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Hunting dangerous game

31491 Views 178 Replies 45 Participants Last post by  James Gates
This is a continuation of sorts of the "Why Cast Bullets" thread...

Few of us will ever have the opportunity to hunt dangerous game (save our brethren in the 49th State). I can see myself stalking a cape buffalo or perhaps a lion in Africa but that adventure will likely be a safari of the imagination.

Still, we can dream can't we. In that light...

What rifle / caliber / load combo would you use to hunt dangerous african game?

Would it be nuts to assume that a Marlin 1895CB in 45-70 shooting 400g+ hard cast bullets at 1900+ fps would be appropriate for the job?
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I'm dreaming the same thing. I can't see any reason why a 400 to 450 grain cast bullet would not settle the hash of most anything in Africa, excepting the really big guys like elephants, rhino.
Hi there,
    Theodore Roosevelt killed rhino with then-new full metal jacket 30-06 loads! I think I would opt for a .375 H & H with X-bullets. Maybe some solids too just in case the situation seemed right for them.
     But I think you are right, your 45-70 should work fine! It's pretty darn close to some of the old English rounds.                   IDShooter

What would you use? Bill Lester presented a pretty interesting case for sticking with jacketed only if given a choice. I'm a fan of cast but it's not based on experience with dangerous game; only on what I read.


Curious... If a BTB cast bullet (or similar) can penetrate a cape buffalo lengthwise why would you switch to jacketed for elephant or rhino? Do they drive deeper or hold together better?
I would use a premium expanding bullet for African thin-skinned dangerous game like lion and leopard. For thick-skinned dangerous game, I don't see any reason not to use a heavy hard cast LBT design bullet. I took wart hog and a blue gnu with a .41Magnum Federal 250gr. Cast Core load. It worked really well. RKBA!

Brian aka The .41 Fan

After reading Capsticks book, anything smaller than an RPG is too light for Cape Buffalo.
Hey .41 fan

I'm thinking of getting the Taurus Tracker in .41 with 4in barrel. Any idea what velocity the 250 Cast core load and heavy handlaods will be?

Regarding the cast bullet in a rifle for heavy game, all manner of game has been taken with a good cast bullet load. Recently a gunwriter went to Africa with a Sharps and blackpowder loads. Maybe someone out there can remember who it was and can refer you to the article.

How about changing the question slightly: "What rifle / caliber / load combo would you use to hunt dangerous african game if you knew your PH would use the same thing?"

I would feel comfortable knowing that my PH had a Model 70 chambered in .458 Win Mag shooting 500g solids.

But...  that's because I don't know if the Marlin 1895 chambered in 45-70 and launching 420g hard-cast, heat treated, LBT bullets in excess of 2,000 fps+ have any track record in Africa. I also am assuming that the avg. range that buffalo are usually taken maxes out at about 125 yds. Having absolutely no experience with African hunting I could be totally wrong, and probabaly am.

Dan, what about you? What would you use?

"Having absolutely no experience with African hunting" fits my situation also. The articles I've read suggest the .375H&H is the minimum and you are better prepared if you have a .416 or larger caliber.  The bullet, expanding or solid, obviously depends on the type of animal involved. I'm simply not qualified to declare jacketed as necessary, and by nature, I'm not a blind follower, but it is awfully hard to argue against the traditional tools used by the PHs in Africa. That's why I asked about changing the question. Would the cast bullet shooter, hunting buffalo, in his/her heart of hearts, still select that tool if the PH used the same tool. I'd also suggest they watch some VCR film showing the potential challenges that arise.

My local shop, Sheels All-Sport, is a pretty good sized shop, with a significant selection, including the African rifles. While you can spend a lot of money on the African rifes, you can also buy a Winchester 70 in .375 or .418 for $800. The Dakota rifles run $2500 and Weatherby is also expensive. But it would appear you can purchase an acceptable African rifle for not a lot more than the 45-70's will cost you.  The ammo would set you back a bit, but it's cheap compared to the risk.

When in doubt and life is at stake, I'd rather error on the high side.... .416 or more with solid jacketed.

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I believe that, elsewhere on this site, Marshall has some photos/stories of hunters in Africa using his bullets.

Also, I know that Buffalo Bore, Garrett, and maybe Cor-Bon all have had customers successfully using their cast bullet loads in Africa.  

If I could go I'd be entirely satisfied with a .45-70 and cast bullets.  A PH, however has a different role than the hunter, and probably would choose heavier armament than I would.  Not sure if I could handle a .458 Win Mag on a daily basis but presumably a PH can.
I would use a 375 H&H magnum myself, I`m a little prejudiced because I have a Ruger #1 in that cal. I would also use Win. fail safe ammo in 270 or 300 gr. weight. I have shot both of these loads through 30" of hard wood and the bullet kept on going![ like that little rabbit on tv ]. I don`t really see how an animal could stand up to that kind of a hit. Of course this is just my opinion, and you know how that goes. The last time I looked however the bore on my 375 still seemed kinda big.

An interesting "big bore comparison" article can be found at ""


I was fortunate enough to shoot about 10 rounds of 510g .458s from a friend's Model 700 onto paper targets. The first round was from a sandbag rest sitting at the bench. The recoil was simply unbearable. It nearly separated my shoulder. The next nine rounds were from the standing position, rifle held tightly to the shoulder and leaning in. It was stout but not nearly as bad. I can't say that it was comfortable but with the juices flowing from either fear or the excitement of the hunt, I can honestly say that the recoil from a .458 would be no more noteworthy than the report.
For you 45/70 fans, check out the penetration tests that John Linebaugh and crew did at the 2001 Linebaugh seminars.  While not conclusive, it is very impressive...
I have to wonder why one would be uncomfortable shooting dangerous game with a 45/70 when folks do it with not only handguns but bows and arrows.

Just how dead can something get?

You cannot convince me that my 45/70 falls short of the 454 Casull or a 475 Linebaugh from a handgun (not to mention the whimpy .44Mag which has been used).

I have an aquaintance from the States that has taken Buff with his longbow.

I will probably never get to Africa, but would not hesitate to use the Marlin (just in case I break a bowstring 8*) if I did.

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And what tool do you suppose the backup PH was using, a bow and arrow? Maybe a .454 Casull revolver? I suspect it wasn't a Marlin either.

I've heard that more and more PHs are using 1895Gs as back ups. They cite the fast handling qualities and light weight as reasons. Any truth to that?
I've added this post to the "THE ACCURATERELOADING FORUMS" They have a category option, "African Big Game Hunting" that has 2656 topics and 31125 posts. My topic title is "Cast Bullets/Lever Action for Bullalo/Elephant"
I hope my post (below) accurately conveys our basic question(s) and that we'll get good responses.


"We have a lively discussion going on the Beartooth Bullet web site debating the potential for cast bullets and lever action rifles in the taking of Africa's big five, particularly buffalo. While some comment that the big five have been taken with .44mag/.454Casull/.475Linebaugh (and bow and arrow for buffalo), the assumption has been that the backup PH would use jacketed solids in .400 or larger caliber when addessing African buffalo/elephant. This comment was made today, "I've heard that more and more PHs are using 1895Gs as back ups. They cite the fast handling qualities and light weight as reasons. Any truth to that?"

So we're hoping you folks can help us with this question, as well as why solid core, jacketed bullets versus hard cast bullets of the same weight insights.

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