medium bores "neither fish nor fowl"

matt85

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i was checking out the NE forum looking for load information on the 500/416 NE and found that many people there seem to consider medium bore cartridges as useless and even going as far as to hate them. the general opinion i came across was that calibers such as 375, 416, and 404 were "neither fish nor fowl" or too powerful for plains game and too small for DG (especially elephant).

i noticed this forum tends to take a different view on medium bores and tends to promote their use alongside big bore guns. i personally tend to agree with many on this forum in that medium bores serve as general purpose guns for people who dont just hunt elephants.

example 1: your hunting for elephant with your 470 NE and you come across an absolutely beautiful (insert plains game here) at 200 yards. the animal is not in a place where you can get any closer and your 470 NE is hardly the choice gun to make this shot. your choice would either be, pass on the animal or hope that someone else in your party has a more suitable gun.

example 2: your hunting for elephant with your 416 Rigby and you come across an absolutely beautiful (insert plains game here) at 200 yards. the animal is not in a place where you can get any closer. so you adjust the settings on your scope for the distance, take aim, and claim your animal.

now in the defence of the guys on the NE forum, the large bore guns out perform the medium bore guns in emergency situations such as a charging elephant. a near miss brain shot with a 416 Rigby might not stun and elephant while near miss brain shot with a 470 NE may have a better chance of stunning the animal for at least enough time to fire another shot.

your thoughts?

-matt
 
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Royal27

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I think you're right.

Big bores are designed to do one thing, and they are very good at it.

Medium bores are more of an "all around" gun! but they aren't as good at that one thing.

I know this, I would try a brain shot on an elephant and a 200 yard PG shot with my .375 H&H. I would only try one of those with a .470.
 

Velo Dog

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Hello again Matt85,

If you get the chance, read "Elephant Hunters" by Tony Sanchez-Arino.
His opinion on the .416 will fortify your interest in it for sure.
By reputation it is one of the greatest DG cartridges ever dreamed up.

Also, I have not shot any game with it yet but I do own a .416 and have practiced with it out to 200 yds.
The good news is that it shoots flat enough that you should not have to waste any time jacking with your scope when you see something you wish to hit at 200 yds.
200 yds is a mighty long poke in most of Africa but, if a good kudu or nyala presents itself that far, across a pan or across a steep canyon, etc., just aim straight at it and with the .416 trajectory, you will still hit in the vitals.

The one and only drawback to this cartridge in my opinion is that it has a rather "sporting recoil" to put it politely.

Cheers,
Velo Dog
 

matt85

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according to Hornady's calculator, at 2300 FPS the 400gr Barnes TSX with a BC of .546 will drop around 6" at 200 yards (if sighted for 100 yards). now 2300fps is for my 500/416 NE, the 416 Rigby can push the 400gr bullet much faster then that (ive seen around 2500 fps).

another flat shooting albeit heavy recoiling cartridge is the 378 weatherby. there is a gentleman who shoots at my favorite range from time to time who brings one of these in. his hand loads launch a 300gr bullet at around 3100 fps (6400 ft/lb of energy). despite his gun weighing 13 pounds naked the recoil is "brisk" to say the least. i had the pleasure of trying his rifle out with the above mentioned loads and it was something to remember! he uses it for long range elk hunting (to each his own).

-matt
 

Velo Dog

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I agree, to each his own.
 

Norwegianwoods

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When I bought my .375 Ruger, I was considering to get the .416 Ruger instead.
The .416 Ruger is flat enough out to 250-300 yards with the right bullets for PG hunting and it packs more punch for bigger critters.
But since I have no plans to hunt Elephants, I decided the .375 would be a better choice for my use.
Specially because of the bullet and ammo cost here in Norway.

Personally I see no point of having anything bigger than .416 in a bolt gun and .500 NE in a double gun other than just because you think it is fun to shoot really big bores.
Both are plenty for any critter on this planet if the man/woman behind the gun knows what he/she is doing.

I guess most people owning a really big bore has never been to Africa and hunted Elephants anyway :)
 

matt85

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Personally I see no point of having anything bigger than .416 in a bolt gun and .500 NE in a double gun other than just because you think it is fun to shoot really big bores.

not sure I agree with the above quote as the 404 Jeffery, 458 Win, 458 Lott, 505 Gibbs, and 500 Jeffery are all genuinely useful cartridges in bolt action rifles.

-matt
 
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Nyati

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For those of us who are not hunting elephant, a medium bore as .375 or .404 is enough gun.

Even for ele, I have heard several PHs state they would rather have a client that shoots well with his medium bore than one who cannot handle a big bore, and, lets face it, not everybody can really handle well a big bore.
 

CAustin

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Matt85 once again you bring up very valid points. I bought the Ruger 416 Guide Gun with the intent of doing an elephant hunt someday. I mounted the Lupeold VX 6 1-6 with the custom dial system.......once set it becomes very accurate at the dialed up distance. I will admit I have only dialed up 200 yards once but I hit the second ring out from bullseye to the right., elevation was dead on. I would love to own a double rifle but frankly can't justify the expense when I will probably hunt elephant one time in my life . (If I'm lucky) As you say if your in the field with the big double and a 60 inch Kudu steps out at 225 yards you most likely will miss if you attempt the shot. When I hunted dangerous game this past April my PH was using a FN Browning 458 the property owner for the lion hunt used a 505 Gibbs and his assistant a 375...... All were bolt action rifles. The reason I include this note is that even my PH didn't carry a big double into the field. Again I would love to have one and almost bought a Sabatti in 450 NE until I discovered problems with that brand and regulation. I guess rifles are like cars to some people ,a big engine, in a particular brand is a must.....but everyone can't have or afford a BMW 750 xi right? And under most circumstances the Ford Focus will get you there just fine.
Took this Cape Buffalo and a Lioness with the 416 Ruger ......no problem!
image.jpg
 

Norwegianwoods

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not sure I agree with the above quote as the 404 Jeffery, 458 Win, 458 Lott, 505 Gibbs, and 500 Jeffery are all genuinely useful cartridges in bolt action rifles.

-matt

I am not saying the cartridges are not useful, but I don't think they are really doing the job much better than a .416. and as you have said yourself in another thread, has the .416 Ribgy most likely an edge on the .404 Jeffery :)

Of course you can have some special situations where a very experienced and skilled BIG bore shooter can have the advantage with something bigger than a .416, but I think those people are able to do the job well with a .375 or a .416 too :)
If a hunter is a crap shot, it doesn't matter what sort of cannon he/she uses.

Most big bores are shot very little.
Both because it is usually very expensive and also because most owners far from enjoy to shoot them much.
To shoot any gun very well, you mostly need to shoot with it a lot and that is specially the case with a big bore.

Very few people are able to shoot a Big bore bolt rifle very well because of the recoil.
Many more are able to adept to a .375, .416 or a .404 and to shoot them well.

I know that the BIG bore enthusiasts totally disagree with me, but I am still sure that most of them shoot a .375 or a .416 better than a .458 or bigger :)

I have done plenty of tracking jobs with my tracking dogs after animals shot at by hunters that have been "overgunned".
 

Tanks

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I doubt the examples of the OP would occur in real life situations though. First, the bullet choice, if one is hunting elephant you are going to have solids in the gun, and in cartridge belt. Secondly, if one is stalking an elephant one will not be looking for any plains game as the concentration would be looking for the elephants. A blur at 200 yards? I doubt one would even notice or glass it, and same for the PH as he'd be looking for the elephants. Also, one would not want to lose a day shooting plains game while the main concentration is an elephant. Once the elephant is taken, one can go on to the next priority with the appropriate rifle, and loads
 

flatwater bill

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"He was using a 416 Rigby, excellent for lion, but a little light for elephant"...J.A. Hunter, "Hunter" regarding a man killed by an elephant in Kenya of old. His opinion was borne of great experience, and although the bullets of the day were in general inferior to today's, the Rigby gilding metal and steel jacketed solid may have been the exception.

During my own vast experiences elephant hunting with Art Neumann, Bill finaughty and Jimmie Sutherland, I was never distracted from a stalk to go after a big impala..................FWB
 

KWALATA SAFARIS

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I differ a 416 375 out performs any 470 on the market I will guarantee greater penetration in both the above mentioned rounds than on a 470.

I have seen this in Elle skulls several times.

Now when it comes to a stopper a 500gr round out performs all 400gr. Rounds due to the obvious advantages such as frontal bullet diameter as well as ft/lbs.
For hunting rounds not back up guns you will have to search long and hard to beat the 375's and 416's

Ps. I own a 375 h&h a 460 WBY and recently a 470NE

My very best always
 

matt85

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im curious, has any one said anything about being distracted from a elephant stalk to shoot a plains game? I didn't say that, so im wondering why have two people have come up with it.

coming across an animal while hunting is different then breaking from a stalk to shoot a different species. you are not stalking animals 100% of your hunt, a fair bit of time is spent traveling too or from areas where your target animal might be.

Jaco Strauss, my PH shares your belief. when I spoke to him about various chambering's I was considering, he told me the 375 H&H was ideal for most DG hunting. he saw no need to use anything larger or more powerful (I will be bringing a bigger gun... but not because I feel I need to).

-matt
 

Tanks

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Well, I mentioned it as even while traveling to an area for an elephant one is not going to be glassing for PG that is 200 yards out, and then be able to make out that it is an exceptional animal worth pursuing at that distance. On an elephant hunt (where PH rates are much higher than PG hunts) I would assume one would be concentrating on getting the primary mission accomplished, and not lose time pursuing other game.

As far as caliber choices is concerned. Everyone has an opinion. A near miss from a true big bore on a brain shot on an elephant most likely will stun the animal (giving you a chance for a finishing shot) whereas a .375 might not. Caliber matters, and personally I'd rather plan for the worst than hope for the best. Hence why I will use a 500gr .500 FN solid on my elephant hunts in about a month. I am leaving my .375 home, and taking the .500 for DG, and .416 for PG (and backup to the .500 if necessary). Also, you mentioned your PH recommends .375 for most DG, does he also recommend it for elephant?
 

matt85

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ok, lets settle this like men. lets go to Africa and hunt some elephants, ill use my 416 and you can use your 500. we can take as many as your willing to pay for. who ever is the most successful wins the challenge!

-matt
 

KWALATA SAFARIS

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tanks a brain miss on an Elle is a miss none the less, in my personal experience i do not offer brain shots on 99% of Elle, i mostly offer the heart lung, when i hunt KWALATA elle we do a full carcass recovery in the mountains so we have to work until i find the perfect location.

often here i do offer brain shots and preverably side on, as it is a much easier option for my hunting friends who some of which have not hunted many elle before.


ill put it to you like this, i honestly do not bdlieve that you will find a objective opinion on a ne forum :).......

as a full time professional hunter, i reccomend the fire arm that my client can fire and handle the best and most accurately.... ill say this regardless of calibre! and i will guarantee results, whether shooting a 375 or a 500 A square accurate shots from either are deadly inaccurate shots from either are not, I have hunted enough of them to firmly believe this.

my best always
 
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flatwater bill

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Matt.............you're right. You did not say anything about leaving an elephant stalk....My imagination just ran away.........couldn't help it..................you know, leaving the spoor of a 100 pounder to shoot a 27" impala with one's .470 or .577....no one would do that.............

But maybe for a 60" Kudu......
Good Shooting...............FWB
 

Tanks

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matt,
I'll take the challenge though a bit differently, each pays his own. ;)
jaco,
If you have heart/lung then most likely you have the side brain available as well. Any particular reason you don't want your clients to take that shot? Now, I am talking on shots <25 yards, most likely much closer.
 

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A brain shot is a very difficult shot to do , most hunters love to do it especially those who have never hunted Elle.........

Heart lung provides a much larger target... I believe that the more time you spend in proximity of elephant the better your idea becomes on shot placement.

On an approaching Elle your point of aim changes with every step, the only constant on a pivoting head are the zygomatic arches, drawing a connecting line through these provide you with a point of aim no matter what the rest of the heads angle is....

It took me months! To realize where the damn things were!!! :) ;) never mind even placing a shot, I was lucky enough to learn from a extremely experienced ph/outfitter who in those days could be regarded as a modern day Buzz... And this helped allot.

My reasons are simple, I make it as easy and as uncomplicated for every hunter I hunt with, I have a motto...

KISS (keep it stupid simple) and swing as much in your favor as possible...whilst still providing a consummate or fulfilling hunting experience.

Just my way of doing it. :) :) ;)

My best always
 

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