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#7307815 - 01/13/13 Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015...
DocRocket Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 14204
Loc: Gone To Texas
I'm booked to hunt buff and plains game in Zim in 2015. I've been reading and thinking about this hunt for years--decades, really--and I've got a good bit of advice. I'm still open to more, particularly on some of the more nuanced questions. There is so much to consider, from clothing to cameras to God know's what else, but I have some specific questions about riflery that I want to throw out on this forum.

First thing, I've decided I want to do most, if not all of my shooting, with one rifle. The 375's are the obvious chocie for this mission, and as it happens I've already got a Ruger M77 African in 375 Ruger already. I've killed a Wyoming bison with it, it hits hard and well for me. Everything I've read says it's equivalent to the H&H Mag, so I'm planning to take it as my main safari rifle. There are a lot of reasons to do so, not the least of which is that while hunting plains game, the big game animals don't magically vacate the hunting concession. If the buff of my dreams shows up while I'm holding a 7x57 or a .30-06, I will not be pleased... so my first decision is to use the .375 for everything, although perhaps with a long-range rifle along for the chance of a long shot on plains game. A pre-64 Model 70 in .30-06 would be my most likely choice for a second rifle; I've been looking at a project gun in that config for a couple years, now seems to be the time to start moving on it.

The Ruger's scoped with a Nikon 2-7X, but I'm thinking hard about a Trijicon with the lighted reticle for buff. Watching Boddington use one in his video's really impressed me. Black crosshairs on black buffalo hide strikes me as something to avoid if I can. Talley mounts with the intrinsic ghost ring are going on the rifle regardless of scope choice.

I'm pretty much settled on a 300 gr bullet... either the Swift A-frame or the Barnes TSX (opinions seem to be evenly split so far among the folks I've asked) backed up by a Barnes 300 gr solid for follow-up shots. Other opinions are welcome. But this brings up the question of practice ammo... I'm gonna be putting a LOT of bullets downrange with this rifle, and I'd just as soon not be "wasting" premium bullets in practice if I can avoid it. Anybody have a favorite cup n' core 300 gr bullet that has served well?

I'm not as happy with the stock on the Ruger as I could be. I've got a longish neck, and I think I need a better cheekpiece on it. Also, reports of the stock Ruger stock being prone to cracking with lots of shooting concerns me. I think I'll probably look at getting an aftermarket stock for this rifle. I'm wondering if there's any other long-necked curmudgeons out there who've found a good stock for this or similar application?

Practice will be off sticks and offhand, with scope and with irons. I'm strongly considering putting a Harris type bipod on the rifle for use from seated and prone positions... several African PH's have endorsed this practice, some of whom I spoke with at Dallas Safari Club last weekend. One PH suggests working on fast follow-up shots, and another suggests working on moving targets for your followups. I'm thinking a lot about my practice regimen. Shooting from point-blank to 200 yards, from all the field positions, etc. What have you experienced African hunters done for your marksmanship preparation?
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#7307982 - 01/13/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: DocRocket]
jwp475 Online   content
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 19405
Loc: USA


IMHO if I were to use the Barnes TSX ( I am a huge fan of them) I would go with the 270 grain. The 270 will give penetration in spades as well as shoot flatter
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Originally Posted By: Jeff_O
.they WAY over penetrate on deer...


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#7311256 - 01/14/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: jwp475]
jorgeI Online   content
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 24071
Loc: Orange Park, Florida
Originally Posted By: jwp475


IMHO if I were to use the Barnes TSX ( I am a huge fan of them) I would go with the 270 grain. The 270 will give penetration in spades as well as shoot flatter


THIS. The 270TSX is the perfect ticket for a one rifle (gulp) safari. My friend Todd (whom you met at DSC) used his 375 Model 70 with 300gr Aframes for everything from a buffalo at 25 yards to a beautiful 55" kudu at 350 and in my view you don't need the solids for buffalo. In fact, the PH you'll be hunting with doens't recommend them either smile
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Originally Posted By JoeBob
I don't need a genealogy lesson from a Cuban mustefino who caught a ride over on a leaky 1957 Chevy that used milk jugs for floats.
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#7311280 - 01/14/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: jorgeI]
DocRocket Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 14204
Loc: Gone To Texas
Good to know, guys. Thanks.
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"Texas, by God!" - John Wesley Hardin

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#7311297 - 01/14/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: DocRocket]
jorgeI Online   content
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 24071
Loc: Orange Park, Florida
Forgot to add Doc, I have a Trijicon on both my 375 H&H and 416 Rigby and it's the way to go. I really like them. There is also nothing wrong with you choice of a 300gr TSX. If your rifle likes them and that's what you load and use, then by all means! I was just echoing what Randy and Connie Brooks told me on the 270's penetration and trajectory. Your choice of a 375 is a sound one, and another thig to think about, the 270 TSX gives you almost a mirror image trajectory as a 180gr 06.
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Originally Posted By JoeBob
I don't need a genealogy lesson from a Cuban mustefino who caught a ride over on a leaky 1957 Chevy that used milk jugs for floats.
Of course, I do have some lettuce that needs to be picked if you are interested.

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#7312341 - 01/14/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: jorgeI]
test1328 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 05/18/05
Posts: 1217
Loc: Colorado
I'll second what Jorge and JWP said. Try the 270TSX and see what happens. Personally, I have opted to use the 300 gr. A-frame in my .375 H&H rifles, but the 270 TSX would work great, I think.

A Trijicon scope makes sense, IMO, and they do seem to perform great, but keep in mind that lots of buff have been killed with the good ol duplex reticle scope. You might be better off saving the money on a scope and putting it towards something else. Your Nikon might be just fine. One thing I'm a proponent of is larger objectives on Dangerous Game scopes, rather than the "classic" 20mm objectives that guys like to put on their rifles. Especially if you're hunting in the thick bush or in low light situations. That's why I have the 1.75x6x32 Leupold on my DG rifles, rather than the smaller ones.

I don't like the idea of a bipod on a DG rifle. Heck, most PH's don't like slings on DG rifles, so having a bipod hanging off the forend to get caught on everything doesn't make much sense to me, plus it adds a bunch of weight that you have to carry as well. I'd just prepare to use the shooting sticks that your PH will have and leave it at that. The likelihood of a sitting or prone shot while hunting the bush is small anyways. However, if you want to do it and your PH is in favor of it, who am I to tell you differently.

I've got a long neck too and have found that the Winchester Safari Express rifles, with the raised comb, fit me very well. I would guess you could get something similar in a McMillian to fit your Ruger.

As for practice bullets, just buy whatever cheap bullet in the same weight you'll be using for real and use those. If you're shooting off hand or off sticks, precision isn't the name of the game, so as long as they land somewhat close to your other bullets, you'll be good. As you've already indicated, practice is what is important.

All of the above is just my 2 cents. Of course, do whatever makes sense to you and also what makes you happy. Remember it is your hunt, so do what you want, not what every one else tells you to do.

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#7313434 - 01/15/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: test1328]
405wcf Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 1059
Loc: Great Lakes State
I did a one rifle safari with my 416 Rigby and it worked very well.

Regarding the 270gr TSX, you may want to check with your PH first. I was hunting buffalo herds and my PH specifically did not want the TSX because of the potential of passing through and wounding another animal. I used A-Frames and they worked fine.

I suggest whatever rifle you take, bring some solids if there is any chance at all of taking the tiny 10. I shot my suni with a 400gr Barnes banded solid and it left a 40 cal hole in and out. On the next safari I forgot solids and shot a klipspringer with a 225gr partition from of a 338WM and the off side evaporated.

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#7314708 - 01/15/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: 405wcf]
richardca99 Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 05/13/08
Posts: 919
Loc: Jacksonville, FL
I took a Weatherby Mark V in .375 H&H and the 270 TSX to Africa for a one-gun PG hunt. Didn't need it, of course, but I WANTED it. If I was going to Africa, I was going to have a .375 H&H.

I took Springbok, Blesbok, Kudu, Black and Blue Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Oryx, and Mountain Zebra. Honestly, it was a perfect rifle for the hunt. One shot kills on everything from 40-225 yards, very little meat damage, and super accurate. It was then that I decided that I had all the rifle I ever needed, no matter what I decided to hunt.

It'll next go to Alaska for big bears (God willing).
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Chris

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#7317570 - 01/16/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: richardca99]
blaser_guy Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/14/05
Posts: 920
I have only used the 300 SAF on buffalo. I also used a solid from a 375 and it did not strike me afterwards as the right bullet for the caliber.
I have recently turned to the 270 TSX but I have not used it on buffalo. I have used it up to lion and gembsbok and through in an elk because I fell in love with the caliber, bullet combo. Im not sure you would have what they refer to as over penatration. I like penatration in a DG gun. I understand the herd situation but 1) I enjoy hunting small groups of bulls and 2) I don't shoot if something is behind something. I enjoy the tracking as much as the shooting so this is what drives me.
Also on the 270 TSX one of my scope set ups uses a Z6 with a TDS reticle. I have made 400 plus yard shots on springbuck and never felt limited at all

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#7318285 - 01/16/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: DocRocket]
George_De_Vries_3rd Offline
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 02/19/04
Posts: 10946
Loc: Iowa

No expert here as I've been to the DC twice but only once to hunt and that was for PG only. Were it me I would take the '06 (if that's what you decide on) along as a back-up but plan on the 375 for everthing. While I used the H&H iteration--and it worked perfectly--I now have the same rfle you have. I did have the stock re-enforced with an addition cross bolt added and the action glass-bedded with particular attention to the tang area. I also have a McM McWoody coming for it.

Again, I used the 270-gr TSX at a sedate 2675 fps and still only one was stopped and that was by a very hefty Burchel's mare zebra after breaking both shoulders and ending up under the off-side hide. That's if you don't count the one that hit a little-finger-sized twig thirty feet in front of a nice water buck. It stayed on course traversing the buck's chest side ways and stopped again under the hide.

My inclination after using it would be to just go with that 270-gr TSX over a good load and make it your go-to. If you are starting out with the 375, take your buff, then carry the '06, you might meet buff again which is why I would just go 375. You could use Horn 270-gr Interlocks for practice. If your experience is anything like mine, you certainly will not feel overgunned on PG; I can't speak to feeling under gunned on buff grin

I found practice over the sticks here to have paid very good dividends in ability and confidence once over there. You have to figure out the most comfortable placement of hands and rifle on the sticks and that only comes with doing it.

My .02 cents worth.

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#7318588 - 01/16/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: George_De_Vries_3rd]
DocRocket Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 14204
Loc: Gone To Texas
Good advice from you all, guys. Thanks a lot.

My PH emailed me that he INSISTS on 300 gr Swift A-frames or Woodleigh softpoints for buff in 375 caliber, which I frankly have no problem with. I've looked at the ballistics tables for 270's vs 300's, and I can live with the slightly less-flat trajectory of the 300's.

My first deposit check went out in the mail today. What a trip! I'm totally stoked, dudes!
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"Texas, by God!" - John Wesley Hardin

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#7319843 - 01/16/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: DocRocket]
jorgeI Online   content
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 24071
Loc: Orange Park, Florida
Doc: Look through his website at the picture gallery and I think the 2004 hunt. There's one guy there who took EVERYTHING with a rifle and caliber I don't think none of us would consider. As I mentioned, I've used the AFrame in both 375 and 416 Rigby and while they do an excellent job, they just don't have the penetration of the TSXs so if you are stiking to 300gr weight, I'd recommend the TSX, unless of course your rifle likes the A Frames better. If you are handloading, PM me and I'll give you some excellent recipes...
_________________________
Originally Posted By JoeBob
I don't need a genealogy lesson from a Cuban mustefino who caught a ride over on a leaky 1957 Chevy that used milk jugs for floats.
Of course, I do have some lettuce that needs to be picked if you are interested.

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#7320565 - 01/16/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: jorgeI]
DocRocket Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 14204
Loc: Gone To Texas
Thanks, Jorge... I will be in touch regarding handloads and so forth.
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"Texas, by God!" - John Wesley Hardin

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#7340105 - 01/21/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: DocRocket]
IndyCA35 Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 03/25/02
Posts: 3600
Loc:
I did a hunt like yours in 2011 except that I also shot a bull elephant, a hippo, and a lion.

Ask your PH what he recommends for solids for buffalo. Often they want the first round a soft, then follow-on solids. Mine wanted two softs followed by two solids. He also wanted 300 grain softs for buff. I used North Fork solids and softs. Incidentally the softs slew plains game like the hammer of Thor.

300 grain bullets shoot plenty flat enough for anything you're going to be doing.

I would not bother taking a backup rifle. The PH probably has several in camp. Ask him.

Forget the bangy clangy Harris bipod. When you get ready to shoot, a tracker will shove shooting sticks in front of you. Besides, you'll probably not be shooting from the prone or sitting positions. That's why they call it the LONG grass.

Practice: I used Hornady cup and core bullets. Practice shooting from sticks. Get some bamboo and make your own sticks. I prefer bipods, not tripods, but others differ.

Also practice shooting offhand a lot. You should practice fairly rapid repeat shots, not taking the rifle off your shoulder between shots.Don't waste time very much shooting off the bench trying for tiny groups. 1.5 MOA is better than you need.

As for loads, use Rl 15 powder. Look in the handbook and work up a load that goes 2500 to 2550 fps. The exact last increment of high velocity does not matter.

Scopes: I used a Bushnell Signature series 1.5-6x42. Most people use the Leupy 1.5-5x20. My wider objective lens gives a much better "twilight factor." Besides, I got the LED red dot option. Very useful for shooting lion in the dark.

Make your travel arrangements through Gracey Travel. They have an employee who will meet you at J'burg airport, where you will probably have to overnight anyway, and take you to the hotel, meet you next day, etc.

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#7340907 - 01/21/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: IndyCA35]
utah708 Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 6252
A .375 of some sort would be spot on. Use the bullet the outfitter/PH recommends, but I think any premium 300 is fine. I like the larger objectives over the 20mm ones. I can't imagine a forend mounted bipod in the country I have hunted. Finally, 2-shot drills served me in good stead.

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#7350727 - 01/23/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: utah708]
hatari Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 10/05/04
Posts: 9236
Loc: Atlanta
Doc,

Let me throw in a tip slightly off topic. Before you go, spend a little time shooting skeet. I have really found this excellent gun training in instances where you might jump your game in the thick stuff, taking a second shot on running game or need to finish off a charge. Your familiarity with mounting and shooting quickly will keep you calm and amazingly accurate at the ranges requires to shoot off hand at a moving target.

That said, the .375 is never a wrong choice. I you were to take 2, then a 30-06 with 165 grn TSX will shot the same trajectory as the .375 with 270's, and can deal with the smaller stuff. Still, there is no reason the .375 can't do it all. However, gun nuts are always looking for an excuse to shoot another.
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"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." - Han Solo

"Diana should forbid all first timers from fulling their wish lists. All hunters need something to remember and something to dream of." - Hatari 2011

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#7350949 - 01/23/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: hatari]
blaser_guy Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 07/14/05
Posts: 920
Hatari that's great advice. I bought a 28 guage R93 barrel years ago just for the heck of it but ended up shooting the rabbit clays with it using my DG scope and having a hoot doing it.

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#7351698 - 01/23/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: blaser_guy]
utah708 Offline
Campfire Tracker

Registered: 08/05/04
Posts: 6252
Putting a sporting clays pad (with a hard plastic heel insert)on a DG gun is not a bad idea.

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#7351790 - 01/23/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: hatari]
DocRocket Online   content
Campfire 'Bwana

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 14204
Loc: Gone To Texas
I actually have a bit of a sporting clays addiction, and yes, I do it the "clean" way, starting with the gun at port arms rather than half-mounted the way most ranges allow you to do it these days... mad

So I'll likely keep on shooting clays right up til I go to Africa in any case. It's good to know that all my time wasted on sporting clays courses hasn't been a total waste!

... I appreciate all the input you guys have given on this thread. I'm feeling very comfortable with my 375 choice at this point.
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"Texas, by God!" - John Wesley Hardin

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#7357923 - 01/25/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: DocRocket]
Sevens Offline
Member

Registered: 08/22/10
Posts: 217
Loc: Dallas, TX
I have shot one cape buffalo using a 375 H&H with 300 grain Barnes TSX bullets backed up by Hornady 300 grain DGS. While my experience is limited, I think it is a great combo and I would happily use it again, except I would probably load more softs into the rifle, maybe 3 softs then 2 solids instead of 1 soft and 4 solids (I have a CZ, it holds 5+1). Reason I would change that is the solids didn't seem to have as traumatic of an effect on the buffalo as the soft did. The first shot with the TSX knocked him over and he did not regain his footing, but I put four more solids into him to finish him off. I feel that less soft points would have been needed to achieve the same result.

The 375 was the only rifle I brought as well. If there is a camp rifle, you can always use that in the event of a failure of your rifle.
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If you died tomorrow, what would you have done today ...

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#7358077 - 01/25/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: DocRocket]
Bighorn Online   content
Campfire Guide

Registered: 06/21/01
Posts: 4905
Loc: Southern Kolorado
DocRocket,
I would seriously consider ditching the factory wood on your Ruger. It's just a matter of time before it splits, if it hasn't done so already. A nasty split behind the tang is not something you want on your safari.
My own African 375 now wears a McMillan Ruger Classic style, with magnum fill, which I am very happy with.
If you are interested in a Hogue stock, PM me.
_________________________
I'd rather be a free man in my grave, than living as a puppet or a slave....

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#7363025 - 01/26/13 Re: Considerations on one rifle for Africa in 2015... [Re: DocRocket]
ColKlink Offline
Campfire Guide

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 2675
Loc: Georgia, CSA
Originally Posted By: DocRocket
Good advice from you all, guys. Thanks a lot.

My PH emailed me that he INSISTS on 300 gr Swift A-frames or Woodleigh softpoints for buff in 375 caliber, which I frankly have no problem with. I've looked at the ballistics tables for 270's vs 300's, and I can live with the slightly less-flat trajectory of the 300's.

My first deposit check went out in the mail today. What a trip! I'm totally stoked, dudes!


Your PH is giving you good advice but any premium 300 gr soft will work and I would choose whatever shoots best in your rifle.

A word on the 270 gr TSX. I once killed a buffalo with it but I wouldn't do it again. The first shot was broadside and hit him in the spine and knocked him down but he got up and I put a raking shot through his arse as he ran off. When we dissected him we found that the first shot was stopped by the spine without breaking it and the bullet veered off into the brisket without hitting anything vital, the second shot apparently killed him. I don't know if it was a freak thing or not but I don't think I'd hunt them again with that bullet, I'd go for the 300 gr instead with its greater SD.
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-Jefferson Davis

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