Experience shooting small plains game and deer with big bores?

njc110381

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Hi guys. I'm after some feedback please regarding shooting smaller animals with large calibre rifles. I want to take my .416 Rigby out for deer to get more field experience with the gun. The deer I generally shoot are around 15-30kg.

How will it perform? I'm currently using 350gr Barnes TSX but would be happy to pick up something else if needed? Experience so far has shown that pretty much anything slow will knock them over without wrecking them, and the Rigby isn't a fast round. An educated guess tells me it'll be a fairly clean kill without excessive damage and the majority of the energy will end up in the ground behind the deer?

No doubt there will be a few of you who have shot small plains game with this sort of round. I'd be grateful to hear your thoughts. I found a video on Youtube of a German chap hunting roe deer with his .416 but there wasn't really any talk of carcass damage or lardering, only the hunt itself.
 

Nkawu

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Hi there, surely 400gn solids would be well suited to hunting UK deer with minimal meat damage?
How did you go about get stalking permission for a big bore in the UK?
 

USMA84DAB

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Once upon a time I built a .495 A-Square on a left-handed Sako action. In order to train with it, I stalked bunnies in the in-law's windrow of trees around their farm in South Dakota. Farmers hated the rabbits because when the snow deepened in the winter, they would bark the trees in the windrow for food and kill their trees. At first light when I would slip outside and pad into the trees, the fireball from a .495 gets your attention! There was not much left of the bunnies. Great practice though...
 

hammz

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I've seen one hit with a .416 Rigby before. It was pretty much a straight pass through shot behind the shoulders. Very minimal meat damage. Way less than a 300 Win Mag, 7mm Rem Mag, 270, etc. I've taken my 416 Rem deer hunting just because but I've never gotten one with it. I wouldn't hesitate to use the Rigby at all if you enjoy the gun.
 

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I have shot members of the Tiny Ten with both a .300 win mag as well as a .416 Rigby, using Barnes bullets in both cases. (The rifle was usually less a choice than using what I had when the opportunity arose).

In virtually every case where I used the .300, the small animal was severely damaged, in some cases beyond recognition (but always very dead!). In one case, a Salt’s dik dik was blown in half, with bits and pieces all over. The .416 always passed through, leaving a hole, but with no other damage. I expect a big bore will generally cause significantly less damage than a higher velocity but smaller cartridge, and preserve more meat.

If you have no choice but to use a high velocity cartridge, you can try to minimize the damage by trying to avoid hitting bone if you can. This works best on small game; on larger game of course it increases the chances of a lost animal.
 

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3B84ACA5-B50C-487F-A926-E27A5741099B.jpeg

I routinely hunt barking deer with my .458 Winchester Magnum . I use 500 grain Hornady DGS factory loaded solids in order to avoid excessive meat damage .
6F18AC94-2374-4B55-9724-2F731A7B2018.jpeg
 

Stephen Ausband

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I don't have a 416 so can't offer advice there, but I have taken several plains game (from springbuck through impala to gemsbuck, wildebeest, and kudu) using a 375 H&H with 300 grain Swift A-frames in factory Remington loads. I've also taken a couple of deer with it (just because I wanted to hunt with it). With all the smaller species, including deer, the meat damage was much less than that caused by the 270 I normally use for deer, the animals were killed quickly, and (as you said) most of the energy was expended in the dirt on the other side.
 

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Hi guys. I'm after some feedback please regarding shooting smaller animals with large calibre rifles. I want to take my .416 Rigby out for deer to get more field experience with the gun. The deer I generally shoot are around 15-30kg.

How will it perform? I'm currently using 350gr Barnes TSX but would be happy to pick up something else if needed? Experience so far has shown that pretty much anything slow will knock them over without wrecking them, and the Rigby isn't a fast round. An educated guess tells me it'll be a fairly clean kill without excessive damage and the majority of the energy will end up in the ground behind the deer?

No doubt there will be a few of you who have shot small plains game with this sort of round. I'd be grateful to hear your thoughts. I found a video on Youtube of a German chap hunting roe deer with his .416 but there wasn't really any talk of carcass damage or lardering, only the hunt itself.
The bullets are tough enough in general I find it pretty well punches through a whitetail and does not do too much excessive damage with a 375 and 458
 

K E Johnson

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In the state I reside, solids are illegal for deer hunting.
I never had any complaint on 300 grain Sierras boat tails or the few left over 300 grain Partitions I have used on deer. That was with a .375 H&H.
I would not hesitate to use my .416 Rigby if the notion took me. As stated previously, meat damage is minimal.
I have also used 300 grain hollow points in 45/70 in a Contender handgun. I didn’t care for the damage they did. I would use 350 grain soft points instead if I were to hunt with it again.
 

Newboomer

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I've taken several springbok and impala with my 375HH and Barnes 235gr TSX. Pretty much straight pass through with very little meat damage.
 

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I try to exercise all my hunting arms and have used some 40+ caliber rifles as follows:
1895 .405 WCF - pronghorn, deer, Nilgai, hogs, Cape Buff,
Simson .405 WCF DR - hogs, Nilgai, Red deer,
Beretta 45-70 DR - hog,
Winchester 1886 .45-90 - deers, hogs, Blackbuck, Bison, Fallow, Pronghorn, Ele, Cape Buffalos, Leopard, etc.
In all cases the bullets shot through the game except for frontal brain shots with ele where bullets shot through head into body. Minimal meat damage when shots went into rib cage. Exception was when .405 shot entered through left shoulder of 300 pound boar and blew right shoulder off . ??? Don't ask.
 

fourfive8

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Have shot several game with a 416 Rem loaded with both 370 and 400gr solids at about 2350 muzzle velocity. The notion that a smaller bullet is called for for the smaller game is JUST THE OPPOSITE of what you want for minimal meat and hide damage. The caliber and basic "power" potential of the cartridge is already far overkill no matter the bullet weight so the idea is to throttle back the damage by using a tougher bullet at slower velocity. A tougher, heavier thus SLOWER bullet is the better combination. If you shoot a lighter bullet faster or one that might expand, you run the risk of a lot more damage. If you are shooting for example a 300 or 350 grain expanding bullet at a normal higher velocity out of the 416 and hit the animal lengthwise and strike a bone on the way through, you might really see a lot of damage! Most of the time bullets from these larger calibers on smaller "big game" like deer size, will pass right through so have to be aware of what is beyond the target animal. The average hole size on deer size game, entry to exit, in my experience using a solid out of a 416 is about 1/2" to 3/4" and not much meat damage. Really the slower the better if your loads are accurate enough and of course your shots are within practical limits of trajectory for the shooting distance. Even a FMJ or solid in spire point design at a high impact velocity can do a huge amount of damage if the bullet loses stability within the animal. No matter the bullet or caliber... velocity is the overriding enemy if minimal damage is the objective.- it's a kinetic energy thing. :)
 
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mneilh

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Shot my last deer with a 500 grain soft point out of my .458WinMag at 35 yards. I have never seen a deer drop so fast. Much more fun to use larger caliber for hunting and there is very little meat damage.
 

Forrest Halley

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Shot my last deer with a 500 grain soft point out of my .458WinMag at 35 yards. I have never seen a deer drop so fast. Much more fun to use larger caliber for hunting and there is very little meat damage.
This makes me happy. I am planning on shooting a deer with my .458. I think it will be nice not to have to walk beyond the point of impact. The other hunters asking what the heel kind of cannon was that will be icing on the cake. I'm thinking about putting a shell holder full of .410 shotgun shells just to screw with people. Custom made .410 slug gun.
 

IvW

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Shooting smaller plains game with 416 solids in Africa should pose no problem however doing same in the UK may not be a good idea as I would be most concerned with where the bullet would stop.....
 

ChrisG

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Here's a thread I did a few years ago on a smallish black bear that I hit in close. https://www.africahunting.com/threads/got-to-field-test-a-416-ruger.40229/

I don't remember how far he was but it was only like 25-30 yards if I recall correctly. Anyway, I can tell you that a .416, 340 grain Woodleigh Weldcore PP at 2,600fps will knock smaller animals flat. He had a .416 hole in and a tennis ball sized hole out. The off shoulder was pretty mashed and his internals were basically lung soup. He never took a step and when I recovered from the recoil he was just a lump of black fur with a dust cloud hanging over him.

1599657138630.png


The picture in my avatar was a slightly larger bear I took with a .375 H&H 300 grain RNSP. He buckled when I hit him, rolled down the hill about 25 yards and came to rest under a tree. He also never moved after being hit.
 

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Shot a cow elk at 225 yards with my 500 Jeffery two years ago, hope to get a bull this year. Used my normal load of a 570g TSX at 2300 fps. I sight it in 2 1/2" high at 100 yards, so it's dead on at 25 yards and 175 yards. The TSX still expanded at that range and left a desert plate sized exit wound. Bullet exited the animal, which was dead right there. I'll try and get some pictures this year, I'm really bad at that.
 

RayAtkinson

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The 416 and 404 with 400 gr. softs work just fine on smaller antelope and deer. Expect a short run as the bullets have a tough jacket for buffalo and such and don't open up much on light boned animals, for less meat damage shoot PG behind the shoulder, but not much meat on the shoulder and quicker kills if you break them down in the shoulders..
 

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It will work great on deer...just pick the right round.
 

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