Water buffalo caliber recommendation

Wishfulthinker580

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Wife and I did this for a week in 2018. Because we planned on doing several weeks of sightseeing we opted to just use the PH's rental rifles and ammo - a couple of 375 H&H's. Between the two of us, we knocked down 28 cull/meat animals. 60% or so were head shots the rest were shoulder shots. The wanted/preferred head shots to limit meat damage. The meat was collected to feed to the concession holders crocs on his croc farm near Darwin.

Only took the meat, no bones, and it was run thru a grinder at the farm. He said he wanted as many head shots as possible to avoid bullet fragments in the meat that would bugger up his grinder blades.

The guys in this video were just using 308 with mil-surplus ball ammo and killing thousands of head a month.


Lots of guys go there to just "tune up" for a Cape Buff hunt and test out their big bore thunder wonders.
Just finished the video. Absolutely amazing. I really liked his cleaning technique he used on one rifle. Ruger should use this video for marketing the M77. I really wish he would’ve been able to finish his book. It would’ve been a good read
 

CBH Australia

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@Sarg
A mates wife in the tablelands got a big fallow stag with the Hornet and a 35 gn VMax. Right behind the ear 1 and done. It was the rifle she had at the time and is a great shot.
Bob
I would have thought a .243 might be more suitable than a Hornet.
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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Dr Ray

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Line up a thousand buffalo - either species - put a 200 gr SP "through the heart" from a 30-06 much less a 300 gr .375 or 400 gr 40 whatever and each and every one will be deader than the Republican party in California within 100 meters.

And no, I don't recommend the 30-06 for any buffalo - though legions have been killed by them (and the lowly .303) on both continents.

On foot and far from vehicle - dangerous
These animals can over the distance very quickly.
I suggest if on foot and close to the animal that a 375 is a minimum.
 

Red Leg

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On foot and far from vehicle - dangerous
These animals can over the distance very quickly.
I suggest if on foot and close to the animal that a 375 is a minimum.
Absolutely. I wouldn’t dream of hunting either with anything less than a 300 gr bullet from a .375. My objection was with the belief that a buffalo could be shot ”through” the heart and not perish.
 

Kenneth McMillan

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I would like to do a water buffalo hunt in the Northern Territory in the future.
I presently own 3 rifles which I believe are suitable for the task.
Rifle # 1 is a Husqvarna Mauser bolt action chambered in 9.3 x 62 with a custom made peep sight.
Rifle # 2 is a Zastava Mauser bolt action chambered in .458 Winchester Magnum with a Trijicon Accupoint 1-4x scope.
Rifle # 3 is a Merkel double chambered in .500 Nitro Express with the factory iron sights.
I shoot all of them equally well and am assuming (maybe incorrectly) that a long shot on buffalo would be around 50 meters or so. Of the 3 rifles mentioned, which one do you think is most suitable for the task?
I would use all three plus a 404 Jeffrey or Dakota in a bolt action, 470 Capstick in a bolt action and a 500/416 N.E double rifle. In fact anything you would use on Cape Buffalo is suitable for Water Buffalo both species are extremely dangerous.
 

Dr Ray

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Absolutely. I wouldn’t dream of hunting either with anything less than a 300 gr bullet from a .375. My objection was with the belief that a buffalo could be shot ”through” the heart and not perish.

Years ago at a Darwin buffalo meat works a worker found a shotgun slug in the lungs of a buffalo.
Get this: the slug was “healed” over.
So I suggest a minimum of 375.
I’ve heard of 11 shots or more from a 338 and the buffalo just kept running.
 

Red Leg

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Years ago at a Darwin buffalo meat works a worker found a shotgun slug in the lungs of a buffalo.
Get this: the slug was “healed” over.
So I suggest a minimum of 375.
I’ve heard of 11 shots or more from a 338 and the buffalo just kept running.
I don't doubt it. Many years ago a friend killed a whitetail that had a broken off broadhead encapsulated in a lung. Single lung hits are notorious for leading to lost game of any size. I am not surprised that a 12 bore slug only penetrated one lung on a water buffalo.

The opposite is also true. I know of no instance where a double lung hit did not lead to the recovery of the animal. I am not saying it can't happen, just that I have never seen it. I have read plenty of stories where shots "through the boiler room," "both lungs," "the heart," etc led to hours long chases and gun battles. But my experiences tell me it is far more likely the first shot wasn't quite so precise as claimed. Several long follow-ups on animals I was certain were hit properly by me or friends were eventually proved to be single lung or liver wounds when the animal was recovered.

Back to my original response to "straight through the heart." That is BS. Such a wound is a quick killing shot on any buffalo.

And 11 shots at a buffalo? Sure. Happens in Africa year. Always because the client screwed up the first one.
 
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First, I would use a stout hand load in 9.3x62, starting with a 286 gr premium bullet, up to 300 - 310 gr bullets.

The 9.3’s have the right amount of sectional density to dig deep, and dump all of it’s energy into big brutes, like water buff’s, or cape buff’s.

Those that say the 9.3x62 isn’t enough, haven’t used one, or, they are of the .375 club that derides the 9.3’s any chance they get.

You can get 286 gr bullets going in the 2550 - 2600 fps range, and a really good 300 gr going to 2500 fps when hand loaded properly in a modern bolt gun.

Hawk
 

Country

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I would go with the 375 as well. Not saying the 45-70 wouldn't do the job, but with an animal as large as a water buffalo, I would have more confidence in the 375. I believe there about as large as the cape buffalo, but supposedly not quite as aggressive. I couple of years back, we went hunting in Africa. We stumbled across four trophy size cape buffalo. Being within 15 yds of them, you talk about one large piece of meat. I did not feel too safe with the 300 win mag I had in my hands to say the least. If I was traveling that far to go on a hunt like that and spending that kind of money, I would definitely go with the 375.
 

CBH Australia

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. If I was traveling that far to go on a hunt like that and spending that kind of money, I would definitely go with the 375.
Sound logic
 

IvW

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I think an O/U double rifle scoped with 2 sets of barrels would be perfect......450/400 NE and 9.3x74R
One set could be 450/400 NE 3" OR 450NE 3 1/4"
Second 9.3x74R
3rd either 7x57R/12ga or 12ga/12ga
 

Dr Ray

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I would go with the 375 as well. Not saying the 45-70 wouldn't do the job, but with an animal as large as a water buffalo, I would have more confidence in the 375. I believe there about as large as the cape buffalo, but supposedly not quite as aggressive. I couple of years back, we went hunting in Africa. We stumbled across four trophy size cape buffalo. Being within 15 yds of them, you talk about one large piece of meat. I did not feel too safe with the 300 win mag I had in my hands to say the least. If I was traveling that far to go on a hunt like that and spending that kind of money, I would definitely go with the 375.

Definitely and especially if you are a long way from your vehicle.
Buff can travel very very quickly and could be all over you in a very short time .
 

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