What is the Perfect Plains Game rifle? and what is too much?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Grady, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Grady

    Grady AH Senior Member

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    I have followed AH for quite some time and have read many opinions on rifle selection. So here is the question, what is the perfect Plains Game rifle? Is it a 25-06, 30-06, 300 Win Mag, one of the 375 family or a different one? You decide, and tell us why... Additionally, is there something that is too much for PG? I am only limited this to plains game (up to and including Eland) and NOT dangerous game.

    I know there will be MANY passionate opinions, but please do not berate or belittle someone else for their opinion, because it is just that...opinion. The basis for this question is not only stopping ability, but minimal meat damage and hide preservation. Additionally, let us all consider that the rifles are using the "mythical" perfect plains game bullet so that we do not get into the discussion of bullet selection.

    I did do a quick search, but do not turn up anything that specifically asks this question. If I missed a post, please let me know.

    My opinion is the 300 Win Mag is a very good all-around PG rifle. It has the ability to reach out and drop something if necessary, and shoots a larger enough bullet (200gr to 220gr) to put the hurt on the larger animal but can be down loaded for the smaller ones. While the 375 H&H is the quintessential "African Caliber" I think it is one the large side for most PG animal. Your thoughts?
  2. Bushwack

    Bushwack AH Fanatic

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    I always say...the rifle that kills...

    I myself killed many animals with a .270, but that a different story...to give an answer to this thread, i would say anything from a 7mm to a .300 will be excellent for up to an Eland...
  3. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    The 300 Win Mag can do it all. Great stopping power, range, and minimal damage for taxidermy purposes if you use the right bullets. It can handle eland to steenbok.
  4. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    The .300 is excellent for plainsgame, but, just to make sure, I use a .338WM.

    Well, I have to admit I used a .375 for Springbok, because that s what I had at the moment (after a lioness hunt). A .223 with a silencer is also good medicine for warthog head shots.
  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    If I have to pick ONE.

    You threw in Eland being the top end of plains game, I'll top out the PG list with Giraffe.

    When I do that, I'll agree with your .300WM selection.

    If I was in an area while PG hunting that has DG that can bite me, .375H&H is the all rounder I'd choose.
  6. Grady

    Grady AH Senior Member

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    Brick - I am glad you mentioned Giraffe, casue I did not even think about that one.....As for the DG, I would agree with the 375, but I am hoping my PH would have that one covered....Then again, hope is not a strategy I like to rely on when I become the hunted....
  7. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I am not sure what you have in your rifle line up or if you plan on making a new purchase.

    I would go with the 338WM and not look back. With this round you have great flexibility with the right bullet. Barnes 225gr. Will punch holes on both sides of plains game except giraffe. Your PH and trackers will like this selection, if per chance your shot is off a little it leave a great blood trail for the trackers to follow.
    Some PH's will let you shoot cape buffalo with this match up. Work well on leopard and all plains game.
  8. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    So many choices! Since I didnt see it mentioned I will go with the 9.3x62. Not the best long range round but it shoots at least as far as most of us have any business shooting, at game anyway. Like James mentions with the .338Win, of which I am also a fan, the 9.3 has buffalo capability. It's kick is not bad at all either.
  9. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    I'll go with the one (which means anyone) that I don't have that I can buy, by looking at my wife and going but honey this is the perfect plains game calibre...

    270's, 308's, 30-06, 300's they are all equally good if you know your trajectories, and for the most part on a lethal shot equally lethal... ;)

    Seriously anyone one you want.

    My best always.. :). :) :)
  10. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    anything 30 cal. would be my choice for plains game .
    im trying to get my bride to agree to use my 300 rum ,for her hunting , this year .
    instead of her 7mm,
    do you think 7mm will be enough for giraffe ,jaco ?

    l hope she can get used to the ruma
    so we only have to take one riffle and the bow .
  11. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I would have to say the 30-06. Good range of bullet weights available and almost everyone from your wife to kids can shoot it. Ammo is readily available anywhere you go.

    .375 is also a great choice but somewhat limited by the recoil factor, which is why I would not call it the "ultimate plains game caliber". Not everyone can shoot it.
  12. Paw Print

    Paw Print SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    I agree with the.300WM,my personal favourite for plainsgame.When you get to Eland size its ability with the larger bullets (220gr)is just better than the other 30 calibers mentioned.
  13. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    I have three 'perfect' plain's game rifles, a .308, a 7x57 and a .300 H&H. Which one I pack depends on the terrain I will be hunting and what type of biltong I feel like making.
  14. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    If I'd had any common sense, I would have started with the 3 you mention. That got thrown out the door a long time ago. I think the 7mm Rem Mag, 9.3x62, and 338 Win are great choices too. If you use heavy bullets in the 7mm Rem Mag, like 160 gr or great it is very deadly.
  15. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    35 Whelen, 225gr. TBBC



    Now while Mike is thinking of a smart ass reply, I'll give your question my best shot. I think it has been mentioned, in previous post, by some of the guys who hunt Africa regularly. If you shoot a 7mm-08, a 308, a 7mm Rem Mag, or a 375 H&H, no matter, bullet construction and shot placement of said caliber would be best caliber to take. I personally would rather make a heart/lung shot with a 6mm Remington or the 35Whelen than a liver shot with a 375 H&H.

    If DG is on the menu then get use to some recoil and find the caliber you can shoot most accurately.

    As far as the second part of the title question, in my opinion, the caliber that is too much, is the one you can't handle. The caliber that someone convinced you YOU HAVE TOO HAVE, in order to kill an animal. I'm a firm believer that there is no such thing as overkill, i.e. 338wm for Impala (dead is dead) but if you can't handle the recoil it sour's the whole experience. 2cents
  16. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    as Doc says it depends on the terrain. and scott knows i am going to say 9.3x62 as where i am most of the time its 150/200yds tops mostly less , but i will say the .350 rigby is good too. kynoch load 225grn bullets in soft and solid for it, so for the little ones you can use those to minimise any damage.
  17. Code4

    Code4 AH Enthusiast

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    I have used a .308 and 9.3x62 for all Plains game up to Eland.

    Eland changes the game. 9.3x62 or .375H&H (or even .458WM if you can shoot one well enough).

    For the run of the mill 'entry level' plains game ( for a first timer ) such as Zebra, Kudu and Gemsbok and I had to start again, probably a .30-06 or .300 mag and 180's.

    Having said all that, I'm planning for my third paid trip and I'm taking my trusty 7x57. I'm also booking plenty of time to hunt so I'm not rushed or pressured.
  18. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    I think the 7x57/7x64 are great calibers and very effective. the stories I've heard here of these two calibers.... :worship:
    I've never used them on game, so cant comment... I do like the recoil (or lack thereof) compared to the 300winmag which I have and personally feel comfortable with on any of the plains game.
    I think a 200/220gr hits hard and is very effective in the 300winmag
    my old man used an 8x57, he took just about everything with it from the smaller plains game to eland, sable, roan and buffalo.
    if you are comfortable and confident with any of the 7mm, 30cal, 8mm you will be fine.
  19. Poucher

    Poucher AH Member

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    300 WM with 200 gr A-frames, 375 H&H with either A-frames or Partitions in 270/300 gr, 9,3 x 62 in the 250/286 gr range will do the job done !!!!
    With the giraffe I do recommend the neck shot for a good instant clean kill.
  20. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Hallo fellow Hunter-Gatherers, Rifle Collectors and Bullet Examiners,

    I suppose we all know in our hunter's hearts that, there is no "Perfect" plains game rifle / caliber or perfect bullet.

    I will submit that there is no perfect anything.

    HOWEVER, be that as it may, I really like this question and I totally get it.

    Thank you Grady for asking it, you are welcome at my camp fire any time.

    Since eland and giraffe are in this.........for open country / desert / grassveldt, I'd say the .300 H&H is a dandy, but only with at least 180 gr premium bullets for eland.

    For giraffe, even 220 gr solids might be considered, go for the high neck shot, (oops, I'm talking about bullets, sorry folks).

    Personally, giraffe do not appeal to me much (they smell terrible) but eland do appeal to me and for eland, the .300 H&H, with heavy for caliber/bonded core bullets seems a decent minimum in open terrain/longer shots.

    If eland were the largest hunted, and the geography was typical thornbush / miombo, riverine foliage, (shorter range shots), the .338-06 and .318 Westley Richards (ballistic twins), as well as the 9.3x62 Mauser and 9.3x74R ('nuther pair of ballistic twins) would likely still work well, after all these years.

    Note: If I really set out after breakfast to shoot a giraffe in the body, instead of the neck, I'd want at least a .416 and 400 gr solids.

    At the end of the day, I will vote for a Brno Mauser Model 602, model-70 safety, claw mounts or perhaps Talley QD lever rings, Zeiss 4x scope, chambered in the .300 H&H and regulated with Swift 180 grain A-Frames (from giraffe neck shots @ 50 yds, down to vaal rhebok or klipspringer behind the shoulder shots @ 400 yds).

    Regards,
    Velo Dog

    PS:
    In Namibia, I used a .300 H&H on multiple species, with great success and in Alaska, I have shot a few caribou (about the size of red hartebeest but nowhere near as impact resistant) with the .300 H&H and I would recommend it for both African plains game, as well as most Alaskan so called big game (except perhaps for our bison-2,000 pounds), and strictly for giraffe / eland, I'd say it's a bit light but, it would do in a pinch.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2014

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