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  • Dangerous game rifles?

    I've always thought that it would be cool to hunt cape buffalo.......until I saw the price of cape buffalo hunts!!!:shocked:
    Recently I was doing some searches, and found out that a cow cape buffalo hunt is much, much more reasonable.......and if you hunt around a bit, you can find some deals.
    However, the biggest rifle I currently own is a .338 Win. mag, and as is stands, this is illegal to use as a "dangerous game rifle"; it must be a .375 H&H or larger.
    So..........my question is: what big bore rifles have you shot (either on safari, or just "to have"), and what do you think of them? I'm curious about the following rounds: .375 H&H, .375 Ruger, .416 Remington, and the .416 Rigby. I probably won't handload for this rifle, so that is a consideration.
    The only big bore magnum I've shot was my friend's Ruger 77 in .458, and I didn't care for it.
    "If your dog thinks that you\'re the greatest, don\'t go seeking a second opinion."

  • #2


    I shot a pre64 Win in 458 once.It kicked so bad the release hit my finger hard enough to dump the rest of the magazine on the ground.I may have used bad form when shooting it but huntin dangerous game aint no beauty contest.With that as my only dangerous game rifle experience,.411 to .416 would be where I would start looking.As you know a well fitted stock will make a big difference.As far as performance,spend money on the best bullets.You dont want the realization of the mistake to be your last moment alive on earth.
    I was raised in the 50\'s on jackrabbits and gunpowder.salt and pepper wooda made\'em taste better

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    • #3


      Big bore I've shot or hunted dangerous game with:

      9,3x62
      375 H&H
      416 Remington
      416 Weatherby
      458 Winchester
      470 NE

      I've killed and seen record cape buffalo killed in Africa.

      All of those listed are fine....dead is dead. Accuracy of YOU and the rifle is important. Every year the bigger bulls are mostly shot at a longer range than the Safari tradition (eye ball to eyeball). a good variable scope that can be cranked up for longer shots is very helpful. I use the Leupold 1-4x for my buffalo and other DG hunting.

      The 9.3 is very mild shooting, but very killing. In the last year it has become my go to gun. I'd also include the 370 Sako in that class.

      If I was buying a rifle just for a specific hunt, I'd clearly get the 416 Rem. Shoots great and ammo is readily available in Africa. Most young guides carry that round.

      the 375 Ruger is probably a better choice than the 375 H&H for a number of reasons...BUT it has a great drawback..AMMO. little choice in bullets and ammo is nearly impossible to find in the USA (must be ordered), and you would never find it Africa. Having odd ball ammo in Africa and losing if somehow; really means a special order and having it flown in..figure about 3day delay and $500+.

      The 9,3 375 minimum only applies in most African countries to hunting on PUBLIC lands/concessions; on private lands and cull hunts any reasonable rifle is fine; guides would prefer you to shoot a 338 with a 3-9x scope that you can handle very well to a double 470.

      Just some thoughts. enjoy.


      ps the 416 rem of mine has also killed deer, grizzly bear, moose, etc. so it is versatile.

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      • #4


        BEAR wrote:
        Big bore I've shot or hunted dangerous game with:

        9,3x62
        375 H&H
        416 Remington
        416 Weatherby
        458 Winchester
        470 NE

        I've killed and seen record cape buffalo killed in Africa.

        All of those listed are fine....dead is dead. Accuracy of YOU and the rifle is important. Every year the bigger bulls are mostly shot at a longer range than the Safari tradition (eye ball to eyeball). a good variable scope that can be cranked up for longer shots is very helpful. I use the Leupold 1-4x for my buffalo and other DG hunting.

        The 9.3 is very mild shooting, but very killing. In the last year it has become my go to gun. I'd also include the 370 Sako in that class.

        If I was buying a rifle just for a specific hunt, I'd clearly get the 416 Rem. Shoots great and ammo is readily available in Africa. Most young guides carry that round.

        the 375 Ruger is probably a better choice than the 375 H&H for a number of reasons...BUT it has a great drawback..AMMO. little choice in bullets and ammo is nearly impossible to find in the USA (must be ordered), and you would never find it Africa. Having odd ball ammo in Africa and losing if somehow; really means a special order and having it flown in..figure about 3day delay and $500+.

        The 9,3 375 minimum only applies in most African countries to hunting on PUBLIC lands/concessions; on private lands and cull hunts any reasonable rifle is fine; guides would prefer you to shoot a 338 with a 3-9x scope that you can handle very well to a double 470.

        Just some thoughts. enjoy.


        ps the 416 rem of mine has also killed deer, grizzly bear, moose, etc. so it is versatile.
        Bear,
        As always, you are a well spring of information....much appreciated.:thumbs: I didn't realize that the minimums didn't necessarily apply to private lands.....could make thing a little more possible/probable.
        I was kind of leaning towards the .375 H&H, only because of it's popularity and the fact that ammo is probably widely available in Africa. Also, there are a number of models/makers of rifles (good variety), as well as ammo makers.
        I had meant to ask about optics in my original post......you mentioned the leupold (always a great choice, IMHO). Are there any others that you would recommend...or, more importantly: any that you WOULDN'T recommend?

        Excuse me now.........I have to go buy more lotto tickets!:wink::lol:
        "If your dog thinks that you\'re the greatest, don\'t go seeking a second opinion."

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        • #5


          The most dangerous game I've killed is a wild boar...but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night Seriously though, I have owned and shot a lot of the big rifles and I believe were it me I would choose the 450/400 NE IF ammo is commonly available in Africa. I own one in a Ruger #1. Of all them I've owned and shot that belonged to friends, I like, handle and shoot this one better than the others. A friend has a double in the 450/400 NE and it's even better....and his pockets are a LOT deeper than mine!

          Take that for what it's worth. As I said, I have no experience on DG but I do like the 450/400 NE and it's certainly capable. If it has to be a bolt rifle I believe the 404 Jeffrey is about identical.
          "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools". Romans 1:22

          "Those who fail to study history are condemned to repeat it"

          NRA Benefactor,

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          • #6


            Simmons, weaver, Tasco...just junk. Branded name scope like Cabelas are usually very low end regardless of price.

            Redfield and bushnell Trophy are fair low end scopes. Avoid anything made in Philipines, twain, china. And manufacturing site change daily to the lowest labor cost.

            I've sort of stuck on Leupold scopes, great warranty, but I've never had to use it.

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            • #7


              I have and have hunted with rifles in 338, 375, and 458. The 375 doesn't kick noticeably more than a heavy bullet loading in your 338. That is what I would suggest as you know you can handle it. The 375 is very usable in the U.S. also. You also might find a good buy on a used one. Ammo is very easy to find in any area where big game is hunted. Having the airlines loose my ammo one time that is a very important consideration IMHO.

              If building a battery of rifles which included a DGR. The 338 and 375 overlap in normal useage in the U.S. including Alasks. If you intend on keeping your .338 the logical next step up would be a 416 Remington. There are other options though. If the country that you intend to hunt allows the use of wildcats, reboring or re-barreling your 338 to 375 Taylor would be a good choice, or action length permitting you could re-barrel to 375 H&H. The 375 Taylor only requires necking up the 338 case. The wildcat would create possible ammo problems though, but it is a superb hunting cartridge.
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              • #8


                If just for the one hunt you could rent a DGR from your outfitter for much less than you could buy one. Renting would be the cheapest way to go. A 338 hits awfully hard, if legal I would just use a good heavy bullet in the 338. Warren Page wrote years ago of using his 338WM on cape buffalo and said it worked fine.
                Every countries laws are different. I would ask the outfitter about the laws.
                NRA Endowment member
                NRA Range Technical Team Advisor
                TSRA member
                NRA certified pistol coach-Retired
                NRA classified Master, F-Class mid-range
                Velocity is like a new car, always losing value
                BC is like diamonds, maintaining value forever

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                • #9


                  Like swampshooter posted, renting a DGR from your outfitter would definitely be the least expensive, especially if you will only use it on a one time hunt.

                  When I went on my Cape Buffalo hunt, I bought a .375 Rem Ultra mag. When I first got it, it was the worst kicking rifle that I had ever shot, and basically it just plain hurt to shoot. After I re-stocked it with a stock that fits me, installed a recoil reducer in the stock, and had a KDF muzzle brake installed on it, the recoil reduced to "stout, but manageable" even when shooting from prone positions.

                  I used it with 300 grain TSX bullets for that buffalo (one shot kill at 40-50 yards) and for several other plains game animals on that trip.

                  I used it with 270 grain TSX bullets on another South African plains game hunt for animals from 25 pound Steenboks to a 1500+ pound Cape Eland. The 2-7x Leupold scope that I put on it allowed me to make shots out to 350 yards without difficulty.

                  However, since that second African hunt with that rifle, it has become a safe queen as I don't know of any North American animals other than Alaskan coastal Brown bears that would need the power of a .375 RUM.
                  NRA Life Member

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                  • #10


                    as SS said the 375 taylor is a near perfect solution, lighter recoil and bigger bullet. I toyed with making one, but went with the 416 rem mag instead.

                    The BIG drawback for you with the Taylor is it is a reload only cartridge. I reload for 43 different cartridges, so it was no problem.

                    You have a good thought, get that rifle now...dreams are wonderful. I bought my 416 mag years before I shot a buffalo with it. I took it deer hunting and even shot groundhogs and varmints with it. It was real comfortable with me, and me with she.

                    As a suggestion, look at the CZ550 FS in 9.3x62. available ammo, light recoiling. with the cartridge and the full stock (AKA manlicher style) you will be living the 1920 safari life; and as Buf said the larger rounds are not totally made for most NA game, unless you reload.

                    By the way the 550FS is an original mauser design and has a single set trigger. Mine shoots sub MOA, and is my present black bear gun.

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                    • #11


                      Lots of good information here and food for thought!:thumbs:

                      Bear, is that 9.3x62 legal for buffalo? I think that mikes out to a .366" bullet, and not a .375, IIRC. Is the "cut off" based on caliber, or energy....or what? I've heard of guys using the .45-70 for cape buffalo; meets the minimum caliber, but I doubt it would make the cut energy-wise.
                      Looking at the price of used rifles, it would definitely make more sense (financially) to just borrow or rent a P.H.'s .375 and use that, esp. if the round kicks just a bit more than my .338......could use the .338 for practice, and then go from there...

                      ...........but where's the fun in that?:confused::wink:

                      .....I'll continue to keep my eyes open for a good, used dangerous game rifle while scrimping and saving and playing the lotto; heck, you never know what your gonna find in the racks at the local pawn shop.:thumbs:

                      In the end, I just wanna go back to Africa!
                      "If your dog thinks that you\'re the greatest, don\'t go seeking a second opinion."

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                      • #12


                        Like the US laws vary from state to state; in Africa they vary from country to country. Few countries have minimum; and when they do it is usually 9.3. US mag writers just say 375 as that is the extent of their cartridge knowledge.

                        In Zim on public land the 9.3 is minimum for the big 5. Strange that they required the 9.3/375 for leopard; that is an animal in the 200 pound class; and the 308 with 150 grains is perfect; larger is over kill.

                        If you are thinking cull cow; that will most likely be on private ranch in South Africa...any rifle the owner/PH say is fine.

                        Renting is a decent idea. But this is a gun nut site......buy the gun get the dreams.

                        The future safari is the reason to buy the gun NOW,,,having the gun is the reason to go on safari THEN.


                        If a Ranch hunt is your choice...there are some ranch hunts in the US that are as good as South Africa at about 1/3 the cost. Could shoot the buff here and with the savings take the wife or squeeze to Paris for two days, on to S. Africa view Kruger and other places, come back thru Miami for a day or two, and still have money left over.

                        Personally, I like the Zambesi River valley, hunting a concession; gives you about 100 sq miles to you and your buffalo.

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                        • #13


                          BEAR wrote:
                          Like the US laws vary from state to state; in Africa they vary from country to country. Few countries have minimum; and when they do it is usually 9.3. US mag writers just say 375 as that is the extent of their cartridge knowledge.

                          In Zim on public land the 9.3 is minimum for the big 5. Strange that they required the 9.3/375 for leopard; that is an animal in the 200 pound class; and the 308 with 150 grains is perfect; larger is over kill.

                          If you are thinking cull cow; that will most likely be on private ranch in South Africa...any rifle the owner/PH say is fine.

                          Renting is a decent idea. But this is a gun nut site......buy the gun get the dreams.

                          The future safari is the reason to buy the gun NOW,,,having the gun is the reason to go on safari THEN.


                          If a Ranch hunt is your choice...there are some ranch hunts in the US that are as good as South Africa at about 1/3 the cost. Could shoot the buff here and with the savings take the wife or squeeze to Paris for two days, on to S. Africa view Kruger and other places, come back thru Miami for a day or two, and still have money left over.

                          Personally, I like the Zambesi River valley, hunting a concession; gives you about 100 sq miles to you and your buffalo.
                          I think that the requirements of a .375 or greater for "dangerous game" is part of the mystique of hunting Africa; I must agree that a 30-06 would do fine for leopard, as well as crocodiles. Interesting that the "big five" has seemed to become "the big seven" now (with hippo and crocs added).
                          Yes....this is a "gun nut" site (I prefer the term "firearm enthusiast" instead), but the cash that it would cost for another rifle, dies, brass, bullets, ammo, etc, etc, would go a long, LONG way to helping pay for the trip, or even a few more species to hunt......guess it just comes down to choices. That doesn't mean that I won't be perusing the used gun racks in the mean time!:wink: I did find a used 9.3 for what I consider a reasonable price, but I think I am going to pass on it at this particular time.
                          Thought about doing the Florida water buff thing; the "cheapskate" part of me says that's the way to go....nobody I know is going to know the difference anyway, and I can always "embelish" the story!:wink::lol:
                          .....and then there is a part of me that wants to do it in Africa. I did find an outfitter with a good price on a cow hunt, so I'm hoping that the offer stands until I can get enough money scratched together.
                          Thanks again for your input........it's much appreciated!:thumbs:
                          "If your dog thinks that you\'re the greatest, don\'t go seeking a second opinion."

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                          • #14


                            water buf is a kind of buffalo. Lots of good hunts on water buffalo in florida and texas. and they taste good; you get 600 pounds of meat in the usa. In Africa all you might get is a tail stew (pretty good) the rest is sold in the supermarket.

                            decisions...decisions. but get that African safari rifle.

                            what 9.3 are you passing upon? I can always use another!!

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                            • #15


                              BEAR wrote:
                              what 9.3 are you passing upon? I can always use another!!
                              Here you go:

                              http://shop.williamsgunsight.com/products.aspx
                              "If your dog thinks that you\'re the greatest, don\'t go seeking a second opinion."

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