What's the biggest round you can shoot well?

fourfive8

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Somewhere between 75 and 85 ft pounds in a reasonably stocked rifle is about the limit for me. All my DG rifles are scoped and I’ve made sure of adequate eye relief so not a thought of scope eye brow from them so I can relax, squeeze and roll with the punch.

I’ve had to work hard over the years to not flinch with heavy recoiling guns. IMO, It takes work and concentration to learn how to handle recoil. The recoil from a 500 gr bullet pushed to 2350fps is a practical goal and limit for me- with basically a modern Win 70 stocked rifle with a total weight of about 11 lbs. I shoot a 450 Watts accurately by any definition and far, far!! exceeds the minimum for any DG rifle -it’s recoil is near my limit.
 
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ldmay375

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Somewhere between 75 and 85 ft pounds in a reasonably stocked rifle is about the limit for me. All my DG rifles are scoped and I’ve made sure of adequate eye relief so not a thought of scope eye brow from them so I can relax, squeeze and roll with the punch.

I’ve had to work hard over the years to not flinch with heavy recoiling guns. IMO, It takes work and concentration to learn how to handle recoil. The recoil from a 500 gr bullet pushed to 2350fps is a practical goal and limit for me- with basically a modern Win 70 stocked rifle with a total weight of about 11 lbs. I shoot a 450 Watts accurately by any definition and far, far!! exceeds the minimum for any DG rifle -it’s recoil is near my limit.
I have not played with the 458 Winchester and Lotts in awhile. I was just getting somewhat comfortable with the Lotts and 500 grainers.
But so far I feel very comfortable with the 416 Ruger and Remington cartridges. To me, they are about the same as shooting my 338 Winchester or various 375’s. No anxiety about pulling the triggers, no excessive worry about the scope and head contact.
I shoot mostly 350 grain loads in the 416’s, but not sure that I notice a difference with the 400 grain loads. There may be, but does not seem much difference to me.
 

Inline6

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470NE is the biggest I have shot in a hunting rifle. 50BMG would be the biggest but that was 32#s.

I found the 470NE to be on par with my 416 RemMag. It took more than a few range trips before I no longer received headaches from shooting the 416. I have shot 5k center fire rounds a year so no stranger to shooting. I think you can work your way up to it. Everything I have read leads me to believe 416/470NE would be all I need/want.

Good luck on your journey!
 

Newboomer

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Very good post to which I agree. Now how do we do to convey to njc110381 that we are not fighting but that we are looking at things from different perspectives, both objective and viable, which makes the value of this forum...

Let me take a crack at it...

Considering that we are about the same age Red Leg, I will guess that you toted the 23 lbs M60 in Ranger School. I carried the 22 lbs AA 52 at the Special Military Academy in France. Interestingly, it apparently produced the opposite effect. You "would just as soon not" lug a heavy weapon anymore. Conversely, to this day, I find an 11 lbs rifle delightfully light to carry all day :)

My rationale is that these extra 2 or 3 lbs that I do not feel, really soak up recoil so much that my 11 lbs 3 oz scoped Mark V .340 Wby (29 ft/lbs of recoil with 225 gr TTSX) recoils not much more than a 9 lbs 2 oz scoped Win M 70 .300 Win (24 ft/lbs of recoils with 180 gr TTSX); and my 10 lbs 10 oz .416 Rigby scoped CZ (55 ft/lbs of recoils with 400 gr TSX) does not recoil all that much more than a 7 lbs 6 oz .375 H&H Blaser R8 (44 ft/lbs of recoils with 300 gr). In both cases, the .340 and .416 deliver larger frontal area, significantly heavier bullets, and a lot stronger 'blow' however we want to measure it since we both agree that 'energy' is not all that it is cracked up to be...
And because an additional 2 or 3 lbs on my shoulder does not break this camel's back; because I personally find heavier rifles easier to control in the wind or with heavy breathing; and because the recoil levels are similar on the lighter rifles/calibers and my heavier rifles/calibers, I shoot my heavier rifles/calibers as well as others shoot their lighter rifles/calibers, and I hit bigger, heavier and harder.
There is no real arguing that whatever a .375 does to a buff a .416 does better, and whatever a mild .3o does to large plains games a strong .33 does better, as long as all bullets land in the same place. To me, the extra 2 or 3 lbs to lug around are well worth the extra punch, without paying a real price in recoil, which is generally what sends bullets flying out of target... Most people do not shoot well a .375 that weighs the same as a 30-06. I do not, so it does not work for me. Red Leg does, so it works for him.

That does not make me right over Red Leg, njc110381, it just means that we place our cost/benefit analysis in rifle weight vs. rifle power in two different places, while still delivering the same shots with similar recoils. As to whether .33 and .416 are NEEDED over .30 and .375, it is a matter of personal opinion. I personally do not think that it is NEEDED per se, but I personally like the extra margin of safety 10,000 miles and $10,000 away from home, and after all, when one drop of blood means you own it, as my byline says: there ain't not such thing as too dead.

Another example of different perspective, njc110381, is that Red Leg travels with one rifle. I always take two. My rationale is again that 10,000 miles and $10,000 away from home I will have a level of backup and I do not bet on a decent rifle being available in camp if mine somehow fails.

I hope that I do not come across as advocating shoddy accuracy, and God forbid I would come across as advocating shooting at an entire buff! But the reality is that buff, elk, moose, hartebeest, wildebeest, kudu, etc. never mind eland! all have a vital area exceeding 12" in diameter. A carefully placed bullet anywhere within this area will result in an ethical kill (some will be instantaneous, and some will inexplicably take longer, we all know that!) regardless of whether the bullet hits 2" right, left, high or low from one's point of aim, and this is assuming that said point of aim on the outside of the animal actually lines up perfectly with the very best placement on the internal organs... I agree that the shot needs to be "made ... very, very accurately" (and sometimes "quickly") but the point I was trying to make relating to shooting well a DG gun, is that one does not need a 1/4 MOA rifle and 1/2 MOA gunnery to hunt dangerous game... A hit anywhere in the upper-heart & lung 1/2 square foot area of a buff is not a hit "in the general proximity," it is in "exactly the right place" :)

Actually, and in full agreement with Red Leg's strongly emphasized theme of client's responsibility, on DG I am fully comfortable with a scenarios where the shooter/rifle hits a buff consistently, each time, every time within 2 or even 3 MOA (i.e. 2" or even 3" group at 100 yd). As hinted previously, I would bet pretty solid money that few people, including the PHs themselves, can do much better with iron sights ;)

PS: I am curious Red Leg, is the R8 .375 H&H really 6 lbs 6 oz without scope as the Blaser info states?
BAR, 30 cal mg, M60. They're all in the same weight range and I've humped them all. My favorite is by far the M60. It can be fired from bipod, shoulder, hip, or vehicle mounted. I padded my sling where it went over my left shoulder so it rode level in front of me. Still not the most comfortable weapon, but bearable. Easy to strip and clean even in the dark if you get a malfunction.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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375H&H but preferably in a flanged magnum. I am yet to get to grips with a 450/400 but I hear it is a sweet spot round for effect, recoil and carry weight. 458 Lott is over the top for me, 500NE is too. My comfortable carry weight is 10 pounds, preferred featherweight category 7.8 pounds (that is what the VC is). I think you have to be brutally honest with yourself as to what you can tolerate, hunting is meant to be fun, not masochism.
 

Newboomer

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375H&H but preferably in a flanged magnum. I am yet to get to grips with a 450/400 but I hear it is a sweet spot round for effect, recoil and carry weight. 458 Lott is over the top for me, 500NE is too. My comfortable carry weight is 10 pounds, preferred featherweight category 7.8 pounds (that is what the VC is). I think you have to be brutally honest with yourself as to what you can tolerate, hunting is meant to be fun, not masochism.
375HH for me. Mine weighs in at 11lbs even. Heavy enough to not loosen my teeth when I shoot it, balances well, and carries OK with a Safari Sling. Haven't shot anything bigger to date and don't want to and don't need any more power.
 

xausa

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At my age (82), I'm not sure I can claim to shoot any rifle "well", but there was a day in 1974, in Kenya, when a startled buffalo bull ran across in front of me and I put four bullets in his shoulder. Three of the bullet holes could have been covered with a playing card. The rifle was my .505 SRE, which shoots a 570 grain bullet at 2150 fps and generates around 100 pounds of free recoil.
In practice with that rifle, I never used full loads, but confined myself to light loads with cast bullets, so that I was thoroughly accustomed to shooting it without bracing myself against the anticipated recoil. As a result, despite its modest 8.75 pound weight, I was able to shoot full loads and let my 165 pound frame absorb the recoil. This instance was only one of many I experienced in Africa, where my mind was firmly fixed on the target I was shooting at and not on the consequences to me. This technique applied equally as well to my .577 VSRE (750 grain bullet at 2050 fps), but because the force of the recoil caused me to step backwards two paces after each shot, I never used it in the hunting field.
This is the buffalo, which I stopped in full flight.
Kenya buff.jpg
 

Tanks

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.500 MDM or .500 NE for me. Both have taken down buffalo and elephant.

I have not shot a .577 NE to see if it is manageable but it does not matter. I have held one at Heym distributor's office and it is too darned heavy for me to lug around for miles and miles each day.
 

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I’ve shot a .600 Nitro Express once and found the recoil to be far less violent than a .460 Weatherby Magnum.

That said, I personally prefer using a .375 Holland & Holland Magnum, a .30-06 Springfield and a .243 Winchester for all of my African hunting applications.

The .460 Weatherby Magnum is probably the only caliber in my life which I’m legitimately afraid of. Very unpleasant recoil.
 

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I came up the big bore side of the house from my teen years. Started with a old rolling block in 50/70. Have shot everything from 375 to 8 bore. My limit is 577NE. Currently the largest I own is a 500 Jeff. but my 404 Jeff gets shot more than all my other big bore bolt guns. For a double the 450/400 and 500/416 are my current favorite. That old rolling block is now a 50/90:)
 

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I have yet to find mine. Heaviest recoil so far is my 416 RM, and I can say that it doesn’t bother me at all. Currently trying to decide what big bore to try next 458 win mag, 458 lott, 500 Jeff, 500 MDM…
 

xausa

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"I shoot a 450 Watts accurately by any definition and far, far!! exceeds the minimum for any DG rifle -it’s recoil is near my limit." fourfive8


I'm glad to see that someone else is determined to give credit where credit is due. I want to throw up every time I see the mention of a ".458 Lott", since all Lott did was shave a few thousandths off the overall length of the unnecked .375 H&H case and attach his name to something already in existence. My first .450 Watts dates back to the early 1960's and if I hadn't had a .458 WM double rifle to take with me to Africa, I'm sure I would have taken it.
I later had another double rifle made up using the .375 H&H Flanged Magnum case opened up to .458" which I called the .450 C&W, after the name of my gun business, Creighton & Warren. I thought it was a logical replacement for the .450 NE, but Krieghoff, who built the rifle for me, wasn't interested, and promoted their .500/.416 instead.
I had a .416/.300 WM wildcat several years before Chatfield Taylor came out with his .416 Taylor, but mine was one of a kind and I didn't try to publicize it. I had always thought the neck of the .300 WM was too short, and opening the neck up to .416" solved that problem.
 

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375H&H for me. I owned a M70 458Win and tolerated the recoil fairly well but decided 375 H&H is enough gun. There's no sense in being beat up unnecessarily and if I can't kill it with a well placed 375H&H I don't want to hunt it.
 

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The largest/ biggest bore (not counting 12 Gauge Turkey guns) is this Winchester .45-90 WCF aka .458 2.4 shooting 450 grain NF at 2150 fps. Rifle weighs 9.5 pounds empty.
52608_600x400.jpg
 
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Tanks

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375H&H for me. ... There's no sense in being beat up unnecessarily and if I can't kill it with a well placed 375H&H I don't want to hunt it.

I wonder how many of those that profess their love for the .375H&H use it to hunt elephants on a regular basis?
 

Doug3006

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I shot my 458 Lott well enough to collect a Buffalo this year. It is not comfortable to shoot, but as always is the case, I didn’t notice the recoil at all when shooting the buf.
 

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375 and 404 were right in the easy shooting/comfortable range for me with the 458 win mag still there but found the Lott to be shootable but getting out of the comfort range.
 

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I don't know. I have shot a lot of HP rifles for years, and a huge amount of 12 gauge magnum waterfowl loads out of sub 7 lb. SxSs and my old Superposed.

I chose the 375 (about 10 lbs with custom stock) and 404 (about 10 lbs with custom stock) partly out of considerations about tolerable recoil and rifle weight. I have also loaded low velocity loads for practice with these rifles so that I can shoot them enough to become truly effective. I have about one year to sort these rifles out and find the right loads for Tanzania buffalo, zebra and larger antelope. Looking forward to it.

I am no longer a stout young man but I am far from giving up on any of my hunting. I will find out over the next 6 to 9 months what will work best for me.
 

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Rick HOlbert wrote on NTH's profile.
NTH, Just found your message. I hunt with Eland Pro Safaris in Namibia. Wide selection of game and great folks. Hell my PH and his family ARE adopted family, LOL! I book people to hunt with them and should you be interested I'd be happy to meet and discuss a trip. Anyway all the best to you and give me a shout sometime. Bye for now.
NTH wrote on Rick HOlbert's profile.
Nice “meeting” you Rick. I made my first trip to S. Africa this year through Kuche Safaris. We had an incredible time. What outfitter do you use? Neal
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