Bullet/Rifle Good Enough?

Upton O. Good

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I've made two trips to South Africa, shot 15 animals, 12 different species, all but two were taken with 30.06 including blue wildebeest, black wildebeest and kudu. I lost one blue wildebeest due to no pass through of the bullet and thus no blood trail. It was a frontal shot I think was through one lung, didn't break the shoulder but we'll never know. That lost animal was $950. That is one good reason to shoot them through the shoulder to anchor them, don't worry about the meat. The bullets were all South Africa factory loads, 180 gr. The shooting was mostly 100-160 yards but there were three animals that were shot at 180+, 200, and 300 yards, all smaller antelope. Be knowledgable of the ballistics at 300 yards, you shouldn't be shooting further than that.

My limited experience in hunting plains game is some of what others have said. Practice, practice, practice off of the sticks. I used photographic targets of plains game (you can get them from Safari Press) and practiced shooting at the desired spot on the animal. Seeing plains game in the scope was odd for me at the start. The first time I looked through my scope at a kudu it was like I was in a dream.

I also used the targets for dry firing in my shop. One of the keys to shooting plains game, from my experience, is not shooting too high. No higher than 1/3 up from the belly line, right in the shoulder will save the animal suffering, or you having to waste time tracking it, and money if you don't find it.

Your list of desired animals is great, you are going to have a life changing experience and loads of fun. I'm going to bet that the animal most difficult for you to take will be the warthog, at least is has been for me. I've yet to score on my warthog boar, came about a half of a second from planting one on the last trip but he took off running. One more suggestion, if your PH sees an animal not on your list and says "That is a really good (whatever), you need to take it." give that serious consideration. I didn't and missed out on a couple of beautiful trophies I wish I had now.

You didn't say (or I missed it) where and when you're going. Keep posting your plans, ask questions, and be darn sure to post a report (WITH PHOTOS) when you get home.

Stay downwind and shoot straight.
 

Divernhunter

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We will have 10 full days of hunting May 1-10 2013 About an hour+ north west of Port Elizbeth with ILIWA Safaris.
We are looking forward to being and hunting South Africa. Also plan to spend a couple days, before they pick us up in PE, doing some sightseeing in Cape Town.
 

Red Leg

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If you haven't already, I would strongly urge using atravel agency which specializes in hunters. Getting through J'burg customs and gun registration can be a pain (I genuinely hate transitting Johannesburg - such a contrast to Windhoek, Namibia), and I was very glad that I used the "meet and greet" service offered by Gracey Travel out of San Antonio. You will also need to arrange for your internal travel and weapons while playing tourist in Capetown. I highly recommend Gracey, and there are several others.

Ten days is a good length for such a hunt. Never understood going to all that trouble and expense for a seven day hunt.
 

Norwegianwoods

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Here I shoot for the shoulder or just behind. I would rather anchor them than chase them. Heck some of the places I have hunted you had better anchor them and close to you or someone else will be putting their tag on it when you get to the animal. This is no joke it happened to me. I just made sure the tag was his and completely filled out so the "hunter" would not be able to be out in the woods the rest of the season.
I want to use the 6.5X55 because it is light but mostly I have not had a chance to take any game with it. All the other rifles have taken game already.
I have Trigger Sticks bipod and tripod. Had planned to take the tripod version with me.

You can use your 6.5x55 on all the animals on your wish list with full confidence.
Just put the bullet in the right place and you can be ready for some photos of you and the animal :)

I think the 130 grain Swift Scirocco II is plenty for those animals. The 120 grain A-frame bullet will also be good, but I know others would advice you to use the 140 grain Swift A-frame.
All are great bullets :)
 
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I have hunted and reloaded for many years here in the USA. I have sucessfully hunted wild boar/deer/pronghorns/bear. Loaded ammo for sucessfull elk hunts, moose hunts and some others. I am no stranger to bullets and differences in construction and application.
I am going to SA for a PG hunt with my daughter. The rifles I want to take include 338Win mag,25-06,for myself, 6.5X55 for both of us and her 257Roberts. I have always had vey good results with Nosler Patrition or Swift SciroccoII or Hornady Interbond or Hornady SST bullets.
After much reading from everyone I settled on Swift A-Frame bullets since the normal choices were ruled not good enough. This is my only(due to age and $$) trip I will be able to do and I want to be sure I am set up as well as I can be. My hunting shooting skills have always been fine.
I am planning on taking a wart hog,Gemsbuk, impala, blesbuck, Blue Wildebeest, springbuck and we each want a Kudu.
Loads under consideration all Swift A-Frame bullets all data from my daughters and my rifles over a chrono average of 5 shots. I am looking for the fastest loads which I can shoot under 1" @ 100 yards off one sandbag under the rifle front.
257Roberts - 100gr bullet @ 3016FPS
25-06--100gr bullet---3300 or 3431FPS
6.5X55---120gr bullet---2824FPS
6.5X55---140gr bullet---2677FPS
338Win Mag--225gr Bullet 2902FPS
I have some loads worked up with 120gr Swift A-Frames for the 257Roberts and 25-06 I still need to test.

After all that background my questions are. I have shot many animals with my other bullets with no problem. Never lost an animal yet. I sure do not want to in Africa. However after checking the size of the animals I want to hunt I wonder if maybe the Swift A-Frame bullets may be too stout and not expand for a quick kill. I had this trouble with too heavy of Nosler partitions and others on our small deer. Went to a lighter and pushed faster Nosler Partition and no more trouble.
After reading just how tuff the African game is I wonder if they have Kelvar skin and armor shields under the hide. The way some talk I should load up my 50BMG rifles with 647gr Barnes X-Bullets or 700gr AP bullets at 2900FPS+ for the African game. Whats the facts?

After all this work I am told that "THE" bullet to get is the North Fork Bullets and they do not make a 25cal bullet. If they are so much better I will go to them. But are they? Do I need them? I have other rifles I can use but wanted to use the above ones. Are they poor choices?

If I had to I could use one of the rifles in 257Weatherby/308win/30-06/7mmRem mag/300Win mag/6mmRem(too light for me)/7mm-08 or 45-70. But I really would like to take the ones I started with or the 7mm-08.

Just how much tougher are the African animals I have choosen? Any suggestions as to cartridges and especially bullet selection.
I am reluctant to use the Barnes bullets because of the way they screwed us here in Calif,USA in forcing a large no-lead bullet zone and pushing for it to be statewide. I do not like to give money to people who restrict my rights.
@ divernhunter
I would leave the Roberts at home if your daughter can handle the 25/06 and load it with 120grain A Frame. This will give a bit more penetration and apart from kudu and blue wildebeest it will handle the game you have listed. The 257 Roberts has killed Kudu with well placed shots so in theory there is no reason the 25 ought six shouldn't do the same in cool hands.
African animals aren't armour plated but they are designed a bit different with the vitals further forward. As well as looking at calibers look at the section on shot placement. My son killed all his game including Oryx with his 308 and 150 accubonds.
Shot placement with the right bullet will do the job all the time.
The most important thing is listen to your PH on shot placement. Remember he is there to help and advise he/ she has a lot of experience.
Bob
 
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Almost forgot. When I saw your velocities for the 25-06 it made me nervous. These seem several hundered fps high for this caliber/bullet weight. Although it is possible to stumble across a powder/bullet combo that severely outperforms all others (with RL 19 in my .257 WBY I stopped adding powder despite no signs of pressure after I was 150fps above posted velocities) this is extremely rare. I would be very shy about firing a load like that, I scrapped the afformentioned load in the interest of safety. Depending on powder and signs of pressure a 100gr bullet in the 25-06 should not exceed 3200fps by very much.
@Diamondhitch
Sorry to disappoint you but a,257 Roberts loaded properly is easily capable of SAFELY producing 3,200 fps with a 100 grain bullet using ADI2209/H4350 or ADI2213SC/H4831.
The 25 ought six will comfortably do the quoted velocities.
My own wildcat move a 100 grain Barnes TTSX at 3,670 fps SAFELY.
Bob
 
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The 25-06 load is one I got from Ken Waters book and have used for many years with no trouble in hot or cold weather at different elevations. My Ruger M77 shoots better the faster loads The slower loads(14 tested) do not group as well for some reason. I will go to the 120gr 25cal bullet for both the 25-06 and the 257Roberts. I was going to take 3-4 rifles because I alway carry a spare just in case of a problem with one. That has never happened yet but would not want to have it happen in Africa especially. Also I was hopping IF the airlines lost some of the baggage that at least one rifle case would make it to wher we were.
I really wanted to use the 6.5X55 but others did not think it was as good a choice. It is in a Tikka and is light and handy for me with my health problems.
More speed means less correction for drop and such for me and since I am in NA it has worked for me. I may have to rethink it for Africa some. Heiver bullets will slow it down. I was concerned that the Swift A-Frames would not open up enough at lower speeds.
Actually the PH suggested the 25-06 for me. Since I wanted to carry and use the 6.5X55 I was taking it also. So many have said I needed the 338Win mag to do the job especially on Wildebeest/Gemsbuk/Kudu that I am taking it. I was taking the 257Roberts as it is my daughters rifle and has a new stock and stainless steel Douglas Match grade barrel on it. It shoot excellent now. However she has been trying to claim my 6.5X55 for herself so maybe take it for her since she only wants to take a Kudu at this time.

Maybe I should take 2 rifles in 2 different rifle cases and use the extra room for my tri-pod and other items. I would hate to only take one case and end up with it not making the trip over there.
@Divernhunter
Unless you are going after eland I would leave the 338 at home. Yes it's a brilliant caliber but for the game you have listed a good 308 or 30 ought six shouldn't be discounted.
20200728_093828.jpg
My son's 39 inch wonky horned female Oryx. 1 shot from his 308
Bob
 

Ridgewalker

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Oh you and your daughter are going to have a grand time!
Now for my opinions...ha ha...as mentioned “ you draw blood, you pay”.

My experience has taught me that longer bullets are preferable in the Africa bush (I believe RedLeg has mentioned this). They tend to go slower so they do not deflect as badly as shorter stubby bullets. Most likely you will need sooner or later to shoot through a hole in heavy cover. The longer heavy for caliber bullets give you a better chance for this to work.

Know where to shoot Africa game (also previously mentioned but very important to repeat). A great little pocket book: https://www.safaripress.com/the-perfect-shot-mini-edition-for-africa-494.html Or print out the pictures here on AH and carry them with you.

Learn to shoot quickly and accurately off sticks! Practice getting on sticks and shooting accurately within 5 seconds or don't pull the trigger. Repeat over and over.

Out of 4 safaris, I don't think I’ve shot over 200 yards but maybe 3-4 times.

You think your shoulder hurts now, wait and see how it feels if you haul 4 guns around the airports! Personally 1 gun each should do, JMO from dragging just 1 around airports (but Im no young fellow).

Yep I’d highly recommend paying for a “ meet and greet” get me to my baggage, through customs, to my rifle, and finally to my PH. Highly worth it IMO!

Don't forget to take to many pictures of everything not just the hunt!

Oh you're going to have an awesome experience! Enjoy the preparation as well as the trip. And great to see a dad taking a kid, even more so a daughter!
 

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shootist~

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crs

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After reading the above, you have all the advice you need.
On my first trip to Africa, my PH discussed rifles with me and then said just bring your familiar .308 deer rifle with 180 grain bullets and you can kill any plains game on your list. He was right of course, because he grew up on a big farm shooting a .308 and took everything including eland with it.
He was also blessed with a game rich property, great cover, three rivers, years of good experience, etc.
Good hunting!
 

Philip Glass

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@Divernhunter did you ever do a trip report?
I wondered what guns you took and how it all worked out. I see that you had over thought it a bit IMO.
Just curious,
Philip
 

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