Curious why cape buffalo have the same minimum caliber requirement as Rhino, Hippo and Elephant?

That’s a hole in the boss from a 375 (not from me) and the bullet was lodged in the back of its skull/boss area. This bull took all of the energy from that bullet, to its head, and shook it off and ran away. That’s why Cape buffalo have a minimum cartridge requirement. They are tougher than most African game.


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I could care less what that measured, that might one of the greatest trophies ever. Amazing, and a real warning to heed at the same time.
 
I am fairly certain that the minimum calibers were not arrived at by reloading equations, but rather the macomber recollections of what failed to work, and the well established reputations of what DID work. They probably had in the back of their minds their equivalent of "Boot Hill," complete with epitaphs like "killed by a lion" etc. and the well conversed tales of how such unfortunate hunters met with their demise...
 
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I think a .375 H&H is perfectly fine for buffalo in most situations, but I chose to use a .416 Rigby.

My PH stood ready to use a .458 Lott, if things got dangerous.





I'm sure I could kill buffalo all day long with a .30/06, but I would be completely foolhardy if I got into a stopping situation with one.
 
This Texas Ranch Recommends 30-05 300 or 7mm for CAPE BUFFALO which are all marginal for Bison

but lol at the cost you can have a full backcountry African hunt(with a bunch of Plains game and maybe even another Big 5) and taxidermy with money left over for a nice new DG rifle.


And Yes I know this more of a shot then a hunt but seriously worry about this also I'm going to assume the "professional Hunting Guide" is unlikely to be a licenced Dangerous Game Professional Hunter or necessarily trained ro stop a Buffalo on a charge
 

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What you have to remember is that the minimum is largely set for when things go wrong or for the gormless. Modern day .338 with premium ammo would probably preform as well as the old .375 of old.

You and I would probably knock a buff down with one shot out of a .338 because we are all perfect. But the rules, like health and safety rules in the work place are not set for you and I, they are set for the the lowest common denominator (the moron).

Yes a .308/.257 can get the job done but we do have to cater for the morons in life. I personally would be happy to have a .375 on any of the big 5 (including a frontal brain shot on an elephant, maybe that's because I have big brass ones or maybe I'm a moron). But bigger is better and .375 as a rule gives the hunting fraternity a better chance of survival and a more reliable kill for the animal.

You can kill an elephant with a .22 short placed well or get killed by a .700 nitro placed in the ass. The minimum is based on the presumption of getting the round near to the right place at least.
 
...

You can kill an elephant with a .22 short placed well or get killed by a .700 nitro placed in the ass. The minimum is based on the presumption of getting the round near to the right place at least.

You are all so confident in your statements, but how many buffalos and elephants have you shot ?

I have myself shot five elephants, more than twenty buffalos in Africa and a few others in Southeast Asia, in addition there were a few buffalo hunts in West Africa where I was there as a backup, but I will remain cautious with my statements because that is not enough for a great experience. I can only say that with a well shot placement, the bigger calibers clearly work better on big game than the smaller ones. I therefore recommend shooting several buffaloes and elephants with different cartridges of different calibers and then to express an opinion, otherwise some of what is written here can be very confusing for inexperienced hunters who want to start with DG hunting. Use enough gun has been the basic rule for decades, the rest is just chatter.
 
Hypothetically:

Caliber A - minimum for Elephant
Caliber B - minimum for Rhino
Caliber C - minimum for Buffalo
Caliber D - minimum for Leopard
Caliber E - minimum for Lion
Caliber F - minimum for Hippo.

Which one is then a universal caliber for all?
My Guess: Caliber A!

Bottom line, there will always be a universal caliber, it is just a matter where some authority or individual will draw the line.
 
Thank you. I am a novice when it comes to Africa, but I am familiar with the American Mountain lion and you answered the question that was on my mind. How do the African cats compare?

For lion hunting, the smallest legal caliber which you can use in any African country... is one of the .300 Magnums in Zambia. In Cameroon, you can use a minimum of .354 caliber. Everywhere else in Africa, .375 caliber is the legal minimum for lion.

You can hunt leopard with a legal minimum of 7mm caliber in Namibia and Zimbabwe. And in Ethiopia, there is no minimum legal caliber regulations in place at all for hunting dangerous game ( namely Cape buffalo & leopard)
 
check how thick the skin on a buff is, around an inch
bison etc skin is nowhere near as thick
i agree 375 is overkill on cats, but its a safety thing cos they can bite, so when u shoot you want them dead!!!

i do agree with a lot of the sayings here along the line of, "its possible...but why would you want to"

and i agree with that,
use as much gun as you can possibly shoot well...on anything
 
You are all so confident in your statements, but how many buffalos and elephants have you shot ?

I have myself shot five elephants, more than twenty buffalos in Africa and a few others in Southeast Asia, in addition there were a few buffalo hunts in West Africa where I was there as a backup, but I will remain cautious with my statements because that is not enough for a great experience. I can only say that with a well shot placement, the bigger calibers clearly work better on big game than the smaller ones. I therefore recommend shooting several buffaloes and elephants with different cartridges of different calibers and then to express an opinion, otherwise some of what is written here can be very confusing for inexperienced hunters who want to start with DG hunting. Use enough gun has been the basic rule for decades, the rest is just chatter.
Maybe English isn't your first language... we were actually making the same point. So unclench big boy.

As for the point you highlighted from my post: It was verified after the poacher admitted in court to using a .22 to poach elephant. The verification was done by the head of the game department if I remember correctly. And I stand behind the statement the hitting an elephant in the ass (i.e. a badly placed shot) with the biggest gun on the planet will more than likely get you killed.

So before you brag about your hunting prowess and try to argue from a position of authority go back and read my post. I was explaining why we have to have minimum calibre stipulations because if not any yahoo would be out there with not enough gun!

Have a peachy day!
 
“I lurched up and looked at Mbogo, and Mbogo looked at me. He was 50 to 60 yards off, his head low, his eyes staring right down my soul. He looked at me as if he hated my guts. He looked as if I had despoiled his fiancee, murdered his mother, and burned down his house. He looked at me as if I owed him money.

That's why.
 
“I lurched up and looked at Mbogo, and Mbogo looked at me. He was 50 to 60 yards off, his head low, his eyes staring right down my soul. He looked at me as if he hated my guts. He looked as if I had despoiled his fiancee, murdered his mother, and burned down his house. He looked at me as if I owed him money.

That's why.
And that is exactly the way they are! And at 5 yards they look even more maniacal!
 
I've always wondered why the .375 cal minimum requirement applied to Cape Buffalo in the same way it does to the larger dangerous game ie Hippo, Rhino and Elephant.

Now, I have never hunted Africa and have no direct experience with these game species. I know that Cape Buffalo are known for their toughness, their "meanness" and I've seen videos where they soak up a LOT of lead.

But from an anatomical perspective they are a ~1,600lb Buffalo vs a 3,000lb+ Hippo, 5,000lbs+ Rhino or a 15,000lb+ bull elephant.

They just don't seem to be in the same weight class compared to other megafauna.

Thinking of local examples at home, North Americans hunt the North American Bison which grows larger than Cape Buffalo (to to 2,700lbs) with 30cals like 308, 30-06, 300 WinMag etc.

It sounds like the Australians hunt their Water Buffalo (2,000lbs) with 338's as well but recommend a 375.

So a few questions:
1. Do you believe the caliber restrictions for Cape Buffalo should be the same as the larger African game? i.e. 375.
2. Do you think there should be an exception for using 338's, 35's etc. on Cape buffalo given their effectiveness on other buffalo species around the world?
3. Do you think the 375 minimum is actually too low for hippo, rhino or elephant?

I'm asking these questions as I sit here planning my Bison hunt where I intend to bring my 338WinMag with 250gr partitions.
1. Yes
2.no
3. Hippo ok, rhino never hunter, elephant to light.

This will be a very long thread.
 
When hunting dangerous game one should never ask "can I hunt this animal with this caliber". One should ask "if I'm being charged in heavy cover is this enough gun to stop the charge". What the PH is carrying is irrelevant. What if the PH's gun malfunctions? It is up to us to carry enough gun to stop a charge, not putting the PH or his trackers, or our observers at risk, or ourselves at risk.
Yes, yes, yes. Someone actually understands.

Lon
 
So a few questions:
1. Do you believe the caliber restrictions for Cape Buffalo should be the same as the larger African game? i.e. 375.
2. Do you think there should be an exception for using 338's, 35's etc. on Cape buffalo given their effectiveness on other buffalo species around the world?
3. Do you think the 375 minimum is actually too low for hippo, rhino or elephant?
I was hunting with 375 H&H twice, plains game. And hope to hunt buff with 375 H&H in foreseeable future. I shot number of plains game species from steenbok to eland with 375 H&H.
And judging by effect on steenbok, I believe there is no overkill in hunting. Steenbok droppes on spot, just like my eland.

So, my modest view to your questions.

1. Yes. What works for ele, should work for buff.

2. No. But there are exceptions, in some places 9.3x62, 9.3x64, and 9.3x74R are allowed for buff. But if you go in direction of exceptions, for imaginary example like: minimum 30-06 for leopard, min 338 for buffalo, min 45-70 for lion, min 375 H&H for elephant, etc there will be a mess of regulations. Not practical.
In the same time, as I say, there is no overkill in hunting. 375 H&H also has a manageable recoil, and is proven on largest animals. Average skilled hunter can learn and train to handle 375 H&H.
So, in my view 375 can be accepted as a legal minimum for all DG.

3. No. I would say, 375 is accepatable as a reasonable minimum, for average skilled client. Of course, if you can handle and have available 416 Rigby, then take 416.

Remember, there is no overkill in hunting. Robert Ruarks philosophy was to "bring enough gun". So, bring enough gun.
Start from 375 H&H, and eventual going up more in power is up to you, however, make sure you are skilled enough to make first shot with good shot placement in the field.
So, your skill is limit in rifle power, and big bores require training and trigger time at the range before actual hunt.

O BTW, while for many animals you generally shoot in vital zone, which is very large target, for hippo and croc, and sometimes ele, you shoot at brain. Accuracy is important.
The most accurate shots in hunting, are made on hippo and croc.
(Tennis ball size of target for croc, at range 50 to 100 meters, hippo a bit larger brain, but just a bit out of water)

You miss the brain, hit them around, they will dive, you will not see them again, and will pay for full hunt.
So, for brain shot on croc and hippo: power 375 - 416 - 700 NE, does not matter. Brain shot will anchor them, but you have to make accurate shot, and medium power of 375 will be easier to handle and shoot accurately. This is game of accuracy, not game of power.
 
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When hunting dangerous game one should never ask "can I hunt this animal with this caliber". One should ask "if I'm being charged in heavy cover is this enough gun to stop the charge". What the PH is carrying is irrelevant. What if the PH's gun malfunctions? It is up to us to carry enough gun to stop a charge, not putting the PH or his trackers, or our observers at risk, or ourselves at risk.
Or alternatively, "when and why did this all go pearshaped". Then back to program in progress.
 
The error in logic is to assume that the minimum caliber that can be used says anything about the remaining calibers that could be used. They are just saying don't use less, not suspend your analytical faculties and assume we are saying something we never specified about what cartridges are equivalent for dangerous game.

Possibly not in this particular case, but often as not, the minimum is a stupid choice. If you don't live in too authoritarian a place they may be permissive and leave things up to citizen judgement, so for instance, bike helmet rules normally assume those foam ones that are designed to protect kids while mounting the bike. If you seriously intend to take a lot of falls not a good choice.

Or, they over-regulated. Not only is the 375 good for elephant, it would be fine for T-Rex, but they want to ensure a serious standard. So then the idea it is just as good for two members of the 5 is irrelevant because it is overkill.

It is a government regulation. As the saying goes "two things you never want to know are what goes into sausages, and government rulemaking" The 375 floor could exist because the Director in the original department that came up with it, was known to have it as his favourite gun. Or they decided to cut out the 9.3 to keep the riff raff at bay. All of this has nothing to do with what works when the chips are down for different animals on different terrain.

People who go on Safari like the idea of the big 5 and stopping charges. Maybe the cartridge recommendation is entirely based on the regulatory assumption that the PH will in fact get it done. The 375 minimum is all about the experience. Do you want to go on a hunt where they assume you can get it done with an '06?

I read a study in the old Rifle magazine on grizzly rifles. The more gun the gent used the more shots were required to secure the game. And the more shots were taken by the "PH" also. Two different camps were compared, and one preferred the 375 for their guides, but the other specified the 338 WM because then the gents would be more likely to bring a lighter recoiling rifle. They do ask "what does my guide prefer"

Lots of moving parts.
 
I read a study in the old Rifle magazine on grizzly rifles. The more gun the gent used the more shots were required to secure the game. And the more shots were taken by the "PH" also. Two different camps were compared, and one preferred the 375 for their guides, but the other specified the 338 WM because then the gents would be more likely to bring a lighter recoiling rifle. They do ask "what does my guide prefer"
This sounds very interesting but I am afraid I do not fully understand. Perhaps I get confused about who are the guides, are they the same as the gents? Or are they the PHs? Perhaps I will then be able to grasp it, would really like to as sounds interesting.
 
From memory, the minimum calibre requirements were brought in by the game departments in order to prevent tourists poking the animals with too-weedy calibres; probably the 1911 death of George Grey attempting to use a .280 Ross against lion was the catalyst. Pondoro Taylor writes - again from memory, and I cannot be bothered to look it up - of parts of Kenya where it was impossible walk without treading on cartridge cases.

Four or five years ago, there was a WhatsApp meme video doing the rounds of a couple of South Africans who had gone buffalo hunting with 30-06s. All they did was piss the buffalo off, and there was some unpleasant screaming towards the end when the buffalo took exception. I asked my friend Mr. Swarrie if he knew what the aftermath was; he didn't, but suggested that it was likely that one of them had ended up in a wheelchair.
 
Did the old East African minimum of.40 apply to all Dangerous game, including buffalo?
 

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