Ammo availability in Africa

Hunter4752001

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Hunters planning their African safari of a lifetime often hear that you should choose a common calibre just in case your ammo fails to arrive. I don't know how common this is, but I agree it could easily happen. The question then is, how available is ammunition of various calibres in Africa should you need to purchase in a hurry.

Could those with actual current on the ground knowledge of ammo availability in Africa comment and possibly rate the availability of the following:
.300 Win Mag
.300 H&H
.375 H&H
.404 Jeff
.458 Win Mag
.458 Lott
Any other common African calibres.
 

Hank2211

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Africa is a huge continent, and it’s impossible to generalize from one country to another. For example, South Africa has generally good availability of most common, and many uncommon, types of ammo, although the selection of bullet weight and type is generally far more limited than in North America, regardless of caliber.

On the other hand, if you need ammo in Ethiopia or the jungles of Cameroon, you are likely out of luck altogether if your PH doesn’t have any spare ammo hanging around. If he does, it’s likely for only the most common calibers.

In addition, if you’re hunting in countries which have a high percentage of non-American hunters, such as West African countries, you may find metric calibers more easily than imperial.

The bottom line is once you know where you’re going, ask questions if availability matters to you. I took a .375 H&H to the Cameroon jungle and Air France delivered my rifle but lost my ammo. Fortunately, my PH had some ammo, since there was none to buy, and since I fired three shots in two weeks, I was fine with a small number of cartridges. That wouldn’t have worked in South Africa where you fire your rifle that many times a day in some cases.
 

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My bags were delayed getting to Windhoek this year, we stopped by several stores and 375 H&H was out in every store, they said they were having issues get more ammo imported. All I saw on the selves was 300wm and 30-06, I'm sure there was a larger variety than just those, but those are what popped out to me.
 

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No help to the OP but if you are traveling to RSA with another person who's taking his own firearm, split your ammo or carry the same rifle/caliber cartridges.
 
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My bags were delayed getting to Windhoek this year, we stopped by several stores and 375 H&H was out in every store, they said they were having issues get more ammo imported. All I saw on the selves was 300wm and 30-06, I'm sure there was a larger variety than just those, but those are what popped out to me.

The gunstores in Windhoek used to be well stocked on ammo, Rosenthal for instance....so this is sad news..
 

fourfive8

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Not much to add but from what I've seen in various places, countries, it's best to plan ahead and minimize chances for loss.

I witnessed the worst case scenario involving having to (or choosing to) use "available" ammo during a buffalo hunt... likely resulting in lost buffalo because of poor bullet. Somehow the hunter's ammo got separated from his rifle - or he just plain forgot to pack it! He was able to find one box of ammo with cup/core bullets. Later had frontal shot on buffalo.... lost buffalo. That was in Lusaka- not exactly a small, remote town.

I've looked around different stores in town's/cities in RSA, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. To find good quality hunting ammo for any caliber, even the more common, is going to be sketchy at best. Forget the less common varieties. Even if you find a box of good stuff, it's likely to be extremely expensive, particularly in the larger calibers.

Best to go with more common caliber, make sure your luggage where ammo is packed has correct destination tags when checking in and ask PH about "just in case" availability. Then keep fingers crossed. Even if your PH or outfitters has some extra ammo, it may be lesser quality as they too are faced with the same availability issues.
 

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That was in Lusaka- not exactly a small, remote town.

I've looked around different stores in town's/cities in RSA, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. To find good quality hunting ammo for any caliber, even the more common, is going to be sketchy at best.

Expensive yes.....but I could walk into a Gunshop I use in Lusaka and get
500 jeff
500 nitro
470 nitro
458 win and lott
404 jeff
416 rigby
375 hh
338
308
7x57
300 win
6.5x55
243
270
30_06
223
7 rem mag
.22lr/mag
.17
And others.....

Plus hand gun ammo of a lot of various calibres...

So there might be low stock from time to time waiting for a shipment.. But at the moment these days can't really complain....:)
 
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fourfive8

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That's a pretty good selection! A couple of years ago I looked in various gunshops in Durban RSA and the pickings were pretty slim and good 500 NE solids were not to be found. Oh yes, they could be ordered and at that time were going for about $40 per round when available. Consistently available is probably the key concept. The incident I referred to in Lusaka was about 6 years ago and of all things it was 375HH! Bottom line from what I've seen is that I would not count on quality ammo (with quality bullet of best weight) of a particular caliber being available anywhere in Africa just at the moment you need it and in the location or town you need it if you loose yours or you get separated from it.
 

Hank2211

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That's a pretty good selection! A couple of years ago I looked in various gunshops in Durban RSA and the pickings were pretty slim and good 500 NE solids were not to be found. Oh yes, they could be ordered and at that time were going for about $40 per round when available. Consistently available is probably the key concept. The incident I referred to in Lusaka was about 6 years ago and of all things it was 375HH! Bottom line from what I've seen is that I would not count on quality ammo (with quality bullet of best weight) of a particular caliber being available anywhere in Africa just at the moment you need it and in the location or town you need it if you loose yours or you get separated from it.
Which is exactly why people say you should preferably take common calibers with you to Africa.
 

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I've heard this scenario before, so let me ask this. I just returned from South Africa and my PH and I had many long conversations about gun ownership in SA and what it takes to possess a firearm there. He told me that in SA to purchase ammunition you have to prove you legally own a firearm in that chambering by producing your ownership card ( they have one for each firearm they own). So if this is true, how as a non citizen, could I purchase any ammunition in South Africa?
 

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I've heard this scenario before, so let me ask this. I just returned from South Africa and my PH and I had many long conversations about gun ownership in SA and what it takes to possess a firearm there. He told me that in SA to purchase ammunition you have to prove you legally own a firearm in that chambering by producing your ownership card ( they have one for each firearm they own). So if this is true, how as a non citizen, could I purchase any ammunition in South Africa?

With your 4457 (if your from the States) and your temporary firearms import permit from SA
 

Hunter4752001

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A further question, and I know it probably differs from country to country, but is it legal to ship a quantity of ammo to the PH in advance of the hunt so as to guarantee availability?
 

PeteG

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Hunters planning their African safari of a lifetime often hear that you should choose a common calibre just in case your ammo fails to arrive. I don't know how common this is, but I agree it could easily happen. The question then is, how available is ammunition of various calibres in Africa should you need to purchase in a hurry.

Could those with actual current on the ground knowledge of ammo availability in Africa comment and possibly rate the availability of the following:
.300 Win Mag
.300 H&H
.375 H&H
.404 Jeff
.458 Win Mag
.458 Lott
Any other common African calibres.

In Zambia, as Mike has already mentioned, you will not have issues sourcing ammo for your rifle in any of those calibers. The only one that may pose a challenge if stocks run low would be the 300H&H. There are a number of calibers that he has not mentioned in his list that are available as well.

If you were to hunt Zambia and you mentioned to your ph what caliber you want to use, he would be able to find out whether any of the gunshops around Lusaka stock the ammo you need.
Dont forget there are also several people on AH in Zambia that would likely give you ammo, from their personal stock, to use if you needed it.

If you are hunting in RSA, check out the online shops and see what is available. You will be surprised at what can be found.

If you are hunting one of the "out there" areas such as Ethiopia or Cameroon, then best discuss options with the ph involved as he/she would be able to advise accordingly.
 

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A further question, and I know it probably differs from country to country, but is it legal to ship a quantity of ammo to the PH in advance of the hunt so as to guarantee availability?

doubt it ...and the paperwork and aggro involved wouldnt be worth it even if it was.....zambia only registered gun dealers can bring in firearms, so i presume same with ammunition. visitors can bring in the calibre and amount stated on their visitors gun permit, but as far as i know this permit doesnt allow you to buy ammunition here.....you need to have a zambian firearms licence for a gun in that calibre registered in your name to buy ammunition.
 

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That's a pretty good selection! A couple of years ago I looked in various gunshops in Durban RSA and the pickings were pretty slim and good 500 NE solids were not to be found. Oh yes, they could be ordered and at that time were going for about $40 per round when available. Consistently available is probably the key concept. The incident I referred to in Lusaka was about 6 years ago and of all things it was 375HH! Bottom line from what I've seen is that I would not count on quality ammo (with quality bullet of best weight) of a particular caliber being available anywhere in Africa just at the moment you need it and in the location or town you need it if you loose yours or you get separated from it.

yeah things have improved a lot since when you mentioned....just hope they stay this way......and yes very expensive compared to usa...but at least its available so cant complain....
 

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I had a backup plan if my ammo didn't show up with my checked baggage. I was shooting a .340 Weatherby with custom loads so there is likely no way to find a substitute in a store in South Africa.

I just figured that if I had a problem I would just use one of the outfitters rifles and ammo and not worry about it.
 

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With your 4457 (if your from the States) and your temporary firearms import permit from SA
Thank you I never did ask my PH this question, I'm not always the brightest bulb in the fixture.
 

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A further question, and I know it probably differs from country to country, but is it legal to ship a quantity of ammo to the PH in advance of the hunt so as to guarantee availability?

No. Not privately. You could via a dealer, but the red tape would make it nigh impossible.
But if you let your PH know well in advance what calibre/s you are bringing he can almost certainly source ammunition for you.

There are two companies in SA who extrudes brass for almost any calibre namely Stewart (the late Kenyan hunter Ken Stewart started this up with what I understand is old equipment and transfer presses from Norma and Kynoch) and OPM.

Bullets of any diameter and weight can be made up by:
Stewart or Claw bullets - Bonded jacketed bullets
Johan Kriek - monometal expanding bullets
Dzombo- monometal solids
Rhino solid shank bonded bullets and solids.

OPM in addition has a production license and can load ammo commercialy should it be necessary.
 

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Dewald,
What is the cost and lead time for these rounds if one should need ammo?
 

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