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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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Have been lurking around for a while now and have read all the post,and I hope this is excepted as is.Ihave a father and son teamthat have been my friends for over 15years now and they guide in South Africa,For every thing short of Elephant,he has stated he see's no problem with the 45-70 loaded with Mr.Garrets loads.His sonand himself use a West Co-pilot model Marlin as back up for leapord
and Cape buff in the thick,but he does profess a longing for his 500 double,when they hunt just the Buff.When I asked him about the cast lead,he Stated" #### we been killing things over here since the 1800's with cast lead balls the new stuff like Garettts kills em dead if you hit them were it does the most good".I my self have not yet been to the Africa coast to hunt again like others its a dream,But I have hunted for years with my 45-120 loaded with cast 715 grain lead slugs and have taken everything from Moose,Deer Hogs and even one Ground hog this year at a measured distance of 175yards.
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MR Leadbutt (any man that can swat a groundhog at 175 yards with a bullet bigger than the groundhog desearves my respect&#33<!--emo&;)--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=';)'><!--endemo-->

Thank you for your post.

Scotty (wishin I'da been there to see that)
Thanks, Leadbutt.

This is what I originally expected when I asked the question. Although I have not hunted in Africa it seems intuitively correct that heavy 45/70, loads capable of penetrating a buff lengthwise, would be highly effective stoppers. I was quite surprised to get the reaction that we did from the "safari crowd" that insisted that anything less than 500g fmc at 2150 fps was a "stunt" at best.

I think the 45/70 (and perhaps the 450 Marlin)  will continue to grow in popularity at BOTH ends of the hunting spectrum since it's a completely "scalable" load -- capable of being lightly loaded for paper punching all the way to loads suitable for Africa and the great bears. Rifles that are chambered in 45/70  demonstrate similar utility and versatility (as well as economy).

PS  -- Try hitting a ground hog with a 458 winmag  at any distance  <!--emo&:)--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=':)'><!--endemo-->
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My father-in-law shot a prairie dog with his .50 cal muzzleloader a while back.  I think he uses the Buffalo or Hornady conical bullets (in the neighborhood of 350-400 grains).  Says it rolled the 'dog off the mound pretty good!
Was anything left of the poodle?
fellas, what's the problem with recoil from a 458 wm. i have recently bought one. unfortunantly it does not handle cast well at this point, HOWEVER, with a little help from MARSHALL i am sure it will. my cz-550 weighs about 7.5 lbs, therabouts, i went from shooting 7.63x39, to the 458 with less recoil than my old m-70 30-06 with 180 gners. most definatly less recoil than 3" 12 gauge slugs. maybe if yall stop knockin it more people would try it.not flamin anyone here, just sayin give it a try, you might be surprised. halfbreed
Who's flaming or knocking on this forum???

The PERCEIVED recoil from a heavy loaded 1895 is equal to or greater than a Rem 700 in .458 winmag. At least that's what my shoulder says. It's a function of total rifle weight, and the hold, as well as stock design, recoil pad shape, surface area and composition not just charge and bullet weight. I also think there's a psychological effect. I always EXPECT the recoil of an elephant gun to be worse than it is. I also always EXPECT the recoil of a levergun to be less than what it is.
stranger, i think i missed my point. NOBODY has flamed anyone here to the best of my knowledge. maybe its MY misperception, lots of people around here think i'm ranting when i have no idea what they are talking about. lots of people absolutely will not shoot a 458 wm, because of the perceived recoil just as you said. i have not shot a 45-70 lever because of the narrow stock. the same perception! my cva hawken 50 cal muzzleloader, has a crescent but plate that absolutely hurts. i am going to modify the stock to change this. the real kicker is, it is  amazingly accurate with 250 gn. remington sabot over 90 gns of 2f. deer beware at 150-200 yards. around here no-one will shoot with me when i pull the 458 out. marshall and i talked about this yesterday somewhat. I just did not want anyone thinking i was ranting about people not shootin the wm. it really is fun. or maybe there is something wrong with me. later friends, halfbreed
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Well, I've been watch this thread and Halfbreed is right to an extent...I have had narrow stocked BP beat me to pieces and especiallya straight stocked TC Hawken...

I love to watch peoples eyes bug out when I load the 900 Grain slug in my 62 Cal, but they really look when I just drop the bottom out of the powder measure...

No problem, but do I want to shoot targets, not really, gets to be a little much after about 5 or 6, especially when the calculated recoil is about 105 lbs., and a 30-06 will crank in at about 20 to 23 lbs. but it sure is impressive...Next week weekend I'm going to take my 62 Cal Ball gun and load it with 120 grains of 2F and see if I can up root a porky...Should be fun...

Wow.... you guys have 'almost' talked me into shooting a .458 should the opportunity arise!

I've actually shot a .50 BMG single-shot a few times, but it's a 22lb. gun with a big 'ol muzzle brake.  Isn't bad at all, from prone.

I believe you when you say that the lever guns don't have great stock designs for recoil.  Even my .35 Rem Marlin will smack me shooting factory ammo if I'm not holding it correctly.
mike g, the recoil of a cz-550 with a factory pachmayer decelerator pad will say hello. but after 20 rounds. it leaves you sayin, wheres another box of shells. pull it in too tight to the shoulder, it punches a little. not tight enough it slaps you. pull it in right just a good shove. with the hogback style stock, it never tried to slap my face, if that makes any sense.the hawken rifle has a sharp pointed brass crescent plate toe. 4-5 rounds and i have a nasty little bruise that goes deep. my old m-70 with 180 gners, slapped my face often. it did not bruise my face by any means. it just was not FUN. i really enjoy my cz. i can just imagine the fun when BIG BORE'S wife pulls out her 458 wm, and all the guys are standing around. I really hope to hunt moose in ak, if i get to. all of you allready know what i will be carrying. thanks halfbreed
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No there was not much left of the ground hog.I do cheat a little I have a 6 power 34" long tube scope that would have been a period piece then,The boys from Africa tell me that the PH type have to go to a refresher course once in awhile and he has seen all types of rifles there,except the lever gun,he seems to think its just because they were not around when the old timers made there mark useing the doubles.but he swears by his for what he said in my early post.Last night he did hedge a little by saying that he didn't think it would be good for over 100meters,unless he saw the hunter shoot long distance before hand.The ground hog was just a fluke,I was hunting with my TC in 256 win mag and had it along for fun.the load is the same I use for bear and pigs,115gr of select ffg,wonder wad and a soft cast 715gr slug.Lots of fun and sure makes the bolt action group take notice when you lite one off at the range.
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A post from the Marlin Talk web site:

How about a Big Bore Penetration test pitting the "elephant guns" against the biggest, baddest magnums out there? Who would be the winner? The MIGHTY .500 Nitro Express? The the POWERFUL .458 Win. Mag? Nope...the WINNER is the lowly .45-70 Gov't!!
In the new July/August 2002 issue of American Handgunner magazine there is an article, written by John Taffin, regarding penetration tests, in wet newsprint, of several different firearms. The winner with 55" of penetration in wet-newsprint is Garrett's 530-grain HammerHead load at 1,550 fps, next on the list is a handgun round, the .500 Linebaugh, featuring a 495-grain bullet at 1,270 fps with 52" of penetration. And, guess what? They both feaure HARDCAST LEAD bullets! That's right...the best penetrators are HARDCAST LEAD bullets. (Sorry, AKunter&#33<!--emo&;)--><img src="" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=';)'><!--endemo--> The .500 Nitro Express with a 570-grain FMJ solid at 2,000 fps went to a depth of 48", and the .458 wasn't far behind at 47" using a 500-grain FMJ solid at 2,260 fps.

The interesting part of this test is how well the various handgun rounds performed. My .475 Linebaugh, using a 420-grain LBT SWC lead bullet at 1,335 fps, has as much penetration potential as the .458 Win Mag. Even the "feeble" .45 Colt is right up there with 43" of penetration when loaded with a 350-grain hardcast lead bullet at 1,4000 fps.

What is shown, and most of us are aware of this, is how well a HARD CAST LEAD bullet penetrates! Plenty of "experts" poo-poo the notion of carrying a handgun for protection in big bear country, however, I hope that this test dispells some of the myths regarding that subject. A properly placed big bore handgun round will do the job as effectively as a big bore rifle. The downside to this argument is that most people don't take the time and effort required to be able to shoot a handgun as effectively as a rifle. On the other hand, with a proper holster, the big bore handgun can be with you at all times; the same can't be said for a rifle! Pick up a copy of the magazine and check out the rounds that they tested -- pretty cool!! Way to go, .45-70!!


<!--EDIT|DOK|May 16 2002,07:45-->
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What's it like to shoot a 530g Hammerhead from a Guide Gun? Anyone here have actual experience?
dok, this test was not really an apple to apple test. i have not read the article YET. however most fmj rounds, are round nose. if they want to really test the penetration depth, it should be all cases loaded with the SAME cast bullets. i.e. all with the same diameter meplat. or as close as casting different calibers will allow. most folks realize that hardcast, wide meplat bullets penetrate much better. on accurate reloading, there are many, sometimes heated discussions on the stopping rifles. cape buffalo at mere feet. elephants at 25-30 feet. from what i understand, there have been several hunters come home in a shoe box after hunting dangerous game with 45-70's. this includes some of the super hardcast bullets. i also understand 475 linebaugh has many times been proven with full broadside penetration on cape buttalo. check out the field performance section on this site. on the other hand, jj hack is a african ph who uses a 458 lott. only loaded with 450 gn. BEARTOOTH BULLETS. i have e-mailed this gentleman a couple of times, i will take his word, as i do not plan to hunt africa. as i have no wish to travel outside of USA. although a trip to scotland would be mighty tempting. australia too, ught oh. i can see where this is going. later friends, halfbreed
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"dok, this test was not really an apple to apple test."

Well, yes and no. My understanding of one of our basic questions was why do most African PHs use the round nosed solids rather than hard cast with wide meplats, regardless of caliber -- can the hard cast compete with the round nose solids? Another question was the use of the 45-70 with cast to take African BG, again using the more commonly accepted PH rifles as a reference point.

So I suggest a test that uses a cartridge, like 45-70 with hard cast bullet versus the more commonly recommended .458 with round nose solids is appropriate.


<!--EDIT|DOK|May 16 2002,09:06-->
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Hey DOK,
Some more interesting penetration tests were done at Linebaugh's seminar last year.  He has them listed on his website.  These may be the same tests you refered to, but it is an interesting read from Linebaugh's perspective.  I think it was written up by Ken Batchelor.   Check it out at:

The 500 A-Square 570 gr solid at 2500 fps penetrated 55" as did the 45/70 530 GHH (Garrett hammerhead) at 1550 fps tied for 1st place.  The 500 Linebaugh with 495 gr LBT at 1270 fps penetrated 52".
dok, i'm getting in a little over my head here, however most premium fmj loads are rn. but there is a shooter/hunter i think from europe that has recently developed a new bullet.( bear me out here please) it is basically a rn with a built in disk on top. this disk is about 2/3 the shank diameter. the idea is, as the bullet penetrates, the disk holds its shape, the slight air pocket formed behind the disk, in front of the round nose ogive, gives a tremendous hydraulic shock. creating a much larger wound cavity. seems as though, even the big dangerous game crowd is seeing that round nose bullets are not all they are cracked up to be. i may be getting a little off base, but this is close to wide flat nose profile of hardcast, it is generally accepted that the wide flat nose is much better at penetrating than a round nose. question is? will the bullet manufacturers follow up, or will they continue their practice and not recognize a single mans efforts. this article is in accurate reloading, big bore forum, page 2,topic is super penetrators, posted by norbert. took me a while to find. now i think maybe if we were all shooting these rounds near 2000 fps. we could all be dangerous game experts. halfbreed
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Something that hasn't been discussed much here that is probably a great consideration to PH's is the action of the rifle.  I'm not implying one way or the other here, but most bolt actions used in Africa for large dangerous game are controlled round fed actions and others that are known for their strength and dependability.  Some may not view the levers as being in that same class.  There's always been discussion about pressures that a lever will stand and some might view that as suspect.  Extraction method is another concern, most bolt guns used by PH's are of the Mauser design (not many Remingtons that I've read about).  In the case of the double rifle, your second shot is without action cycling, so it isn't a worry in that sense.  Not too many PH's these days with single shot rifles which is what you would have if you run into extraction/feeding problems.  Just another variable.  Most folks view the Mauser and Winchester M70 designs as the most dependable on the planet, might very well be one reason that you see these when you don't see double rifles.
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Has there been any discussion on the dependability of Marlin leverguns or their derivatives (e.g., Wild West)???

Are failures to cycle (mechanical or operator induced) or catastrophic failures due to over-pressure encountered?
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