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Which .375 H&H for Cape Buffalo?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by Bartholomew Roberts, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    OK, may be doing some Africa hunting in the near future. The rifle will definitely be a .375 H&H. So what type of round is going to maximize the effectiveness of the .375 on Cape Buffalo?

    I recently read an article by an author who advocated using bonded-type expanding bullets in 300 and 380 grain weights over using solids in this caliber. He was a particular fan of the 380gr Rhino bullet; but having no experience hunting large game I couldn't say how much of that is a gunwriter selling a product and how much is actual belief. Some other loads he mentioned were the Barnes-X 300gr, the Swift A-Frame 300gr, and the Nosler Partition 300gr.

    One thing that concerned me about the 380gr recommendation is that the muzzle velocity was only 2100fps; which is below the threshhold for hydrostatic shock. The author's argument was that this effect was insignificant on an animal as large as the Cape Buffalo in any case, and you should go with the heavier weight to maximize momentum and penetration.

    So what do y'all think... will a 300gr bonded expanding bullet penetrate deeply enough to be effective on a Cape Buffalo? And if so, is it only in certain profiles and are those profiles realistic for hunting?
  2. trueblue1776

    trueblue1776 Well-Known Member

    I have used the Barnes banded solids on large hogs, albeit not in .375, with good results. I preferred the now discontinued Barnes Monolithic solids (proper name?).

    My favorite shot on a large hog is square on the shoulder, breaking the shoulder to make impossible a charge or retreat. I assume this translates to the black death. The X-Bullet does not look as capable of the crushing I look for, Check out the Barnes .300 gr banded solid.

    I'd look for heavy, long bullets that will fold rather than expand like a hollow point. That's the hungry hillbilly opinion anyway. ;)
  3. McCall911

    McCall911 Well-Known Member

    I don't know personally, but this fellow thinks differently (and he doesn't have anything to sell.)


    Further down the page he gives the penetration of a .375 with 300 grain expanding bullet at 19.5". His medium was not ballistic gelatin but wet newspaper (I think) so I guess we can take it FWIW. (And it may be worth quite a bit!) Still, I wouldn't think that would be enough penetration for a large critter like a cape buffalo. I would want to use a solid that could hold together after breaking break bone and still penetrate.
  4. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Well, there's one I can't answer....LOL! I love Barnes X bullets for heavy AMERICAN game in normal (.308 etc) calibers, but wow, a buff with a .375, don't know where to go with that one. Neat thing about the copper bullets, though, for their weight, they have great sectional density. The 140 I shoot in the .308 is close to a 165 grainer in SD, but gets better velocity. That and great expansion/penetration and 100 percent weight retention, they're worth what they cost on big hogs. Buff, well, I DON'T KNOW SQUAT! LOL

    Well, I'd hang up on that "expert" right there. I haven't calculated the energy of a 380 grain bullet at 2100 fps, but I'd think it's significantly higher than my 7 mag and energy counts. Velocity only counts in that it affects energy, well, also drop, but that's another discussion. However, whether hydrostatic shock (been told it's not "hydrostatic shock", but more properly "pressure wave") is effective on buffalo, again, I don't know squat. But, more energy is NEVER a bad thing. And, for penetrating large, tough game, more bullet weight/sectional density isn't bad, either. I wouldn't lose sleep over a heavy bullet traveling slower, though, except in the effect it has on exterior ballistics, but I suspect range is going to be inside 200 yards anyway. Limiting the range, on dangerous game, I'd err on the side of heavy, personally. I wanna make sure that bullet gets through all that muscle and bone.

    edit....380 grain at 2100 fps.....3721 ft lbs. Pretty good, but I'd expected more. My 7 puts up 3300. Guess that's good, though. I don't know, never really looked at the big bores with any real interest since I have no need for one. Really don't have much use for the 7, just got carried away wanting one.
  5. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin Well-Known Member

    I would recommend you buy "The Perfect Shot" by Kevin Robertson. It would probably answer all of your questions on bullet/cartridge selection, shot placement, etc. Considering the price of a buffalo hunt, it would be an excellent investment.
  6. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I'd do some serious reading. Don't know if many here know much about heavy game like buffalo. I'd have to hit the powerball to be able to worry about it, myself. LOL
  7. Alphazulu6

    Alphazulu6 member

    I think you would be fine with the heavier slug. 375 H&H has alot of power and on large dangerous game you either hit em in the right spot and they fall or you dont. Its kind of what makes them dangerous as they take it out of your hide :D If you get a good quality slug (which you are) I think you will be fine. 300gr has alot of velocity and barns X has my vote :D
  8. mbt2001

    mbt2001 Well-Known Member

    I would use the Winchester Fail Safe http://winchester.com/products/catalog/cfrlist.aspx?bn=5&type=33. I have personally seen those bullets in calibers such as .308 do some amazing things expansion and penetration wise, they do make them for the 375 H&H, so I would give them a shot. They expand like a barnes x and hold their weight very very well, penetrating often completely through the animal. I saw an antelope that was facing the shooter, get hit in the middle of the body and the bullet plowed completly through it's entire length, much of it along the spinal cord, exiting out the rear end and going on for more adventures in the brush.

    Regarding the choice of .375 H&H, don't you think that is a little small for Cape Buffalo? Have you thought about a 416 rigby or 458 winchester? Didn't Capstick use a 458 winchester? Anyway, just something to bring up. I posted a link for you. I didn't want to start a debate, but then again we rarely talk about anything but deer here, so I figured what the heck. :p


    I http://www.huntingmag.com/big_game/daggab_031207/

    Right behind the fail safe (the next / 2nd shot) would be a solid I like A Square, but a link in from midway. http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/productview?saleitemid=191071&t=11082005
  9. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    So those who have hunted Cape Buffalo with .375 - what did you use and how did it work for you?
  10. Geno

    Geno Well-Known Member

    In the end, I wasn't able to go on my planned hunt because I was in an auto accident.

    However, the PH (guide) had told me that he wanted for me to bring "...300 grain monolithic solids...". He did not want anyone to bring "...partitions, because even the best are assured to fail."

    If I were going next week, I would load up with Barnes solids. Be very careful with your handloads. The solids run the pressure high in a hurry.

    I'd be willing to wager a penny that the PH will say, "Monolithic solid" or "solid".

  11. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Holler at H&H. He's been to Africa more than once, and knows all about the .375.

  12. eliphalet

    eliphalet Well-Known Member

    My guess your asking in the wrong forum as a whole. Take a look over here and ask around. I know some that post there work as guides or are outfittrers and live in the Dark Continent and plenty others with hunting experience there.

  13. gipperdog

    gipperdog Well-Known Member

    From what I have read of Craig Boddington, he's hunted the Buffalo a lot & I believe he's used the .375 before, is that he loads up a 270 grain like a Barnes Triple Shock or the FailSafe, & a 300 grain solid second. And he shoots both, the second for a safety sake follow up. I believe it's recommended to ALWAYS shoot a Cape Buffalo twice minimum. Just make sure the shots are true & good. If you haven't bought the .375 H&H yet, you might take a look at the new .375 Ruger. Seems to be pretty good too. Also, since it get very hot there in Africa, you might consider, if you're reloading, using Hogdons "Extreme" powders as they are suppose to be the least sensitive to heat on the market. Hope you have fun. Cape Buffalo is the one animal I've always wanted to go after but too expensive for me.
  14. HankB

    HankB Well-Known Member

    WHO makes a 380 grain .375 bullet? I'm not familiar with .375 slugs in that weight. (Will a slug that long and heavy even stabilize properly in a .375 H&H?)

    I've taken two (2) Cape buffalo with a .375 H&H, so that gives me just enough experience to be dangerous.

    I used the 300 grain Speer African Grand Slam solids on both. The first one I shot from a quartering front position, at about 15 yards - the solid entered the right shoulder, breaking bone; and was recovered under the skin near the buff's left hip. The buff leaped and thrashed about for a bit - massive amounts of blood instantly began being exhaled, as the bullet and bone splinters had done bad things to the heart and lungs - but he expired promptly.

    A second buffalo was shot through the shoulder, from about 10 yards - that staggered him and he went a few steps and disappeared into the simbiti thickets we were hunting in. The guide & I ran a few steps, and saw part of the bull, apparently very sick but still on his feet, so the PH had me slip another round into him; this hit in the vicinity of the lungs, and rolled him right over. Complete penetration of both shots at this buff.

    BTW, total time for all three shots was about 10 seconds.

    IMHO the first buffalo needed the solid; both shots at the second would have been OK with a stout softpoint. In the dense ironwood thickets we were hunting in, where one couldn't really choose an ideal angle, solids were the best choice.

    For softs I use 300 grain Swift A-Frames; I used one on a lion, hitting him high on the left shoulder; the bullet was recovered under the skin just above his right "elbow," expanded nicely and retaining, IIRC, about 86% of its weight. Granted, it hit plenty of bone, but . . . it didn't exit the lion! This suggests that a soft that hits the more massive bones of a Cape buffalo may not perform as desired.

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