Most common rifle/hunting cartridge in Africa?


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akodo
November 30, 2008, 05:56 PM
Okay, we've all seem the news and movies and know that there are tons of AK-47s and G3s floating around in Africa. I am not really interested in military weapons.

Also, I am sure we have all know of the reputation of the 375 H&H as 'the' African cartridge...as well as the 416 rigby, 500 nitro express, etc etc. However, those are really for people planning on hunting lions, or going after the 'Big 5'

I think lion hunters and Big 5 huntes are almost exclusively tourists.

However, there is a lot of game hunting going on in Africa that ISN'T the famous stuff. Wildebeest, Impala, Blesbuck, Springbuck, Kudu, Zebra, Warthog, Zebra, Eland, Leopard, Oryz, etc.

There's a lot more tourists going to Africa to hunt off of that list, and I am sure a lot of the people of European Ancestry who have been living in Africa for a while and hunting for sport spend more of their time hunting from that list than from the 'big 5' list.

I have heard that 'for your first hunt in Africa, the best weapon to bring is your .270 winchester'

That got me thinking. What is the 270 winchester/30-06 "General Purpose Hunting Rifle" equivalent in Africa.

I suspect that just like here roughly 40 years ago there are probably a ton of old WW2 bolt guns that have been sporterized. And I also suspect that just like most of our modern new hunting rifles come from our own military cartridge of the two world wars (the 30-06) the same would hold in Africa. I suspect that the 303 enfield, 7mm mauser, and 8mm mauser are probably the African equivalent of the 270 and 30-06.

But I am just speculating. Anyone here gone there and done much hunting or looked into that kind of thing?

As an American going to Africa, if say 7x57mm is a very common round, wouldn't it make even more sense to bring an American rifle in that chambering rather than a 270 winchester, 30-06, 308, or whatever? It seems to me the ability to use readily available 'local' ammo is going to be a big plus.

After all 'you can find the 30-06 ammo on shelves of even the smallest gun or fishbait store' is often a line you see when someone is taking about getting the fancy new wizbang deer/elk chambering, or is pontificationg on some rare obsolite chambering.

With all the FN-FALs an G3s floating around, does that make the 308 a good choice for a rifle because again you have the opportunity to use 'local' ammo if necesary.

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7.62X25mm
November 30, 2008, 06:02 PM
Number One caliber used in Africa for hunting is .458 Win. Mag. or the closely related .458 Lott.

Number One because the target of most African hunts includes the Big Five in dangerous game.

Deanimator
November 30, 2008, 06:08 PM
.500 A-Square is popular. About ten years ago, a friend went on safari to Zimbabwe. Of course the airline lost his .416 Remington. He had to borrow a gun from his professional hunter. The gun was a .500 A-Square. He said it nailed cape buffalo to the ground. He also said it hurt about the same on both ends.

gnut
November 30, 2008, 07:05 PM
Do they ever carry shotguns? I would think slugs would do nice for camp/backup work. Don't know. Never been there.

Deanimator
November 30, 2008, 07:15 PM
Do they ever carry shotguns? I would think slugs would do nice for camp/backup work. Don't know. Never been there.
In the 19th Century, they used what was called the "Paradox" gun and load. It was a bore sized bullet in a brass case for rifled shotguns. They could use both shot and bullets.

akodo
November 30, 2008, 08:47 PM
Number One because the target of most African hunts includes the Big Five in dangerous game.

I find that hard to believe

I think that 1000 Kudu are hunted for every 1 lion

garymc
November 30, 2008, 11:21 PM
I suspect the answer to the question
Most common rifle/hunting cartridge in Africa?
is the .22.

Kind of Blued
December 1, 2008, 12:02 AM
.375 H&H screams "safari" to me.

7.62X25mm
December 1, 2008, 01:03 AM
.458 Win. Mag. and .458 Lott are the caliber ammo you can get most everywhere. Most hunters who book Africa are there for the "Big Five."

7mmstalker
December 1, 2008, 01:10 AM
In a poll of "what's the best " the answer seems to be impossible to nail down to one. Most will answer from personal experience or opinion, hardly accurate unless the person is a career African guide with experience in many localities. This is the other point that makes it unlikeley to arrive at only 1 caliber as being the most popular or commonly used; the rifles common to a certain area would be influenced by local conditions- what game is hunted there, are there large/ dangerous animals or not, has there been a long standing military presence nearby, etc. etc. Most people , myself included, will offer more opinion than fact! It does seem that of all the African hunting tales told that the most common caliber mentioned is the 375 Holland & Holland. I beleive in some areas the local laws for big game hunting have MINIMUM caliber sizes and the 375 isn't enough in that case. When taking a trip to hunt and only to hunt, the best advice is to have 2 guns- one big one small.
Your reference to the Euro. influence on traditional utility rifle would have me guessing that the 8mm (or 7?) Mauser,and 303 ammo availability would be very good, if not guaranteed.

moooose102
December 1, 2008, 07:44 AM
well, certianly it is NOT the .223! i would think tha 375 H&H would be a MINIMUM gun for africa. in comparison to a 30-30 here for deer. i would agree either 458 win mag, or 458 lott is probably the most popular. but personally, i would rather have a 460 weatherby. i would rather have a sore shoulder than be squashed from a charging elephant. for the smaller species, a 375 H&H would be fine. remember, Fred Bear took elephants with a pair of wooden sticks! (he must have had to hire a person just to man the wheelborrow to carry his stones in!)

Onmilo
December 1, 2008, 09:13 AM
Most African countries where the big five game animals are found in numbers enough to allow and sell non resident permits do not allow hunters to use any cartridges smaller than .416.

The .458 Winchester Magnum is far and away the most popular sporting cartridge for large game and ammunition can be found in any large city or town.
The 7mm Mauser and .303 are still extremely popular for bush hunting, impala, baboon, etc.

CYANIDEGENOCIDE
December 1, 2008, 10:37 AM
This gets kicked around quite a bit over at 24hourcampfire.com. General consensus is you can't go wrong with a .375HH its the legal minimum for big 5, its flat shooting for plains game, its powerful enough to drop anything you come across without being ridiculously overpowered for smaller game. There is a good following for .300 winmag, '06, and .270 for plains game; but when you are paying 5 figures do you want to trust enough or more than enough? If the animal gets away you still have to pay for it. Personally I love my .30-06 but if I ever got the chance to go to Africa I would beg, borrow, or steal to get a .375. Its like 45acp for pistols or 12 gauge for shotgun, it has that magical balance for safari that just works. Just my $.02

22-rimfire
December 1, 2008, 10:57 AM
I have often wondered what is the overall status of gun ownership and regulation in Africa in general? I'm sure it varies from country to country, what is typical? Yeah, I know, AK hidden in the back of their abode or in a box ready for immediate access when the need arises. I'm very uninformed when it comes to most of the African countries.

AndyC
December 1, 2008, 02:05 PM
Most South African farmers/hunters keep a .270 or .30'06 around the place. .308s and .243s can also be found in abundance, although they would take second place compared to the first two.

rcmodel
December 1, 2008, 02:34 PM
Lets not leave out the 9.3 x 62 mm Mauser medium rifle, as well as a host of other very popular metric calibers used by European sportsman in Africa for many many years.

Not every hunting rifle in Africa came from the U.S.A.!

rcmodel

browningguy
December 1, 2008, 07:40 PM
Number One caliber used in Africa for hunting is .458 Win. Mag. or the closely related .458 Lott.

Number One because the target of most African hunts includes the Big Five in dangerous game.

Absolutely wrong, a minute percentage of hunters in Africa go after the big 5, because it costs from $8-25,000 minimum for a hunt. The most popular among the people I know there is the 30-06 and 7x57.

RyanM
December 1, 2008, 08:26 PM
I'm 99% sure that, at least among the people living in Africa, .303 British is going to be the #1 hunting cartridge.

General Geoff
December 1, 2008, 10:18 PM
I'd put my money on 7.62x39.

akodo
December 1, 2008, 11:09 PM
Look guys

There is more hunting in Africa than just for dangerous game.

Dangerous game gets all the screen time, all the romance, etc.

However, big 5 hunting is like going to hollywood and expecting to see the streets full of moviestars and then being disappointed when all you see is average joes.

All the big 5 are carefully regulated as far as hunting, and it costs A LOT to hunt them. Even then, only a limited number of elephants and lions and rhinos can be hunted.

Plus Lion steak probably doesn't taste very good. I am sure there are plenty locals who enjoy hunting but don't necessarily want to go out and bag a rhino.

1000 antelope are hunted for every lion.

I did a quick google of Hunt Africa, and here are some of the first few links. Take a look, most don't even offer big 5, and if they do, it's normally buff. Look at the prices for any of the big 5 vs Plains Game hunting. Take a look at how many more package deals there are for plains game vs big 5, or how many more plains game photographs are displayed.

http://www.huntinginafrica.co.za/package_deals.htm
http://www.africanskyhunting.co.za/?gclid=CM7P1tazoJcCFQHBDAod5H0v-Q
http://www.africanhuntingsafaris.com/african_hunting_trophy_01.htm
http://www.ovitahunting.com/e_rates.htm
http://kirabo.co.za/en/africa_hunting_game_prices.php?menu_id=12
http://kirabo.co.za/cpg133/index.php?cat=16
http://www.huntafrica.co.za/hunting_safari.htm

aside from one or two of those offering cape buffalo and leapard, I didn't hit any of the other big 5 (or the 6th...hippo) until here
http://www.hunt-africa.com/zambia_photo_gallery.php (and still no rhino or elephant)
http://www.hunt-africa.com/zambia_pricing.php and take a gander at some of those prices!


Obviously, plains game hunting is much more common than big 5 hunting, and much more within the average person's finances. It just doesn't get as much coverage. Obviously, if Big 5 where what most tourists were going over to hunt, you'd see a lot more packages dealing with them and more photographs of them vs anything else. Heck, lion and cape buffalo are still probably overrepresented on the 'trophy photo pages' just because they are the species with all the legend and lore.

I also came across the fact that you can only bring in 200 rounds of ammo with you, per gun. Now, that is a lot, but still, let's say you are going hunting. Ballistically, the 30-06, 270 winchester, 308 winchester, and 7x57mm mauser can all do pretty much the same thing, so wouldn't choosing the one you are most easily be able to buy ammo for if some disaster strikes (anything from civil unrest to the airlines misdirecting your ammo)?

and yes, the 7.62x39 is I am sure VERY common...but I don't think many legitemate hunters use it.

so, 30-06? 7x57mm mauser? 303 enfield? 270 winchester?

anyone with anything beyond wild speculation about everyone toting around a 375 H&H just in case you kick up a lion when going after a zebra?

I figure there has to be a few members here who have gone hunting in Africa.

RyanM
December 2, 2008, 12:43 AM
anyone with anything beyond wild speculation about everyone toting around a 375 H&H just in case you kick up a lion when going after a zebra?

I figure there has to be a few members here who have gone hunting in Africa.

Haven't gone. Have read about, and talked to some people that have, even a couple retired professional hunters and guides.

Most people, non-pros, there had either old Mausers in typical calibers, or old Lee-Enfields. Lee-Enfields were very common. Gunsmiths over there were nearly always back-ordered on Enfield extractors, since push-feed and a semi-rimmed case isn't the very best combination.

Much as double rifles are romanticized, the very vast majority of peole had bolt actions. Almost the only time you'd see a double would be in the hands of a rich client (or in the hands of his gun bearer, more accurately). Relatively few guides and professional hunters had doubles, most had an assortment of bolt guns, in appropriate calibers.

Most pros actually said that .303 British is fine on lions, as long as you use a decent softpoint, and the ones who had actually witnessed big cat attacks said that absolutely, hands down, they would take a .303 over a 12 gauge any day of the week, to stop any big cat. .303 seemed to come up a lot, like ".303 probably isn't enough for that" or ".303 would destroy too much meat in this." Seems like the golden standard by which other cartridges were compared.

Generally, .303 would be fine for anything smaller than water buffalo, just as .30-06, really, is fine for anything in the Americas.

sublimaze41
December 2, 2008, 09:44 AM
I was given some sage advise for my African hunt.

.30-06 for all PG
.375 for all DG

Both calibers are ubiquitous

gvnwst
December 2, 2008, 09:44 AM
Depends what you want to hunt. For dangerous game, the .458mag rules. For other game, i am saying the 30-06 and offspring (.270, .280). That is what i read about when people go hunting there and type it up. THe .375 H&H is very popular too. I personally like the .416 rigby, it is used a 'bit' too.

LegalAlien
December 2, 2008, 04:57 PM
From an ex South African with family still back in SOuth Africa and a brother that owns a game farm and a BIL that is a PH, and friends and other family as farmers, the 30-06 and .308 are by far the most common for hunting.

Every farmer will also have their .22 and somewhere there might be a few old ex WWII .303's that have been sporterized - some might have been converted to .308.

These are used for your regular plains game, which is the norm for meat hunting (biltong).

Big-Bore Trophy hunting is for $-paying tourists.

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