Hello from a newbie from PA

PAoutlaw

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Just want to start out by saying I've never been to Africa but I've got it set in my mind and heart that I'm going to get there before I'm too old to enjoy it. And I'm going to take my daughter with me. The big question that I have is one that will start a lot of discussion, but here it is. For Cape Buffalo, What is the cartridge of choice, I've been told to use a .375 but I dont want to be the guy that shows up undergunned. I have shot 45-120's and my inline .50 with 150 grns of powder and a 300 grn tip and 3inch and 3 1/2 inch 12 ga shotguns, so I can handle heavier recoil but I dont have any experiance with dangerous game rounds. If anyone lives close to northeast PA I would be willing to meet with you and try out some big bore rifles too, that would probably help me decide on a cartridge that is enjoyable to shoot. Any advice is appreciated, Thank You
 

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Welcome to AH!

The 375 H&H should be fine, but there is also the 450/400, 404 Jeffrey, 470 NE, 458 Win, 458 Lott, the 416 family (416 Rem, 416 Rigby..etc).
 

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PAoutlaw

Welcome to AH...

You will find a great deal of difference on what makes a good rifle for Cape Buffalo...so be guided carefully...

If you shoot a cape buffalo and it goes down with a 375 H & H great or if you wound one with a 458 not so great...When you walk into the bush after a wounded M'bogo A 500 NE might feel small in your hands at that time...remember you can rent a rifle from your PH if you do not have one...

Cape buffalo, you need to take all the gun that you can shoot accurately...If that is a 375 H & H (which is a great cartridge) that you can consistently make the shot great...

Remember your PH wants you to make a good first shot and will try to get you with in 50 yards...i have seen on camera people who will miss at 30 to 40 yards with a rifle they have difficulty shooting accurately...

If you are looking for a reason to purchase a new rifle (and who is not) then look for something in the 404 Jeffrey, 416 Rigby or Remington with a good low light scope.

Now if you want to move up a notch the 450 NE and Rigby along with the 458 Winchester and Lott are a good move. I would suggest that you look at the availability of ammo then go looking for a rifle you want.
 

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If you consider buffalo taken by clients, not culled, I would guess that more have been taken with a 375H&H than with any other caliber. It will do the job. My personal experience is negligible: two buffalo 1 with a 375 H&H and 1 with a 404 Jeffery. A sample of this size is statistically irrelevant, but based on my limited experience I believe that the 404 hits harder and will put a buffalo down quicker, GIVEN THAT THE BUFFALO IS HIT IN THE HEART/LUNG AREA PROPERLY. Please excuse the shouting but, as pointed out earlier, a good shot with the 375 beats the hell out of a poor shot with anything else, and a poor shot is a poor shot no matter what caliber it is. The 375 is both a caliber that anyone can master and one that can take any animal that walks this earth, which is why PH's generally like to see clients show up with one. In your shoes I would, and did, go with the 375. It will work fine and, should you choose to move up in caliber for ensuing hunts, you will still have an extremely useful rifle that can both back up you big gun and serve as your plainsgame rifle.
 

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Shoot a .375 and practice with it. That's all you need to do.

So many people want to make the Cape Buff an animal with "bullet absorbing, super natural like powers". It's not superman, it's an animal. Pick your shot, take your time, and practice before hand. Bullet placement is more important than anything else in my opinion.
 

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As stated by James "Cape buffalo, you need to take all the gun that you can shoot accurately"
and as put by TerryR "a good shot with the 375 beats the hell out of a poor shot with anything else" The gun you choose is only as good as the man shooting it there fore if you are shooting a gun that scares you then you should be scared of chasing a Cape Buffalo with it. Check with some of your local gun shops and shooting ranges to locate guns you can try out before choosing the one you think will work for you. I have seen shows such as Jim Shockey and others take Cape Buffalo with a Black Powder rifle the min. cal. is 375 (now this will raise some eye brows) 45 cal. or .452 is a larger cal. then .375 I myself shoot a Shapes 45-70 it takes a .458 bullet sense it is a falling block not a trapdoor I use modern 45-70 reloading data it has the same nock down power of a 458 Win Mag would I shoot a cape buffalo with it! YES grave yard dead.

OH and one more thing before I forget

WELCOME TO AH PAoutlaw!!!
 

PAoutlaw

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I thank everyone for the quick replies, as far as shooting accurately I'll probably drive myself nuts with that with any rifle I buy as I'm halfway there already. I am not sure if I will be building a rifle as I have a nice M98 Mauser for a donor rifle or if I will buy a rifle. I have considered a 45-70 bolt action or a 375 ruger or 458 bolt or buying a double in a Nitro Express. I would like to try some rifles first, I'll have to see what I can find. Thank You for your information
 

James.Grage

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You will have to use factory ammo stats when having the foot pounds of energy needed...

Pet reloads will not be taken into account when going after dangerous game....the 375 is listed as minimum with a energy level addressed...

Look at the countries fine print on calibers that are allowed and the energy delivered...
 

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Just as a Note I copied this for everyones info.

Minimum Calibers for Africa

We are often asked often to recommend a particular caliber for Africa. Aside from personal preference several countries have laws requiring minimums for certain species.
Below is a list of minimums by country.

Minimum Equipment Requirements for Rifle Hunting in Africa by Country

Joule = Divide Joule by 1.357 to get ft. lbs.

Zimbabwe
Class A game
Elephant, buffalo, hippo
A minimum bullet diameter of 9.2mm and energy level of 5,300 joules (3,910 ft-lbs) is required. Most outfitters consider the .375 to be a minimum

Class B game
Lion, giraffe, eland
A bullet diameter of at least 7mm (.284) and an energy level of 4,300 joules (3,170 ft-lbs) is necessary.
Most PH's will recommend a .338 mag as minimum on lion

Class C game
Leopard, crocodile, hyena, kudu, sable antelope, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, zebra, nyala, tsessebe, hartebeest, gemsbok, blesbok
A bullet diameter of at least 7mm (.284) and an energy level of 3,000 joules (2,115 ft-lbs) is necessary.

Class D game
Warthog, impala, reedbuck, bushbusk, sitatunga, jackal and animals smaller than 25 kg (56 lbs).
A bullet diameter of at least 5.56mm (.22) and an energy level of 850 joules (630 ft-lbs) is necessary.

South Africa ;)
• Most provinces do not have a minimum equipment requirement for rifle hunting. I typically recommend nothing less than .270 or equivalent
• Some provinces require a minimum of .375 caliber for dangerous or big game hunting.

Mozambique
• There is no minimum equipment requirement for rifle hunting in Mozambique. Like South Africa I would recommend nothing less than .270 or equivalent

Namibia
• Smallest caliber allowed 7 mm (.284).
• Minimum energy (Eo - muzzle velocity)
• Big Game
5400 Joule
(Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Rhino, Lion, etc.)

• Large Game
2700 Joule
(Greater Kudu, Cape Eland, Oryx / Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Hartmann's Zebra, Burchell's Zebra, Giraffe, Sable Antelope, Roan Antelope, Waterbuck, Tsessebe, Leopard, etc.)

• Medium to Small Game
1350 Joule
(Springbok, Impala, Blesbok, Gray Duiker, Steenbok, Ostrich, Caracal, Black-Faced Impala, Red Lechwe, Damara Dik-Dik, Klipspringer, Black-Backed Jackal, Warthog, Cheetah, Nyala, Chacma Baboon, Game Birds, etc.)

Tanzania
• The minimum equipment requirement for rifle hunting in Tanzania is .240 caliber for any game other than dangerous game.
• The minimum equipment requirement for rifle hunting in Tanzania is .375 caliber for dangerous game or big game hunting.

Zambia
• Zambia does not have a minimum equipment requirement for rifle hunting plains game and rely on common sense. Caliber in the .270 range will be well suited for some of the smaller plains game in Zambia.
• The minimum equipment requirement for rifle hunting in Zambia is .300 caliber for dangerous game such as Leopard and Lion. I would recommend .338 for lion as minimum
• The minimum equipment requirement for rifle hunting in Zambia is .375 caliber for dangerous game or big game hunting such as Elephant, Buffalo and Hippo.
 

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Bob Puckett

Thank you for your detail analysis...

Very few people look up this requirement...
 

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As you have already found out, you have come to the right place for info on hunting Africa. So welcome to AH! Now having never hunted cape buffalo I not much help. But as with any animal your shot placement is everything!:huntingrifle: as others have said...any rifle above a .375 will work. Pick a good bullet and practice alot!....good luck!
 

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Welcome to the forum, PA outlaw.

I see the pld timers have given you good advice on the right gun for buffalo.

I shot mine with a .375HH, a neck shot that dropped him on the spot. However, that is a minimum recommendation.

If you can handle it well, I would recommend the .404 Jeffery or .416 Rigby.
 

kududave

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375 H&H is more than enough gun

I have taken two elephants and two cape buffalo not to mention dozens of plains game and an elk and a couple of bears with my .375 H&H. It is plenty of gun in skilled hands. The versitility that comes with the wide range of bullet choices makes it my favorite rifle.

You are far better off with a gun you can shoot well than being "over" gunned with a new big bore. I have heard more than one PH complain about clients buying new guns and not able to shoot them well. Recoil ruins plenty of good shots. Get what ever is legal, .375 H&H or bigger for dangerous game and become an expert with it and you will never be "under" gunned. Many elephants have been taken with tiny calibers by the old time ivory hunters who were great marksman working at very close range and true craftsman when it came to collecting ivory.
 

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Hi PAoutlaw,

Welcome to AH. The info that you have received from the members here are spot, which is exactly why AfricaHunting.com is such a great site! Welcome aboard.

Best Regards
Marius Goosen
KMG Hunting Safaris
 

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