Best .223 bullet for African small game?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Philip Glass, Mar 29, 2018.

  1. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Elite

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    I am off to RSA in August to hunt small cats and Pygmy antelope. I’ve chosen to take my Ruger American rifle in 5.56/.223(Leupold red dot scope). I am trying to decide on the best ammo to get the job done and not do too much pelt damage. I’ve hunted gray fox here recently and the 55gr Hornady stuff just puts too big of an exit hole in them. I also have to have a solid for the really small cats that shoots comparable to the expanding bullets I choose. I am going to try a heavier bullet such as Swift 75gr and Barnes 70gr TSX.
    No I don’t reload.(used to when I was younger but no time now)
    Another question: gun is stamped 5.56 so do I run into a possible issue with boxes of .223? It’s Africa what could go wrong right!
    I would love everyone’s opinion whether your experience is here in North American or elsewhere.
    Regards,
    Philip
     
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  2. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Philip,
    I think you are probably on the right track as far as factory offerings go. the 75 gr Swift ought to be excellent! Small cats are fragile like kit Fox. They blow up explosively, even with FMJ at times. Velocity is not your friend, the closer the shots the worse pelt damage occurs. Shooting bobcat out of trees, we finally settled on the 22 magnum as being the best to minimize pelt damage. We used a modified 223 case conversion that accepted a 22 Mag in T/C contender that we bought out of shotgun news. Good luck on your trip, sounds like a blast!

    Cheers,
    Cody
     
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  3. revturbo9967

    revturbo9967 AH Veteran

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    i wonder if a .17 rimfire would excel in Africa with the smaller game.
     
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  4. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I have had great success wit the 17 HMR on small animals. Kit fox and bobcat especially.
     
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  5. Heeler75

    Heeler75 AH Veteran

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    Double check your twist rate. I think the American has a twist of 1:8" which should stabilize either of those bullets. Another option is take a look at the Federal offering with the 62 gr. Trophy Bonded Tip. They are bonded pretty similar (think weight retention) as the Swift and only a fraction of the cost. Not really sure you can get a solid (other than FMJ) in a .223.

    Another option would be if the outfitter has a .22 rimfire you could use.
     
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  6. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I like your plan with the heavy .22 bullet. My 5.56 loves the 75 gr Swift. Have shot several coyotes very dead, and they had very small exit wounds. You should be safe shooting .223's in the 5.56 but not the other way around.
     
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  7. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Elite

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    I suggest that you check the rifle twist as others have stated. I would suggest if you are only shooting small thin skinned animals that the 55 grain Bullets driven fast would be ideal.
    5.56 mm+ 223 cartridge etc BUT military ammo should not be fired in a 223 as it is loaded to higher pressures. Maybe you have a miliTary rifle so check if you are going to practise using military ammo.
    For small African games game, use the heavier Bullets but check at a target (cardboard) to ensure that the Bullets aren’t keyholing.
     
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  8. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    I used PMP 55 grain soft point and it was deadly for the small cats....DRT, not much damage to the skin.
     
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  9. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    If you're running an 8 twist, I recommend PMCs factory ammo loaded with 77SMKs. Get that velocity down. Target bullets generally have a thicker jacket so less explosive and more pencil holing effect.

    http://pmcammo.com/product/x-tac-match-223xm/

    @Dr Ray, The Ruger American can use both 5.56 and .223 ammo. They are sold as 5.56 Nato/.223 rifles
     

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    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
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  10. Therack

    Therack AH Enthusiast

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    If you are worried about the gun stamped at 5.56 and the ammo stamped .223 put your .223 ammo in a 5.56 box. I have never had anyone look at the headstamp on ammo at the airport.
     
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  11. crudeoildude

    crudeoildude AH Veteran

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    I think what phillip meant on the ammo was is there going to be a problem with inspection when head stamp on cartridge sats 5.56 and rifle says.223 is this going to baffle and confuse some one who dosent understand and is trying to get you through inspection ????
     
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  12. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Anyone have ammo checked in Joburg? Haven't there but I did in Blomfontein. They counted it but didn't look at the headstamp. Go figure. As far as confusion between 5.56 and .223? I doubt that very much.
     
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  13. charleslabounty

    charleslabounty AH Veteran

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    Hunting with Tootabi Hunting Safaris in 2015, my friend put the 223 barrel on his Blazer for the last couple of days. Shot a Blesbok and a Mountain Reedbuck. I don’t remember on the Blesbok, but I examined the Mountain Reedbuck.
    No hide damage to it. And there were two shots through the ribs. He was using Barnes 55 gn TSX.
    I borrowed it to shoot a small Warthog, (donated to a Church barbecue).
    Head shot, drt.
     
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  14. JTEX

    JTEX AH Veteran

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    I carry a 223 most trips to South Africa, I shoot 69 grain matchking ( 9 Twist) fantastic for small cats jackles up to kudu.....if you put them in the right place..
     
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  15. Hunting Sailor

    Hunting Sailor SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    @JTEX
    Interesting reply.
    Would you make headshots on the Kudu for culling/meat harvesting?
    A 69 grain match bullet is usually a bit lighter than what I have heard would be preferred on a trophy Kudu (Body shots).

    //Gus
     
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  16. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Eyeball shot. :D
     
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  17. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Elite

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    I don’t recall anyone ever unboxing. I just tell them 20 per box and “help” them count it. Maybe one guy opened the box and started counting one time and I just said “dont’t bother counting its 20 per box”.
    Anyway it’s Africa and anything can happen. Can just see myself gettting stuck with a guy wanting a bribe and my gun says 5.56 and Ammo says .223. I think I am going to not risk it and get, at the very least, 5.56 ammo boxes even if I go with .223 ammo.
    Philip
     
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  18. ActionBob

    ActionBob AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I would second the idea of doing anything to get the bullet slowed down so as not to blow up those little critters. I took a 30-06 with some round nose brass solids but they keyholed and cut a vervet monkey in half. and blew the whole bottom of a porcupine out. Resorted to using a 12 gauge with #4 shot for monkey, 3 more porcupines, and a genet.

    I plan to go back for more and think I'll take a 22 hornet and a 12 gauge over under. The PH had a 410 side by side he wanted me to use but it was just not stopping stuff so finally he borrowed a 12 gauge and we were in business.
     
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  19. Alexandro Faria

    Alexandro Faria AH Veteran

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    75 gr sounds real good... Maybe go with serious quality projectiles to stop blow up while still getting some expansion...
     
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  20. lcq

    lcq AH Elite

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    I killed a large beaver with a 17HMR body shot. They are highly effective
     

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