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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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Col. Boddington has an interesting article about hunting bison with the 45-70 in the current G&A. Not as mean or dangerous as cape buffalo but 25% heavier. The 45-70 acquitted itself well.
Jack, Dan,

People like that "MePlat" character are just troublemakers who enjoy stirring up a fight.  They are best ignored.  We are fortunate to not have too many around here.

The great buffalo herds were largely wiped out with .45-70's and gov't surplus .50-70's and black powder.... 'nuf said!

Fun discussion, all.

I have a few near and dear friends who love to tell me of my antics last spring after a stand went out from under me. I was very fortunate in that I only suffered a major concussion (enough to make my eyeballs bleed&#33<!--emo&;)--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=';)'><!--endemo--> and a broken collar bone. The stand let go as I was getting tied in but had not gotten fully fastened.

While I remember nothing of the 8 mile boat ride, two mile 4 wheeler ride, 45 minute flight in the float plane, and 6 miles in the back of a pickup truck, I do remember the fuzzy faces as I came out of the CAT Scan wondering who hit me with the axe!

I guess that puts Black Bear guiding on the list of "Dangerous Game"

I dont need to stinkin elephants to get the misery factor up on a good hunt!

On the bright side, since I have no memory of that fatefull day, I will be setting stand again in a few weeks.

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I just read meplats post.
Wouldn't it be great to be like him and know everything, and to be so eloquent in passing it on to us lesser mortals.
Just to muddy the waters a bit...
WDM 'Karamojo' Bell, quite possibly the greatest elephant hunter that ever lived, used the 7x57mm Mauser for his rifle to account for hundreds of elephants.  The 303 Brit was used by the masses as a great elephant rifle in the years following the Boer War.  John Linebaugh had a client of his to shoot through an elephant's skull with a 500 Linebaugh handgun with hard cast bullets.

I'm not saying us mere mortals should be using the above firearms to stop dangerous game, but if you are really really good, I guess they do work.  I don't think your clients would be real happy if you were a PH using the above class firearms as your stopper.  I wouldn't be.

How true.

Having killed a charging bull moose with the 22Mag one winter day, I feel like I have had my moment of being outside the realm of "mear mortal" in deep within the class of "dang lucky"

I doubt I could convince my clients that my 22Mag is a reliable backup even though it has proven itself in the field.

I guess if I measured out the powder and lead expended that day, I would have been much happier using it all in one shot. I could have mixed that tube full of 22's together in a big pot and made a respectable big bore bullet.

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You should be proud of DOK. I lurk and occasionally post on this fourm and Accruratereloading and have been following his post over there. He has taken some abuse from a couple of folks and has always responded in a professional and kind manner. There are some folks there that seem to enjoy a good fisticuff and are not afraid to start one if necessary. One atta' boy for ole Dan.

About the treestands, my wife works at the local ER here. Fall of the year is "treestand" season for them. Seems some people just cannot stay up their tree.

Mr. Twillis,

Sincerely appreciate the compliment. The mistake I originally made was by mentioning the Beartooth web site, that put me in the position of needing to be civil, which is not my normal status (ask Mom of my wife). And yes, it appears to be a rather huffy group. One indicated we needed to appreciate this was a "big bore" site, and he was correct, with emphasis on "bore" for some of the folks.

Anyway, a couple responses offered the insight that the Mr. Atkinson that responded was an experienced BG (notice how I'm learning the language?) hunter. He has just posted again with a courteous input that I found interesting. I have included his web site address, which I also found interesting. A combination of the various responses and other sources suggest a 500gr. at about 2230 fps is adequate performance, and that the .458 cartridge was a commonly recommended cartridge -- please note that Mr. Atkinson doesn't appear to agree with either recommendation.

Super Member
Posts: 5151
From: Twin Falls, Idaho
Registered: Jun 2000
 posted 05-09-2002 21:41                
Just to clear the air on my original post, I know the 45-70 will kill a Buffalo with hard cast bullets on a broadside shot that does not hit the massive shoulder bone...I know the Buff will live awhile before it dies...I know it may charge...
I don't know if the 45-70 with any bullet will penitrate a buff lenthwise and that is a requirement...I don't know how effective a 500 gr. bullet at lower velocity is other than I have shot Buffalo at extended ranges with a 458 Lott and was not impressed with the results...I doubt that I will ever know because I'm not interrested in performing a stunt when all those wonderfully powerfull calibers are out there for me to use...

I have experienced charges and I have a very, very healthy respect for Buffalo, Lion, Leopard, Hippo and Elephant, they can and they do kill people every single year...

And finally I have noticed that the folks that want to try these stunts are invaribly first time dangerous game hunters with the rare exception of a few like Ross Seyfried, and if I could shoot a pistol like Ross Seyfried I would take on the devil with a Saturday Night Special.

I do however protect anyones right to do so as long as it is legal, so if you must use a 45-70 then by all means do so, but at your own risk and the PH's. If the PH agrees then shame on him if things go South..but doesn't this apply to bow hunting, black Powder and other forms of hunting. I think so.

Bottom line is I am not opposed to anything legal in hunting, just don't care to do it myself in most instances, and this is one of them. I choose to not use a 45-70 for DG.

Ray Atkinson

[email protected]

<!--EDIT|DOK|May 09 2002,12:49-->
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Well, gents, when all else fails... read the directions!  (or something like that).

I just checked out the Buffalo Bore web site... and their page of field results:

Here it the caption of the third item from the bottom on the right:

"Ed Seyffert -Cape
Buffalo taken with
Guide Gun & Item 8A
Complete penetration thru
both shoulders"

Hmm.... it seems that those who claim that a .45-70 won't penetrate "a" cape buffalo's shoulder are partially correct:  rather, it actually penetrates BOTH shoulders...

Also, head on over to, on the 'reviews' page, for more stories about dangerous game taken with the .45-70 and his 420 gr. and 540 (!) gr. cast bullet loads, including stopping a point-blank charge of a leopard, and several very dead cape buffalo, as well as a testimonial by a grizzly bear guide (PH if you will).

So... what again can we not shoot with a .45-70 and cast bullets?  I keep forgetting....
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Good stuff, Mike. The last two posters on the African BG site also chipped in for the 45-70 and gave the others a little "kick b___" back in their faces:

First response:
Every time this subject comes up people go and compare the 45/70 to a .458 Lott or .460 Weatherby. I agree that their is no comparison between the 45/70 and these calibers. I will maintain however that the 45/70 if properly loaded with the proper hardcast bullets and proper shot placement is in the same class as the .375 and 9.3x62. Each must be properly loaded with the right bullet and the shot must be properly placed to be effective. I would rather have a 45/70 with good hardcast than any caliber be it the .375, .458 Lott, 470 Capstick or larger loaded with the wrong bullet such as a soft that is not up to the velocity of your super mag of choice. Just refer back to the .470 Capstick that turned a 500 grain Woodleigh inside out on a buff. Seems the 500 grainer was designed for 470 nitro velocities add 300 fps and you get catastrophic bullet failure. I don't think that there is a poster on this board who would have advised that hunter prior to that shot not to use that combo yet it failed miserably. The .375 was a grand failure on buff when loaded with the Winchester Silvertip. However at 30/06 veolocities I have seen 150 grain silvertip blow a hole clean through a whitetail at close range.
Again I maintain that any caliber must have the proper bullet for the game hunted at the proper velocity for that bullet to be effective. And don't forget about shot placement.

Second response:
Just as a point of reference, a .45-70 loaded to higher pressures (35 ksi) with a 500+ gr solid will penetrate substantially deeper than a .375 H&H loaded with a 300 gr solid (50+ inches vs 40 inches), and make a larger hole while doing it. The same is true if loaded with proper softpoints. Now, it doesn't have as much KE, but it can make a bigger hole without it. So, what kills a buffalo? The stamp on the barrel or the hole through its guts?
The Taylor KO calculation has nothing whatsoever to do with "killing power" - that from the man himself (read his book). In my opinion it has nothing whatsoever to do with anything at all, because its a made up formula based on whimsy, not science.
Opinions are fine for sitting about, beer in hand, discussing whatever, but opinion doesn't constitute fact - no matter how prevalent. The 500 gr / 2150 fps formula was arrived at by chance. That was what you got when you took the current crop of blackpowder cases and loaded them with the new smokeless powder to the pressure level they could handle with temperature sensitive powder in old style weapons.
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Hey guys,
This is an honest question and I don't mean anything by it, I'm just curious.  But the 45/70 has been around for about the last thousand years and is a fine grand cartridge.  Certainly is capable of doing great things in the hands of a cool headed skilled rifleman.  But it does beg the question, if it is Thor's hammer, and better than or equal to the 375 H&H, 458 Win, 458 Lott, etc... why doesn't it command more of a presence in the game fields of Africa, Alaska, India or Australia?  I'm curious to what the Alaskan guide was using to "back-up" his son when his son shot the 8 ft brownie.

It could be written off that the magnum craze propaganda did it harm, but it wasn't long ago that the 458 Winny was ridiculed as being a failed performer by most gun scribes.  Now out of sheer field use is considered the stopping rifle.  You can't compare apples and oranges and load the 45/70 to the top end and say it is equal to the 458, load the 458 to top end and then see.  Likewise, I don't think it's a fair comparison to pit a 375 H&H with Silvertips against a 45/70 with hardcast or a 458 with solids.

Like I said earlier, the 45/70 is grand and is very capable of at least taking care of business on bears, cape buffalo and such.  Is it the ideal gun for the PH or Master Guide whose job it is to bail out hunters that mess up?  I don't know, but if it was, I believe we would see a whole lot more of them in the fields.  Likewise sales would be much higher than they are.  Is it a 458 Winchester, a 375 H&H or something similar?  I guess we will all decide for ourselves.  If I ever go to shoot an elephant or rhino (not likely) I doubt very seriously that I will be carrying a 45/70, though I'd be happy to take it into the alders after a brownie.  If that is what you want to do, go ahead, it will probably serve you well, but I would ask your guide or PH or whatever he is called what his Professional opinion is.
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I would propose that it is only in the last few years that the 45/70 has come of age (so to speak) and perhaps it is only because of fellas like Sundles and Garrett making ammo and guys like Clay and Jim West that are creating the takedown and hybred versions that will perhaps cause a resurgence.

I know a few old pfarts that have been using the 45/70 since back when dirt was clean and they seem quite content.

I have yet to feel undergunned when totin mine in the puckerbrush. I do not really feel a need to get something bigger or stronger since I think there is a whole lot of gun in the little Marlin package.

I agree with you Coldfingers.  I wouldn't feel undergunned in Alaska with one.  I think we are getting into the 45 LC to the 44 mag to the 475 Linebaugh to the 454 Casull to the.... argument.  Like I said before, I'd be comfortable (well as comfortable as one could be) going into the alder after Mr. Growly with a 45/70.  No doubt about it.  I've crawled in there after them with 338's and at spitting distance, you bet I'd rather have that big 45.  Shoot, as a matter of fact, I'll take a 12 gauge shotgun with Kodiak slugs, first.
"Comfortable" would not be my choice of words either ;*)
There is a good reason why the 45/70 was not accepted in the game fields of Africa 100 years ago but it good enough today.  Old trapdoor springfields vs. new rifles made with modern steel.  The old trapdoor loads were anemic.  405 grains at 1200 or so fps, contrast that with 405 at 2200 in a new 86 Winchester or Ruger No.1.  People seem to confuse the 45/70 of old with the 45/70 of new, they are not the same animal.  
Yeah, I thought it was kinda weird describing going after a big bear in the dense alder patch as "comfortable".  I could be in a tank and still not be comfortable.  I think a better word would be terrified or dreadful or insane...

I agree with that.  They are completely different animals.  Even with top loads in today's guns, I don't think we are going to be seeing more than a handful of Master Guides in Alaska using a 45/70 as their stopper.  I doubt we see any in the hands of a PH in Africa toting one backing up his clients that are after elephant, rhino or mbogo.  There are just too many battle tested (on controlled round fed bolt guns and quick two shot doubles) veteran's of the African game fields that do all that is required without fault.  The 45/70 may be more than enough, but don't hold your breath waiting on PH's to come enmasse to the grand old cartridge.  Would I take a shot on a Cape Buffalo if I had a 45/70 with stout loads?  Yep.  When I left my house to get on the plane and head for the African bush would the 45/70 be in my rifle case?  Nope.  I don't have a 45/70 or a 416 Rigby or a 458 Winchester.  I don't have any desire to shoot a Brown Bear, Cape Buffalo, Elephant or Rhino.  I would like to go after Bongo or some of the plains animals though.
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The responses on the African Big Game web site have been mixed, both pro and con for the 45-70 with cast bullets. And by 45-70 with cast, I mean the very latest stuff.

I'm very disappointed in the lack of data or even personal experience referenced in the responses. One of the more obvious (to me anyway) is the lack of experience the actual hunters have with the 45-70, simply considering it, new stuff and all, as totally unworthy of consideration. The point that is make over and over, is why consider the 45-70 lever when all the new, better rifles are available?

In any case, the best "bottom line" summary I'm able to draw from their inputs is the minimum if a 500gr. bullet and 2150 fps is required. Anything less is called a "stunt" driven by ego.  I've resisted in responding that I personally consider their killing buffalo or elephant to be a stunt driven by ego. Honestly don't care if that's what someone wants to do, not a judgement of any kind, but I don't think they're being honest with themselves -- the 45-70 African hunter is ego driven and they are not.

Next time I post on a new site, I'm not going to tie myself to any other site so I can respond without reservation. I've got little use for elitest know-it-alls that don't support their conclusions with evidence, preferably "experienced" evidence.

But with all that said, I do want to comment on our Alaskan Beartooth posters. I think they are great, simply outstanding contributions to this site and I envy them their experiences. I don't usually live my life vicariously through others experiences, but this is an exception and they contribute to my enjoying doing it. My persoal thanks to the folks posting from Alaska, you're a class act.

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I agree with your insight regarding ego in African big game hunting but there is also an element of wanting to hunt game that can possibly hurt or hunt you back. It's an extension of the principle of the fair chase.

I understand and appreciate that, but my point is these folks seem to think it's ego driven only if you don't use one of their howitzers, thus making it a "stunt". Not interested in the psychology of it or judgement therein, but the dishonesty obviously irritates me. Obviously not one of my mellower days, think I need to get out to the range this afternoon and kill a man-eating piece of paper.

I apologize if the "ego" comments appeared judgmental in any way, not intended. I sure am not trying to get this discussion into the arena of psycology, and yes, I'm a meat eater. In fact I'm are realitively proficient meat eater!


<!--EDIT|DOK|May 10 2002,09:06-->
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Well, I spoke with 3 brownie guides last night after my last post.  I asked all three the same two questions:
1.  How would do feel about your client carrying a 45/70 with hard cast bullets like a Garret or Buffalo Bore load on a coastal brownie hunt.
2.  Would you use this as your stopper?

All three responded the same way.  "It depends".

It depended on where they hunted.  All three said they would be very happy with their clients carrying the 45/70, but prefered them not to use the hard cast bullets.  In fact 2 of the 3 said they had rather see a client carrying the 45/70 than the "minimum recommendation of the 338".  The caveat was that sometimes, especially on the Alaska Peninsula or on beaches, shots can be a bit far than they feel the 45/70 is capable of for bear.  I asked them what that was and every single one came back with 150 yards.  I don't know where they got that number and didn't ask.  One guide did say that the bullet shed velocity to fast to penetrate effectively through a bear at more than 150.  All three said the 45/70 was more than capable of taking anything in North America.  And would love to see their client toting one, especially in the brush.  The complaint from all three about cast was that it didn't expand and they considered that a negative when punching through the thick hide and fat.  All said a premium expanding that was capable of expanding but of continual penetration was the best in their experience.

The second question of would they carry a 45/70, was no.  2 of the 3 said they carried 458's and they didn't see any reason to change as the 458's had never let them down.  The other carried a 416 Remington and he said no, and gave the same reason.

Granted these are only 3 of the guides that guide for coastal brownies, but they seem to be in favor of the 45/70.  Now if someone knew an African PH, we could get a pro opinion on that side of the pond.
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