Cartridge for the Big 5 that is usable outside of Africa as well

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by Koburn, May 4, 2018.

  1. Koburn

    Koburn New Member

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    Hi,

    I have been stalking these forums for a year or so...

    I have always been interested in hunting, I haven't hunted much though but decided recently to start doing it regularly.

    My dream is to hunt in Africa one day. Here's the thing though, I am a very minimalist person, I don't want to own too much stuff in general. I feel that if I own less things, I am more free. Free to move to another country, more free to travel and so on. However, I do want the thing I own to be of the highest possible quality. In some sort of less is more zen way. Or something.

    So, I am planning a minimal rifle battery with which to hunt the World. After a year or more of research I have reached some conclusions of what my ideal battery looks like. In reality I have shot very few different rifles, .22 LR, .22 Hornet, .223, .243, 6.5x55, .270, 7x64, .308, .30-06, 9.3x62. And 12 gauge shotgun. A couple of calibers more, I cannot recall which ones, but normal available calibers anyway. When I say shot, I don't mean hunt. I have hunted with even less. If I would leave Africa out of the equation everything would be super simple. In theory at least. The battery has changed several times over time, but it seems to get more refined with every couple of months. Add different loads and it gets even more complicated. That is why I decided to only use on load per rifle.
    In a wide spectrum of different conditions as well (woods, mountains, plains). With versatile, classic and worldwide common ammunition.

    Here's what I currently think is ideal:

    .22 LR. For minks, squirrels and other similar small game.
    6.5x55 SE or 7x57 - 140 grain. Basically all larger CXP1 game (fox, golden jackal, beaver), all CX2 game (which is what it is intended for), maybe some smaller CXP3 game like red deer but not going up to 160 or 175g
    9.3x62 or 9.3x74R - 286 grain. Red stag, wild boar, moose, elk, bears and similar.

    I would prefer to have a double rifle in 9.3x74R over a bolt action in 9.3x62 because it seems more suitable for bear hunting. On paper, this somehow feels like it actually could work, 2 rifles to hunt all big game outside of Africa. Of course, there will be situations where neither rifle would be optimal (a lightweight short falling block mountain rifle in .270 with a variable scope is probably better than the allround 6.5x55 SE bolt action w/ a 22" barrel and a fixed 4x scope I am thinking of) , but it seems like it could work. Even if it would mean that I would have to stalk closer, which is fine, because it seems more interesting and "fair" than shooting from a kilometer away killing the animal before she has any possibility to spot you.

    The 9.3 also seems to be "enough gun" for certainly leopard at least. Possibly lion as well. And cape buffalo (I mean bison are shot with less gun and they are larger, or am I a complete idiot and I am missing something, maybe they are super tough?)

    Which would leave only 3 game needing more gun than a 9.3: Elephant, Rhino and Hippo. I don't think hunting Rhino will be an option anyway unless the Rhino population grows and prices drop). Which brings me to the point: Is it really worth buying a new rifle for the single purpose of hunting 2 animals? Now, I have never shot a double rifle, but if we are talking about large calibers the doubles "speak" to me way more than bolts. I mean, .470 Nitro Express. It just sounds so incredibly sexy! I'll repeat that. .470. Nitro. Express. With all respect to Rigby, who make fantastic rifles (I want to purchase a smaller caliber bolt action rifle from them) and have made some great cartridges, but .416 Rigby just doesn't sound that cool. :)

    Now, I am thinking, maybe there is a cartridge that would be good enough for the pachyderms but would be usable outside of Africa as well. Yeah, I know. .375 Holland & Holland Magnum. Sure. It's great for moose and bear and other CXP3 game. But, personally, I feel, that it's a bit overkill for moose and not quite enough gun for elephants. Maybe I am wrong. I have never shot one. Personally, I feel that the 9.3 is ideal for CXP3 game. Just the right amount of power. And it's so versatile, it can take some bigger CXP2 game as well. And perfect for brown bear. So, I'd rather have the 9.3 and leave the super classic .375 out the equation even if it's more readily available and legal for the Big 5. Because, I feel it's not really ideal for CXP3 game nor CXP4. I guess its strength, namely the versatility, is also its weakness.

    .416 Rigby then. It's most certainly enough gun for the pachyderms. I think. Never shot one. Can be used on CXP3 game as well. Sure, it's overkill. Maybe even on Kodiak bears. But at least it would be a better choice 0n CXP4 game. However, I feel it's a bolt action cartridge. I know, it's available in doubles as well. Even in the double I want to buy (Heym 88B). But, my heart tells me it's the wrong caliber for a double. Yep, I thought I was a practical person, but hey, I am just human. I feel the same about the .375 H&H as well, it's a bolt action cartridge. Then I'd rather pick the .416 Rigby.

    Of course, there is the .470 Nitro Express. Aaah. Even the name makes me want to buy it. I am sure if I would own a double rifle chambered for that round, I would sleep with the rifle in the same bed. Would need to name the rifle with a nice female name though. It would still of course be the Heym 88B. You know, even if could afford an English double, I wouldn't buy one for those prices. Not saying they are not worth they're price. I am sure they are. Not just for me. So, a German rifle pretending to be a British one. Maybe Marlene would be a suitable name. Or Big Bertha. However, now, I *am* practical after all. What on Earth would I do with a .470 NE (besides sleeping in the same bed)? Shoot moose? Has anyone done that by the way? I mean, I am sure someone has. :)

    Then, I read somewhere about the .450/400 Nitro Express 3". And here I almost reached the conclusion that this would be the perfect second rifle. I mean, it is weaker than the .416 Rigby (at least according to all the statistics I have been reading), but maybe it's "enough gun", I mean, reading all the stories it seems even the 7x57 Mauser (or .275 Rigby as it is also called, hey, wait a minute, we have a German rifle pretending to be British, namely Heym and also a German round pretending to be British, I see a trend here! Why cannot they be happy to be what they are?) was enough gun with proper shot placement on all pachyderms. And it's stronger than the .375 H&H, okay, so maybe not ideal for CXP3, but perhaps not "too much overkill" on brown bear, moose and wild boar?

    This is my first post, and it was a bit longer than I thought, hopefully my question is clear enough...

    Has anyone used the 450/400 for CXP3 sized game? How is the recoil compared to 9.3x74R? How common is the ammo?

    Would this be a good 2 rifle combination for all the big game in the World? Namely:

    Bolt action 6.5x55 SE or 7x57 (I like both equally much) in 140 grain for CXP2/3
    .450/400 NE 3" 400grain for CXP3/4

    The practical person in me says that I should get one of the following combos:
    .270 / .30-06
    .375 H&H / .416 Rigby
    2 bolt action rifles in common calibers.

    But my heart tells me to go with:

    6.5x55 / 7x57
    .450/400

    Or perhaps I should forget about the 2 rifle thing and just get three:

    6.5x55 / 7x57
    9.3x62 / 9.3x74R
    .470 NE

    But I don't like to think I have one beautiful rifle that never gets any action. She'd get jealous if she didn't get the attention the other 2 would have all the time. :)
     
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  2. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    A two rifle combo to hunt big game world wide is ideally fulfilled by a single Blaser R8 with .300 Win Mag and .375 H&H barrels.
     

  3. mdwest

    mdwest AH Fanatic

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    I was going to say .30-06 and .375 H&H would pretty much get it all done, everywhere on the planet...

    But I concur with @Red Leg .. .300WM is probably the better overall choice rather than .30-06 if I am truly going to limit myself to just 2 rifles..
     

  4. Pheroze

    Pheroze SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I really think this is cool. The 6.5 is an awesome caliber, and I think with the 450/400 as a second caliber you have a neat pairing.

    I personally have settled on a 30 cal magnum and 40 cal partner (308 Norma and 400 H&H) I too wanted a 40 cal but one with more range to be more flexible. And, I would rather have too much gun than too little.
     
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  5. Koburn

    Koburn New Member

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    .300 Win Mag. Wouldn't that be a bit too much on smaller game like roe? Even 30-06 has occasionally been too much (although, it seems 150g is strangely sometimes worse on meat than 165 or 180, but I guess it depends on what the bullet has struck). And it mostly gives you more range? So, for mountain and plain hunting?
    That's why I would want the first rifle to be slightly weaker than the 30-06 (which I think is perfect for midsize deer to moose, but overkill on smaller game, like beaver, fox, roe, lynx etc, especially when using 180grain, and I would like to stick to one load, call me lazy). The second rifle should have only overlap on the medium spectrum of the hunted game, which means they could be used as backup for each other for certain game). I think the 30-06 is as such also a perfect backup caliber, I mean it can probably do everything from foxing to elephant, but it's not ideal for those extremes exactly (nor legal on the upper end).

    400H&H looks really cool. Had never heard of it though and have never seen a rifle for it either. I guess it could be hard to get ammo for it as well.

    Although I would rather just buy the 2 right rifles from start I have a feeling that I'll go for two CZ 550s in different calibers and later when I can afford it upgrade the second rifle to a double.
     

  6. Fred Gunner

    Fred Gunner AH Veteran

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    I found myself in exactly your frame of mind:
    Miyamoto Musashi Japan's greatest Samurai "Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need." & "Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful."

    I wanted just one rifle that I could hunt any and all Big Game anywhere on the planet. That rifle would go with me everywhere and all my live fire dry fire training would be with just this one rifle. I want that because I wanted my shooting to be instinctive with every pull of the trigger under any conditions.

    I came to the conclusion that for me the Ruger M77 Hawkeye Guide Gun in .375 Ruger is perfect for me. First because it fits me perfectly with the adjustable stock. With the factory muzzle break and recoil pad I can shoot full power 375 loads all day and find it enjoyable to shoot. I find that this particular rifle in .375 Ruger is superbly accurate. With the 250 & 300 grain bullets. I can hunt any North American big game at all practical ranges. I've used this rifle to successfully hunt Black Bears and White Tailed Deer. the 375 is the minimum caliber allowed to hunt Dangerous game so I'm ok there.

    That's where I am today. I've sold or given away all my other Big Game hunting rifles and married my Hawkeye Guide Gun. We're taking our honeymoon in Namibia for Leopard next year. I just bought her some Ripcord Insurance.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
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  7. Koburn

    Koburn New Member

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    That's a great quote. And I think it just makes so much more sense, after all, if you only use a few weapons, you will get a better "connection" and be able to use it better. So much more with a single rifle. At one point I was thinking of only getting a 9.3x62 bolt or a double in 9.3x74R but yeah, it wouldn't be legal for DG although I am sure it'd be fine for lion and leopard.
    .375 Ruger is basically very similar to 375 H&H in terms of ballistics, just a shorter cartridge?
     

  8. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    BLASTFAMY! Hard to conjure up something in the mind as cool as Rigby’s 416 for big game!
    The 416 is a very versatile cartridge, capable of great things. I would personally trust a 416 to watch my children, take my girlfriend to a movie and watch my billfold. That is how gentlemanly the Rigby is!
    Now I’m not what I would consider a minimalist so it is a tough question. I guess if I were a minimalist and not a gun junkie I would probably look toward a switch barrel rifle such as a Blaser as RedLeg suggests, the new Sauer seems pretty damn awesome or a Dakota Traveler. The latter would fit the bill for me pretty neatly I think. The 470, absolutely. If you have thoughts of sleeping with one, check local statutes to be certain it doesn’t violate any deviant act laws and buy one. Texas has no such law and sometimes on a chilly night I might have a 470 and a 416 snuggled up, and they never argue. Loaded down the 470 will work on deer, on the upper end anything else that walks, crawls or swims, I recon even if it flies were it to sit still long enough.
    Wish you the best in your quest and welcome to AH!
    Cheers,
    Cody
     
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  9. CAustin

    CAustin BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Plus one
     

  10. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Bullet choice. I consistently destroy less meat with a 338 250gr bullet than my buddies do with their 270’s on these little whitetail deer. Proper bullet selection is key, you can make a 300 whatever you want it to be by selecting the proper bullet for game hunted. The lighter the bullet, higher the velocity and typically the more violent the wound will be. Controlled expansion is your friend.
     
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  11. johnnyblues

    johnnyblues AH Legend

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    Completely agree. 300 wsm and a 375 and your all set.
     
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  12. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Fanatic

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    I used my 404 on cape buffalo, elephant, hippo on the big game side. It also worked fine on zebra, wildebeest, and oryx. The plains game had a very different reaction to it than they did to a 30-06: with the '06, they took off at high speed then dropped dead after a bit. With the 404, they kind of stood there for a second before starting to move and they didn't go as far before dropping. The '06 is perfectly adequate for any plains game with a good bullet but I think I've become a convert to the heavier rifle, at least for now. Doesn't kill them any deader, but surely drops them faster (CNS hits of course are the same).

    My point isn't necessarily to advocate for a 404 so much as to say that if it works on buffalo it will work on smaller game. I honestly didn't see any downside to using the bigger gun. I shot at least a third of the animals from prone and several from kneeling with a bush or small tree as a rest and the recoil was never a problem (although I really hesitated to pull the trigger the first time from prone). Trajectory was fine out to the 125 yards or so of the farthest shot, and if I had made any effort to determine come ups before I left home, it would have be fine out to 200.

    A 375 is the classic choice, but if your rifle shoots straight and you know your trajectory, I don't think there will be any problem with whatever you happen to choose. With a 250g barnes low drag bullet, you can get a maximum point blank range out to over 200 yards and just point and shoot.
     
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  13. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I have killed Suni with minimal damage with my .375 - much less a .300 - it would take four or five to make a Roe deer buck. It is all about bullet choice.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
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  14. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Fanatic

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    One good reason for a smaller caliber in the same model gun or a smaller switch barrel would be for inexpensive practice.
     

  15. Koburn

    Koburn New Member

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    .404 Jeffery should be the pretty much the same as the .400 Jeffery as far ballistics go, right?
    So, actually at some level or to some degree, I guess it boils down to how many African DG hunts there will be.
    But on a personal level, I think (at least at this point) I would rather use a rifle and load I am really comfortable with even if it is not optimal on paper (in that perspective, the 6.5x55 SE works fine on moose with a heavy load, even if it on paper is a CXP2 cartridge, so maybe the 450/400 is the same but on bigger game).
     
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  16. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Fanatic

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    Very similar. They were trying to duplicate the ballistics in a cartridge suitable for a bolt action rifle. Bullet is a little bigger at 0.423 Velocity about 2150 and can be safely loaded a bit faster if you want.
     

  17. Eric Anderson

    Eric Anderson AH Senior Member

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    The strength of the 30-06 is the fact that you can load 110 rain bullets for foxes, all the way up to 220 grain for polar bear.
    I honestly don’t think a two rifle battery with one load each is that workable.
    Closest thing I can come up with is a .243 with 100 grain bullets and a .375 ruger or H&H with solids. Even that is not legal in the states because solids are forbidden for game animals in many states. Shoot a moose just a hair off with a .243 and see what happens.
     

  18. Koburn

    Koburn New Member

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    Here, a .243 would only be legal for roe deer, lynx and wolf (and smaller game). Anything larger than that requires a minimum of 6.5mm and 139g (honestly, even that is quite minimal for moose, I think it'd be better with ca 160g). But I would never shoot a moose with a .243 unless my life depended on it.
    As for 30-06 and lighter loads, I think that's rifle specific, the ones I've shot with seemed to work best with 165g or 180g. Can't recall shooting heavier loads than 180g though. But yeah, it might work fine with foxes and lighter loads, not saying it doesn't. And I am sure it works on the bigger bears as well, they've been shot with 6.5x55 SE and smaller calibers as well. But I don't think neither caliber is particularly optimal for big bears (I would shoot with either one if needed though, but definitely prefer a 30-06). 6.5x55 seems to work quite fine on fox though (most of the time).
     

  19. colorado

    colorado AH Fanatic

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    500 Jeffery and a 270 Win. It's what I have, though lately I've been using the 500 Jeffery on elk, so might not need the 270
     
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  20. Pheroze

    Pheroze SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    With the 308 NM my thought is to actually go up in weight to a 200gr bullet for small antelopes. My thought is to slow the bullet down. If I use a softer bullet it will still expand nicely. For really small I may choose a solid in the 400.

    Dude, gun ownership is a constant search for the next obsession. If you are limited to two rifles you need an obscure caliber to occupy your time finding components! Otherwise, you will get bored ;)
     

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