Elephant Frontal Brain Shot Placement

Flint

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Totally out of my league. With no physical experience. Although.
After a lifetime of studying shot placement. Concentrating on the stance/attitude/elevation of animals on nature programs for many hours. Reading all I could get my hands on and being privileged to visit one of the grossest overpopulated and mismanaged sanctuaries for African elephant, am I confident that I can handle the situation of a stationary animal. Head on.
All. Of cause. With a suitable calibre and proper bullet.
In contrast do people with experience state that a moving or infuriated animal's head is never in the same place, position , or kept still. And very difficult to dispatch. Which I have taken note of. Quite pertinently.

Also is there a lot of advice taking a side brain shot the first time out. And scores more advice. Which is appreciated. But if there will be only one opportunity. My call is for facing the animal. And in which case one will ascertain the bullet goes where it must.

How comfortable are you taking a frontal brain shot on an elephant. standing still. The first time out? Regarding specifically a frontal brain shot.
 
It is likely the toughest shot in Africa. I will have to study up before my August Zim Safari. I wish I had time to go to SAAM and take the Safari Prep course again. They have moving targets including ele.
 
I understand your post so well Flint because I was there for almost 2 years, waiting for my elephant hunt to start.

I will say that I was as close to 100% confident at taking a brain shot as can be, for someone who had never hunted elephant before.

I know that this is a bold statement and that many will instantly jump onto the keyboard to lecture, pontificate and patronize, but hear me out: I was confident because I had done my homework.

Again, I know that some will say that one cannot learn elephant hunting without having done a lot of elephant hunting, but I disagree. I absolutely believe that one can learn a whole lot about elephant hunting (and a lot of other things) without being in the process of actually doing it. This is the very premise of the educational system: instructional books, pictures, lectures, demonstrations - all of the above now conveniently packaged in educational videos - can teach a lot, and dedicated and focused learning can produce amazing knowledge and readiness. If this was not a true concept, and if it was not possible to be ready for something that one has never done before, through studying it only, we could never have landed men on the Moon in 1969...

I too had read much of Africana, studied shot placements (including right here on AH in the Shot Placement section - see Home Page), and spent hours in various zoos or preserves studying elephants anatomy "live", but the true catalyst for me to test my theoretical knowledge of the brain shot was Buzz Charlton's absolutely fundamental Hunting the African Elephant video, including its tutorial Shot Placement sequences where actual shots are analyzed with visual aids.

I likely watched this DVD 30 or 40 times. Certainly, one is not in the field hunting elephant, but this is a second best, or maybe even better, because Buzz explains and teaches incredibly well. I am not an academic, but I happen to have earned an MBA and a professional PhD, and I have never been exposed to better teaching...

This video is the best money one could ever dream of spending in preparation to an elephant hunt. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. Actually, Buzz's video allows to practice by placing the shot mentally, then comparing with where a killing or missing shot is placed, and where the brain actually is. By the time I had it 100% right, time and again, I felt ready.

1645314578914.png


Then I practiced the shot with the rifle and ammo I was going to use during the hunt, on a target that emulated as closely the brain, as I could come up with. I ended up drawing my own:

Brain Shot 50 yd Norma PH FMJ.JPG

3 lefts and 3 rights .470 NE at 50 yards on a target emulating the frontal elephant brain on a medium size bull (an oval 8" wide and 5" high). A side brain shot also offers an oval target, but it is wider...

It took shooting a few different loads to find the one that regulates the best in my Krieghoff, and while the Hornady DGS, the Barnes Banded Solid, the Federal Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer, and a few others would all have worked, the Norma PH Woodleigh FMJ produced the best group and gave me the confidence I wanted.


In the end, I did not take a brain shot, because my chance came late in the hunt on a quartering away elephant, moving away rapidly across a clearing at 58 meters, and I took 2 body shots with my scoped .375 H&H R8, but I practice-aimed numerous times at elephant brains (cows and small tuskers) from the side and the front during the hunt, and felt entirely confident that I had it right, in relation to either/or/and ear hole, temporal gland, eye (side shot) and zygomatic arches (front shot).

As to taking a brain shot on a rapidly moving elephant, or past 50 yards, this is a different game altogether. All I can say is that I did not even consciously think about grabbing the scoped .375 when my shot came. It was entirely and completely unconsciously obvious to me that trying the brain shot with the double at that moment was unthinkable...
 
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Checked out:

 
I understand your post so well Flint because I was there for almost 2 years, waiting for my elephant hunt to start.

I will say that I was as close to 100% confident at taking a brain shot as can be, for someone who had never hunted elephant before.

I know that this is a bold statement and that many will instantly jump onto the keyboard to lecture, pontificate and patronize, but hear me out: I was confident because I had done my homework.

Again, I know that some will say that one cannot learn elephant hunting without having done a lot of elephant hunting, but I disagree. I absolutely believe that one can learn a whole lot about elephant hunting (and a lot of other things) without being in the process of actually doing it. This is the very premise of the educational system: instructional books, pictures, lectures, demonstrations - all of the above now conveniently packaged in educational videos - can teach a lot, and dedicated and focused learning can produce amazing knowledge and readiness. If this was not a true concept, and if it was not possible to be ready for something that one has never done before, through studying it only, we could never have landed men on the Moon in 1969...

I too had read much of Africana, studied shot placements (including right here on AH in the Shot Placement section - see Home Page), and spent hours in various zoos or preserves studying elephants anatomy "live", but the true catalyst for me to test my theoretical knowledge of elephant hunting and of the brain shot was Buzz Charlton's absolutely fundamental Hunting the African Elephant video, including its tutorial Shot Placement sequences where shots are analyzed, with tutorial visual aids.

I likely watched this DVD 30 or 40 times. Certainly, one is not in the field hunting elephant, but this is a second best, or maybe even better, because Buzz explains and teaches incredibly well. I am not an academic, but I happen to have earned an MBA and professional PhD, and I have never been exposed to better teaching...

This video is the best money one could ever dream of spending in preparation to an elephant hunt. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. Actually, Buzz video allows to practice by placing the shot mentally, then comparing with where he would place the shot. BY the time I had it 100% time and again, I felt ready.

View attachment 453596

Then I practiced the shot with the rifle and ammo I was going to use during the hunt, on a target that emulated as closely the brain, as I could come up with. I ended up drawing my own:

View attachment 453598
3 lefts and 3 rights .470 NE at 50 yards on a target emulating the frontal elephant brain on a medium size bull (an oval 8" wide and 5" high). A side brain shot also offers an oval target, but it is wider...

It took shooting a few different loads to find the one that regulates the best in my Krieghoff, and while the Hornady DGS, the Barnes Banded Solid, the Federal Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer, would all have worked, the Norma PH with Woodleigh FMJ produced the best group and gave me the confidence I wanted.


In the end, I did not take a brain shot, because my chance came late in the hunt on a quartering away elephant, moving away rapidly across a clearing at 58 meters, and I took 2 body shots with my scoped .375 H&H R8, but I practice-aimed numerous times at elephant brains (cows and small tuskers) from the side and the front during the hunt, and felt entirely confident that I had it right, in relation to either/or/and ear hole, temporal gland, eye (side shot) and zygomatic arches (front shot).

As to taking the brain shot on a rapidly moving elephant, or past 50 yards, this is a different game altogether. All I can say is that I did not even consciously think about grabbing the scoped .375, when the situation arose. It was entirely and completely unconsciously obvious to me that trying the brain shot with the double was unthinkable...

Buzz Charlton's video is fantastic. Definitely an empirical work on the subject.
 
Buzz Charlton's video is fantastic. Definitely an empirical work on the subject.
It’s the video I studied over and over again prior to my elephant hunt on your advice Wheels.
 
3ABA6496-2407-4EE9-8C46-22C72DCE981F.jpeg
The moment this picture was taken the bull had just turned away from me and the pros were saying don’t shoot because he was moving. He had been facing me with his head held high and I was about to take the most difficult ever. However, it was not to be on that day. I got the bull with a side brain shot the following morning two or three miles from where I attempted this shot. Take @Wheels advice and get the video put out by Buzz Charlton and you will not be sorry.
 
It is likely the toughest shot in Africa. I will have to study up before my August Zim Safari. I wish I had time to go to SAAM and take the Safari Prep course again. They have moving targets including ele.

Mr. Glass.
At https://www.ronthomsonshuntingbooks.co.za is a book available named Mahohboh.
Cereainly. As as regards elephant. And to my judgement. One of the very best tuitions available. For happenings in a more modern era. From the wanderings of an elephant hunter by WDM Bell is there a wealth of learning to be had as well. It could be that I personally just relate to Ron Thomson. Better. or what ever. This is my elephant black book.
And, In my humble opinion again. After parting with a great deal of sovereigns to accomplish your. And the elephant hunts of so many other. Is the money expended. Versus the experience gained in acquiring this marvel. A drop in the ocean. I rest my case. And I'll be a mopane fly on your hat. During your hunt.
Enjoy.
 

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I understand your post so well Flint because I was there for almost 2 years, waiting for my elephant hunt to start.

I will say that I was as close to 100% confident at taking a brain shot as can be, for someone who had never hunted elephant before.

I know that this is a bold statement and that many will instantly jump onto the keyboard to lecture, pontificate and patronize, but hear me out: I was confident because I had done my homework.

Again, I know that some will say that one cannot learn elephant hunting without having done a lot of elephant hunting, but I disagree. I absolutely believe that one can learn a whole lot about elephant hunting (and a lot of other things) without being in the process of actually doing it. This is the very premise of the educational system: instructional books, pictures, lectures, demonstrations - all of the above now conveniently packaged in educational videos - can teach a lot, and dedicated and focused learning can produce amazing knowledge and readiness. If this was not a true concept, and if it was not possible to be ready for something that one has never done before, through studying it only, we could never have landed men on the Moon in 1969...

I too had read much of Africana, studied shot placements (including right here on AH in the Shot Placement section - see Home Page), and spent hours in various zoos or preserves studying elephants anatomy "live", but the true catalyst for me to test my theoretical knowledge of the brain shot was Buzz Charlton's absolutely fundamental Hunting the African Elephant video, including its tutorial Shot Placement sequences where actual shots are analyzed with visual aids.

I likely watched this DVD 30 or 40 times. Certainly, one is not in the field hunting elephant, but this is a second best, or maybe even better, because Buzz explains and teaches incredibly well. I am not an academic, but I happen to have earned an MBA and a professional PhD, and I have never been exposed to better teaching...

This video is the best money one could ever dream of spending in preparation to an elephant hunt. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough. Actually, Buzz's video allows to practice by placing the shot mentally, then comparing with where a killing or missing shot is placed, and where the brain actually is. By the time I had it 100% right, time and again, I felt ready.

View attachment 453596

Then I practiced the shot with the rifle and ammo I was going to use during the hunt, on a target that emulated as closely the brain, as I could come up with. I ended up drawing my own:

View attachment 453598
3 lefts and 3 rights .470 NE at 50 yards on a target emulating the frontal elephant brain on a medium size bull (an oval 8" wide and 5" high). A side brain shot also offers an oval target, but it is wider...

It took shooting a few different loads to find the one that regulates the best in my Krieghoff, and while the Hornady DGS, the Barnes Banded Solid, the Federal Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer, and a few others would all have worked, the Norma PH Woodleigh FMJ produced the best group and gave me the confidence I wanted.


In the end, I did not take a brain shot, because my chance came late in the hunt on a quartering away elephant, moving away rapidly across a clearing at 58 meters, and I took 2 body shots with my scoped .375 H&H R8, but I practice-aimed numerous times at elephant brains (cows and small tuskers) from the side and the front during the hunt, and felt entirely confident that I had it right, in relation to either/or/and ear hole, temporal gland, eye (side shot) and zygomatic arches (front shot).

As to taking a brain shot on a rapidly moving elephant, or past 50 yards, this is a different game altogether. All I can say is that I did not even consciously think about grabbing the scoped .375 when my shot came. It was entirely and completely unconsciously obvious to me that trying the brain shot with the double at that moment was unthinkable...

One Day...
Your suggestion for home-tuition by means of this complete guide is of great value. Thank you.
And your account of preparation towards your quest for zero defect. Certainly flawless.
There is very few replacements for the self-acqusitioning of the most possible self-confidence.
Thank you very much for sharing!
 
View attachment 453617The moment this picture was taken the bull had just turned away from me and the pros were saying don’t shoot because he was moving. He had been facing me with his head held high and I was about to take the most difficult ever. However, it was not to be on that day. I got the bull with a side brain shot the following morning two or three miles from where I attempted this shot. Take @Wheels advice and get the video put out by Buzz Charlton and you will not be sorry.

Yes CAustin.
I can dream of a pie-in-the-sky of a perfect frontal brain shot.
Although. If it is not presented. That is the exact short. And final answer,
Thank you for your comment.
 
Experienced elephant hunters can visiolize the position of the brain in the head of an elephant from all angles....
Biggest mistake made is that people imagine the brain to be in the front of that massive head which it is not it sits far back and is about the size of a football or rugby ball.
Draw a cross from the right earhole to left eye and and vise versa also use the zygomatic bones/arches as a referance.
The aiming point will change dramatically depending on the distance as well postion of the head at the time of the shot.
Shooting too high is the most common problem with the frontal brain shot.
Also be carefull of the tusk sockets probably the hardest bone of any animal especially if the frontal shot is at an angle and not full frontal
 
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Thank you for the tip on Mr. Charlton's video @One Day... .

I read here and also in other discussions on elephant frontal brain shot's, about the zygomatic arches.
Often it is written something like "when attempting the frontal brain shot, use the zygomatic arches to orient your shot, as a reference" but I have never found it clear how one specifically needs to use the reference to the zygomatic arches, to deduce bullet placement.

Is this correct?
1645362760218.png
 
...For any brain shot, pay close attention to the advice of your P/H
 
Mr. Glass.
At https://www.ronthomsonshuntingbooks.co.za is a book available named Mahohboh.
Cereainly. As as regards elephant. And to my judgement. One of the very best tuitions available. For happenings in a more modern era. From the wanderings of an elephant hunter by WDM Bell is there a wealth of learning to be had as well. It could be that I personally just relate to Ron Thomson. Better. or what ever. This is my elephant black book.
And, In my humble opinion again. After parting with a great deal of sovereigns to accomplish your. And the elephant hunts of so many other. Is the money expended. Versus the experience gained in acquiring this marvel. A drop in the ocean. I rest my case. And I'll be a mopane fly on your hat. During your hunt.
Enjoy.
Thanks. Ele #2 coming up.
 
I’ll add to the list regarding the buzz Charlton dvds. They are a must for any elephant hunter.
 
Thank you for the tip on Mr. Charlton's video @One Day... .

I read here and also in other discussions on elephant frontal brain shot's, about the zygomatic arches.
Often it is written something like "when attempting the frontal brain shot, use the zygomatic arches to orient your shot, as a reference" but I have never found it clear how one specifically needs to use the reference to the zygomatic arches, to deduce bullet placement.

Is this correct?
View attachment 453637

Yes, VertigoBE using the zygomatic arches to place the front shot is THE reference, however the shot you pictured is not good.

This is not because you miss the concept, this is because your knowledge of anatomy is inaccurate.

The protuberances you use to draw "the broom stick" are not the zygomatic arches but the ridges of the eye sockets. Wrong! The zygomatic arches are lower, where the lower jaw articulates in the skull (see blue arrows). The common designation is "cheekbone".

The proper frontal brain shot here is "lower" than you depicted (see green "broom stick" that you are shooting to break, and green location of the brain).

I do not pretend to be an expert, because I am not, but this would be my shot...

1645472803254.png


Using the zygomatic arches as an external reference gives the proper shooting angle to reach the brain regardless of how the elephant carries its head. If the elephant is looking straight at you, the zygomatic arches are about at eye level. If it is carrying its head high on a threatening or listening posture, the zygomatic arches will appear to be below eye level (as is the case in this picture). If it is charging with its head low, the zygomatic arches will appear to be above eye level.
 
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Mr. Glass.
At https://www.ronthomsonshuntingbooks.co.za is a book available named Mahohboh.
Cereainly. As as regards elephant. And to my judgement. One of the very best tuitions available. For happenings in a more modern era. From the wanderings of an elephant hunter by WDM Bell is there a wealth of learning to be had as well. It could be that I personally just relate to Ron Thomson. Better. or what ever. This is my elephant black book.
And, In my humble opinion again. After parting with a great deal of sovereigns to accomplish your. And the elephant hunts of so many other. Is the money expended. Versus the experience gained in acquiring this marvel. A drop in the ocean. I rest my case. And I'll be a mopane fly on your hat. During your hunt.
Enjoy.
Kevin Robertson's books are fantastic for this, but even Bell's books feature diagrams (not just with a dot, but lines showing the shot angles.) I agree with what has been said of the difficulty to hit this deflated sideways football for the first-timer, and thus had that frontal shot briefly presented (i might owe high BP to that!), and then the "5 gal bucket" heart/lung shot presented when he spun (Son putting another solid high in the back of 1 lung when he bolted away in the shadows of the forest and was found piled up at the nearest watering hole a couple hundred yards away or less. With that frontal shot (or an equally quick side brain in capable hands), he'd have dropped ten feet, straight down (or to one side)! I'd be comfy w/ the side brain shot if not rushed so much, and probably with the frontal at this juncture, once you've looked over many dozens (including scoping several,) but I'd rather prefer having time to execute the best shot possible, taking little chance with DG. Always solids on elephant! This one must've been talking to the buffalo, because for a moment I felt like I owed him a LOT of money (not just the eye-popping stare, but the mock charge and trumpeting before he spun and bolted)!!!
 

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