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Hunting dangerous game

31497 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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There isn't one clear answer to cover hunters' preferences, but there are a couple of shades of doubt that are hard to overcome when "Dangerous Game" and personal safety are discussed:

- Leverguns are entirely American and untried and untested by Europeans and Africans.  

- 45/70s have only been "powerful" since the '70s and in any number the last 10 or so years, so awareness and understanding of the capabilities is still relatively low, only emerging lately in the US.

- a $400 rifle designed for the US deer/elk hunting market is not "well positioned" for dangerous game in people's minds.  These hunts often run $10Ks and getting 'the right gun' is not an obstacle.   PHs in Teddy's time looked at his 1895s as cheap, mass produced contraptions, (as were magazine rifles)and that sentiment may still have roots.  Double guns were "purpose-built".

- There are lots of adequate, proven alternatives.  

-  45/70 is a bit less powerful than the .458, a cartridge noted for its own set of old controversies.

Doubts such as these -- real or imagined -- should not have a home when you're considering each step and every movement very carefully in a potentially threatened situation.
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Just to keep the pot boiling: This info was lifted from  Fr. Frogs Home Page

The following are taken from the regulations in place in Rhodesia.
Minimum requirements
Part A - Thick skinned, dangerous game [Buff, elephant, hippo] requires a 9.3mm bullet (.362") or greater diameter bullet with not less than 5.3
kilojoules (3,909 ft-lbs) muzzle energy; [Yes, I've noticed. Only a fool hunts buff with a ".375." Maybe they are trying to kill off the Yankee tourists
but at least they realize you need some kind of a "real" gun for the bad boys!]

Part B - Thin skinned, dangerous and heavy game [eland, giraffe, lion] requires not less than 7mm (.275") diameter bullet with not less than 4.3
KJ (3,172 ft-lbs) muzzle energy;

Part C - General big game [up to wildebeest and zebra, say 600-800 lbs] requires not less than 7mm (.275") bullet diameter with not less than 3.0
KJ (2,213 ft-lbs) muzzle energy;

Part D - Light big game requires a bullet at least 5.6 mm (.220") and 850 Joules (627 ft-lbs) muzzle energy.
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So how would you demonstrate to the game authorities that your hot hand loaded 45/70 complies with the regs... bring a chrony? Or would they only permit factory ammo such as Garretts or Buffalo Bores?
In conjunction with Coldfingers/Alyeska's comments on Alaskan injury causes, I found this in a discussion on getting medically prepared (shots, etc.) for your African visit:

"In Africa, the number 1 cause of death for visitors is accident. And many massive accidents require blood transfusion, a major source of transmission of Hep B."

When you read the complete post, you realize that not only do you have to worry more about accidents than dangerous game, but you also have to worry about the quality of medical attention.

The conversation on the "African Big Game" site is getting warm again. Several 45-70 supporters have taken a rather obnoxious poster to task. The 45-70 supporters are offering data and asking for rebuttal, but only get rhetoric.

The 45-70 has another supporter, and this one is a PH in Africa. The "Meplats" that is referenced is a rather obnoxious character that basically wouldn't spit on a "pumpkin roller" like the 45-70. But so far, he doesn't offer data, experiment or experience. This PH touches on one of the major points we've previously discussed, the ability to handle the rifle cartridge and shot placement.


"I cannot beleive that this thread has become so personal. I have always beleived that we are here on these forums to learn from each other and also to offer advise to those that seek it.

MEPLATS : May I ask, and ask with respect, how many buffalo have you shot and if any, with what?

I do not recall any buffalo that could read the "knock down" factors etc. I have many clients shoot buffalo with 45/70 in mainly Marlin 1895SS and everyone of them had one shot kills. On the other hand I have had many clients using 460 Weatherbys that I as their PH have had to kill for them.

500grains : You say that a big problem with the levergun is that people tend to short stroke it thus causing jams. Well I have news for you, hunters when inexperienced not only short stroke on long action bolt actions but also on the short actions. I is all due to experience and nothing to do with the action or rifle.

Lets get back to what these forums are for and that is to help each other and to share in our experiences.

Straight shooting and good hunting.:

<!--EDIT|DOK|May 11 2002,12:06-->
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Danger in the fields.  To my knowledge the most deadly day afield for hunters (that I'm aware of) was November 11, 1940 when a blizzard swept across the midwest on Armistice Day and caught many duck hunters in their blinds.  It was estimated that over half of the 159 people that died during the storm were duck hunters.

I think if we look at the greatest danger to hunters across all classes, weather is No. 1.  Where it is an unsuspected storm in the midwest, or fog that obliterates the mountains during flight, weather is probably the number 1 killer.
Jeez, never heard that blizzard story.  I'm going to bring extra long johns next year!

The only thing that I found africans in the bush to fear were crocs, everything else they respested, but showed no concern.  They're the #1 killers, followed by...hippos.

The Armistace Day blizzard was lodged deep in the minds of the men that ushered me into manhood back in rural Minnesota.

I almost paid a similar price when I took my two young boys on a mid season moose hunt years ago. We put the canoe in at our dropoff point with a small snow flurry going on. Everything was green and the leaves had not turned on the birch trees yet. I gave no thought to the snow.

The little river we were planning to float was a two day trip to home but there were no pullouts...once you start, you are committed. By the time we made camp, there was a dusting of snow, but it just kept getting heavier. As it got worse, the birches began to collapse under the laod, our tarp was sagging and required constant attention. Morning found the canoe filled with snow and water, and over a foot on the ground. It kept it up for two days with a final tally at over two feet. It took us three days to negotiate that nasty little crick.

Hypothermia was a constant threat, and it was all I could do to keep my kids alive and myself in condition to do so.

That was a wet, miserable, life threatening trip...similar to Gilligans "Three hour cruise" and all within a 15 mile crow flight from the house (some of our rivers meander for miles and never go anywhere&#33<!--emo&;)--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=';)'><!--endemo-->

I now have a tendency to "pack a bit heavy"

Aint it fun learnin?

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Just saw this on CNN news:
"A male lion bit the arm of a 21-year-old zookeeper Sunday at Busch Gardens, severing it at the elbow, park officials said.

The woman was escorting her family on a behind-the-scenes tour of the theme park, officials said.

The 12-year-old, 350-pound lion named Max attacked the woman through a bar-style fence and was never out of his secure area, said Capt. Bill Wade of the Tampa Fire Rescue.

The woman, whose name wasn't released, was flown with the severed limb to Tampa General Hospital by helicopter.

She is listed in serious condition, a hospital spokesman said. It was unclear if an attempt would be made to reattach the arm."

When I read something like this, it simply reaffirms what we're told.....that the strength of these animals is unbelievable.

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Curious... I've seen videos and read the stories about how the cape buffalo is hunted but how about lions? Are they stalked, baited, driven?

One of the best recommendations (might be my only good one) is to read the experiences of Capstick, who has published a number of books on the subject of PHs and African hunting. His "Death in the Long Grass" was the first one I read and quickly followed up with four more Capstick books.

If memory serves me, Capstick indicated that some are tracked, but primarily they are baited.

One of the recommended references we got in our "Cast/Lever" discussion on the "African Big Game" site was "Bullet Penetration" from Internatinal Wound Ballistic Association (IWBA) by Duncan McPherson (the science behind Marty Fackler).  I looked the "IWBA" web site up this morning ( and found it interesting. The available back issues of their semi-annual publication listed some very interesting "stuff".


International Wound Ballistics Association

The International Wound Ballistics Association (IWBA) is an IRS 501©(3)non-profit scientific, educational, and public benefit California Corporation.
The IWBA is devoted to the medical and technical study of wound ballistics, including evaluation of literature in the field as well as encouraging and promoting new work in wound ballistics.

The WOUND BALLISTICS REVIEW is the Journal of the IWBA.  The Journal is published twice a year.
Memberships or Subscriptions are for two years.

<!--EDIT|DOK|May 13 2002,08:17-->
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Well yes I guess it is a dream, but some of these hogs in Florida ain't exact small and they have a healthy set of teeth...And attitude!! Poor man's rhino...Especially when they get up about 400lbs.

And as for a rifle...I'll take a 62 Cal Muzzleloader, .610 Round nose, behind 120 grains of 2F, that equates to about 1300 FPS and a little over 3500 lbs ME...

Yep that would work for me...

OOPS...That is a 900 grain slug for that 62 Cal..

You wouldn't have to hit 'em, the concussion from that chunk of lead wizzing bye would knock them out.

Yep and it shoots a 344 grain round ball also...Big splat!!...

How often do those large russian boars charge the hunter? The ones out here on the west coast (Paso Robles or Atascadero CA) max out around 300 or so. Never heard of one actually slashing or injuring the hunter but I could be wrong.
This caught my eye...

For some REAL dangerous game try boar hunting in Israel! You're not just dodging tusks but bombs and bullets too.

What a minute...  Is that Kosher?  <!--emo&:D--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':D'><!--endemo-->
Jack, I've shot a lot of pigs without being charged (actually ran one down or 'charged' it myself if you will), but I personally know two people that have been charged by wounded pigs.

One saved his buddy with a quick rifle shot from a .30-06 or .270, I don't remember which, and the other put the charging piggy down with two head shots from a .45 Auto.

Also a third reliable incident, where I don't know the person involved but do know his brother-in-law, where a wounded pig tried to get up and bite the hunter (not really a charge but it was one big ugly pig and you would not have wanted to mess with it).

So yeah they do from time to time.
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