Is the .375 caliber minimum for dangerous game outdated?

Roller

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I don't have much personal experience, but I did hear Craig Boddington tell of a group at a book signing that he would likely use a 338WM for most buf hunting if it was allowed.
Interesting. I once had an older, experienced South African PH tell me that he would let me hunt buff with a 300 win mag using 180 grain TTSX's (what I was currently using for plains game) if it were legal. Of course, some folks have been known to hunt buff with handguns and archery tackle. Is it more important who is backing you up and what they are carrying?
 
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C.W. Richter

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The very high SD of the heaviest 300gr 338 (and even 6.5 160s & 7mm 175+) bullets Will absolutely kill buffalo, elephant and everything else. I don't even consider the 338 Win Mag a very powerful 338. Others like the A-Sq variants (essentially 338-378 Wby wildcats-i have one and it's exceedingly accurate!!!), the RUM, Wby, and smaller Lapua are even more powerful than the Win. The >330 SDs of heavy bullets in these calibers make it possible to easily brain elephants and make body shots on buff (i'd have no issue taking a side-on elephant w/ the 338-just have to use the right bullet-solids.) Also more accurate for shots on crocs, cats, and even between the eyes on buffalo facing you in the shadows. I think about it often....Countries like Namib are primarily interested in muzzle energy of cartridges (check for the hot 338s as they exceed the 375!) and Mozambique leaves it to the discretion of the PH i believe. There are others...(Many big game species taken w/ 6.5, 7, 30s, typ using the heaviest FMJ bullets available.) There is something to be said for more precise shot placement, although as said above, a .375 HH is a pleasure to shoot as compared to bigger bore guns. My .416 Taylor is very accurate, but the felt recoil is incredible as compared to all others mentioned (high-pressure in a smaller case, med.-weight rifle)...The though often crosses my head and I've been invited to partake in some locales.
 

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With modern bullets, is the .375 caliber minimum really needed these days? Take out elephant and rhino, how many of you would be comfortable ethically hunting buffalo and the big cats with a smaller caliber?
I would not.....
 

IvW

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I wouldn’t want my PH backing me up with anything less than a 375, so I don’t think I should consider going lower myself. There is no reason a person can’t learn to shoot a 375.
If he is using a 375 as back up on DG I would not want to be having him guiding me on DG....
 

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Page 1
Below is a detailed list of what I could find.
It was published in 2009 but in 2011 a new list of rules were drafted. (See attachment)
For all my hunters I work on the new list of 2011 as it actually indicates the bullet weight requirements and not specifically the caliber.


STAATSKOERANT, 11 DESEMBER 2009
No.32798 3
GENERAL NOTICE
NOTICE 1614 OF 2009
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT: BIODIVERISTY ACT, 2004 (ACT NO. 10 OF 2004)
DRAFT NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR THE REGULATION OF THE HUNTING INDUSTRY IN SOUTH
AFRICA

https://www.environment.gov.za/site...ces/nemba_huntingindustry_g32798gen1614_1.pdf.

Minimum calibers for rifle hunting
CHAPTER4
CATEGORIES OF HUNTING
21.
The following norms apply to minimum rifle calibers for the hunting of different categories of wild
animals-
( a)
.22 or 5.56mm rimfire rifle for the hunting of-
(i)
furred game up to and including the size of rock hyrax; and
(ii)
feathered game;
(b)
.22 or 5.56mm centre fire rifle for the hunting of furred game up to and including the size of
springbok;
(c)
.270 or 7mm rifle for the hunting of-
(i)
furred game larger than springbuck, up to and including eland, but excluding dangerous
game or giraffe; and
(ii)
ostrich; and
(d)
.375 H&H Magnum or larger caliber for the hunting of-
(i)
giraffe;
(ii)
dangerous game; and
(iii)
pachyderms, provided that the bullet must be of full metal jacket (solid) or monolithic solid
construction.
Minimum barrel lengths for handgun hunting
22.
(1)
The following norms apply to minimum barrel lengths of handguns for the purpose of
hunting-

Page 24

26 No.32798
GOVERNMENT GAZETTE, 11 DECEMBER 2009
(a)
100mm for-
(i)
centre fire single action revolver;
(ii)
centre fire double action revolver;
(iii)
rimfire single action revolver; and
(iv)
rimfire double action revolver.
(b)
150rnm for-
(i)
centre fire single action break neck pistol for the hunting of-
(aa) any furred game; and
(bb) feathered game, including ostrich;
(ii)
rimfire single action break neck pistol for the hunting of-
(aa) furred game up to and including the size of a rock hyrax; and
(bb) feathered game;
(iii)
centre fire bo!t action pistol for the hunting of-
(aa) furred game; and
(bb) feathered game, including an ostrich;
(iv)
rimfire bolt action pistol for the hunting of-
(aa) furred game up to and including the size of a rock hyrax; and
(bb) feathered game;
(v)
centre fire falling block pistol for the hunting of-
(aa) furred game; and
(bb) feathered game, including an ostrich; and
(vi)
rimfire falling block pistol for the hunting of-
(aa) furred game up to and including the size of a rock hyrax; and
(bb) feathered game; and
(c)
125mm for-
(i)
centre fire semi-automatic pistol; and
(ii)
rimfire semi-automatic pistol.
Minimum calibers for handgun hunting
23.
(1)
The following norms apply to minimum calibers for revolvers-
(a)
a rimfire single or double action revolver for the hunting of-

Page 25

STAATSKOERANT, 11 DESEMBER 2009
No. 32798 27
(i)
furred game up to and including the size of a rock hyrax; and
(ii)
feathered game;
(b)
a centre fire single or double action revolver of less than .357 magnum caliber for the hunting of
furred game larger than rock hyrax, up to and including the size of a grey duiker; and
(c)
a centre fire single or double action revolver of .357 magnum or larger caliber for the hunting of-
(i)
furred game larger than grey duiker; and
(ii)
ostrich.
(2)
The following norms apply to minimum calibers for semi-automatic pistols-
( a)
a rimfire semi-automatic pistol for the hunting of-
(i)
furred game up to and including the size of a rock hyrax; and
(ii)
feathered game;
(b)
a centre fire semi-automatic pistol smaller than .357 magnum or 357 Sig for the hunting of furred
game larger than rock hyrax up to and including the size of a grey duiker; and
(c)
a centre fire semi-automatic pistol of .357 magnum or 357 Sig or larger for the hunting of-
(i)
furred game larger than the size of grey duiker; and
(ii)
ostrich.
Inclusion of game birds in provincial hunting proclamations
24.
Game birds should meet all of the following criteria for consideration to be included in the provincial
hunting proclamation-
(a)
the species belongs to one of the traditional gamebird groups of guinea fowl, francolins, partridges,
doves and pigeons, ducks and geese, quail, sand grouse and snipe;
(b)
the species has a high reproductive potential;
(c)
the species is common to abundant in at least in one or more biomes;
(d)
the population status of the species is stable or increasing in abundance or distribution; and
(e)
the species is edible.
Gamebird hunting methods
25.
The following are acceptable methods for the hunting of gamebirds-
(a)
walk-up shooting;

Page 26

28 No.32798
GOVERNMENT GAZETTE, 11 DECEMBER 2009
(b)
driven and surround shoots; and
(c)
stationary shooting
Permissible bows for bow hunting
26.

The following are acceptable types of bows for bow hunting-
( a)
longbow;
(b)
recurve bow; and
(c)
compound bow, excluding a compound crossbow.
Categories of wild animals for bow hunting
27.

The following norms apply to the hunting of wild animals with bow and arrow-
( a)
small game, including gamebirds, small carnivores, hares, hyraxes, rabbits and pygmy antelope
(Category 1 )-
(i)
bow with a minimum draw mass of 40 pounds;
(ii)
bow generating a minimum kinetic energy 30ft/lbs; and
(iii)
minimum arrow weight of 300 grains;
(b)
medium game, including reedbuck, impala, blesbuck, warthog, bushpig, springbuck, and nyala
(Category 2)-
(i)
bow with a minimum draw mass of 50 pounds;
(ii)
bow generating a minimum kinetic energy 50ft/lbs; and
(iii)
minimum arrow weight 400 grains;
(c)
large game, including wildebeests, kudu, gemsbuck, zebra, waterbuck, sable, and hartebeests
(Category 3)-
(i)
bow with a minimum draw mass of 60 pounds;
(ii)
bow generating a minimum kinetic energy of 60ft/lbs; and
(iii)
minimum arrow weight of 500 grains;
(d)
Cape buffalo (Category 4)-
(i)
bow with a minimum draw mass of 80 pounds;
(ii)
bow generating a minimum kinetic energy of BOft/lbs; and
(iii)
minimum arrow weight of 750 grains; and
(e)
giraffe (Category 5)-

Page 27

STAATSKOERANT, 11 DESEMBER 2009
No.32798 29
(i)
bow with a minimum draw mass of 90 pounds;
(ii)
bow generating a minimum kinetic energy of 90ft/lbs; and
(iii)
minimum arrow weight of 750 grains.
Additional norms for bow hunting equipment
28. Notwithstanding the requirements contemplated in Paragraph 27 the following conditions apply-
(a)
in the case of mechanical broad heads 5% additional kinetic energy is required for Category 1, 2
and 3 wild animals;
(b)
broad heads must have at least tv.o cutting edges; and
(c)
the minimum permitted arrow length is 50cm.
 

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LIMPOPO BIG GAME SAFARIS

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Very bad idea....

South Africa requires a minimum bullet weight of 250gr for Lion, Buffalo and Giraffe

1598734329588.png
 

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If he is using a 375 as back up on DG I would not want to be having him guiding me on DG....

I would totally agree, I believe the 375 is an absolute great caliber for a client/hunter but not so great as a backup caliber used by a guide.
 

Professor Mawla

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Very bad idea....
@IvW
I personally use and have preferred a .458 WM ( Winchester Magnum ) for all of my dangerous game hunting , but a client hunter in South Africa ( who is being backed up by a professional hunter ) would not have a problem in using a .338 WM against ( at the very least ) lions and Cape buffalo . And I am not advocating that the professional hunter should finish off dangerous game which is wounded by his client . But the objective of a professional hunter and a client hunter are different :
- A professional hunter needs to sort out game which is either escaping or charging . Ideal shot placement is not practically possible and people who do this sort of thing for a living , typically favor one of the .450 bores or larger .
- A client hunter’s objective is to kill a game animal with the first shot . After his professional hunter has put him in a position to place the perfect shot .

In the context of a client hunter , a .338 Winchester Magnum and one of the modern 250 grain bullets ( such as Nosler Partition , Swift A Frame , Rhino Solid Shank or Barnes TSX ) would be perfectly acceptable for sorting out a lion or a Cape buffalo . It would offer little ( if any ) disadvantage over what a .375 H&H Magnum has to offer .

And I do personally know people who have successfully used a .338 WM in South Africa to successfully take multiple lions , Cape buffalo and even African elephant ( in a country where it was legal to do so at the time ) .The elephants were taken with 250 grain hand loaded Hornady round nosed steel jacketed solids . I can readily provide the names and references of the people and details of the hunts , should anyone wish .

PS : For those who hunt dangerous game alone , I recommend at least one of the .400 bores and preferably one of the .450 bores .
 
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Red Leg

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Bill Jones, who has collected some of the most historic firearms in the world, took Courtney Selous's .256 to Mozambique and cleanly took a buffalo bull with it in the Delta. Which, of course, proves only that holes through both lungs are usually fatal to any animal. I am fairly certain Bill would be the first to tell us that a .256 is hardly an ideal buffalo cartridge.

The .318 WR was another .33 caliber, also using a 250 gr bullet, that was regularly used on buffalo (and everything else) early in the last century. The solid was the universal choice and it had a reputation of driving through the other side of anything. I have no doubt that a 250 gr bullet premium SP from a .338 would be at least equally effective.

I simply go back to my original point of so what? I have hunted with the .338 a lot. It is a wonderful caliber. But with a 250 gr bullet, it does nothing that my .375 doesn't do a bit better with a .300 gr bullet. In fairness, with respect to a mixed bag safari including buffalo, the .338 would do a number of things better than a typical .40+ caliber. But not a .375.
 

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Round and around and around we go...

Classic discussion that once again only seems to consider the best case scenario...

As Red Leg once more, and always accurately, points out: a .25 with proper bullets will kill whatever walks the earth...

I even remember way back in the 70's reading a rather famous Kenya, Tanganyika or South Rhodesia PH's book, including the story of his father belting him rather extensively for having killed a Buff with his .22 LR as a youngster. As it happened, the tiny bullet had gone quite exactly right through the ear canal straight to the brain... IvW might remember whom he was (?), I can't remember...

So why .375 (300 gr implied) as a DG minimum?

Because experience seems to bear that a 300 gr .375 bullet is the bare minimum to STOP charging DG. This is not about KILLING, mind you, this is about STOPPING, when the killing has not gone right, as will ultimately happen to anyone who hunts enough.

This is why I entirely agree with IvW when he says:
If he is using a 375 as back up on DG I would not want to be having him guiding me on DG....

because .375 / 300 gr is indeed the bare minimum. Not much of a stopper, but can be pressed in service if need be.

In the end...

Hey, I got nothing against a fast .338, heck, many of you know my love for the .340 Wby and the good use I put it to on two dozen species African PG, including Eland, and American game, including Moose.

But when it came to stalking Buff on foot in the thick Limpopo stuff down to 20 or 30 yards, I did not use the .340 on that Safari. I used the .470. Sure the .340 250 gr A-Frame, TSX, or even NP would have killed that Buff double lung as dead as the .470 did, but had the shot been a little off, and had the Buff opened the dance, a .470 solid up its nostril would most assuredly be a better bet than a .338 soft, however tough it is constructed.

.375 will do the trick with a good 300 gr solid, .416 will do better with a 400 gr solid, and .450/.470 will do even better with a 500 gr solid... and on & on with .500 570 gr etc. etc.

But .375 is still shootable by most people, which the .458 Lott or .500 Jeff ain't, and even the .416 can be too much for some, especially clients who only shoot big bore rifles very occasionally in their life (believe you me, not every Safari client shoots as much and as well as the present company...), so the .375 H&H (or 9.3x64) is a great compromise "client" caliber. Not an ideal caliber for anything but better than any other caliber for everything, including stopping a Buff or Lion if pressed into it.
 
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YancyW

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Interesting. I once had an older, experienced South African PH tell me that he would let me hunt buff with a 300 win mag using 180 grain TTSX's (what I was currently using for plains game) if it were legal. Of course, some folks have been known to hunt buff with handguns and archery tackle. Is it more important who is backing you up and what they are carrying?

Again, I don't have a ton of experience, but I think the answer is likely yes. I would suspect that the overwhelming majority of charge stopping shots taken on buffalo come from the PH, not the hunter.
 

318AE

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The point of so what??? So why may be the better question. Any appeal to practicality is moot. Most of us are traveling to a hub airport, to fly half way across the world, to likely take a charter flight to the back of beyond, to hunt a wild bovine. It’s all madness. What’s the fun in practicality?
 

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... I would suspect that the overwhelming majority of charge stopping shots taken on buffalo come from the PH, not the hunter.
I always find this discussion interesting because while there is no question that most PH will prefer to do a follow up on wounded DG alone with the tracker - and many will simply refuse that the client come along, period - situations can also become dangerous instantly upon the first shot. The shot animal (and others?) may come running, willingly charging or blindly stampeding, straight at the client & PH, in which case it seems to me that anyone with a rifle and a clear line of fire would want to take defensive action.

So, while I agree that "the overwhelming majority of charge stopping shots taken on buffalo come from the PH, not the hunter" I would add the caveat that this is true on follow ups, but not necessarily during the initial stalk.

It therefore seems rational to me that anyone hunting DG capable of hurting oneself, ought to carry a gun that has at least some stopping capability. After all, no one can predict after whom in the group (client? PH? tracker? water carrier? etc.) the Buff or Lion will go, and I personally prefer to carry a gun that gives me a chance to take a stopping shot in such case, however unlikely it may be.

Admittedly, such case may be more likely for someone who chooses to hunt DG on foot in dense bush and shoots a double rifle with open sights at less than 50 yards, than for someone who shoots with a scope at 150 yards. I happen to prefer hunting on foot up close and personal, and I am an incorrigible romantic in love with the big double...

Even though it may be part of my PH job's description to keep me alive, I for one won't mind helping him do this job, or even won't mind doing this job for him, if the Buff or Lion comes straight for me, instantly upon receiving the first shot, again however unlikely that may be.

Hence, you will not see me hunting DG with anything less than .375 - actually I vastly prefer .470 and .416 - not out of legal compliance but out of survival instinct, even though I am entirely convinced that a clean double lung shot with a 100 gr TTSX from a .257 Wby will kill (in time, short or long, no one can predict.............) any Buff, Lion, Leo, Ele, Rhino, Hippo, etc. that exists out there, but then again, as they have kept saying for over a hundred years: it is the dead ones that kill you...
 
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Roller, that is an excellent question. A lot has changed in the last 75 years. It is interesting to hear people's opinions on the topic, and re-assess things from time to time. Thanks for posting..........................FWB
 

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I always find this discussion interesting because while there is no question that most PH will prefer to do a follow up on wounded DG alone with the tracker - and many will simply refuse that the client come along, period - situations can also become dangerous instantly upon the first shot. The shot animal (and others?) may come running, willingly charging or blindly stampeding, straight at the client & PH, in which case it seems to me that anyone with a rifle and a clear line of fire would want to take defensive action.

So, while I agree that "the overwhelming majority of charge stopping shots taken on buffalo come from the PH, not the hunter" I would add the caveat that this is true on follow ups, but not necessarily during the initial stalk.

It therefore seems rational to me that anyone hunting DG capable of hurting oneself, ought to carry a gun that has at least some stopping capability. After all, no one can predict after whom in the group (client? PH? tracker? water carrier? etc.) the Buff or Lion will go, and I personally prefer to carry a gun that gives me a chance to take a stopping shot in such case, however unlikely it may be.

Admittedly, such case may be more likely for someone who chooses to hunt DG on foot in dense bush and shoots a double rifle with open sights at less than 50 yards, than for someone who shoots with a scope at 150 yards. I happen to prefer hunting on foot up close and personal, and I am an incorrigible romantic in love with the big double...

Even though it may be part of my PH job's description to keep me alive, I for one won't mind helping him do this job, or even won't mind doing this job for him, if the Buff or Lion comes straight for me, instantly upon receiving the first shot, again however unlikely that may be.

Hence, you will not see me hunting DG with anything less than .375 - actually I vastly prefer .470 and .416 - not out of legal compliance but out of survival instinct, even though I am entirely convinced that a clean double lung shot with a 100 gr TTSX from a .257 Wby will kill (in time, short or long, no one can predict.............) any Buff, Lion, Leo, Ele, Rhino, Hippo, etc. that exists out there, but then again, as they have kept saying for over a hundred years: it is the dead ones that kill you...

I don't disagree with any of that.
 

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One of the best reasons to stay with the .375 even with the newer bullets is that not everyone in the field will use a quality bullet. I have helped track and finish 2 buff that were wounded because of poor bullet construction and/or placement. I can't imagine how many would need to be finished off after wounding with a 200 or 250 grain bullet.
 

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I have used a .375 a fair bit over the years. 2019 was my first experience with the 9.3x62. I am the first to admit that my data set is limited, however I honestly couldn’t tell the difference on buffalo.

My .375 is shooting a 300 gr A-Frame at 2500 fps.

My 9.3x62 is shooting a 286 gr A-Frame at 2400 fps.

I wouldn’t consider either a good choice as a charge stopper, however either appear up to the task for a well placed first shot on buffalo.

I personally shoot a .458 Lott for buffalo, but as to legal minimums on DG, I would think that inclusion of the 9.3x62, 9.3x64 and 9.3x74 as legal DG calibers in all countries would make a lot of sense.

My 9.3x62 (Rigby Highland Stalker) is a much more manageable rifle for my wife.
 

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While I think the hunters natural reaction to charging game like buffalo is to shoot, i often think they would be better served to stand completely still as to
1) not physically get in the way of the ph's firing lane
2) not put a body shot on a buffalo (causing him to slightly move) just as the ph fires. I think trying to hit something the size of a baseball moving up and down at 30 miles an hour is something most hunters could not do even if they have prepared for it. But I can't blame them for trying
 

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I served my time in both the bush and during the bush war

I hope it did it justice

Education is where it is at - without it the wild places are history

You - sir - are well placed to make a difference

J
Good morning friends

i‘ve taken to heart a suggestion to tell my story about a lion hunt 37 years ago. ‘I don’t know, but am thinking there are site rules as to posting and file type. Three of the four posts (chapters?) are done, I took time away from here to write up the story. I have a couple of photos too.

also, I’m going to dissemble the rifles and see if Butch may have signed them. I’ll let you know.
 
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