the .375 Magnum in 1912, they gave us something very special indeed. At time of launch, the only other calibres that could compete with it and with slight limitations, were the .404 Jeffery and .350 Rigby Magnum as magazine rifles, and the 450/400 doubles. The .375 H&H might be classified as a “Medium Bore Calibre” but it offers extremely flat trajectory, adequate bullet weight and performance in the field that is hard to beat.

    Since the .375 H&H was first used in Africa it has proven itself a great success story and continues to retain its excellent reputation as the most popular, if not the best all-round African calibre. Ivory hunter of yore, John ‘Pondoro’ Taylor in his book African Rifles and Cartridges rated it as the best of the medium bores for African hunting (in fact he was so impressed by it he did exaggerate somewhat its penetration & killing abilities), and chose it as the most effective all-round cartridge – he wrote the book way back in 1948 – now in 2009 I don’t think much has changed, aside from us having a far wider range of quality bullet types to choose from. Frank Barnes in his Cartridges of the World says of the .375 H&H, “This cartridge was the basis for H&H’s later .300 H&H Magnum and is therefore the great-grandfather of almost all modern belted magnum chamberings. It can certainly be said that it inspired the entire genre” – a truism if ever.

    Respected PH Tony Henley once wrote an enlightening article on his preferred calibres for hunting African big game, it was titled Some Notes on Big Rifles Suitable for Hunting in Africa. He starts off by quite correctly saying that with the introduction of the ultra high velocity rifle, many sport hunters got carried away by the publicity put out about these firearms by the manufacturers. His field observations in Botswana of the outcome of hunter(s) using rifles delivering velocities of 3,000 foot and more per second were that the hunt usually ended in many hours of following a wounded and suffering animal. The tendency of some ultra high velocity bullets is to disintegrate on impact, leaving a large surface wound, or worse still if the bullet strikes a twig or other vegetation before reaching the intended target, it disintegrates or deflects.

    During the mid-nineties a now deceased PH colleague and I experienced some of the aforementioned when we had two clients with us on safari in Zimbabwe’s Matetsi. For their buffalo, both were using .450 Watt’s and each shot a buffalo early in the safari. We then changed areas for the plains game segment of the safari and it was here that both clients produced their plains game rifles; they were identical .340 Weatherby Magnums. To cut a long story short, we ended up with both of our clients having problems whilst trying to kill trophy animals. At times, and after an easy shot the trophy just loped off unscathed – it happened at least three times with good quality sable – unwounded they just showed us their heels after the shot.

    Initially we were totally baffled until we looked very carefully at what the clients were shooting “through” – a veil of waist high dry grass & scrawny scrub that is hardly noticeable – unless you look closely. It wasn’t really discernable through the scope of a rifle and more particularly so if total concentration was on the target animal. That grass and scrub however, was obviously causing the .340 bullets of the type they were using to deflect. I have nothing against the .340 Weatherby, it is a popular proven calibre, but with its high velocity bullets it wasn’t suited to the vegetation and terrain we were hunting in. My suggestion to the clients that they revert to using their .450 Watt’s changed the equation and animals started going into the salt – although the .450 Watt’s certainly isn’t your ideal all round plains game calibre!

    Getting back to the .375 H&H, if we look at some of the bullet weights and velocities, they also help reinforce the argument for it being the finest all-round calibre for Africa for a visiting sport hunter.
    235grs @ 2,800fps
    270grs @ 2,650fps
    300grs @ 2,500fps

    The above range allows a hunter to safely shoot an elephant and anything else in between, down to a common duiker and the bullet variations available to the hand loader and factory loads in this day and age are awesome, the Barnes-X line, Swift A-Frame, Nosler line, to name but a few. Tony Henley finished his written observations on the .375 H&H by stating “I always recommend any sportsman coming on safari to Africa to include a .375 in his battery, or better still, just to bring the one rifle”.

    For elephant, one obviously only uses solid bullets and nothing else, and as Mike LaGrange an ex Rhodesian National Parks warden and highly experienced elephant hunter, wrote in his superb treatise Ballistics in Perspective (Professional Hunter Supplies Publishing Division 1990), when using the 300gr Hornady solid, the .375 H&H produces sufficient penetration to kill even the largest elephant instantly through the brain. He also points out that the 270gr bullet is sufficiently fast enough to obviate sight adjustment out to 300yds.

    LaGrange goes on to point out that throughout the history of the .375 H&H opinions have continued to promote its cause. Back in 1979 the respected South African outdoor and hunting magazine Magnum ran an article titled “Sporting Rifle Cartridge” and put the .375 H&H as the worlds (my italics) all round weapon. Again in Magnum 1980/81 a similar article puts the .375 H&H as the world all round peer. In the 1982 March edition of the S.A. Man magazine well-known gun writer the late Tudor Howard Davies, wrote a lengthy article on the .375 where he puts forward arguments for the all round title.

    Rhino Bullets in East London, South Africa, produce an extremely efficient .375 H&H bullet in 380gr; it has been well tested in the field and is now a popular bullet choice for buffalo and all of our larger soft skinned game. The production of this bullet in fact elevates the .375 H&H even more as the ideal all-round calibre for an African safari.

    In many African countries, the .375 H&H is by law the minimum calibre that can be used on dangerous game, with the exception of leopard. Thus, I would recommend that if a visiting hunter is stuck for choice but only wants to bring one rifle to Africa, he think very seriously about making it the .375 H&H. I do not believe that it would be the wrong choice because it has too much of a respected and proven pedigree since 1912 for that to be the case, and dressing it with a good quality detachable variable scope, mounted over British Express type iron sites, or a ghost ring, so that the scope can be removed when hunting in the very thick stuff, would also be a wise choice.

    As a PH I obviously concur fully with the logic of bullets of not less than 400 grains being used in thick bush for the hunting of elephant and buffalo, but if a visitor to Africa brings his .375 H&H on safari as his only rifle, and he only intends ever shooting one elephant or buffalo in his life, the 400 grain limitation need not worry him too much because his PH will ensure that he is in the correct position to make a killing shot, and if things do inadvertently go ‘pear-shaped’ the PH will be carrying a heavier calibre than the .375 H&H, and it is part of his job to rectify the situation.

    Thus, my recommendation of the .375 H&H as the ideal and most suitable calibre is hinged around a suitable single rifle for a “mixed bag” safari which includes dangerous game, and with the bulk of the trophies comprising non-dangerous plains game. Over the years and when using a .375 H&H, I have shot many buffalo and when correctly hit by a 300gr H&H solid they have invariably gone down incredibly hard, eliciting shouts of delight and handclapping from the trackers!

    Moving away from the .375 H&H, I’d like to touch on a calibre of old, now enjoying a huge resurge of interest, the .404 Jeffery which undoubtedly became the most popular “general purpose” choice rifle for hunting dangerous and non-dangerous game in Africa after it was first introduced to the hunting fraternity by W.J. Jeffery in 1909. It was only when the .375 H&H came off the production line in 1912, a mere three years after the .404 that this latter calibre was somewhat eclipsed as the ideal “all-round rifle”, by the .375 H&H.

    The .404 has however developed a remarkable and enviable reputation as a sound calibre for dangerous game and large non-dangerous game hunting. Some of the great game wardens of East and Central Africa used it regularly as their weapon of choice for elephant, buffalo, rhino, and lion control, plus for general ration shooting. Again, in East & Central Africa the standard 400gr solid bullet in the .404 was a popular choice for issue to the highly efficient black African game scouts and government employed African hunters doing elephant control and crop protection. Without doubt had the British colonial government of the day thought that game department staff lives may have been in danger by using the .404 as exhaustively as they did, they would have issued them with a heavier calibre.

    Like the .416 Rigby, the .404 Jeffery’s popularity has endured over the decades and quite rightly so, for it is well deserved, although we must remember they are classified “large-medium bores”. In this day and age, the dedicated handloader can find all of the flatness they could wish for, thus negating the question about it possibly lacking trajectory and long range potential.

    During the early 1970s when I was a young government game ranger in the Rhodesia of old (now Zimbabwe), I served for a number of years in the Zambezi Valley, managing various Controlled Hunting Areas (now referred to as Safari Areas). Many of the old school Rhodesian’s who booked an annual hunt to shoot for meat, trophies and sport, continued to use the .416 Rigby and the .404 Jeffery and this was the correct role for both of those calibres; they were being used by hunters who annually shot elephant and buffalo (including buffalo cows) plus a selection of larger plains game like kudu and zebra. Few international clients hunt elephant and buffalo annually, and tend to mostly hunt non-dangerous game and only occasionally hunt large dangerous game. Thus for the visiting client intent on an occasional large dangerous animal, I’d still go with the .375 H&H.

    Other calibres that I like for plains game only, and also make for the ideal one-gun safari if no dangerous game is to be hunted, are the .338 Winchester Magnum, an excellent choice, although I haven’t seen it being used in Africa as a plains game rifle as often as would be expected, then there’s the .300 H&H, a superb flat shooting rifle rated way up the scale by dedicated users and non-users alike, also the .300 Winchester Magnum, a very popular plains game rifle amongst International clients and South African PHs alike, the 30-06 too is an extremely popular calibre seen and used in Africa, and it works well. A regular hunting buddy and client from Denver, Brian Spradling once quipped during safari, “The ‘odd six’ is tried and tested through two World Wars, plus the Korean conflict and on hunting fields scattered across the entire globe”. This year the 30-06 is having its 103rd birthday, and with its reputation for reliability, a well deserved one at that. Another popular plains game choice is the proven .308 Winchester, and whilst not the ideal, this bullet in the military ball type 7,62mm NATO killed a lot of game in Zimbabwe – both legally and illegally – during the conflict years. The range of factory and hand loaded .308 soft points are great shooting bullets and give extreme accuracy.

    The .270 Winchester is another popular choice seen here in Southern Africa, but I’d hesitate to recommend it for a one gun safari if larger species like eland, kudu, zebra, blue wildebeest and gemsbok etc are on the want list. It is a little too marginal, although not incapable with say 150gr Barnes-X bullets and in the hands of a competent shooter. It is a devastating calibre on the likes of springbok, blesbok, impala, warthog etc if using 130gr Nosler Partitions, and during the years I ran Ciskei Safaris, I also put a bunch of culled game including black wildebeest and hartebeest into the meat shed, when using a Ciskei govt issue .270, although I’ve never owned one. Even with 160gr and 180gr bullets, I still don’t feel the .270 is up to being an ‘ideal’ for killing our bigger African soft-skinned species, and I’d put the animal weight limitation for a .270 bullet before it becomes a bit iffy at a max of about 180kg. In other words it is a great calibre for small and medium sized African antelope. I’ve also had a client drop a leopard in its tracks using a .270, it was totally pole axed from about 95yds, although I cannot recall the bullet used, although I think it was a Nosler.

    Around the campfire I’ve often heard hunters here in South Africa argue comparisons between the .30-06 and the .270. Realistically it is a bit of a silly debate because the two calibres actually slot into two different hunting categories. A .270 comes into its own with lighter 130gr and 150gr bullets at long range on our open plains like are found in the Karoo and other parts of South Africa, including our grassed mountainous areas (think springbok, blesbok, mountain reedbuck, impala, lechwe, black wildebeest, hartebeest, fallow deer etc). The .30-06 shooting 180gr to 220gr bullets is an ideal bushveld calibre, for the kind of close range shooting that goes with that kind of terrain and vegetation (think eland, kudu, zebra, blue wildebeest etc) and although both calibres can be called upon to do each others work, they are not ideally suited to it.

    Another proven bushveld calibre here in Southern Africa, that has also seen a few wars and still endures with a dedicated fan club, since it was first developed as a military cartridge in 1892, is the 7x57mm Mauser. I’ve been around this calibre since boyhood, and it is still a firm favourite of mine for much of my own recreational hunting. It has excellent killing powers and very moderate recoil, but again, and although over the previous three decades I’ve shot a lot of kudu, gemsbok and wildebeest with the 7x57mm, I wouldn’t recommend that it be the one-gun choice on safari for these bigger plains game species weighing 250 to 300kg.

    Ethically the intention of every sport hunter should be to take absolutely no chances that could lead to his trophy suffering a wound. As an example, the 7x57mm works beautifully for side-on lung shots on kudu etc, but if as you are beyond the point of no return on trigger pressure, the animal suddenly turns obliquely away and the bullet entering too far back has to now penetrate intestines or a full paunch, it may not reach and do needed damage to the vital organs. Your .338 and .30-06 would have a better chance of driving through that mass and into the vitals; the .375 H&H on the other hand will get there. There is nothing wrong with “using enough gun” – in fact ethical sport hunters should automatically aspire to that, and if we all did so, there would be far less wounding, and when it does happen the follow-up wouldn’t be so lengthy.

    As a game ranger in my younger days, and when still a young wildlife manager/PH I also shot quite a number of eland using my 7x57mm, but I wouldn’t recommend it and although they were all clean kills, I firmly believe the minimum calibre for eland, and giraffe for that matter is the .375 H&H or a 9.3x62.

    In this brief overview I’ve stayed away from wildcat cartridges and only covered the traditional popular calibres that I see being brought along regularly on safari. Even if dangerous game is not being hunted, first time visiting clientele often arrive with three varying calibres – sure, its all great fun, but they aren’t all needed. As a PH if I’m not guiding on dangerous game I take my .375 H&H and my 7mm Mauser on plains game safaris, but there is a reason for my taking the two rifles. One is always available as a replacement in case of something going wrong with the client’s rifle (or one of my own) because as we all know – sh*t happens.

    In wrapping up, I’m going to talk about one wildcat cartridge that does impress me here in Africa as an ideal plains game calibre, provided the correct bullets and loads are used. That is the .330 Dakota, with the design idea having been to offer a factory alternative to the .338 Winchester Magnum but provide .340 Weatherby Magnum performance, and the .330 Dakota functions properly through a 30-06 length action (3.35”). It has about a 15% case capacity over the .338 Winchester Magnum, which is fairly significant and allows it to come close to duplicating the performance of the .340 Weatherby Magnum. Frank C. Barnes in his book mentioned earlier, points out that the .330 Dakota if using the right bullets, can deliver more energy to targets a quarter-mile away than factory .270 ammunition produces at muzzle!

    Brian Spradling has brought his .330 Dakota over on all of his African safaris and we’ve hunted South Africa and Zimbabwe a number of times. This is a bullet that impresses me immensely on all of our soft-skin game. Brian’s .330 is custom built on a Ruger 77mk11 action with a 25-inch medium weight, fluted barrel, and a brown/tan laminated stock. He dressed it with a Weaver V-10, 2-10 x 38mm scope. His only load on his first hunt with me was with 275gr Swift A-Frame bullets, loaded to 2680fps with H4831SC powder and carrying 4387ft lbs of energy. This bullet and load put down kudu, zebra, and a host of other stuff with no fuss and awesome terminal ballistics. On his next safari which would include gemsbok in the Karoo and the tough Cape bushbuck in the Eastern Cape forests, he again used H4831SC powder behind a 225gr Swift A-Frame and loaded to 2998fps carrying 4492ft lbs of energy. Despite the .330 Dakota’s devastating terminal velocity on our plains game, Brian stays away from using lightweight bullets due to excessive velocity, coupled to poor sectional density.
    On that first safari in Zimbabwe, he brought out a .416 Rigby for his buffalo, and the .330 Dakota for the plains game. He used one round for each of the calibres on the zeroing range in camp, killed his buffalo with a single chest shot using the .416 Rigby, and his 8 plains game animals with one shot each from the .330 Dakota, including his zebra, dropped at 300 paces without moving an inch. As a single rifle on safari for plains game and with the correct load/bullet combination, the .330 Dakota will step up to the plate admirably.

    With our gun ownership laws getting more and more stringent here in Africa, for convenience sake and as a working PH, my personal battery has been whittled down over the years, to a .458 Lott, .375 H&H, 7x57mm Mauser and a pump-action 12ga 3” Magnum with a game barrel. This choice of firearms is more than adequate for anything I may be called upon to do, hunting or guiding wise on this continent.

    However, to get back to the ideal all-round calibre for an African safari for those who will probably only hunt Africa once or twice, and not necessarily specialise on say elephant only, in summing up I will stay with the .375 H&H as at this stage of cartridge evolution and development, it has to be the choice. Here in Africa it has been well-written up and recommended by internationally recognised hunter/writer names like Gregor Woods, Don Heath, Koos Barnard to mention a few, and in the US John Barsness and many others. Gregor Woods once wrote that although he has owned the gamut of rifles from .22 to .458 he has through hard learned experience in the field, settled on the .375 H&H, and when he arrives at a kudu or gemsbok hunt carrying his .375 if other hunters scoff at him and ask why he is bringing a rifle more suited to buffalo and elephant on an antelope hunt. His stock reply is, “Because everything I shoot with it falls down” – I fully concur.
     
  2. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    Messages:
    5,418
    Likes Received:
    118
    Location:
    USA
    My Photos:
    4940
    Thanks Kevin for sharing this article on AH.
     
  3. Ardent

    Ardent GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    31
    My Photos:
    3
    Hunted:
    Canada (British Columbia, Alberta), Zimbabwe, South Africa (Limpopo, North Cape), USA
    Really enjoyed this Kevin, and hope you don't mind I quoted sections to another website, properly cited to you and your safari company. You just nailed some things there, I also select .375 H&H all around, and have taken from Canadian Wolf to Cape Buffalo with it. Nine head of game and counting with that one rifle in the recent hunts, in a huge range of game weight classes. I take my trophies with it, and fill my freezer here in Canada's sub-Arctic with it too.

    The .375 H&H at work for my hunts, showing its amazing versatility,

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  4. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    Private club on friend's land in Augusta County, Virginia
    Hunted:
    USA (Colorado, Alabama, Virginia)
    Though I've not yet hunted in Africa, and have a lot less experience in hunting various game than you guys, I thought I'd throw my two cents in here.

    First, a note. I was surprised by this statement....

    "Even with 160gr and 180gr bullets, I still don’t feel the .270 is up to being an ‘ideal’ for killing our bigger African soft-skinned species, and I’d put the animal weight limitation for a .270 bullet before it becomes a bit iffy at a max of about 180kg."

    Interesting. I've never heard of a 160 let alone a 180 grain bullet being available for the .270 Winchester. The heaviest I've ever seen is the 150 grain.

    However, minor point. To me, the more important issue is what a hunter is 'comfortable' with.

    There are many hunters who will go to Africa but not be hunting dangerous game -- many of us fall into that category because we could never afford the trophy fees! That said, there's another issue regarding gun choice while hunting plains game. It's called "recoil," which often translates into proficiency, which equals accuracy, which is the key to killing ANY animal.

    Some of us have an aversion to being beaten up by our rifles. I, for one, am recoil sensitive. I don't mind a push, but I really HATE being slammed. It gives me horrible headaches.

    While a single shot on an animal is seldom 'felt' because of the rush of the hunt, there's the issues of trying to sight in one's rifle, and even more importantly, once sighted in, getting in the practice necessary to become proficient with one's firearm. This includes practice at various ranges under various conditions, and from various positions (standing kneeling, sitting, etc.). I, for one, have a real hard time getting to know my weapon when it's the kind that 'kills at one end, and maims on the other!'

    For those "macho men" among you, this isn't an issue with the calibers mentioned in this article... the .338 Winchester through .375 H&H. However, for many of us, we have a hard time getting used to shooting such bruisers. There's also the cost of practicing. You're best of handloading at this point. But I digress.

    All this stated, I noted a single mention of a caliber which is a bit less of a slammer than the others. Although I've never fired a gun chambering this round, I've heard much about it, including it kicks less than the magnums but produces sufficient results for any plains game you might want... that's the 9.3 x 62mm Mauser.

    This said, it's not something normally found in the USA. Nevertheless, we have a similar cartridge, one for which I had a rifle custom made, intending to use it on elk / moose. It's the .35 Whelen.

    This cartridge, like the .270 Winchester, is built on the .30-06 case. It is simply the .30-06 necked up to .35 caliber. In fact, it was developed specifically for African hunting in 1922 in a joint effort between U.S. Army officer Colonel Townsend Whelen and gunsmith James V. Howe, who later was the Howe of Griffin & Howe gunmakers. It used to be a wildcat, but has been commercially loaded since the late 1980s. Here is a great article on hit for whoever may be interested. .35 Whelen: overlooked, misunderstood, vastly underrated

    Technically speaking, the 9.3 x 62mm Mauser is a heavier hitter. Most rounds commercially available that I've seen come in around the 3,500 foot-pounds energy level. However, there are a couple by Norma, which are more powerful, coming in at just over 3,700 ft/lbs and 3,800 ft/lbs each. These bring it closer to the .375 H&H, which is typically in the 4,000 ft/lbs category.

    Your typical .35 Whelen, which is .358 caliber, versus the 9.3 x 62mm Mauser's .366 caliber (a difference in thickness equal to about four sheets of paper), comes in between 3,000 ft/lbs and 3,100 ft/lbs. That's 400 to 500 ft/lbs, which certainly makes a difference. HOWEVER, that said, 3,000 ft/lbs is nothing to sneeze at. If the .30-06 is sufficient, then the .35 Whelen would be even more so! Nevertheless, there are more powerful rounds now available for this cartridge, which bring it to a whole new level of performance.

    Federal loads a .35 Whelen round now using a 225 grain Trophy Bonded Bear Claw bullet that comes in at 3,377 ft/lbs at the muzzle. However, there are a number of rounds now available so that it's now closing in on the 9.3 x 62mm Mauser. These are put out by an ammunition manufacturer called DOUBLE TAP. These rounds also use bullets that the PHs I've spoken with or whose articles I've read, reguarly endorse. There are currently four loads listed by DOUBLE TAP for the .35 Whelen. These are as follows:

    1. Barnes TSX (lead-free solid), 200 grains, @ 2,850 feet-per-second (fps) and 3,607 ft/lbs at the muzzle.

    2. Nosler Accubond, 225 grains, @ 2,700 fps and 3,643 ft/lbs at the muzzle.

    3. Speer Hot Cor Jacketed Soft Point, 250 grains,@2,600 fps and 3,754 ft/lbs at the muzzle

    4. Woodleigh Weldcore Jacketed Soft Point, 310 grains, @ 3,641 ft/lbs at the muzzle.

    Naturally, these will bring the recoil level up a bit. But still, it's nothing like that of a .338 Winchester Magnum or many other rounds discussed in the article.

    That said, it's not a long-range magnum. The standard rounds make it a good cartridge out to about 250 yards. Several of the hotter rounds bring it out to 300, with the Barnes TSX 200 grain round remaining pretty flat out to 350 yards. Then again, this is more than adequate for the Bushveld, and probably as long a range as most hunters have any business shooting.

    All this said, I'm not an expert. But I know what I can handle and what I can't. And this probably applies to more people out there than those who want to admit it.

    Certainly there's the additional advent of the muzzle break, which for me is the greatest invention since sliced bread! LOL! I have one on my Browning A-bolt in 7mm Remington Magnum. (I purchase that gun before the really good recoil pads were available and it came with a thin slice of hard rubber. I simply couldn't handle the hard slam in my shoulder while at the bench, even with a pad pinned on! So I had a KDF installed. As a result, it kicks significantly less than my .30-06. However, those tend to ruin the lines of anyotherwise beautiful gun!)

    But again, most people, including American hunters, don't appear to be very familiar with this cartridge. So, I thought I'd bring it up herein. In fact, it's enough for and has been used successfully on lion and leopards. And if anyone who reloads wants to go a little harder hitting, there is always the "Ackley Improved" variety which brings it up to the 9.3 x 62mm Mauser's level of performance.

    Anyway, this is the gun I'll be bringing. Furthermore, unless there is any further legal issues which arise hindering the importation of more than one gun, I plan to bring another which I am in the process of having built. That's the .280 Remington (in the Ackley Improved version).

    This is the .30-06 case necked down to .284 caliber / 7mm. It allows for heavier bullets than the .270 Winchester, and now also is the only cartridge commercially loaded in the Ackley Improved configuration. Nosler is now marketing cartridges, as well as bullets, and among their current offerings is the .280 Remington Ackley Improved in 140 grain and 160 grain versions (both use the Accubond bullet). Using the new powders now available, these rounds are HOT, and equal the typical 7mm Remington Magnum loads. Naturally, there are now several 7mm Remington Magnum offerings which are even hotter, but still... getting 7 Rem Mag performance out of the .30-06 case is nice because it uses less powder (and therefore produces less recoil) AND it allows for an additional round in the magazine. My Browning fits a mere 3 rounds. This custom rifle I am having built will carry FIVE rounds in the mag.

    There's also the additional benefit of having a more moderate velocity round -- the standard load .280 Remingtons -- AND this cartridge allows for handloading all the way down to 7 x 57mm Mauser velocities. That said, Remington now offers "managed recoil" rounds in five cartridges, including the 7mm Rem Mag. I looked up the numbers and found they've managed, with new bullets and new powders, to bring the 7mm Rem Mag down to 7mm Mauser performance. This makes it far more suitable for hunting white tail deer in my neck of the woods -- Virginia -- where our longest shot is typically 150 yards. The magnum rounds are simply WAY too much gun for use around here, which is why I snatched a Ruger M77 in 7mm Mauser I found on gunbroker.com last year. I love that little gun -- it's one of my favorites. However, if it's a good gun in Africa, then the .280 Remington is even better, offering anywhere from 7mm Mauser to 7mm Rem Mag performance and in between.

    Anyway, I got more long-winded here than intended. But thought I'd bring this into the fray. Hope it's useful information for those who are more like myself and tend to shy away from the magnums.

    Cheers!
     
  5. nsok

    nsok AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    11
    Hi ILCAPO,

    9,3x62 is quite common in Europe and was in Africa. In my last two huntings in Africa I used a 300WM which is what I use here in Spain, but next week I will have my new custom made 9,3x62, can not wait. As I heard although 300WM has less energy it has more velocity and everybody told me that 9,3x62 is more comfortable to shoot. 300WM is more like a kick and 9,3x62 is more like a push.
    I have not decided yet what bullet will bring this August, I have two options Norma Swift A Frame 250 grs 2.625 feet per second and 3.825 foot - pounds or Norma Oryx 286 grs 2.427 feet per second 3.737 foot - pounds. I think it will be the Swift A Frame. Another think about 9,3x62 is that in some countries is alowed for a Buff hunt
     
  6. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    Private club on friend's land in Augusta County, Virginia
    Hunted:
    USA (Colorado, Alabama, Virginia)
    Yes, I've heard the 9.3x62 Mauser is popular in Europe and Africa and it kicks a lot less than the magnums. And yes, I read somewhere that at least in Zibabwe, I think it was Zibabwe, the 9.3x62 can be used for Cape Buffalo.

    This said, I wonder what those countries would think about the .35 Whelen in the heavy loads for cape buffalo. Specifically, the Double Tap loaded with the Speer Hot Core Soft Point in 250 Grains develops 3,754 ft/lbs at the muzzle. So, it's right up there with the 9.2x62 using Norma's Oryx load. Being the difference in diameter of the bullet is only that of four sheets of paper (.358 versus .366 caliber), I wouldn't think there should be any difference in how they're viewed.

    As I said, from what I've seen in the ballistics charts, overall, the .35 Whelen is less powerful than the 9.3x62, BUT can be brought up to specs using the DOUBLE TAP ammo. This makes the Whelen a bit more flexible for other uses.

    I'm recoil sensitive, and can handle a push much better than a slam. I have never shot, nor have interesting in shooting a .338 Winchester Magnum. I've heard too many horror stories about it slamming mercilessly. I know at least three people who said they got sloppy and were scoped by their .338s.

    That said, are you talking the win mag or weatherby mag? I understand there's a big difference. I have a model 70 in .300 win mag but have never fired it. I bought it years ago but never had a chance to get back out west to hunt with it. It's WAY too much gun for white tails, especially the ones we have here in Virginia.

    For here, even my .30-06 is too much. For white tails I obtained a Model 99 Savage in .250 Savage, which I used this year and love. It has very little recoil and the bark is rather mild on the ears. I put a doe down at 70 yards this year without any problem. She dropped to the shot, tried getting up twice, falling back down both times, and then after a few flicks of the tail expired. She never left the spot where she was shot. Then again, that's because the round was in the breadbasket. It took out three ribs on the left side just above the shoulder, deflected to the right, went through the lungs and smashed three ribs on the lower far side, and stopped just under the skin. With six broken ribs and her lungs shot out, she didn't go anywhere and bled out in about 20 seconds. You really can't ask for more than that.

    I got this gun because I got tired of blowing up good meat with the .30-06. The latter is a fine round on big deer and at longer range, but for the typical 100 yard shot or less I get in the woods where I hunt, there's no point in having such a powerful caliber. It's mostly wasted.

    That said, I have always wanted a 7 x 57mm Mauser, just because, and in fall 2009 I found a beautiful Model 77 Ruger in a custom stock for sale for a song on gunbroker.com. The owner had bought it used for his grandson, but later found his grandson was left-eye dominant and therefore needed a leftie gun. This being a right handed model, and being he already had five rifles chambered in the 7mm Mauser, he decided to sell it for what he got it for. I bought it for $630. I then found a great sale on a Burris Eurodiamond scope. I bought one in 3-10x40mm with the electrodot illuminated 3P-German reticle. Burris discontinued making it because of low sales -- due to the near $900 price tag, it wasn't moving very well. Found it on Natchez Shooting Supplies for $469 and gobbled one up. This rifle, for some reason, has a 21 inch barrel, and with this stock, which a buddy told me is the "Aristocrat" model from the now defunct Reinhardt-Fajen stockmaker, it's quite light and very handy. So, I'm looking forward to getting into the woods with it this coming fall.

    It would work just fine in Africa too. But I would like to have something with just a little more umph. So, I was thinking my 7mm Remington Magnum. That's actually a LOT MORE UMPH! But the PH I got corresponding with favors it and suggested I bring it.

    That said, I'm a typical American "gun nut" as the leftists like to call those of us who like guns and collect them. So, I decided to do something a little special. I recently obtained -- again through a bid on gunbroker -- an FN Belgian Mauser action. It has a British crown with "BNP" on it, so it's likely from a former Parker-Hale someone took apart. Anywho... I plan on building the .280 Remington Ackley Improved on it. Probably going to put a 25 inch Shilen barrel on it, and a Griffin & Howe style sporter stock. Speaking with the gunsmith I've selected for the job, I plan to have the action, scope base and rings, swivel bases and rings, and skeleton butt plate and grip cap all done in color case hardening. The barrel will, of course, be blued. And on this I think I've settled on a Burris SixX 2-12x40mm illuminate reticle scope.

    As I noted, the advantage of the 280 Rem AI is it can be loaded with factory rounds, which fall in just to the right of center between the 7mm Mauser and 7mm Rem Mag, but can be uploaded or downloaded to match either of those rounds, which makes it very versatile. That, and the Rem Mag equivalent AI loads are now available in commercial loadings by Nosler. So, I don't even have to handload to get it up there.
     
  7. nsok

    nsok AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    11
    I was talking of 300 Win Mag.

    I like guns as well but I do not want to be like a friend of mine who has lots of guns and then no money to hunt.

    ILCAPO, let me tell you one thing, you need to go to Africa a.s.a.p. :)
     
  8. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    Private club on friend's land in Augusta County, Virginia
    Hunted:
    USA (Colorado, Alabama, Virginia)
    I hear you, but I'm not going to be able to this season. It's a 2012 or 2013 proposition. My wife has other priorities right now.
     
  9. nsok

    nsok AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    243
    Likes Received:
    0
    My Photos:
    11
    I undertand you I am single, altough with girl friend, and for now, she understands me...for now
     
  10. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,656
    Likes Received:
    136
    My Photos:
    68
    Member of:
    NRA, NA Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia, South Africa (2)
    ILCAPO,

    Have you run the Double Tap load over a chronograph? It would not surprise me to find it does not live up to its hype. To get that kind of energy out of an '06 case is really doing something! To get that level you have to drive that 250 bullet to 2600 fps. Careful handloading may do it but I am dubious that any factory load will, even a custom loader. Correct me if I am wrong.
     
  11. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    Private club on friend's land in Augusta County, Virginia
    Hunted:
    USA (Colorado, Alabama, Virginia)
    No, I have not. However, there are newer powders out now which have resulted in a number of new developments for existing loads under the various brand names.

    As I noted in another missive, I'm planning to build a .280 Remington Ackley Improved. The .280 Remington standard is already not all THAT far behind your typical 7mm Rem Mag load. Usually 200-300 fps slower with the same bullet. However, with the slight increase in powder capacity in the Ackley Improved case and the new powder, Nosler has managed to market two rounds -- one using the 140 grain, and another with the 160 grain Accubond bullets -- which match the usual 7mm Rem Mag for velocity/energy. These are advertised as pushing the bullets at just over 3,000 fps, which is 7mm Rem Mag velocities. That said, there are also a few 7mm Rem Mag rounds now which are even hotter, coming in at 3,200 and even over 3,300 fps.

    As for the .35 Whelen, we're talking regular cases, not the Ackley Improved. Doing an AI would allow handloading to pretty hot numbers because it comes close to closing the gap between the .35 Whelen and 9.3x62 Mauser case capacities. These figures sounded pretty hot to me also, but again I understand they've developed these more recently using newer powders.

    If you look into pretty standard cartridges, like the .270 Winchester, .30-06, etc., in the Remington and Winchester offerings, you'll find them advertising that their new superpremium ammunition is producing 100 to 200 fps greater velocities without increasing the chamber pressure or recoil. So, I would think the .35 Whelen could be pushed as well. That said, Double Tap is not suggesting there is no increase in recoil. There most certainly will be pushing the heavier bullets.

    This said, you mentioned to get that level of energy would require a 250 grain bullet travelling at 2,600 fps. That's precisely what Double Tap is advertising. Their four loads are as follows (these are all at the muzzle):

    Barnes TSX (lead free solid), 200 grains, @ 2,850 fps and 3,607 ft/lbs

    Nosler Accubond, 225 grains, @ 2,700 fps and 3,643 ft/lbs

    Speer Hot Cor Jacketed Soft Point, 250 grains, @ 2,600 fps and 3,754 ft/lbs

    Woodleigh Weldcore, 310 grains, @ 2,300 fps and 3,641 ft/lbs

    I cannot vouch for these numbers. They're simply what I found advertised by the manufacturer. However, all ammo makers have managed to push their numbers to the right in recent years.

    This said, there's no real necessity for any of these hot loads for plains game. If you want a little extra measure, sure. But even the standard .35 Whelen loads would work just fine on any of the game discussed, minus the big tough skinned DG animals. Leopards and even lions, due to their being taken at rather close range, would subcome to the standards loads, and has.

    I'm just putting this out there because I don't like heavy recoil, and I'm sure there are plenty of others out there who would rather use something that 'stings' a little less when they're hunting, versus a lot of the calibers that were being discussed. Using the standard loads in a typical 8.5 lb rifle, you will typically get less recoil than a .300 Win Mag. You're limited to about 250 yards before you start to see significant bullet drop, but from what I understand, that's more than sufficient for most of your bushveld hunts. If you want to reach out a little further, then go with the Federal Vital Shok 225 grain or Double Tap Barnes TSX 200 grain, which will push your usable range out to 300 yards easy.

    On the low end, there is a Federal round using a 180 grain Fusion bullet which produces 2,670 fps and 2,913 ft/lbs at the muzzle, and a Remington 200 grain soft point coming in just over those figures. Meanwhile, again, Federal puts out a hotter round, using the Vital Shok Trophy Bonded Bear Claw at 225 grains, which is quite hot. It produces 2,600 fps and 3,377 ft/lbs.

    Finally, there is a Nosler commercial loading. This is a perfect comparison to the one Double Tap offering because they're using the same bullet in the same weight.

    Nosler says its offering pushes the Accubond 225 grain bullet at 2,541 fps and develops 2,750 ft/lbs.

    Double Tap says its load using the Accubond 225 grain bullet produces 2,700 fps and develops 3,643 ft/lbs.

    According to the information I've seen, the 9.3X62 Mauser has about a 5-6 percent advantage over the Whelen in case capacity. The typical loads I've seen produce energy in the 3,500 ft/lbs range, with a few offerings surpassing that. Here are the Norma offerings I found on their site:

    Oryx and Vulkan bullets, both 232 grains, @ 2,625 fps and 3,551 ft/lbs

    Swift A-Frame bullet, 250 grains, @ 2,625 fps and 3,826 ft/lbs

    Oryx bullet, 285 grains, @ 2,428 fps and 3,732 ft/lbs

    Alaska and Plastic Point bullets, 285 grains, @ 2,362 fps and 3,532 ft/lbs

    Oryx bullet, 325 grains, @ 2,300 fps and 3,819 ft/lbs

    Not sure how accurate all this information is. I guess only using a chronograph could prove any of it one way or another. This said, for me, the most I figure I'd need is the Federal Premium Vital Shok. Just over 3,300 ft/lbs is less than what the 9.3x62 Mauser develops, and yet has plenty of energy for any of the plains game animals and will take you out to 300 yards.

    If you want more than that, then I guess the .338 Win Mag, 340 Wby Mag, 330 Dakota, etc., would be better. But those are a bit more than I want to slam my shoulder with. If I decided to go that route, I'd definately need to make sure my gun was equipped with a good muzzle break.
     
  12. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,656
    Likes Received:
    136
    My Photos:
    68
    Member of:
    NRA, NA Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia, South Africa (2)
    I only believe about half what the ammo makers claim having owned a Chronograph for over 20 years and also have access to one at my local range. I recently tested some .404 Jeff ammo by a smaller maker trying to make the big time that claimed 2450 fps w/400 grs. Run over the chrony showed it a 220 fps deficit. Now I know that the .404 will do as the maker claimed, but their load did not. I had a .35 Whelen once (wish I still had it), and the best I could do with a 23" barrel with the 250 gr bullet was right at 2550 fps. but it took careful loading and experimentation to get there safely and I would not disclose the load as it was well over anyones published max. In my 9.3x62 CZ with 24.5 inch barrel I have safely and easily achieved over 2600 fps with the 250 Nos Accubond but settled on lower velocities for my hunting because I prefer like you , less recoil, less chamber pressure, and the fact that no game animal can tell the difference between the same bullet going 2500 or 2600 fps. I admit to being a bit of a velocity nut and try to wring out the most the case can provide, just because. Like you I love the .280 Rem. (std) The one I had with 24" Douglas barrel on a Ruger 77 action would safely get with careful handloads the following:
    140 gr. 3150 fps
    150 gr. 3050 fps
    160 gr. 2920 fps
    175 gr. 2840 fps
    If memory serves these all muster over 3000 ft/lbs of muzzle energy and were all accurate. I had a friend with an Improved .280 that was unable to match my velocities for some reason and it frustrated him no end as you can imagine. In 2009 I took to RSA my older Ruger 77 .338 mag with a basically reduced load that drove the Hornady 225 Interbond to just over 2600 fps, about like a .35 Whelen. As expected it did just fine when the nut behind the bolt did his part which happily is most of the time. This June I am off to Zimbabwe for the second time and will this time take my aforementioned 9.3 CZ which proved itself in Namibia in 2007. Then I used the 250 Nos Acc at 2500 fps, this time I am going to use the Barnes TripleShok at the same basic velocity. In reality the only reason I am taking this large a caliber is because eland is on the menu and Zim law requires certain levels of power per the game hunted which my original first choice (7x64 - metric .280 Rem.) cannot quite muster. Its all great fun isnt it?!
     
  13. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    Private club on friend's land in Augusta County, Virginia
    Hunted:
    USA (Colorado, Alabama, Virginia)
    Yes! Those who don't appreciate guns don't get guys like us. We're tarred with the ephitet "gun nut," but bring it on! Those of us who are "armed" are not afraid. We're not helpless. It's a wild world out there and we are the ones who can survive! We know how to feed ourselves! LOL!

    And you're right on those energy levels being over 3,000 ft/lbs for those bullet weights & velocities. I'm impressed you could get that hot with a standard round! Those are up there where the Nosler .280 Rem AIs are! The typical factory rounds range from 2,707 through 3,070 fps, depending on bullet weight delivering from 2,500 to 2,900 ft/lbs. The Nosler AIs come in at:

    140 grain Accubond @ 3,150 fps delivering 3,085 ft/lbs
    160 grain Accubond @ 2,950 fps delivering 3,093 ft/lbs

    As I said, these are well into the 7mm Rem Mag levels. Most of the factory loads come in between 2,900 and 3,100 ft/lbs of energy. But at least one Norma and one Double Tap indicate over 3,300 ft/lbs, with two more Normas pushing in the high 3,200s. So, the .280 really isn't all that far behind, and with the right loads, can about match your average 7mm Rem Mag round.

    So, what kind of energy levels do they require for eland? I know it's a big animal, but I've also read they're no tougher than our big elk, and you can use a .243 Winchester, legally, but I don't know anyone who would recommend it. We usually think of the minimum being a .30-06 Springfield or 7mm Rem Mag. I have a .300 Win Mag and the Whelen for elk. For close in woods, I also have a 760 Gamemaster pump in .30-06 which I wouldn't hesitate to use.
     
  14. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,656
    Likes Received:
    136
    My Photos:
    68
    Member of:
    NRA, NA Hunt Club
    Hunted:
    Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe (2), Namibia, South Africa (2)
    A round of 7mm caliber and energy of 3150 ft/lbs is minimum to be legal I believe, however there probably arent that many who pay attention to such things, but I like to be legal especially when overseas. I had planned to take my 7x64 as I said but I cannot quite make the energy minimum as I almost could with the .280 Rem. It was close but my 7x64 has two inches less barrel. About the best I can muster with the 7x64 is the 160 gr at near 2850 fps so am well below whats required. But thats OK the CZ is one of my favorite rifles anyway, dead reliable and quite accurate and pretty easy on my shoulder. I used a .375 on my first 3 safaris, on everything. Did take an eland cow with it with one shot, she didnt go far, maybe 40 yards before she piled up. Gemsbuck are reputedly pretty tough too and I have seen lots of video of them running away after being shot with all manner of magnums. I took two with one shot apiece in Namibia with the 9.3 and one ran maybe 30 yards, the other dropped like it was hit with the Hammer of Thor! The 9.3 packs a serious wallop.
     
  15. Ardent

    Ardent GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    31
    My Photos:
    3
    Hunted:
    Canada (British Columbia, Alberta), Zimbabwe, South Africa (Limpopo, North Cape), USA
    An Eland is a much larger animal than a big Elk, and I'd be the sort to say 9.3x62 and up for them, though quite admittedly many are taken with .30-06, and just as admittedly I've never taken one (was on the spoor of one for a long, long time but Wildebeest became the order of the day after the Eland wouldn't stop). I think .338 Mag would be perfect for them, as well, and of course .375 H&H.

    In the US, people end up in one of two categories frequently; undergunned, or over-powdered (not to be confused with over-powered) and velocity'd. A lot of hunters in the US seem to enjoy hunting with the rifle that allows the least recoil- US hunting forums are well populated with .25-06, and .270 Elk and Moose hunters etc. And, just the same, there are an aweful lot of hunters shooting Weatherby Magnums and various overbore cartridges to get 3,300fps with a heavy, but smaller bore, bullet. In other parts of the world, this minimalism or on the other end of the spectrum, powder thirst, isn't as widespread. In Africa, a .375 H&H is considered a perfect all around rifle, of course, and generally regarded as being of moderate recoil.

    Here in Canada, the viewpoint on calibers essentially splits the difference between American viewpoints and African. We generally lean to the bigger side here, and .338's and .375's are very common (especially with the new Ruger offering), but our game is some of the largest in the world too mind you. All around where I live in Northern Canada is a wild Woods Bison herd, an animal significantly larger than a Cape Buffalo, and larger than an American Plains Bison as well, one of the last herds we can hunt regularily year after year in the world. The calibers chosen for these go as large as .577 for one friend, though a .375 or .338 Mag would be most common, some .35 Whelen's, and just the same, some fellows show up with a .30-06 (with dubious results when things go anything less than perfect, as Kevin Thomas outlined).

    I think issues arise when US selections are made for African or Northern game based solely on weight, or if it works back home for XXX animal the hunter feels is comaparable. The Elk is a reasonably tough animal, and most guides advocate a .300 or .338 Mag. In the states, I read about a lot of people choosing say the aforementioned .30-06, .280, and even .270's for them. I get a little confused, and feel the same when reading about light selections for African game. If you're going to the effort and cost to chase an animal on the other side of the world, I don't see the time required to gain proficiency with a .375 as much of an investment of effort! Then again, in Europe, 6.5x55 is a common Moose caliber in Scandinavia, but just the same the 9.3's are common in Germany for boar. Perhaps everywhere has these spectrums of choices.
     
  16. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    Private club on friend's land in Augusta County, Virginia
    Hunted:
    USA (Colorado, Alabama, Virginia)
    Looked up the eland and found you're right, Ardent. They're bigger than I understood them to be. They apparently get up to moose size. However, that said, I wonder how tough they are. A moose can be taken rather easily with a .300 Win Mag or even a 7mm Rem Mag. And my .35 Whelen would certainly do the job. Elk are smaller, but many hunters have found them to be considerably tougher than the otherwise bigger moose. That said, I think the only thing that the .35 Whelen is a bit less than sufficient for might be the big bears. It can certainly kill one, but with an animal like that, you may have to STOP it! So, the bigger the better I suppose. That said, I don't think I'll ever have a chance to hunt bear. An Alaskan bear hunt, from what I've seen, is beyond my ability to afford.

    Interesting about the Woods Bison. I had never heard of this species until you mentioned it herein. Looked it up on Wikipedia and saw exactly what you said, that they're 20 percent larger than the plains buffalo. Saw some impressive fellows in the photos. I would love to hunt for one of those, but I can just imagine the cost of such a hunt! Probably like an Alaskan bear hunt, which are now over $10,000! : )

    I agree regarding overpowdered. I, for one, do not suffer from "magnumitis," nor am I a member of the Elmer Keith's cannon club. (This guy once called the .338 Winchester Magnum "a good little deer gun!") However, at the same time, I'd rather have just a bit more than needed than to be undergunned. We owe the animals a clean kill.

    I used to go elk hunting with my .30-06 and 7mm Rem Mag. That's what I had. But I later bought a Model 70 Winchester in .300 Win Mag and had my .35 Whelen built to take their place. That said, I haven't hunted elk since. The licenses since tripled in Colorado. And it's really not even worth going unless you have a guide. I have no means of conducting the needed pre-hunt recon from the east coast where I live now. But both would serve well in Africa on most plains game from what I've been reading. And this is where I hope to be going in the near future.

    The .300 Win Mag and .35 Whelen are the hottest guns in my cabinet. I almost bought a .358 Norma Magnum on a commercial mauser action once. It was on consignment at a local gun store. But by the time I decided to see if they'd take a downpayment on a lawaway, it was sold. One day I'd like to add a .375 H&H to my hunting battery. However, to date, I haven't had need for one. Perhaps I'll find a way to get one AND do an eland hunt. I am now seeing that South Africa is one of the most expensive places to hunt on the dark continent. I'm also finding cape buffalo hunts can sometimes be gotten on a deal in other African countries, bringing it closer to something I might be able to afford, with enough planning. Now THAT is something I'd like to do! I heard the cape buffalo can make for a real exciting hunt!

    Thanks for the feedback. It's all very interesting and informative.

    As for hunting deer here in the U.S. I got tired of blowing up the rather small white tails we have with my .30-06. Even with the lightest rounds they blew the animals apart and ruined a lot of meat. I've added a few smaller calibers to my hunting cabinet, to include a lovely little Model 99 Savage in .250 Savage, which I love. Within its range, it does just fine. Took a doe this year at 70 yards with it. She fell to the shot and never left that spot. Tried getting up twice, but couldn't and finally, with a few flickers of the tail, expired in about 20 seconds. The shot was in the breadbasket, through the left side just over and behind the shoulder, through the lungs, and out the far side ribs. It did not, however, penetrate the skin. So, all the energy in that little 100 grain bullet was left inside the animal. For the Virginia woods where I hunt, that's sufficient gun. Nonetheless, I also have a .257 Roberts custom built on a VZ-24 Action like my .35 Whelen, and I added a Ruger Model 77 in 7x57mm Mauser, which is perfect for our deer. It gives me a little added umph for those less than perfect shots. I haven't used it yet, but I will be doing so next deer season. I know it's been used extensively in Africa on many plains game. But figured having the .280 Rem AI would give me what I need for the small to medium animals on my list, while my .35 Whelen ought to cover the rest of what might be on the menu. That said, eland was not on my list.... YET! Sounds like if I get a chance to go for one of those, I'm going to want to go ahead and get that .375 Ouch & Ouch afterall. ; )
     
  17. Ardent

    Ardent GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    31
    My Photos:
    3
    Hunted:
    Canada (British Columbia, Alberta), Zimbabwe, South Africa (Limpopo, North Cape), USA
    You have good taste in rifles, don't be wary of the .375 H&H, it really isn't bad. Your .35 Whelen likely has very similar recoil, as the .375 rifle is likely to weigh a tad more.
     
  18. ILCAPO

    ILCAPO AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2011
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    0
    Member of:
    Private club on friend's land in Augusta County, Virginia
    Hunted:
    USA (Colorado, Alabama, Virginia)
    I've actually heard that about the .375 H&H. Some say it's more of a push than a slam. Have you any experience with the .416 Rigby? That's another caliber I find fascinating for some reason. I guess because they're classics.

    I tend to go for the classics. Always have. I have none of the new short magnums. Not that there's anything wrong with them, except being expensive. But I don't see the need. That's especially the case with things like the Remington Ultra Magnums. PLEASE! The 7mm Rem Mag is plenty. I don't need the 7mm Remington Ultra Magnum or STW, or any of those proprietary cartridges on overpriced (albeit nice) high end guns.

    That said, there is one custom gunmaker I could only dream of having a gun in my cabinet from. I'd love to have a John Rigby. There are a few beauties for sale through gunsinternational.com. But again, like an elephant hunt, they're beyond my income range. Then again, it's because they're historical pieces.

    Another gun I love and have in my collection is the Model 96 Mauser in 6.5 Swede. As I think you noted earlier, the scandinavians use them on moose. It's that incredible sectional density with heavy 6.5mm bullets; they penetrate deep. This was my first project gun and I had it sporterized back in 1997. But by the time it was done it came out so fancy I have been afraid to hunt with it! It has a 26-inch barrel, is highly polished blue with jeweled bolt, and sits in an exhibition grade English Walnut stock. Topped it with a Bausch & Lomb Elite 4200 2.8-10x40mm scope. Now, however, there are neoprene rubber gun covers on the market -- available through Caleba's -- from Beartooth Products. They protect from both scratches and dings. They have scope covers too. So, perhaps now I'll take a chance and take it into the field. To date, it's been a range rifle and show piece only. BTW, it's a tack-driver!

    I also picked up another custom gun some years ago, which I haven't had a chance to hunt with yet but like alot. Some treasury agent was selling it on consignment because he was moving overseas and couldn't bring it with. I picked it up for a really good price. It's an M98 Mauser action from 1913 with a 24" Douglas Premium barrel chambered in 6mm Remington. It's also a real tack-driver. If I get a chance to go prong horn hunting again, that and my .257 Roberts are going with!

    In case you haven't noticed, I really like the 57mm case. I find for most hunting I do, it suits my needs for power yet comfort. As you probably know, the latter two cartridges -- 6mm Remington and .257 Roberts -- are built on the 7x57 Mauser case. Now I just have the 8x57mm and 9.3x57mm Mausers to add to my collection. I've found the latter is virtually a ballistic twin to the .358 Winchester, which within its range is a fine gun. Great for wild boar, which is another thing on my list. I have a friend who wants to do hog hunting this fall. I hope he's up for it as I'm ready to join him. We're looking at Tennessee.
     
  19. Ardent

    Ardent GOLD SUPPORTER AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    31
    My Photos:
    3
    Hunted:
    Canada (British Columbia, Alberta), Zimbabwe, South Africa (Limpopo, North Cape), USA
    It's true, if you stay with standard .375 H&H loads, it's a very manageable caliber. Best compared to 3" mag 12 gauge shotshells out of a light (18") shotgun in my mind. Plenty doable and not bad at all, I feel .416 Rigby isn't too bad either- but it does recoil a healthy dose more than the .375, not hugely more but enough you notice.

    I'm also a fan of the x57 case, for hunting anything 350lbs and smaller it can't be beat, my fave being the 7x57, and I have one prewar Model 70 chambered as such and one original Mauser Oberndorf Commercial Sporter in the same chambering. One of those two may even come to Africa in October, but I just can't get over unseating my .375 H&H from its do all position- it does everything just too well to put it aside. So I might lend the M70 to my brother to use so I can watch it in Africa in action, and still use my favourite the .375 H&H.
     
  20. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    6,505
    Likes Received:
    347
    My Photos:
    32
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    I think the 375 H&H is definitely a all round great caliber.

    The one thing, I have learned as I get older, it's not how many guns or bullets I have, it's a lot more about hunting memories and creating new ones!

    And I really like the 7mm Mag....a lot more than the 300 Win Mag.
     

Share This Page