416 vs 470 for Buffalo

intj

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I am going on my first Safari this August. Cape Buffalo in Limpopo. This has been on my bucket list for 30 years. It is a consequence of working where I do. A PH in South Africa connected with my company, several of us are going, and the plan is to do podcasts daily from South Africa.

I have had three 416 Rems over the years, and my current one is an M-70. Though I have only ever shot pigs with it, I have always liked the 416 Rem. I got the rifle ready and am currently sorting out bullets. I was going to use 350 TTSXs, but I don't like them in an M-70 with a 3.6" mag box. I know I can get a 3.850 Wyatts box, put the action in the mill and open it up and probably get it to feed well. I have done that a couple of times, but this rifle feeds so well as it is I don't want to mess with it.

Then I was surprised to recently learn that 400 grain SAFs out penetrate the 350 TTSX, and my PH likes 400 grainers better as well. He prefers a 400 DGX Bonded over a 350 TTSX.

I decided to use IMR 4166 for these loads. They aren't selling it anymore in the US and may not be making it anymore, but 8 lbs is a lot of 416 ammo. I am NOT going to use my Varget or H4895, since those are the powders I need for 1000 yd BR light guns.

Initial testing--just shooting a couple shots at the back of the shop with three different bullets to find where I should start with powder--showed me I can exceed 2400 with 400 grainers and get 2600 with 350s. My initial plan was to use SAFs for my soft and a local company's 400 grainers for my solid. I might still do that. I had a box of 49 SAFs, I pulled 19 from old Rem factory ammo, and a forum member here graciously offered to sell me another box. Also, I am on the list with Swift for when they have more 416 400 grain SAFs to sell next month.

However, the local company (on the same street as my shop), has just got into making safari bullets and ammo. They have 400 grain expanding copper bullets as well as 400 grain brass solids. I went to their shop to get the solids , and I just couldn't say no to trying the expanding bullets. I would be a nice touch during the podcast when, I am talking about getting my buffalo, to mention I used bullets made by a local company. I am not mentioning their name yet because I am not sure when the bullets will be for sale. Right now they are only offering loaded ammo.

When I picked up the bullets, I asked them how far their solid would penetrate. They told me they didn't know, and I looked at them with a puzzled expression. They said they only had 60" of ballistic gel and none of the bullets stayed in the gel. They have amazing reports from PHs in Africa concerning their solids and showed me some videos that I don't think have been released yet of perfomance on buffalo.

So tomorrow I will go to our load developer's place, where I can load in a room that's heated and cooled and shoot to 100 yds. I will test the SAFs, the local company bullets, some Hornady DGX Bonded (for practice ammo), and maybe the 350 grain Cutting Edge solids and/or 400 grain DGS if needed. I will take the most promising loads to 300 yds.

Oh yeah. I recently acquired a 470 NE. It was from a member here and is a Sabatti that had been re-regulated by Ken Owen. I had a Sabatti 450 NE when they first came out that I had sent out to Aaron Little to be re-regulated, so I am very familiar with the rifle. In my mind a re-regulated Cabela's Sabatti is like taking an M-70, truing the action, and chambering new barrel for it. However, I sold my 450 in 2018 when I got back into 1K BR to help fund my lathe and milling machine.

I also bought 120 rounds of Hornady DGS for the 470. Yes, I bought the ammo for the brass. I also bought some SAFs and will eventually get some solids for it.

When the rifle came I took it out behind the shop and shot it. Felt a lot like my 450 in terms of recoil. I had a bunch of other people help me shoot the "elephant gun", and now I have 50 piecs of fired brass. With Pachmayr recoil pad that came on the rifle, two rounds were easy, 4 were okay, and 6 starting to get unfomfortable. I acquired a FlaconStrike recoil pad--which absolutely took the sting out of it and it is now easier to shoot.

So the obvious question came up as to which rifle to take for my hunt. The 416 is a pound and a half lighter and feels like half the recoil--it isn't, it's just how a double recoil vs a bolt rifle. However, there is no issue shooting either for me. What has driven me to the 416 was a video the PH sent me and the amount of time I have to hunt.

The video showed a nice bull, but when he zoomed back out I saw a black shape in dark brush. It will be way easier to acquire the kill zone and make that all important well-placed first shot with the 416. Yes, I know I can put an optic on the 470, and I am not opposed to that, but then the time availabe for the hunt comes into play. We are only there for a week. There are four hunter and two PHs, and only the main PH is DG certified. We really need to get this buffalo as soon as we can my PH can help guide the others.

I need to be able to take the shots the buffal give us, and that could be anywhere from 50-150 yds according to the PH. The 416 just gives me a more reliable way to make that first shot. I'll take the 470 on an elephant hunt in a couple of years, and it will be fun working it up. For now, it's an M-70 416 Rem, 400 grainers, and buffalo.
 
Well rationalised.

Could rebarrel the m70 to 470 Capstick and have the best of both worlds :ROFLMAO:
 
For anything above 75 yards, it’s imperative that you use the bolt action telescopic sighted .416 Remington Magnum. No need for solids on Cape buffalo these days (unless you’re the white hunter & happen to be in elephant country). Load the entire magazine with 400Gr Hornady DGX Bonded or Swift A Frame soft points.
 
My Model 70 never had any trouble loading, feeding, or ejecting 400gr Barnes Triple Shocks. Using Reloader 15, I could easily push them to 2400fps (I forget what my charge weight was, but I always used a Lee factory crimp die and standard deviation was less than 30fps). Super accurate load out of my rifle.

Took the bull in my avatar in Mozambique Coutada 10 at about 100 yds. One shot thru the shoulders and the banana-peeled bullet was under the skin on the far side; textbook Barnes performance.

As for which rifle to take? Why not both? Work harder and get close for the two-pipe. If that can’t happen, snipe your bull with the .416.

Either way, good luck on the hunt!

Ed Z
 
You will remember your 50 meter .470 encounter. Long after the 150 .416 is forgotten. At 50 meters or less accuracy from Ken owens Sabatti .470 should not be a question mark.

Lon
 
Dangerous game isn’t dangerous at 100 yards when it comes to comparing these two cartridges.

What rifle comes up in a more natural manner and is more instinctive to handle?

Answer that question honestly and you have your rifle. Do your bullet research and go hunting.
 
Maybe it’s just me, but the essence of a buffalo hunt happens under 50 yards. A double rifle would be oh-so-classic for this very memorable hunt. Of course, I used a CZ 550 in .416 Rigby with 400gr TSX handloads for my one buffalo to date. It was a one-shot affair from 40 yards. He ran a bit and tipped over and died. I suspect that’s more common than not.

Use whichever one you have the most confidence in.
 
It's a good question that many of us have answered for ourselves...and then changed our mind a few times! Doubles are fun and classy and when done right are fantastic memories. Practically though the scoped 416 (or as they say four-one-six) is hands down the smart answer. I leave this afternoon for Africa and another buff. I've got doubles to choose from but the 416 Rigby is going back. I have a good illuminated scope on it (Z6i) and it's dialed in.

I know how tough it can be to get a clear shot sometimes with buff. They don't usually stand in the sunlight and look at you. They are behind stuff and in dark shadows/shade and they are mixed in with other buff most of the time. It is a wonderful thing to be able to get precise in those situations. I've shot them at last light in very poor visibility conditions. The lighted reticle gave me a lot of confidence. When I absolutely have to make the shot count, I pick the bolt gun with a good scope. My kills have been clean and fast every time using that approach.

There's nothing wrong with either gun but just be honest with yourself about your answer.
 
Love the .416's for buffalo. Since it's your first trip for buff I would suggest you use your bolt action rifle and my absolute favorite buff bullet is the Swift A Frame. I have also shot bulls with the DGX, various Barnes X bullets and the Winchester Fail Safes but the Swift seem to work the best for me on the close to 30 buff I have taken over the years. I just got back the end of April from a hunt in the Limpopo and depending on the property the terrain can be a bit open, especially in the hills. A scoped rifle is an advantage if you are trying for the biggest buff you can find. Hunting buff with a double is extremely fun and makes a hunt more challenging but just know it comes with limitations. Who are you hunting with? I hunted with Charl van Rooyen of Infinito Safaris and had a blast.
 
Here’s the bull I took with Charl in the Limpopo. I used a .375 H&H built by Duane Wiebe with 300 grain Fail Safes.

IMG_3206.jpeg
 
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That's a great bull and taken with a proper gun like Duane builds...excellent.
 
That’s perfect for Africa, Alaska, etc. I would take it and not worry about it. Sounds like you know it well. Manual of arms when hunting DG is very important. Know your weapon.
 
I need to be able to take the shots the buffal give us, and that could be anywhere from 50-150 yds according to the PH. The 416 just gives me a more reliable way to make that first shot. I'll take the 470 on an elephant hunt in a couple of years, and it will be fun working it up. For now, it's an M-70 416 Rem, 400 grainers, and buffalo.

Looks like you have made you choice. That being said, IMHO, a 100+ yard buffalo, elephant etc. hunt is really just shooting an animal for trophy and not a DG hunt per se. Of course, you are going to RSA and they do "DG" hunts differently there. :sneaky:
 
I have a SAF load. There is probably a node a couple grainers higher, since nodes are nominally 2.5-3% of powder charge apart. After 65 rounds today I had imposed on my load developer enough (using his place), and my shoulder was tired. My right middle finger is also a little tender. I need to tighten up a bit on the bench with this rifle. My habit is to use a light touch on the bench. I had forgotten about the middle finger issue.

This rifle hates IMR 4166. So I ordered another jug of Varget while it's still available.

I have another 35 rounds of new brass to fire. I also need to find a same POI load for the solid. Then I will need to check the load with fired brass.

This rifle didn't seem to like the DGX, but I think there is a load just under 2300 that will shoot well enough for offhand and shooting stick practice with them.

IMG_5267.jpeg
 
You will remember your 50 meter .470 encounter. Long after the 150 .416 is forgotten. At 50 meters or less accuracy from Ken owens Sabatti .470 should not be a question mark.

Lon

I will always remember my first buffalo. I will always remember taking it with an M-70 in 416 Rem. I have been dreaming about this for decades.

It doesn't matter if it's 25 yds or 150 yds, and there is just as good of a chance of a 50 yd shot as a 150 yd shot. The first one is about achieving the goal. I am grateful to even get the opportunity, as I had actually given up this dream.

This is an unusual trip in that it's not about me. It's about promoting the PH. I am even bringing and donating a CZ 550 Safari in 458 Lott, gone over by Wayne at AHR. This rifle will allow his second PH to have a real stopping rifle.

The next animal, planning on an elephant, will be with the double. That is a much more recent dream. One that I think I can manage in a coupe years.
 
Love the .416's for buffalo. Since it's your first trip for buff I would suggest you use your bolt action rifle and my absolute favorite buff bullet is the Swift A Frame. I have also shot bulls with the DGX, various Barnes X bullets and the Winchester Fail Safes but the Swift seem to work the best for me on the close to 30 buff I have taken over the years. I just got back the end of April from a hunt in the Limpopo and depending on the property the terrain can be a bit open, especially in the hills. A scoped rifle is an advantage if you are trying for the biggest buff you can find. Hunting buff with a double is extremely fun and makes a hunt more challenging but just know it comes with limitations. Who are you hunting with? I hunted with Charl van Rooyen of Infinito Safaris and had a blast.

I need to wait before I post the name of the PH. I don't know what marketing has cooled up and I don't want to get out in front of them.
 

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