African dangerous game hunting caliber

Best dangerous

game

hunting caliber

Best caliber for hunting African dangerous game. What will it be?

375

416

458

458 Lott

Caliber for hunting African dangerous game

Dangerous game caliber for Africa

The best caliber for hunting African dangerous game is infinitely easier than for plains game calibers. The two main reasons for this are:

  • legal matters – most African countries decided that 375 is the minimum legal caliber for hunting dangerous game, and secondly
  • there are less dangerous game calibers than plains game calibers

The largest caliber debate in the dangerous game hunting industry is weather a 9,3 X 62 and a 9,3 X 74 is almost the same, or even better than a 375. This can lead to long and sometimes heated debates so get a cold one, grab some biltong, put on your most comfortable slippers as such a debate usually ends heated.

It is our belief that the 9,3 calibers are good enough to hunt dangerous game with. It is law that says it must be 375.

The question we pitch is if a 375 is good enough for dangerous game hunting? Yes it certainly is and we have witnessed one-shot kills on elephant and Cape buffalo using a 375. Both times the shot placement and ammunition used was top notch.

However, it is clear as day that most experienced Professional Hunters use calibers of their choice bigger than 375. We believe this to be due to the fact that we have seen dangerous animals charge from far and from close quarters. In a situation like that we want to have a caliber with real knock-down ability.

Therefore, it is our recommendation to start thinking of dangerous game calibers starting in the 400 class.

Best ammunition for dangerous game hunting

It is not debatable.  Do not use ammunition that was mass-produced in a back-yard in some foreign country you cannot pronounce the name of.

Only use premium grade ammunition.

Best soft-nose ammunition for hunting soft skinned dangerous game like Cape buffalo, African lion and leopard

  • Barnes
  • Nosler Partition
  • Sierra
  • Federal Premium and others

Best solid ammunition for hunting thick-skinned dangerous game (pachyderms) like African elephant, white rhino, black rhino and hippopotamus. We are aware hippos are soft-skinned, but due to the sheer mass of the animal you will need penetration. And lots of it.

  • Barnes
  • Hornady
  • Federal Premium

Confirm whichever type ammunition you intend using will shoot accurately from your rifle up to a maximum of 60 yards. It is seldom that dangerous game are hunted from further than 60 yards out.

The projectile weight will be determined by the best accuracy attained in your particular rifle.

Calibers the way we see it

The way we see dangerous game, or magnum, calibers is rather easy: you have a correct caliber and a wrong caliber for the task at hand. Wrong dangerous game hunting calibers are smaller than 375.

Below are the most popular dangerous game hunting calibers that have found their way to Africa over the last two decades.

  • 375 by a long shot
  • 458 Win Mag
  • 470 NE

The above are most likely the best calibers for hunting African dangerous game.

Calibers the way the law sees it

Draft guidelines: minimum caliber for hunting in South Africa

Minimum calibers for rifle hunting South Africa:

(c) .375 H&H Magnum or larger caliber may be used for hunting –

(i) any furred or dangerous game; and

(ii) any feathered game including ostrich;

(e) .375 H&H Magnum or larger caliber must be used for hunting a giraffe

or any dangerous game, provided that for the hunting of any pachyderm

the bullet must be of full metal jacket (solid) or monolithic solid

construction.

Best caliber for hunting African dangerous game

We consider the 375 as the best all-round caliber for hunting dangerous game in Africa. The 375 has a proven track record and even more important, ammunition is readily available in South Africa.

This does not mean we recommend the 375 as the alpha and omega of calibers. On the contrary, if you consider hunting only perhaps one of the Big 5, then 375 will suit your needs.

If you are aiming to hunt the Big 5 and perhaps even several of each, we recommend getting something a little bigger. We have been using a 458 Lott for many years and have never had any complaints – apart from the cost of ammunition.

Other dangerous game calibers we recommend are:

  • 416 Rigby
  • 458 Win Mag
  • 458 Lott
  • 470 NE
  • 500 A-square
  • 500 Jeffrey
  • 505 Gibbs

Below is where we recommend the best calibers per dangerous game animal.

Best African dangerous game hunting caliber

Best caliber per individual animal

We recommend the calibers per animal solely on what we have experienced over the past 24 hunting years.

Follow this link to read more on best dangerous game calibers

Best caliber for hunting Cape buffalo

After 20 years of professional hunting experience it is our recommendation to use any of the following calibers for Cape buffalo. Same applies for Cape buffalo cows.

    • 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
  • if you have something bigger you can use it

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
  • if you have something bigger you can use it, or if you are looking for a reason to buy another rifle, get a 375 also

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
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.

Tracker and skinner shooting the 458 Lott

Both trackers wanted to experience shooting the 458 Lott. So we said yes.

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