308 Win or 9.3x62 Mauser for Plains Game Hunt

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by Fastrig, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    When you see someone miss completely or hit something in the rump it really doesn't matter what they did it with....... They simply failed and a wounded animal costs the same as a killed one.

    Fortunately for me I have an almost endless supply of really easy to get along with, funny as hell guys to hunt just about everything on this planet with, but unfortunately for most of them Helen Keller would out shoot them if she was drunk and had a broken arm.

    The majority of these guys are of an age that had it pounded into their heads the 30-06 was "all that's needed" for virtually everything that anyone "should"ever desire to shoot in the way of big game. And after that came the new kid on the block in 1952... The 308.


    The .308 is the #1 caliber for deer in the USA....... And even the world. It really doesn't kick.....even in a lightweight rifle and has just tons of different factory loads and many are just downright cheap.

    And it is my #1 recommendation for a kids first rifle or for the "only" rifle that someone might own.

    But is the world's most popular deer round the best round for all African plains game? Not hardly by a long shot, but then again I really don't see any other one caliber or round that fits that slot either. Some are too small for the big, and some are too big for the small, but if you're only have one choice is go for the biggest that you can shoot well.

    Africa is not a continent that has a shooting bench every 10 feet so off hand and sticks ....along without the occasional rock, limb , mound and ocassional hunting friends shoulder can be used to shoot from. Your " three-oh-eight" will kill every PG in Africa if you put a bullet through it's heart . It will also kill them with one in the brain. Things also normally die quickly if you disintegrate the bones in their neck....

    Many people like to say that the 308 isn't a stopper and that is absolutely wrong. With the right bullet, at the right speed, hitting the animal in the right spot not only is the 308 a stopper, but so is absolutely every other round in the world. Of course it may not stop the animal that you want to stop with it, but a stopper it is none the less. It stops groundhogs dead in their tracks, yotes too....it absolutely crushes them, but don't plan on the same experience with an Eland or other equally tough game that require a lethal hole in their heart just to eventually fall over in a reasonable distance where you shot them to begin with.

    I have many 308's all of which are extremely accurate.....a few which are only served justly by young steady hands and clear eyes. I don't use any of them much anymore other than some pleasant days at the range.

    My two favorite PG rounds are the .264 Winchester Magnum and the .378 Weatherby Magnum. Both rifles have been slicked and tricked, but as good as they are they both have a fault or two that you simply will not have with your .308.

    They are both "hunt only" rifles....... And not hunting prairie dog towns either. The .264 WinMag has somewhat of a limited barrel life and chances are that by the time a novice gets to be a rifleman the barrel might be shot and the .378 WbyMag will only be mastered by very few shooters as even ones who can take the pounding can't take a whole lot of it on a daily basis.

    One trip I took my 5.6 and 7 mm VH Super Express rifles and did well with them, but most definitely not for the novice or guy who like to blaze away every chance he gets. The 7mm VHSE and the Nosler 28 are pretty much ballistic twins so if you a be wantingmodern 7 mm with almost the same amount of psychotic whoopass as the 30-378 here's your chance.

    Your 308 will be fine as the deer sized animals in Africa are physically no tougher than at deer in the states and there is no need to use bullets for them that you wouldn't use here with success. Where the African variety stand out is in mental ability to run like smoke and oakum even missing entire organs....like a heart. This is where something with a whole lot more "slap" from speed could possibly help anchor the already dead animal?

    In reality as long as you knock a hole through the heart it really doesn't matter what you did it with because that animals dance card in already punched and it will fall down deader than Julius Ceasar when the music stops.

    It will be completely up to you if you leave Africa as the most dangerous thing to ever step foot on the continent or just another "dead fish" that when you are driving away back to airport and everyone is smiling and waving will all be saying,"boy....that guy stinks". :A Banana:

    Enjoy.....
     

  2. Milan

    Milan AH Enthusiast

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    Yup. Agreed. Wholeheartedly. But like with everything, BC or velocity or any other attribute is not all there is to it. Things have to be look at in combination for the conditions you plan to hunt in. The slightly lighter than maximum weight bullets do usually make for flatter shooting (think smaller vital zone rather than more MPBR) and with the monometal, longer bullets do so with decent BC and penetration on game as well as staying together when they hit. But they do need more speed, hence a step down in weight. Also being of modern shape, they tend to fly well. But that's just one example. As mentioned, I actually do like heavy for caliber round nose bullets in the old classic non-magnums for closer ranges for some reason.
     
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  3. Milan

    Milan AH Enthusiast

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    Yup. That too.
     

  4. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I would like to add that if you can do this, you can gong that steel plate at 500 yards with a .416 Rigby. (I can't, but my son has been doing it for years with .308s and 6.5s. I am still working on the 500. I can at this point nail the steel at 300 yards most every time with my iron sighted RSM Rigby. But...I would never try shooting any African animal at 300 yards, let alone 500. Just for fun at the range!
     
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  5. Mr. Zorg

    Mr. Zorg AH Veteran

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    If I ever go on a plains game safari, personally I plan to take two rifles. One 9.3X62mm Zastava M70 with 22" barrel and 1.5-5X20mm scope (came with the rifle) I recently acquired with the scond rifle choice either a .270 Winchester 20" barrel Mannlicher style Whitworth Interarms Mark X or a custom 7X57mm custom Mannlicher style rifle built around a FN Mauser action. I plan on using a Sig Sauer 2-7X33 mm scope with whichever second rifle I decide on.

    The biggest change for me will be shooting off sticks vs offhand with a sling which is how I learned to shoot rifle back in my Jr. High days in the NRA Youth program. Using sticks will be a completely different method for me and I'll need months of practice with that method if that's required. Shooting off a bench is different enough to throw me a bit, and especially as rifle recoil increases as using my non-dominant hand to snug the rifle into my body leaving my dominant hand to concentrate on trigger pull is what I've done for over 4 decades, rightly or wrongly.
     
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  6. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    Per a lot of quality advice from the AH members, I’m taking both my 9.3x62 and 308 win...would have taken the 300 win mag instead of the 308, but just gave it to my son. If I get my 404J built, i’ll take that and the 9.3x62.
     
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  7. Rem700stw

    Rem700stw New Member

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    Take the 9.3x62. Load it with Barnes 286 grain tsx bullets. It will teach you why moderate velocity, heavy for caliber, and deep penetration are the recipe for instant humane kills. Zero for 200 yards and go to Africa and kill whatever you want. Stalking within easy range of a 9.3x62 is not that difficult. This is a hunt not a shoot.
     
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  8. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    Not a bad suggestion and I prefer a good stalk hunt. I bought the 9.3x62 with Africa in mind, assuming my shots would mostly be under 200 yards, and occasionally out to 250 yards or so. When I go after a cape buff, big brown bear, or other DG I’ll take a 404J. The 308 I bought mostly for white tale, hogs, and other North American game, though a couple of guys I do business with did well with their 308’s on plains game a couple of years ago which is why I was going to take it too. On the zero, the Sig BDX scopes want it at 100 yards as that’s what the range finder BDX binos are expecting when it does ballistic calcs that feed back to the scope’s hold over illumination dots. Pretty slick system, though i’m still learning its ins and outs.
     

  9. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    Lots of recommendations for the Barnes 286 TSX rounds. Sounds like the round to take, thanks!
     

  10. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    or 286 or 300 gn swift.
    bruce.
     
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  11. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    Couple of boxes of each as I like the Swift ammo
     

  12. HWL

    HWL AH Fanatic

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    .308 Winchester is Barbies Gun..... you want to go to Africa and not to an amusement park.

    Have a range finder and a bullet drop compensator on the scope of your 9,3x62, and every thing will be fine....

    HWL
     

  13. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I'll be the contrarian. I HATE bringing two rifles. I do indeed find them a pain, and inevitably, one seems to spend the hunt safely tucked in its case.

    I can almost guarantee you at some point you will be a half mile from the truck chasing some dainty little antelope with that .308 in hand and your one and only opportunity at a large bodied SCI gold Wildezebrelandryx thing will be standing quartering away at 172 yards. Piece of cake with the 9.3, but suddenly questionable with the .308.

    Besides, I hate the 180 gr bullet in a .308. If I am shooting those in Africa, it will be with an '06 or better yet, .300 Win Mag. The .308 was created with the 150 gr bullet in mind. Otherwise, it is a thirty cal with the trajectory of a 9.3x62. :Facepalm: So what is the point?

    On four of my last five trips, I only brought my .375 with 300 gr bullets. Buffalo were on the dance card, but so were a host of other things ranging in size from Suni to Livingstone Eland. No issues - range or otherwise. That 9.3 will be equally effective on PG.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
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  14. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    We can probably agree to disagree on the effectiveness of a 308 win, but I did buy the 9.3x62 specifically for Africa and it was always going to be my primary rifle. The 308 was going to be taken as a backup, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it in Africa for up to Kudu size PG, though I'd prefer to have a rifle that hits harder just in case an unforeseen encounter took place with something bigger and meaner than PG in the field. Nice thing about my Mauser is that it uses 5-round magazines, of which I have three, so I can carry two loaded for PG and one loaded with heaviest load possible for a "just in case" scenario....
     

  15. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    On a PG hunt the last thing you need to do is worry about two different weights of bullets. Like the rifle scenario above, you will be guaranteed to have the wrong magazine in the rifle at the wrong time. If you want to empress your PH, get an accurate shot off quickly - don't fiddle around with ammo. And unless you are going on a PG hunt in Zim, the Caprivi or Mozambique you are very unlikely to be dodging bigger critters. In most PG scenarios, your PH will likely be carrying nothing more lethal than shooting sticks when he leaves the truck. Just saying. Besides, if your 9.3 likes the classic .286 you are fine for anything you will encounter even in a DG area anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
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  16. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    I know some folks just don't care for the 308 win, which is fine. The ought-six vs 308 debate isn't one that will ever be settled, pluses and minuses to both, but both are great IMO. However, I've never any issue hitting and dropping game with a 308 using 150 - 185 grain loads. The 168 grain Barnes and 185 grain Federals are two rounds my rifles like, the former for white tail/hogs/etc., the later for Elk. Some prefer the 150 grain rounds, and I've used those, but I've always been partial to the 168 and 185 grain rounds for the field. Understand that Africa is a different beast than the States and I'd honestly rather have a heavier rifle for that continent, which is why I bought the 9.3x62 and going to build a 404J.
     
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  17. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    Thanks mucho....I've got five boxes of 286 grain 9.3x62 Swift A-frame ammo waiting for Africa....the Barnes seems to be popular as well so might give those a shot...was being a bit facetious about taking both...do have one box of solids and was going to load up a mag with them and put it in a vest pocket "just in case", but may not. The only person I'm trying to impress is myself, and that means one shot kills in a timely manner. The thing I don't want is my PH having to track down an animal because I made a bonehead shot, that's why I've bought sticks and practicing as much as possible between now and the time we leave, i.e. not going to embarrass myself and put my PH through that crap.
     
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  18. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Don’t misunderstand me. I think the .308 is a great cartridge, and makes a great package. I have owned several over the years. Just never saw the point of 180’s out of one. If I am shooting an animal that needs a 180, I would much rather do that with a .300 of some persuasion - your elk would be a perfect example.

    But back to Africa. The .308 with 180’s has almost an identical trajectory as a the 9.3 with a 280 class bullet. Unless your 9.3 is a bear to lug around, your .308 offers no advantage on longer shots and the 9.3 is going to certainly never be any less lethal on anything you shoot regardless of how large or small the animal might be.

    When I hunt buffalo, I bring solids - but never for buffalo - back to that in a moment. I use a .375 - it is perfect on a buffalo and viable with the same 300 gr SP load on PG out to 300 yards. The solids are for little guys like Orbi, Suni, or Duiker. In that case, a 375 entrance and exit wound are ideal. Most first time PG hunts don’t include those specialty animals. Your SPs will be fine.

    And think through that .404. I own a beautiful custom one. A .375 is a far more useful choice. My current favorite is a R8.
     
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  19. Fastrig

    Fastrig AH Enthusiast

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    Thank you very much for the insights. I had a 300 win mag, but gave it to my son so the 308 was next in line as a backup. Sold my ought-six a few years ago, but looks like I'm inheriting my dad's old Remington pump ought-six so will have one back in the gun case here shortly. I've got two 308's and both are deadly accurate, which is why I like them so much, and I've just used them for everything by changing out my loads for the game I'm hunting. My Mauser 9.3x62 is a new acquisition I ordered for Africa and is actually lighter than both my 308's. I eyed this rifle as a good bush gun and think she's going to perform very well in that capacity. It's Mauser's M12 Max model and no one could complain about carrying this thing around in the field (she's really light)...kicks a little more due to being light but I'm not overly recoil sensitive so doesn't bother me a bit. Scope is finally mounted on it so I'll get to dial her in and see how she does for accuracy at longer ranges. Been pleased with the open sight accuracy and guessing scoped will produce good results as well. Quick disconnect mounts so I can switch back to open sights quickly if I need to.

    The 404J vs the 375 H&H has been banging around in my head. I REALLY like the Blaser R8 Success models, but they're only available in the 375 H&H, nothing bigger. The 375 is only slightly larger than the 9.3x62 (.366) so not sure how much more it gives me over my Mauser as this is my first venture into the bigger bore rifles. The 404J has been so highly touted by so many on this site and in articles I've read that I figured it was a good choice for both Africa and Alaska on DG. Would appreciate any other insights you might have on this. Thanks!
     

  20. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    My .404 is a beautiful thing - and it is supremely accurate.


    It is also, compared to my Blaser, a beast to carry around. As noted above, I prefer having a single rifle along that will handle any and all comers. A .404 will do that within limitations, but such a rifle should also be fun to carry - all day, every day for miles and miles. My R8 in .375 with sporter weight barrel, classic sporter stock, full magazine and scope barely exceeds nine pounds. It is like carrying a 30-06. And because of its amazing ergonomics, recoil is a non-issue. Like all R8's, it breaks down into a very small package for easy international travel.


    I have a professional stock that fits it for bad weather destinations. It works out to just shy of ten pounds wearing the molded package. I'll be on the Kamchatka in April in the snow for brown bear with it wearing that livery.

    If you want a .404, then by all means get one. Heck, I also have a .470 and 500/416 Krieghoff. But the more I do this, the more simplifying logistics appeals to me. And the transition from something like your .308 to a scoped .375 is simplicity itself - tending to insure your first shot at a dangerous game animal is exactly where you want to stick it.
     
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