Well if I can't pair my 300 Win Mag with my 375 H&H, I think I might would bring the little 308. I bought one for my son who just started hunting this year to be able to hunt elk and to be recoil friendly. Why I've avoided this calibre for so many years can only be chalked up to the ignorance of youth.
While I dont really subscribe to the 2 rifles for plains game theory, if nailed down something like a .257 -6.5 Swede for the light stuff and my 9.3x62 or .338 Win mag. for everything else. But then if you have a bigger PG rifle, there is no need for the smaller is there?
I'd go with two identical 30-06's. That way when one broke, I'd have a backup. And if that one broke, I might well be able to salvage parts from the other to get it working again. Probably a far-fetched scenario but it makes a lot more sense to me than bringing two vastly different rifles. And I'd pay the extra for them to be in two separate cases so that when the airline lost one, I'd still be in business. And I could use my wife's ammo if mine got lost.
If I knew that the next shot I would be making would be a 450 yard shot at a kudu, a 338 winmag might be better, or perhaps a 243 for that 120 yard Springbok. But since I don't know (and don't want to know!) what is around the next bend, I would rather have something that is reasonably good for everything, perhaps not ideal, but good enough. The problem with ideal for the extremes is that it becomes less generally useful. I'd hate to have the 243 in my hands when the eland of my dreams appeared.
Perhaps if I were going into a very specific hunting situation, I would approach things differently. I tend to agree with sestoppelman that if you have big enough, small isn't critical- you can always use a solid if you want to minimize pelt damage. I'd rather brag about how close I stalked rather than how long a shot I made, so I don't really need a flat shooting magnum, and I'll practice more with an '06 than something bigger anyway.
Yes, I too have the 7x64, two actually and had planned to take one to Zim this coming June but eland is on the menu and Zim law requires a bit more poop than the 7x64 can safely muster so its the 9.3x62 again. I used it in Namibia in '07 and took kudu, 2 gemsbuck, and hartebeest with one shot apiece though the hartebeest hit a bit far back needed a finisher. Gemsbuck are tough animals but the 250 Nosler AccuBonds did the job well on both. One dropped in his tracks, the other ran about 25 yards.
For africa a .375 would always be part of any pair I took along. You never no when a problem Lion permit or something might show up and the .375 makes the grade on anything if you need it.
But to keep to the thread:
.264 Win in a model 70 for long shots on lighter game / 140 grn partitions.
The second rifle would be either a 338-06, 35 Whelen, or a 325 WSM. I dont own any of these but I have been thinking about something with heavy bullets light and easy to carry for larger plains game. The older I get "and maybe a little smarter" I have come to understand that bullet weight and diameter seem to do a better job of killing than extreem velocity. Or to put it another way I am leaning a little on the side of Elmer and little less towards Jack as I get older. I do have a .340 wby and it has killed everything I ever aimed it at stone ass M/F dead, near and far. All that power for plains game isnt necesary in Africa though.
I have shot over 40 head of plains game mostly with the 30-06 and few of them with a 7 x 57. Only had problems with one animal a Zebra a 180 grn interlock "I had to borrow ammunition" did not penetrate on a broad side standing shot at 75 yards. Zebra go a long ways on one lung.
Well the .308W with a Woodleigh PPSN 165 or .30-06 with a 180 will do it all for PG.
If DG then a .40 plus is a (legal/sensible) must, so my .416 Rigby will do.
To go light then a .243W will cover 60 percent of game.
The 9.3x62 is universally adaptable but a bit rainbow-ish over 200 yards.
The 7x57 with 175's in the hands of a good shot will reach up to .30 cal + territory.
Three possibilties. (Yes I'm having a bet each way and then some) ...
.243W and .30-06 Grassveldt/East Cape/Karoo and Bushveldt PG
7x57 (140's) and 9.3x62 For the Romantics 'cause they work.
.308W and .416Rigby PG and DG.
I've already written about this in later threads, however, I'll reiterate. I wrote extensively earlier under the thread "What Calibre to bring..."
For those couple of you mentioning the .35 Whelen, that's my choice of medicine. I have a custom rifle built on a VA-24 Czech Mauser action matched up with a Douglas Premium barrel, placed it in a nice Claro-walnut stock and topped it off with a Burris Signature Series 1.5-6x32mm illum duplex reticle scope. This was built for elk and moose, but as my research indicates will work quite well for plains game in Africa.
Code4. You say, "The 9.3x62 is universally adaptable but a bit rainbow-ish over 200 yards." That's what I understand, which is why I prefer the .35 Whelen. It's usually a 250 yard gun, but if you hand load or use some of the newer rounds available from DOUBLE TAP, you can get 300 and even 350 yards out without too much drop. The 9.3x62 loads appear to come universally with 286 grain bullets, whereas the .35 Whelen comes in factory loads with anywhere from 200 grain to 310 grain rounds, and depending on the load chosen, can deliver anywhere from 2,900 ft/lbs to 3,700 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle, which translates into some impressive numbers at distance.
It was developed in 1922, but was a wildcat until the late 1980s. Since then Remington has built rifles for it. That said, it's not a common caliber to find rifles in, but the ammunition is readily available, at least in the U.S.
Much depends on the bullet used and its ballistic coefficient. All things being equal the 9.3x62 is more powerful than the Whelen by virtue of its case capacity being slightly more. Differences in trajectory are practically nil. Sure if you try to compare a 286 gr 9.3 at 2300 to a 250 gr .35 cal bullet at 2550 the .35 looks good at least as trajectory is concerned, but thats apples and oranges. The two rounds are so similar in performance that certainly no animal could tell the difference when using similar components at similar velocities. As Jack O'Connor used to say "trying to make a case for one or the other is beating a pretty dead horse".
Oh, and I forgot to add... My second choice is a gun under construction at this time... a .280 Remington Ackley Improved. I chose it because as I note in my missive under "What calibre to bring on a single gun hunt," like the .35 whelen, it provides a considerable amount of flexibility it round selection.
For the first time I've ever seen, there is a commercially available "Ackley Improved" offering. Two, in fact. Nosler produces two .280 Rem AI rounds; 140 and 160 grain, using the Accubond bullet. Both provide 7mm Remington Magnum velocity/energy levels in a smaller package. This is possible because of new powders now available. Meanwhile, the standard .280 Remington rounds provide notably more power than the .270 Winchester in a variety of offerings, while often matching the .30-06. And like the 7mm-08 vs it's parent the .308 Winchester, it's a little flatter shooting than the .30-06 while retaining energy a little better at longer ranges. Finally, you can hand-load them to 7x57 Mauser levels. The latter is one of my favorite cartridges, and I have a rifle in that chambering as well.
So, my choice, for what it's worth, would be the .280 Remington Ackley Improved and the .35 Whelen.
NOTE: For those of you who might not be familiar with the "Ackley Improved" line, they're improved versions of the parent cartridges, in that the taper is taken out of the case and the shoulder moved forward and steepened. This increases the powder capacity versus the parent. They're, technically speaking, wildcats, however, you can still use factory ammo in the rifle, so you kind of get two rifles in one. I fact, although in some offerings AI cases can be bought, most are fireformed using factory ammunition of the standard cartridge. The advantage is higher velocities providing a quasi-magnum capability and, for handloaders, longer case life. The disadvantage, from what I've read, is a greater chance of a misfeed while rapidly chambering a follow on round over the parent cartridge due to the steep shoulder.
A 375 RUM with a 270 TSX or maybe the new 250 TTSX shoots flat enough to shoot as far as you need. Then take a few 350 grain TSXs and solids for the off chance to hunt DG or surprise encounter. Last year we were in a area that wasn't supposed to have any DG. No one told the ellies that one of our group found himself surrounded by.
If I would take two the other would be a 338 win or 35 Whelen. I feel that my small gun should take the biggest animal on my list. It always seems a person has the wrong gun when you see something big.
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...