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Question:

I am planning a trip to Africa next year to pursue buffalo with a double in .470 NE but I'm afraid practicing may bankrupt me before my trip. I've thought about taking up reloading just because of the outrageous prices for these cartridges. Why such a difference in cost between a box of .470 NE and say .375 H&H? It can't be the components.


Answer:

I share your sentiments regarding the high cost of some large-caliber ammunition. I've used a .505 Gibbs for more than two decades and every time it goes bang the Scotchman in me says, “There goes another bottle of Scotch!" And not just any old bottle either, mind you, but a well-aged single malt. But do not despair. I firmly believe you can become a proficient user of your .470 NE double without having to shoot yourself into bankruptcy or investing in an extensive range of reloading equipment. But before I tell you how, let me share my thoughts on why .470 NE ammo is so expensive.

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Question:

In your book The Perfect Shot, you state that hemispherical solids penetrate better than flat-nosed solids. However, in one of your recent Sports Afield columns, you stated that flat-nosed solids penetrate best. Which is it?


Answer:

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Question:

I’m getting beat up by the recoil of my .470 Nitro Express. I’ve fired it twice and now am thinking about selling it. As a 200-pounder and someone comfortable with .300 magnums I feel like a wimp by not wanting to take a .470 on my Cape buffalo hunt. There must be a solution, or am I the only one out there facing this issue?


Answer:

If your .470 weighs eleven pounds (as it should), it will recoil with 72 pounds of free recoil energy at a free recoil velocity of 22.6 fps at factory ballistics (a 500-grain bullet at 2,150 fps). This is heavy, believe me, but certainly not unmanageable, especially for a 200-pounder. The balance, feel, and fit of any rifle, especially a double, can have a huge influence on “perceived” recoil. I have a suspicion that your double does not fit you at all well.

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Question:

When in Africa—Republic of South Africa and Zimbabwe—I enjoyed eating biltong, but was not able to bring any back with me due to customs restrictions. Can you give us a recipe for biltong? In Zimbabwe impala and kudu was utilized, but I plan to use whitetail deer and elk.


Answer:

Biltong is very much an African tradition and it is usually made during the cool and dry winter months of the hunting season.
All the larger muscles can be used for biltong. Take care to remove all the tendons, sinews and fascia from the meat before cutting into long,  inch-thick strips. When making beef biltong you can leave a thin layer of fat on the meat, but for venison biltong all fat must be removed as it tends to make the meat rancid. Here follows a well-known recipe: Mix together these dry ingredients: one cup coarse salt; one cup of freshly ground black pepper; one cup of freshly roasted and then coarsely ground coriander; and 1/3 cup of brown sugar. Also have a bottle of brown vinegar on hand.

Cut the meat into strips about a foot long.

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Question:

I am having a custom rifle built and have narrowed the caliber to either the .375 H&H, .404, or the .416 Rigby. I would like to use the rifle for hunting and back up use in Alaska for brown bear, and moose and hopefully take it to Africa someday. All three calibers have their good points and I am really having a hard time making up my mind.


Answer:

I could write a book on your question. In fact I have covered all this pretty thoroughly in my latest buffalo hunting book, Africa's Most Dangerous. It has an extensive chapter of caliber and bullet selection which I think you'll find interesting.

To be honest, I think you'll get more use out of a scoped .375 H&H than you will with either of the other two you mention. Nothing beats the H&H for versatility. With 210-, 235-, and 250-grainers it can shoot as flat as a .30-06 and with modern 350- and 380-grainers it hits almost as hard as the .400s. It'll cover the whole African spectrum better than the other two will if that is what you want.

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