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Question:


I'm headed to South Africa next spring for my first plains game hunt with a friend of mine who is new to hunting. We'll be hunting for kudu, impala, warthog, blesbok, reedbuck, and zebra. My friend's current rifle is a .270 Ruger M77 Hawkeye and he's trying to decide what to  do for his second rifle. He's strongly considering either the Ruger Compact  Magnum in .300 RCM or the Ruger African in .375 Ruger. Do you have any experience with either of these cartridges? 

 

My primary rifle is a 9.3x62mm and I can either go lighter with a Ruger No. 1 in 6.5x55 Swede or heavier with a custom Ruger No. 1 in .500/416 NE for my second rifle. What do you  recommend? We're putting in the range time before we go and we've started shooting from sticks as well. Is there anything else we should be doing to prepare?   
 

 

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Question:


I am planning on having a custom .416 Rigby built. What should the weight of this rifle be in order for the recoil to be relatively comfortable?

 


Answer:


The .416 Rigby is a fine cartridge with a wonderful African reputation, but for the inexperienced, it can be one of the more difficult big-bore cartridges to master due to the recoil it generates.

To best tame this, I believe such rifles should weigh at least 10.5 pounds when scoped and fully loaded with either three or four cartridges. I strongly urge you not to go below this weight. In fact, 11 pounds would be even better, if you can handle this amount of weight.

Well-made custom rifles should be well balanced when it comes to both handling and carrying. The latter is very important, simply because such rifles, out here in Africa anyway, are carried a lot more that they are shot.  

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Question:


 What are the suitable applications for the .35 Whelen in Africa? Especially with 275-and 310-grain Woodleighs?


Answer:

Your question is well timed because I am currently with Monty Kalogeras at his Safari Shooting School in Mason County, Texas. There is a very nice .35 Whelen here I have just shot. It is Monty's elk rifle of choice, with 250-grainers. This is fortunate because this is not a popular cartridge in Africa and I like to have personally shot all the cartridges I'm asked to write about.

I have long been a fan of the 9.3 x 62mm, which is very close to the .35 Whelen.  My Nine Three, as we call it, now has in excess of 650 buffalo to its credit. This is because this caliber (.366) is the legal minimum for the thick-skinned heavyweights in Zimbabwe --the country where I hunted professionally for two decades. I liked 300-grainers for buffalo, and with 286-grainers this rifle was also my favorite Zambezi Valley antelope rifle.

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Question:

I'm a long time fan of yours from Australia.  I thought you would be the best person to answer a question like this: Is a .460 Weatherby Magnum, using 550-grain Woodleigh softs and solids, traveling at 2,350 fps, a good load for buffalo and elephant?

I have read that the .460 Mag is not popular in Africa. Is that because the factory ammunition is loaded too hot?  Therefore, if you were to download velocity, add more bullet weight and remove the muzzle brake, of course, would this put a smile on a PH's face?

Answer:

You are correct, the .460 Weatherby Magnum is not popular in Africa and with good reason: very few and far between are those who can shoot this cartridge with any degree of competency when full-house loads are used.

Horror stories abound…14 shots at a buffalo… big bull elephants being missed completely at spitting distances… but I will not go there.

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Question:


My brother will be accompanying me and my Dad on our trip to Zimbabwe to hunt dangerous game.  He will only be hunting plains game while he was there. He currently has a Ruger 77 in .270. He is in great physical shape but early in his life suffered from a brain tumor, seizures, and car wreck. I wanted to get him a rifle with a little more horsepower but I do not want him to develop a flinch or mess up his shooting confidence. Any suggestions on caliber?

 


Answer:

 

I think you are on the right track because the .270 is, in my opinion, not the ideal cartridge for plains game in what will be relatively short distance, bushveld conditions.


For smaller and medium-sized antelope like springbok, blesbok, and black wildebeest in open country where the shots tend to be longer, the .270 is a good choice, but not for the tougher, larger African antelope species at shorter shooting distances.  This is where you need heavier bullets in the 170- to 180-grain range and the .270 cannot deliver this.

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