Which Handgun Caliber For Big Game Hunting?

humvee4us

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Good afternoon,
I'm preparing to go hunting in African and am planning on bringing a handgun with me in addition to my rifle. I always use your ammo and bullets, so I was wondering in your opinion if I'm encountering dangerous game such as buffalo, hippos, and rhinos, which round would serve me better, a .50 300gr FMJ at 700fps or a .45 255gr hardcast at 1050fps? Typically I would gravitate more towards the larger diameter and heavier bullet since I've personally seen the heavier mass of the .45 super outperform the hottest 10mm since the 10mm is lighter despite being significantly faster, but in this case I'm not sure about the tradeoff in 350fps to gain an additional 45gr on the .50 over the .45. I know neither is ideal, but out of these two which one would be best?

Thanks
 

Hunter4752001

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I'm not sure of what handguns you're thinking of but the weights and velocities quoted suggest 50GI and 45 Super. Both are semi-auto cartridges.

First off, where you're going will have a lot to do with available choices. Not all countries in Africa allow handgun hunting. Most of those that do allow handguns, don't allow semi-autos. Unlikely to get a permit to bring either and both are ballistically sub-optimal for dangerous game or even large plains game.

Your choices suggest you don't have much experience with handgun hunting. That's OK because everyone has to start somewhere. None of us started off knowing everything, learning is part of the fun of the journey. If I where in your position I'd do a bit of research on what's allowable for hunting. I'd then look at the range of large bore hunting specific revolvers. 454 Casull (325 gr at 1500fps) or larger calibre. Then get a lot of experience carrying it, firing it and hunting medium game with it before even thinking about dangerous game.

ps I'm a semi-auto type of guy, but recognize that they just don't cut it for the big stuff even if they were legal.
 

humvee4us

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I'm not sure of what handguns you're thinking of but the weights and velocities quoted suggest 50GI and 45 Super. Both are semi-auto cartridges.

First off, where you're going will have a lot to do with available choices. Not all countries in Africa allow handgun hunting. Most of those that do allow handguns, don't allow semi-autos. Unlikely to get a permit to bring either and both are ballistically sub-optimal for dangerous game or even large plains game.

Your choices suggest you don't have much experience with handgun hunting. That's OK because everyone has to start somewhere. None of us started off knowing everything, learning is part of the fun of the journey. If I where in your position I'd do a bit of research on what's allowable for hunting. I'd then look at the range of large bore hunting specific revolvers. 454 Casull (325 gr at 1500fps) or larger calibre. Then get a lot of experience carrying it, firing it and hunting medium game with it before even thinking about dangerous game.

ps I'm a semi-auto type of guy, but recognize that they just don't cut it for the big stuff even if they were legal.
Actually yes! They are in fact the .50 GI and the .45 Super. I talked with the PH and he said I could import the pistol so long as I affirmed that I won't carry it when not hunting; in which case I could be criminally prosecuted.
So it's not to hunt but rather as a last ditch weapon, in case something horrible where to happen such as getting attacked by a pack where the only hope left would be to get off multiple shots off in a very short amount of time; highly unlikely but better safe than sorry.
Which is why I was wondering if a larger, heavier bullet would be better even if 350fps slower, or a smaller and lighter bullet but faster?
 

BeeMaa

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Actually yes! They are in fact the .50 GI and the .45 Super. I talked with the PH and he said I could import the pistol so long as I affirmed that I won't carry it when not hunting; in which case I could be criminally prosecuted.
So it's not to hunt but rather as a last ditch weapon, in case something horrible where to happen such as getting attacked by a pack where the only hope left would be to get off multiple shots off in a very short amount of time; highly unlikely but better safe than sorry.
Which is why I was wondering if a larger, heavier bullet would be better even if 350fps slower, or a smaller and lighter bullet but faster?
Check the local laws, do not rely on just the word of a PH.
Most countries authorizing handguns for sporting use require a scope to be attached.
Even then, the outfitter will have to submit special paperwork for it.

Better plan...take your everyday "deer" rifle or a .375 caliber rifle on safari.
Your PH, tracker, etc, will be taking very good care of you.
You are the source of their income.
They don't want anything to happen to you.
You will be well taken care of.

Relax and breathe for just a minute.
Pack a rifle, ammo and some clothes to go hunting.
Leave the handgun at home unless you specifically are looking to hunt with it.
 

Hunter4752001

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OK. Personally I'd regard both of the 45 Super and the 50GI as totally inadequate for the purpose described. The animals you nominated are massive, heavy, thick skinned and with attitude. Its unlikely that either calibre would penetrate deeply enough to reach the vitals.

That being said, its YOUR hunt. If it gives YOU a sense of security, satisfaction or pleasure then go for it.

Your PH will know more about the current legalities than I do, but it may save you some heartache if you seek a second opinion from one of the firearm permit specialists like Gracy Travel or Rifle Permits. Nothing would put a downer on your hunt than to have your gun impounded on entry. If you're traveling through multiple countries it may multiply the legal complexities. Getting specialist advice pays for itself.
 

Newboomer

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Some people hunt with handguns but--and a big but---they are experts with years of practice and handgun hunting under their belts. If you don't meet those qualifications forget the handgun and stick with your rifle. I would call any handgun marginal at best even for pg.
 
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Check the local laws, do not rely on just the word of a PH.
Most countries authorizing handguns for sporting use require a scope to be attached.
Even then, the outfitter will have to submit special paperwork for it.

Better plan...take your everyday "deer" rifle or a .375 caliber rifle on safari.
Your PH, tracker, etc, will be taking very good care of you.
You are the source of their income.
They don't want anything to happen to you.
You will be well taken care of.

Relax and breathe for just a minute.
Pack a rifle, ammo and some clothes to go hunting.
Leave the handgun at home unless you specifically are looking to hunt with it.
@BeeMaa
I agree leave the handgun at home and save all the hassles at airports local police yada yada and use the money you saved on another animal. Go hunt have fun and don't worry that's why you pay the PH.
BOB
 

JimP

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The odds of what you described while you are hunting are worse than winning the Power Ball drawing.

If you are on a DG hunt then your PH will have your back. If you are just hunting plains game there is no need.

I've hunted quite a few North American game animals with a pistol, and I didn't even think of taking a pistol to Africa
 

Tra3

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In 2007, After about 8 days of vigorous elk hunting I decided I could allow myself a bit of a nap in the afternoon. I promptly fell asleep on the flat part of a logging road in the mountains near Yellowstone. After a delightful hour-long nap I woke and decided to hunt back towards camp. I came across a large set of bear tracks over the top of my boot prints just 50 yards from my nap area. I chambered a round in my .270 win and for a moment wished for a pistol. Then I realized that a pistol is much smaller a defense system than a rifle. Pistols just aren’t made for big animals. They are also extra weight.
I’d say just make sure your rifle is enough caliber and go with that. Less red tape too.
 

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Good afternoon,
I'm preparing to go hunting in African and am planning on bringing a handgun with me in addition to my rifle. I always use your ammo and bullets, so I was wondering in your opinion if I'm encountering dangerous game such as buffalo, hippos, and rhinos, which round would serve me better, a .50 300gr FMJ at 700fps or a .45 255gr hardcast at 1050fps? Typically I would gravitate more towards the larger diameter and heavier bullet since I've personally seen the heavier mass of the .45 super outperform the hottest 10mm since the 10mm is lighter despite being significantly faster, but in this case I'm not sure about the tradeoff in 350fps to gain an additional 45gr on the .50 over the .45. I know neither is ideal, but out of these two which one would be best?

Thanks

"I always use your ammunition and bullets "....sounds like a letter already sent to a manufacturer of ammunition.....
 

spike.t

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Actually yes! They are in fact the .50 GI and the .45 Super. I talked with the PH and he said I could import the pistol so long as I affirmed that I won't carry it when not hunting; in which case I could be criminally prosecuted.
So it's not to hunt but rather as a last ditch weapon, in case something horrible where to happen such as getting attacked by a pack where the only hope left would be to get off multiple shots off in a very short amount of time; highly unlikely but better safe than sorry.
Which is why I was wondering if a larger, heavier bullet would be better even if 350fps slower, or a smaller and lighter bullet but faster?

Attacked by a pack of what?....think you been reading too many old adventure comics.....I find it a very strange post.....
 

IvW

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My oh my some people are getting really badly affected by this covid shite.....
Semi auto pistols....hipos buffalos and rhinos....attacked by packs....PH advises bring it along for protection againts these as a last ditch effort to save yourself.....

What can I say.....let me rather refrain.....
 

spike.t

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Oh I could add it is 2021....
Could be the reason......
IMG-20201127-WA0002.jpg
 

Newboomer

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What you guys been smoking, huh? Sounds kinda far out.
 

bruce moulds

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years ago i was known to carry a handgun when hunting.
it just turned out to be a pain in the azz..
maybe just carry a bit more rifle ammo.
could there be an insurgency problem where you are going?
again, carry more ammo for the rifle.
i know of a guy (dead now) who's safari was attacked by insurgents.
one went behind a tree.
the guy put a 458 solid through the tree.
the insurgent went away.
bruce.
 

Chad '06

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Handguns have their place but I have to agree with what the others have already said with one exception. To say that any handgun is marginal at best, even on plains game is definitely not giving some the credit they deserve. That said, the loads in question are absolutely less than marginal for dangerous game.
 

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