Best Classic Plains Game and Cat Caliber Advise

Stalker91

AH senior member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
96
Reaction score
103
Location
UK
Media
41
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Hungary, Austria, France, England, Scotland, Ireland
I am currently in the build of a pair of bolt action rifles, these rifles main purpose are Africa, I've got a double already and plenty of plastic rifles for common everyday abusive hunts in crappy weather and conditions. Now is time for the nice ones to joint the family!!

One of the rifles (the DG rifle of the pair) is being chambered in 404J on a Mauser 98 action, I have already got this and the barrel and stock chosen, so its well on its way.

So my question to all of you is what do you think would be the best PG and leopard caliber, remember only traditional African calibers please. I am very much swayed to the 318wr but am not sold yet.

What is every ones thoughts??
 

Red Leg

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
6,678
Reaction score
19,516
Location
Texas Hill Country
Media
285
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
5
Mex/S.Amer
1
Europe
3
Member of
SCI DSC life memberships / NRA Patron Life
Hunted
Mexico, Namibia, RSA, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Canada, Mozambique, Spain, US (15 states)
.300 Win Mag - or if you want to be a traditionalist a .300 H&H. Both give you reach and plenty of penetration with a quality bullet. Both work perfectly on leopard. The 9.3 is a great cartridge as well, but more than needed on the PG (not that it doesn't work well - but so does a .375). There are parts of Namibia and South Africa where your game animal may be on the next ridge. The extra few yards of point blank range offered by a fast thirty can be a Godsend. My personal favorite pure PG (and leopard) caliber is the .338 Win Mag. However, a fast thirty is probably a more broadly useful choice. I just happen to love and trust my .338. I would also bet 2/3's of the loaner PH PG rifles in southern Africa are .300 Win Mag.

@IvW can be a bit of a contrarian - even bomb thrower. :whistle: I have two .318 WR's. Wonderful caliber within its limitations - the main one being range. It fires a 250 gr round nose fairly sedately. That speed, bullet weight, and trajectory is lethal inside 200 meters. The Hartman Zebra stallion of your dreams may be at 325 when you finally get a shot. Also the Woodleigh 250 is a pretty tough bullet and would almost act like a solid on a leopard. But like the Jeff and my Win Mag all the .33's (the .318 is actually a .33 by American measurements) punch lethal holes right through most PG.
 

IvW

AH legend
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
3,625
Reaction score
7,185
Location
South Africa
Media
62
Articles
3
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
BASA, CHASA
Hunted
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia,Zambia
.300 Win Mag - or if you want to be a traditionalist a .300 H&H. Both give you reach and plenty of penetration with a quality bullet. Both work perfectly on leopard. The 9.3 is a great cartridge as well, but more than needed on the PG (not that it doesn't work well - but so does a .375). There are parts of Namibia and South Africa where your game animal may be on the next ridge. The extra few yards of point blank range offered by a fast thirty can be a Godsend. My personal favorite pure PG (and leopard) caliber is the .338 Win Mag. However, a fast thirty is probably a more broadly useful choice. I just happen to love and trust my .338. I would also bet 2/3's of the loaner PH PG rifles in southern Africa are .300 Win Mag.

@IvW can be a bit of a contrarian - even bomb thrower. :whistle: I have two .318 WR's. Wonderful caliber within its limitations - the main one being range. It fires a 250 gr round nose fairly sedately. That speed, bullet weight, and trajectory is lethal inside 200 meters. The Hartman Zebra stallion of your dreams may be at 325 when you finally get a shot. Also the Woodleigh 250 is a pretty tough bullet and would almost act like a solid on a leopard. But like the Jeff and my Win Mag all the .33's (the .318 is actually a .33 by American measurements) punch lethal holes right through most PG.

I must agree-real good advise given here.
 

BeeMaa

AH legend
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
3,046
Reaction score
5,319
Location
Eastern US
Media
104
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, SCI
Hunted
Eastern US & RSA
Depending on where you are hunting, there may be a minimum caliber/energy requirement.
Leopard is considered "Dangerous Game".
You should contact your outfitter or agent to inquire about this.
We don't want you to go to the trouble and expense of buying/building a rifle you can't use for Mr Spots.

Although, you could use the 404J on the cat and take whatever caliber you want for PG.

My vote would be for a 375H&H, which would meet the minimum legal requirements for DG and is versatile enough for long shots.
 

Red Leg

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
6,678
Reaction score
19,516
Location
Texas Hill Country
Media
285
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
5
Mex/S.Amer
1
Europe
3
Member of
SCI DSC life memberships / NRA Patron Life
Hunted
Mexico, Namibia, RSA, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Canada, Mozambique, Spain, US (15 states)
I must agree-real good advise given here.
:);) I have never been able to resist pulling the occasional pin myself.
 

Jaws

AH veteran
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
100
Reaction score
217
Media
13
300H&H gets my vote for PG.

27 odd years ago we joined on a cull hunt with a German fellow called Robert in Namibia, a remarkable old timer, he owned a single, working rifle in 300H&H.
Taking springbuck & Gemsbuck in the Kalahari dunes, mostly at crazy ranges sometimes on the run, shot for shot DRT. It was a pleasure to see this man in action with a rifle he truly understood.

My favorite of the .300 calibers.
 

Stalker91

AH senior member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
96
Reaction score
103
Location
UK
Media
41
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Hungary, Austria, France, England, Scotland, Ireland
Thank you for your advise so far all of you. I already have a .300 win mag and love the caliber, in fact its my favourite. But I am strictly after traditional caliber suggestions for a traditional rifle build. I have hunted most animals in southern Africa now so am not looking for the most practical rifle if you know what I mean i.e. got to shoot 350m with it. I'm just after a good all round traditional caliber that would also be man enough to take a leopard in Namibia, as its one animal I'm yet to go after, which also correct me if I'm wrong only has to be pushing 2000ft/ps?? which most 7mm/.300+ calibers do easily. I've already got the .404J bolt being built and a .500ne double, I've also got a .308 and .300wm in Sauer 404 for deer stalking and hunting in the rougher areas of the world. I think I've narrowed the caliber selection down to .275Rigby .300H&H 318WR but I'm not sold 100% on any of them yet. Any more experience or advise would be gratefully received!!
 

Stalker91

AH senior member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
96
Reaction score
103
Location
UK
Media
41
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Hungary, Austria, France, England, Scotland, Ireland
the 416 might do both jobs with different bullet wts.
bruce.
Thanks for the thought but I'm not after a one caliber does all and if I did I would just keep my .375. If I'm honest I'm not a fan of the .416 I think its kicks unnecessarily for what it is. I would rather shoot my .500 double all day long
 

cmk

AH enthusiast
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
312
Reaction score
339
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Media
25
Hunted
Sweden, Mauritius
As Red Leg hints at, bullet selection/availability should probably be factored in.

While I do like the the idea of the 318WR or the 333 Jeffery, there are very few options when it comes to bullets. Woodleigh (of course), maybe Hawk(?). In 30 or 7mm there are a ton of different weights and shapes for different applications.

Would actually be interesting to have a list of bullet manufacturers for the odd calibres.
 

Stalker91

AH senior member
Joined
Mar 22, 2017
Messages
96
Reaction score
103
Location
UK
Media
41
Hunted
Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Hungary, Austria, France, England, Scotland, Ireland
As Red Leg hints at, bullet selection/availability should probably be factored in.

While I do like the the idea of the 318WR or the 333 Jeffery, there are very few options when it comes to bullets. Woodleigh (of course), maybe Hawk(?). In 30 or 7mm there are a ton of different weights and shapes for different applications.

Would actually be interesting to have a list of bullet manufacturers for the odd calibres.

I know that bullets for these calibers aren't the easiest to get my hands on but I would set up for loading so its not to bad.

Also Kynoch make a small selection of bullets for all of these calibers and I can get them very easily, so for me ammunition doesn't seem to be a problem at this moment in time.
 

Desperatezulu

AH veteran
Joined
Jul 23, 2015
Messages
144
Reaction score
158
Location
South Africa
Hunted
South Africa, Zimbabwe, UK
Another (big) upvote for the 300H&H.

If you really are not concerned with covering you bases for longer shots, the 7x57 is another African classic. And you can stretch its legs a little with a lighter bullet. I would rather have the H&H for longer shots at the bigger PG (eland, gemsbok, blue WB) than getting into marginal territory with say a 140grainer out of the x57. But a 140gr mono will work if you do your part.

The 9.3x62 is too close to your Jeff in my view and the 318 and 333, as traditional as they may be, are really bush calibres and far from ideal for plains use. My 2c! You can make them work, it just needs a bit more ranging/compensating on taking the shot.
 

cmk

AH enthusiast
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
312
Reaction score
339
Location
Stockholm, Sweden
Media
25
Hunted
Sweden, Mauritius
I know that bullets for these calibers aren't the easiest to get my hands on but I would set up for loading so its not to bad.

Also Kynoch make a small selection of bullets for all of these calibers and I can get them very easily, so for me ammunition doesn't seem to be a problem at this moment in time.

I believe that Kynoch load their cartridges (exclusively?) with Woodleigh bullets. So that does not add to variety all that much.

Woodleigh offers only 250gr (soft and FMJ) for the 318WR. For 333 Jeffery, there are 250 and 300 grain softs, and a 300 grain FMJ.

I seem to remember that Prvi Partizan (PPU) also make a .330 bullet in just over 200 grain. Though it is probably intended for the 8×56R cartridge, so the bullet might be a bit soft at 318WR velocity. Degol (Belgian bullet maker) has a similar bullet.

Hawk offers a 200gr soft for 318WR, and 250 and 300gr softs for the 333 Jeffery.

Not a huge selection for either calibre, and not the type of items you can expect to get on a short notice.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
37,600
Messages
718,413
Members
67,202
Latest member
dulieubongdaso
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

Cervus elaphus wrote on Bob Nelson 35Whelen's profile.
Hi Bob, how's things going in Wyong?. Down your way a couple of years back but haven't been in NSW since Ebor for the fishing. just getting over some nasty storms up here in Qld, seeing the sun for the first time in a few days. I'm going to NZ in the spring and hope to clean up a few buns while there and perhaps shake the spiders out of my old .303LE (currently owned by my BIL). Cheers Brian
A couple pictures of the sable i chased for miles in Mozambique, Coutada 9!! We finally caught up to him and I had the trophy of a lifetime. Mokore Safaris, Doug Duckworth PH
sable Coutada 9.JPG
sable 2 - Coutada 9.JPG
Safari Dave wrote on egrmpty507's profile.
Did you purchase your hunt at a US SCI fundraiser?
uplander01 wrote on colorado's profile.
Heard you may have load data for the 500 Jeffery,.....any info would be appreciated. Was thinking 535gr, but already had a response that the 570gr would be a better way to go, not sure why.
Rickmt wrote on Leica Sport Optics's profile.
will Leica Amplus 6-2.5x15x50 fit on a pro success Blaser with low mount?
 
Top