What exactly is a "Big Bore" rifle?

sgt_zim

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general rule of thumb - .33 to .375 is medium, and .40+ is large. everything below .33 is considered small (though I'd include .325/8mm in with medium).
 

IvW

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i cannot see what the problem is with the 458win.
accepting that it might not give 2200 to 510 gn bullets, is this a problem?
all the great 45 cal nitros used a 480 gn bullet, so is a 500+ gn bullet necessary?
can an animal tell the difference between 1900 and 2200 fps?
put a 480 gn bullet in the 458 and you have a 450 nitro.
the old kynock bullets i have fired into wet clay all held together and mushroomed, when hornady 500 gn turned inside out and totally lost their cores.
something was lost in bullet making over the years, but now you can get good bullets again.
bruce.

Anything over 2100 fps with a 510 gr becomes a problem for the 458 WM due to insufficient case capacity and pressure issues, which in hot hunting conditions create a whole new set of problems with the 458 WM.

There is a huge difference with the same bullet weights in the same caliber when comparing 1900-2100 fps(the 458 WM cannot do 2200 with the 510 gr) and 2200-2400 fps.

For lion and leopard 2300 fps+ is a good idea.

If you want 450 Nitro ballistics buy a 450 Nitro and don't try and make the 458 WM what it is not.

Kynoch bullets as well as Hornady are very poor choices in modern times for use on DG and I can assure you that wet clay and cape buffalo and elephant are not comparable.

I do not like or recommend the 458 WM, there are so many more better choices for hunters to use, especially when you are planning a expensive DG hunt. I ques if you plan on hunting not so DG then it makes no real difference.

The best option for DG is a heavy caliber bullet at a decent velocity which I have found to be 2200-2400 fps.

Yes there are the folks who load light for caliber bullets in order to get the velocity up, I do not fall in this group. I am an old school hunter and prefer heavy for caliber bullets at a velocity between 2200-2400 fps, I have never experienced issues with this combination.

If someone uses a 458 WM on DG(cape buffalo and elephant) you may have your PH get into the action which he may not have needed to do had you been using a more appropriate caliber.

Few clients shoot a 458 WM well and would be better off with a 375 or 400 caliber.

By all means if you have one, use it but be aware of it's limitations.
 

IvW

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If the "effect" that you are talking about is that the bear would be dead then I'll agree....either bullet placed in the right spot and the bear would be dead.

My point exactly!

The problem is that to be equal you would have to be equal in the same respects.

There is no problem with the 375 H&H when used with appropriate premium grade bullets.

The 458 starts out being larger thereby creating an instantaneous advantage of an already larger permanent wound cavity. The second is that a 300 grain 458 bullet out of the winchester can reach around 3000 fps and the 350 at about 2750 and then some before bad pressure signs. With the larger diameter it will shed energy more quickly, but it will be inside the animal where it counts.

If I wanted to shoot lighter bullets I would step down in caliber instead of making a big bore what it is not and was not intended for.

That 300 gr 458 bullet @ 3000 fps is going to get you, your PH or a tracker killed, when used against Cape buffalo or elephant.

On the flip side the 375 /350 grain due to profile and diameter will penetrate deeper but both will exit a standing or side shot.

Shot placement is the most important when hunting DG, the next would be straight line penetration in order to reach the vitals.
Heavy for caliber premium grade bullets achieve this better than light high speed bullets.

I choose heavy for caliber premium grade bullets @ moderate velocity as this has always worked for me.

I still contend that in my opinion the the 458 Winchester Magnum is my choice ad the minimum big bore that I would use on DG no matter what continent they were on.

Each can use what they prefer but, there are much better choices for a client to use on DG in Africa than a 458 WM
 

Gert Odendaal

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Definition : "Big Bore" sturdy build rifle , large , heavy constructed with premium wood/ metal with iron express sights/ghost ring aperture sight , flawless cycling of rounds under stressed situations, fast pointing and handling ,accurate shooting placement , shooting .450 gn heavy for caliber bullets at 2150 f/s to ensure straight, deep penetration of Dangerous game from any angle at short hunting distances at ten to fifty meters off hand ."
Now you can sort out what caliber rifle will fit this :A Banana::A Big Hello:description....:A Banana::A Banana:
 

cagkt3

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Big Bore - when you look at the ammunition and say "F@#% that's big!"
 

bruce moulds

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i question the brushing aside of the brit nitro express rounds by some.
animals are no tougher now than when they ruled.
what they had in common was a bullet of about 0.3 sectional density at about 2200 fps 45 cal and up for dangerous game.
some of the really big ones were a little slower.
they matched bullet to game very effectively for the technology of the time.
the 450/3.25" became the norm, followed by the 470 when the 45 cal becme illegal.
480 gn in 45 cal, and 500 gn in 470.
any round that matches that today will do the same job.
in the old days, guys shot enough game to gain a true statistical analysis.
today only guides see enough dead game of the nature of elephant, and even buffalo, to make such an analysis.
most rifling twists are still set up for bullets of 0.3 s.d.
they have sufficient spin to keep a bullet of 0.3 stable in the air with a safety margin, and still maintain stability with the extra pressure on the nose presentd while penetrating flesh and bone.
an example of this is the 14" twist commonly used in 45 cal.
an 18" twist will keep a 550 gn x 1.5" long bullet stable to 1000 yds in air.
the same bullet in that twist might well tumble in flesh and bone.
if you want a heavier bullet, better to go to a bigger calibre, and maintain the 0.3 sectional density.
bruce.
 

Eric Anderson

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you are correct, for muzzle loaders its basically 30-50 caliber for small bore. then you have 50-80 caliber for medium bores and 80+ caliber for large bores.



so if RSA made the .22 caliber legal for elephant then you would say the .22 is a large bore? African politics should have no bearing on the definition of the term "large bore".

i think the traditional terms are fine, whats wrong with calling the 375 and 416 caliber medium bores? calling them medium bore cartridges does not reduce their effectiveness on game. large bore smokeless cartridges start at .458 and tend to be very specialized cartridges designed for only the largest game usually at short range. medium bore cartridges run from around .350-.440 (these arent exact but im too lazy to look it up) and tend to be more of "jack of all trades" cartridges suitable for both medium and large game including dangerous game.

i use my 416 RM primarily as a PG rifle firing a 300gr bullet at 2700fps. the benefit to this is that if there is a problem with my large bore rifle on a DG hunt then the 416 can pull double duty and be used for dangerous game as well. i dont believe in "one gun safaris" and from personal experience would always recommend bringing two guns that are both capable of performing the same role.

-matt
To big a spread between the medium bores if you consider anything smaller than a .45 a medium bore.
I think that under .30 is a small, .30 to .39 is medium, .40 and up is big bore.
Of course, that is just my opinion, and is worth what you paid for it.
 

meigsbucks

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For what it’s worth... I view anything .45 caliber and north a big bore. But that’s just a term.
The .375 H&H has earned its reputation as a versatile cartridge adequate for taking everything Africa (or the world for that matter) has to offer. It has moderate recoil that most people can learn to handle and with proper bullets put in the right place, make it a popular choice for clients heading to Africa. For clients wanting to take only one rifle on safari that includes one or more members of the Big Five, the .375 makes a good choice. It also makes sense as the heavier rifle in a two rifle battery when the hunter can’t handle the recoil of a .40 or larger, or doesn’t want to.
About 40 years ago, I read a brochure for, I believe, A-Square. It stated: “Put a good bullet, in the right place with the most power practical.” This has a lot of merit but I’ve modified it to: Put a good bullet in the right place from a rifle and cartridge suitable for the game and conditions being hunted.
As long as you are using good bullets from an adequate cartridge, and can put that bullet where it needs to go, you are golden. If you’re hunting cape buffalo, a .375 and up will do the job. I prefer a .416 Ruger and used it on my buff. However, my second rifle on that safari was a .375H&H. As the buff was my number one objective, I wanted whatever rifle I had in my hands to be capable of taking a buff. By the way, I used the .375 on three head of plains game and the .416 on the buff and seven head of plains game. If I get the opportunity to take another buff, I’ll use either my.416 again or a .458 Lott.
Use what you’re comfortable with but don’t feel you have to use a big gun if you can’t shoot it well. It’s the PH’s job to STOP a charge if it takes place. If you do your part, the PH won’t have to do his.
 

Von S.

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At one time someone did some real research into a lot of the stuff that was written about rifles, ammunition and their suitability and reliability on game. Unfortunately too many " followers" who many are drama queen gossips, like to spread and throw their own wild eyed embellishments along with the pitter patter of many other forked tongued blatherskites that eventually on an issue like PF vs CF someone might even attempt to have you believe that a push feed rifle is truly the cause of bed bug bites and toe nail fungus to go along with the insane idea that you have a really good chance of dying because it will most assureidly fail when you need it to work right the most.

As Hitler said, "The bigger the lie, the more people who will believe it."......but did he say that?

The answer is no! He said that," A big lie is a propaganda technique"!

And all this talk of recoil, and don't get me wrong, I think that it's very sweet that anyone is looking out for me in any way, shape or form,"Von! Look out for that hole" or " Von! Look out for that hole too!", but when someone starts with their idea of some sort of universal truth about what a person can take comfortably in the way of recoils and suggest that what they can't stand is somehow what no one can stand gets right deep into what Hitler said.

To go along with ," your rifle stinks" and the ever so popular, " you can't handle your stinking rifle" comes the ever so popular, " your round stinks as well" to round out the whole stinking conversation.

Oh well. To me just use what you want, call a 22 a big bore if you want, say that a cape can be knocked out with a lollypop if you like, and if the need ever arises anyone who likes can go back to calling something the 2/3 the size of your average milking cow "Black Death".:A Banana: it all makes me smile.
 
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crs

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Gert,
Hey I got your big bore!
Actually , but no details or I will get no sleep and not get up tomorrow morning.
Nite all.
 

matt85

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To big a spread between the medium bores if you consider anything smaller than a .45 a medium bore.
I think that under .30 is a small, .30 to .39 is medium, .40 and up is big bore.
Of course, that is just my opinion, and is worth what you paid for it.

I would still count the 8mm and .338 as small bore guns. Bell himself considered the 318 WR (.330) to be a small bore gun. however there aren't actually that many medium bores still in use today. all I can think of are the .358, .366, .375, .416, and .423 with those last three being fairly uncommon outside of African hunting. thanks to modern powders and modern bullets, small bore guns have just about completely taken over the hunting industry.

-matt
 

Von S.

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There is a fella here, a Texan, who said that he is considering going to Africa to shoot a cape with a lever action big bore in 45-70.

To me that guy is pretty gutsy as he knows he has to get close to not loose valuable energy.

I'd like to see him do it. I believe that it would be great fun watching him go all Wild Bill Hickock on it!:P Cowboy:

I tip my hat to that fella. I tip my hat to guys like Edward who has shot from elephants on down, over 60 trophies in total, all with a handgun.
 

Witold Krzyżanowski

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I think it depends on who you talk to...

Most would tell you that anything .375 or larger constitutes "big bore"..

Many others would tell you that "big bores" start at .40 however .. and that nothing smaller meets the requirements..

I dont think recoil or even the delivery of kinetic energy is considered by most people.... I havent met anyone that would argue that a .45-70 isnt a "big bore".. but clearly the .45-70 delivers pretty weak sauce when considered side by side with a .375 H&H, which some consider a very big "mid bore"...
I agree with you.
 

Eric Anderson

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I would still count the 8mm and .338 as small bore guns. Bell himself considered the 318 WR (.330) to be a small bore gun. however there aren't actually that many medium bores still in use today. all I can think of are the .358, .366, .375, .416, and .423 with those last three being fairly uncommon outside of African hunting. thanks to modern powders and modern bullets, small bore guns have just about completely taken over the hunting industry.

-matt
I just have a hard time lumping .338 with .17
There is more difference in a .17 HMR vs .338 Lapua than there is between a .338 Lapua and a .600 Nitro express.
30-06 is over 100 years old, and even with 100 year old powder is still a potent round. A surplus WWI round will kill a pig today just fine.
.36 cal hasn’t been considered a small bore since the days of black powder muskets.
It is not modern smokeless powders that put under .50 cal in the medium size deer rifle, it was simply smokeless powder itself.

I think that applying the standards for black powder rounds to smokeless powder is a mistake. The propellants are just so different it is comparing apples and oranges.
 

Gert Odendaal

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Gert,
Hey I got your big bore!
Actually , but no details or I will get no sleep and not get up tomorrow morning.
Nite all.

CRS, I really would like to know which caliber would you dedicate to my interpretation of a "Big Bore rifle""(y)(y)(y)
 

Gert Odendaal

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Just to keep up with the question the Gentleman post ":
What is a "Big Bore Rifle caliber????
Pierre van der Walt , author of African Dangerous Game Calibers...
Transitional Bore Cartridges:
9.3 x 62 to the .378 Weatherby Magnum

Large Bore Cartridges :
.450/400 Nitro Express 3" (Jeffery) to the .460 Weatherby Magnum

Super Bore cartridges:
.500/465 Nitro Express(H&H) to the .600 Nitro Express...

I believe Pierre van der Walt is a specialist on his subject and has extensive knowledge in this field ...(y)(y)
 

Eric Anderson

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Just to keep up with the question the Gentleman post ":
What is a "Big Bore Rifle caliber????
Pierre van der Walt , author of African Dangerous Game Calibers...
Transitional Bore Cartridges:
9.3 x 62 to the .378 Weatherby Magnum

Large Bore Cartridges :
.450/400 Nitro Express 3" (Jeffery) to the .460 Weatherby Magnum

Super Bore cartridges:
.500/465 Nitro Express(H&H) to the .600 Nitro Express...

I believe Pierre van der Walt is a specialist on his subject and has extensive knowledge in this field ...(y)(y)
So in that system, what is a .416 or .404?
 

Gert Odendaal

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Eric, in Pierre van der Walts book he named all the different calibers under these three different categories...It is just too many calibers to copy direct from his book..the .416 Rigby and 404 Jeffery will be included in the Large Bore division....40 caliber...
Transitional Bore = .366 to .378
Large bore = .400 to .460
Super bore = .500-.700
 

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