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Enough gun, definition.....

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by H&Hhunter, Feb 11, 2014.

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  1. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    I am not trying to school or lecture anybody here. I am simply proclaiming what my definition of "enough" gun is.


    The answer is it depends on the circumstances, the terrain, and conditions you are hunting in and of course what animals you are likely to encounter in the area you are hunting.

    With that in mind here are my thoughts based on my experiences. Lets also keep in mind that I am talking about "Enough" which to my mind means more than adequate it means plenty of gun to provide a level of comfort and confidence. Adequate in my mind simply means that it is capable of doing the job if everything goes well.

    1. In dangerous game country where close range elephant attacks are a real possibility such as the jesse bush of the Zambezi Valley or tropical rainforest/jungles or the long grass. Pretty much anywhere wild free ranging dangerous game hunting is conducted in sub Saharan Africa.

    Your rifle, caliber and bullet combination should be sufficient to fully penetrate a large bull elephants skull from a frontal brain shot IE be able to stop a charge from close range. In addition your caliber choice should be heavy enough to turn that charge if your bullet does no find the brain of the elephant. Not a guarantee but possible with the right bullet and caliber combo.

    With that in mind the rifle should be set up for fast handling with either a low power optic or good fast acquiring iron sights such as a shallow V and bead or better yet a good ghost ring set up with a large aperture and a white line square front post. You should be inanimately familiar with the rifle and able to shoot reload and operate the rifle without looking at it while on the run.

    With the advent of really good modern bullets we have a wider selection of caliber choices now days HOWEVER in wild elephant country there is no substitute for a heavy large caliber bullet. My choice for a minimum comfort level in these specialized conditions are one of the various African specific.416's and up with a preference to the various .458's, .470's and if I was making a career of it in those conditions I'd be carrying a .500 NE double or a .500 Jeffery or .505 Gibbs in a bolt gun. Once you step up to the .500's there is markedly and drastic difference in how a big game animal such as an elephant reacts to being hit as compared to even a .470 or a .458.

    Bell and countless elephant culling agents have proven that in the right hands with proper experience and numerous kills a 7x57 or a .308 with proper solids is an adequate tool for killing multiple elephants. I am not that guy and I will never be that guy. I, like most professional hunters I know like to have a bit more safety pad thus the larger heavier calibers for elephant.

    2. Hunting areas that have dangerous game up to and including cape buffalo and big cats but no elephant. A .375H&H'ish power level gun with quality controlled expansion bullets is just fine with me.

    3. Hunting in Alaska in big bear country, such as the Alaska Peninsula. To me enough gun in those areas is something in the .338 WM, .375H&H range and even one of the various .416's with good bullets isn't over doing it. I want something that is going to leave an impression on a mature bear at close range if the need arises. Up North in the tundra or inland grizz country a .30 cal such as a .30-06'ish level caliber with 180 gr or heavier controlled expansion style bullets works for me.

    4. In the Lower 48 for elk it simply depends on your style of hunting. Adequate depends on your style of hunting. Enough gun however, to meet my definition should be able to get the job done under any circumstances including longish range say out to 300 yards but more importantly it should be able to get the job done comfortably in the thick stuff at close range too where a snap shot is a real possibility. And if you are hunting in those conditions where a snap shot is a possibility you need a round that is going to reliably penetrate to the vitals from less than perfect shot angles.In those conditions a .338, .35 Whelen, 9.3, or a .375 become a very useful tool and have enough penetration and momentum to reliably get the job done.

    If your style is to glass and spot and shoot at longer ranges as is becoming popular, the caliber choices above aren't best choices. That is a specialized type of hunting that takes specialized gear and is the polar opposite of the way I like to hunt elk. While I enjoy having the skill and ability to make long shots it isn't the reason I hunt and I don't purposely strive to do so like we see so often on the hunting shows now days.

    5. Deer hunting, once again it simply depends on how you like to hunt or are able to hunt as defined by your local circumstances. If you hunt deer primarily like I do which is in big wide open country you'll like something that has some reach and ability to provide a clean kill when it gets there. My deer hunting rigs trend to be something in the .270 to .308 diameter range and capable of making clean kills to about 400 yards as a maximum. the .270 or the .30-06 are plenty enough gun for deer under those circumstances. As would be many choices such as the 6.5 MM's, 7mm's you name it ther is a large list in this category. IMO the .243 is starting to get on the skinny side past 300 yards on deer HOWEVER lots of folks use it with no issues. It's just not my choice especially for big bodied western mule deer. Is the .243 an adequate deer round? You bet it is! But as per my earlier definition it doesn't qualify for "enough" gun under all circumstances for my purposes.

    Now hunting from a stand/over a bait/overlooking a field IE "stand hunting" in general with known distances and a lot of time to pick your shots and wait for the perfect shot? That widens the field considerably and brings my comfort level way down in caliber. This is a situation depending on the conditions such as closer range and if it is legal, that I have no problem using a .22 center fire such as a .223 for deer. It is a simple function of having some control over your shot opportunity environment. And stand hunting is about the most controlled environment you'll encounter while hunting.
     
  2. d2wing

    d2wing Member

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    I pretty much agree with everything, except in my opinion a .300 Win mag with proper bullets is best all around for elk, just my opinion. But you are right, it is better to have too much than too little. A person needs to know the limitations of what they are shooting and the conditions of the hunt.
     
  3. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    ^^^I agree, and always thought this was the just of Ruark's book. The story of shooting the Baboon(I think) with one of the new high velocity light weight calibers and it then eating it's own intestines because the wound was so superficial, has always haunted me.
     
  4. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    Pretty much agree on everything with the exception of the Alaskan peninsula.....even big coastal grizzlys are not match for a 30-06 with the proper load/bullet and I would have included the 45-70

    The big 30 cal are fine in Africa too up to the big cats, I totally agreee that when we start talking about cape buffalo it's better to step up in power.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  5. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Well, I think you're full of it H&Hhunter.

    After all, Bell killed 8947590782075209475-9024309-724387548972045x487394 elephants with a 7x57 mauser. ;)
     
  6. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    d2wing,
    I would have to say that is definitely a solid contender for one of the top spots.

    I can't argue with you there. I just like the warm happy feeling a .375H&H gives me in big bear country. And confidence in your rifle is 9/10th of the deal really. A .45-70 is a fantastic bear defense gun as well.
     
  7. ZeroJunk

    ZeroJunk Member

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    Seems to be a traditional opinion. The new trend of using cartridges on the light side to be an enlightened hunter makes no sense to me.
     
  8. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Arkansas Paul,

    You sir are seriously in need of some education Bell killed 8947590782075209475-9024309-724387548972045x487394.01 elephants with his 7x57. I expected more from you sir..............:evil:
     
  9. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    ....so according to you a 30-06 is "on the light side" against grizzly or a lion?? Maybe you should have a talk with Caribou, he actually hunts big bears up there with a Mosin....

    Even on a charge situation (and at charge distances) the right 30-06 pill can reach the CNS (the only real charge stopper) of a Grizzly from any angle...if you cannot deliver the bullet where it needs to be the problem is you not the cartridge used and a bigger caliber is not going to help, actually it may make things worse...
     
  10. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    H&Hunter a question for you from yoru experience vintage point.


    I actually heard that some African hunters like the small and fast rounds on the big cats like the 7mm Magnum, 300 WM, 300 Wby, 30-06 up the the 375 better than the big and slow cannons....some says that these thin skinned animals "react" better being hit with high velocity rounds...what is your take???
     
  11. Jason_W

    Jason_W Member

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    I don't think it has anything to do with wanting to be enlightened, I think people just really want to hunt medium with firearms they enjoy shooting. Modern bullet technology is allowing them to do so for the first time.
     
  12. ZeroJunk

    ZeroJunk Member

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    I've killed 400 pound hogs with a 22 LR. A bunch of them actually. So ?

    I'm not likely to hit a charging grizzly in the brain. Only internet hunters do that reliably. And, although it in non existent on the internet hunters make bad shots. A lot of them. The notion that switching to some light for the task cartridge is going to turn them in to nail drivers or the newest bullet advertising is going to turn a bullet in to something twice it's weight is just silly.

    If you can hit everything exactly where you are aiming good for you. I don't suppose it makes much difference what you shoot.
     
  13. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Keep in mind that when it's Big Beasties With Teeth, there is "hunting" and "stopping". They are not the same.

    I'd hunt a big bear with my '06, but I figure I'd be shooting an unsuspecting critter. If the situation gets out of hand, I'd maybe come to believe the '06 is "marginal". :)

    As far as the smaller cartridges, the R&D in bullet design, these last fifteen or so years, has changed things considerably. Ideas of limits on utility which were common and correct in the period, say, 1950-1995-ish, are often no longer valid.

    .22 centerfires, for example, or even the .243.
     
  14. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Saturno,

    Lets define "big cat" first off. When speaking of leopard your information is correct cats react to shock and fast expanding bullets out of high velocity rounds that is one school of thought. Of course lets now define "high velocity". Most of the African PH's I've spoken with consider anything over about 2400 FPS to be "high velocity". With that in mind lots of folks say the .270 is a sensible minimum on leopard and lots like the .300 mags. But I've never met one who wouldn't be very happy with a nice soft point out of a .375H&H. The .375H&H is seldom the wrong answer. A .375H&h pushing a 270gr soft point bullet at 2800FPS is a seriously devastating round when it hits a light critter like a cat.

    Now lets talk about lions. I've never met and spoken to any PH who recommends anything short of a .375H&H for lion and many recommend a fast .40 cal like a .416 Remington with expanding bullets. Once again 2400 fps seems to be the magical desired MV on lions too. There is a saying about lions, you can play about a bit with a buffalo, elephants can be turned, but you do not play the fool with a lion. If a lion gets a hold of you it's a very, very bad situation. A leopard will hurt you severely but most leopard attacks during a follow up are survivable, painful but survivable. A lion is a massive animal if he gets you down and starts savaging you, your chances of survival become very dim very fast it's the difference between flesh wounds and bone crushing deep internal injury. Have you ever noticed that you don't see any nicely posed charges for the camera when it comes to lions unlike buffalo and elephant? There is a reason for that. I've personally not met or spoken to any professionals who recommend lighter than a .375H&H for lion.
     
  15. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Saturno,

    Caribou lives up around Kotzebue, I also used to live in Kotzebue and have done a pretty good bunch of hunting up there. The bears caribou hunts are not the same bears as I was referring to in my post when talking about brown bears down in South central and south western Alaska and in fact pointed out the difference.

    Here

    As Art pointed out as well and I'll just add. If I was hunting an African lion from a blind and had a perfect shot the .30-06 would be an adequate round. If however I was following one up in the thick stuff NO WAY NO HOW would a .30-06 be my choice. I want something with bone smashing, freight train hitting power, something that leaves great big gaping holes all the way through and out the back side and breaks everything in between. This exactly why the British and other colonialists invented big bore heavy rifles during the hey day of African hunting.
     
  16. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

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    H&H where does that .404 fit on your chart of 'enough' these days?

    That was a really comfortable rifle to shoot, and fit me almost as well as the 458 Lott. It was certainly a better looking rifle.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  17. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    So if you miss a CNS spot (the only assured stopper) on a charge with an -06 what makes you think you will hit the CNS with a 375 H&H?? Is the larger cartridge going to make you more accurate?? Where is the logic??

    Again, where is the logic?? If an -06 is adequate for hunting a grizzly, it becomes suddenly inadequate in a charge situation (which by the way imply shorter distances)??
    At these distance a heavy for caliber 30-06 bullet can reach a CNS from every angle....if you miss it you are going to miss it with a 375 too...
     
  18. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    I met quite few old African hunters (one we did talk about before from ex Rhodesia living in Vancouver BC) that said that a 303 British was a quite effective lion stopper in their days...

    Obviouly I'm not disputing the awesome 375 H&H (on my short list of next purchases by he way) but a 200 gr. Nosler out of a 30-06 is a very impressive bone smasher and quite the drill bit especially at short distances on thin skinned animals....and you can load up to 240 grainers...
     
  19. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    And most countries have or had a minimum caliber restriction of .375H&H for dangerous game hunting, lions most definitely included. Of course a farmer in the bush of Rhodesia had a better than good chance of having a .303 in hand and I'm sure multiple lions met their demise to that caliber very effectively.

    If I was using the .30-06 for bear or lion the 200 or 220 gr Nosler would be one of my top picks. And it still wouldn't be anywhere near my top ten picks for purposely hunting African lions. Of my rifles my first choice would be my .404 Jeffery stoked up with 347gr Woodleighs at something just over 2400 FPS. Followed very closely by one of my .375H&H's loaded with 270 or 300 gr Woodleigh soft points or Noslers. A wounded lion in the thick stuff is one of the most terrifying and dangerous situations that can be imagined. I like some extra horse power when it comes to killing machine like male African lions.
     
  20. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Rob that is the smallest rifle I'll confidently take anywhere and do anything in the world with. Including elephant. With a modern action and modern loadings it is identical in power and performance to the various .416's Rigby, Remington, Ruger ETC ETC...They push a 400 gr bullet at 2300 to 2400FPS. I push a 400 gr bullet of slightly larger diameter .423 vs .416 also at 2300 to 2400 FPS. Virtually identical for all intensive purposes.
     
  21. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    I do not doubt it...and I think in these conditions you do not really care much about bone smashing as much as having a CNS hit.....I heard stories of enraged wounded lions that soaked up elephant rifles bullets like candies, unfortunately in the wrong spots...in one particular case I read of a lion being hit squarely in the face by a bouble blast of 470 NE out of a double rifle and still managing to wound the hunter which luckily survived because in the process the lion got his jaw busted by the above mentioned double blast....the only sure thing in these thorny situations seems to be a brain os spine hit...
     
  22. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    H&H do the 416 cartridges (for example the 416 Rem) have a real range advantage in terms or flat trajectory compared to the "classic" .45 cal & up???

    It is true that the 416 Rem shoot almost as flat as a 375 H&H???
     
  23. ZeroJunk

    ZeroJunk Member

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    Do you really think there is no difference between the stopping power of a body shot from a 30-06 and a 375 H&H ?
     
  24. H&Hhunter

    H&Hhunter Moderator

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    Actually both. If you don't make a CNS hit you want to inflict as much damage as possible for two reasons. One so if the critter does get to you he's as badly hurt as he can be and two you don't always have to make a CNS hit to turn a charge and the harder you hit him the more likely he is to change his mind. But here is the crux of it. I can shoot a heavy rifle just as accurately and just as fast as a .30-06 so why in the world would I be using the 06 in the above mentioned situation?

    Maybe a little bit depending on the .458 cal we are talking about. As compared to a .450 Rigby or a .460 Weatherby not so much. As compared to a .450 NE or a .458 WM yeah a bit. The main advantage a .416 has over the .458's is shoot ability. They tend to recoil a bit less making them easy for some folks to shoot yet still deliver a very hard blow to heavy game.

    Yeah I guess if we compare apples to apples they aren't to far off. A .416 firing a 400gr bullet at 2400 FPS is almost as flat shooting as a .375H&H firing a 300 gr bullet at 2500 FPS. In the realm of dangerous game it doesn't really matter but it might give you an extra 50 or 100 yards over a .458 WM when that eland bull pops up unexpectedly.

    And of course if we start stepping down in bullet weight to the 350 gr bullets the .416 Rem or Rigby starts to become pretty flat shooting those at 2600 FPS. I knew a guy in Alaska that used a .416 Remington for just about everything shooting 350 gr X bullets. he claimed that it was the hammer of Thor on moose.

    Same can be said for the .375 H&H and the various .458's of course. A .450 Rigby shooting a 400 gr Barnes TSX at 2500 or 2600 FPS would be pretty tough on stuff I'm guessing.
     
  25. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    saturno v, consider that something like a .375 will break more bones and destroy far more tissue than an '06--the much-longer penetration thing. IOW, stopping a charge without necessarily hitting the CNS.

    Seems to me it's the usual issue about situation: What's planned vs. what might happen.
     
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