What is your minimum Buffalo cartridge

Backyardsniper

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I appreciate y'alls wisdom on this subject. I do have a better feel for what I was asking which was more or less everyone's general feelings about the cartridges adequacy for the task. It seems that a large majority of you feel it is easily up to the task. It appears that the opinion of it is closer to the 300 win mag of the elk world than the 270. Ha ha. I feel much more confident that should I happen into some buffalo and have my 375 in hand that it would handle the job easily. I just need to pack a few premium "buffalo" bullets for it and keep them with me. If it were not for the fact that I already have the 458 and a lifelong buddy of.mine sold it to me and very much wants me to shoot something in Africa with it then I might just take the 375 by itself. I think I can get them both in the same case though and put the scope for the 375 in my carry on so it's not that big of a deal. On a side note I do have a 350gr for that 458 that I can carry in case I happen into a PG animal that I desire while I have the 458 out. Honestly I'm very excited about this 375 H&H though. Never had one and it does seem like an extremely useful cartridge.
 

Hunting Hitman

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First of all congrats on the hunt and best of luck.

I have shot 11 cape’s in my travels through Africa and everything that has been said about shot placement with a 375 is correct. More than enough gun to do the trick...But...sometimes things don’t go exactly according to plan.
Capes that are wounded sometimes take on a nasty disposition and decide to come at you...It’s during these reflective times that a hunter might hope to have a little more gun.
I personally use either a 470 NE or lately my trusty 505 Gibbs. More gun than necessary but adds greatly to my comfort level.
Enjoy your hunt!
 

TOBY458

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I appreciate y'alls wisdom on this subject. I do have a better feel for what I was asking which was more or less everyone's general feelings about the cartridges adequacy for the task. It seems that a large majority of you feel it is easily up to the task. It appears that the opinion of it is closer to the 300 win mag of the elk world than the 270. Ha ha. I feel much more confident that should I happen into some buffalo and have my 375 in hand that it would handle the job easily. I just need to pack a few premium "buffalo" bullets for it and keep them with me. If it were not for the fact that I already have the 458 and a lifelong buddy of.mine sold it to me and very much wants me to shoot something in Africa with it then I might just take the 375 by itself. I think I can get them both in the same case though and put the scope for the 375 in my carry on so it's not that big of a deal. On a side note I do have a 350gr for that 458 that I can carry in case I happen into a PG animal that I desire while I have the 458 out. Honestly I'm very excited about this 375 H&H though. Never had one and it does seem like an extremely useful cartridge.
Just load 300 gr Swift Aframe or Barnes TSX in the 375 for everything. Then you won't have to change anything when the Buffalo steps out.
 

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Just load 300 gr Swift Aframe or Barnes TSX in the 375 for everything. Then you won't have to change anything when the Buffalo steps out.

Good advice Toby. On my first safari I took different loads for plains game and buffalo. Total waste of time!
 

Backyardsniper

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That is probably a good call there although I am going to work on the 350gr loads in this 458. I kind of like them. 350 soft.nose at 2700fps. Could be handy
 

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Good advice Toby. On my first safari I took different loads for plains game and buffalo. Total waste of time!
Yes. I Did the same thing last year. I used 270gr TSX for Lioness and PG. Then I had to resight the rifle for 300gr when we went Buff hunting. Not a huge change in zero, but still needed none the less. In the end, the 300 gr would've done everything just fine.
 

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If your bag includes buffalo, eland and some others- like zebra, wildebeest, oryx, kudu and impala for example, the simplest and probably the best way is to take one rifle and use it for everything. Focusing on 350 gr at higher velocity in the 458, IMO, is going in the wrong direction. It would be better to choose a good, tough and accurate 300 grain bullet in 375 HH. 300 gr A Frames and TSXs come to mind. If you reload, go slightly conservative with a powder like Varget to between 2400-2500 fps so there will be no surprises with pressure or function. The best 300 gr A Frame load I found for my Win 70 375 HH was with Varget @ 2485 fps with a standard deviation of 5 fps. Practice off the sticks at a +/- 6-8" bull out to about 200 yds. Use a reasonable power/size scope with good eye relief and good exit pupil. High power capability, IMO, is also going in wrong direction. One of the better quality, low powered, more compact variables work well for bags that include DG. Sight in maybe 1" high at 100 yds which will give point blank hold out to about 225 yds for animals down to about impala size but only about 1/2" high at 50 yds for the normal buffalo shot.... then you'll have most situations covered. Always best to keep it simple, proven and don't overthink..
 
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Backyardsniper

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I like that idea a lot
I have a bunch of varget on hand and I'll get some 300gr bullets and work up a load
 

Kevin Peacocke

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I recall hearing from PH's in this forum and elsewhere that they prefer their clients to use a 375 for buff because they can shoot them better than larger calibres. Lets hear from some PH's .....
 

One Day...

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I do love to swing the big hammer. Killing is one thing, anchoring is another. That is another carry over from the long range game. How much energy are you delivering on target at those longer ranges. Also, being a veteran of a good bit of combat type stuff I am very much a worst case scenario guy. Gun fights are not won by the best guy, gun fights are won by the guy that screws up the least that day. While I'm sure charges and bad situations don't happen all that often I prefer to be prepared for such a situation and should it occur I would like to have enough rifle on hand to end it authoritatively.

And that is the path to the bottom line answer...

Kill a Buffalo?

.375 of any persuasion is about perfect as a client rifle because it has the penetration, the killing power AND it is easy enough to shoot for most clients to shoot it well, or at least well enough...

Stop a Buffalo?
Entirely different question!
The bigger (to a point! the shot MUST be true...) the better, but most folks will agree that it starts at .416 of any persuasion, includes the .458 Win, but really comes into its own with .458 Lott, .470 bolt or double, .500 bolt or double, etc.

Much ink has been spilled on whether stopping a Buff is a PH or a client issue. Being also from military stock and having routinely seen Murphy show up uninvited, I personally like to carry a rifle that would give me decent stopping power should the fecal matter turn toward the impeller...

What hunt?
I personally use an iron sighted .470 double because I am an incurable romantic and I like to hunt Buff up close and personal (call me dumb, but I like to keep the D in DG...). It is entirely perfect for me because I am single-minded on Buff when I hunt Buff, and, to be honest, I sadly do not have the opportunity to hunt Buff in places (e.g. Selous, Niassa, Luangwa, Grumeti, etc.) where the case suggested by Red Leg would be a reality...
But if you are out after buffalo with your .458 and a magnificent kudu rises from his bed on the next ridge at 250 yards ................

BUT... if I went on safari in places where it is likely to encounter the case suggested by Red Leg, and if I could not stay there long enough to be single-minded on Buff during Buff hunts, or if I was limited to one rifle, I would likely take my .375 H&H or my .416 Rigby. They essentially share quasi the same ballistics, although the .416 hits noticeably harder (see above comment about stopping power...). A very accurate S2 double 500/.416 with detachable scope would also be quite the ticket...

Overriding consideration...
A .375 H&H that a client is able to shoot reasonably well, beats any day a .416 or .458 that a client owns out of ego, is afraid of, and is incapable of shooting off hands into a paper plate at 50 yards...
 
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WAB

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Agreed, accuracy trumps power, however, if you’re equally proficient with both, I’d take accuracy and power.
 
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crs

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No new guns were acquired for hunting trips in Africa. Just regular use lever action big bores.
Three of my rifles have been to Africa and two have taken Cape Buffalo. Comment on just those two:

First to take DG was Winchester 1886 .45-90 (.458 2.4) which took several buff, one leopard, and an ele.
Second to take DG was Winchester 1895 .405 which took a Cape Buff and a warthog.
Both rifles used hand loads tailored to the game.
Both rifles have taken big game in the USA.
I would use either one of them in Africa again based on their past performance.
 
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WAB

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No new guns were acquired for hunting trips in Africa. Just regular use lever action big bores.
Three of my rifles have been to Africa and two have taken Cape Buffalo. Comment on just those two:

First to take DG was Winchester 1886 .45-90 (.458 2.4) which took several buff, one leopard, and an ele.
Second to take DG was Winchester 1895 .405 which took a Cape Buff and a warthog.
Both rifles used hand loads tailored to the game.
Both rifles have taken big game in the USA.
I would use either one of them in Africa again based on their past performance.

Cool rifles!
 

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I took the 458 to the range today. Fired about 10rds of 350gr at about 2700fps. Was having a little trouble getting the correct alignment on the iron sights. I was shooting about 4" left at 100yrs. Using those black sights on a solid black silouhette. Once I straightened that out I fired a nice group just about 4 inch high dead center. I was shooting standing with the gun resting on a bag. Man that thing is a beast. I'm gonna get a good bit of practice in at 100yds until I feel good at 100 off the sticks but I plan to try to keep the shot to around 50yds if I'm hunting with irons. Practicing at 100 should make a 50yd shot fairly easy
 

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What Bullet choices are you considering for your rifles? I see a lot of people suggested Swift A-Frame and Barnes TSX, which I agree with. I think bullet choice is much more important than caliber. I would rather hunt with a smaller caliber and a quality bullet than a large caliber and a bullet that won’t retain its mass or hold up to heavy bone. Attached are photos of 375 Swifts and 30 caliber TSX, you can see nearly all mass was retained and why they keep being suggested. The Swift on the left was pulled from a buffalo. There is a good bullet database on here too to research.
F459B084-8A4F-4FC0-A7BF-C2BAE160A2D3.jpeg
DD64FE7E-69A8-4B6E-A817-239A998AABCD.jpeg
 

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I am aware that the legal minimum is 375 however, my question is more to the guys that have some experience and have shot one or a few buffalo. I plan to hunt with Ivory Trail safaris in the Save' valley in 2022. I'll be hunting buffalo and plains game. I plan to take my 458 Lott for buffalo and the 375 for plains game. I have watched a lot of buffalo videos and it appears that thier ability to soak up lead is not exaggerated. I do understand that you can kill one with a 375, however I feel that seems the same as saying you can kill and Elk with a 270. Yes you can but does that make it an elk rifle? In my opinion no. I have always been a fan of bringing plenty of gun. 338 lapua is pretty much my go to hunting rifle for most things. I chose the 375 over it for plains game because my 338 is a tactical type rifle and I just don't think it fits on a safari. Kind of like playing an electric guitar in an orchestra. So back to the point, if someone says hey lets go hunt a buffalo, what cartridge pops into your mind as the minimum that you want in your hands when you are standing 40yds from a buffalo?
Nothing wrong with a good .375 but .416 would be better. Use Barnes bullets and forget the crap about using solids.
 

Newboomer

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With today's monolithic bullets you don't need solids. Monos will do just as well and it's one less thing to worry about on a hunt. No worries about which bullet is in the chamber or magazine.
 

One Day...

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I took the 458 to the range today. Fired about 10rds of 350gr at about 2700fps. Was having a little trouble getting the correct alignment on the iron sights. I was shooting about 4" left at 100yrs. Using those black sights on a solid black silouhette. Once I straightened that out I fired a nice group just about 4 inch high dead center. I was shooting standing with the gun resting on a bag. Man that thing is a beast. I'm gonna get a good bit of practice in at 100yds until I feel good at 100 off the sticks but I plan to try to keep the shot to around 50yds if I'm hunting with irons. Practicing at 100 should make a 50yd shot fairly easy
Hahahahaha :ROFLMAO: Wait until you try the full power 500 gr loads :eek::cool:.......

4" groups at 100 yards with iron sights is pretty good shooting. Minute of Buffalo certainly! Congratulations :)

The way to bring your rifle to zero, now that you have addressed direction by adjusting the rear sight, is to address elevation by changing the front sight.

4" high at 100 yard is not a big correction to make. It could be simply done from nesting the front sight deep into the rear V. Check this first.

But if your front bead is properly nested into the rear V, and your group is still 4" high, you need a taller front sight.

To change the front sight, the formula is:
  • Correction required on target (in this case 4") x sight radius i.e. distance between front & rear sights (in this case 19") / distance to the target in inches (in this case 3,600" if your group was shot at 100 yards) = 0.02" sight height correction.
  • Since your group is too high, this means you need a front sight that is 0.02" taller.
  • Measure your front sight top to bottom with a caliper. Add 0.02" to this measurement, and order a new front sight from CZ at shop.cz-usa.com, they have a full line going from size 1 to 15 with 0.25 mm (~.01") increment. In your case, for example, if there is currently a #5 on your rifle, you need a #7.
CZ 550 front sights #4 to #14.jpg

CZ 550 front sights #4 to #14 in 0.25 mm (~.01") height increment. The coarse white paint can be easily removed and redone more delicately if needed...

CZ front sight marking.jpg

CZ 550 front sights are marked for size underneath

If it proves difficult to order from CZ directly, you can also procure the sights from Numrich:

1601663965149.png


Or you can use the opportunity to put a fiber optic or a wide bead white front sight from New England Custom Shop. The only limitation is that they offer far fewer sizes with only increment of 1 mm (~0.04"). Likely too much in your case, but since the sight picture with bright green or red fiber optics is different, and a wide bead also gives a different sight picture, it is worth trying if you want one of these.

1601664089171.png


1601664128870.png


This is another rarely discussed advantage of the CZ 550. Its iron sights were really designed for shooting (as opposed to being purely cosmetic like on many so-called DG rifles), and the CZ sights are easy and reliable to adjust...
 
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Backyardsniper

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I have shot the 500s and they are spicy thanks a bunch for the low down on the sight situation. I had noticed it could be easily swapped out but had now checked into acquring a new one. That info is most helpful. I love shooting irons. My 375 came in today and I'm gonna try to get it running soon.
 

Professor Mawla

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Any sporting calibre from the .375 H&H Magnum to the .505 Gibbs can do quite excellently against Cape Buffalo . Around 80 % first time hunters of African Cape buffalo typically opt for a .375 H&H Magnum ( for reasons including but not limited to accuracy , recoil and versatility on a mixed bag hunt ) .

My personal preference lies with the .458 Winchester Magnum and 500 grain Rhino Solid Shank expanding bullets ( which are hand loaded with 70 grains of IMR30131 to achieve a velocity of 2100 feet per second ) . Should I limit myself to factory loaded ammunition , then I prefer the 500 grain Hornady DGX Bonded or the 500 grain Nosler Partition .
 

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