HUNTING Giraffe

Hunting Giraffe Shot Placement

Post your questions, comments or pictures relating to hunting shot placement.

Hunting Giraffe
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Hunting Giraffe
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I shot mine with a 450/400.......8times and 8 miles later he was dead!

Those vitals are high and tight on that front leg. My first 2 shots were 3" back from perfect.

I think 338 is fine.

Put it where it belongs or you'll get to watch trackers for a while
 
I load the 416 Weatherby with an intermediate load going about 2,600 at the muzzle which is almost 200 fps faster than the 416 Remington. It is accurate but the recoil will loosen teeth so I should modify the above. The 416 Weatherby is highly accurate IF you can stand it. I've had a couple of retinal problems and I wouldn't be surprised if that Weatherby was a factor. It also has another negative. At the time I bought it, Weatherby wouldn't sell it without a muzzle break which may cut the recoil slightly….but…you need to be extremely cautious that there's nobody standing where they might receive the sideways muzzle blast.

I love to experiment, so I asked myself how the recoil of a 10 gauge magnum shotgun compared with the 416 weatherby if you take it to a RIFLE range. That is to say, what is the recoil of a 10 gauge magnum shotgun like if you sit at the bench, aim it carefully and s q u e e z e it off. Well, old 10 gauge is a whopper but still doesn't compared to Mr. Weatherby's 416.

The 416 Weatherby wound [solid] on that gut shot bull elephant I mentioned was an EXIT wound. The bullet shot through a clump of thick bamboo and completely thru the elephant. The entrance would have been higher and further forward on the opposite side. My guess is that it caught the liver or spleen and the animal bled out.

I certainly believe in 'using enough gun' and, in case an animal does run off and needs tracking, I much prefer a weapon that will shoot clean thru the beast leaving a bleeding exit wound. I have used the 300 Winchester, loaded with 180 Nosler partitions a lot and have been well-satisfied although the bullet is usually mushroomed up under the far side skin in an intermediate size animal [no exit wound]. So I've experimented with the Barnes TSX in several calibers. I get more exit wounds but you get 'nuthin' for nuthin'. It only mushrooms up [cloverleafs] to about 60% of the comparable Nosler partition.

Another weapon and bullet I've experimented extensively with are the 220 Swift loaded with a 45 grain Barnes solid. This is no giraffe rifle, obviously, but what a zinger! I mostly shoot feral hogs with it. I don't shoot them in the head but in the chest from various angles. I've shot maybe 25 hogs with it now and all have gone down as if poleaxed. The largest I've shot was a 300 pounder, as big as they get out here. If shot broadside, the tiny bullet shoots clean thru even if it hits major bone. The bullet doesn't seem to tumble. I've shot a few deer with it including one major buck. No deer have escaped. I also shot a mountain lion that happened to sneak some deer I was watching. He was going almost straight away. I shot him in the rear abdomen and the bullet came out under his chin.
 
That's a very interesting post.
As far as the Weatherby is concerned, the main issue is recoil. Excessive recoil tends to cause flinching and misses. If you can shoot well with the gun then there's no harm in having a bit more energy, but not everyone can shoot well with such a hot round. Bullet failure can also become a problem, especially at short range. All in all, no-one needs more than 2400fps with a 416 round as that will already go through an elephant side on and will penetrate a buffalo from end to end.
Another problem one has to be careful about with a lot of the hotter loads is wounding animals which have no been seen. The 338's and 416's are known for this on account of their very high sectional densities.
Having a nice, big exit wound is a definite plus when it comes to tracking a wounded animal but see what I have said about the risk of wounding additional animals.
I have tried using the Nosler rounds in a couple of my rifles. At closer ranges and on tougher animals I find that the front part tends to explode , leaving only the rear button intact. That part then does not exit and internal/meat damage is extensive. In my book this makes the Nosler round great for cats but not for anything you may want to eat - save at fairly long ranges. I also don't like it on anything with heavy bones as the destruction of the front half results in a loss of around 50% of the projectile mass.
I therefore tend to prefer bonded softs or monolithics (Barnes, Peregrine, etc. Perigrine has the edge over Barnes in heavy calibres in my opinion.)
On the issue of recoil comparisons, I have also done the shotgun thing. I know its very subjective but I think that the recoil of a .458 WM (properly hand loaded) is roughly like firing both barrels of a 12gg simultaneously - it hurts a bit, but it doesnt kill you.
 
Took one in April of this year unfortunately my 318 wr double was in the shop .....was culling and this guy needed to go ......one shot on the neck a metre and a half from the head and he disappeared dropped to the shot as we approached I put a heart shot in he was gone but wanted to see 180gr sp would do .......got through the skin and not much further
 
Referring to 180g sp I assume you were using a .308 or 30-06. That is not ideal for a chest shot on a giraffe as the skin is thick and tough.
have heard of a few being taken with chest shots using these cals but didn't ask about specific bullet choice. I am sure a 15o to 180g monolithic should do it as that actually takes out a buffalo if correctly placed -behind the ear is best. (Yep, you can take out a buff with one shot using a .308 or 30-06, but you have to shoot it in the right place).
All that having been said, best placement with a light calibre is the middle to top part of the neck. You will probably break the spine. Even if you don't, the sudden loss of blood pressure to the brain will cause it to go down immediately.
The professional cullers in my area shoot them in the top half of the neck, and they all just drop on the spot.
Its generally an easy shot as giraffe will very often just stand and look at you , and even if the body is obscured the head and upper part of the neck will generally be clear.
 
I love stalking giraffe, and I believe I have taken 5, but it may be more.

My first few were taken with a chest shot, which as has been noted will usually have you covering some distance for recovery, if the shot is good. If the shot is bad, you may never recover the giraffe. This is not an animal which will run a bit and look back once it's been shot.

Fortunately, it is an animal which will often stop and look back before it gets shot, or more would get away. And the last couple of mine have been high neck shots - a bit lower than shown in the pictures Jerome posted. The giraffe drops as if hit by lightening. You don't need a large caliber for this shot - I have used a .300 win mag, but as usual, bigger is better if you're comfortable with it and can make a good shot. The shot isn't particularly forgiving - but if you miss, there's at least a reasonable chance the animal won't be touched at all.
 
I'll be pursuing giraffe next year. Sounds like the neck shot is the way to go.
 
Giraffes actually go down surprisingly easily. I know of quite a few taken with heart/lung shots using a .308win , and the guys who cull them in the area I hunt in use only a 243 for that purpose.
Obviously you have to shoot in the right place as there's a whole lot of body and a shot in the gut or butt isn't going to do it, but basically it goes down very easily. I think the reason is the high blood pressure combined with the distance the blood has to go uphill in order to reach the brain.
Bottom line is that a 338WM is more than enough gun - 250g bonded or 225g monometal.
(Bear in mind that a monometal bullet fired from a 338WM can go right through a buffalo and accidentally take out a second one!)

I only have experience with one giraffe which I shot with a 220 gr 338-06 placed high neck. The bullet hit but did not penetrate the vertebra and did not exit (I recovered the bullet). The bullet did cause sufficient hemorrhaging so that I was able to place a heart shot after about 200 yards of flight. The heart shot immediately toppled it but also did not exit. Given the thickness of the vertebra and the breadth of the animal, I wouldn't want to use anything smaller than a 338.
 
full
 
That's a very interesting post.
As far as the Weatherby is concerned, the main issue is recoil. Excessive recoil tends to cause flinching and misses. If you can shoot well with the gun then there's no harm in having a bit more energy, but not everyone can shoot well with such a hot round. Bullet failure can also become a problem, especially at short range. All in all, no-one needs more than 2400fps with a 416 round as that will already go through an elephant side on and will penetrate a buffalo from end to end.
Another problem one has to be careful about with a lot of the hotter loads is wounding animals which have no been seen. The 338's and 416's are known for this on account of their very high sectional densities.
Having a nice, big exit wound is a definite plus when it comes to tracking a wounded animal but see what I have said about the risk of wounding additional animals.
I have tried using the Nosler rounds in a couple of my rifles. At closer ranges and on tougher animals I find that the front part tends to explode , leaving only the rear button intact. That part then does not exit and internal/meat damage is extensive. In my book this makes the Nosler round great for cats but not for anything you may want to eat - save at fairly long ranges. I also don't like it on anything with heavy bones as the destruction of the front half results in a loss of around 50% of the projectile mass.
I therefore tend to prefer bonded softs or monolithics (Barnes, Peregrine, etc. Perigrine has the edge over Barnes in heavy calibres in my opinion.)
On the issue of recoil comparisons, I have also done the shotgun thing. I know its very subjective but I think that the recoil of a .458 WM (properly hand loaded) is roughly like firing both barrels of a 12gg simultaneously - it hurts a bit, but it doesnt kill you.
I'm fascinated. I've shot literally hundreds of animals up to the size kudu with a 180 grain nosler partitions in 300 Win mag loaded to go about 3000 fps. I'm a pathologist so I'm particularly interested in wound channels and bullet failures. I'm known over much of southern African as that 'idiot crawling around bloody carcasses.' Therefore, except in some small animals, where the partition shot thru and thru, I've recovered almost all bullets fired.

I've had exactly one partition bullet failure. The failure was much as you described with loss of mass--primarily lead--in front of the partition. The large majority of the bullets that 'stuck' were mushroomed perfectly under the far side skin. I'm also somewhat an aficionado of the Barnes Triple Shock bullet but have seen a solitary failure here, too. It was a 130 grain, 'store bought' 270. The animal was a 12 point whitetail buck struck in the humerus [mid-shoulder] at about 100 yds. The bone was fractured but the deer ran off and was found two months later one mile and a half away. The slug fell out of the buck's HEAD as I was boiling it out. The front of the bullet was planed backward as if had obliqued off of the humerus or some other hard structure.

So few bullets are absolutely perfect but some bullets--some very expensive bullets--have performed miserably in my hands. We had some perfectly negative experiences in the Zambesi Valley, years ago. I will not mention the bullet because the manufacturer threatened me with a lawsuit if I ever did. Suffice it to say it was a very expensive premium bullet in 375 that weighed more than 280 grains.

And the shotgun comparison. Did you shoot it from the bench? Firing a 12 gauge the way they're usually fired i.e. at a rapidly moving, generally flying, target is definitely NOT the same thing as firing the shotgun from a bench as you would a rifle. The dynamics of your body moving, swinging and PULLING the trigger makes perceived recoil so much less. This goes doubly for the mighty 10 gauge magnum. Sitting down on the bench, pulling the stock tight against your shoulder, aiming carefully and S Q U E E Z I N G the trigger is just a whole lot of fun.

By the way, do you, or anyone else, here, have experience reloading and hunting with Woodleigh bullets?
 
Brought mine down with a kimber .300 dropped straight down with a shot in the neck right where it meets the body we were looking for a higher shot but all the trees didnt allow for a clean shot. Second shot in heart to finish him off.
 
Bit late but I have reloaded and hunted with Woodleigh's. Re the soft nose, if impact velocity is with-in the recommended velocities they perform well. Push them harder and they expand retain a lot of weight but mushroom quite wide so this effects penetration depth. In my 35Sambar I have shot Sambar Deer and on a couple occasions the impact velocity would have been at least 200fps faster than recommended. They were found under the opposite skin - broke a shoulder on one and ribs + opposite leg. Expanded to little over 2 twice the diameter and retained between 70 & 80% of bullet weight from memory.

They had complaints about the 300grain 375 expanding to readily and not providing sufficient penetration so now have two 300 grainers. The standard and a new one with a thicker jacket for better penetration.

The only Woodleigh's I have used on very large animals are the Hydro's in 416 calibre. Their 410 grain 416 soft point, front shot quartering shot at a Blue Wildebeest just over 100mts, ended up against the skin just in front of the back leg. Yet in a Warthog front on at 40mts no exit.

So limited experience on big game.
 
I shot a giraffe last month with my 9.3x62 and 285 Norma oryx bullets. Could not have been more pleased with results. It was very difficult to approach any giraffe we saw close enough to use my .450-400 N.E. 3" Double rifle, for which I limit shots to 100M or less. So I took the 9.3, and shot a young, cull bull at somewhere between 176 M ( ranged) and perhaps 200 M. He walked a bit after we determined the range and before the shot. First shot did the job, diagonal and high through the front of the chest just passing over the heart passing through both lungs and lodging under the far side shoulder blade. Two more shots as he turned and slowly walked only 20 more steps were less perfect hits but were not necessary. I was very impressed with how thick their hide is. Quite a challenge for many bullets to penetrate I without fragmenting. But the Norma was up to the task. Bullet retained 96% of its weight and opened wide and penetrated well.
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Just in the last 10 days I shot 3 management giraffe from 40 yds to 80 yds. Two younger..4 to 5 yrs...male and female and an older female. The two younger were neck shots just below head....dropped fast on one and dropped in place on the other...DRT...shot the older female in the shoulder..lung....recovered bullet on far side just under the skin...220 grain Nosler partition...30 06...2450 FPS. Older female travelled less than 40 yds. Only recovered bullet, front gone. Like a hand grenade shrapnel in the lungs from the front lead. Mushroomed to partition. With front lead completely missing. Used a 200 gr partition on wildebeast, 257 yds pass thru on lungs three steps fell backwards, pass thru, three Zebra, all pass thru 100 to 200 yds. Travelled less than 40 yds. Heavy for Caliber 30 06 worked in Limpopo, also 6 hogs all pass thru with 200 gr Nosler Partition. 2625 FPS. All handoads.
 
The reality is that the head/neck area of a giraffe is pretty much the same size as the critical area of the chest, to head or upper neck is normally the best option . That is also quite often all one can see clearly as they often hide away but peek at you over or through the trees.
Many have been taken with .308's, but personally I prefer a bigger calibre for this class of game. My go to is a .338WM loaded with 275gr Swift A frames doing about 2400fps. I like this load as it is also good medicine for buffalo. In fact it will go through pretty much anything.
 
I'm planning a hunt in Namibia. Most of the hunt is typical plains game which my 30-06 will be quite effective on but I'm seriously thinking of adding a giraffe to the hunt. What caliber would you recommend for giraffe? Would a .338 Win mag work well or is that under gunned and a .375 H&H be the choice? I'm thinking of either Swift A-frame bullets or Barnes TSX.
My wife and I just took giraffes with Khomas Highlands..She made one shot with her 30/06 180 gr .Swift A-Frame and down it came....I shot a .300WinMag with 180 A-Frame ..Mine was running and dropped after a couple hundred yds with out a chance for a perfect shot,so a couple shots for me over 200 yds....Your 06 is fine with Swift A-Frames,,damn good bullets..
 
30.06 and 300WM are both good calibres, but I honestly think (based on 20 years' use) that the .338WM is the best all round African rifle save for charge stopping situations. It is routinely used on elephants in some countries and is by no means undergunned.
 
My wife and I just took giraffes with Khomas Highlands..She made one shot with her 30/06 180 gr .Swift A-Frame and down it came....I shot a .300WinMag with 180 A-Frame ..Mine was running and dropped after a couple hundred yds with out a chance for a perfect shot,so a couple shots for me over 200 yds....Your 06 is fine with Swift A-Frames,,damn good bullets..
Thanks, but I made that post in 2011. I took my giraffe in 2013 with a 375 Ruger shooting 270 grain Barnes TSX. It dropped instantly with a neck shot. Had I known the neck shot was my PH's preference I could have used my 30-06 and 168 grain Barnes TTSX that I used for everything else that trip.
 
Yes, .308 or -06 does the job for neck shots. In fact both calibres do the job on buffalo if one uses correct appropriate loads and places the bullet correctly.
 
Hear hear, my PH had no experience at all with this magnificent animal and I did no research at all.

Was told give it a solid behind the shoulder. When the giraffe did not even run off, "we " decided that it was over and should wait it out rather than get the adrenalin up. Soon we missed the window and ended up on a two hour hike with no blood spoor, which I can now see why.
When we came across them again I allowed the PH to shoot because I was not certain that it was the correct animal since there was no visible wound. After his second shot and the possibility of a further trek, I decided to back him up with one more shot as the animal quartered away. This entered behind the shoulder and exited the front of the chest almost exactly on the indicated spot for a frontal shot. The PH missed completely by the way!

Crashing trees and a ground shaking thud end the story.

Know your animal!
Exactly!
 

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Bill J H wrote on gearguywb's profile.
Do you still have this rifle? I'm in the KC area on business and I'm very interested.
 
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