Which rifle for lion?

Mike Van Horn

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Question for the experienced African hunters, and lion hunters.
I have a .375 purchased for a buffalo hunt which is on hold.
Testing bullets in water " the best l can do too compare bullets". The 350 Northfork bullet really out does the 270 TSX, and the 300 A-frame. Question is do you think it is too much or too heavy for Lion?
 

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Very interesting @IvW . I guess a man doesn’t know what he will do in that situation until it happens.

I once had a young man freeze in a tight corner with a grizzly. Things got interesting!

More seriously, one of my men went missing in a major refinery fire. It took some time to get the fire out and secure the unit. I was preparing a crew to search for what we assumed would be a body when a police officer approached me at the command post. They had found our man eight miles from the refinery. He had crossed a stream, an interstate, a housing development and was wandering in the prairie with no clue how he had gotten there. Like you say, you don’t know how you’ll react until you are in the soup.
 

Foxi

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I hunted with a Spanish client, who came with a most beautiful R8 Blaser rifle in 375 H&H. It was a 18 day safari including 2 elephant, 3 buff, leopard and a lion.

Now he was very particular that his rifle not ever ride in the gun rack, always in a soft case zipped up. Was fine by me. With the elephants he would always say I can hit it from here when we were still 100 meters away....anyway long story short.....
We had been tracking three male lions, that we had heard the night before. We had cut there tracks very early. These were lions patrolling there home range and they were on the move. We knew they would rest up as the day heated up. After 5hrs of tracking we did catch up. They were a magnificent band of brothers, two of them were spectacular dark maned lions and one was of lighter composure....sticks went up and the client made the shot.....too far back....now the lion put up a astonishing acrobatic display as he growled and snarled biting at the pain caused by the bullet.

This display was taking place about 45 meters from us, I knew from previous experience that as soon as this stopped the lion would focus his attention on the cause of his predicament and charge..I sternly commented to my client to "Ricarga!!! Tira!!! I had my 500 Jeff in the shoulder and just kept sight of the R8 barrel in my right peripheral vision. I could sense something being done on my right but no shot followed. I again replied more urgently Ricarga!!!Tira!!! at which point the lion stopped his acrobatics, focused those huge golden eyes on us and with a last deep throat-ed roar like grunt an stiff tail came at full charge....

More movement on my peripheral vision indicated the barrel of the R8 disappearing from view...not wanting to shoot the client lion unnecessarily I held my fire, nothing happened....at 15 yards I let the lion have it and he collapsed in a most satisfactory way end up facing the way he had come from. His tip of tail was close to me.

Looking at where my client was I saw the R8 lying in the sand, closer inspection revealed that he had indeed been reloading as instructed but not firing as he was supposed to do, the cartridges being ejected un fired...My tracker immediately wanted to pick up the rifle which I refused. Where was the client I asked? He ran away was the reply....

We dragged the lion between two trackers and myself under some shade. One tracker was instructed to go to the nearest track(we had stayed in contact with my driver in the Land Cruiser). I made myself comfortable against the lion in the shade and sent my head tracker to track and find our client. After 30 minutes he returned without the client. I was told that he had found the client but could not bring him back as he had ran a while and then opted to climb a geelhaak tree....now the fear of the lion had no effect on the pain of the thorns cutting into his flesh on the way up but he had gotten himself properly stuck. It took another 20 minutes for the truck to arrive and a further 40 minutes to reach the tree and cut the client free...when we returned to the lion the R8 was still lying exactly where it had been dropped.

Needless to say after that the R8 rode in the gun rack with the rest of the rifles...

So yes most clients love the hunting and the excitement, some get very nervous close to DG and some just cannot handle a charge when it happens....yes it is a very scary and intimidating thing to experience but running from it is the last thing you do...rather wet or soil yourself but you need to face it and sort it out...or well climb a geelhaak tree and spend one and a half hours in there until you are rescued....


In Germany, many non-owners of a R 8 would cheer about this new material for the Blaser haters.
Nevertheless, your report says nothing, about the reliability of an R8-unless you were aiming for it, which I suppose you do.
Just as the guest lost his nerve, he doesn't seem to have pulled the trigger and simply reloaded.
Magnificent region youve hunted with the Spanish guest.
 
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Ridgewalker

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Question for the experienced African hunters, and lion hunters.
I have a .375 purchased for a buffalo hunt which is on hold.
Testing bullets in water " the best l can do too compare bullets". The 350 Northfork bullet really out does the 270 TSX, and the 300 A-frame. Question is do you think it is too much or too heavy for Lion?
Depends on whether it is the PP or SS. The PP was designed for PG and cats, while the SS was designed for tough thick skinned Cape buffalo.
I have a very limited experience with lion as in taken only 2 and watched a third taken. But I used a Barnes 235 grain (at the recommendation of my outfitter) at over 3,000 FPS and the third was taken using a 270 Barnes. All killed the lions, but if I were to do it again I would definitely go with a soft 300 grain Bullet. You likely will be shooting through cover and the short stubby 235 grain bullet didn’t do a good job of that. Dr Kevin Robertson I believe recommended of all uses for the Nosler Partition that this is probably the best place.
Just an FYI, the lion guide said I should have used a soft 300 grain.
 

John Telford

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My personal favorite for a client is a .375 calibre with a low magnification scope,using soft quick expanding bullets.A bolt action will be just fine.
Second this . Unless you are feeling adventurous in which case the classic 9.5x57 MS aka .375 light as used by Harry Kirkman to kill a good few cattle killers next to the Kruger a national Park back in the day.
 

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Second this . Unless you are feeling adventurous in which case the classic 9.5x57 MS aka .375 light as used by Harry Kirkman to kill a good few cattle killers next to the Kruger a national Park back in the day.

In Namibia, a farmer is allowed to kill PAC animals ,at the request of the authorities, but he is allowed. I know of a farmer near Etosha who shoots up to a dozen lions every year, from big to small with the .30-06
For tourist hunters like us ,this caliber is not an issue ,but it works
 

Mark Biggerstaff

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I have a lioness, cape buff bull/cow combo was booked for this June. Now moved to 2021 I hope. I will be carrying two rifles. 458 Lott with 500 gr Aframes and 375 HH with 300 gr Aframes. Planning on 458 Lott as primary choice on both. May be a little over kill but I have wanted to use the Lott ever since I got it.
 

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John Taylor is spinning in his grave. What is the classic lion caliber... that crumples a charging lion better than any other? 416 Rigby.
 
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IvW

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Good tale IvW! Must have been a bit frustrating to you. If I had been you, I would have pulled the trigger much sooner!
When are you going to write up some more of your tales? I really enjoy reading them!

I will just trying to keep food on the table in these times with corrupt clueless politicians ruling the roost as usual.
 

IvW

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Question for the experienced African hunters, and lion hunters.
I have a .375 purchased for a buffalo hunt which is on hold.
Testing bullets in water " the best l can do too compare bullets". The 350 Northfork bullet really out does the 270 TSX, and the 300 A-frame. Question is do you think it is too much or too heavy for Lion?

The Northfork is a superb bullet...not sure which 375 you have but even a 300 in the same brand is perfect, the 350 is better as a buffalo sledge hammer. It will work for sure...however ideally you would want an impact velocity of over 2000 fps on lion
 

IvW

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In Germany, many non-owners of a R 8 would cheer about this new material for the Blaser haters.
Nevertheless, your report says nothing, about the reliability of an R8-unless you were aiming for it, which I suppose you do.
Just as the guest lost his nerve, he doesn't seem to have pulled the trigger and simply reloaded.
Magnificent region youve hunted with the Spanish guest.

@Foxi R8 was completely reliable and very accurate....the problem was the hunter not the rifle, he was so terrified he went into reload only mode and just did not pull the trigger until his nerves gave in and he departed the scene....

Was the most beautiful piece of wood I have ever seen on a rifle as well....
 

IvW

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John Taylor is spinning in his grave. What is the classic lion caliber... that crumples a charging lion better than any other? 416 Rigby.

I think he would want to come back after the 500/416 NE came on the scene, I think such a rifle in a double with a red dot sight and a ghost ring backup would be the ultimate lion rifle for hunting as well as back up, 410 gr bullet @ 2325 just perfect for the big cats...
 

Von S.

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It matters not to me what caliber or rifle anyone uses to shoot anything with as it's their hunt, their money and most importantly their life.

After I had mentioned that I have used a 458 for leopard a well meaning me,ber posted that his friend took 2 with a 7mm. To that I believe him. Sure he killed them, but unless he skulled them both what he hit them with wouldn't necessarily be though of as a stopper.

I feel that the 458wm is good round ,but somewhat minimalistic for elephant and the like , though a great cat round...... bear too which are not always as easy to kill as one guy spouted off not too long ago.

I aso have a 416 Rigby which was made even before my mother was born which ain't no slouch either.
 

Foxi

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@Foxi R8 was completely reliable and very accurate....the problem was the hunter not the rifle, he was so terrified he went into reload only mode and just did not pull the trigger until his nerves gave in and he departed the scene....

Was the most beautiful piece of wood I have ever seen on a rifle as well....

lvw -
are you aware of the elephant accident with the Argentinian in the Kalkvelt about over two years ago?
Elephants came from Botswana, maddened by the various shotgun-shots fired by local farmers to get them out of the fields.
Permission to shoot was granted.
A PH went into the dense bush with client.An elephant charged the guest and he could not stop the elephant.One shot of the PH with its.416 and the animal went to the ground.Now an other elephant came storming towards the men from another corner and the PH lost its nerve and fled.The elephant was standing directly in front of the Argentinian,
This man looked up, unable to run, or fire his gun, so the guest was literally torn to pieces and trampled by the elephant. All this was filmed by the wife of the Ph.
Now it's easy to judge, but when nerves fail, no one can control themselves.
A dark cloud has been hovering over the PH ever since, not only over the Argentinian's family.
 
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Tanks

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I feel that the 458wm is good round ,but somewhat minimalistic for elephant and the like , though a great cat round...... bear too which are not always as easy to kill as one guy spouted off not too long ago.

I aso have a 416 Rigby which was made even before my mother was born which ain't no slouch either.

The .458 was designed to emulate the .450 NE which is a good elephant gun. I'd say it is "Enough Gun" for elephants.

As mentioned above .416 Rigby was a favorite round of John Taylor and it was enough of an elephant gun for him with his studies of cartridges. Especially now with modern solids like Cutting Edge Bullets.

Now, I personally prefer a bigger caliber diameter for elephants but I think any of the .400s generating around 5K ft/lbs energy at the muzzle would be "Enough Gun".
 

IvW

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lvw -
are you aware of the elephant accident with the Argentinian in the Kalkvelt about over two years ago?
Elephants came from Botswana, maddened by the various shotgun-shots fired by local farmers to get them out of the fields.
Permission to shoot was granted.
A PH went into the dense bush with client.An elephant charged the guest and he could not stop the elephant.One shot of the PH with its.416 and the animal went to the ground.Now an other elephant came storming towards the men from another corner and the PH lost its nerve and fled.The elephant was standing directly in front of the Argentinian,
This man looked up, unable to run, or fire his gun, so the guest was literally torn to pieces and trampled by the elephant. All this was filmed by the wife of the Ph.
Now it's easy to judge, but when nerves fail, no one can control themselves.
A dark cloud has been hovering over the PH ever since, not only over the Argentinian's family.

Yes Foxi I am well aware of the incident. It happened in 2017, however some of what you write is not accurate...

I strongly doubt that these elephant came from Botswana and maddened by Botswana farmers...the distance is too far. The hunters were 70 km north west of Kalkfeld which is about 700 km from the Botswana border.

Furthermore there are almost no elephant in that part of Botswana as they are way up north, in line and below would be Kalahari desert.

Some conflicting reports regarding what actually happened, some say client was getting ready for shot some say they where stalking when attacked. Two Argentinians and three Namibians. Argentinian had the licence. Sad anyway and yes somebody screwed up or froze up....with three Namibians there one would have thought for a better outcome...

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Foxi

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Foxi

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Yes Foxi I am well aware of the incident. It happened in 2017, however some of what you write is not accurate...

I strongly doubt that these elephant came from Botswana and maddened by Botswana farmers...the distance is too far. The hunters were 70 km north west of Kalkfeld which is about 700 km from the Botswana border.

Furthermore there are almost no elephant in that part of Botswana as they are way up north, in line and below would be Kalahari desert.

Some conflicting reports regarding what actually happened, some say client was getting ready for shot some say they where stalking when attacked. Two Argentinians and three Namibians. Argentinian had the licence. Sad anyway and yes somebody screwed up or froze up....with three Namibians there one would have thought for a better outcome...

434090AF00000578-4789656-image-a-20_1502724493800.jpg


7a289b6ab4.JPEG
 

Foxi

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I meant Namibia farmers who made the elephants crazy and
so far away is the Nae Nae concession not for example and they are fed by Botswana elephants.
I only report what the environment of the PHs told me.
 

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