Caliber thoughts?

Jon Glajchen

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I would keep my shots to less than 300 meters. There are no species of plains game that cannot be harvested with a 300H&H or 300WM.
If she is recoil sensitive then look at 7x57, 308w, or 30/06 in that order.
There is honestly no reason to take excessively long shots when either shooting in the bushveld or in the more open Savannah areas of the NW Cape or Namibia. Get close then get even closer, that's hunting!
 

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Hello MarkD,

Welcome to the best forum in the world.

You mentioned wanting a "nice medium range hunting rifle" ...... "that can take deer and antelope out to 500-600 yds".
Those two specifications almost contradict each other, (except that the .308 is very capable of both).
To your credit you also posted that your are prepared to invest "a ton of practice" and I definitely salute you for it.
Practicing with your rifle is more important than which specific caliber you choose.

Living close enough to a rifle range to "hear the music" from my porch, I'm able to train quite often, just as you plan to do.
Nonetheless, I've always declined to fire at any animal much beyond about 400, and definitely NEVER from 500 yds / mtrs, (even though I do consistently hit targets at 500 with certain rifles of mine).
Fact is, even after you have put many long hours (years perhaps) into proper training with the rifle, out of respect for the animals, your personal limit for shooting at them from field positions, should be much less than 500 to 600 yds.
No decent person can sleep peacefully, for quite a long time, if they have wounded and lost an animal to suffering and slow death.

Furthermore, just spotting game in the first place at 500 yds is not so easy, except on very flat, bush-free conditions, (much less accurately delivering your all important first shot at such distance, under field conditions.)
In my personal experiences, animals occasionally start to move one or two steps, AFTER the sear slips, primer is struck, powder burns, and the bullet travels to where my animal had been standing at the moment I pressed the trigger.

This can happen at 200 yds, and multiply the odds of only wounding animals when this happens, the more distant your quarry is.
About 400 is my personal limit on animals, primarily because of this potential "suddenly begins walking" situation.
And truly it is only under very unusual circumstances that I will choose to shoot game at that distance, because of same.
Incidentally, according to what I've read about most of Sub-Saharan Africa plus, the comparatively small part of Africa I myself have hunted in 3 out of 4 safaris so far, seems to indicate that most shots will be only about 50 to 100 paces, with 200 being a very "long shot" in most of the commonly hunted areas on that continent.
Even in the few parts of Africa that longer shots are possible (The Eastern Cape of South Africa and most of Namibia come to mind), most PH's simply will not "set the sticks" for you on a 500 yd distant animal, and of course not to mention 600.
They will insist you join them in stalking closer before shooting.

(If I seem arrogant or smug, I apologize, as that is definitely not my intent here.)

Specific Calibers:
In Africa, not all but quite a few PH's / Safari Companies list a minimum caliber for certain categories of game, as described within their web sites.
Not in each and every PH's preference but very commonly, either the .270 Winchester or the 7mm is the accepted minimum for so called "Plains Game" (antelope, zebra, warthog and such).
When they list the 7mm, they often are referring to the 7x57 and / or the 7mm-08 cartridges.
For this reason, if your wife might hunt in Africa one day, I would not recommend investing in that .257 Weatherby, which you had mentioned.
If she's not planning any African hunts, only N. American deer and pronghorn, then perhaps the .257 Wby could be her huckleberry.
Better yet the .25-06, due to ammunition costs and availability.
Better yet the 6.5x55, but don't get me started - LOL.

You are considering the .308
There is not a thing wrong with this cartridge for many species throughout Africa (many species world wide for that matter), and likewise with this cartridge you are on the right track for keeping recoil down a bit.
Another fine cartridge for your wife would be the 7x57 but, from my own experiences with both, I am not convinced it has any particular advantage over the .308 cartridge, nor visa-versa either, except that live .308 cartridges are usually easier to find in remote places than 7x57 cartridges are, where the only ammunition retailer within a few hours drive might be the village fuel station.
Anyway, there are cartridges that definitely deliver a bit more effectiveness than cartridges like the .308 and 7x57 , both at close range and longer ranges but recoil quickly goes upward accordingly.
If it were my wife, I would not waste any time worrying about comparing muzzle energy and such, between this cartridge and that cartridge.
Personally, I would just buy her something that will not bash her about, that cartridges are not silly expensive and she likes the looks of whatever rifle it is chambered in.

You mentioned in a subsequent post that you already own and are proficient with the .300 Winchester cartridge.
That one is a very flat shooter for sure.
You are smart to not introduce your wife to rifles by means of such a snappy recoiler.
Again, I suggest you have a look at .308 caliber or 7x57 caliber rifles for her.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.

I forgot to mention in my original rant here that, it is unlawful for any foreign hunter to bring a rifle into Namibia that, is less than 7mm caliber.
If you ever decide to take your wife hunting in that delightfully excellent and very affordable hunting destination, this specific law leaves your .257 Weatherby idea straight out.
 

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I forgot to mention in my original rant here that, it is unlawful for any foreign hunter to bring a rifle into Namibia that, is less than 7mm caliber.
If you ever decide to take your wife hunting in that delightfully excellent and very affordable hunting destination, this specific law leaves your .257 Weatherby idea straight out.
Hi Velo Dog. Usually agree in most things with you. Read today or yesterday about this. Jerome came on and let us know this is NAPHA's suggestion. It is NOT law in Namibia. I took a quick look and was unable to find it tho. Best wishes. Bruce
 

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Hi Velo Dog. Usually agree in most things with you. Read today or yesterday about this. Jerome came on and let us know this is NAPHA's suggestion. It is NOT law in Namibia. I took a quick look and was unable to find it tho. Best wishes. Bruce

Thanks gillethunter,

I am very happy to stand corrected.
Not sure where I had read that incorrect information but, my spotty memory seems to recall it was somewhere within AH here.
Fact is, I had thought it was Jerome that originally posted it, back some years ago.
But at my age, it is extremely likely (if not extremely obvious) that my memory is inaccurate on this "Calibers for Africa - Specifically for Namibia" subject matter.
I do however agree with NAPHA, in recommending 7mm as their minimum suggestion for Namibian antelope, warthog, zebra and so forth.
Personally, I would add to that: 160 grain bullet as well - LOL.

Thanks for setting me straight on this,
Velo Dog.
 

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I too like the 160 gr bullet in the 7mm. I used it with generally good effect just a few weeks ago. Nice bullet weight that seems to do a good job on a lot of plains game animals. Just a good caliber with reasonable recoil. Bruce
 

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Well I was scared there for a minute as the 257 is going to Namibia this year. I will being seeing how go it works and hope to keep my record of nothing going over 40 yds after the shot.
 

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Unfortunately my Africa trip is done for this year. I was there in October. Hoping to go back in late 18 or early 19. Still sucking up the wife again.
 

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Hi Velo Dog. Usually agree in most things with you. Read today or yesterday about this. Jerome came on and let us know this is NAPHA's suggestion. It is NOT law in Namibia. I took a quick look and was unable to find it tho. Best wishes. Bruce

Hi again gillettehunter and billc,

Finally found the AH post that I had read, from a few years back, leaving me with the wrong impression, regarding visitor's caliber restrictions for Namibia.

Refer to old (2010) thread, title of:
"Travelling with 3 firearms",
wherein, "muleman" and Jerome are exchanging posts.
4th post (Jerome's 2nd reply to muleman) with bold print:
"Temporary Importation of Firearms Into Namibia".

Next line begins with exactly these words:
"Smallest caliber allowed 7 mm"
(then, goes on to indicate the .270 is actually acceptable, but cautions muleman not to bring his .223 caliber, etc.)

Therefore .... I am made whole again, and shall celebrate, (without delay mind you), by pouring myself yet another frosty amber ale and turning up the "oldies but goodies" music in my basement.

Since 2010 however, Jerome had written more than one very clear correction to this, by clearly explaining in later posts that, the 7 mm minimum for visitors to Namibia is actually just a recommendation from NAPHA, nothing more.

Anywhooo, I repeat that I do happily stand corrected.
But I have much respect for you as well as billc, and just did not want you two (or any others here) to wander off thinking I had just pulled that 7 mm restriction out of my Irish terrier's exhaust pipe.
I did read it within this forum after all.

Unfortunately, I had not read the corrections posted after that first 2010 misinformation post RE: minim caliber for Namibia, until researching my misinformation source today, and that failure to read until now, any updates is on me, nobody else.

So, please continue to keep me from wandering out into traffic so to speak, because I obviously do tend to get confused and dizzy.

Merry Christmas,
Velo Dog
 
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Rule 303

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Either cartridge will do the job, however, I, like others advised against the +400mt shots on live game. Save these ranges for steel gongs etc. I do encourage you to shoot targets at these ranges as this makes you more confident and able at shorter ranges and should the need arise to shoot out to 500mts then you know you can do it.

If looking at going after African plains game without the recoil of the 300WM seriously look at the 7X64 or 280Rem. I am a 270 fan and use 140 grain bullets and the 7X64 280 Rem just does this a little better.
 

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So I've changed my plans a bit and I've decided to go with the 6.5 creedmor in either a Christensen Arms or the Weatherby Vanguard Range Certified
 

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duckman90, Kelly is right, the smallest rifle caliber allowed to be brought into Namibia for plains game hunting is a 7 mm (.284) caliber or the equivalent of a .270 caliber. I would say that your 6.5 Swede (.260) caliber does not meet the minimum requirement imposed by Namibia. It is not wether it meets the minimum energy of 1350 Joule for medium to small game or if "they" will let you use it... It is just not legal to import in the first place.

Hello MarkD,

Since Jerome's above/attached post, he has written more than one very clear correction to this, by explaining in said later posts that, the 7 mm minimum for visitors to Namibia is actually just a recommendation from NAPHA, nothing more.

Jerome's family owns a massive spread of real estate in Namibia that, is reportedly teaming with game and, they are in the business of guiding hunters on it so, I totally believe that Jerome knows the firearms related law (or in this instance, he knows the lack of a specific law) within that country.

Unfortunately, I had not read Jerome's corrections, posted after Jerome's first 2010 post RE: minimum caliber for Namibia, until researching related AH posts quite recently, and that failure to read any updates until now is on me, nobody else.

If you want to bring your new .26 caliber rifle to Namibia, instead of the .28 caliber minimum "recommendation", I presume you are not worried that some badge heavy jerk in the Windhoek Airport might decide to whip out the NAPHA web site, and ask you to read it, then declare your rifle unlawful.
My luck, if I was bringing a 6.5 caliber rifle (I do have one) into Namibia, they'd decide to make the 7mm thing an actual law, a couple days just prior to my arrival.

On this mildly debated topic, worth reading is the specific firearms information paragraph, within the NAPHA web site, regarding the 7mm minimum restriction.
In same, it is clearly stated as law, not simply a recommendation.

1. Type in a google search as follows:

napha-namibia.com

2. Select:
Legal Information

3. Then select:
Hunting Laws & Rifle Information

4. Then scroll down to:
Firearms

(and I quote, including their typos/spelling, grammar, parentheses, etc.):

"Firearms Smallest calibre 7mm Minimum energy (Eo-muzzle velocity): 1350 Joule for springbok, duiker, etc."

There's more (but the rest is about non-expanding bullets, handgun, auto and semi-auto firearm restrictions, etc).

Anyway, since the specific 7mm minimum is found under those Law headings, one has no choice but to believe NAPHA is stating Namibian Law, plain and simple.

Again, according to other sources, evidently NAPHA is mistaken or perhaps bluffing.

At any rate, your safari is your own business and therefore my following words here are simply a suggestion, and certainly not a Gospel unto all hunters.

IE:
When I am spending 10 to 15 thousand bucks on a safari, as much as possible I will always avoid doing anything that might be viewed by the local authorities as irregular or questionable.
I've only hunted in Namibia once but am booked to return again.
Therefore, I'm definitely no expert, in fact I can hardly spell "expert."

But, I have travelled in more than one or two so called "developing countries" around the world (polite term for corrupt / sometimes unfriendly countries).
And, Murphy's Law has smashed me up enough times that, for me personally, I prefer to abide by: "When in Namibia, do as the Namibians do", (in this case, as it pertains to the caliber thing there.)
AKA, I would not try to enter Namibia with anything less than a 7x57.
(And, the .300 H&H / 180 grain Nosler Partition was about perfect for me last time there).

Cheerio,
Velo Dog.
 
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Minimum Equipment Requirements for Rifle Hunting in Namibia
- Namibia does not have a minimum caliber requirement for rifle hunting and rely by law on minimum energy (Eo - muzzle velocity). Smallest caliber recommended by NAPHA 7 mm (.284).
- Minimum energy (Eo - muzzle velocity)
Big Game
5400 Joule
(Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Rhino, Lion, etc.)
Large Game
2700 Joule
(Greater Kudu, Cape Eland, Oryx / Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Hartmann's Zebra, Burchell's Zebra, Giraffe, Sable Antelope, Roan Antelope, Waterbuck, Tsessebe, Leopard, etc.)
Medium to Small Game
1350 Joule
(Springbok, Impala, Blesbok, Gray Duiker, Steenbok, Ostrich, Caracal, Black-Faced Impala, Red Lechwe, Damara Dik-Dik, Klipspringer, Black-Backed Jackal, Warthog, Cheetah, Nyala, Chacma Baboon, Game Birds, etc.)

More info on Namibia at the following link: NAMIBIA Hunting Information: https://www.africahunting.com/threads/namibia-hunting-information.14219/
 

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With the right optics you can turn virtually any accurate rifle the fires a 120grain+ bullet at 2800fps or more into a 500 yard rifle. Even the venerable 30-06 still carries an impact velocity of over 1900fps at 500 yards with the right load and bullets. 600 yards is another matter. Hitting the target is easy, it's hitting it with enough impact velocity for the bullet to expand and penetrate. Sure there are lots of possible work arounds but in my mind the line between mid range and long range happens at 501 yards. After 500 yards I want a rifle that spits bullets at 3,000+ fps. The 7RM is pretty hard to beat for a pedestrian every day chambering in a long-range rifle. I actually own and shoot a Creedmoor and it's definitely a great 500 yard rifle but bullet selection becomes so very critical at 500+ yards. You need velocity for bullets to work! I'd say around 1,800fps impact velocity minimum.
 

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Thx for the reply. Guys I've never once mentioned Namibia as a hunting destination. Not sure where this came from. Not sure where I'll book my next trip yet.
 

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I forgot to mention in my original rant here that, it is unlawful for any foreign hunter to bring a rifle into Namibia that, is less than 7mm caliber.
If you ever decide to take your wife hunting in that delightfully excellent and very affordable hunting destination, this specific law leaves your .257 Weatherby idea straight out.

Hi again MarkD,

I am guilty of suggesting that you beware of cartridges less than 7mm for your wife, just in case she ever wanted to hunt in Namibia (a fantastic and affordable hunting destination).
Evidently that is not a law there however, the Namibian Professional Hunters do post the 7mm as minimum on their web site.
They have it listed under headings of "Legal Information" and "Hunting Laws", etc.
Therefore, NAPHA appears to be representing the 7mm minimum caliber thing as a Namibian Law (as wrong as they apparently are, it just reads that way, at least to me it does).

So, it is simply a suggestion but again, if you ever did decide to take your wife to Namibia .... and you wanted to make a positive first impression on your PH, I'd suggest you consider getting her that 7x57 or .308 caliber rifle.
While I have you on the line, it's also worth repeating that, many South African PH's web sites indicate they prefer 7mm as their minimum as well (in regards to hunting "plains game") so, the first impression thing might be worth considering in at least some parts of South Africa as well.

My apologies to yourself, gillettehunter, billc, Jerome and many others for my tireless whipping of a very dead horse here.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 
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Thanks Velo. 99% of our hunting is done here in the states on mule deer and proghorn antelope. I think the 6.5 will be a great rifle for that. I'll put a top quality scope on it and then me and the wife will hit the range a bunch. Once she gets comfortable with it maybe we get her something larger. If I have t get a larger caliber I don't believe I'll be upset. Oh darn another new gun in the house. lol I know the 300wm is out for her. Too much recoil but maybe the 7mm will be the next one!! Thanks again
 

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So I've changed my plans a bit and I've decided to go with the 6.5 creedmor in either a Christensen Arms or the Weatherby Vanguard Range Certified

I like my little 6.5 Creedmoors. They are fairly soft shooting and I think it would be great for a gal. Mine have proven very accurate. The Weatherby being a hair heavy will add to the amount of felt recoil it has for the wife. Out of the small pile of guns I've got, the 6.5s are about my favorite for a fun LR shoot. I took an antelope this year with one, and it passed through. Bang, flop. It will be out pig hunting in March with me, and deer in the future. I think you'll really like this cal. ;)

I've got a Sightron 3-16x42 on one 6.5 and it does great for me. I'm buying another next month (4-20x50) for a 7mm Rem Mag that's being rescoped. I've found I like the Sightron SII and S-Tac over the Leuy VX-3 (have a few of each). You might take a look at what they've got. See if something fits for you.
 

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I know you've gotten a bunch of great advice, and while I could deviate off into how there are like a thousand cartridges that would fill the role you require, I will stick to the original question. .308 or .257W. .308 would certainly have the accuracy to hit a paper target at 500 yards given practice. In my opinion however, that it runs out of steam at 350-400 yards depending on bullet and load. You likely wouldn't get reliable expansion at 500+ yards with it due to the drop in velocity. The .257, even though I don't like Weatherby cartridges, is, in my opinion, the better choice given that it shoots much flatter and should expand way out there. The problem you're going to have is finding a bullet tough enough to not blow up at 8 yards but not so tough that it pencils through at 500 yards... I have been consistently impressed with Barnes TTSX line of bullets.
 

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So guys I'm looking for advice and opinions. I've been an archery hunter for over 20 yrs but I'm wanting to get a nice medium range hunting rifle. While I was hunting this year in Africa I wasn't able to just use my bow and used my PH's 308 on my Kudu and Impala and it worked great. I'm wanting to build a rifle that can take deer and antelope out to 500-600yds. Don't worry I know that'll take a ton of practice on my end. The 2 calibers I'm looking at is the 308 and the 257 weatherby. I'd love for my wife to shoot this rifle as well. She's not terribly recoil sensitive but no reason to beat her up with it either. I know the ammo on the weatherby is crazy expensive but def not a deal breaker. What's the thought of bullet energy of both calibers say at 600yds on deer size animals.

You stated calibers 308 and 257 Weatherby... I'm assuming you are talking the 308 Winchester and the 257 Weatherby cartridges/chamberings, correct? Thanks.

Also, ""medium range hunting" is certainly not 500-600yds to most hunters. Shooting at game that far away should be considered by those with even a halfway decent moral compass as totally unethical for, in reality, it is very difficult to achieve first round hits at those distances under field conditions with any real consistency. One of the nice things about having lived on a piece of property with a 800 yards rifle range right off the front porch, is that it was quite easy to take shooters who claimed they could and have them attempt to prove it - no benches, one or two rounds, no warm ups. Interesting how that brings shooters back to earth...

CB
 

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You stated calibers 308 and 257 Weatherby... I'm assuming you are talking the 308 Winchester and the 257 Weatherby cartridges/chamberings, correct? Thanks.

Also, ""medium range hunting" is certainly not 500-600yds to most hunters. Shooting at game that far away should be considered by those with even a halfway decent moral compass as totally unethical for, in reality, it is very difficult to achieve first round hits at those distances under field conditions with any real consistency. One of the nice things about having lived on a piece of property with a 800 yards rifle range right off the front porch, is that it was quite easy to take shooters who claimed they could and have them attempt to prove it - no benches, one or two rounds, no warm ups. Interesting how that brings shooters back to earth...

CB
Very well said. The skill in hunting isn't about being able to hit an animal on the next ridge over. It's about getting over to the next ridge without spooking the game and shooting only when you're so close you can't miss. I would say, anything standard caliber (.243, 6.5X55, 7x57, .308, .30/06, etc.) 300 yards would be the limit of what 95% of hunters can do from field positions, whether they say so or not. Magnums really just tack another 50-75 yards on that IF you can shoot them as well as smaller rifles.
 

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