I'm in the early stages of planning my first safari for plains game. My primary quarry will be a good impala and a good kudu (doesn't everyone want a good kudu bull?), and perhaps a nice gemsbok. I'd also be very interested in springbok and warthog, a zebra if a good one presented itself, and maybe bushbuck.
I'm rather certain I'll end up going to South Africa for the hunt. I've identified Limpopo, Northwest Province and the Northern Cape as the most likely regions to produce what I'm after and will be looking for outfitters in those areas.
I'm buying a new rifle soon and am hoping for some help with the selection. First, I have to say that recoil is a rather significant issue for me. I have had a couple of shoulder reconstrucions and eight bolts and a screw reside permanently in my right (shooting) shoulder. I've also had a disc removed from my neck and have two more that are herniated and will eventually need attention. Although I'm not particularly sensitve to recoil by nature, these injuries and their repairs have left me unable to shoot hard-recoiling numbers comfortably. As a result, I'm looking for a cartridge that can be reasonably expected to do the job at the lowest possible recoil. I'll simply practice more with a soft shooter than I will with somethig that hurts, and the .30-06 with 180gr loads is about the outer limits of my tolerance. This means I'd like something that hurts less than that if at all possible. I'm entirely committed to restricting the range of my shooting to be commensurate with the cartridge selected, so if I need to get closer than 250 yards to my quarry, I'll either do so or pass up the shot.
I really like the new Winchester Model 70s being built in South Carolina. My heart is nearly set on one but I'm still open for suggestions. The cartridge choices I've narrowed it down to are the 7mm-08, the .270 Win and the .308 Win. The rifle will be either the Featherweight or the Extreme Weather.
I've also concluded that I could live with a new Ruger Hawkeye All Weather in .338 Federal. The one I've shot didn't hurt very bad and I kind of like the idea of the bigger bullet. I'd much rather have the Winchester rifle, though, and they are not currently offering that cartridge in their lineup.
Truth be told, if I could get away with a .25-06, I'd take one. Next, the 7mm-08 would be great. The .270 and .308 start to get my attention and the .338 Fed is at my outer limits to be able to put 15 or 20 rounds in at a good practice session.
What would you experienced folks do if you were me? Please remember that this rifle will be used far more for deer back home than it will be in Africa, and it will need to be practiced with for many years to come.