Rifle for Plains Game and Dangerous Game

DriveByGuy

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Good evening,

I’ve read quite a few posts regarding the usual “which caliber is best”, but obviously that’s an extremely hard, if not impossible, question to answer with opinions.

Now, obviously I know that there are an infinite number of calibers to choose from for any type of hunting. However, I’m torn between the Winchester model 70 Safari Express in either .375 h&h, .416 rem mag, or .458 win mag.

Between these three, which would be a good option if I was looking for a primarily dangerous game (Cape and possibly Elephant) cartridge with the flexibility to do some plains game and North American hunting? I’m waiting until after I finish my Bachelor’s to go to Africa (I’ve already got all the arrangements made), but in the meantime I’m looking into some black bear, grizzly, and moose hunts. The only thing I’m having trouble with is choosing what caliber. I want a single caliber (a large expectation) that is flexible enough for anything from large North American game up to a charging Cape. I plan on dipping my feet into some PG hunting when I take my trip to Africa. I realize perhaps the most popular caliber would be .375 h&h with its rather flat trajectory and ability to reach out further, but I don’t really want to find out what 2000 pounds feels like when it hits you at 30mph (I know, an unlikely scenario since a PH would accompany me on an African hunt) if the .375 fails to perform.

I’ve read quite a bit on the flexibility of the .458 Winchester Magnum cartridge, but I feel like it just lacks the ability to reach out past 200 yards effectively. Would a .416 Remington Magnum be the most flexible cartridge for my needs? I’ve read up on it’s ballistics, and it seems as though it’s relatively flat shooting out to around 250 yards, but packs enough wallop to be a suitable rifle for cape buffalo and the like. Would the .416 Remington Magnum be a good pick for what I want it to do? I don’t plan on hunting past 250 yards (I know very few hunters that have even taken shots past 200).

Now, I know that shot placement is the key to dropping any animal dead (or almost) in its tracks, but unless conditions are perfect, perfect shot placement can often allude a hunter. Therefore, I’d prefer having more kinetic energy to fall back on should I need it.

Also, recoil is not an issue. I started shooting at the age of 9, with a .30-30 Winchester 94 and a Winchester 12 gauge being the guns I was trained on. I’ve since moved up a bit, commonly shooting hot .45-70 loads and 3 inch magnum shot shells on a regular basis. I’ve also had some time behind a .458 Lott, and frankly don’t see where the hype regarding recoil comes from, so neither of these three cartridges should be a hassle, at least for myself.

In short, .375 h&h, .416 rem mag, or .458 win mag for dangerous game and lesser game/PG within 200?
 

Tanks

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If elephant is on the menu than .458 Win Mag, otherwise .416 Rem. Mag. (it is also great for elephant, but I like bigger bores).
 

DriveByGuy

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If elephant is on the menu than .458 Win Mag, otherwise .416 Rem. Mag. (it is also great for elephant, but I like bigger bores).

This is sort of my worry. I’m not sure if I’ll hunt elephant or not, but if I should decide to, I’d prefer to not be under-gunned. That said, I feel that .458 win mag does not possess the trajectory for even 150 yard shots.
 

K-man

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There is nothing that walks on earth that cannot be (legally and ethically) killed with the .375. Looking at the list of animals you posted, you can use 250 or 270 grain bullets and reach out to 300 yds for moose and bear, use 300 grain for grizzly and Africa. If you feel you must go bigger, you of course can but the .375 is more versatile for your list than the others. I can attest to its STOPPING power even on a charging elephant with proper shot placement. Good luck with your choice and glad you have joined!
 

fourfive8

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I've used two of your cartridges for that dual purpose- 375 HH and 416 Rem Mag. Both were outstanding in that role. Personally, I'd choose the 416 Rem simply because it has a little more poop for the DG. The bullets for both could include A Frames, TSXs and North Fork Cup Point copper solids. Throw elephant into the mix and I'd add something like one of the Flat Point copper solids by GS Custom or North Fork but..... GS Custom is shut down indefinately because CheyTac pulled the plug (scammed the machines out of GS then quit production of GS bullets) and North Fork sold to a company in Sweden and I haven't seen any production reaching the US yet. I think I bought the last box of North Fork Flat Point Solids that Reloading Intl. had. Luckily, I still have some GS Custom Flat Point solids. You could also ask CEB, Woodleigh or even Peregrine about availability. Unfortunately right now there is an unobtanium shortage of some of the better, IMO, Flat Point solids that would be best for elephant.
 
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Red Leg

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Three - Seven - Five

For what you describe it is no contest.
 

Tanks

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... That said, I feel that .458 win mag does not possess the trajectory for even 150 yard shots.

Not true. A 258 grain bullet at 2,950 fps or better will easily do 200+ yards. I shoot a .458 wildcat similar to .458 WM ballistics. I know of a guy that took a moose at 200 yards with the same wildcat and I would not hesitate to take a shot at that distance (once sighted in of course).
 

DriveByGuy

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Not true. A 258 grain bullet at 2,950 fps or better will easily do 200+ yards. I shoot a .458 wildcat similar to .458 WM ballistics. I know of a guy that took a moose at 200 yards with the same wildcat and I would not hesitate to take a shot at that distance (once sighted in of course).

Well then, maybe I will just go with my original gut instinct, which was to get the Model 70 in .458. Since posting this, I’ve been doing so YouTube searching and found a number of .458 Win Mag test videos. They seem to be able to get out to 300 yards+ without much issue.
 

Tra3

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Rifles are very inexpensive in comparison to the hunts you are planning to do. Bring two guns. Buy one now that you will use in the next number of hunts. Then get the same gun in the larger caliber later when you go for DG.
+1 on the .375.
 

WAB

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Given your 3 choices, I would go with the .375.
 

Professor Mawla

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I would personally take the .458 Winchester Magnum . That is what I have been using since the last 48 years ; be it for hunting game for the larder , taking trophies or Problem Animal Control Work . My own modest battery consists of :
- A .458 Winchester Magnum custom built on a Winchester Enfield Model 1917 action .
- A Laurona 12 bore sidelock ejector
- A BRNO .22 Long Rifle bolt action

I could not be happier with my choices . However , in your case ; the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum would make for the more logical choice .

I have written a detailed article about this subject ( including my personal experiences ) , roughly a month back. Perhaps , it may interest you .
 

375Fox

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You should consider ammo cost and availability in your decision. If you use this as your all around rifle for the next 15 years before you actually go on an elephant hunt you would be able to buy a second rifle with the cost savings of having a 375 H&H. There are a lot of bullet choices 250-300 grains in 375. How many lighter choices are available for 458? The 375 is a much more versatile round for an all around gun.
 

Tanks

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You should consider ammo cost and availability in your decision. ... There are a lot of bullet choices 250-300 grains in 375. How many lighter choices are available for 458?
Just from Cutting Edge Bullets there are 12 choices for .458. In reality one needs only 3 bullets. A light one for PG, leopard etc.., expandable heavy for lion, buffalo etc. and a solid for buffalo, elephant, hippo etc.. For me that is 258 CEB tipped raptor, 420 grain CEB raptor and 450 grain CEB solid. But I have a .458 wildcat. On a .458 WM he can go to 500 grains for the heavies.

My proposition 9,3x62.

In most countries illegal for DG.
 

cls

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.375 and if you decide on elephant borrow the camp gun.
 

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