Bullet choice for dangerous game

njc110381

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That was a very interesting read, thanks. I couldn't agree more with your thoughts regarding SD - and it is interesting to see that the SD of your .375 270gr Barnes is .015 less than the .416 350gr yet still worked well. That makes me think I could load the .416 with that bullet and just get on and shoot everything I encounter with it.

Another thing I've been pondering - somewhere I read that boat tailed bullets don't have such good straight line penetration as flat base bullets? Would that be the general opinion or rather just the opinion of that author? Only because the TSX is flat and the TTSX boat tailed.
 

buffybr

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...Another thing I've been pondering - somewhere I read that boat tailed bullets don't have such good straight line penetration as flat base bullets? Would that be the general opinion or rather just the opinion of that author? Only because the TSX is flat and the TTSX boat tailed.
The 270 and 300 grain .375 caliber TSX bullets that I've used were both flat base. All of the .30 caliber Barnes bullets that I've used (168 and 180 grain TSX and 168 and 180 grain TTSX) have the same boat tail base. The only thing that I've noticed that changes the penetration line was if the bullet hit a bone.

I don't think that there is enough penetration line deviation between Barnes TSX and TTSX bullets to cluster my mind pondering about it.
 

Eric Anderson

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That was a very interesting read, thanks. I couldn't agree more with your thoughts regarding SD - and it is interesting to see that the SD of your .375 270gr Barnes is .015 less than the .416 350gr yet still worked well. That makes me think I could load the .416 with that bullet and just get on and shoot everything I encounter with it.

Another thing I've been pondering - somewhere I read that boat tailed bullets don't have such good straight line penetration as flat base bullets? Would that be the general opinion or rather just the opinion of that author? Only because the TSX is flat and the TTSX boat tailed.
I have never heard that. Boat tails are much more sensitive to an imperfect crown than flat bases though.
 

Witold Krzyżanowski

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My bullet choice : 404 jJeffery from Hornady with bullet DGX 400gr
9,3 x 62 Mauser from RWS with bullet Softpoint 285gr and with bullet Tug Brenneke293gr
 

spike.t

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My bullet choice : 404 jJeffery from Hornady with bullet DGX 400gr
9,3 x 62 Mauser from RWS with bullet Softpoint 285gr and with bullet Tug Brenneke293gr

Well witold you mentioned the dreaded hornady dgx. ..I shall sit and wait.....:D:D Pop Popcorn:
 

IvW

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Hornady mentioned and all dies except what has been shot at......
 

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Read Kevin Robertson's books Africa's most dangerous and the perfect shot. He answers all of your questions rather succinctly with volumes of evidence and proof! Also stray away from using softs on hippo!!
 

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Read Kevin Robertson's books Africa's most dangerous and the perfect shot. He answers all of your questions rather succinctly with volumes of evidence and proof! Also stray away from using softs on hippo!!

Head shots in water you use a soft....
 

Hunting Hitman

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I’ve always been a big fan of Swift Bullets and use the A-frame for softs and the Breakaway for solids. They have proven to be incredibly effective at harvesting animals quickly and cleanly. Most recently In the fall of 2019 I shot 2 capes with my 505 Gibbs using swift 570 gr A-frames and both were 1 shot kills. On that hunt I also harvested 2 hippos, a wildebeest, and a lion using my 375 H&H in 300 gr swift A-frames.
 

mark-hunter

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@njc110381

(I will make copy-paste of your questions, because somehow, qoute function does not work on my computer)

How come a rifle is generally loaded with an expanding first round, followed up with solids?

This comes from the theory of most possible scenario.
Under presumptions that first shot will come at most convenient moment, in situation totally controlled by hunter during stalking. Animal will be calm, unsuspecting, and positioned broad side, and hunter will place his shot to vital area, creating maximum damage with soft point in perfect moment.
What happens next, is out of control for hunter.
If animal drops, good.
If it does not drop, it will start running away from hunter. In such circumstances, it is estimated that solid bullet with second shot, or following shots will have deepest penetration to the vitals, in unfavourable running animal positions such as "Texas heart shot", or through the hind leg, etc...

But, it has to be said, to my understanding, that this theory just recently became popular and wide spread.
There are also good number of hunters, experienced hunters, or PH's, who will advocate soft points only - with exeption for pahyderms (rhino, ele), then solids will be required exclusively.
Another use of solids only, is for small game, hunted with DG caliber. Will make minumum damage to the hide.


Another thing I'm wondering is when shooting through heavy bone with modern bullets, is it essential to shoot the heaviest bullets available?

This would be my understanding.
What we need is penetration. And the best thing for penetration, is to have as much as possible bullet mass. If you compare light and fast bullets for caliber with heavy and slow bulets for caliber, you will see that heavy and slow will have much better penetration, even in cases when energy at muzzle is approximatly the same.

Bottom line:
- soft point - equals damage (to vitals)
- solid - equals peneteration (to vitals), and/or minimum damage to the hide
- bullet heavy for caliber - equals penetration
- bullet light for caliber - equals flatter trajectory

Million dollar question:
What is the best? :unsure:
 

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Since joining AH I've been getting lots of really good information from you all. I've had some remarkable replies to my posts, no effort spared to explain things to me and for that I'm most grateful. Reading other posts on the forum as well as my own, I've stumbled across something else I really feel the need to ask! I've been doing a lot of asking and have made a plonker of myself once or twice, but hey, I'm here to learn! So here goes...

How come a rifle is generally loaded with an expanding first round, followed up with solids?

I've read through the ammunition performance post - it's good to see the results you're all having even if some reviews are mixed. I couldn't see an answer to this. It doesn't make much sense to me when a good expanding bullet will crack through a shoulder, churn up the heart/lungs and come to rest in the far side of the animal, maybe even exit? I suppose the solid is more likely to enter through a hip and make it to the vitals of a tough animal but by that point, how much damage will it do if it's not moving quickly and hasn't expanded?

Another thing I'm wondering is when shooting through heavy bone with modern bullets, is it essential to shoot the heaviest bullets available? That seems to be the case with most factory rounds. 300gr in .375, 400 in the .40's and 500 in the .45's. Is there a minimum BC that suggests a bullet is suitable? Assuming the correct construction of course.
Yes you should be shooting heavy bullets for DG as a general rule. I have had good luck with Barnes bullets. IMO those who recommend a “soft” followed by a solid may not have had experience with Barnes bullets. Like you I have never understood this. If it is a buffalo herd a solid will likely go through an animal and hit another. I am sure there are dozens of opinions here, take mine for what it is worth.
 

BeeMaa

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I asked my PH about softs vs solids for a DG client.
He said softs 95% the time is what he recommends.
But that I should bring some solids.

Naturally I asked why...
If an opportunity comes up to shoot one of the T10.
Softs from a DG rifle will make a mess of the hide.
Solids will make two very neat little holes that are easy to fix.

He did say that there are special circumstances on occasion.
Carrying a few solids in a belt is what he would recommend.
Leave the rifle magazine loaded with your premium softs.
 

Professor Mawla

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The technique of loading one’s rifle magazine with a soft nosed round for the first shot and solid bullets for the follow up shots , used to be the standard practice for hunting African Cape buffalo and Asiatic water buffalo ( but never Gaur , because they always necessitate solid bullets exclusively ) during the mid 20th century ( 1960s to 1970s , to be precise ) . This was back in the days , when the Winchester Silver Tip ( especially the 300 grain variant for the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum calibre ) and the Remington Core Lokt were considered to be the pinnacle of soft nosed bullet development . These bullets were absolutely devastating on Cape buffaloes , provided that the operator was able to take out both lungs with a perfect broadside double lung shot ( without the bullet hitting any heavy bones ) . If your angle was off by even the slightest degree however , then these bullets had practically no effect upon the large bovines ( other than to aggravate them ) . It was then , that the solid rounds in the rifle’s magazine came into play for the follow up shots . They were absolutely indispensable for full length penetration on escaping or charging Cape buffaloes ( where only quartering away shots or full frontal shots can be afforded ) .

The problem was that when using solid bullets for hunting any game animals ( especially Cape buffalo ) , the only way to create larger wound channels in the vital organs of the animals ( which is necessary in order to accelerate blood loss and cause the animal to hemorrhage quicker ) was by stepping up in terms of calibre . It has been observed by countless independent authors , that a 300 grain non expanding bullet fired from a .375 Holland & Holland Magnum generates a very minute wound channel in the heart and / or lungs of a Cape buffalo . A Cape buffalo which has been shot through the heart with a 300 grain .375 calibre solid bullet , can easily remain alive ( and fully active ) for up to 18 minutes . A double lung shot made by using the same bullet , produces even more dismal terminal effects . A Cape buffalo bull which has been shot through both lungs with such a bullet , can remain alive ( and fully active ) for up to even one hour . The only reliable way to quickly take out Cape buffaloes with body shots ( when using non expanding bullets ) , is to use at least one of the .400 bores ( with one of the .450 bores or even .500 bores producing more visibly impressive terminal effects ) .

In 1985 , Jack Carter pioneered the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw ( the earliest premium quality expanding bullet ) and soon other forms of premium quality expanding bullets ( such as the A Square Dead Tough , Barnes TSX and Swift A Frame ) began to appear on the market . These allowed the operator to load his entire rifle magazine with only one kind of munition . They can be used to take shots at Cape buffalo from any angle which presents itself ( broadside position , quartering away position and frontal position ) .

They also make the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum and the 9.3x62 mm Mauser very viable contenders for tackling Cape buffalo , due to the impressive wound channels that they generate ( even in these relatively “ small “ calibres ) . In today’s day and age , it is no longer a standard practice to load the rifle magazine with a soft nosed round followed by solid rounds . Most operators opt to load the entire rifle magazine with these premium quality expanding rounds instead .
 
Last edited:

IvW

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Premium grade expanding heavy for caliber bullets are the only way to go, solids are definately not needed for them especially visiting hunters.
Solids stem from the time when bullet technology was of the old school type that over expanded and lacked penetration.
First shot, coming or going all you need is a premium expander at an apropropriate velocity...in my experience 2200-2400 fps. 375 or larger.
I well remember one occasion when a client shot a broadside cape buffalo too far back and too high the bullet penetrating both lungs high and far back(no back up shot where possible). After 2 days(48 hrs) we finally catched up and we were forced to stop the buffalo during a charge with the buffalo far from done and full of fight...we were very lucky to recover this buffalo and only determination and perserverance helped us to succeed.
This just again proves the point of the importance of first shot placement, bullet up to the task in the right caliber....and yes 375 H&H is more than enough caliber if the above is foĺlowed...
 

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The technique of loading one’s rifle magazine with a soft nosed round for the first shot and solid bullets for the follow up shots , used to be the standard practice for hunting African Cape buffalo and Asiatic water buffalo ( but never Gaur , because they always necessitate solid bullets exclusively ) during the mid 20th century ( 1960s to 1970s , to be precise ) . This was back in the days , when the Winchester Silver Tip ( especially the 300 grain variant for the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum calibre ) and the Remington Core Lokt were considered to be the pinnacle of soft nosed bullet development . These bullets were absolutely devastating on Cape buffaloes , provided that the operator was able to take out both lungs with a perfect broadside double lung shot ( without the bullet hitting any heavy bones ) . If your angle was off by even the slightest degree however , then these bullets had practically no effect upon the large bovines ( other than to aggravate them ) . It was then , that the solid rounds in the rifle’s magazine came into play for the follow up shots . They were absolutely indispensable for full length penetration on escaping or charging Cape buffaloes ( where only quartering away shots or full frontal shots can be afforded ) .

The problem was that when using solid bullets for hunting any game animals ( especially Cape buffalo ) , the only way to create larger wound channels in the vital organs of the animals ( which is necessary in order to accelerate blood loss and cause the animal to hemorrhage quicker ) was by stepping up in terms of calibre . It has been observed by countless independent authors , that a 300 grain non expanding bullet fired from a .375 Holland & Holland Magnum generates a very minute wound channel in the heart and / or lungs of a Cape buffalo . A Cape buffalo which has been shot through the heart with a 300 grain .375 calibre solid bullet , can easily remain alive ( and fully active ) for up to 18 minutes . A double lung shot made by using the same bullet , produces even more dismal terminal effects . A Cape buffalo bull which has been shot through both lungs with such a bullet , can remain alive ( and fully active ) for up to even one hour . The only reliable way to quickly take out Cape buffaloes with body shots ( when using non expanding bullets ) , is to use at least one of the .400 bores ( with one of the .450 bores or even .500 bores producing more visibly impressive terminal effects ) .

In 1985 , Jack Carter pioneered the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw ( the earliest premium quality expanding bullet ) and soon other forms of premium quality expanding bullets ( such as the A Square Dead Tough , Barnes TSX and Swift A Frame ) began to appear on the market . These allowed the operator to load his entire rifle magazine with only one kind of munition . They can be used to take shots at Cape buffalo from any angle which presents itself ( broadside position , quartering away position and frontal position ) .

They also make the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum and the 9.3x62 mm Mauser very viable contenders for tackling Cape buffalo , due to the impressive wound channels that they generate ( even in these relatively “ small “ calibres ) . In today’s day and age , it is no longer a standard practice to load the rifle magazine with a soft nosed round followed by solid rounds . Most operators opt to load the entire rifle magazine with these premium quality expanding rounds instead .
Well said Prof. If I may add a little footnote, professionals-both hunting and photographic guides often carry solids in their rifle because they do not know what they may meet. So they prepare for elephant on the assumption that solids will still work on buffalo and lion but the reverse is not true. They also carry larger calibres-for the exact reasons that you highlight- solids -bigger calibre = bigger wound. If you are hunting buffalo as a client, then softs in a 375 are great. If you were hunting without a PH then you may consider walking with solids in case you meet an elephant and then change to softs when you find a buffalo, even today.
 

MMAL

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It might have been said above and I apologize if that is so but loading a soft then a solids does one more thing: It allows a hunter to shoot a buffalo with more buffalo behind him. If hunting buffalo in a herd it is very unlikely you will get a buff alone with a clear shot. First shot a soft that has a very small chance of a pass through (I have not heard of a proper broadside pass through) then as they lag behind the herd and running away or toward the hunter, a solid to insure penetration.


I will only use swift A frames or cutting edge softs. Solids are picked based on what groups best and same point of impact as softs.
 

Professor Mawla

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Well said Prof. If I may add a little footnote, professionals-both hunting and photographic guides often carry solids in their rifle because they do not know what they may meet. So they prepare for elephant on the assumption that solids will still work on buffalo and lion but the reverse is not true. They also carry larger calibres-for the exact reasons that you highlight- solids -bigger calibre = bigger wound. If you are hunting buffalo as a client, then softs in a 375 are great. If you were hunting without a PH then you may consider walking with solids in case you meet an elephant and then change to softs when you find a buffalo, even today.
@Nhoro
You have spoken words of wisdom . One should always have their rifle magazine loaded with steel jacketed solid rounds , when hunting in elephant country . Or a soft nosed round in one barrel and a steel jacketed solid round in the other barrel ( provided that the operator is employing a double rifle ) .
 

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