First Safari - I’ll hunt plains game - What caliber?

Forget about the 6.5 CM......it is illegal to use it to hunt buffalo, eland, kudu, wildebeest, oryx or red hartebeest within the Eastern Cape.....
Good point!
 
Hi,

I booked my first Safari which will be in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 2026. I will hunt Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbluk, Springbuk, and Impala.

I might add Sable and Gemsbuk/Oryx. Maybe in the far future I’d look at Zebra, but likely not this trip.

For this trip, I would like to buy a nice bolt action rifle such as the Anchutz 1782 D, which comes in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, and 30-06. What is the lowest recoiling caliber of this bunch that you would find suitable for the trip?

I would like to bring something adequate but not unnecessarily powerful (to the extent there is flexibility).

Thank you!
Hi,

I booked my first Safari which will be in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 2026. I will hunt Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbluk, Springbuk, and Impala.

I might add Sable and Gemsbuk/Oryx. Maybe in the far future I’d look at Zebra, but likely not this trip.

For this trip, I would like to buy a nice bolt action rifle such as the Anchutz 1782 D, which comes in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, and 30-06. What is the lowest recoiling caliber of this bunch that you would find suitable for the trip?

I would like to bring something adequate but not unnecessarily powerful (to the extent there is flexibility).

Thank you!
308, 30.06 but you need to use premium bullets. Nosler Accubonds, Barnes TTSXBT. If I were to use something between a 6.5-308 it would be a 280, 280 AI. Recoils like a 270 hits like a 30.06.

I have a 6.5 Creed.........nice whitetail round, but I just shot a Waterbuck 3 days ago with my 375 h-h. One shot behind the shoulder 60 yards. 1 shot to the neck at 125 yards 3rd shot to the neck finally put him down. Shot a Kudu broad side with the 375 right above the leg a 1/3 of the way up. Perfect heart shot. He ran 100 yards. We gave him 15 minutes, he was still living after tracking him. I had to use a follow up shot.

Blesbuk, Springbuk, Impala are very thin skinned where a 6.5 would easily take them. Kudu, Wildebeest & Gembuk are 3 of the toughest antelopes in Africa, them Waterbuck & Roan. Extremely tough animals. 2014 I was using my 325 wsm premium 200 grain bullets on a Gemsbuck. I has hitting him right behind the shoulder. After 3 shots I looked at my dad & asked him what the hell was going on. The bigger antlelopes can be very tough with good shot placement.

PH and I were talking about the 6.5 a few days ago. He prefers not to see it in Zambia.
 
I'm on the 30-06 bandwagon.

You never know when the only shot that you are going to have on a animal is going to be a tough shot for a lighter caliber such as the 6.5's. Those extra 30+ grains of bullet are going to make a lot of difference on those kind of shots.
 
Hi,

I booked my first Safari which will be in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 2026. I will hunt Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbluk, Springbuk, and Impala.

I might add Sable and Gemsbuk/Oryx. Maybe in the far future I’d look at Zebra, but likely not this trip.

For this trip, I would like to buy a nice bolt action rifle such as the Anchutz 1782 D, which comes in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, and 30-06. What is the lowest recoiling caliber of this bunch that you would find suitable for the trip?

I would like to bring something adequate but not unnecessarily powerful (to the extent there is flexibility).

Thank you!
Take a 7 x57. Get some Barnes made by Hendershots.
 
Of the Calibers you listed I would choose the 30-06, a classic of it’s own. But if you really want to African it up a little think about getting a .375H&H or 9.3x62. Both are African Classics and suitible for African and North American Game. My last trip to Namibia was with one rifle, a .375H&H and I was neither over or under gunned, it was perfect.
 
Hi,

I booked my first Safari which will be in the Eastern Cape of South Africa in 2026. I will hunt Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbluk, Springbuk, and Impala.

I might add Sable and Gemsbuk/Oryx. Maybe in the far future I’d look at Zebra, but likely not this trip.

For this trip, I would like to buy a nice bolt action rifle such as the Anchutz 1782 D, which comes in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, and 30-06. What is the lowest recoiling caliber of this bunch that you would find suitable for the trip?

I would like to bring something adequate but not unnecessarily powerful (to the extent there is flexibility).

Thank you!
Of the three cartridges that you listed, I would go with the .30-06. I will say though that I have taken a kudu and a zebra with my '06 using 180 gr. Partitions. I felt it was a little light. The vitals on African game is a little further forward than we are used to in NA. Knowing this, I felt that a .300 Win. Mag with 200 gr. AccuBonds would be give me a little better advantage on bigger PG so that a bullet could break the heavy shoulder bones and penetrate to the vitals. I had planned on taking an eland, but a really big waterbuck showed up first. He, a great nyala and a couple of smaller critters all promptly died with a single shot.

Whichever cartridge you choose to go with, as others have said, get a copy of Kevin Robertson's book "The Perfect Shot." You'll learn a lot from it. Knowing where the best bullet placement goes is half the battle.

Good luck, and enjoy your first safari!

Doug
 
My favorite plains game calibers are:
1) .30-06 Springfield
IMG_1403.jpeg
IMG_1404.jpeg
IMG_1405.jpeg
IMG_1406.jpeg
IMG_1407.jpeg
IMG_2691.jpeg
IMG_2692.jpeg

2) 7x57mm Mauser
IMG_1512.jpeg
IMG_2307.jpeg
IMG_1800.jpeg
IMG_1532.jpeg
IMG_1531.jpeg
IMG_1533.jpeg
IMG_2749.jpeg


While I've successfully taken all the African plains game (up to the size of bull eland) with one-shot kills from both calibers, the .30-06 Springfield (with 220Gr bullets) gets a strong endorsement from me for that kudu which you've got on your menu. Shot placement becomes extremely critical with any smaller caliber, and your margin for error is completely nonexistent.

Anschutz builds an excellent product. Here's one of their 1967 made .30-06 Springfields built on a pre 1966 Savage Model 110 action (a brief collaboration between Anschutz & Savage exclusively for sale through Waffen Frankonia in Germany) which I bought my grandson. It will hopefully see use in Zambia next year, for plains game. I successfully took a gigantic seladang bull in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand with it in 1979.

IMG_20230926_161134_01.jpg
 
Last edited:
most important is practicing off of sticks, you can use a camera tripod
Many have never taken a shot off sticks and it can be upsetting
 
But it’s just as great with a good 308.
 
Nothing stays alive, well hit with a 375.
 
But they’ll think they’re in heaven when you show up with a 7x57.
 
Using premium bullets, 165 gr 30-06 is plenty for any critter up to and including moose/elk/kudu. In the cup-and-core days I would shoot 180 gr ... or 190 Hornady bullets for moose. That was a great bullet for big bovids. I seem to recall rumors Hornady would bring that weight back into production. They should. It is ideal in 30-06 and with modern metallurgy, I think it would be the perfect bullet for eland and roan.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
55,782
Messages
1,188,004
Members
97,358
Latest member
BusterKrus
 

 

 
 
Top