Ask Doctari

Question:

 

Do you think the .270 Winchester loaded with 140-grain Barnes TSX bullets is adequate for plains game. (Up to zebra and eland?)

 

Answer:

 

No, I do not! Sorry to be blunt, but I feel the .270 with 140-grainers is just too light for the larger African antelope species. I have the highest regard for the TSX--as far as premium-quality bullets go, it is one of the best--but this does not change my opinion.


For all the small and medium sized antelope species, this combination will be OK, but it is, in my opinion, just too small and light for the bigger ones. Remember, an eland is often heavier than a buffalo and while not as tough, it is just massive. I just visited an area in Namibia where they hunt lots of Hartmann mountain zebra. The operator I was with was telling me that most of his clients use .300 Win Mags and 180-grainers and he felt even this was a bit light for these striped equines. He much preferred the .338 Win. Mag. for them.

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Question:

 
It seems the .450 Marlin meets the requirement for Cape buffalo, i.e. large enough to launch a 400- to 405-grain bullet at 2,023 fps or a 350-grain (larger than the standard 375 H&H bullets) at a respectable 2,223 fps. Tell us what you think. Does the .450 Marlin pass muster for buffalo?


Answer:

No, it does not, in my opinion. To be “buffalo suitable” a caliber/cartridge/bullet combination MUST have all the following attributes:


1.  About 4,000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy
2.  About 100 lbs-fps of momentum
3.  A bullet sectional density of at least .300
4.  At least 2,000 fps of muzzle velocity

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Question:

 

I have worn contact lenses for more than two decades. I've worn them on numerous hunts under a variety of conditions without any problems. Unfortunately, due to a medical condition in one eye I must wear glasses going forward. I'd appreciate it if you could comment on the practical realities of wearing glasses in the bush, especially on dangerous-game hunts.  

 

Answer:

 

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Question:

You recommend using expanding bullets for the first shot on Cape buffalo and then backing up with solid bullets. Why not use solids from the start?


 
Answer:

The most reliable way to kill a buffalo is to stop, disrupt, or cut off the brains blood flow and therefore oxygen supply. And the best way to do this is to blow as big a hole as possible through the top of the heart and the center of the lungs. This will damage the “pump,” cut off or disrupt the blood supply to the brain, and collapse the lungs so the oxygen supply to the blood (and therefore brain) is disrupted as well.
 
Obviously the bigger the hole--and the more the damage to the heart and lung tissue--the quicker the onset of the inevitable.
 
The hole which is left behind by a bullet which passes through soft tissue is known as the permanent wound channel (PWC), and, because of the elastic nature of tissue, this hole is always smaller than caliber in size when solid, non-expanding type bullets are used. (Just how small depends on the shape of the frontal section of the bullet.)

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Question:

I recently read an article about an elephant hunt in 1970 where ownership of the tusks was claimed by possession of the tail, and that the tail hair was used to make a bracelet. I would like to know if this custom is still practiced today.


 
Answer:

Yes, this tradition is still very much alive and practiced to this day.

As you correctly state, the tail of a recently shot elephant is usually cut off and presented to the hunter as a sign of ownership. I am not sure as to the origin of this tradition but it goes back a long way, I believe.

The hairs on the end of an elephant’s tail are stiff, thick, and wire-like, and they are used to fashion bangles. Many who have successfully hunted an elephant wear them as a symbol of their success.

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