.416 vs .458: Just how tough are Nilgai?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Hank2211, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. Dwight Beagle

    Dwight Beagle AH Enthusiast

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    "Apparentlythis set someone off, who actually phone The Hunting Report to say that he believed that the .416 was 'inadequate' for nilgai, and that nothing smaller than a .458 Win Mag would be appropriate."

    I wonder if the caller was Elmer Keith's grandson.
     

  2. Scott Slough

    Scott Slough AH Fanatic

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    I call total BS on the article ... thanks for calling it to our attention!!!

    Texans are different than the AH crowd (with the exception of a few Texan AHers!), they brag about how small a caliber they use to shoot an animal. Around the fire at a Texas deer camp, the discussion is MOSTLY about what is the MAXIMUM caliber to use for a species (e.g., a .22 LR is sufficient to kill a polar bear if you know where to shoot them and are good enough of a shot ... don't ask me why it is always a polar bear! ... or another one I have heard a gadzillion times ... there are more deer killed with a .22 than any other caliber!).

    They probably took a caller from up North (that is North of I-20!) ... and they confused their minimum and maximum and we are now shooting baby antelope with a howitzer :)!

    In reality everyone that I know who has shot a Nilgqi has done it as a target of opportunity with a standard White-tailed caliber and bullet. I helped recover one that was shot with a Remington 6mm with a 90 g soft point bullet that was shot broadside at 100 yards. I went a little more than 100 yards, but was easily trackable ... so I can assure you that no .4XX caliber is required. When hunting that ranch, I always carried my .300 WM in case one decided to escape my direction ... sadly, none did!
     
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  3. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I'm assuming then that in Texas any caliber starting with a 4 is reserved for Godzilla?
     

  4. Dwight Beagle

    Dwight Beagle AH Enthusiast

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    The last Godzilla was extirpated in the great state of Texas between High Island and Rollover Pass in the early 60's. It was killed by Nimrod Tinkle, the uncle of my first girlfriend Ysleta Tinkle.
     

  5. Hank2211

    Hank2211 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Every day you learn something useful on this site! Was Nimrod related to the Philadelphia Tinkles or is this a separate offshoot (so to speak)?
     

  6. Dwight Beagle

    Dwight Beagle AH Enthusiast

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    The Tinkle family was very tight lipped about their past so I have no idea. The only personal thing I know is Ysleta had six toes on each foot and said it was hereditary.
     

  7. SETH RINGER

    SETH RINGER AH Senior Member

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    I also thought it odd that that was what the guy wanted to call in over. I've taken two, 1 younger meat bull with 45-70 and 1 nice old blue bull with .375H&H. I would not argue the fact that they are the toughest game animal in TX. and if not hit properly they can absorb allot of "lead". I believe the problem is, as great a state as TX. is, they don't have many african trackers so if a bull is not hammered and put down and it has a chance to run a ways through that thick south TX. brush there is a good chance of not recovering. Will a standard whitetail caliber take them, yes, would a guy be better off with something a bit heavier on a dedicated Nilgai hunt, I believe the answer is also yes.
     
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  8. SETH RINGER

    SETH RINGER AH Senior Member

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    And as a side note for the guys that haven't hunted one, they are really good eating, even the old trophy bull I took was nice meat and a freezer full of it. Wildlife Systems offers a really nice free range or really large acreage hunt for under $3K.
     

  9. LRich

    LRich AH Senior Member

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    I've been on only one Nilgai hunt and that was several years ago. I went with a friend that had them on a ranch he hunted.

    I took a 338-06 that I owned at the time and he took his 300 Wby. Both got the job done.

    I just returned from my first African plains game hunt 2 weeks ago. I would compare Nilgai to a Waterbuck or Kudu.
    .
    I shot a 338 Win mag and my son shot a 7mm Rem mag. We both were shooting Barnes' TSX's.

    Both rifles got the job done.

    Nilgai are comparable size animals to waterbuck and kudu, all tough animals but not super beasts that require a 458 or 416.

    I will add that while it's not needed, a 375 might be fun gun to take on a nilgai hunt.
     

  10. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    ^^^^ this is why I was considering a .308 ^^^^^

    Just got back from Africa a couple of weeks ago.. my wife dropped a very large kudu and other large/strong PG with a .308 using barnes 168gr ttsx with no problem..

    I figured 168gr ttsx is enough medicine for large kudu, zebra, wildebeest, and gemsbok.. it should be enough medicine for a nilgai..

    I've got a .375 H&H.. but figured it was overkill..
     

  11. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I suspect more Nilgai have been taken with 30-06's than all the other rounds combined. Part of the hype some of the ranches create to sell hunts is by touting the toughness of the animals. Most of their clients have never shot anything bigger than a whitetail, so they are fully on board. Waterbuck is indeed a very good comparison. A .300 mag minimum is the rule a lot of places. They obviously work fine (though I wouldn't load a 150 gr bullet). I think an aoudad is every bit as tough, and a 180 gr '06 SP is pretty decisive on them.
     
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  12. Dwight Beagle

    Dwight Beagle AH Enthusiast

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    I worked the gun counter part time at the Fort Worth TX Cabela's from 8/14 to 11/16. Once a year we would get a number of guides in the store when the Dallas Safari Club had its convention. Some of them were very knowledgeable about cartridges and ballistics and some made statements that left a lot of people shaking their heads. One elk guide out of Colorado said he would not allow a hunter to use a .270, another guide out of New Mexico stated he liked his customers with .270's. Said they generally had much better shot placement than the customer's shooting big boomers so less tracking was evolved. I've heard some guides talk about brush busting cartridges which I believe is a total myth. Having a .300 WM minimum for elk is fine but I believe is shortsighted.

    We had plenty of idiots on my side of the counter.
     

  13. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    I am with Bullthrower with this one. I'm certainly not the know all end all on Nilgai but have been around a whole bunch of them and seen many many killed. I've seen them pile up dead as chivalry from a 243 and eat a big 338 Weatherby like it was nothing. a lot has to do with shot placement as on anything else. Premium bullets are a really good idea and I personally think a 300 mag with 180 grain bullets is just about perfect. I would say 30-06 is about the minimum I am comfortable taking someone Nilgai hunting with. They certainly arent bullet proof or super animals. They are indeed quite mortal. @Hank2211 if you ever get the hanckering to hunt one shout at me, we can make it happen.
     
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  14. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Leg you are spot on Aoudad are tough as freaking nails.
     

  15. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Let me know if you are still looking for an outfitter.

    Oh noooooo, thats way to large a caliber for Godzilla. Most of us Texans can take him with a wicked stare and a butter knife.
     
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  16. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    Haha, never really considered that but you are likely right. When I hunted them, we were testing some new bonded bonded bullets (no not Hornady) and I never took a rifle or anything. As it turned out, things got screwed up and I ended up with a 30-06 and the ranch minimum was 300WM. After some begging and pleading and agreeing the guide could back me up with his 4xx something the second after I shot and that I wouldn't shoot shoulder, they agreed to let me hunt. The first morning we sneaked in on a casually grazing bull at about 70 yards and I placed the crosshairs right in the middle of his shoulder and squeezed. The guide, looking through his scope in anticipation of the bullet bouncing off, kept shouting, "where is he." in anticipation of launching the 4xx bullet as back up. I said he's lying there dead. I was told I got very lucky! I laughed.
     
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  17. bilmcc

    bilmcc AH Enthusiast

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    Many have told me 7mm Rem Mag is standard for Aoudad, and that's what I used. I know others have used 270s. If I took a 270 for my next, it would be with 150gr Nosler Partitions.
     

  18. sheephunterab

    sheephunterab AH Fanatic

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    I wouldn't hesitate to shoot one with a 6.5, 270, 7mm.
     
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  19. mdwest

    mdwest AH Elite

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    I'm still working on @Huntress in Heels to join me chasing bison at your place this winter if we can work it out...

    Maybe between the two of us we can talk her into me taking a bison and her going after a nilgai (hint hint!)

    She should have a shiny new .35 whelen by then that should be good nilgai medicine...
     
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  20. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog AH Veteran

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    Hell yes they are, and bigger than most folks think when you get up on one. Most people don't realize that they have to be shoulder-shot like most African animals. My guide on my last Aoudad hunt wanted to make sure I wasn't shooting VLDs; claims to have seen way too many failures on shoulder shots with that bullet. Just fantastic animals in every aspect....but shhhhhh, don't tell people because the damn things are getting more expensive to (free range) hunt than deer.

    I would hunt Nilgai the proper way....with my 300 H&H.
     
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