Best caliber for hunting big game in Africa

 

Best caliber for hunting big game in Africa with Mkulu African Hunting Safaris.

 

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Best caliber for hunting big game in Africa

Big game caliber for Africa

The best big game caliber for hunting in Africa will be debated for many years to come. In the end the decision for which hunting rifle and caliber to bring to Africa for a South African hunting safari will lie with you. This decision will many times be a no-brainer. For those who have never been for an out-of-country hunt it can become a major decision.

After a number of years in the African safari hunting business we have learned that a possible definition of the best caliber for hunting big game in Africa is rather simple: bring the rifle caliber or rifle calibers (you are allowed to bring two rifles) you feel most confident shooting with. The rifles you intend bringing along are subject to government rules and regulations as set out in the SAPS 520 section of this website.

If we were to recommend two calibers it would be a 30-06 and a 375.

With these two calibers you will be able to hunt anything that walks in the African bushveld. 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.

 

Best caliber needs best ammunition

One aspect Mkulu African Hunting Safaris will remain adamant on will be the quality of the ammunition you bring along. Please only use the best premium grade ammunition that your rifle shoots accurately. Several game animals have been wounded and lost due to hunters not adhering to this advice.

Best ammunition for hunting in Africa

We recommend the following brands of ammunition: Nosler Partition, Barnes TTSX and TSX, Federal Premium and Woodleigh. This does not mean there are several other manufacturers of premium grade ammunition. The manufacturers mentioned are the ones we have first-hand experience with as the best ammunition for the best caliber for hunting big game in Africa

The projectile weight will be determined by which weight performs with the best accuracy in your particular rifle. Good thing is with premium grade ammunition you can hunt African big game with smaller bullet weights.

458 Lott

The 458 Lott is what we use as a back-up rifle caliber when hunting dangerous game. In essence, the 458 Lott is a 375 necked up to 458 caliber:

  • It is loaded with 500 gr Barnes TSX projectiles at around 2 300 fps for Cape buffalo.
  • It is loaded with 500 gr Woodleigh or Hornady soft nose projectiles at up to 2 200 fps for African lion and leopard
  • It is loaded with 500 gr Hornady Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) or 500 gr Federal Premium FMJ monolithic solids at around 2 300 fps for elephant and rhino.
300 Calibers for hunting Africa

The 300-range calibers are very popular with many North American hunters:

  • Seen here are the 300 Winchester Magnum (Win Mag), 300 Weatherby Magnum (Wby Mag) and the 300 Remington Ultra Magnum (RUM).
  • We consider the 300 Wby Mag and the 300 RUM as high velocity calibers that tend to deflect and wound animals when hunting in the bushveld.
  • This does not take away any and all positive aspects of the 300-range calibers.
The 270 and 30-06

In essence the 270 is a 30-06 shell necked down to 270. This makes it a great long range hunting caliber.

  • Almost all hunters and shooters will know these two calibers.
  • The 270 is a 30-06 necked down to receive a .270″ caliber projectile.
  • The 270 is almost a high speed version of the 30-06
  • Between the two we would suggest using the 30-06 in bushveld hunting conditions and the 270 for plains game in the wide open spaces of the Free State.
12 ga shotgun
  • Although shotguns do not have calibers, we thought it a good idea to make mention of the 12 ga.
  • Most gun shops in South Africa always have 12 ga ammunition and seldom have 20 ga.
  • This is the reason we mention the 12 ga if you were considering bringing a shotgun along on your African hunt.
  • Talk to your outfitter before bringing shotguns outside of the 12 ga.

Best caliber for hunting African plains game

Mkulu African Hunting Safaris consider the 30-06 as the best all-round caliber for hunting plains game in Africa. The 30-06 has a proven track record, ammunition is readily available in South Africa and it is just a sweet shooting caliber. This does not mean we do not have confidence in any other calibers. On the contrary, other calibers like the 270, 308, 7 mm Rem Mag, 7 mm-08, 300 Win Mag and others have all been used with big success on our African hunting safaris.

It is your right to own and bear firearms. It is your right to own as many firearms as you like. It is your right to own any caliber firearm you want. You would be missing out if at least one of your rifles was not a 30 – 06.

Best calibers for plains game hunting in Africa – see the detailed list below where calibers are recommended per plains game animal

Best caliber for hunting baboons

  • First rifle handy!
  • 22-250
  • 222
  • 223
  • 243
  • 270
  • 7mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06 and all 300 calibers
  • 338 Lapua – just get it

Best caliber for hunting black wildebeest

  • 270
  • 7mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting blesbok

  • 243
  • 270
  • 7mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting blue wildebeest

  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Ultra Mag
  • 338 Lapua
  • 375 and any similar or comparable caliber.
  • Generally: the bigger the better.

Best caliber for hunting bushbuck

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting bushpig

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 12 ga shotgun
  • 45 – 70 or any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting caracal

  • Any caliber starting with 22 Hornet
  • 410 shotgun
  • 12 ga
  • 17 Cal
  • 22 – 250
  • 222
  • 223
  • 243
  • calibers that you have solid ammunition for
  • avoid high-velocity calibers like 300 Ultra Mag

Best caliber for hunting duiker

  • 17 Caliber
  • 22 Hornet
  • Any caliber starting at 222
  • 22-250
  • 222
  • 223
  • 243
  • 308
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 mm – 08

Best caliber for hunting eland

  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 (all)
  • 338
  • 375
  • 404 Jeffrey
  • 416 Rigby
  • 416 Rem
  • 458 Win Mag
  • 458 Lott
  • 460 Weatherby (Wby)

Best caliber for hunting fallow deer

  • 243
  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting gemsbok

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Ultra Mag
  • 300 Weatherby
  • 338 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting giraffe

  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Ultra Mag
  • 300 Weatherby
  • 338 Lapua
  • 375
  • 416 Rigby
  • 416 Rem
  • 458 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber
  • ONLY use premium grade ammunition

Best caliber for hunting impala

  • 243
  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting jackal

  • The very first rifle handy!
  • 17 cal
  • 22 Hornet
  • 22-250
  • 222
  • 223
  • 243
  • 270
  • 30-06
  • 7 mm – all 7 mm calibers
  • 30-06, 308, 300 WSM, 300 Win Mag, 300 Ultra Mag
  • 338 Lapua and any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting klipspringer

  • 17 cal
  • 22 Hornet
  • 223
  • 243
  • 270
  • 308
  • 30-06
  • any caliber larger than 22 Hornet with a solid round
  • avoid using high velocity calibers

Best caliber for hunting kudu

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Ultra Mag
  • 338 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting red lechwe

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Ultra Mag
  • 300 Weatherby
  • 338 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting mountain reedbuck

  • 243
  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber
  • avoid using high velocity calibers

Best caliber for hunting nyala

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting ostrich

  • 270
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 mm Ultra Mag
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 X 64
  • 308
  • 30-06
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 375 and
  • any other comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting reedbuck

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting red hartebeest

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting rhebok

  • 243
  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar flat shooting caliber

Best caliber for hunting roan antelope

  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Weatherby
  • 338
  • 375 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting sable

  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 338
  • 375 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting springbok

  • the following applies for hunting
    • common springbok
    • black springbok
    • copper springbok
    • Kalahari springbok
    • white springbok
    • and any other type of springbok
  • 222
  • 22 – 250
  • 243
  • 270
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 7 mm (all)
  • 300 WSM and
  • any other smaller caliber

Best caliber for hunting steenbok

  • 17 cal
  • 22 Hornet
  • 222
  • 223
  • 243
  • 270
  • 308
  • 30-06 and
  • any caliber with solid ammunition

Best caliber for hunting tsessebe

  • 243
  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting warthog

  • 270
  • 7 mm-08
  • 7 mm Rem Mag
  • 7 X 57
  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag and
  • any similar or comparable caliber

Best caliber for hunting waterbuck

  • 7 X 64 Breneke
  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Ultra Mag
  • 300 Weatherby
  • 338
  • 375 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber
  • these are tough, stocky animals

Best caliber for hunting zebra

  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Ultra Mag
  • 300 Weatherby
  • 338 Lapua
  • 375 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber
  • generally, the bigger the caliber the better

Best caliber for hunting mountain zebra

  • 30-06
  • 308
  • 300 WSM
  • 300 Win Mag
  • 300 Ultra Mag
  • 300 Weatherby
  • 338 Lapua
  • 375 and
  • any similar or comparable caliber
  • generally, the bigger the caliber the better
Best caliber

Tracker shooting a 458 Lott

The 110 lb tracker said he wanted to shoot the 458 Lott after a dangerous game hunt. We decided to allow him to shoot it.

Best caliber for hunting African dangerous game

Dangerous game caliber – the law

The best caliber for hunting African dangerous game would be one of the 400 caliber hunting rifles. A 404 Jeffrey, 416 Rigby, 458 WM, 458 Lott, 470 or bigger – Pieter Kriel

The best caliber for hunting African dangerous game (African elephant, Cape buffalo, lion, leopard, rhinos and hippos) would be the largest caliber you feel comfortable shooting accurately with between 20 and 35 yards.

The best African safari hunting rifle calibers for hunting the Big 5 start at 375. This is considered as the minimum entry level caliber by law in most Africa countries. It is our experience that the best big bore caliber rifles start with the 400 range and up:

  • 416 Rem Mag
  • 416 Rigby
  • 458 WM
  • 458 Lott
  • 470 NE
  • 500 A-Square
  • 500 Jeffrey and
  • 505 Gibbs

These safari rifle calibers have the best stopping power and best knock-down power. With regards to dangerous game hunting it is our experience to use the largest calibers you are comfortable using. If you are recoil-shy explore alternatives to lower the recoil.

Ammunition for dangerous game hunting

Best ammunition for African dangerous game hunting – only use premium grade ammunition on any dangerous game hunt for obvious reasons.

 

Thick skinned dangerous game best ammunition

We have had very good results with Hornady solids when hunting elephants and rhinos.

 

Soft skinned dangerous game best ammunition

Hunting leopard and lion we recommend using Woodleigh soft nose ammunition. For hunting Cape buffalo we have had excellent results with Barnes TSX ammunition.

Working up a load for your rifle will depend on how well your rifle shoots a specific weight and brand projectile at optimum muzzle velocity. While you have control over which ammunition to use, use only the best.

Best caliber for hunting Cape buffalo

  • The legal minimum required caliber to hunt African dangerous game in most African countries is 375
  • After 20 years of professional hunting experience it is our recommendation to use any of the following calibers
    • 404 Jeffrey
    • 416 Rigby
    • 45-70
    • 458 WM
    • 458 Lott
    • 460 Weatherby (Wby)
    • 470 NE
    • 500 A-Square
    • 500 Jeffrey
    • 505 Gibbs
    • If you only have a 375 then please feel free to use it
    • If this is a good excuse to buy another rifle, buy it

Best caliber for hunting Cape buffalo cow

  • 404 Jeffrey
  • 416 Rigby
  •  45-70
  • 458 WM
  • 458 Lott
  • 460 Weatherby (Wby)
  • 470 NE
  • 500 A-Square
  • 500 Jeffrey
  • 505 Gibbs
  • If you only have a 375 then please feel free to use it
  • If this is a good excuse to buy another rifle, buy it

Best caliber for hunting African elephant

  • 404 Jeffrey
  • 416 Rigby
  • 458 WM
  • 458 Lott
  • 460 Weatherby (Wby)
  • 470 NE
  • 500 A-Square
  • 500 Jeffrey
  • 505 Gibbs
  • If you only have a 375 then please feel free to use it

The best caliber for hunting hippos

  • 404 Jeffrey
  • 416 Rigby
  • 45-70
  • 458 WM
  • 458 Lott
  • 460 Weatherby (Wby)
  • 470 NE
  • 500 A-Square
  • 500 Jeffrey
  • 505 Gibbs
  • If you only have a 375 then please feel free to use it.

The best caliber for hunting leopards

  • You are welcome to use a 375 or
  • any other caliber larger than 375 with premium grade ammunition only
  • a 375 is more than adequate to hunt leopards

The best caliber for hunting lions

  • You are welcome to use a 375 or
  • any other caliber larger than 375 with premium grade ammunition only
  • a 375 is more than adequate for hunting lions

The best caliber for hunting lioness

  • You are welcome to use a 375 or
  • any other caliber larger than 375 with premium grade ammunition only
  • a 375 is more than adequate for hunting lioness

The best caliber for hunting black rhino

  • 404 Jeffrey
  • 416 Rigby
  • 458 WM
  • 458 Lott
  • 460 Weatherby (Wby)
  • 470 NE
  • 500 A-Square
  • 500 Jeffrey
  • 505 Gibbs
  • if you only have a 375 then buy something bigger
  • this is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence

The best caliber for hunting white rhino

  • 404 Jeffrey
  • 416 Rigby
  • 458 WM
  • 458 Lott
  • 460 Weatherby (Wby)
  • 470 NE
  • 500 A-Square
  • 500 Jeffrey
  • 505 Gibbs
  • if you only have a 375 then buy something bigger
  • this is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence

South African safari hunting packages 2019