In the eight years since this thread originated, my thinking has somewhat evolved as well. I have two multi-barrel rifles - a Blaser S2 double with .375, 30-06, and 500/416 barrels and a Blaser R8 with .375 and .300 WM. I took the S2 with .375 and '06 barrels to the Zambezi Delta a few years ago and used both to good effect on everything from buff to reedbuck. Since then, however, I have simply taken the .375. With the right bullet, it is decisive on buff, can drop a kudu on the next ridge, or pot a red duiker at fifty-feet. Perfect.Another option is a switch barrel rifle. I have just bought a Mauser M03 with a .375 barrel and the option to add a .300WinMag.
One rifle and action, two barrels and two scopes, one for the WinMag for plains game and a low power for dangerous game.
It breaks down for ease of travel and if owning weapons is hard the authorities are more happier with this set up than an arsenal of guns.
Ammunition is easy to get hold of and you only have to learn to shoot one gun.
I would agree that a 30 cal is better for leopard (though took mine cleanly with a .338). Some places the .375 is min allowed on any of the big five, and I would have no hesitation hunting one with the H&H. To my mind, the bullet, the accuracy of the rifle and quality of the scope are far more important. As I noted, mine regularly handles everything from 1800 lb buff to 6 lb duiker.375 seems a might big for leopard, especially under 100yds
So IvW what bullets do you recommend for the cats?
How do you like Swift A Frame for lion?I don't like bullets that lose petals or front cores even on leopard, neither do I like Barnes X bullets.
I prefer reliable expanding bullets of forward weighted design. Leopard are the only member of the DG that I would recommend lighter for caliber bullets.
The cats are also the only members of the African DG where I recommend Woodleighs unless you are using a double rifle.
Caliber is also important but I will refer to using a 375 H&H as this is the legal minimum in most countries(I have shot seven Leopards with 7x57mm and .308 Win as well as 5 lioness and 1 lion with the 7x57mm). I would however not use either for follow up work on anu DG.
Leopard- 260 gr or 300 gr Accubond or 270 gr or 300 gr Woodleigh or 270 gr or 300gr Rhino. Soft enough to reliably expand on impact, leopard are easy to kill with correct shot placement and a reliable expanding bullet. There are many other options that would be good.
Lioness or Lion on bait-300 gr Accubond or 300 Woodleigh or 300 gr Rhino or 340 gr Rhino. Again reliable expansion and both easy to kill on bait with correct shot placement when they do not know you are there.
Lion tracking on foot-350 gr Woodleigh or better still 340, 350 or 380 gr Rhino controlled expansion bullets, you need a good bullet for large male lions when they know you are on them when tracking, especially with full frontal shots or in a charge situation. Big male lions can take some stopping and they are very muscular in the front section and can charge at blinding speed.
The Rhinos are exceptional, always opening up and making 4 petals which maximize damage after expansion.
Thank you for the in depth reply,The 7x57mm performed flawlessly. Please bear in mind that these were all "problem cats" killing cattle and horses. They were all shot on bait. Most nights I sat or lay alone in the blind. All the blinds were built inside trees overlooking the bait(typically @40 yards max) and not on the ground. I knew exactly where to aim and never pulled the trigger if I was not sure about the shot.
Never liked barnes. Copper fouling in the barrels, rear weighted design and always one of two outcomes. Perfect or little or no expansion. They perform better at higher speeds and lighter for caliber bullets. They rely on hydraulic action(fluid or soft tissue) entering the tiny hole. When you hit thick hard shoulder bones they can fail to expand or even worse partially expand or bend on one side and then veer off course or tumble(due to rear weighted design). I cannot have that when hunting DG. Many people like them, I do not. I am old school and prefer heavy for caliber, front weighted bullets that perform consistently.
Woodleighs are a premium bullet @ lower velocities(read NE calibers excluding the 500/416 NE). They are also of rear weighted design. Velocity controls the expansion for the most part.
2350 fps and higher in my 500 Jeff and they over expand and penetration suffers.
They do work great on the cats and broadside on buffalo.
I don't use them for back up work on DG.
The best DG bullet is the South African, controlled expansion and Meplat brass solid bullets made by RHINO.
380 gr in 375 H&H turns your 375 into a 400.
the 340 and 350 grn expanders are great for anything else.
For elephant, rhino and hippo on land the 340 gr solid darn near out penetrates anything.
The 570 gr expanders in .510 caliber are so good that I use nothing else for cape buffalo. Hunting as well as back-up. They are truly devastating. I have stopped many buffalo(coming and going) with this combination and have only ever needed one shot. I have also shot an elephant cow from the side with this bullet and she made 30 yards, a lot shorter distance than what she would have went if I was using a solid. The solids penetrate too well for use on buffalo and you run the risk of wounding another.
The 570 brass meplat solids are superb. I shot a rhino quartering to just inside the shoulder were the neck joins and the bullet exited just in front of the opposite hind leg! Make no mistake, rhino are easy to kill, but they are "harder" body and tissue wise than elephant. No other bullet has given so much penetration. Elephant side brain shots exit, rear quartering away brain shots-exit, full frontal, depending on the angle, if you are very close- exit. You need to be careful when taking side body shots, as on cows and depending what the bullet hits on bulls and the angle they also exit.
Great bullet for a backup shot to the hip or spine on a fast departing elephant.
There are many premium quality bullets but I have not found the equal to the Rhino for DG work. Dzombo solids are also South African and very good.
Swift, TBBC etc. are all good but I have not found the need to change.