Thought Provoking Question : How Many Of You Would Use A Smaller Calibre If It Were Legal?

Skinnersblade

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Karamojo Bell shot 1011 Elephants all one shot with a .275

in his ledgers attached to " the wanderings of an elephant hunter" he stated an average of 1.5 shots to an elephant which indicates he in theory shot every other one twice. In practice I'm sure there were many one shot kills and ones that required multiple follow up shots. That is not to discredit his shooting abilities.
 

Major Khan

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in his ledgers attached to " the wanderings of an elephant hunter" he stated an average of 1.5 shots to an elephant which indicates he in theory shot every other one twice. In practice I'm sure there were many one shot kills and ones that required multiple follow up shots. That is not to discredit his shooting abilities.
There is another factor ... Which also must be observed , Skinnersblade .
Mr. Bell slew upwards of 1000 African elephants , 800 of which ( rough count ) were slain with brain shots by using a .275 Rigby ( better known to the international hunting community as 7 x 57 mm Mauser ) calibre Mauser style bolt rifle , built by the British company , John Rigby and Co. Now , every 1 marvels at how a .275 Rigby cartridge ( using a 175 grain solid metal covered bullet ) can possibly slay African elephants which weigh between 5 and 6 tons .There are even gentlemen who have come to doubt Mr. Bell’s accomplishments over the years . Having read all 3 of Mr. Bell’s books ( “Wanderings of an elephant hunter” , “Karamojo safari” and “Bell of Africa” ) , l personally believe every thing which this gentleman was written. It is imperative that we all must understand the context in which Mr. Bell was killing those 800 African elephants with the .275 Rigby . Mr. Bell was an ivory hunter , not a white hunter. An ivory hunter’s job is to simply kill an elephant to acquire it’s tusks. These elephants were often stationary or moving slowly and most certainly unsuspecting brutes . A white hunter’s job is to stop a charging elephant ( or indeed any other dangerous animal ) which may attack the safari party . Therefore , an ivory hunter , like Mr. Bell could afford to use a small calibre rifle , like a .275 Rigby to dispatch unsuspecting elephants , by using picked shots ( such as side brain shots , because an elephant’s skull is far thinner at the sides than it is in the front portion ) . A white hunter , on the other hand , will however need something far more adequate for the task at hand , because if an elephant charges towards the safari party , then it will only offer the frontal brain shot , or the frontal chest shots ( shots which are certainly not picked shots ) .

2 more words are requisite about Mr. Bell. After reading all of his books carefully , l can safely say that Mr. Bell never once mentions about him stopping a charging elephant. Also , in " Karamojo Safari " , he makes passing mention of a .416 Rigby calibre bolt rifle , built by the British company, John Rigby and Co , as being a part of his battery . This leads me to believe that Mr. Bell did indeed possess a heavier calibre rifle in his battery , possibly as insurance ... should an elephant charge.
 

Wyatt Smith

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I recall reading Mr. Bell say the best thing to do in a charge is to stand your ground and shoot whichever one is closest.
I think he used the frontal brain shot quite a bit, from my reading. It seems he had an unnatural ability to find an elephants brain with such a small bullet. I would guess that he owes his life to his skills in marksmanship, during those charges when he was holding a deer rifle.
 

Skinnersblade

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I am in know way questioning mr. Bells metal or abilities, I simply corrected the myth that they were all one shot kills.

Mr. Bell Should be famous for his military service alone if not for an unfortunate incident of friendly fire.
 

IvW

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Karamojo Bell shot 1011 Elephants all one shot with a .275

The numbers seem to keep growing as time goes by so does the mans ability to shoot....

Think about that for a second or two...1011 Elephants with a 7x57 mm and all with only one shot each....only somebody with zero hunting experience would believe that....

Bell recorded all of his kills and shots fired. It was a business to him, not pleasure, and he needed to record expenditures.

  • He shot exactly 1,011 elephants; about 800 of them were shot with Rigby-made 7x57mm (.275 Rigby) rifles and round nose 173 grain military ammo.
  • He shot elephants with a Mannlicher-Schoenauer 6.5x54mm carbine using the long 159 grain FMJ bullets and noted that it was probably the most beautiful rifle he ever had, but gave it up due to faulty ammunition.
  • He shot his first safari with a Lee Enfield in .303 British and the 215 grain army bullet. Thereafter he kept a ten shot Army& Navy Lee Enfield as a sort of back up and in the hope he might find ten elephants silly enough to stand around long enough for him to use the whole magazine.
  • He went to rifles chambered in .318 Westley Richards for a while, which is a .32 caliber cartridge firing a 250 grain bullet at about 2400 fps, but found the ammunition unreliable and again returned to the 7x57 mm. He later wrote that the .318 Westley Richards was more of a reliable killer for certain shots, while the 7x57 was a "surgeons" rifle.
  • He also recorded that one of the reasons why he favored the 7x57 was that the ammunition was more reliable and he could not recall ever having a fault with it; whereas British sporting ammunition, apart from the .303 military ammo, gave him endless trouble with splitting cases.
  • He owned a .450/400 Jeffrey double rifle made by Thomas Bland & Sons, but did not use it after his first safari, as he considered the action not rugged enough and the Mauser repeating action to be just as quick as a double for aimed shooting.
  • He wrote about being able to drop an elephant with a light caliber rifle if he shot it in the same place that he would have shot it with a heavy rifle and realised this fully when he saw that elephants shot with a .303 died just as quickly when shot in the same place as a .450/400 double rifle with both triggers wired together, so they went off at the same time.
To judge ammunition expenditure and his own shooting, he calculated an average. He discovered that with the .275 (7x57mm) he fired an average of 1.5 shots per kill.
 

Major Khan

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The numbers seem to keep growing as time goes by so does the mans ability to shoot....

Think about that for a second or two...1011 Elephants with a 7x57 mm and all with only one shot each....only somebody with zero hunting experience would believe that....

Bell recorded all of his kills and shots fired. It was a business to him, not pleasure, and he needed to record expenditures.

  • He shot exactly 1,011 elephants; about 800 of them were shot with Rigby-made 7x57mm (.275 Rigby) rifles and round nose 173 grain military ammo.
  • He shot elephants with a Mannlicher-Schoenauer 6.5x54mm carbine using the long 159 grain FMJ bullets and noted that it was probably the most beautiful rifle he ever had, but gave it up due to faulty ammunition.
  • He shot his first safari with a Lee Enfield in .303 British and the 215 grain army bullet. Thereafter he kept a ten shot Army& Navy Lee Enfield as a sort of back up and in the hope he might find ten elephants silly enough to stand around long enough for him to use the whole magazine.
  • He went to rifles chambered in .318 Westley Richards for a while, which is a .32 caliber cartridge firing a 250 grain bullet at about 2400 fps, but found the ammunition unreliable and again returned to the 7x57 mm. He later wrote that the .318 Westley Richards was more of a reliable killer for certain shots, while the 7x57 was a "surgeons" rifle.
  • He also recorded that one of the reasons why he favored the 7x57 was that the ammunition was more reliable and he could not recall ever having a fault with it; whereas British sporting ammunition, apart from the .303 military ammo, gave him endless trouble with splitting cases.
  • He owned a .450/400 Jeffrey double rifle made by Thomas Bland & Sons, but did not use it after his first safari, as he considered the action not rugged enough and the Mauser repeating action to be just as quick as a double for aimed shooting.
  • He wrote about being able to drop an elephant with a light caliber rifle if he shot it in the same place that he would have shot it with a heavy rifle and realised this fully when he saw that elephants shot with a .303 died just as quickly when shot in the same place as a .450/400 double rifle with both triggers wired together, so they went off at the same time.
To judge ammunition expenditure and his own shooting, he calculated an average. He discovered that with the .275 (7x57mm) he fired an average of 1.5 shots per kill.
He actually permanently shifted from a 7x57 mm Mauser calibre rifle to a .318 Westley Richards calibre rifle , from 1913 onwards ( Bell's own words ) .
According to " Karamojo Safari " Bell shot only 12 African elephants with his 6.5x54 mm calibre Mannlicher Schoenaur bolt rifle. He shot those 12 on 1 days . He tried to shoot a 13th , but encountered a misfire and the bullet got stuck inside the rifle barrel ( The Mannlicher brand cartridges used poor crimping ) .
 

Sabattiboy

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Answer: I would not.
I beleive there is no such thing as over kill in hunting, but on opposite side certainly there is wounding. And I am all for "using enough gun"

But there is a trick question.
How would one know, what is a "smaller caliber" then reasonably required for specific animal? Leopard and elephant are dangerous, but quite different in body size and mass. How then to draw the line of what is acceptable and what is not? There should be either knowledge (or common sense) or legal regulation covering the caliber choice.

Reading this forum, I am under the impression that average forum member here is educated more then average rifle hunter, world wide.
Someone knowledgeable, and well educated as it is the case for average member forum here, they can ethically choose in educated manner calibers such as 9.3x62, 9.3x74r, 9.3x64, 338 win mag, or even 8x68, perhaps. And knowing limitations of each, use it wisely. (like our 4 respected bangladesh shikarees used their shotguns in the lack of something better)

But for vast majority, of less initiated, less educated, in case there is no regulation defining minimum caliber requirements, how they can consider a smaller caliber then necessary? Caliber smaller then what? There must be a drawn line.

Lets say, first time African hunter plans for safari. lets say there is no regulations defining minimum calibers. Lets say there is no PH to guide, or no legal requirement for having PH.
He Wants an elephant and buffalo.
Is 7x57 option, as described by Bell?
I am sure there will be much bigger percentage of such hunters choosing wrong, in the lack of legal regulations, for the reason of ignorance.

Many different rules can be seen or described as stupid, but minimum caliber requirement is not one of them, to my understanding.
It prevents stupid to make foolish thing, under condition he follows the rules.
They used to call the result Natural Selection.
 

mark-hunter

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While small calibers are frequently argued with the mention of WDM Bell - has any body asked the question what happened with the meat of 1011 elephants killed?
(I am sure that some of the meat were used by local communities, but all? Not sure.) But this certainly will have to be seen in the context of time, not to judge the practice by that. Just saying, and sharing the thought for the moment.

Another question, and not related to the meat, is how many wounded elephants was left after the 1011 heads were shot for good with various 7mm or less? Any records on that? Or we can assume perfect score?

I guess we will never know.

What I know is following:
I shoot a good number of shots per year at target, less during hunting.
But can I really say i can hit a bulls eye with 1000/1000 ratio? (and in this topic we discuss shooting in field positions under various angles). Well, I cannot. But maybe I am mediocre shooter.

The best of the best today, hard trained, and purposefully selected would be modern professional army/navy snipers, and they are within standard o 5/6 hits. (number frequently quoted in literature and magazines)
this would mean on 1011 targets, with 5/6 score, this would mean 842 hits.

I have one additional observation. From very good sample.
I go on occasional long range match (and pistol match as well), and what I noticed is, even among the best of the best, there is not a single person who after hours and years of training can shoot 100/100.
Generally speaking in the group of the best shooters, they all rotate in upper part of score list in top 10-20%, in consecutive seasons, but non of them is permanently the best.

Shooting has a good or better days, and bad ones too. And men and life are not perfect.

Below is a drawing, of WDM Bell sketches.

Not always a stable platform as it seams. Yes, it is a close range, but yet...

Is there any seasonal shooter here on forum, trophy hunter, army marksman, camp Perry champion that can claim 1011/1011 in similar and others field positions?

bell_shootingintallgrass.jpg
 
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Sabattiboy

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Read Col Patterson's writings about the Tsalvo river man eating lions as it includes his lion killing. Lions were considered vermin and shot at will like prairie dogs in the USA. Ivory hunting was a profession in Bell's day. Some wrote of hunting ivory to pay for school etc. It was Africa's version of America's Bison hunting for robes and tongues. Let the meat rot. If Bell killed 10 elephants in one encounter is it likely all the meat was eaten? Some by animals maybe but am willing to bet it mostly rotted away.
The main point is no one cared in those days.
 

Sabattiboy

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We see the fallout in our days of things done 50 to 125 years ago but would we have joined right in if we lived back then? I believe some would not. Most would join in.
Large scale Elephant culling is not that far back. Encroaching civilization will support nearly anything.
 

Newboomer

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I wouldn't use a smaller caliber. There are reasons why caliber minimums are set. Sometimes, maybe most times, you can sneak by with a lesser caliber, but is it worth the risk to you or the chance of losing a good trophy? I like a little margin for a not so perfect shot and my personal safety.

Now to probably contradict that statement, I would and do feel confident with the 375HH for anything that walks the earth--with the right projectile. Meaning the 235gr Barnes TSX for mice up to buf and eland. For those and larger, Barnes 350grTSX.
 

Wyatt Smith

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Bell used, on average, 1.5 rounds per elephant. This is according to his record at the end of the Safari. Keep in mind the 7mm was ONLY used for elephant. He did his “pot” shooting with a 256 Gibbs.
 

BeeMaa

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What, no mention for the 35 Whelen? Lets be honest and admit that it is the equal of the 9.3s.
Nope.
If the 35WHELEN is equal to the 9.3's...
Then the 9.3's are equal to the 375's...
Then the 375's are equal to the 416's...
Etcetera, etcetera....you get the point.

The 35WHELEN is a great cartridge on its own, but a 9.1mm (.35 caliber) is not equal to a 9.3mm.
 

358 Norma

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If it were legal I don't think I'd have any concerns about using the 358 Norma Magnum for everything in Africa except for elephant. I think when loaded with a 310 grain soft or solid it would be effective for most things!
 

Joker12

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Nope.
If the 35WHELEN is equal to the 9.3's...
Then the 9.3's are equal to the 375's...
Then the 375's are equal to the 416's...
Etcetera, etcetera....you get the point.

The 35WHELEN is a great cartridge on its own, but a 9.1mm (.35 caliber) is not equal to a 9.3mm.
If bullet diameter were all that matters I could agree but diameter is but a part of the equation.
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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If it were legal I don't think I'd have any concerns about using the 358 Norma Magnum for everything in Africa except for elephant. I think when loaded with a 310 grain soft or solid it would be effective for most things!
@358 Norma
That would make the 35 Whelen with 310s be fine as well as they used the 350 Rigby on everything and had no problems and the Whelen equals it.
I personally would use it on buffalo but would draw the line at elephant.
Bob
 

Wildrangeringreen

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Some places in Africa (and elsewhere) require absurd energy levels for game, levels that were not commonly attainable even 140 years ago... when plenty of people had little trouble killing off the wildlife lol. The problem is that often times the people setting the reg's often are not intimately involved in the thing they are regulating, and by extension, make bad calls. Basing things off of bore size or energy (the bulk of reg's in places that try to dictate equipment, all over the world) is not responsible regulation (we know there is far more to determining suitability of arms and munitions than bore size and KE); likewise, simply using the regulations to decide what is the "ideal" weapon for the animal you are hunting is a irresponsible hunting. You owe it to the animals to research them (and similar species), and figure out a solution that will work for you (and keep you out of trouble with the law...ugh).
 

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