458/470 vs 500 Caliber Stopping Rifles

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by TOBY458, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. TOBY458

    TOBY458 AH Elite

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    Ever since I returned from my last trip to Africa, I've been mulling over the whole stopping rifle idea in my head. I must admit that when I was on the trail of my wounded Cape Buffalo, I would've really liked to have had something larger than my 375 in my hands. I had a 416 back at camp, but we had no time to retrieve it. (I wish I had just used the 416 in the first place).

    That said, I do see the validity of a client bringing along two rifles with two very different purposes. One rifle that's suited for PG and DG hunting. A 375 or 416 would fill this order, but a 416 just seems too much of a good thing when it comes to game the size of Impala, or Blesbuck. So that leaves us with a 375 for the most part. I believe the 375 has proven itself plenty capable as a dual purpose cartridge, and as a reasonably effective Cape Buffalo cartridge, for a client.
    The other rifle would be for following up dangerous game that has been wounded, or used for Buffalo hunting in thick vegetation, where the shots are close. This rifle would be taken along on all hunts. At the very least, in the truck.
    So the question is, how much REAL difference in stopping power is there between the various 458/470 caliber rifles vs something like a 500 Jeffrey, 505 Gibbs or 500 Nitro?
     

  2. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Richard Harland , professional Elephant culler did an article about the .505 Gibbs Magnum rifle which he was using. Richard is a person who has used both the .458 Winchester Magnum ( a Department issued Mannlicher Shoenauer made anytime from 1958-60 ) and a .505 Gibbs Magnum ( an Original 1927 era George Gibbs Rifle and his personally purchased weapon ) . Having shot Elephants with BOTH calibers , he mentions in an article that he can definitely tell a difference between the stopping power of a .458 Winchester Magnum and a .505 Gibbs. He recommends the .505 Gibbs Magnum . Clearly , he has his reasons.
    For the .458 Winchester Magnum , he would use handloads : 450 grain Monometal bullets ( Since 500 grain Monometal bullets would jeopardize case capacity to dangerous levels )
    For his .505 Gibbs Magnum , he would use 3 loads : He started with vintage 525 grain Kynoch full metal jacket round nose solids . Then he went on to use 600 grain Barnes full metal jacket round nosed solids. I was told by a fellow member on these forums today who personally knows Richard , that Richard's final choice for his .505 Gibbs Magnum became Solid Brass 600 grain Meplat bullets which he himself would cut from Brass Bar stock .
    Regarding the 400 class calibers , they are generally very good for the Job . But there are times ( albeit rare ) when the stopping power of a .500 Is Beneficial over the .400 class . They are documented examples of a .416 Rigby failing to kill an elephant even with 2 VERY WELL PLaCED solids ( one through the ear hole and one frontal brain shot ). A Book called " White Hunters " which l possess , does an excellent job in showing how many times a .470 Nitro Express failed to stop an elephant , hippo or lion or cape buffalo. And let's not even begin to talk about the .458 Winchester Magnum :p
    Tony Sanchez Arino owns both a .416 Rigby and a .500 Jeffery made for him by Harald Wolf . He can clearly tell the difference in penetration and stopping power between the two cartridges .For Elephant , he prefers the .500 Jeffery loaded with 535 grain Kynoch full metal jacket round nose solids.
    Me myself ? I use a .375 HH Magnum ( I own two : A Winchester Model 70 and a BRNO ZKK - 602 ) , but largely because l haven't learnt to handload yet and .375 HH Magnum ammunition is widely available. Someday, I will get a .500 Jeffery Hambrusch Bolt action Mega Magnum rifle with a DETACHABLE MAGAZINE or a .505 Gibbs Magnum built on a BRNO ZKK - 602 action for me , depending on my mood.
    Now , l will relate a personal observation , made by myself on stopping power . I have hunted 4 Australian Water Buffalo till now and have seen MANY hunted over the years . Let me use my 2013 experience as an example. Rifle used : Winchester Model 70 in .375 HH Magnum. Ammunition : Kynoch Round nosed full metal jacket 300 grain solids . I shot the Buffalo In the shoulder aiming for a heart shot . The 300 grain round nosed full metal jacket bullet broke the Animal's foreleg , but distorted / deformed before it could reach the heart. Up until then , l had always read books about how Bufaloes couldn't run with a broken leg. Boy , was l wrong . It got up . I quickly took a Double lung shot at it , since the double lung shot is the widest target. The Animal went 80 ( ish ) yards , blowing blood through it's mouth and nose before collapsing .
    Now , it so happens that l also saw a .470 Nitro Express Double Rifle loaded with 500 grain Kynoch Round nosed full metal jacket solids being used on heart shots and lung shots for Australian water buffalo , as well. The shooter once aimed at the Buffalo behind the shoulder and fired. In One shot , the 500 grain solid reached the Animal's heart .
    On another occasion , he fired at the Animal from a broadside position using a double lung shot . The animal this time started staggering and blowing blood as if it's mouth was a fountain . In 35 (ish ) yards , it completely dropped , raised it's head a little and then just gave out. Butchering the animal showed that the damage to the lungs was substantial.
    Now , let us compare this with my .375 HH Magnum's effect in the 2013 buffalo .
    The animals shot were of roughly the same size. All three were Bulls shot at 40 yards. All three were shot using Kynoch Round nosed full metal jacket solids. So why did my heart shot fail and result in a distorted 300 grain full metal jacket bullet , while Evan ( my friend ) managed to reach the heart ?
    Why did my lung shot allow the animal ( already wounded with a broken fore leg ) to go roughly 80 yards , while Evan's lung shot caused it to drop in less than 40 ?
    Aside from the weight and caliber of the bullets , l cannot think of any other alternative explanation.
    Of course , in practicality , l don't consider the Buffalo dropping dead at 80 yards to reflect poorly upon the .375 HH Magnum. No. I was very happy with the performance ( on the lung shot at least ). But in my non scientist , layman's views , there IS a difference.
    Of course , shot placement is more important than caliber. I would rather use a .416 Rigby which l can accurately use than a .505 Gibbs Magnum which l miss with.
    To conclude , as a client hunter , a .375 HH Magnum is probably all l will ever need as l have a PH with heavier artillery backing me up. But if l was ever hunting Elephant or buffalo alone , l would hands down find a .505 Gibbs or a .500 Jeffery Instrumental.
    Hoss Delgado
     
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  3. IvW

    IvW AH Elite

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    First off there is a big difference between the needs/requirements of a DG rifle for a client and for a PH.

    Furthermore there is also a big difference between the caliber of rifle needed for the different DG species and where you will be hunting them.

    Personally I believe a client is best off with a rifle/caliber combination that he/she is competent with, meaning he/she can totally handle the recoil and can operate the combination with confidence(carry, keep it safe, reload etc...) the most important part of the whole competency part being the ability to place the FIRST shot where it is supposed to go. The next most important part is to use appropriate premium grade ammunition/bullets designed and proven for the chosen species of DG to hunt. A soft nosed bullet for leopard and lion for example and mono metal solids for elephant as an example.

    The rifle should be rigorously tested under different circumstances eg. reloaded as fast as possible from full magazine, slowly and quietly reloaded again from a full magazine, if wearing a scope it should be removed after a number of shot and replaced to recheck zero(QD mounts of course), any, ANY issued are to be sorted long before the intended hunt or the rig needs to be replaced.....

    Head advise regarding widely published issues with certain types of rifles....

    Double rifles....the main problem with these from a client using one point of view, is lack of practice in the competent use of the double rifle. Very few, bar for really committed clients can use a double rifle competently. Most are open sights only and many clients cannot use these properly and brings us back to the most important part of DG hunting, the ability to place the FIRST SHOT ACCURATELY....if you can and are competent with a double, by all means take it on safari, if not you are better off with a bolt action.

    Many issues arise with lack of competence with a double, pulling the same trigger after the first shot(not moving the trigger finger to the back trigger), not reloading the first shot barrel if the opportunity is there effectively changing it to a single shot, inability to reload the double properly after two shots, using a double with automatic safety...etc. etc..

    I am waffling on now so lets get to your actual question.

    Yes there is a big difference in "stopping power" between the 458/470 cartridges when compared to the 500"s and in particular the two bolt actioned 500's the 500 Jeff and the 505 Gibbs, using appropriate bullets of course. No point ion using bullets designed for double velocities in full power loads in these two..

    I think Tony Sanchez-Arino's, describes the 500 Jeff the best of all, "The most devastatingly effective rifle I have ever used in the most dire of situations against the largest game"

    The same point however is important irrespective if you are a client or a PH, the size of the caliber is only of use iof you can competently use the chosen rifle and caliber.

    Full power loads in the big 500's are not for the faint harted, if you can competently handle them, there is no better stopping rifle for use on DG.

    Personally I prefer the 500 Jeff over the 505 Gibbs as it is a more efficient design, fires a bigger bullet and recoils less(although at this level recoil is sturdy for both)....

    I have loaded mine up to 2450 Fps but trust me that is over board and increases recovery time significantly and is not a pleasant beast to hang onto. 2250 to 2350 fps has proven more than adequate over the years and it is a combination that gives the user confidence due to the results at the front end once the trigger has been pulled.

    So to summarize, for a guide or PH guiding or hunting a lot of elephant, the 500's are the way to go, if Buffalo is the biggest 400 to 458 are more than adequate.

    For a client, If hunting lets say buffalo or lion, once together with PG, the good old 375 H&H with the right bullets is hard to beat.

    If hunting will include more DG and even including elephant I have always recommended the good old 404 JEFF or the 416 Rigby(the recoil of which is a lot sharper/faster than the 404 and is not for everybody). A double is not so good for a client on buffalo due to shot placement issues unless the client is willing to pass up a great trophy bull due to lack of ability to place the first shot with open sights. A 400 class double fitted with a scope would eliminate this challenge though, which would make the 450/400 NE fitted with a QD scope as just about perfect for buffalo.

    If more than one elephant is on the menu, 404 Jeff up to 470 is a good option. Double rifles are also well suited for a client hunting elephant as distances are a lot closer and the fast second shot is always a good idea, however a double is not essential.
     
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  4. kurpfalzjäger

    kurpfalzjäger AH Member

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    This question is not easy to answer , so often you don't have to stop attacks from DG.

    I am not a professional hunter , but i hunted several times in West Africa buffalos only with a local guide without an adequate rifle for backup. I had to do my own protection and used regularly for hunting a rifle caliber 460WM. I also own a rifle caliber 12,7x70 Schüler for elephant hunting in other countries.

    I saw the good work of both by hunting buffalos or elephants , but if there is a huge difference as far as the stopping power is concerned i am not sure. A 500gr bullet caliber .458 has in all cases a better deep penetration as a 535gr bullet caliber .510 . If not to much deep penetration is desired when it comes to stopping power , may be , that was the concept of cartridges like the 600NE for example.

    Whether the use of a double rifle for hunting in Africa makes sense today is another question.
     
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  5. Nhoro

    Nhoro AH Senior Member

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    Any discussion on stopping power should look at penetration,wound diameter and energy. Many documented cases of humans having bullet through the brain and still living indicate that physiology is important too and sometimes just plain luck is involved. Simply put, the bigger the wound channel THROUGH the vitals, imparting as much energy as possible to the brain/heart lungs, the better the chance of incapacitating the animal before it injures you. A larger diameter bullet with more energy will do this better. However, if we are all honest, recoil/flinching is probably the biggest obstacle that every one of us face. A 375 h&h in the brain is better than a 700 NE in the foot when stopping a charge. And using solids means that larger diameter means larger calibre. Shot placement and being able to hit the brain/heart lung is the first priority.
     

  6. kurpfalzjäger

    kurpfalzjäger AH Member

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    That's right, but some hunters can handle it.
     
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  7. Foxi

    Foxi AH Elite

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    "Big guns means worst shooting."
    One of the sentences where I agree with Mark Sullivan.

    Off topic:
    Many guests are already afraid in the camp, if the PH does not have a heavy rifle.
    One of my safari operators (150 elephants with .375) and his PH (500 elephants with .375 )always joked to me ."500 is for cowards" :)
    I know of some guests who stayed in the car, or in the camp during the wound-search, but the .470 and up on their knees.
    At home there are only heroes - if trophies could tell .
     
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  8. rookhawk

    rookhawk AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Hi @TOBY458 I think you have a couple of latent questions in your initial statements.

    I don't think you really want a "stopping gun". Stopping guns are for professionals, not us civilians. Stopping guns include .577NE, 505gibbs, 500 Jeff. 500NE is on the cusp of it. 460Weatherby would be a "stopper" as well. You just can't use them quickly enough to gain the proficiency necessary to overcome their raw utility at the expense of recoil.

    I think what you really want, is a generally bigger gun. Like you, I went on a buffalo hunt and realized that a 375HH isn't a lightning bolt strike, its a functional, "hunters caliber" for buffalo. When an animal is alive for 30-60 seconds after a good shot, it is a bit unnerving when you wanted something with more shock and awe.

    I find that a 458 or 470 is all that I can practically carry and use with rapid follow up for a second shot. You may handle more or less as a personal decision. The quintessential "client gun" for buffalo would be the 404J or the 450/400, with the 416 Rigby being a step up in performance at the expense of greater recoil.

    Now to your other comments about a flexible cartridge for smaller game as well, it does get tricky with multiple requirements. For smaller game, the most utilitarian big cartridges that have reach are the 404J and the 416 rigby. Those have proven practicality for smaller non-dangerous game and are relatively flat shooting by DG rifle standards. For example, the world-record "Chadwick Ram" was killed in North American using a 404 Jeffery on a relatively long shot.

    Of all the guns we've mentioned, the 404 Jeffery stands the highest chance of being used in North America or Europe in addition to your safari. (Moose, Bear, Bison, Musk Ox, Elk, etc.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 at 3:26 AM

  9. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Foxi , l will give you an instance of when .375 HH Magnum is not enough. If you're going after Elephant or buffalo in open country , you will be fine. The problems arise when you are in thick brush :)
    I wouldn't call .500 users " cowards " . I would call them " cautious " :). I have hunted extensively with a .375 HH Magnum ( I own 2 guns in this caliber : Winchester Model 70 and a BRNO ZKK - 602 ) . There are times when it is marginal.
    The first time l ever shot an Australian Water Buffalo with my own rifle , was with my .375 HH Magnum Winchester Model 70 , loaded with Kynoch Round nosed full metal jacket solids in 300 grain weight . I aimed for the heart and fired. That 300 gr full metal jacket bullet broke the Animal's fore leg , but deformed too badly before it could reach the heart. I then killed it with a Broadside Double lung shot ( which l later examined , went right between the ribs without hitting bone ) . The animal went 80(ish ) yards blowing blood from its mouth and nose and then dropped.
    Now , l have also seen a .470 Nitro Express Double loaded with Kynoch Round nosed full metal jacket solids , 500 gr weight , being used on the heart shot for an Australian water buffalo. This time , it went right through the fore leg and reached the heart.
    I have also seen a double lung shot on an Australian Water Buffalo from that same .470 NE using the aforementioned load. The animal was completely knocked down , got up , staggered 40 yards , this time , blasting blood out of its nose and mouth , like a soda fountain and then dropped clean.
    Let's compare my shots with that of the .470 NE user. Same Bullet brand , same bullet construction , same Animal , same distance , same broadside shot. Why then , did my heart shot fail to reach the heart , while his did ? Why did my Lung Shot take him longer to die , than the .470 NE user's shot did. The answer , at least in my mind , is because of the heavier bullet of the .470 NE ( at least 200 gr heavier ) .
    We examined the animals we shot .
    The damage to the lungs of the Water Buffalo shot with the .470 NE had significantly more damage than the hole bored into the lungs of the Water Buffalo from my .375 HH Magnum.
    Of course , l am not unhappy with the performance of the .375 HH Magnum on the Water Buffalo using the lung shot . Making it 80 yards before dropping is good enough for my modest expectations :) . But there IS a difference.
    Ron Spomer wrote a very recent article , cataloging the times when a .375 HH Magnum failed to do the job. These were extreme situations and unlikely to happen to client hunters. But they do.
    In my opinion , the .375 HH Magnum is optimized for use by Client hunters. It has little recoil which benefits them. The PH gets the client hunter into a suitable position and they bag the brute with their .375 HH Magnums under favorable circumstances. However , a PH does not carry a backup rifle which can work under favorable circumstances. He uses a backup rifle which can save lives during UNFAVORABLE circumstances . While Client Hunters shoot undisturbed beasts from favorable positions , a PH often needs to shoot the animal which is wounded , charging or getting away. A favorable shot does not usually present itself in such circumstances. A .500 Jeffery loaded with Cutting Edge Monolithic meplat brass Solids ( 570 gr ) comes in really handy in that kind of hairy situation .
    I believe numbers of Elephant shot ( while impressive ) is a slightly inaccurate indicator of a Cartridge's prowess. WDM Karamojo Bell used a 7 × 57 mm Mauser made for him by John Rigby and Co , firing the 1893 pattern military surplus 173 grain round nosed full metal jacket solid , to kill 813 Elephants ( until 1911 when he himself switched to a .318 Westley Richards for more reliable kills. ) , but it is not an elephant Cartridge by any stretch of imagination .
    Also these 500 Elephants could have been shot repeatedly or could have been shot in undisturbed positions or they might even have been cow Elephant , which have thinner skulls than Bull Elephant , and less strength .
    I have killed Alligators with a .22 WINCHESTER MAGNUM RIMFIRE . But it's not an alligator Cartridge. If you hit it in the head , the bullet bounces off. If you hit it in the right part of the head , you get an inch of penetration . That has to be enough to reach the brain.
     
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  10. kurpfalzjäger

    kurpfalzjäger AH Member

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    "Big guns means worst shooting."

    "500 is for cowards"


    No clever remarks ,

    that M.S. does not go to the shooting range , he said it himself , and for the other two is up to now probably never something goes wrong.

    It's the eternal discussion and argumentation of people who do not control these Big Bore rifles. It's getting uninteresting.
     
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  11. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    I met Mark Personally. I haven't seen him in years. But l know for a fact that Mark uses a Double Barrelled .577 Nitro Express Rifle made by Osborne . I heard rumours that he switched to a Heym Double in .577 Nitro Express recently , but when l met him , it was an Osborne .
    Those are pretty big guns in my book ;)
     

  12. kurpfalzjäger

    kurpfalzjäger AH Member

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  13. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    What he said @TOBY458
     

  14. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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  15. Foxi

    Foxi AH Elite

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  16. TOBY458

    TOBY458 AH Elite

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    His last two movies were done with the Heym 577. Very nice looking rifle!
     
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  17. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    The Battles of Mark Sullivan ! ;)
     
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  18. Foxi

    Foxi AH Elite

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    My young friend,you see this is an open range where we successfully hunt with the .375 ?
    I find it dense enough
    xccc.JPG
    old dagga boy on 50 meters


    xcc.JPG

    Rhinos,elephants,buffs and lions everywhere.Thick cover enough ?

    rhino.JPG
    Rhino in front ,30 m away

    buff.JPG
    a buff -15 m away.Thick cover enough ?
    Ive successful hunted there with my .375 (including the much-maligned Hornady ammunition).
    Everyone as he thinks, everyone as he likes.
    Foxi

    DSC00648.JPG
    p.s and every day miles and miles of bloody,beloved Africa :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 at 5:06 PM
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  19. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Ooo , very impressive :) I still would prefer the power of a .500 Jeffery loaded with 570 gr Monolithic meplat brass Solids from Cutting Edge if l didn't have a PH to back me up though. I would attribute your success to pure skill :) . That said , l prefer the insurance of the .500 if anything does go wrong . An expert can of course use anything to pull off successful kills .
    Mr. Mike LaGrange has probably shot more Elephant in modern time than any other gentleman ( being an elephant control officer ) . He never used anything other than a .30-06 M1 Garand loaded with A square monolithic meplat brass Solids . But for the " mortal man " he recommends at least a .458 of some sort.
    I don't take offense to your view that .500s are for cowards. You are clearly skilled enough to be very successful with the .375 HH Magnum. I do find it , however , to be a very radical view , as the .500 is insurance for worst case scenarios. As an instance , my father recalls a rogue Indian Elephant in 1968 shot with a .416 Rigby . The Elephant was shot right through the ear and for all purposes , the hunters thought it was dead ! Then it got up again and had to be shot again ( frontal head shot ) . It fell and started getting up again ! Finally a Belgian Shikaree with a .577 Nitro Express Double Rifle Brained that Elephant with a 750 gr FMJ Kynoch slug.
    Examination of the elephant caracass showed that both the first and second bullet had been correctly aimed , but didn't reach the brain . Penetration was ALMOST there. They made it through a lot of bone but didn't reach the brain .
    Of course , this was a freak incident. The .416 Rigby is a VERY GOOD gun under normal circumstances . But in that kind of situation , having that .577 NE around was a big help . I don't see .500 users as cowards , but rather men who take no chances . :)
     
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  20. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    This is the key point to the entire discussion.


    Use the rifle/caliber you shoot best. If that is a .375 then great. If a larger caliber, then that works too.

    It is the PH's responsibility to have the appropriate rifle to protect the entire hunting party.
     
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