Plains game caliber dilemma

Voodooracer

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Hello everyone, I have been looking into a new plains game rifle and im deciding between 7mm rem mag and 338 win mag. I would be comfortable with the 7mm rem mag on game up to eland but i have a 375 h&h mag that im going to be putting a scope on very soon. I would feel more comfortable using that on eland rather than the 7mm mag. I dont have as much experience with the 338 win mag but like the extra energy and larger bullet it's pushing. If there are any other flat shooting calibers that you guys highly recommend I'd greatly appreciate your experiences with them. I'm looking for something different than the normal 30-06's and 300 win mags. As i said before I have a 375 h&h cz 550 for the larger game and a cz 550 in 458 lott for the really big game haha. Thanks again for the input!

Voodooracer
 

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The "bad" news is that anything from a 7x57 through your .375 will work on PG. Most prefer a bit more heft on eland, but many have been taken with any of the 7's. My personal favorite pure PG rifle is the .338 WinMag. Probably the most common loaner in Africa is the .300 WinMag. They all work. Just pick a quality, deep penetrating bullet.
 

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35Whelen, ha spikeT, beat you to it....

Seriously, Red Leg brought up a great point, there are numerous calibers one can enjoy. If Eland is on the menu then a 338 wm, 338-06, 8mm rem mag, 325, 9.3's, 350rem mag or as previously stated (and my personal favorite) the 35 Whelen. Or 35Whelen Ackley improved, your options are almost endless. Lucky you huh..??
 

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My go to caliber for PG is the .338WM. It recoils a bit but can be easily managed. With 225 gr or 250 gr quality bullets it will take any PG easily. My other favorite is the .300 H&H with 180 gr or 200 gr bullets she will hang right in with any other cal. Good luck picking one, there are a whole bunch of calibers that will do what you want.
 

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Nice thing about the .338Win is that it can be down loaded to feel about the same as the Whelen, or somewhere in between. Its quite a versatile round. I have two, one for sale and one keeper. I would keep them both but they are too similar. Both Ruger.
 

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In the .375H&H you already have a great Eland calibre.
 

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For sure, but its power isnt really needed if eland is the biggest thing on the menu, though I too took one when that was the case. I ended up shooting a cow, (not my fault), squarely in the shoulder head on. Ran about 35 yards and piled up lights out.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Well I'll play devil's advocate I guess. With a .375H&H already in possession, I don't see where the .338WM fills a role. I don't think the .338 is a bad choice, plenty of positive history on the round to prove it has a place.

But in my trip this past summer, I took my .375H&H and .300WM. The loads for which were 250gr and 200gr North Fork Bonded Cores, both with muzzle velocities of 2850fps. So it's a bit difficult for me to see where the 225gr version of the .338 is doing much for me.

Just my thoughts. If you go with the .338, I'm sure you'll be fine. Good luck with your choice!

That said, if you're looking for something different, I'd second the recommendation for the .300H&H if you don't want the .300WM. If I'm not mistaken CZ makes the 550 in this caliber. With a 200gr NF / TTSX / A-Frame, you'll not have much trouble covering Eland.
 

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My vote would go to the 7mm Rem Mag. Simple reason, you're already comfortable with it.

Have a great trip!
 

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The calibers you have allready covers everything,you do not need anything else,however,it is not always about what we need,want mostly plays a bigger role.Go for something classic like a .318 or .300 h&h or 9.3.
 

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If you really 'need' another rifle, then my vote goes to the excellent .300 H/H. I have one that has such a history that I would never part with it. However, it now just lies in the safe because I only use my .375, with different bullet weights, for everything I want to hunt. With bullet weights from 210gr up to 380gr, the .375 gives you the most versatile 'one rifle battery' you could ever need. Good luck with your choice.
 

Voodooracer

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Thanks everyone for the feedback! It's immensely helpful! I would love to get an 8mm rem mag but I've had difficulty finding many rifles chambered for it. A 9.3x62 is another caliber I'm looking at too. The rifles I have been looking at are a weatherby vanguard in 7mm mag and 338 win mag. And for the 9.3 I'm looking at a cz 550 American. 300 h&h would be an awesome classic cartridge as well. Indeed my wants outweigh my needs in this case :doh:. Too many guns and not enough money hahaha
 

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35Whelen, ha spikeT, beat you to it....

only because it was bed time in my part of the world!!

so here goes , voodooracer you said earlier you have a 30-06, and you have a .375h&h and a .458lott. i dont see the point of a .338 when you have a .375, so as pieter and doc say why not try one of the classic calibres .318, .300h&h........or the one you have to go for as i know you like the cz 550`s is the.....yup the 9.3x62!!! perfect fit in with the others you already have, great for shortish range bush hunting as its not going at warp speed and with a nice heavy bullet in the 285 to 293grn weight its good for smallest to biggest plains game you might bump into, and because its not going warp speed shouldnt damage the smaller ones too much. same can be said for the .375 in that its good for all plains game, but the 9.3 is gentler and nicer to carry with a lighter rifle .the cz 550 kevlar carbine in 9.3x62 is a lovely little rifle..........:)
 

Bushman10

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With a .375 in your cupboard there is no need for a .338. As said multiple times above - they are too similar. I would also rather go for the .300 WM or even the .300 Win Short Mag (WSM) for something with a twist.
 

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I've done the plains game thing with a .375 and was not wanting. I loaded 260 Nosler Partitions to 2800 fps (could likely get a bit more). Sighted 2" high at 100 its good for about 250 or so without holdover. I put a Leupold VX3 4.5-14 with the Boone and Crockett reticle sighted for the various holding points in the event a longer shot was required, and it came in handy on a 300 yd sable that wouldn't let us get any closer after several attempts. Yet there was no problem snap-shooting a kudu at 25 paces.

When I went back I had upgraded the scope to the VX6 2-12 with that custom CDS dial, a wonderful thing for the .375 and my PH loved it. In fact he instructed me to never change it, stated he believed that many clients under scope their .375's then try to take 250 yard springbok shots at 4X and muff them.

On that trip I also took a .280 Ackley with 160 Accubonds @ 2950 fps clocked (basically a 7 Mag) wearing the aforementioned VX3. PH didn't want me to use it on anything larger than a waterbuck. It worked really well on the waterbuck, but it came into its own on a herd of about 100 blesbok, probably 5+ of them SCI Gold, that wouldn't let us get anywhere near them. The .280 AI solved the problem when we finally got a shot at 336 laser-ranged yards, holding just a tad high on the second wire. May or may not have taken that shot with a 300 gr Barnes TSX, but would likely not have that Gold Medal Ram if I hadn't.

That's an outstanding battery for RSA, a 7mm/.300 and a .375. You didn't mention if you've been to Africa before, but I have to say there's nothing wrong with a .25-06 or .270 and a .375 either, use the smaller, flat-shooter up to blesbok and such, the .375 from there. To my thinking the .338 would be good for a one-rifle safari on plains game, but too close to the .375 if taking both. Not much difference in felt recoil or trajectory either. My PH carries a .338 all-around and a .416 for dangerous-game back-up so I don't need to.

The only reason to go over the 7mm to the .300 would be perhaps wildebeest-sable-eland, 7mm is perfect for springbok, blesbok, impala and similar sized animals, but if you have the 375 along you'll be well-prepared for it all with just about any flat-shooting cartridge from the .25-06/.270 on up. My pick is a 7mm with 160's.
 

BigSteve57

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My wife & I did a plains game hunt with a 30-06 and a 375 H&H Mag. We took everything from Steenbok to Kudu with those 2 calibers.
 

Voodooracer

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I have not been to africa yet but hope to hunt there sometime soon. That is all really great information, I have a lot to consider haha. I think im leaning towards the 300 h&h. I also did a little looking around on gunbroker and saw a couple ruger number 1's in 9.3x74r that are interesting looking. If i can't find what im looking for ill just go with the 30-06
 

35bore

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only because it was bed time in my part of the world!!

Ahhh... but you would have young Padawon, you would have:samurai:
 

BigSteve57

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I have not been to africa yet but hope to hunt there sometime soon. That is all really great information, I have a lot to consider haha. I think im leaning towards the 300 h&h. I also did a little looking around on gunbroker and saw a couple ruger number 1's in 9.3x74r that are interesting looking. If i can't find what im looking for ill just go with the 30-06

One of the things I learned on my first Africa hunt was just how powerful the 30-06 is. All I hunted with it was whitetail deer for almost 30 years. So while I knew the 30-06 was more powerful than needed to knock down a 100-200lb deer I had no frame of reference for what a 30-06 COULD do.

I was quite amazed at how well it took large Zebra, Wildebeest, Oryx etc... While I used the 375 H&H Mag for the larger animals like Eland and Kudu I was told it would not have been really necessary for the types of game we encountered.

So why did I take a 375 H&H Mag? Because that trip was just the first step in learning to hunt with that rifle for larger more dangerous game; game where that rifle will truly be needed. I felt it best to crawl before I walked, so to speak.

I did learn a lot on that trip.
 

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JMHO but the 30-06 will suffice for 90% (maybe 95%) of all plains game hunts with 180 gr Nosler partitions. It's nice to try different rounds but to generalize the 30-06 works and has for over a century. Shoot it accurately and you won't have any problems.
So why did I take my 338-06 on so many trips? Just because I wanted to and I made it in my garage (and no I'm not a real gunsmith, just a metal butcher). I wanted something different and I wanted to do it myself so on my first trip in Zim I went against conventional wisdom and used a not too common round (338-06), I hand loaded my ammo (again, back then, not recommended), I built up my rifle on my own lathe (barrel taper, thread and chamber, accurized the action), glass bedded the action, AND just to say it could be done, I used a $40 Bushnell scope ( I did bring a brand L scope with me though, just in case). All worked flawlessly on 13 heads of animals including a 44+ Sable. On my last trip I just took my very old sporterized 03-A3 (30-06, first "big" rifle I ever owned bought through the mail when I was 18 for $19.95+shipping). It worked fine also.
That's why I say today that if someone REALLY wants to go to Africa they can and do it at a reasonable cost. Pick up a Ruger American (I just did) in 30-06 for under $300, put a $150 scope on it (there are plenty of good ones out there) and shoot straight. One doesn't need to go high dollar to hunt Africa. You won't be under gunned for plains game.
OK I'm off the soap box and have my trash can lid ready to ward off the snow balls coming my way :) Have at it guys!
 

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