Is the .375 caliber minimum for dangerous game outdated?

rookhawk

AH legend
Joined
Mar 4, 2015
Messages
3,184
Reaction score
4,285
Location
North America
Media
138
Articles
2
Member of
NRA Life Benefactor, Trout Unlimited, Safari Club International
If legal and there was a very special circumstance involved, I think someone could come up with a dangerous game weapon less than 9.3/375hh.

God forbid, you had a child that wanted to do it as a dream of theirs and they had a life threatening illness, etc. There would be solutions to that including muzzle brakes and some clever calibers to get it done if a "proper sized" caliber wasn't medically/physically possible. (e.g. 35 whelen, 8x68s, etc.)

But for a grown adult that can figure this out, the 9.3x64 / 375HH minimum in most countries is just that, a reasonable minimum. Less is sufficient often, more is occasionally necessary. Put another way, 80% of the time they work every time. :)

In the end, probably the softest legal recoil solution that will drop buffalo with utmost sincerity would be a .404 Jeffery loaded with a slow burning powder that reduces the recoil even more with perhaps an all copper bullet that you could load down with a few less grains on powder and get the same velocity as the 400-450gr loads. (RL15?) You could probably get the recoil down to 35-foot pounds of felt recoil whereas the standard loading and average guns in 404 put it at 38-42lbs of felt recoil.
 

Professor Mawla

AH fanatic
Joined
Aug 15, 2020
Messages
535
Reaction score
1,444
Media
53
Articles
12
I do not pretend to know anything about charging Gaur, but the method you suggest for cape buffalo is not what I or most people I know would do.

A cape buffalo begins his charge head up, lowering it at the last instant to hook and batter his target. Catch him when it is up and it is relatively easy to reach the brain or spinal column with a shot in the snout. A little high it will go in around the eyes and under the boss, and little low it has an excellent chance of severing the spine at the base of the skull. Either shuts him down instantly.

If you wait until he lowers his head in the final few feet, it is impossible to put a bullet under the boss. At such an angle, one fired just ahead of the boss will simply range through his sinus cavity - thoroughly irritating him I suppose if he wasn't mad enough already. At that late point, one has to either drive a bullet through the boss to reach the brain or through the back of the neck/ or between the shoulders to break the spine.

Regardless of caliber, I would much rather that be my second and last rather desperate shot than my first.
@Red Leg Sir ,
Thank you very much for educating me about how head shots on Cape buffalo are actually performed . For Gaur , the standard tactic is to only go for a frontal brain shot when the animal is roughly five yards away from you and lowering it’s head ( in order to engage you with it’s horns ) .The point of aim is right under the region where the base of the horns meet .
 

RayAtkinson

AH fanatic
Joined
Mar 17, 2009
Messages
655
Reaction score
511
Location
Filer,
Media
25
Articles
1
Member of
SCI Dallas
Hunted
RSA, Botswana, CAR, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya way back when, and a few others that I can't remember.
I have shot a lot of buffalo with the 375 H&H, like the 350 gr. Woodleighs...but the .338 Win. will out penetrate the 375 as a matter of fact, Ive shot a few buffalo with the .338 and 9.3x62 and the 338 again will out penetrated the 9.3s, and penetration is first and foremost with me followed by cross section of bullet..Most big bores kill about the same as far as I can tell..My favorite DG rifles are my 450-400-3". ,my 404 Jefferys or 416 Rem. see no reason for larger calibers based on my 60 years of hunting..The 375 is legal anywhere on earth and one is not undergunned with it if he can shoot..
 

WAB

AH legend
Joined
Oct 8, 2015
Messages
2,380
Reaction score
4,918
Location
Alabama
Media
88
Hunting reports
Africa
5
USA/Canada
1
Member of
DSC, NRA, SCI
Hunted
Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Scotland, England, Canada, Alaska, Ireland
Although I love shooting buffalo with my Lott, if I had to choose one rifle it would be my M70 in .375 H&H. As to the original question, I’ll stick by my original answer that, based on my admittedly very limited experience with the caliber, I believe that the 9.3x62 will get the job done on buffalo. In my mind, that makes it a legit contender as a reasonable minimum. I cannot comment on the smaller calibers as I have not seen shot buffalo with them.
 

Red Leg

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH ambassador
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
5,781
Reaction score
15,197
Location
Texas Hill Country
Media
264
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
4
Mex/S.Amer
1
Europe
3
Member of
SCI DSC life memberships / NRA Patron Life
Hunted
Mexico, Namibia, RSA, Germany, Austria, Argentina, Canada, Mozambique, Spain, US (15 states)
@Red Leg Sir ,
Thank you very much for educating me about how head shots on Cape buffalo are actually performed . For Gaur , the standard tactic is to only go for a frontal brain shot when the animal is roughly five yards away from you and lowering it’s head ( in order to engage you with it’s horns ) .The point of aim is right under the region where the base of the horns meet .
This is a picture of my son taking a buffalo in the Zambezi Delta. His first shot, at a sharp head-on angle through the chest spun and anchored him. Three subsequent shots from the right rear would not put him down. Just after this photo, the bull spun (blood flying from his nostrils), and head up choosing his target, began his charge. My son and the two PH's fired simultaneously dropping him instantly. The range at that point was 15-20 yards.

I do not have that photo because I had tossed the camera and was shouldering my own rifle! Waiting till he lowered his boss would likely have ended up with someone hurt or worse.

buff3 (2).jpg
 

Philip Glass

Lifetime bronze benefactor
AH legend
Joined
Feb 26, 2015
Messages
3,480
Reaction score
5,560
Location
Texas
Website
www.dorper.net
Media
81
Articles
13
Hunting reports
Africa
8
USA/Canada
2
Asia/M.East
2
Member of
NRA, Life SCI, Life DSC, Life EWA
Hunted
RSA, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Austria, Australia, TX, NM
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?
.375 is simply THE most versatile caliber for Africa. It’s not too much for PG, can be loaded with solids for duiker sized animals, suitable for buffalo, and a well placed brain shot with a solid will down any elephant.
You ask is it really needed? Yes but you could kill any PG with a .22 if all went perfectly. I would not consider venturing after the Big 5, exception being leopard, with anything less than .375.
Thanks for the question.
Philip
 

flatwater bill

AH elite
Joined
Jun 16, 2013
Messages
1,694
Reaction score
2,388
Media
24
Hunting reports
Africa
4
Asia/M.East
1
Member of
NRA endowment member/Life member
Hunted
NAMIBIA, RSA, KYRYG, KAZAKSTAN, MOZAMBIQUE,MEXICO, BOLIVIA, PERU, BRAZIL, ARGENTINA, CANADA, NEW ZEALAND, AUSTRALIA, SPAIN,
Based upon this thread, and the many expert opinions, I have sold my .338 and used the proceeds to purchase a BowTech Assassin....... am now legal for Cape buffalo.;).....FWB
 

Nhoro

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Messages
343
Reaction score
397
Media
26
The legal position in Zimbabwe is quoted below from Zimbabwe National Parks Law. 9,3 x 62 might make legal energy for elephant with hot reloads.

One thing not mentioned here yet is the size of the hole made in the animal will determine how quickly it goes down. Simply put, the bigger the calibre, the bigger the hole. As clearly stated, small calibers can kill big animals but as soon as the shot is less than perfect, things go pear shaped. The bigger the hole, the better .

I also read a good article by Gunyana in a hunting magazine about animals surviving small holes through he heart and even recovering, He had evidence that .375 solids through the lower heart were survivable or took a long time to cause death. The muscle contracts and closes the hole.

A 375 bullet has 25 % more area than a 338. That is a 25 % bigger hole. Penetration is largely irrelevent as both bullets have sufficent penetration. 458 has 83% more area so much bigger hole. That is enough for me. 375 H&H is a reasonable minimum calibre and the better bullets do not suddenly make bigger holes, in fact they are more likely to make consistent deeper and slightly smaller holes as they hold together and expand consistently. Cup and core over expanded and then stopped penetrating,often breaking up.

So can a 338 be used -in Zim it is legal on Lion and smaller. Can it kill an elephant-yes, it always could. Is it a good idea ?- not in my opinion.


Third Schedule Part A Animals​

Thick Skinned, dangerous game, BUFFALO, ELEPHANT, HIPPOPOTAMUS

Any person who hunts these animals must use a weapon having a rifled barrel, propelling a projectile not less than nine comma two millimeters (.362 inches) in diameter with not less than five comma three kilojoules (3909 ft/lbs) of energy at the muzzle.

Third Schedule Part B Animals​

Thin skinned, dangerous game and heavy big game
ELAND, GIRAFFE, LION

Any person who hunts these animals must use a weapon having a rifled barrel and propelling a projectile not less than seven millimeters (.275") in diameter with not less than four comma three kilo-joules (3172 ft/lbs) of energy at the muzzle.
 

Vashper

AH senior member
Joined
Jan 20, 2019
Messages
84
Reaction score
128
Media
17
Member of
All-army military hunting society, Russian Union of hunters and fishermen.
Hunted
Only Russia
... and used the proceeds to purchase a BowTech Assassin....... am now legal for Cape buffalo.;).....FWB

You didn't read the rules carefully. There is a note: "* only for Greenpeace and PETA activists".
 

Fastrig

Gold supporter
AH fanatic
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Messages
832
Reaction score
1,122
Location
Hill Country, TX
Media
28
Member of
NRA Life Member
Hunted
CA, TX, MT, CO, NV, AK, NE, SD, FL
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.

Those two A-Frame rounds are so close to each other I honestly doubt the buff would know the difference. The 375 is going to have more energy though, so that might be the deciding factor for the minimum (shock damage?).

For me, I’d take the 9.3x62 in my Merkel RX Helix for a few of reasons. First, with the 286 grain A-Frame at short distances that DG is typically shot at, the two calibers are a virtual dead heat with the 9.3x62 delivering less recoil (which means it’s inherently more manageable). Second, and more importantly, is the speed to follow up shots. Outside of a double rifle for speed, the Helix is the fastest cycling bolt gun I’ve ever had my hands on, and that includes the R8 (though it’s a close second once you get the cycling down). Can honestly say that by the time most have a traditional bolt going to their second shot, I’m on my third with the Helix. Lastly, ammo capacity. With the extended mag I can carry 5+1 with the 9.3x62 in the Helix. That’s a lot of lead in any animal and I doubt even a buff is going to be moving if hit with six 9.3x62 Swift A-Frame rounds, especially as fast as they can be delivered with this rifle. If one was truly worried about stopping a buff, load a couple of softs followed by a couple of solids.

Having said all of that, I’m going to respect and follow the rules of any country that I’m visiting. Pisses me off when people come to my country and don’t. If a 375 is the minimum, then I’m buying a R8 with a 375 barrel, that simple. As a client, I don’t need more than either a 9.3 or 375, my PH can carry the portable cannon. Agree that the 9.3 should be the minimum but that’s the host country’s decision.
 

Nhoro

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 16, 2014
Messages
343
Reaction score
397
Media
26
The 9,3 x 62 with A Frame is just short of legal minimum at 3544 ftlbs at a velocity of 2362 ft/s.

If you can handload to 2504 fps, you will make legal minimum for Zimbabwe. Obviously you would need a solid for elephant. Maybe some reloaders can comment on whether they can realise that velocity but I have seen posts on this forum that made that velocity.

Woodleigh do a 286 gr solid so I am pretty sure you can legally hunt elephant in Zim with handloads that make the velocity above with solids and softs in 9,3 x 62.

338 Mag is legal for lion but not hippo,buffalo or elephant. IMHO it is a bit small in calibre. People will say that expansion of the bullet will make up for it but again- modern bullets with reliable expansion would make a consistent deeper wound channel of smaller diameter. Older bullets make shallower but bigger diameter wounds and are less reliable. So the advantage we have today with better bullets is the fact that they reliably penetrate straight and deep while expanding predictably-not that they make a bigger wound channel.

Bigger hole in the vitals= quick death for the animal concerned.

Assuming identical expansion or a solid, a 338 bullet makes half the area hole that a 458 bullet makes. That is enough for me to say that a 375 or 9,3 is about as low as you can go.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
35,544
Messages
663,374
Members
60,163
Latest member
GusDelatte
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris wrote on jfowler812's profile.
hi Mr fowler

im happy to do these deals for 2021

i will knock off 10% off each deal if you take 2 so $18000 per package

look forward to your response

regards
Mule deer and Colorado elk seasons almost done! Hunters driving farm roads, looking for racks, their PH driving them along, I ask that you not pull into my drive. The buck behind me, on the boundary line of the GMU somehow knows. The hunter laughs, I would invite you in to see my Searcy rifles but social distancing prevails, darkness arrives and the buck slides away into secret tree grove...
Boyd Brooks wrote on Skinnersblade's profile.
Ellwood Epps has 1 box of 25-20 in stock. Look them up on the web. They are located in Orilla Ontario.
Lkhntr wrote on Warpig602's profile.
On the vx6 2-12 what does the zl2 stand for?

Thanks, Oliver
bowjijohn wrote on AfricaHunting.com's profile.
Many thanks for re formatting my article for the forum

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
 
Top