Soft Point / Solid Combo for Dangerous Game

PHOENIX PHIL

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I've got a question concerning bullets for Dangerous Game, specifically for Buffalo. I don't know when I'm going to get back to Africa but when I do, I'd like to go after Buffalo. Shortly after getting back from my first safari this past summer, I bought a Model 70 in .375 H&H. With my hunting schedule in the fall, I've still not fired the gun, but that will change this weekend.

But my question concerns what bullets. Mostly what I read here on AH, is to use a soft point (I'm leaning towards Swift A-Frames or Nosler Partitions) with a solid for a follow up 2nd shot. Is the reason for the solid 2nd for a potential head shot at a charging bull? What if the bull doesn't charge? I've seen numerous videos where a shot buffalo doesn't charge, but maybe just runs a bit but still offers a follow up.

Just trying to understand better how and what to prepare for.
 

Mike70560

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Phil,

My choice has been/will be either North Fork or TSX. I have not used the Swifts on buffalo but know people who swear by them. Of the three I would find the one that shoots the best with your choice of solids.

Some people that I respect and have killed way more buffalo than me do not use solids on buffalo. Others would prefer solids for the second shot.

The disadvantage of a solid is you will shoot shoot through a broadside shot and risk hitting another buffalo if you are hunting in a herd. A soft will penetrate a buffalo skull and the boss if needed. More than likely your follow up shot will be with the buffalo running in the other direction. A solid will penetrate deeper on a raking shot hands down.

If your rifle will feed the Barnes Banded solid it is a good choice. The pentration tests performed on the 300 grain 375 BBS were impressive to say the least.

Short story for me: TSX or North Fork soft, follow up with a Barnes Banded Solid. Shoot until it is either down and dead or you can no longer see it.

A lot of combinations will work, pick one and most important ,enjoy your hunt.
 

LouisB

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Hi Phil

I would recommend using the soft solid combination my reason for that is more often than not the a buffalo will be moving away from you and not towards.

There will certainly be a lot of brush in the way chances are that you might have everything but an open second shot with that being said you will have to thread a bullet trough and hit the buffalo on a countering away angle.

I can also recommend using the Barnes TSX bullets they outperform most when it comes to hunting in Africa especially on dangerous game. The Barnes Banded Solid FB should do just fine as well.

There will no doubt be other combinations and no one is wrong it is up to each person’s personal preference you must find a combination that works best for you! It might also be wise once you have decided on a Outfit to ask the PH that you will be hunting with as to his preference with regards to using soft’s and solids.

Best Regards
Louis van Bergen
 

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DUGABOY1

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The use of certain types of bullets IS a personal choice, but there are reasons that have nothing to do with choice for certain types depending on what type rifle you are using!

If, for instance, you are doing all your shooting with a bolt rifle, then just about any bullet recommended here would do the job if you do yours. However, if you are using a double rifle, then some types are not the best choice. With the choice of the bullet, the buffalo is not the only consideration to think about.

The Barnes solids are fine in single barreled rifles, but there are other solids that are better suited IMO. The solid that makes the difference is not what we think of as the traditional lead core solid, but the mono-metal solid. This includes the various so-called expanding solids that are mono-metal like the TSX, which has the bearing, surface that contacts the rifling being a solid mass of hard metal. The TSX with it’s pressure rings cut around the bearing surface is better than some of the earlier expanding solids like the X-bullet with a smooth bearing surface.

I must say here, however, that the pressure rings on the TSX are too wide, and are more likely to cause OSR (Over Stressed Rifling) than another type like the North Fork or the GS Custom, which have the pressure rings cut very thin, and the grooves between the rings deeper so the displaced metal of the pressure ring displaced by the rifling has someplace to go.

This is called a BORE RIDER type, and is far less detrimental to the barrel. As a rule the single barreled rifle that will be used for dangerous game will have far thicker walls than a double rifle, who’s walls are normally very thin. Top this off with the fact that the barrels are attached to the other barrel and the top and bottom ribs by solder, and the extra flex caused by a very hard bullet, my cause the separation of the barrels, or worse the permanent deformation of the barrel or barrels with OSR.

Most here will be using a bolt rifle, and in that case the solid bullet choice is easier, but if you are using a double rifle a little more though is recommended.

If I’m using a bolt rifle to hunt buffalo I place a North Fork soft point, Nosler partition, or Swift A-frame in the chamber followed by the same bullet as top cartridge in the magazine, followed with all solids down. In my double rifles I place a soft in the right barrel, and a solid in the left barrel. In all cases if I have a clear shot I place the first shot with a soft, followed by a quick soft in a bolt rifle, and followed by the solid in the left barrel in the double rifle. If I were hunting elephant I would opt for all solids, if hunting lion I would opt for all quality softs.

A buffalo will most times run a few steps forward at the first shot, then turn off , or swap ends and go straight away. In that case your not going to have time usually to get off more that one follow-up shot, and if it is quartering away, or straight away the solid has a better chance of getting into the vitals, and /or breaking large bones. If you have time for more than two shots, the rest of the magazine should be solids, and with the double the re-load should be all solids. If the buffalo charges then what ever is in the chamber needs to be utilized in short order, and here the old saying applies! “Once a cape buffalo puts together a concentrated charge, your options have been wonderfully simplified, you will kill him, or he will kill you!”

This also applies to lion, once he locks onto a target he will not be turned, and must be put out of service if you value your hide! Nothing short of a CNS hit will stop these two animals once they get going. A very hard slap in the face will often turn an elephant, but that counted on! SO what ever you load with the first shot is the telling action to finish the conflict, or start a fight. Ones the fight is on, the choice of bullets become a real factor.

So use you head when making this choice, and what ever you choose practice shooting the full magazine as fast, but as accurately as you can, at 25 yards, and count only the bullets that hit an 8 inch target. If using a double fire both barrels, and reload two more and fire those as well, and time all shots fired. You should get off four shots in about 5 seconds from a bolt rifle and four shot from a double rifle, with ejectors in about 4 seconds all on target.

Charges are rare with buffalo, unless wounded and being followed up. A charge from a wounded animal is far more likely with the cats, in Africa or brown bear in this country, than anything else in either place. However if it does happen, your pre-safari practice, and bullet choice will make the difference!
 

vgruan

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Phil,

I have always told my clients to use a soft for the first shot and a solid for the second but stopped doing that after numerous times the solid just whistled through the buffalo without doing much damage... A good soft will still penetrate and do a lot more damage, hit's much harder than a solid that just whistle's through the animal. And having had a few close calls on stray solids almost hitting other animals around the targeted animal I decided against it. (A solid hitting a rock or tree on a missed shot can go much further than any soft.)

With a good Partition bullet or Barnes TSX the penetration will still be good enough to break a hip or back of the buff when it is running away from you which is 90% of the time what happens after the first shot. I only recommend solids on rhino and elephant.

But at the end of the day as Louis said, ask your PH that you will be hunting with what he prefers and work from there as everybody has their own personal preferences.

Best regards,
 

tim416

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I have hunted three times with HHK's Lou Hallamore in Zimbabwe. In his career he has killed more than likely over a thousand buffalo. He will swear to you soft points for the first round and solids after that. This can be read in his book, "In the Salt". I was in camp at Mokore safaris this past fall and the recommendations from Barry Duckworth, (who has probably shot as many buff as Hallamore) I believe is Solid, solid, and then another solid, (Mike70560 correct me if i'm wrong). And the debate goes on. My last buff was taken with a .416 with 400 gr. Swift A-Frames and Barnes solids. All five rounds were recovered.
watermark.php
 
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PHOENIX PHIL

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I have hunted three times with HHK's Lou Hallamore in Zimbabwe. In his career he has killed more than likely over a thousand buffalo. He will swear to you soft points for the first round and solids after that. This can be read in his book, "In the Salt". I was in camp at Mokore safaris this past fall and the recommendations from Barry Duckworth, (who has probably shot as many buff as Hallamore) I believe is Solid, solid, and then another solid, (Mike70560 correct me if i'm wrong). And the debate goes on. My last buff was taken with a .416 with 400 gr. Swift A-Frames and Barnes solids. All five rounds were recovered.
watermark.php

Wow those A-frame look like a picture for and advertisement. The solids look like they could be reloaded. Interesting the solids were recovered, I'm curious, what was the shot placement for those?
 
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tim416

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The softpoints were broadside and the first three shots and fired broadside and quartering as running away. The first solid was a running away shot put up the arse. The second solid was when he turned around to face me and put into the chest. The arse shot with the solid was found under the hide in the chest and the chest shot under the hide by the hind quarter. Both solids travelled the full length of the buff stopping just under the hide.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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The softpoints were broadside and the first three shots and fired broadside and quartering as running away. The first solid was a running away shot put up the arse. The second solid was when he turned around to face me and put into the chest. The arse shot with the solid was found under the hide in the chest and the chest shot under the hide by the hind quarter. Both solids travelled the full length of the buff stopping just under the hide.

I wondered that the solids weren't front to rear or vice versa. That's a lot of lead in that buff, amazing.
 

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I heard one guy say, "God built em with a back up generator."
 

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Phoeneix Phil--

North Fork all the way. 69 or 70 gr of H414 or IMR 4320 with that 375hh will do the trick. Puts 350gr bullet at 2300 FPS. Duplicates the Norma PH load. That powder charge works with either North Fork or Woodleighs, with woodleigh solid stay 1 gr lower.

Your PH will tell you how to stack em based on the situation. Only think I could add to what has already been said is I like staying with same brand softs and solids, POI issues seem absent when I do, as soon as I try and switch it up the point of impact varies....however, at the distances you will be shooting it usually isn't enough to make a difference.
 

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I used a 375HH for my buffalo. I used Barnes TSX (loaded by Federal). The first shot was in the boiler room and that got him down (heard death bellow as we approached). We put in a few more insurance shots (4 total) right in the vitals with softs and he was still kicking!

Moral is - practice practice practice shot placement and you won't have to worry about "follow up" shots.
 

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backing up what jacques said, i think the soft then solid , or solid only argument with buffalo was really an issue before the developement of the monometal "softs" that hold together and penetrate far better than the original type soft bullets, or indeed better than some of the older solid type bullets. they will penetrate a buff skull or into the chest on a frontal shot without a problem, and do more damage on a running away shot to the hip bones etc.
 

Norwegianwoods

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Not hunted buffs, so take my opinion with a shovel of salt.

If I was to hunt buffs with my 375 Ruger, I would load it with Barnes TSX all the way and nothing else.
I am totally confident it will do the job on a buff, no matter what situation
 

RogerHeintzman

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You have had many replies. Ask you PH/outfitter and stay on the good side of him.

I will be after buff in Aug. up in Zim.

"A dream can be relived, again and again in Africa".
 

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this thread is 4 years old but was a good read. those swift A-frames look perfect!

-matt
 

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Old thread but interesting.

My experience has been that if using the right bullet in a big enough calibre, expanding premium bullets are all you need.

I have not shot a 1000 buffalo yet but I have stopped enough to have the utmost confidence in my combination which is a 500 Jeff loaded with 570 gr Rhino solid shank bonded expanding bullets. Before I get crucified allow me to give my thoughts and experiences.

As mentioned, I also feel that the practice of using a soft/expanding bullet first up and then a solid is a historic thing from years gone by when the only available bullets where unbonded soft nose bullet and copper jacketed round nose solids. Both are nowadays not very reliable. I believe many people have just carried on with this old way and never bothered to try or experiment with new design bullets and their performance.

Some arguments you always hear are:

After your first shot the buffalo will most likely be running away from you either at an angle or directly away from you. True. The theory is that the only way you can reach the vitals is with a solid. My argument is that if you could not hit it in the right place with a broadside shot the first time, where on earth are you going to aim in order to reach the vitals with your second shot, which is the Texas heart shot view at a now running away buffalo that could be part of a big herd or a bachelor group of Dagga bulls? Forget trying to aim for the vital's in this scenario. The best option is to use a premium bonded soft expanding bullet and aim and shoot at what you can see. Which in this case will be, broadside running(if you are lucky), then you aim centre mass in front of the shoulder to compensate for the running buff and try and hit the shoulder or more likely the spine(just above the root of the tail) or either of the hip joints. A well placed shot here will anchor the buff and allow you to approach and finish him off. The same shot with a solid may not anchor him as the solid does not do enough damage. The danger of using a solid on this shot is that you have a high risk of the bullet exiting and wounding another buffalo which will now have you needing to sort out two wounded buffalo(and more than likely pay for).

Charging buffalo, either directly at you or quartering/side on charging somebody else. One of the things you often hear is you need a solid to shoot through the boss to get to the brain. Hog wash! When a buffalo charges he has his head up, with the nose pointed at you. The most effective shot, if he is still some distance off, is to aim at the nose or below. This will hit the neck/spine as it dips quite low down towards the chest. To try a brain shot if there is some distance is near impossible as the buffalo's head will be bobbing up and down as he is charging towards you. The only time I will shoot for the brain is at extreme close quarters and the bull dip's his head to engage with his horns. Even then the shot will be just below or between the bosses. Trust me, a Rhino solid shank 570 gr .510 bullet at 2300 Fps will exit on this shot.

The quartering or side on charging shot is best placed just forward of the shoulder where the neck joins the body. Correctly placed with the mentioned Rhino bullet's, will pole axe any buffalo bull.

Yes, solids penetrate better than expanding bullet's. Monometal solids with a Meplat will out penetrate any round nosed solid by a far margin, but a premium grade controlled expansion bonded soft will penetrate more than enough and cause much more damage than any solid. The result is a buffalo that will die a lot quicker. and may well save your life.

These quality expanding bullets give you a bigger margin for error. Solids just shoot right through a buffalo and if the spine/neck vertebrae or brain is not hit have minimal effect on a buffalo, especially after it has been shot and is running on adrenaline.

I will write down and post some experiences I had with regards to stopping charging buffalo and having stopped them with these bullets, one shot every time. Not multiple shots with solids with seemingly no effect as you see in hunting videos.

To each his own, but I have found the combination that works for me with exceptional results and I will stick to it as long as I hunt buffalo.
 

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