2nd gun companion on Buffalo + safari?

paul seckar

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I just finished reading the thread 'My second rifle choice' and a slightly different question occurred to me, specific to my situation. Rather than hi-jack the thread, I thought I'd start a new one.

Background: primary safari objective would be buff, adding other game as convenient to round out the affair. I currently own a 404j, a 416 ruger (that is temporary). a couple 338 WMs, and a 30-06 (along with a variety of other smaller calibers). I am curious to hear the experiences of others who have safari'd and how you would tackle this from a two-rifle selection standpoint. Would you travel two 404j's...one as a primary and one as a backup and use them for the buff and whatever else...maybe have different optics on each for close-up vs distance/plains opportunities? Perhaps the right complement to the 404 is either the 338 or 30-06 or would you suit-up to a 375 as the better mate?

My thinking to date has been to add another 404j as a backup and simply go with those two. But I'd love to hear about the experiences and lessons-learned of the AH community who have 'been there, done that'.
 

Zambezi

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Taking a second 404J is like wearing two condoms, to be sure to be sure. Chances are the second will just be lugged around and never taken out the box.

Where are you hunting? Unless you really need to reach out and touch something over the 350m mark, the 30.06 will do everything that the .338 will do at half the price and half the punishment.

YMMV
 

PARA45

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Also, depending on the country, you can't bring two rifle of the same caliber.

If you read @TOBY458, he took two rifles for his buffalo & tuskless elephant, and he ended up shooting them both with the R8 in 375.

I believe that sometimes we tend to over think things, and overanalyze the what ifs. Take one rifle you shoot well, and call it a day.

I went to the Eastern Cape & the Kalahari, and took my 375 H&H, and shot everything from warthog, up to buffalo cow and a lioness. One rifle, simple. :)
 

Justbryan

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In some countries you can only take one rifle per caliber. So, I would chose to take the 404J and the 30.06. I usually take a 300WM and 375 H&H. I prefer to take a short range DG rifle and a 30 caliber long range mountain (light weight) rifle. My next trip will be my Blaser R8 with 375H&H, 300WM, and 223.
 

Hunter-Habib

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My preferred two rifle setup for an African mixed bag safari is:
- .375 Holland & Holland Magnum
- .30-06 Springfield

The combination has been serving me satisfactorily since my first African Safari back in 1974.
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In a perfect world, an ideal two rifle battery for a client would be:
- .375 Holland & Holland Magnum for dangerous game
- .300 Holland & Holland Magnum for plains game

My current two rifle battery (and the one I intend to take on my next African safari) is:
- .600 Nitro Express for dangerous game
- 7x57mm Mauser for plains game.

Now, in your context… my proposition is:
- .404 Jeffery for the Cape buffalo
- .338 Winchester Magnum for all the plains game.

The .338 Winchester Magnum will be more useful than the .30-06, if your intended plains game includes eland and kudu. I’ve bagged several eland with a .30-06 and 220Gr bullets (initially Remington Core Lokts and more recently Sako Hammerheads). All were one shot kills. I’ve even taken one eland bull with my 7x57mm Mauser and a 175Gr Nosler Partition (Sellier & Bellot factory load)... my point of aim being a broadside double lung shot. But if I had a choice, I’d readily use a .338 Winchester Magnum for eland and kudu.
 
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Red Leg

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I hate shlepping two rifles if it isn’t necessary. I have never found it necessary in Africa (or on any other continent either for that matter). On a recent PG only hunt it was a .275, and on my buffalo and PG hunts it has been a .375. I haven’t even felt compelled to bring a second barrel for my R8.
 

AZDAVE

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What else besides buffalo would you be hunting? in most cases your 404 will fill the needs out to 200-225 on most anything. However if you want to have a backup a 9.3x62 or 375H&H would be a solid choice.
 

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On my last trip I took a 404 and a 6.5, I was only going to take the 404 as my main animal was Buff in Limpopo, but wanted something with some extra reach as part of my trip would be Black Wildabeest in Free State where it was is more open.

That WB ended up being a touch over 250 yards, every other shot on that trip was more than doable with my 404 and a set of Quad Sticks. The longest shot with the 404 was Gemsbok at 190, also in Free State.

If it were me, I would not take a second 404, and depending on what the plan was after the Buff was down, I would seriously consider only taking one rifle in a takedown case.

But - what’s the fun in that.
 

sierraone

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One hunt, one rifle for me. My last hunt was a .404J with Barnes TSX. One shot kills on buffalo, zebra and warthog. As others have said, dragging two rifles through an airport is a bitch. If my one rifle breaks, I will rent an outfitters .375 HH. And the only thing I shoot at 300 yards is a steel plate. Whatever you decide, good luck.
 

YancyW

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I just got back from a DG and PG hunt in Zim. I only took one rifle, a 416 rem. I've never been in a camp in Africa that didn't have plenty of rifles around, the idea that I need an extra just doesn't make sense to me. I used to take two on all trips, but there is no real reason to do so, other than just wanting to.

I shot everything from Buffalo down to bushbuck, and from 50 feet out to a couple hundred yards without any issue at all. One other upside to using the .416, there is absolutely zero tracking required on the PG, none of them moved for than a foot.

If I was using a double rifle and also wanted to hunt PG, then I think you clearly need to bring another rifle.
 

318AE

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I hate shlepping two rifles if it isn’t necessary. I have never found it necessary in Africa (or on any other continent either for that matter). On a recent PG only hunt it was a .275, and on my buffalo and PG hunts it has been a .375. I haven’t even felt compelled to bring a second barrel for my R8.
Hopefully to build on this point a little bit. There is an appeal to the two or three rifle battery for an African safari. It was born from much longer trips and less reliable bullets than we have now. I’d focus less on the ballistic advantages of each, or the reliability of a back up, and more on the time spent with extra permits, luggage, ammo etc, all of which may result in you having a 30’06 in your hands while you see a buffalo. There is something to be said for great confidence in your one chosen implement.
 

Rocked and Loaded

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I hate shlepping two rifles if it isn’t necessary. I have never found it necessary in Africa (or on any other continent either for that matter). On a recent PG only hunt it was a .275, and on my buffalo and PG hunts it has been a .375. I haven’t even felt compelled to bring a second barrel for my R8.
I wonder how much the classic, long, safari “three gun battery” influences modern hunters thinking they need multiple rifles for a short hunt?
 

Hammergun

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I suggest just one 404 and nothing else. If your rifle breaks, your PH will make a plan and get you a rifle to use. Not many rifles fail on what really are short hunts. If you memorize your holdovers, any shot within normal ranges are easy. Earlier this year I took a 416 with two scopes. A low power variable for Buffalo and a higher power variable for plains game. Either scope really could have been used for everything. I shot everything with the 416. Buffalo down to Bushbuck and warthog. Some fairly long shots although I always try to get as close as possible. The longest shot was a blesbuck at 250. We just couldn't get any closer. Only one load too, the 400 grain A-frame. Keep it simple.
 

meigsbucks

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Like @Inline6, I took a .416 Ruger and a .375. As my first hunt was primarily for buffalo and at the time, I thought it would be my only safari, I wanted whatever rifle I had in my hand to handle the buffalo. As it turned out, I shot eight of my eleven animals with the .416. Since the longest shot was ~180yds, I could have taken everything with the .416.
I personally prefer two rifles with some overlap in capability. Part of that is I like to see how different rounds perform.
 

Red Leg

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I wonder how much the classic, long, safari “three gun battery” influences modern hunters thinking they need multiple rifles for a short hunt?
Hugely. Were we doing sixty-day safaris like those in British East Africa between the wars, my minimum battery would include a .470 or .500 double, a .375, a .300 of some persuasion, a .22 Hornet, and 12 bore OU or SxS. But we don't. The only situation that a pair of rifles makes any sense to me is a double and a .375 for those occasions on a relatively short DG hunt when the double suddenly seems a bad choice when one is trying to sort out the shooter daggaboy among three of his buddies standing in the shade in the bush at eighty yards on the last day of a typical modern 7-10 day hunt. Of course, the .375 would have handled it all by itself just fine.

And on what other hunts do we bring a pair of rifles in case one has a problem? I have never met anyone in BC, Saskatchewan, Austria, Germany, Spain, Argentina, the Rockies, or Texas who was dragging along a back-up rifle. I would suggest if someone feels that is necessary then buy a better gun.

Now, should someone simply want to subject themselves to dragging all that extra weight because it is "fun," then fine. Have at it. But it truly is unnecessary.
 

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I always bring a back up rifle here for local (5 hour drive) DIY elk hunts, where no flying is required. Only had to use it one time, when another hunter's scope mount came loose on his rifle. No other rifle was available. On my one African PG hunt, I brought two rifles but was completely unnecessary as the outfitter had rental rifles. Live and learn.
 

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Travel light with just one rifle for everything. Your 404J will do the job nicely. Don't overthink it. Best of luck.
 

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I just got back and I took a .375 H&H and a 300 PRC. I shot a buff with the .375 and used the PRC on everything else. I do not have it in me to hunt with someone elses rifle. If I had to do that, I simply would not go. I do not expect anyone else to feel that way but that is who I am.
Both rifles were in one pelican case, and every form listed both rifles, so I had zero extra effort to take two.
My second reason for both is that the .375 was set up for close shots with a 1-8x, and the PRC had a long range scope with locking turrets. I enjoyed all of the shots over 200 yds and the 2 I had right at 350 yds. Again, that is how I am wired and what I wanted to do. I guess my vote is simply personal preference.
 

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