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

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) 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).

I primarily hunt with BP guns, particularly muzzleloading guns, and there's a lot of stuff I can't use in some places in the world... not because it doesn't/hasn't worked, but because some politicians/bureaucrats have decreed that magically, the effective weapons of yesteryear don't work... apparently, the animals are all wearing body armor these days lol.

Now personally- Tiger, Lion, Buff, Ele, Hippo (and non dangerous game over 1900lbs); I'm not going out with less than a .50 (maybe .40 on large non-DG (ie: eland)), but then again, I hunt with BP and heavy lead (African Buff are typically hunted a little differently than other large bovine, the places you can get close enough to them often puts you in close proximity to them w/ limited visibility, ditto with Lion and Tiger, if it were like the American Plains, I'd say even BP .40-70 would work lol). There seems to be a trend amongst sport-hunters (and companies/politicians/writers) to "magnumize" everything, and provide the impression that nothing but the biggest, baddest gun will make even a dent in a little Duiker or average American WT deer lol. The reality is, living things don't live too long with a hole running all, or most of the way through their chest, so long as you are 99+% confident your weapon will kill the animal efficiently at the range you are hunting at, I don't see what the issue is (just be ready to run if it comes after your lol, then again, having a bigger gun won't necessarily solve that issue)? Just my opinion, I suppose :)
 
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double rifle newbie

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i believe the 9.3x74r is a wonderful caliber and is good lion, leopard, and even buff medicine with the proper load. for hippo and jumbo i it to believe to be light, but this wonderful caliber has dispatched many of both in the past. just my 2 cents…i look forward to opinions on the caliber
 

Sabattiboy

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There is some mention of 350gr 0.375 bullets in a 375 H&H. My 375 has a 1-12 twist that is not recommended for bullets that heavy. I never tried them so can't say it would not stabilize them for sure. I stop at 300gr and all have worked as billed.

In the BP days I don't think the lead bullets or balls would penetrate the skull on a frontal elephant brain shot. I think they mostly made heart and lung shots and continued firing until they fell down and died. Using a lessor then 375 H&H cartridge with a modern bullet I would venture a person willing to limit their shots to what the PS qualified it for could kill anything in Africa, except a Honey Badger. :)
JD Jones tried his pistol cartridges on Elephant etc The guy making big caliber lever action rifles produces loads with bullet weights and velocities that are comparable to other older NE rounds that are commonly accepted for buffalo and elephant so how can they be said to not be viable? because it is a lever gun?
I get a laugh at such things as two guys that each buy an identical pickup truck then argue which one is faster, stronger, can pull more weight etc. So my wildcat 375 is badder then a 375 H&H even though it is using the same bullet at the same velocity? Well, it is because it is mine. :)
 

double rifle newbie

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There is some mention of 350gr 0.375 bullets in a 375 H&H. My 375 has a 1-12 twist that is not recommended for bullets that heavy. I never tried them so can't say it would not stabilize them for sure. I stop at 300gr and all have worked as billed.

In the BP days I don't think the lead bullets or balls would penetrate the skull on a frontal elephant brain shot. I think they mostly made heart and lung shots and continued firing until they fell down and died. Using a lessor then 375 H&H cartridge with a modern bullet I would venture a person willing to limit their shots to what the PS qualified it for could kill anything in Africa, except a Honey Badger. :)
JD Jones tried his pistol cartridges on Elephant etc The guy making big caliber lever action rifles produces loads with bullet weights and velocities that are comparable to other older NE rounds that are commonly accepted for buffalo and elephant so how can they be said to not be viable? because it is a lever gun?
I get a laugh at such things as two guys that each buy an identical pickup truck then argue which one is faster, stronger, can pull more weight etc. So my wildcat 375 is badder then a 375 H&H even though it is using the same bullet at the same velocity? Well, it is because it is mine. :)
i love your africahunting name. i have two of their (sabatti) doubles and they are regulated like a dream. never an issue with either.
 

Sabattiboy

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i love your africahunting name. i have two of their (sabatti) doubles and they are regulated like a dream. never an issue with either.
Thank you @double rifle newbie
It is nice to hear of someone happy with a Sabatti DR, much less two of them. If someone started a thread about hated cartridges and guns Sabatti will be the last one to be redeemed. Once straightened out they can work well.
 

double rifle newbie

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I believe they were undervalued across-the-board because of the whole Cabela’s fiasco. The two I picked up didn’t have any Dremel regulation, and shoot like an absolute dream. I know there are some old school double rifle purists that do not agree, but I am ecstatic with both of mine.
 

Tom Leoni

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A couple thoughts here:

1 - Dangerous game does not necessarily weigh over 1 ton, nor is it necessarily thick skinned. A lion pushing 500lbs is surely dangerous, while a 2,000lbs eland may not be--and nobody would doubt the ferocity of a wounded leopard tipping the scales at less than 100lbs. Does that mean that you have to use a .375 for the lion and leopard but not for the eland?

2 - Perhaps it was the mystique of Bell or the early safari-goer love affair with the 6.5x54 MS, but there persists the idea that it is stylish to use the smallest-possible caliber for any given game. To me this is sheer lack of sportsmanship. It's like being a doctor and thinking it stylish to perform a life-saving operation in the shortest-possible time and with the fewest-possible instruments.

3 - And then there's recoil. There are two kinds of reasons for shying away from it--one that I understand, the other less so. Some hunters have objective physical and health conditions that preclude them from using a rifle with significant recoil. Some other hunters just don't like the feel of a rifle pushing too hard against their shoulder. To the first, I would recommend to use the largest-possible caliber within their spectrum of physical tolerance--given all the variables that go into recoil. To the second, learn to manage recoil (it's done all the time!), get a heavier rifle if you can cope with a couple extra pounds, get in physical shape if you're not. To both, I would (reluctantly) advise to stay with animals that can be humanely killed with the cartridge they can handle.

My philosophy, in short, is to use the largest caliber you can handle for any given game. Given all the variables that go into making a humane kill, like shot placement, bullet performance, penetration, etc., all other things being equal a large-diameter, heavier bullet will perform better than a small-diameter, lighter one. There's a reason why the .375 and its many metric near-cousins have been the go-to for one-rifle-safari advocates for over 100 years--that piece of advice and some of the game laws that derived from it were not pulled out of thin air.

Or, put more succinctly: stay well within the margin of the caliber-for-animal equation. Don't go rope-walking on the edges.
 

kdenn

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I believe in using proper tool for the job. I like to be humane and efficient. And with DG others could be injured by your choice of marginal cartridge, just like making a marginal shot.
 

Tom Leoni

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Also, in one of the previous comments the observation was made that 140 years ago there were cartridges of much less power than today's, but that didn't stop wildlife from being killed.

I would like to add that back then there weren't any qualms whatsoever about spraying game with lead and wounding as many (or more) animals than were actually killed. All we need to do is read the hair-raising reports from some of the organized game-drives--stuff that would make any modern sportsman's blood pressure rise to dangerous levels. Heck, even some of the more famous writers of that era admit with casual nonchalance that they would wound game and just move on.

Again, caliber restrictions exist for a reason. No, I don't agree with all of them, but for the most part USE ENOUGH GUN.
 

Tanks

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A couple thoughts here:

1 - Dangerous game does not necessarily weigh over 1 ton, nor is it necessarily thick skinned. A lion pushing 500lbs is surely dangerous, while a 2,000lbs eland may not be--and nobody would doubt the ferocity of a wounded leopard tipping the scales at less than 100lbs. Does that mean that you have to use a .375 for the lion and leopard but not for the eland?
...

Or, put more succinctly: stay well within the margin of the caliber-for-animal equation. Don't go rope-walking on the edges.

I am in the use enough gun camp. That being said, I took my Leopard with my 9.3x74R and will also use it for an upcoming lion hunt.

Now, if we had to track the Leopard we had made plans for me to use the .500 double loaded with softs. Luckily the Leopard was dead before it hit the ground, so it was not needed.
 

WAB

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I am in the use enough gun camp. That being said, I took my Leopard with my 9.3x74R and will also use it for an upcoming lion hunt.

Now, if we had to track the Leopard we had made plans for me to use the .500 double loaded with softs. Luckily the Leopard was dead before it hit the ground, so it was not needed.

Tanks,
IMO, your 9.3 falls well within the ‘enough gun’ envelope for what you are using it for. That is a very capable cartridge and you appear to shoot that gun very, very well.
WAB
 

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I can make a reasonable argument for both sides, as I'm sure all of you could, too. Which is why this is a debatable topic. If it were clear cut, the answer would be obvious (except to a certain sector of the US political system, but that's not the point of this) and this question would not be needed.

Modern bullets and powders have drastically improved performance of nearly every rifle compared to when most "minimum caliber" laws were put into place. A great example is in the results @Bob Nelson 35Whelen touts about the performance of hand loaded 35 Whelen ammo compared to factory loads, and the relative comparison to a 338 win Mag. Which is better? Only one would meet a .35 cal minimum.

Specific to the OP question of Dangerous game and the 375, I answer with "it depends". A Buffalo or Elephant requires a much different bullet than a Lion or Leopard for optimum performance. Expansion vs penetration, shot placement, likely shooting range, etc. are all factors. But a bigger diameter bullet often means larger wound channel and typically easier blood trails to follow. Other factors equal (i.e., expansion, weight retention, hitting vitals) there is more damage done by a bigger bullet. To counter, shooting further, flatter, with less recoil and/or more accuracy is often a by product of smaller caliber.

My bottom line opinion is that performance and situation is far more important than size. I wouldn't want to shoot a bobcat with a .30-06 or a grizzly with a .223, but I can effectively use either one for a whitetail deer.
 

crs

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I do not even own or use anything on DG less than .40 caliber, so the .375 is of no interest to me.
.405 and .458 are of interest and have proven to be very effective in Africa. on PG and DG.

Actually, my favorite PG rifle is a .338 Win Mag which is also powerful enough for DG should that be necessary.

Further details just muddy the water, so thats all folks!
 

steve white

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As I understand that there is both a hydraulic and a hydrostatic shock, I believe that rounds accomplishing the hydraulic shock should be the threshold of DG cartridges. That begins at .35 cal. making the 358 norma and others acceptable choices. We are after all really redefining minimum requirements. So yes, I would hunt within those parameters if it were legal. I might leave room for SD, heavy for caliber and other requirements for projectiles. I am also assuming logical bullet construction for the job.
 

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