Looking for feedback from Africa hunters with experience using 6.5mm cartridges

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@Hogpatrol do you think the 26 nosler is overkill? I’m genuinely curious. I find that a fast bullet is great at 350+ yards, but then you end up shooting something at 75 yards and it ruins a lot of meat.
I ask because I have only a few years to labor over the decision of what next larger caliber to get my son (I suppose it will be his decision, but I suspect I’ll be paying).
@Tra3
When he is ready for his next rifle get him a 35 Whelen and load it with 225grain accubonds and woodleigh projectiles to up to 2,950fps and have fun.
Bob
 
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Ah. That's good to know. Plan for South Africa on my first trip, but if I go again, it might be Namibia. The first trip will include stuff for the wife. Well, both of us. I also want to see Kruger NP, Capetown, and Victoria Falls if we can make that part of the trip.

A follow on trip, which everyone tells me is a given, might be to Namibia. I have also found in online research and that at the recent outdoor show in Harrisburg, PA that Namibia is far more cost effective. The hunting costs and trophy fees both are considerably less, making it a less expensive hunt overall.
@ILCAPO
Just go to Namibia and shoot more game for the same price you would pay in SA for less or take wife and son on t h e first trip to Namibia.
Bob
From memory you have a Whelen so take either the 6.5x55, 257 Roberts and your Whelen. All bases covered except DG.
BOB
 

Tra3

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@Bob Nelson 35Whelen I am getting more and more curious to shoot a 35 Whelen, I never have. My son is a few months from age 15. He has grown a lot over the last year. This summer we return to Namibia for what was to be a year 2020 hunt. He has his 6.5 CM barrel, but I think I’ll try to step him up to the .270 win. I’m going gradual increases since he is quite a good and confident shot, no need to ruin it with a real kicker of a gun.
I think all of us have had an experience at a young age when we painfully discovered recoil. (Which is a good topic for a new thread!)
 

sgt_zim

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If I were going to have him step up from 6.5, I'd go to 280 Rem or 7mm RM, both more versatile cartridges.

a lot of people have killed a lot of animals with 270s over the years, but you're really just limiting yourself to 150 gr bullets. if that isn't a problem for you (and it isn't for lots and lots of hunters), it isn't a problem.

Even a 280 Rem can launch a 160 gr bullet at almost 2900 fps, and a 175 at 2700+. NVM what its big brother the 7mm RM can do.
 
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@Bob Nelson 35Whelen I am getting more and more curious to shoot a 35 Whelen, I never have. My son is a few months from age 15. He has grown a lot over the last year. This summer we return to Namibia for what was to be a year 2020 hunt. He has his 6.5 CM barrel, but I think I’ll try to step him up to the .270 win. I’m going gradual increases since he is quite a good and confident shot, no need to ruin it with a real kicker of a gun.
I think all of us have had an experience at a young age when we painfully discovered recoil. (Which is a good topic for a new thread!)
@Tra3
When we went to Namibia my son was almost 15, 5 foot ten tall and about 110 pounds. He could handle the 35 Whelen extremely well. He had been shooting a 308 for a while as well as DTL trap with his 12 bore. While the 270 is a fine cartridge the recoil is sharper and comes back quicker than the e 308 a nd the Whelen. Yes the Whelen recoil but it's not the same sharp slap of the 270.
You can load the Whelen to 35 Remington levels for him and work up. You would then have a rifle that will handle deer and black bear with virtually no recoil up to being able to knock the snot out of plains game including eland.
Bob
 

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My it used a 6.5 creedmoor on our last Africa trip. He took a kudu, springbok, black wildebeest, duiker, steenbok, warthog and a monkey with it and it performed very well for him.

I feel it was a little light for kudu as it took a few shots to the boiler room to drop him but he was dead after the first shot. Just didn’t know it. So maybe it’s fine.

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My it used a 6.5 creedmoor on our last Africa trip. He took a kudu, springbok, black wildebeest, duiker, steenbok, warthog and a monkey with it and it performed very well for him.

I feel it was a little light for kudu as it took a few shots to the boiler room to drop him but he was dead after the first shot. Just didn’t know it. So maybe it’s fine.
@50by50
Very well done and good shooting young one.
Congratulations
Bob
 

MS 9x56

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My it used a 6.5 creedmoor on our last Africa trip. He took a kudu, springbok, black wildebeest, duiker, steenbok, warthog and a monkey with it and it performed very well for him.

I feel it was a little light for kudu as it took a few shots to the boiler room to drop him but he was dead after the first shot. Just didn’t know it. So maybe it’s fine.
As WDM Bell proved over 100 years ago with the right bullets and a well placed shot the “little” 6.5 punches well above its weight class. Congratulations to the young man. Good hunting.
 

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From my experience in Africa with over 120 head of plains game up to eland and giraffe using a 30 06 and premium bullets. I would consider a 6.5 up to a black wildebeast with confidence and limited range, less than 200 yds. Or stretching out to 350 yds on smaller...impala, springbok, etc. just would be my comfort zone knowing my ability to place the bullet where it belongs. I have been shooting varmints and hunting for well over 60 years. Premium bullets help with your confidence to finish the job. Nothing brings greater confidence than to place three shots in one oversized hole with a 123 grain hornady A Max measuring .123 from a 6.5 x47 Lapua at 100 yds, but “a man needs to know his limitations”, and those of his firearm.
 
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Areaonereal

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Your assumption my advocating AMax for hunting is simply yours and without merit. My reference to Premium bullets should have been a tip off...A Max are not premium bullets, my statement was an allusion to confidence of your own ability and that of your firearm before you attempt those less than ideal, whether caliber, range or size of animal in real life hunting situations with bullets designed for the task at hand. I have seen and not personally used but witnessed the devastating Meat destroying damage a Hornady AMax will due to a Wyoming antelope at 200 yds. Exit the size of a baseball, internal mush. This was with a 22 250, 75 grain bullet.
 

Graham Hunter

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.284" / 7mm (metric) is in reality 7,2mm bullet diameter.
.277" / .270 is 7 mm bullet diameter and therefore the minimum legal requirement in Namibia
Try and argue that with a SA Official. Good Luck!
 
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I am not a huge fan of magnums, and will only use them if I need them. Out in Colorado, for instance. Bought a Browning A-bolt hunter in 7mm Rem Mag as my first rifle, because I was in Colorado looking to hunt mule deer and elk. Gun store recommended either a .30-06 or the 7RM, saying the latter was a flatter shooter. It was, and it worked well. Since then I bought a 300 Winchester magnum. Never have fired it. Only bought it because the price was right. Got it in the late '90s. It was a limited edition (1 of 500) Model 70 Win from Reinhart-Fajen stock maker. Its fitted to a fancy tiger stripe maple stock. I got it for long-range elk hunting, but in Africa would only bring it if I was hunting in the Kalahari or other area calling for long range shots.

I favor easier recoil, and am apparently your average shooter, as the .30-06 is about as much as I care for in terms of recoil. My .35 Whelen is heavier, but acceptable as long as I don't load with heavy rounds. I actually might consider putting a muzzle break on that one.

I have a 6mm Remington, .257 Roberts, and 6.5mm Swede, and all are a joy to shoot. Again, the only problem with my Swede is it's really a show piece, too fancy for the field. I was looking to get another 6.5mm which I wouldn't be afraid to get scratches on, and thought either another Swede or perhaps something along those lines, without going to the magnums. Again, the 264 Winchester is too similar to my 7mm Rem Mag to bother with. I would just default to the 7RM if it came to that. As discussed earlier, I was looking more at the 6.5 x 284 because it appears to provide more than the Swede but not go overboard like the magnums.

For this first hunt I'm not going to need a magnum, because it will be pretty much bushveld hunting; either in Limpopo or Mpumalanga or the northern part of Kwazulu-Natal. The outfitters I've been talking to all say that their areas will be such that most likely the longest shot I may face is 250 yards, with many being much closer. At that range, a good classic, rather than a magnum, is called for. Ergo, the .35 Whelen for the heavy stuff. Looking for this to be a lighter rifle.
@ILCAPO
Due to a,shoulder injury I've had a radial port muzzle brake fitted to my Whelen. Tamed it down thar much my new to shooting daughter can easily handle it. That is with my heavy load using 250grain Speer hotcore at 2,700 fps. Yes you did read the velocity correctly.
The brake tamed it down to about 308 level. Even your son could handle that using standard Whelen loads at 1,400 to 2500 fps with the 250s.
Bob
 
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I would/will if going to the Kalahari or like area. For me, the magnums, like the 7 Rem, are long-range guns only. I'm not interested in the 6.5 magnums either for the same reason. Having a 7 Rem Mag, and looking at the various 6.5 magnum types, it would be superfluous. No point. I'm planning to hunt the bushveld, at least on this first trip, and am told the longest shots I'm likely to face are 250 yards. Technically speaking, the Swedish Mauser should do the job. I was just curious about people's experiences with this caliber and their preferences. I may very well just go with another Swede and pursue custom loads to get the velocity up a little bit from the rather mundane loads most American ammo manufacturers put out due to the large numbers of older rifles still out there. Actually, I have two Model 1896 Swedish Mausers, which fall into that category. One is sporterized into a beauty, which I foolishly went overboard with years ago to the point I'm afraid to scratch it, and the other I am keeping in its original condition. It came with full set of gear (bayonet, sling, etc.) and I'm never going to change that. It's a military collector piece only. I'm looking for a commercial gun now. Just considering getting a 6.5, not completely committed to it.
@ILCAPO
We hunted the Kalahari region of Namibia and an extremely long shot was 300 yards. My longest was 275 on my impala with the Whelen. All other shots were from 70 to 180 yards.
Bob
 
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Ilcapo, seeing that you are already thinking about taking a plain old 1896 Swedish Mauser with handloads, let me say from experience that it will work just fine. Especially if you intend to use it on the smaller Plains Game. My normal load is a 140 Gr. Nosler Partition at 2775 FPS. That is what I used in Africa, however recently I purchased some 156 Gr. Norma Oryx dirt cheap. They too should work just fine. Some of my Swedes sport Ramline stocks, in this guise they make a great working rifle that doesn't break the bank.
@Shootist43
Art you forgot to tell ILCAPO you also took your Whelen which he is contemplating. The 6.5x55 and the 35 Whelen would be the ideal 2 gun battery.
Bob
 

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