Calibre for small cats

Hunter4752001

Bronze supporter
AH elite
Joined
Sep 30, 2018
Messages
1,009
Reaction score
2,604
Location
Australia
Media
3
Seeking opinions on the best calibre for small cats such as the African Wild Cat and Caracal etc. Want something that kills cleanly but with minimal pelt damage.
 
on my last safari I borrowed my PHs .22nag for all kinds of stuff. Genet, impala, Jakal, duiker, at ranges from 15 feet to 120 yards.

I’m not sure I’ll return to Africa without a .22mag. Packs a punch but doesn’t cause big holes. Also, ammo weight is negligible.

I recently picked up a Bergara .22mag I hope to put it to use on my next safari. Still trying to pick out just the right scope.
 
Is the 25-06 (or something similar like the 257WBY) with a Nosler Varmageddon bullet off the table because the rapid expansion would ruin the pelt? Maybe too much speed for even a .25 caliber solid on these animals?

Why not use your DG rifle with solids and be happy with only two small holes for your taxidermist to repair?
 
SHOT A BUNCH OF LITTLE CRITTERS WITH A .357MAG MARLIN TRAPPER (BUFFALO BORE 158 GRAIN HP AMMO). SONE TAKING IT BACK NEXT WEEK FOR NIGHT HUNTING AND I EXPECT HIS DAUGHTER WILL POP A COUPLE IMPALA WITH IT.
 
SHOT A BUNCH OF LITTLE CRITTERS WITH A .357MAG MARLIN TRAPPER (BUFFALO BORE 158 GRAIN HP AMMO). SONE TAKING IT BACK NEXT WEEK FOR NIGHT HUNTING AND I EXPECT HIS DAUGHTER WILL POP A COUPLE IMPALA WITH IT.
Could you please define “little critters” and what the animal looked like upon recovery? Most of these cats are thin skinned and don’t respond well to the hydrostatic shock inflicted by hollow-point bullets. Can make a real mess of things.
 
Could you please define “little critters” and what the animal looked like upon recovery? Most of these cats are thin skinned and don’t respond well to the hydrostatic shock inflicted by hollow-point bullets. Can make a real mess of things.
PH WAS SCEPTICAL AS I SUPPOSE YOU ARE. HAD ME SHOOT A GROUND SQUIRREL, CHIPMUNK OR WHATEVER YOU CALL THEM IN S.A., COUDA SKINNED AND ATE IT. I HAVE GENET, CIVIT, PORCUPINE, CARACAL, SERVAL, AFRICAN GOLDEN CAT ALL FULL MOUNTS. I THINK BUFFALO BORES HP MIGHT BE A LITTLE "HARDER" THAN SOME. LIKEWISE THE SAME AMMO HAS TAKEN SMALL/MED. HOGS AND A HANDFUL OF DOES FOR THE GRANDKIDS.
 
Where did you hunt the Afrucan Golden Cat?
 
@SETH RINGER - Do you understand that using ALL CAPS is the equivalent of yelling your response?
 
I’d just shoot whatever main rifle you’re taking and load solids to shoot smaller animals.
 
Where did you hunt the Afrucan Golden Cat?
@IvW MY BAD, MIXED UP NAME OF CAT WITH COLOR OF CAT.. IT IS JUST A COMMON AFRICAN WILD CAT BUT IS A VERY PRETTY YELLOW/GOLD COLOR. TOOK IT AND THE CIVIT ONE NIGHT. NEAREST TOWN I CAN REMEMBER IS BETHLEHEM, COLDEST I'VE EVER BEEN IN AFRICA.
 
Is the 25-06 (or something similar like the 257WBY) with a Nosler Varmageddon bullet off the table because the rapid expansion would ruin the pelt? Maybe too much speed for even a .25 caliber solid on these animals?

Why not use your DG rifle with solids and be happy with only two small holes for your taxidermist to repair?
@BeeMaa - I know that a .22lr is plenty for Bobcat & Lynx (No experience on small African cats) and even a .22mag can be “too much” (if You want a nice taxidermy mount) - .22mag leaves massive exit holes on broadside shots. My Guide, on a BC Lynx hunt, was not happy with my decision to use my .22 mag and recommended I use his .22lr - but I preferred my own rifle for personal reasons.…the result was a 2” exit hole on my Lynx which fortunately was sewed up well by Kanati Taxidermy. I don’t think I would ever use any Centerfire cartridge on a small cat (20-40lbs) if my intention was to have it mounted….small cats are fragile, very thin skin and delicate hides (similar to a rabbit) skinning them -compared to a Fox or Coyote- I need to be much more careful Not to tear or cut the hide. I guess a hand loader could “load down” a .22 Hornet or .223 but even at 1800-1900 fps using 30 grain soft or hollow points I’m guessing there’s gonna be an “exit” and if using a solid - cat could travel a ways before expiring. I’d be interested in what others have experienced - I haven’t taken many small Cats so my experience is limited.
 
Having shot most of the "small critters" generally available, my advice would be to go big or go small, with a strong preference for going big. Since I don't take small calibres to Africa, I tend to use larger calibres and my usual 'premium' bullets, like Barnes. These tend not to expand in a small, thin-skinned animal, pass straight through while punching a small hole, and with the lower velocity, tend not to explode the animal on impact.

The small calibres can also be a problem though - a lot depends on the type of bulet and the velocity. Some of the more frangible bullets at extremely high velocities used on gophers or other varmints in North America tend to explode the animal on impact which, while satisfying in its own peculiar way, doesn't allow for much in the way of mounting. But with the right bullet, these can work well and, of course, you can shoot them all day.

I once shot a Salt's dik-dik with a .300 Win Mag (crime of opportunity). The poor thing exploded on impact and pieces were spread over a pretty large area. A very humane kill, but not one you'd choose if you wanted to mount the animal. On the other hand, I shot a Natal red duiker with a .416 Rigby, and I have a full mount in my basement.

You should note that one aspect that often doesn't get enough attention in shooting the small animals is shot placement. If you hit bone, especially the front shoulders, you can do some serious damage to the body of the beast - in some cases, you will find the animal virtually, if not completely, cut in half, especially if you used the wrong bullet. So it helps to aim a bit farther back than you might otherwise. Having said that, I once spent a long time looking for a Damara dik-dik I had shot too far back . . .
 
I remember several years ago I was with a small group of friends shooting at a friends place up in the hills between Bakersfield and L.A. Towards the end of the day we spotted a Bobcat walking down a Ridgeline at about 300yds. My friend grabbed hold of his 7mmRUM with 180gr Bergers and got prone. He took aim, pressed the trigger and cur plop down went the cat. Then to everyones surprise it got up and started walking again as if nothing had happened. That cat ended up talking three shots, all with the same results of dropping and getting back up. We all went to that Ridgeline looking for what had to be a dead cat. We never did find it. Figured the bullets just zipped right through with out any expansion and we didn’t find any blood.
 
I remember several years ago I was with a small group of friends shooting at a friends place up in the hills between Bakersfield and L.A. Towards the end of the day we spotted a Bobcat walking down a Ridgeline at about 300yds. My friend grabbed hold of his 7mmRUM with 180gr Bergers and got prone. He took aim, pressed the trigger and cur plop down went the cat. Then to everyones surprise it got up and started walking again as if nothing had happened. That cat ended up talking three shots, all with the same results of dropping and getting back up. We all went to that Ridgeline looking for what had to be a dead cat. We never did find it. Figured the bullets just zipped right through with out any expansion and we didn’t find any blood.
@dchamp: that’s either the toughest Bobcat on Earth or some poor shot placement…and I’m Not criticizing the shooting because hitting a small cat at 300 yrds is “good shooting”. The saying “cats can’t take much lead” certainly doesn’t apply here !!
 
@IvW MY BAD, MIXED UP NAME OF CAT WITH COLOR OF CAT.. IT IS JUST A COMMON AFRICAN WILD CAT BUT IS A VERY PRETTY YELLOW/GOLD COLOR. TOOK IT AND THE CIVIT ONE NIGHT. NEAREST TOWN I CAN REMEMBER IS BETHLEHEM, COLDEST I'VE EVER BEEN IN AFRICA.
Grew up in Bethlehem......bot for sissies......
 
One of my fellow Africa hunters killed the tiny ten and a lot of other small critters there with a .375 H&H. He loaded down and used lighter bullets. For six trips, I used a .17 Fireball loaded with pelt friendly bullets. The only ones that were fubar were the springhares and crows. As posted by others, bullet selection is important.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
55,766
Messages
1,187,232
Members
97,325
Latest member
Anton12345
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

Ready for the next hunt
I am game for a meat and eat. My attempt at humor.
rigby 416 wrote on rifletuner's profile.
Come from cz like that.
John A Flaws wrote on Horbs's profile.
500 schuler magazine.jpg
500 schuler bore.jpg
500 and 425 rifles.jpg
500 and 425 magaizne.jpg
 
Top