Your opinion on Best Caliber for plainsgame in Africa?

Best caliber for plainsgame?

  • various 7mm's

    Votes: 28 9.9%
  • 308

    Votes: 16 5.6%
  • 30-06

    Votes: 48 16.9%
  • various .300's

    Votes: 91 32.0%
  • 338 win mag

    Votes: 42 14.8%
  • 358. norma magnum

    Votes: 2 0.7%
  • 9.3 x 62

    Votes: 16 5.6%
  • 375 H&H

    Votes: 41 14.4%

  • Total voters
    284

sestoppelman

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I like the 160 Nos Part at around 2850-2900 fps which is do-able with a 24" barrel but tough with 22". The 150 shoots a little flatter but over the typical ranges of up to 250 yards the difference is slight all else being equal. Nosler AccuBonds also shoot well in my 7's. Used them in my 9.3x62 in Namibia and feel they are a good bullet. Dropped two gemsbuck with a shot apiece from 90-175 yards. Only recovered one bullet, that from my kudu shot at around 95 yards. Bull ran 30 yards and piled up. Poked a hartebeest a bit far back at 200 yards and had to give a finisher when it was down. Had planned to take my 7x64 to Zim this June but eland which I will be hunting require a bigger caliber by law so going with the 9.3 again which is OK as there are buffalo in the area as well and the 9.3 would be better insurance than any 7 mil.
 

mcilliers

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The question is best caliber for plainsgame in Africa? All of the above are gr8 rifles for job required.

But if I had to make a choice, it would most definitelty be a .375 H&H without a doubt. It can match all of the above with the correct loads, and excell in other senarios, eg DG.

Speed is nothing without weight. Knockdown power is what kill.
 

Bert the Turtle

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I haven't felt handicapped with a 30-06 and 168g Barnes TSX. Easy to shoot, good penetration, sufficient wound channel to do what it needs to. I see no need to search for something better.

I believe the Barnes with its good straight line penetration lets the hunter do more with less than traditional expanding bullets. I don't believe in killing through "shock" or "energy dump", I believe in putting a hole in something important. The Barnes penetrates deep and straight; if I do my part, it will do the job.
 

Lance Youlden

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When hunting Limpopo and Free State last year, I used a .308Win for plains-game. I however voted for the .375H&H, because I thought it would be ideal as a one rifle for everything. I am goingto use my .375H&H for an up coming buffalo hunt here in Australia. I shot a couple of pigs with it late last month and I was happy with how I shot with it on it's first hunt.

I was wondering what fellow hunters opinions were on the .300Win Mag. I am wondering if it would be enough for all plains-game. Does it have enough power for the larger antelopes?

Thanks for your opinions, Lance.
 

mikeh416Rigby

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I've used the 300 Winchester on several safaris, and have taken game up to Kudu with no trouble at all. With a good premium bullet of 200 or 220 grains I'd have no qualms about using it on Eland.
 

enysse

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Yes, the 300 Win. Mag will take all the plains game animals in Africa...pretty cleanly. I use a 190 gr. boattail bullet and eland don't stand a chance against it.
 

Hank2211

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I've used a .300 Win Mag on three safaris to Africa, using off the shelf 180 grain bullets (Barnes TSX), and I've never had trouble up to and including Zebra. I didn't use it on an Eland, but that was because I had the .375 with me that day. I wouldn't hesitate to use it on all plains game (excepting giraffe, if you think of that as plains game). If it were legal, I also wouldn't hesitate to use it on leopard - I think the combination of velocity and energy with a well placed shot would drop a cat that size, likely more effectively than a .375.
 

AlSpaeth

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Did the 308 let you down? 308 and 30-06 are both great calibers for plains game in South Africa. If you are confident and comfortable with the magnum recoil from your 375, try it with 260-270 gr heads. I have had good results over the years including Kudu and Eland. 270 gr shoots a little flatter and farther than the 300 gr - and hits a lot harder (2 tons muzzle energy at 2700ft/sec) than a 180-220gr 300 mag. I prefer Nosler Partitions.
(I also have a 300 H&H mag).
Try to shoot with what you feel the most confident with. Bullet placement is more important than ballistics.
 

Lance Youlden

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The .308 didn't let me down at all. I shot an impala at about 40mtrs, black wildebeest at around 140mtrs, and my blesbok was taken at 200mtrs. Dad shot a zebra with the .308 from about 110mtrs. The stallion ran 25mtrs and succumbered.

Hank2211, are you happy with your two rifles for africa? The .375H&H and the .300Win Mag?

AlSpaeth, I am shooting federal .270grns for the .375H&H, and I am getting very good grouping.

I have a booked black bear hunt in september, my Dad is taking his .308, would the .300 or .375 be better suited for the canadian hunting?
I am wanting to go on a bongo hunt in Cameroon next year, what would be the correct calibre for this type of hunting?

Thanks again guys, greately appreciated.
 

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B9.3

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I would hunt Giraffe with a 300 Weatherby loaded with 180gr North Forks. These bullets are probably the very best there is. I also have great trust in Swift A-Frames. A vast improvement over the Nosler Partition.
 

B9.3

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338 with 225gr A-Frame you can hunt the world with confidence. A-Frames are awesome, 338s are wonderful. My 340 Weatherby is simply amazing.
 

timbear

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.375 H&H mag with Federal 270gr power-shock should do for all plains game. BUT - having said that, I must agree with Al Spaeth, too. I love my 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser with Remington 140gr core-lokt ammo.
 

Sverige

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I love the 300 H&H, I have used it all my life my only problem is getting the ammo for it... any suggestions on best places to purchace this?
 

35bore

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voted for the 30-06, would have voted for the 35 Whelen though if it were posted.
 

johnfox

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I didn't vote. All of the calibres listed will do the job in the right hands.

To my mind the ability of the hunter to shoot their rifle well and with the confidence in his/her ability to place the shot is far more important than ballistics.
 

Primo661

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As I've stated elsewhere, too many American hunters are overgunned when they go after Africa's antelope. They've heard that African game is tougher than American elk, moose and bears (Baloney!) and they buy a new shoulder thumper for their first safari.

They'd be better served if they took their favorite deer rifle if it's at least .270 in caliber.

Bullet placement is everything, and unless a hunter can handle the recoil of rifles that kick more than a .300 Winchester Magnum (my personal limit), he cannot shoot as accurately as he can with a rifle with mild recoil.

Bill Quimby

I would like to chip in and add my 2 cents here. Bill is absolutely right in the fact that most American hunters come to africa overgunned, but be under no illusions regarding the toughness of African game. Saying it is not tougher than north American game of comparitive size is a falacy refuted by most suitably experienced hunters(especially ones that have learn't the hard way). I've seen an impala run 300 meters with a lung shot that broke both shoulders from a 308 at 60 meters and a warthog that was hit twice with a 308 from 100 meters, both perfect lung shots and we found it a couple hundreds meters away after picking up a handful of flesh on the other side of where it was standing when it was hit(no joke!). My first impala was botched befond belief, I broke both front legs as the bullet passed through the sternum below the heart, it ran for a long way before a follow u shot dropped it. I may not have hunted the US but, I was doing some research on ballistics for a new antelope rifle, I ended up watching videos of some hunting in the US, one video in particular stood out. A guy took a shot at 700yds with a 243 at a whitetail and the bullet hit low, breaking the left front leg and sternum and it was almost as if it were a heart shot. It dropped on the spot and didnt so much as twitch after 30 seconds(how it happened, I cant fathom). Disregarding this as a fluke, I also saw numerous other videos showing north American game going down easily(comparitively). This is just the way it seems to be.

Having said that, shot placement is everything! Nothing less than a heart shot will be certain of a quick kill and not an animal lost to die in a thicket 15minutes later on African game(as a side note, buffalo have been known to run 250 meters after a perfect heart shot, and I'm sure they are not the only animals that can). Your 270 will be perfect for body shots up to nyala with a Barnes X or similar, just make sure of your shot! A 300 win mag makes mincemeat of anything but unless the shot is on the money, that trophy bushbuck will only die 3 hours later if you hit it in the guts. While a 22 hornet, with a 45gr head with drop a kudu(not that I recommend it, its just something I've seen done, as well as doing the same on countless reedbuck myself during culls without wounding even one) on the spot if you place your bullet behind the ear so that it will exit the eye at a sensible range. No animal has ever walked away from a heart or brain shot, regardless of the calibre used(.22lr on elephant has been done, with one shot to the heart, documented by Kenyan park rangers who forced a poacher to prove his claim after being caught with ivory and a .22lr who was adamant the .22lr got him the ivory, definately not an acceptable use of a .22 though, whether it can do the job or not!).

Make sure you can shoot and will not negate that time on the range by getting "bok koors"(buck fever) as there is no greater cause of wounded animals in my experience bar none. A foreign hunter once came over here to shoot his dream trophy Reedbuck. On the range on the back end on our farm, he demonstrated an ability to shoot half MOA groups on the range and ended up shooting a yearling, 1 meter to the left,(40MOA off target) in the rump from a Reedbuck(that would have qualified easily for Roland Ward) he was aiming at. We were so shocked, we put up a target immediately and re-checked the rifles zero, it was dead on! This is an extreme case and I've heard nothing even close to rivalling this eye opening experience but its an example of what can happen!

What I'm trying to say is don't compensate for a poor shot with a big calibre, it will not make it any better other than maybe shorten the time it takes to die much later that afternoon. Make sure you can hunt(much more than driving tacks), dont take chance shots because its your last day and you aren't likely to see another trophy of that species, and you'll be fine. For this reason, for heart shots alone, I vote for 243/270 for anything up to a reedbuck, a 308 for anything up to Kudu at close range. And a 300 win mag for eland and similar. If you're experienced enough to take head shots consistantly out to 150 meters, you shouldnt be taking advice on this topic in a forum because you already know what your bullet can do and what you can do with it.

As I was always told, "All the muzzle energy, bullet weight and penetration in the world means nothing unless its emparting that energy in the right place and making a hole in the right organs.

Cheers
 

AlSpaeth

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No doubt African game is tough - from the smallest to the Big Five. I am amazed at you Impala story. In my PH years I have never seen a 30-06 or 308 fail. Good penetration, expansion, and weight retention all combine to put the animal down with little or no meat damage. What heads were you using? I would recommend 165, 167, or 180 grain. As for the 700yd Whitetail story I have my doubts and only an idiot would take a shot at 700 yds. I doubt I could even see a deer at that distance.
I've never had a 300 Win or H&H mag "make mincemeat" of game with a 180gr head, but I have see disasters with a 300 Weatherby - too fast for bullet construction.
243 is great for mountain reedbuck and sprinbuck but remember it is a "varmit" caliber and can result in a lot of meat damage. Head shots? Never for hunting. I tracked too many animals missing bottom jaws of found "missed shots" dead weeks later. Shot placement speaks for itself, but even the best hunters don't always place the bullet exactly where they want it. Add a good caliber, correct bullet weight, and construction and you will vastly improve the odds of getting your trophy,
 

AlSpaeth

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I love the 300 H&H, I have used it all my life my only problem is getting the ammo for it... any suggestions on best places to purchace this?

I love mine but "hand load" my ammo with 180gr Nozler partitions. Loading dies are easy to find.
 

Second Wind

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I know you all have been waiting on the edge of your seats so, here, finally, are my thoughts on this matter:

{for those few of you that didn't get it, this is what we call a dry, West - Texas sense of humor}

but I digress

After lots of research and study, trying gun after gun and even involving both my daughters, I have determined that the best caliber for plains game is the 375 Holland loaded with a 260 gr. premium bullet.

It is accurate, flat shooting enough out to 300 yds, and carries enough power to not only handle almost anything but cover a lot of sins along the way.

You might have come a long way, spent a lot of money and it might have been a really long day. The set-up might not be perfect but for this trip this is as good as it is going to get . . . . in that situation there are shots I would take with a 375 that I wouldn't with a 300

The difference between the 375 and anything lesser is insurance.

As for recoil, well it's like my ex-wife's cooking, some things you just have to either ignore or get used to.

One last note:
In hunting, like life, sometimes things do go awry. Now, accepting that premise, I can think of no better way to ruin a weekend in Southern Africa than to go chasing through the bush after a wounded whatever. It would just break my heart to happen upon some nasty in the thicket armed with only a superbly efficient deer rifle

"better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it" Capt. Kohl
 

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