Cartridges Under .30 for Plains Game

matt85

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i love big bore guns... but I would trust the 7x57 Mauser and the 6.5x55 Swedish for just about any PG. I used a Winchester M70 featherweight in 7x57 for a little while as a deer rifle and many were shocked at what that non-magnum cartridge would do.

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Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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The deep penetrating premium bullets mean small rifles work better than they did on medium- large plains game 50 years ago. Legal considerations aside, if you have the self control to hold off on taking anything other than optimal shots and the skill to make them, a 243 is plenty to cleanly take most if not all plains game. But it probably isn't getting well into the chest if you hit heavy bone first on a broadside shot or try to put it through from a deep quartering angle.

If you are looking at a "once in a lifetime" trip, better to take more gun because you will either take shots you are not equipped for or will curse yourself for taking too small a rifle. The small rifle is well suited to the locals who are meat hunting and have little to no time pressure. It is an excellent choice for a person who is not limited to one trip and is happy to pass up shots. It is good for stand hunting on a first trip where all shots will be from a rest, at close range on a mixed bag of representative species and there is time to wait for the animal to end up in good position. It is not the best choice for a person looking to take a particular species of particular or better size in a limited time frame.
@Bert the Turtle
I personally wouldn't use a 243 on anything bigger than an enraged field mouse.
There's a great write up by someone who used a 257 Weatherby with 100gn TTSX and it did a great job, sell one shot kills. Another great bullet would be the 120gn A Frame.
Bob
 

IvW

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I have been researching a lot on African plains game cartridges and everyone seems to say that you should shoot the cartridge you shoot best, regardless of size, yet everyone also seems to recommend .30 cartridges or up, including super magnums like the RUM or .338 Lapua, which generate ridiculous amounts of recoil. The benefit of shooting smaller diameter bullets is that they are usually very accurate with low recoil. I am interested to know what small diameter calibers (under .30) are not just acceptable, but downright excellent choices for medium to large plains game (impala to eland), while remaining low recoil. Some cartridges I was considering are:
-.257 Roberts
-.257 Weatherby
-.270 Win
-.270 Weatherby
-6.5x47 Lapua
-.280 Remington
-.7mm rem mag
-7mm Weatherby
-7mm LRM
The reason why I chose these specific cartridges to name is because they all have a reputation for extreme accuracy and low recoil. I would like to know if you would recommend any of these cartridges (or others) OVER a .30 for African plains game, and if so, why. Thanks for humoring me in another of my ridiculous questions. I just don't think I've seen a discussion on this topic here before.
7x57mm
 

bassasdaindia

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I have been researching a lot on African plains game cartridges and everyone seems to say that you should shoot the cartridge you shoot best, regardless of size, yet everyone also seems to recommend .30 cartridges or up, including super magnums like the RUM or .338 Lapua, which generate ridiculous amounts of recoil. The benefit of shooting smaller diameter bullets is that they are usually very accurate with low recoil. I am interested to know what small diameter calibers (under .30) are not just acceptable, but downright excellent choices for medium to large plains game (impala to eland), while remaining low recoil. Some cartridges I was considering are:
-.257 Roberts
-.257 Weatherby
-.270 Win
-.270 Weatherby
-6.5x47 Lapua
-.280 Remington
-.7mm rem mag
-7mm Weatherby
-7mm LRM
The reason why I chose these specific cartridges to name is because they all have a reputation for extreme accuracy and low recoil. I would like to know if you would recommend any of these cartridges (or others) OVER a .30 for African plains game, and if so, why. Thanks for humoring me in another of my ridiculous questions. I just don't think I've seen a discussion on this topic here before.
my first question would be , in which location/area are you hunting
if you are hunting in the EC or Namibia where longer shots are the norm then my suggestion would be a 6.5 or a .270 win
if you are hunting in the Limpopo where the bush is generally thicker and your shots are normally closer then my minimum would be a 6.5 with a 156g bullet or a 7x57

obviously we all have our personal choices .
 

shark_za

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All your cartridges mentioned shoot their bullets quite fast, they are all calibers I would see on the more open plains in the Kalahari, Karoo or in the mountains of the E-Cape.

Think of placing your quarry in one of the 4 classes and then choose accordingly.
1. Small to medium game at around 100m - Impala, even Kudu.
2. Small to medium game at around 250m - Springbok, Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest
3. Large game at 100m - Eland, Blue Wildebeest
4. Large game at 250m - Eland, Gemsbok, Zebra

Take any caliber and think about it..

257 Roberts , ideal for 2, great for 1 and maybe at a pinch it can do 3 with perfect placement and bullet contruction.
4 becomes a problem with having to do that perfect placement with the added loss of energy.

The fast 7mm's dont really offer much less recoil than a good .30 cal like a .30-06.
A slower 7mm like the 7x57 is great but again its a stretch for class 4.
The common 300 magnum recomendation is based on covering all 4 with one rifle.

I use a 6.5x55 for the majority of my hunting these days, but have got a 9.3x62 for Eland in the Bushveld but am happy to use that for everthing under 150m. I still need a 7mm or 300 Mag to do class 4.
 

bassasdaindia

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All your cartridges mentioned shoot their bullets quite fast, they are all calibers I would see on the more open plains in the Kalahari, Karoo or in the mountains of the E-Cape.

Think of placing your quarry in one of the 4 classes and then choose accordingly.
1. Small to medium game at around 100m - Impala, even Kudu.
2. Small to medium game at around 250m - Springbok, Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest
3. Large game at 100m - Eland, Blue Wildebeest
4. Large game at 250m - Eland, Gemsbok, Zebra

Take any caliber and think about it..

257 Roberts , ideal for 2, great for 1 and maybe at a pinch it can do 3 with perfect placement and bullet contruction.
4 becomes a problem with having to do that perfect placement with the added loss of energy.

The fast 7mm's dont really offer much less recoil than a good .30 cal like a .30-06.
A slower 7mm like the 7x57 is great but again its a stretch for class 4.
The common 300 magnum recomendation is based on covering all 4 with one rifle.

I use a 6.5x55 for the majority of my hunting these days, but have got a 9.3x62 for Eland in the Bushveld but am happy to use that for everthing under 150m. I still need a 7mm or 300 Mag to do class 4.
this i agree with in the above post from @shark_za :

The fast 7mm's dont really offer much less recoil than a good .30 cal like a .30-06.
A slower 7mm like the 7x57 is great but again its a stretch for class 4.
The common 300 magnum reccomendation is based on covering all 4 with one rifle.
 

IvW

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my first question would be , in which location/area are you hunting
if you are hunting in the EC or Namibia where longer shots are the norm then my suggestion would be a 6.5 or a .270 win
if you are hunting in the Limpopo where the bush is generally thicker and your shots are normally closer then my minimum would be a 6.5 with a 156g bullet or a 7x57

obviously we all have our personal choices .
7x57 with 140gr bullet will do anything a 270 can with the advantage of being able to shoot 175gr bullets for all thw big stuff....
 

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