Small Bores for Small African Game?

IdaRam

AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,086
Reaction score
3,716
Location
Idaho
Media
199
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Have any of you taken a small caliber rifle to Africa (South Africa) for the purpose of hunting the smaller game species? Something like a .22 Hornet, .222 Rem or even .22 WMR or .17 HMR? By smaller game species I mean Genet, Civit, Caracal, Serval, Honey Badger, Porcupine, Tiny 10, etc.
Are there any issues with taking a rimfire rifle to South Africa? Never looked into this before.
Any thoughts and advice is welcome and much appreciated! We have added on some days from the original plan (total of 24 hunting days) to be able to dedicate some time to these smaller animals and the tougher to get species. Because these smaller critters are specifically being targeted it seems worthwhile to consider bringing a rifle best suited to the purpose. I'm hoping to minimize pelt damage and still ensure good clean ethical kills. It sure would be a shame to get that dream opportunity at a Serval and end up with a big chunk of hide missing.
I will be taking some solids for the .375 H&H as well, but not sure that's the best option for the purpose. I'm thinking about leaving the .30-06 at home and bringing a light rifle instead. I would just plan on using the .375 for everything but the little stuff.
Thanks in advance guys, I'm sure you'll have some very insightful advice! (y)
 

Velo Dog

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
3,524
Reaction score
5,290
Location
Anchorage
Media
58
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member.
Hunted
Africa 5 times, USA - most western states including Alaska and Hawaii.
I would not say the .222 is easy on small animal's pelts.
The Hornet with heavy bullets is probably a better bet however mine (older Brno miniature Mauser) has such slow twist rifling that bullets over 45 grains will not shoot accurately.
I've been told by a South African PH that foreigners may not import rim fire weapons or rim fire ammunition.

All that being said, if it were my call, I would just load 300 gr bullets in my .375 H&H to 2400 fps and bring a few 300 gr solids, also at that velocity, for what you have in mind.
I never want to have to bring two rifles to Africa, one is plenty of trouble for me as it is.
In fact, I do not ever want to bring more than one bullet weight/velocity per safari either.

Dragging a bunch of extra equipment half way around the world and back does not appeal to me.
This is not to mention that Murphy's Law is always about and so, I have to keep things simple or I am sure to draw Murphy's attention (one rifle, one bullet weight, one velocity per safari).
 

buffybr

AH enthusiast
Joined
Sep 26, 2009
Messages
359
Reaction score
520
Location
Montana
Media
163
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
SCI, RMEF, Life member NRA and Manhatten (Montana) Wildlife Association
Hunted
USA(CO,MT,WY,AK,TX), Canada(NWT,Saskatchewan,Quebec), Zimbabwe(Matetsi), RSA(Limpopo,KZN,Free State,Eastern Cape), New Zealand, Mozambique, Azerbaijan
...In fact, I do not ever want to bring more than one bullet weight/velocity per safari either.
Dragging a bunch of extra equipment half way around the world and back does not appeal to me.
This is not to mention that Murphy's Law is always about and so, I have to keep things simple or I am sure to draw Murphy's attention (one rifle, one bullet weight, one velocity per safari).

I practice a lot with cast lead bullets in my .375 RUM and my .300 Weatherby.

On one hunt in South Africa I took a box of the cast bullets for my .375 RUM, thinking that I would use them for some little guys (like Grysbok and Steenbok) and for finishing shots on larger animals. Because of the trajectory difference between the cast bullets and the full power bullets, that was a bad plan. I ended up borrowing a .308 Win with FMJ bullets for my Grysbok and just shooting my Steenbok a little back with my .375 RUM.

On my last trip to South Africa there were several small animals that I wanted so I worked up a load with 150 gr Hornady FMJ bullets for my .300 Weatherby. Again there was a trajectory difference between the FMJ bullets and my 168 gr TTSX full power loads. I had planned on using the FMJ bullets for a Klipspringer, but they were very skittish, and we had trouble getting within 300 yards of them, so I ended up using a TTSX bullet. Then, after shooting all of the larger animals that I had wanted to hunt, I re-zeroed my rifle with the FMJ bullets and we then hunted Caracal and Civet.

The 150 gr Hornady FMJ bullet worked great for my Civet, but then when I was offered a shot at a Caracal, all I got was a loud CLICK. Murphy struck! The primer fired but did not ignite the powder, and it pushed the bullet into the bore of my rifle. We also did not have a cleaning rod to push the stuck bullet out. Luckily, my PH had a .22 LR rifle in his truck, and I used it to shoot the Caracal. After I got home I shot all of the other FMJ cartridges in the box, and all of them shot perfectly. The only misfire in the box was the one cartridge that I shot at the caracal. I also now carry an 8" section of 1/4" brass rod in my guncase.
 

Velo Dog

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
3,524
Reaction score
5,290
Location
Anchorage
Media
58
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member.
Hunted
Africa 5 times, USA - most western states including Alaska and Hawaii.
I practice a lot with cast lead bullets in my .375 RUM and my .300 Weatherby.

On one hunt in South Africa I took a box of the cast bullets for my .375 RUM, thinking that I would use them for some little guys (like Grysbok and Steenbok) and for finishing shots on larger animals. Because of the trajectory difference between the cast bullets and the full power bullets, that was a bad plan. I ended up borrowing a .308 Win with FMJ bullets for my Grysbok and just shooting my Steenbok a little back with my .375 RUM.

On my last trip to South Africa there were several small animals that I wanted so I worked up a load with 150 gr Hornady FMJ bullets for my .300 Weatherby. Again there was a trajectory difference between the FMJ bullets and my 168 gr TTSX full power loads. I had planned on using the FMJ bullets for a Klipspringer, but they were very skittish, and we had trouble getting within 300 yards of them, so I ended up using a TTSX bullet. Then, after shooting all of the larger animals that I had wanted to hunt, I re-zeroed my rifle with the FMJ bullets and we then hunted Caracal and Civet.

The 150 gr Hornady FMJ bullet worked great for my Civet, but then when I was offered a shot at a Caracal, all I got was a loud CLICK. Murphy struck! The primer fired but did not ignite the powder, and it pushed the bullet into the bore of my rifle. We also did not have a cleaning rod to push the stuck bullet out. Luckily, my PH had a .22 LR rifle in his truck, and I used it to shoot the Caracal. After I got home I shot all of the other FMJ cartridges in the box, and all of them shot perfectly. The only misfire in the box was the one cartridge that I shot at the caracal. I also now carry an 8" section of 1/4" brass rod in my guncase.

You can always count on good old Murphy to watch our every step.
 

Royal27

AH ambassador
Joined
May 27, 2012
Messages
9,472
Reaction score
13,427
Media
109
Articles
5
Hunting reports
Africa
6
Member of
DSC, NRA, SCI
Hunted
USA - TX, CO, GA, ID. Africa - Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa (Limpopo and EC)
By small bore I thought you meant .338.... ;)

I think it would be a hoot to take something like a .22 wmr and use it for really little guys, some plinking, and what a great way to shoot some birds for the pot. don't know what the ammo rules are for taking over there, but I don't see why not?

would be fun to use for a shooting contest with the team for a prize of some sort. That would get you points early in the safari!!!!

Since you will have a .375 H&H you have everything else covered I would think. Choosing some kind of "plinker" would be an exercise in fun and not true need, but very cool I think.
 

IdaRam

AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,086
Reaction score
3,716
Location
Idaho
Media
199
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
No doubt about it, Old Man Murphy is a real son of a bitch! :sneaky: Sooner or later he gets us all.
Great advice so far and much appreciated. Velo Dog I suspect you will appreciate this ;) I'm really leaning toward loading good old Hornady 300gr RN soft points and then also loading Hornady 300gr Round Nose Solids in an attempt to match velocity, trajectory and POI. Going to see how this works out in practice with load development and testing.
Lioness will be the main large animal on the menu and it seems like that Round Nose Soft Point will be ideal lion medicine. I expect it will also perform admirably on the plains game from Impala to Blue Wildebeest. Out to 300 yards, which seems like about as far as most PH's are comfortable letting folks shoot, I don't see that bullet at 2400-2500 fps being a handicap.
Some of the animals such as Caracal, Serval, Honey Badger, Civit and Genet are likely to be hunted at night. I was thinking about setting up a little CZ .22 Hornet with a good light gathering scope to use for this purpose. Any thoughts on the suitability of that set up on the game I mentioned? The .22 WMR is definitely a contender too, just not sure about the ability to import gun and ammo into SA. Velo Dog mat be correct in it being a no-no. I will explore further.
Royal27, I love the idea of a camp staff shootin' match! Or maybe a tri-athlon; shooting, spear throwing and Warthog wrestling :D or something like that :sneaky: I will have to give that some thought (y)
 

PeteG

AH elite
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
1,384
Reaction score
1,560
Media
68
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
IdaRam, i would go with the 22H, my personal favourite of the small bores, with solids it makes for a good choice on the likes 0f Spurwing Geese and i would be happy to use it on any of the smaller animals with either solids or softs.
it may not be advisable, but my first pg animal was a reedbuck with a 22H. hence why its my favourite. (y)
 

huntermn15

AH fanatic
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Messages
846
Reaction score
545
Location
Anchorage, Alaska
Media
8
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
NRA, SCI, AK SCI
Hunted
U.S.A. NJ, TX, AZ, AK. Limpopo and the Kalihari in South Africa. Eastern Cape RSA 2017.
IdaRam,

After searching on the South African Consulate General site I found nothing stating that you could not import rimfire rifles or ammo. The only limitations that were listed are copy and pasted below. I hope this helps.

Limitations
The following limitations exist on firearms per person:

  • two hunting rifles
  • one single or double barrel shotgun
  • one handgun of .45 or smaller caliber
Prohibitions
Prohibitions on firearms are:

  • automatic rifles and pistols or semi-automatic rifles
  • automatic or semi-automatic or pump action shotguns
  • hand carbines
A reasonable amount of ammunition per caliber is allowed. Any person importing firearms to South Africa must have proof of ownership, for example a license and export permit from the country of origin.
 

IdaRam

AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,086
Reaction score
3,716
Location
Idaho
Media
199
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Thanks Pete, any specific bullet recommendation on the soft? Reedbuck with a .22 Hornet. That's pretty cool! (y)
 

IdaRam

AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,086
Reaction score
3,716
Location
Idaho
Media
199
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
huntermn15 thank you! That is very helpful and much appreciated.
 

PeteG

AH elite
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
1,384
Reaction score
1,560
Media
68
Articles
1
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Thanks Pete, any specific bullet recommendation on the soft? Reedbuck with a .22 Hornet. That's pretty cool! (y)
IdaRam, we dont get much choice here on what type of bullet etc, i have pretty much used whatever was available.
i have used the PRVI soft recently, they group ok and they are not as damaging as the Hornday VMAX which is the only other soft i have tried recently.
the PRVI penetrates a steel plate where the hornady just splatters and hardly makes a dent, so i have kept the PRVI's for general use.

I was only about 7 or 8 years old and my dad took me into Mumbwa West, the reedbuck was only about 30m away or so and (un)intentionally ;) hit the spine somewhere in the middle of the neck. wasnt a great shot, but i recall thinking it was perfect!(y)
i was only allowed to use the 300wm about 2 or 3 years later. still have the 300, gave the 22H to my younger cousin who was itching to try hunting, so its still kinda in the family.
 

Velo Dog

Silver supporter
AH legend
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
3,524
Reaction score
5,290
Location
Anchorage
Media
58
Hunting reports
Africa
1
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member.
Hunted
Africa 5 times, USA - most western states including Alaska and Hawaii.
No doubt about it, Old Man Murphy is a real son of a bitch! :sneaky: Sooner or later he gets us all.
Great advice so far and much appreciated. Velo Dog I suspect you will appreciate this ;) I'm really leaning toward loading good old Hornady 300gr RN soft points and then also loading Hornady 300gr Round Nose Solids in an attempt to match velocity, trajectory and POI. Going to see how this works out in practice with load development and testing.
Lioness will be the main large animal on the menu and it seems like that Round Nose Soft Point will be ideal lion medicine. I expect it will also perform admirably on the plains game from Impala to Blue Wildebeest. Out to 300 yards, which seems like about as far as most PH's are comfortable letting folks shoot, I don't see that bullet at 2400-2500 fps being a handicap.
Some of the animals such as Caracal, Serval, Honey Badger, Civit and Genet are likely to be hunted at night. I was thinking about setting up a little CZ .22 Hornet with a good light gathering scope to use for this purpose. Any thoughts on the suitability of that set up on the game I mentioned? The .22 WMR is definitely a contender too, just not sure about the ability to import gun and ammo into SA. Velo Dog mat be correct in it being a no-no. I will explore further.
Royal27, I love the idea of a camp staff shootin' match! Or maybe a tri-athlon; shooting, spear throwing and Warthog wrestling :D or something like that :sneaky: I will have to give that some thought (y)


IdaRam,

Handicap? To the contrary in my personal experiences, both here in Alaska and over in you-know-where.
Personally I do not see how you can go wrong with Honady RN 300 grain bullets in your .375 H&H for the big kitty and general bag of PG, up to and including Blou Wildebeest.

On my second safari, I brought only that exact caliber and bullet (Merkel SxS with Leupold 2.5x compact scope).
My double regulated very well with that bullet at 2400 fps plus, all of the bolt actions and the one single shot in .375 H&H that I have owned over the years, all shot very accurately with it indeed.
Recoil is not bad either.

On that adventure, I even brought a few corresponding 300 gr Hndy RNFMJ, for "just in case" but, didn't need them after all.
My limited experiences of shooting animals with the above mentioned load (including my first of several wildebeests over the years), seems to indicate that it quickly flattens animals but, with not too badly ruined meat, compared to some high velocity cartridges.

I've never shot a lioness or any large cat for that matter but, I believe they usually weigh around 200 pounds to maybe exceptional ones possibly weighing a little over about 250?
Seems like I've heard somewhere the exceptional lion can weigh up to about 450 pounds or so, in the wild?
Anyway, history seems to strongly suggest that the .375 H&H with 300 gr round nose soft is actually one of the very best lion/lioness getters ever dreamed up, including as a charge stopper.
I am jealous that you are going off to hunt a big cat and I am not, especially since you are planning to use such a classic cartridge.

The .22 Hornet is likely a good idea for the little stuff but again, personally I would just use the .375 / 300 gr FMJ at 2400 fps.
Also, the Hndy RNSP you plan to use is real easy on things like impala and duiker, etc., provided the muzzle velocity is down at about 2400 fps.
Typically golf ball size exit holes at close range and slightly smaller exit holes on longer shots, such as 150 yds or so.
It is my idea of what is as close to the perfect PG caliber and load, in the history of the hunting world, as per my experiences with it anyway, plus its long and excellent track record.
And presumably about perfect for big cats as well but again, I personally have no experience with large cats.

I need to hit the hay loft now so, cheerio,
Velo Dog.
 
Last edited:

IdaRam

AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,086
Reaction score
3,716
Location
Idaho
Media
199
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Thanks Velo Dog. Initially a friend gave me a partial box and said "try these, they just work". Same bullet he has used for years and took his lioness and a bunch of other game with. Even I am smart enough not to argue with success and the wisdom of a friend ;)
 

Bullthrower338

AH legend
Joined
Sep 20, 2014
Messages
4,513
Reaction score
10,570
Location
Houston, Texas and Alder, MT
Media
180
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Australia/NZ
2
Member of
Life Member Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, NRA, Huntin' Fool, DSC and Pope and Young Club
Hunted
USA, Mexico, Canada, RSA, Australia NT, Zimbabwe
Too bad a guy cant take a rimfire, one of those X-Rings would play hell on the small critters! We used a BRNO 22 on steenbok and it was absolutely perfect.
Firearm laws confuse me, I think Hillery, Nancy, Chuck and Harry must fly around as a gun law brain trust spreading piss poor ideas.
 

Billcollector

AH senior member
Joined
Sep 24, 2012
Messages
75
Reaction score
96
Location
Marietta GA
Most hunters that pursue the small stuff or the tiny ten are usually looking to do something with taxidermy when the quest is completed. A genet should be taken with a 22. Most if not all outfitters will have one laying around. A 222 or a 22 hornet with the least expanding bullets bullets work well but up close, you might have a big exit hole depending where you hit. In my mind, a 375 with solids is the best choice. A small hole in and a small hole out, plus you can use it on anything else while on your safari.
 

IdaRam

AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,086
Reaction score
3,716
Location
Idaho
Media
199
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Thanks Bullthrower! Yeah, wish I could take an X-Ring for sure. That would certainly help me write off some of the safari cost :) Not to mention the enjoyment and satisfaction of hunting Africa with one of my company's products.
 

Bullthrower338

AH legend
Joined
Sep 20, 2014
Messages
4,513
Reaction score
10,570
Location
Houston, Texas and Alder, MT
Media
180
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Australia/NZ
2
Member of
Life Member Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, NRA, Huntin' Fool, DSC and Pope and Young Club
Hunted
USA, Mexico, Canada, RSA, Australia NT, Zimbabwe
I am actually fitting a xring barrel to a receiver right now. Y'all make a hell of a product.
Cheers,
Cody
 

IdaRam

AH legend
Joined
Jun 30, 2014
Messages
2,086
Reaction score
3,716
Location
Idaho
Media
199
Hunting reports
Africa
2
USA/Canada
1
Member of
NRA Life Member, NAHC Life Member, SCI, DSC, Wild Sheep Foundation, NSSF
Hunted
Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, California, Alberta Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Thank you sir! Much appreciated and very humbling. Compliments like that are what motivate me and the fine folks that I have the privilege to work with every day!
 

spoonieduck

AH veteran
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
125
Reaction score
77
Have any of you taken a small caliber rifle to Africa (South Africa) for the purpose of hunting the smaller game species? Something like a .22 Hornet, .222 Rem or even .22 WMR or .17 HMR? By smaller game species I mean Genet, Civit, Caracal, Serval, Honey Badger, Porcupine, Tiny 10, etc.
Are there any issues with taking a rimfire rifle to South Africa? Never looked into this before.
Any thoughts and advice is welcome and much appreciated! We have added on some days from the original plan (total of 24 hunting days) to be able to dedicate some time to these smaller animals and the tougher to get species. Because these smaller critters are specifically being targeted it seems worthwhile to consider bringing a rifle best suited to the purpose. I'm hoping to minimize pelt damage and still ensure good clean ethical kills. It sure would be a shame to get that dream opportunity at a Serval and end up with a big chunk of hide missing.
I will be taking some solids for the .375 H&H as well, but not sure that's the best option for the purpose. I'm thinking about leaving the .30-06 at home and bringing a light rifle instead. I would just plan on using the .375 for everything but the little stuff.
Thanks in advance guys, I'm sure you'll have some very insightful advice! (y)
Now THAT really is an interesting question. The African emphasis is so often on big stuff but I know exactly where you are coming from. I've even gone to the 'extreme' in the past of loading solids in my 300 Winchester to poke small holes through small animals. Problem is that the holes poked frequently aren't that small. I have an Ethiopian dik dik that required major plastic surgery after my 300 trick.

I do have experience and an opinion, however. I've experimented with the 220 Swift [about 3,800 feet at the muzzle] on feral hogs and smaller animals. Varmint or soft nosed rounds are entirely inappropriate. They shoot small animals like rabbit and skunk completely out of their skin. No kidding. The skin shoots up about 6-7 feet and then floats down. On large animals like feral hogs, you get a big superficial wound and lose the pig.

I moved to Hornady .22 solids. Better. In and outs on small animals. Usually. They will kill pigs….but….autopsies on the pigs oftentimes reveal bullet failure in which the lead has separated from the jacket. I did a little reading on Barnes solids. Solid copper alloys. These bullets are hard. They are sudden death on chest shot hogs. The largest hog I've ever shot was a 300 pounder quartered on to me at 75 yds. I hit him with that tiny, 50 grain, Barnes .22 solid. I hit him in the left front shoulder and he died instantly without a kick. Because the bullet ran the length of the body, I lost it in the guts. I never have recovered one of these bullets. In the more common case in which I hit a pig in the chest broadside, the bullet zips right through him with .22 caliber holes both entrance and exit. This suggests to me that, not only did the bullet not deform, it didn't even tumble.

Therefore this might be an excellent combination on small animals like rhebok, duiker, mountain reedbuck, steenbok etc. It might not even be a bad choice for medium-sized antelope, warthog and bush pig.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
37,336
Messages
711,784
Members
66,505
Latest member
JameBitner
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

cal pappas wrote on Mnelson2's profile.
Nelson. Is this message a PM format. I want to send you my email, but don't know if this is the cirrect way to do it. I'm at <pappas@mtaonline.net> Send me an email with your phone and I will call you about a skull I have. I went to school in Boston and am from Bernardston in the west part of the state. Moved to Alaska in 1984 adn never looked back.
BeeMaa wrote on Justbryan's profile.
Sold a Blaser scope mount to him. He was a pleasure to do business with.
BeeMaa wrote on 375Fox's profile.
Sold a Blaser scope mount to him. Was a pleasure to do business with.
Tundra Tiger wrote on Alaska Luke's profile.
Hi Luke. Just saw your message. I am in Dillingham, and have been since 2002. I took an elementary teaching gig here, taught here five years, and then got a job with Togiak National Wildlife Refuge as their education and outreach specialist. Recently I just got a promotion and now I'm the Visitor Services Manager. Prior to DLG I spent 6 years teaching for Lake and Pen in Nondalton.
Serbian Hunter wrote on Tundra Tiger's profile.
Hi TT
I am glad you found some useful info in my posts. Hard cast WFN with GC will do the job fine. I trust Veral Smith (owner of LBT company) - I believe that he can provide you with some finest HC bullets. Many companies are coping his design. I can help you from here in developing max loads (40.000psi) just let me know which powder you are using (I use Quick Load software which turns to be very reliable).
 
Top