View Full Version : Ammunition recommendations for an African Plains game hunt

January 24, 2010, 09:43 PM
I have decided to take my 30-06 and 270 for my upcoming African plains game hunt, but am undecided about the type of ammunition to take. I am currently leaning toward Winchester Accubond (180 grain for the 30-06 and 140 grain for the 270). I normally shoot Winchester ballistic silver tips for whitetail, and am very pleased with the performance; however, I keep hearing and reading about how much tougher the plains game are (although a well placed shot will overcome many shortcomings of the bullet). I have heard about some issues with the tip of the Accubonds coming off and don't want to risk losing a trophy animal.

From what I can tell, some of the other premium rounds aren't offered in either of these two calibers. Bottom line - I am looking for recommendations on other premium ammunition for the trip, particularly from those with experience using them on plains game animals (zebra is the largest I will be going after). Thanks in advance for any assistance.

January 24, 2010, 10:22 PM
Winchester XP3 ammo. Solid copper hollowpoint front, lead in the rear. If it shoots tight out of your rifles it's one to add to the safari.

Black Hills Gold ammunition. The Barnes TSX "Triple Shock" bullet is solid copper. 130 grain for the 270, 180 gr for the 30-06.

Federal Vital Shock. 270 Win, 150 grain Nosler Partition. 30-06 180 gr Nosler Partition and 220 gr Speer Hot-Cor. Also Barnes X bullets in this lineup.

Good hunting!

January 24, 2010, 11:58 PM
My brother in law and I went to S. Africa on a plains game hunt 2 yrs ago. We shot warthogs, impala, gemsbok, blesbok, kudu, and I shot a zebra. We both used 300 win mags. I used 180 gr nosler partitioners and he used 180 gr accubonds. Both bullets worked excellent. Couldn't recommend either one anymore. I can say without a doubt, the animals over there are tougher and a well placed shot is a must. Do a research on the kill zones on African animals. There further forward. A well constructed bullet is also a must. You larger plains game animals have some heavy bones and with the kill zones further forward, you should be shooting through the shoulders. Both bullets I mentioned work great. Look at the swift and barnes as well. Just a suggestion, I would stick with one gun. I wouldn't bother bringing two. The paperwork and getting them processed through customs in Africa and then on the way back can be a real pain and time consuming. 2 guns are going to take twice as long. Out of the 10 that went on our trip, me and my bil were the only 2 that even took a gun. Everyone else used the outfitters guns. The outfitters usually have excellent guns and you won't find an African gun that's not dead on. I would take the 06 and if something really bad happens to it, borrow one from your outfitter. I would buy a really good gun case. Pelican cases are one of the best out there and worth the money. That's what we used. Also make sure you have a high quality scope because the airlines are not gentle with the gun cases. I watched them at the airport in Atlanta pick up our gun case, show it to another guy, and then throw it about 6 ft onto the luggage carrier. Then they laughed when we wanted to file a complaint. I would recommend taking 2 scopes before taking two guns.

January 25, 2010, 10:57 AM
Pack your scope and your bolt in separate bags, maybe even carry your scope in your carry on luggage. If the rifle get stolen, at least it will not be useable as is.

I like the old Winchester Failsafe bullets, the 165 grainers shot fabulous in my 30/06, but any decent bullet like the Partition or Accubond will work well.

January 25, 2010, 05:54 PM
Thanks for all the responses and the advice.

Jimro-great suggestions on the ammunition. I have a few months before I go which gives me plenty of time to buy a box of each and test them at the range to determine which groups best. If they all group equally well, which would you carry if you had to pick one?

Trooper-I have begun the research on shot placement and was absolutely amazed at how far forward the vitals are on the animals I'll be hunting (kudu, wildebeest, impala, springbok, and blesbuck) If i placed the shot on a springbok where I would on a whitetail, I would likely miss the lungs all together. Regarding the gun case, we are thinking alike, as I bit the bullet and bought a Pelican 1700 case a while ago (not cheap but worth the money). you gave me something to consider regarding only taking one rifle. I will check with the outfitter to see how much more a** pain I would be signing up for if I were to take two as opposed to one.

Hagar-hadn't even thought about making the rifles unusable if they are stolen - good thought.

Thanks again for taking the time to respond and giving me a few more things to consider.

January 25, 2010, 06:04 PM

If I had to pick just one I would pick the heaviest one, and if the mass is the same then the one with the highest BC. Off the top of my head I think it goes Barnes X bullet, Win XP3, Nosler Partition, Speer HotCor for BC. The higher the BC the more energy is retained. But I will always pick accuracy over BC for a hunting bullet.

Craig Boddington took a giraffe with a bonded core bullet from a 30-06 so even though I didn't list Accubonds you might pick up a box as well to see if your rifle likes them.

Accuracy is the first part of a good hunting load, penetration a close second, and expansion is the least important. So whatever premium bullet you choose will likely do the job

And if you are taking only one rifle, take the 30-06. You can always buy 30-06 ammo on arrival should your ammo not make it through the trip. And you'll be a hit with your PH if you bring him a box of 375 H&H :-)


January 25, 2010, 06:14 PM
Good luck with your trip. I've never been to Africa but it seems to me like a 270 and a 30-06 are so close to being the same gun that it doesn't make sense to take both.

January 25, 2010, 06:16 PM
Thanks again Jimro. I fully agree with accuracy being the primary consideration.

I'm all about having the PH being happy to see me as he is THE determining factor as to how successful my hunt is, so a box of 375 H&H and a bottle of scotch it is :)

January 25, 2010, 06:26 PM
Absolutely, the 270 and 30-06 are very close. I was primarily looking at the 270 as a back-up rifle. I guess after a quarter century of being in the Army, I am stuck on the two is one and one is none mentality.

James R. Burke
January 25, 2010, 08:04 PM
I never been to Africa, but do reload pretty much. I think the Nosler Partiton would be a good one. Barnes makes some real good ones. Last year just for the heck of it I bought some Barnes banded solids. I believe there solid brass, never tryed them yet but heard they really penatrate if thats what your looking for. They are for my 30-06. I got the 165 grian to be close to my deer round, but they come in many weights. I would think the accubonds would work great also. I also agree on having some extra scopes, I would hate to have anything go wrong on a trip like that. Just myself I would get good quality scopes. I wish I would have been there once to give better advice. Maybe someday a dream will come true who Knows? Have a trip of a life time, and be safe. Good luck hope you get all that your out for!

January 25, 2010, 10:02 PM
Thanks James. I am trying to do everything I can to ensure murphy doesn't sneak in and do something to ruin what will probably be a once in a lifetime trip. I have a Leupold on both of the rifles I'm thinking of taking, and will have a back-up optic in my kit as well.

I am thinking seriously about starting to reload to ensure consistency with the ammunition I use, but . may end up starting after I return, as I don't think I have the time to experiment enough to feel comfortable that I have it dialed in.

January 26, 2010, 12:22 AM
I was blessed to spend 2 years as a teen in Botswana. I got to shoot a good deal of plains game-mostly with a borrowed 30/06-a little with a borrowed .308 ands a little with a 12ga and buckshot. While many of the species are larger than whitetail deer and have thicker hides I remain unconvinced that they are inherently tougher. My father and I had to shoot what we could get ammowise-mostly Sako 150gr SP......and on one hunt 125gr Sp because that was all that was available. With hits in the right place even the "wrong" bullets worked just fine-in fact the 125 grainers were devastating- making it through the ribs and going to pieces in the lungs resulted in very quick kills. Since it is a "hunt of a lifetime" I heartily recommend using premium bullets and 165gr or 180gr are more ideal weights in the 30/06 for general use on large animals. I see nothing wrong with 130gr in the .270.....or 140s...... or 150s if you choose. As usually proves true in riflery -placement matters more than calibre or bullet style.

January 26, 2010, 12:31 AM
Has Barnes changed their copper formula on the X-bullet? I copper fouled my rifle so bad reloading those it took days to get it out.

I think the nosler partition just can't be beat. They always shot so nice in my handloads and worked so well on the game.

And can you sneak me along on your trip?