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There are many different rifle calibers and makes out there. It can sometimes be a very difficult and confusing task to pick the right one.
Here are a couple of tips on which rifles might be better for different hunting situations in Africa:
Big Game Hunting
“This topic will be debated for many years to come. The best possible answer is to bring the gun that you are the most comfortable with and that you feel most confident shooting. The rifles you intend to bring along are subject to government rules and regulations as set out in the SAPS 520 section. If a recommendation had to be made (this is not a rule though), we would suggest a 30-06 and a 375. With these calibers you will be able to hunt anything that walks in the African bushveld”.
Dangerous Game Hunting
“Experienced Hunters as well as professional hunters will all have their own opinion on their favorite rifle. When hunting for dangerous game, the .375 caliber is the minimum prescribed by law in most African countries”. “For hunting dangerous game one of the 400 caliber hunting rifles should be considered. A 404 Jeffrey, 416 Rigby, 458 WM, 458 Lott, 470 or bigger – Pieter Kriel”.
“When coming to Africa for plains game, bring a rifle that you are completely familiar with and comfortable shooting. The .270 Win should be considered the minimum for most medium-sized plains game species, although a smaller caliber can also get the job done with a well-placed shot”. “The 30.06 caliber is also a very good all-round choice for plains game hunting in Africa. It has a proven track record and ammunition is readily available. Other calibers like the .308, 7 mm Rem Mag, 7mm-08, 300 Win Mag are all great choices”.
“The 300 Win Mag is an excellent all-round choice, especially if your safari will take you to areas where long shots may be necessary”.
“The most popular calibers brought along on any South African hunting safari trip range from a 270, 7mm-08, 7 mm Rem Mag, 30-06 to a 300 WSM and 300 Win Mag”. As mentioned the most important thing to keep in mind is that you feel comfortable and confident with the rifle you are bringing. Bullets play just as an important role. A bad bullet can cause a great shot to be bad, especially when hunting bigger game. Most important is to get to the shooting range. Get comfortable with your rifle, and when on safari, listen to the advice from your PH.
Hunter John Tinley