Looking for rifle suggestions for upcoming safari

slam8031

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I am heading out in June 2025 for my seventh safari. I am heading to the eastern cape in search of Vaal and hopefully a few other smaller antelope. Because of potential shots over 200 yards, I do not want to shoot 375 solids (nor lug it around and up and down mountains). My two current options are left hand Tikka in 6.5 creedmor and a left hand Christensen Ridgeline in 7 mmm Rem mag. Both are about the same weight and both are similarly accurate from me. I intend to have the 375 for other animals if we conclude our hunt and move to the Limpopo. The 6.5 shoots ELDX the best. The ridge line seems to like many different rounds. equally well. I have an expectation that shots could get to 400 yards. I do not intend on purchasing another rifle. Suggestions and opinions welcome and suggestions on ammo for less hide damage also welcome. No I don't have a man bun...:D
 
I am heading out in June 2025 for my seventh safari. I am heading to the eastern cape in search of Vaal and hopefully a few other smaller antelope. Because of potential shots over 200 yards, I do not want to shoot 375 solids (nor lug it around and up and down mountains). My two current options are left hand Tikka in 6.5 creedmor and a left hand Christensen Ridgeline in 7 mmm Rem mag. Both are about the same weight and both are similarly accurate from me. I intend to have the 375 for other animals if we conclude our hunt and move to the Limpopo. The 6.5 shoots ELDX the best. The ridge line seems to like many different rounds. equally well. I have an expectation that shots could get to 400 yards. I do not intend on purchasing another rifle. Suggestions and opinions welcome and suggestions on ammo for less hide damage also welcome. No I don't have a man bun...:D
With the 6.5 I think you should be fine in terms of hide damage because the shot distance is usually 250yards + for a vallie.
Seems like a good choice for it

But if you were to jump one at say 80 yards and shoulder shoot it - both of those rifles could cause some hide damage.
 
I used a M70 in 7mm RM with one-sixty grain A Frames in TZ for everything from impala to zebra and hartebeest and roan. Instant kills on Zebra, Reedbuck, Roan, Impala. This shooting was 100 - 225 yards. I would not hesitate to recommend the 7mm Remington Magnum for plains game up to zebra.
 
Between the two I would take the 6.5 and aim for the ribs and not the shoulder.
 
I used a M70 in 7mm RM with one-sixty grain A Frames in TZ for everything from impala to zebra and hartebeest and roan. Instant kills on Zebra, Reedbuck, Roan, Impala. This shooting was 100 - 225 yards. I would not hesitate to recommend the 7mm Remington Magnum for plains game up to zebra.
I have used 175 A frame in 7mm RM out to 300 yards as well. Excellent combo!!
 
I would switch bullets to 6.5 140 gr Hornady CX. Less hide damage but deadly past 400 yds. I used these last time I was in the Cape.
 
I used a M70 in 7mm RM with one-sixty grain A Frames in TZ for everything from impala to zebra and hartebeest and roan. Instant kills on Zebra, Reedbuck, Roan, Impala. This shooting was 100 - 225 yards. I would not hesitate to recommend the 7mm Remington Magnum for plains game up to zebra.
He’s asking about hide damage on one of south Africas “ tiny” antelopes. He is worried for taxidermy purposes.


The velocity of a 7mag might cause some issues. I’m sure he knows it kills zebras dead.
 
Both will do the job with correct bullets and shot placement. Take the one you shoot the best.
 
I would go with the 7 and stay away from the ELDX. That is what I would do. Do what you like. I do not care for the ELDX and prefer bonded bullets for almost all applications. As you stated you shot bot rifles well, and are similar weight, the 7 with bonded bullets makes more sense to me. Guy above was right on about rib vs. shoulder for the ELDX.

Good luck with your hunt.
 
He’s asking about hide damage on one of south Africas “ tiny” antelopes. He is worried for taxidermy purposes.


The velocity of a 7mag might cause some issues. I’m sure he knows it kills zebras dead.
Right. Using bonded bullets I got minimum hide damage with pass through on impala and reedbuck, which are light framed game. I like the 7mm RM where there is a possibility of longer range shots and the further the animal is, the less expansion and hide damage.
 
I would go with the 7 and stay away from the ELDX. That is what I would do. Do what you like. I do not care for the ELDX and prefer bonded bullets for almost all applications. As you stated you shot bot rifles well, and are similar weight, the 7 with bonded bullets makes more sense to me. Guy above was right on about rib vs. shoulder for the ELDX.

Good luck with your hunt.
I think velocity is the real issue imo

I shot a win mag with 180 Barnes tsx (solid copper) at a large bobcat about 130 yards away. Off side was completely removed with no chance of mount. Like a Bomb went off.

I bet if I shot it with 6.5 creed - even with the eldx - it would have had less damage. Yes, Still a large hole due to eldx being soft like you mention. But not splitting it in half like the win mag.

I chalk this up due to the creeds very mild velocity.
 
If I was in your situation, I’d take the 7 mag and match it with an accurate solid. On an animal as small as a vallie, that bullet will be plenty with virtually no hide damage at all. You could take premium expanding bullets and leave the .375 home if you want to keep things simple. For what you’ll be hunting, it’s enough gun for everything.
 
For the 6.5 I would see how it likes the 127 gr Barnes LRX. I was initally planning to take mine on my PG hunt (along with a 338WM), but ultimately went with just one gun.
 
Either will work, 7mm ammo would probably be easier to find if something happens to your luggage.
To me shot placement is the key on TT. I shot a bush duiker at 129yds a little bit behind the shoulder with absolutely no hide damage and a steenbok at 140yds and blew him to hell with a shot a little bit on the shoulder. Both were shot with 154gr ELDX 7mm Rem. Mag.
 
If you hit the shoulder with any bullet all bets are off as far as hide damage on the off side.

Through the ribs and you should be alright.
 
I used a camp rifle (300 Win Mag and 200 gr ELDX) to take my Vaal Rhebuck last year, first spotted a small group on a mountain top plateau at over 500 yards, the herd immediately ran down hill and were even further away. They bedded down eventually, and my PH and I were able to make a big loop to the base of the hill and ambush them, getting my shot at 100 yards quartering away. The bullet exited low out the front of the chest. Damage didn't appear too severe, will find out shortly when I get the wall pedestal mount. Exciting animal to hunt, good luck on your quest. I'd have enjoyed having my 6.5x55 for this hunt. Other rhebuck we spotted were farther than 500 yards, and stalking cover was minimal. I would shoot the rifle you are most comfortable with, and stay away from the shoulders. I have 6.5x55 and 7mm Rem Mag, and enjoy shooting the 6.5 more frequently.
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I read what you wrote several times to be sure I had a decent understanding of your question. I have killed 2 Vaalies in RSA. Both were at reasonably longish ranges. I used a 7 SAUM with a 180 gr Berger and had no issues with hide destruction that caused my taxidermist grief. I'd suggest that you take the 7 mag over the CM.
If you were to have a shot opportunity at 400 yds the 7mm will drop less and have less wind drift. If you have the experience and equipment then that disadvantage becomes less of an obstacle. With the 7mm you are set to kill any plains game animal that you happen to see. I've taken 3 eland with mine. I'd consider the 7mm to be a lot more versatile.
Bruce
 

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