Firearm and ammunition recommendations
Rifle hunting is certainly the most popular method employed on hunting safaris in South Africa. The question of which caliber is best and which rifle to bring on safari can be a topic of endless discussion. Experienced hunters and Professional Hunters alike will surely have their favorites and are more than willing to discuss the subject. The right rifle will largely depend on the bag of trophies you are interested in taking. The “old timers” are still “locking horns” over the pros and cons of the .375 H&H versus the 9.3 X 62 and that debate is sure to go on until the last impala is in the salt. In my opinion the .375 H&H can be used to hunt both small and Big Game from Suni and Red Duiker all the way up to the might African Elephant. Bottom line here is; if it is dangerous game that you are after, the .375 caliber is the minimum prescribed by law in most African countries. For the average hunter coming to Africa for plains game, bring a rifle that you are completely familiar with and comfortable shooting.
Calibres and bullets, Any 30 caliber type firearm that you shoot accurately is great. 308, 30.06, 300 Magnum, 7mm Magnum etc are all great calibers. If you can find one that shoots 180 grain bullets well, that would be outstanding. As a general rule, premium quality, heavy for caliber bullets are your best choice. Many fine bullets are on the market today; the Nosler Partition, the Swift A-Frame, Woodleigh Weldcore, Barnes X & Triple Shock, just to name a few. Many of these fine bullets are available in factory-loaded ammunition and can also be hand-loaded, if you possess those skills. African game seems to be a bit tougher than game found elsewhere in the world. Perhaps this is due to evolution and the extensive predication to which they are subjected, so do not “skimp” on ammunition.
As an Outfitter, while lesser calibers will do just fine on the smaller antelope, the .270 Win should be considered the minimum for most medium-sized plains game species. With the proper premium grade bullets and good shot placement, the .270 is fully capable of taking many of the larger plains game animals.The 300 Win Mag is an excellent all-round choice, especially if your safari will take you to areas where long shots may be necessary. The above-mentioned calibers are merely examples and should in no way be considered as recommendations. BRING A RIFLE THAT YOU SHOOT WELL AND ARE COMFORTABLE WITH !
You can bring the finest rifles to Africa in just the right caliber, with the perfectly matched heavy for caliber premium quality bullets and all will be for nothing if your shots are not placed correctly. SHOT PLACEMENT is the most important aspect of any discussion regarding hunting with a rifle. Put in its most simple terms: “It's not what you shoot him with, but where you shoot him that matters the most." A badly placed shot with even the largest of rifles and the finest bullets available will result, at best, in a very long day of tracking and, at worst, a lost trophy. The loss of a fine trophy can be a big disappointment but, in case you have not heard: if you make it bleed, you pay for it.
Your Professional Hunter will guide you in this matter. Trust his judgment and do your best to put your shot where he recommends. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with the shot, do not take it. They will understand as they also dont want you make a poor shot.
You can stack the odds in your favor here by doing a bit of homework. An excellent book, “Perfect Shot” by Kevin Robertson, a veterinarian and professional hunter, is available. It details shot placement on just about every species of African game that you might encounter. And by all means, go to the rifle range and practice. Sight your rifle in at the desired distance, usually between 100 and 150 yards using a solid bench rest. Once your rifle is “on target”, get off the bench and shoot from the shooting sticks, off hand, sitting, kneeling and the various other positions, Learn to shoot on shooting sticks as that is what you will be using for the most part when you take your shot. You might use a tree or a bush if it is available and convenient. Even the most experienced shooter needs to hone his skills with the rifle. Ammunition is cheap compared to the cost of the safari, so practice, practice, practice!
Bottom line is you want to be accurate and you want to be accurate to 200 yards minimum. If you can be accurate to 300 yards, that increases your chances of collecting your trophies but most of your shots will be 200 yards and closer. If you don’t have the dial up and shoot type set up, I would recommend 200 yard zero and then just know where the bullet hits at 50, 100, 150, 250 and 300. I don’t shoot past 200 unless it is absolutely necessary.
We look forward to seeing you soon and
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