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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the first cartridge or firearm that flashes through your mind? As far as rifles go I see a double rifle. But when I am thinking about African cartridges I think 375HH or 470 nitro express.

The 458 win mag, although somewhat of a failure in it's early release, is also in my thoughts just because I used to see so many PH's with it. Now it's the 458 Lott that we all carry or have all chambered up to. I don't know a single really wealthy PH so none I know are using doubles. If any of the PH's I know had a doubles they would sell it and buy a nice house!

By a wide margin today the PH's I work with and know use the 458 Lott or the 375HH.
 

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First rifle that comes to mind is a Holland & Holland double, double triggers and auto ejectors. Caliber is the .470 NE. Lawdog
 

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375 H&H and the 416 Rigby at the same time. Though the rifle that pops is a H&H double, and other than the flanged versions of these two rounds, they typically weren't chambered in double rifles.
 

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Never been to Africa, but as I recently booked my first safari, suitable firearms have been on my mind a lot. I would have to say that the first cartridge I think of is the old stand-by, the .375H&H. That said, I'm leaning towards the acquisition of a .338 WM as my primary safari rifle since no DG is on the menu.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's interesting that so many click with the 470 nitro and the 458 win mag. The 458 Win mag was designed to be the bolt action replacement for the 470 nitro.

The advertised ballistics were said to be the same with the 470 having a slightly larger bore diameter and the 458 shooting a slightly heavier bullet(510 grains)

unfortunately the high temps near the equator killed the 458's compressed loads causing the ball powder to clump together and leave the barrel unburned. That had devistating results to the velocity and of course the penetration. Too bad the case was not originally 1/10" longer or so to get in that amount of powder without the compression.

A properly loaded 458 today can come close to the magic 2150fps with a 500 grain bullet. It can do it with a 450 Aframe which is just enough shorter with todays better powders.

Moving to the Longer Lott case it's an easy task to get 2300 plus from a 22" barrel with a 500 grain bullet and well in excess of that with a 450 grain bullet.

Too many Americans are velocity hungry when it comes to guns. A MV for a 458 caliber or bigger does not need to be higher then 2300fps. Impact velocities of 2000-2100fps are perfect for the weight of bullets used at .458 diameter or bigger. Imagine that the 470 Nitro express was shooting a 480-500 grain bullet at 2100fps MV. Impacts were likely at or under 2000fps depending upon the range. Yet the reputation of this gun was unmatched during the heyday of African big game hunting.

By todays standards with significanlty less big game being killed we are being told guns like the 460 weatherby and 500 A2 are the only game in town for the biggest animals. How silly to think that a recreational sporthunter must go out and get a rifle like this to use for 2-3 animals in his entire life. Not to mention the risk of a permanent flinch and the ridicoulous pounding to sight something like this in. For what? That rifle with identical bullet placement will do nothing more then the 470 nitro or any other gun that meets the 500 grains at 2150 fps minimum. Actually the 2400 plus fps rifles will likely destroy the bullets before they penetrate deep enough to do the job!

Mike Lagrange wrote extensively about failures of Solids when impacts over 2400fps were used. He wrote about the total failure of the 460 weatherby when used at close range with soft point bullets and even solids. The solids would bend in half at the high impacts.

With the much better designed bullets today, namely the X bullet and the A frames performance is significantly better at the higher velocities, but those velocities are not really needed to have the crumple power that 2100fps will give you.
 

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Double D

"First rifle that comes to mind when thinking of hunting Africa...577/450 Martini, a gold inlaid one dropped into I believe the Zambezi river..."


Ah yes.....was just this Sunday afternoon sitting on the veranda sipping some Tangle Ridge, smoking a fine cigar and reading for the umpteenth time Taylor"s story of hunting lions with that "fine little gold inlaid 577/450 Martini" on a ranch at night in Rhodesia. Shooting lions at 12-15 paces at night with an acetylene head torch with the single shot BP rifle....makes the blood rush just thinking about it!!!

Larry Gibson
 

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if it had to be a rifle id have to say the 416taylor but my real dream is a someday hunt for cape buffalo with a .500 linebaugh.
 

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I would have to say .375H&H and .458 Winchester, both in bolt-action form, like those big Winchester Safari rifles where front sling is actually connected to the barrel rather than the front end of the stock.

Zachary
 

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.375 Rem Ultra Mag vs. .375 H&H ?

Any thoughts as to how the .375 Remington Ultra Mag might compare to the .375 H&H ? I really like the .338Rem.U.M. Never have shot either of the above .375's but leaning towards the Remington, due somewhat to cost and especially availability in left handed bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know of several folks who have either used the ultra mag or a similiar wildcat. Of them, only one loads to maximum output the others have down loaded to standard factory 375HH levels or close. The close range bullet overexpansion and recoil turned them off to the new Remington chambering. One fella in particular uses a 404 necked to 375. He can load it to 2800 fps with a 300 grain bullet but has had so many bullet problems at that velocity he has reduced the speed to 2650fps which is only a hair more then the standard 375HH. I can get 2600 comfortabley with my 375HH

This particular fellow has killed over 80 buffalo with this rifle and several dozen of the other big five also including hippo's. His experience with what works is quite high. The 375HH is a perfect example of less is more! The other huge advantage that the 375HH case has is that it's not bottle necked making chambering and extracting flawless. That design was engineered from the beginning to make this a true dangerous game round. The feeding and ejecting of this case is legendary. As soon as you add the shoulder you lose this major feature of the cartridge. When you end up loading down to the 375HH levels to enhance bullet performance and chose a cartrige with a bottle neck now you have gained nothing in power and actually lost the best feature of the Dangerous game performance!

There is good reason the 375HH has been around so long, it's Perfect! It's the most power you can have for the investment in recoil. Don't get caught up in the typical American Hype that faster is better. It's certainly not in the case of the 375HH VS the ultra mag!
 

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JJ
First let me say I respect and value your opinions and I mean no disrespect, with that said, It seems as though your caliber of choice when it comes to large dangerous game is the 375h&h,and you will get no arguement from me on that round, as it is a fine round indeed. My question is why do you seem to, for lack of better words, look down on the .40 and .50 cal magnums? Is it simply a recoil issue or perhaps, you being heavly involved in dangerous game hunting, have personally seen an issue with bullet performance in these rounds?
The reason I ask is I have read books on and spoken to several seasoned dangerous game hunters (not pro hunters) and the thing I seem to pick up on is that on elephant and cape buffalo especially, a 375 would be the smallest round recomended. In you opinion would one be best suited to bring a 375 and or other large .30 cal firearms with similar ballistics?Also what is your choice of a backup side arm assuming you carry one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I think the bigger gun then a 375HH issue stems from the fella going to Africa wanting a gun that a PH carries to actually hunt with. That is absolutely a fine idea if the hunter can actually manipulate the gun and fire it as well as he can a 300 magnum or 30/06 cartridge while under pressure. He will also need to carry that 10 or 11 pound rifle for 8 hours a day or more and when the arms are getting long at the end of the day he needs to be able to throw the gun to his shoulder and have enough strength to hold steady and fire an accurate shot. This also means without the fear or concern of recoil or getting hit in the eye with his scope.

Professional hunters rarely if ever have a scope on thier rifle. I don't and will not even consider it on my 458 Lott. That removes the "scope eye" issue for me completlety. It's also only 9.3 pounds so it can be carried as easily as any other rifle. Also with out a scope it's much easier to pack around 8 or more hours a day. It packs in your hand or over your shoulder way nicer then a scoped rifle.

One of the things most folks have to accept in their minds is the difference between a strict Hunting rifle and a strict defensive rifle. If there is a scope on the gun it's not a strict defensive rifle so no matter the caliber it's not a pure functional backup gun. Sure it can work but the scope reduces the full function of the backup design. Every recreational hunter should have a scoped rifle. All that is needed for any animal is one perfect precison first shot. For that a scope is required plain and simple.

The 416 cartridge is likely the one round that seems to bridge the gap between the 375HH and the big dangerous game or backup guns. It is a better killer on the biggest game and shoots with enough additional power to manage backup duties a bit better then the 375HH. However if it's scoped it's not any good for the backup duty. The 416 has significantly more recoil, and is also a heavier gun then the 375HH. Oh while on this topic I know many will consider QD rings and leaving their open sights on so they can have both. Well don't worry much about that option as you will not have the time or thought to remove the scope when trouble arrives. You will make due with what you have in your hands at that instant.

I also very much doubt that any animal shot perfectly with a 375HH is gonna live any longer then the same animal shot exactly the same with a 416. Consider things your familliar with such as this; would an Elk live any longer shot with a 300 magnum perfectly the same as a 338 win mag? Probably not. The bullet choice shot from the gun becomes a bigger concern then the cartridge itself.

If you can shoot a scoped 416 as well as any of your other guns and are willing to carry around a 10 plus pound rifle then it's a good choice. I just don't see that choice as being very good. And remember I see lots of guys who think this is a good idea wishing for a lighter more backable gun after a few days of long walks in the hot African bush! I have also seem more then my share of guys blow easy shots because their arms are so tired they just cannot hold that big gun steady for the shot. Consider that a 416 with a scope will be 10 pounds, the same gun in a 375 can be easliy made to 9 pounds and with the lower recoil much easier to shoot. You say that's only a pound!.............16oz........... Big deal! Well that's a 10% reduction in weight. Now carry it 8 hours and then try to hold it steady in your arms free hand for several minutes waiting on the game to move from behind a bush! All the while in your mind you contemplate that massive recoil and getting hit in the eye with the scope.

Now lets consider the bigger guns. If the day you choose to hunt buffalo you're in the bush and have your trusty 458 or bigger rifle with low power scope and come to a ridge along the river. Now in the distance you see a 58" kudu bull, a 40" Eland, or a 32" waterbuck. The trophies of a lifetime for any hunter. You are packing your 458 zeroed for 100 yards and only have a 1.5 to 5 scope which you have never shot at 250 yards and don't even know the trajectory beyond 150. You can't ethically lob a bullet 250 or more yards at that massive trophy even with a solid prone rest that would likely crush your shoulder shooting prone anyway.

This works the other way as well. The PH and outfitter want you to go take some plains game for leopard bait in the day time one afternoon. You grab the 300 mag you have to shoot the longer ranges at plains game. As you come around the corner twenty buffalo are standing and one is 42" with massive heavy bosses and you have only a puny 300 magnum.

With a 375HH you can easily shoot 300 or more yards for plains game and still kill a buffalo at 50 yards. It's a gun with a scope that can weight under ten pounds, and has easily manageable recoil. I just don't see anything that compares to this choice today. It's my opionion that a recreational sport hunter needs nothing more then a scope sighted 375HH to hunt the all the biggest game of the world. One good well placed shot with a premium bullet from a 375HH is better then anything from a bigger gun that is not well placed.

It's been many years of big game and dangerous game from Alaska to Africa seeing hundreds of hunters use big guns they cannot operate properly. I have yet to see anyone struggle with shooting the 375HH nor have I seen a hunter struggle to kill big game with a 375HH. Let me put this into another perspective. I own both a 375HH and a 458 Lott. If I were going hunting tommorow for Brown bear or Cape buffalo I would choose the 375HH without another thought. Even if it were for elephant I would choose the 375HH in 90% of the locations. There are a few I would choose the Lott but only because I already have it and I might not be with a PH, as I don't require one. If I were with a PH using the Lott I would choose the 375HH every time. I feel much better with the precision of bullet placement on the 375HH and I know I only need that one good shot.

Many of those who try to promote the big bore guns are trying to relive the old days where there were gun bearers to pack around your second gun, those days have been gone for 50 years. Many just want the "romance" of big bore ownership and Africa justifies it in their mind. Every guy can spend his money the way he likes. I much perfer to have one gun I feel bonded with and can shoot extremely well that's the confidence I need to make it work. Buying and setting up a gun I hate to shoot and will only hunt one or two times with in my life is not my style.

To each his own!
 
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