.308 Win for SA Plains Game

168gr Barnes TTSX 308 for round and a 10 year old shooter. Gemsbuck and Waterbuck ran and buried themselves under some puckers and needed a follow up, but they were not moving from where they settled. Kudu was a team shoot with him and I.
The 308 will do it’s part if you do yours
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Good for everything except wildebeest. Those things are the Anti-Christ. :)

Seriously, as others have said, with proper bullets you are good to go.
 
Gents;

I'm a lifelong North American game hunter; I have never hunted Africa, but I have a plains game safari booked for my son and I for May 2025. I believe I know the answer to my question, but at the risk of beating a "dead horse" (as I'm sure its been asked/answered a lot on this forum), I have a question regarding gun/bullet selection.

The game on our list includes: Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Kudu, Warthog, and Blesbuck. We may also possibly hunt Red Hartbeest and Oryx. I don't believe my ranges would exceed 300 yds.

I hand load extensively and have a plethora of rifles. However, due to shoulder reconstruction and cervical fusions, I find that recoil gives me headaches and numbness in my fingers. Subsequently, I try to avoid unnecessary recoil.

My favorite rifle is a Ruger Hawkeye Hunter, .308 Win, 20" barrel, that I shoot with a suppressor (easier recoil and easy on the ears). It's topped with a Swaro 3x10. The rifle is a sub-MOA shooter and I can drive both 165gr Nosler Accubonds and 165gr Swift Scirocco II at 2,700 fps. My son also shoots a .308 Win (a Sauer), which drives the same bullets about 2,750 fps, with equal accuracy.

I can step up to my 30-06 Spr and move 180gr Accubonds and 180 Scirocco II bullets at 2700 fps; it is equally as accurate.

QUESTION: With your collective experience, looking at the ballistics of my .308 and the the game that I am planning on hunting, do you think the .308 is amply adequate for the game I am planning on hunting? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Bill
@Bill J H - I believe more than just adequate, the .308 is a good choice. You also mention it vs the .30-06 and since both shoot a .30 cal bullet of 165-180 grain and at similar velocities (or very close)….the .’06 has only about a 5% power advantage which is near meaningless in a hunting situation. the .308 is an inherently accurate round, very efficient regarding the power you get with minimal recoil. My Son used his .308 in TZ on Waterbuck, Impala, and Hyen’s and with bonded bullets had great results out to 225 yrds — No surprise there and would expect at least that good. I think if you have a .308, are comfortable with it, use good bullets and shoot it well — look forward to a Great Safari !!
 
Good for everything except wildebeest. Those things are the Anti-Christ. :)

Seriously, as others have said, with proper bullets you are good to go.
@RR 314: what is it about Wildebeast? I had a Hunter in Camp claim his .375 H&H was “too small” and why he lost one wounded….he said my ‘06 and Son’s .308 would “bounce off” (we had No problems). He was obviously a blow hard and a poor shot.
 
I certainly appreciate everyone taking the time to reply and give me their thoughts. Your collective experience of actually using and observing the .308 Win used on African game, has confirmed my suspicions. Again - I truly appreciate your input.

Thanks,
Bill
 
Your load is fine. Shooting off of sticks...well, that takes practice.

So as not to wear out my shoulder, I practice about 30 or 40 rounds of 22LR, then switch over to my 9.3x62 for about 10 or 15 rounds for my upcoming trip to Limpopo. I find it's easier to hold steady on sticks with the heavier 9.3. The 22LR is just a lot easier on my wallet.

If you're hunting Limpopo, shots shouldn't be any farther than about 150 or 200. That may stretch out a bit in the eastern Cape or in the Karoo.
 
Your load is fine. Shooting off of sticks...well, that takes practice.
I totally agree SGT_Zim. I spend a great deal of time spotting and stalking hogs here in my neck-of-the-woods and I nearly always have my Trigger Sticks Tri-pod. They are sure worth carrying and are a game-changer when you're in a mesquite flat shooting a hog at 200...with no other rest available :).

I practice a good deal on steel plates at various distances; it is much more fun than shooting off the bench.

Thanks,
Bill
 
.308 is wonderful for plains game. The most important thing is to have a rifle you are comfortable with.

I’m not sure how old your son is. If he is not an adult you may have problems taking two of the same caliber
 
@RR 314: what is it about Wildebeast? I had a Hunter in Camp claim his .375 H&H was “too small” and why he lost one wounded….he said my ‘06 and Son’s .308 would “bounce off” (we had No problems). He was obviously a blow hard and a poor shot.
Man, they have a will to live. I have only killed one and it was a frontal chest shot straight on. Folded like a cheap lawn chair. Not a step. PHs then and subsequent trips told me how tough they were.

Last time over a friend hit a huuuge golden far back (.270 Weatherby with Barnes TSX). It went down and I implored him to shoot it again. PH said he was down for good. Hours later with multiple holes in him he finally died.

The moral of the story? Listen to your redneck buddies—not your PH. :).

Seriously, marginal shots on wildebeest can make for a long day.
 
They’re tough… but I think sometimes their toughness is overrated… I’ve taken 2 with a bow and 1 with a 308… and my wife has taken one with a 308… none have gone far…

For whatever reason I seem to be more challenged by zebra… both we’ve hunted managed to make it almost 100 yards into dense brush despite double lung hits…
 
I can attest the 308 (with suppressor or brake) with 150 fmjs or Aussie surplus 144s, is perfect for practice from the sticks. I took my 30-06 with 180 gr A-Frames for plains game (no brake or supressor), but mostly ran 150 gr Hornady reloads in it for practice. My current 308 was bought specifically to practice with.( Hint, hint :) )

It finally came down to deciding between a 9.3x62 with 250s or the '06 with 180s. I rotated those two each range trip with the criteria of keeping all shots within a 4" radius to POA at 225 yards - standing from the sticks. The '30-06 with lower recoil won by a noticable margin. (Recoil sissy mode for me, although 2 years later I took the 9.3 with 300 gr AFs.).

Out of nine animals with the '06, only one needed more than one shot to put it on the ground using the 180 gr AFs. FWIW my kudu was a pass thru from 250 yards (ran 30 yds and done). The Zebra also took only one shot, which stopped under the skin, but ran a good ways. Less than perfect hit as he was moving. The BWB was a frontal in the chest and he ran off with the herd (luckily found at dark thirty, still standing).

It's more which one you can shoot the best from field positions, and quickly, IMO. But a 30-06 with 180s gives you the better terminal performance. As far as bullets, especially if taking the 308, I suggest you use Midwest's wisdom and try the 168 gr TTSX. Tough bullet and will retain more weight and likely penetrate better than your than your bonded 165s.

My $.02
 
I used a .308 last year to take everything on your list (with the exception of Gemsbok and R. Hartebeest) with zero issues. I was shooting factory Federal Terminal Ascent bullets. Both myself and my PH's were very impressed.

There's nothing in Africa shy of Buffo, Elephant, Rhino, and Hippo there I wouldn't feel comfortable using a .308 with quality bullets like a Terminal Ascent, A-Frames, Scirocco, Accubonds, TTSX, or even a Fusion. I'm confident a .308 using any of those bullets could get it done on any of the above animals but would want to be shooting from a distance and very picky with my choice of shot.
 
They’re tough… but I think sometimes their toughness is overrated… I’ve taken 2 with a bow and 1 with a 308… and my wife has taken one with a 308… none have gone far…

For whatever reason I seem to be more challenged by zebra… both we’ve hunted managed to make it almost 100 yards into dense brush despite double lung hits…
I'm with you. Wildebeest for me have either dropped in their tracks or went a very short ways.

Zebra on the other hand always seem to run 100+ yards regardless if its a bow, .308, or .375 putting the hole in them. The Hartman's I shot in Namibia (w/ .375) perfect quartering towards shot, reared on his hind legs spinning a few times and before taking off on a dead run for several hundred yards. He was spraying blood. We had the shot on video, watched the bullet impact perfectly and the PH was in disbelief he went as far as he did. Same deal in the Kalahari, double lung and covered 1/2 mile with the herd pushing it. I could go on about the 10-12 different zebras I've shot. Only 2 have ever dropped in their tracks and they were neck shots needing bait.
 
My Kudu sot with a CZ550 Carbine Shooting a 165Sierra Game king
 

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Your setup is perfect and if you have confidence in the kit you have an added advantage.
Most important to a succesfull Safari is shot placement and a proper bullet you have that already. You need to learn the vital areas of the different animals species.

Never take a frontal on a wildebeest unless you are absolutely positive you can place that shot excatly where it should go. That is where most wildebeest ends up being wounded and other animals as well.
For their size they are very narrow from the front rather wait it out for a broadside shot and second mistake hunters make is too shoot too high or to far back.

Magic trick never aim higher than half up the body and shoot at the opposite shoulder and you should be good to go.

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Recently took this beaut of an eland cow with my 7x57 and 160gr Bonded bullet. Liveweight was close to 900 pounds and much bigger than any of the species you will be after. The biggest/heaviest on your list being a zebra stallion.

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Bullet sitting just underneath the skin on the OPPOSITE Shoulder.
 
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Good bullet, good broadside shots at reasonable distances and the .308 will be great. Between one of my sons and I we took 13 trophies with the .308 in the picture. Up to Kudu, Gemsbuck, Wildebeest, Zebra and Waterbuck. All were quick one shot kills. This black wildebeest was my first shot and first trophy in Africa. Also my longest shot at 303 yards. You can see where the bullet hit him...DRT. We were shooting a Federal Premium factory load, 165 gr Trophy Bonded Tip, it was leaving my rifle at just 2630fps. I reload the same bullet now, I get 2770 fps from the same 20 in barrel. I'm taking my .308 again, and my .375 Ruger...Eland and Buffalo on the list next trip.
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@Bill J H You will be fine sir. Personally, I would opt for the Accubonds. Have never had a Nosler fail us over here. The 308Win serves us well up to an including Eland.
 
One thing you can do, place duct tape over the ends of your ammunition boxes. That way the animals can't see what caliber you are shooting!

All kidding aside, the .308 is a superb round. The difference in power between the '06 and .308 at the distances in this discussion is negligible. It is a very "shootable" round which encourages lots of shooting practice which is THE most important thing!

Welcome, and good hunting! Let us know how you do!
 

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