View Full Version : Dangerous game you have taken, what caliber & load did you use?

December 16, 2000, 11:05 AM
I would like to find out what calibers/loads people have actually used to take dangerous game with. I am guessing that the 375 H&H and 458 Win are the most used calibers with factory ammo. With the 416 Rem & Rigby running a distance 3rd & 4th place and almost no one using anything else. But maybe I am wrong and some of you have used more interesting calibers?

Paul B.
December 16, 2000, 11:55 AM
Glamdring. I suppose "dangerous" game should be qualified. I'm sure you mean critters like the big five of Africa, but other animals can be dangerous as well. On a church camping trip, a woman was attacked by a black bear. The only gun in the camp was my 38-44 Outdoorsman, a forerunner to the .357 Magnum, shooting a load that would be a bit hotter than +P+. Two quick ones behind the ear. One dead bear. BTW, the woman required over 100 stitches in her leg. Just a small 150 pound black bear, but dangerous all the same.
Paul B.

December 16, 2000, 12:59 PM
Ive never been to africa, so those DG are out. In AK, the most DG I hunt is the black bear. I dont really have any interest in shooting a brown/griz, but I do plan for the worse. I always pick up a brown bear tag and carry a 458Lott w/500gr hornadies, a 45/70 w/400gr cast, or a 338 w/250gr X's.
If I run into a really nice brownie and its legal, I'll probably drop it, but I'm not gonna go out solely for them.

December 16, 2000, 01:40 PM
bou3: 500 grain hornady fmj's or softs?

Paul B: To me dangerous game would be big bears, african lion, buff, elephant, rhino, and tigers. I know that the last two probably are not legal game animals any more. Thought they are probably still shot for control and such from time to time.

December 16, 2000, 01:59 PM
500gr softs in front of 87gr of RE15. If I ever make it to Africa, this is the gun I would probaby take.

December 16, 2000, 02:49 PM
What about mountain lion?? They're planty dangerous, expecially when wounded or hungry. How about moose? They trample people up here (AK) every year, and can be some tough costumers during the rut when they're horny and territorial. Bears I would consider too, and maybe wolverines up here. I don't have any personal stories about shooting these critters, but a friend told us about shooting a wolverine.
It crossed the road in front of him and stopped and hissed when he got out. He shot it in the gut the first shot, and it started running towards him. He was hunting bear and had his .44 which he shot it with, and his .338 in the truck, he didn't want to shoot it with that, because of fur damage. His second shot from the .44 took out a front leg. It kept pushing and dragging itself toward him, he was getting worried, this thing meant death!! so he shot it with his .338. He skinned it and was surprised that the .44 hole through the gut made a bigger mess than the .338, but that was the one that finally put it down. I've heard that wolverines weren't afraid of anything, but I didn't believe it till he was telling me about it. He got a rug made out of it, and it looks pretty good now.

December 16, 2000, 07:53 PM
My Wife!

Used cunning and guile and lots of personality! LOL!


December 16, 2000, 07:57 PM
Paul B: To me dangerous game would be big bears, african lion, buff, elephant, rhino, and tigers. I know that the last two probably are not legal game animals any more. Thought they are probably still shot for control and such from time to time.

You forgot Hippo and Crocodile.

Probably the most dangerous thing in the lower 48 is a dog pack. For that a quick rifle like a marlin lever action.

December 16, 2000, 10:42 PM
I still believe that pound for pound the most dangerous animal on earth is the Grey Squirrel. I have stopped several in the middle of a charge with .22 caliber rimfire rifles. Anything but a head shot should be considered risky because of the tremendous power of these animal's hind legs.

December 17, 2000, 04:55 AM
Hippo I would count if you hunt them in the water without a boat :D

Crocs, Cougars, and Leopards are not dangerous game IMO. You could safely hunt those three with low end deer cartridges with no problem and no need for a backup gunner.

December 17, 2000, 08:48 AM
What about pigs? Not the little javelinas of the Southwest (although they can be nasty enough,) but the big Russian boar/domestic pig crossbreeds?
300-450 lbs of pig w/3" razor sharp tusks coming at you through the thick bush found in southern swamps can get the adrenaline pumping almost as much as some of the other game mentioned.

December 17, 2000, 09:23 AM
I suppose this is not for everybody, but in the 20's, if I recall correctly, there's a missionary in India that shot a man-eating tiger with a 22 Savage... History says the bullet entered the stomach and caused massive hydrostatic shock that killed the critter... I wouldn't want to have this guy for a hunting partner...
Seriously, if I would hunt anything in North America or beyond, something like a 35 Whelan would fill the ticket nicely, but falling short of the big 5, grizzly or polar bear... For those, I have to admit my ignorance, but I'd take something big and bad!

Art Eatman
December 17, 2000, 09:33 AM
45King, I have a bit of a problem in worrying about javelinas. I think most of the "attack" stories come from events like one of mine: I walked into the middle of a bunch of them, mid-day while they were resting. They all panicked and ran, all in the same direction. I had a couple of them run darned near between my legs, but they weren't "charging". They're so near-sighted they can't see well enough to make a deliberate charge.

You can ease along quietly with a bunch of them, within ten yards or so, if you have the wind in your favor. If you don't make sudden motions or any noise, they'll never notice you.

I grabbed a baby pigelina one day; he squealed, Momma popped her jaws a lot, and the rest of the bunch ran off. When I put piggy back on the ground, Piggy and Momma left in a hurry...

They are definitely territorial, and make good "watch pigs", as a census taker found out, here.

Tasty, real tasty, too...

:), Art

Art Eatman
December 17, 2000, 09:42 AM
Thibault, I remember that story. I think it was a case of a fella using what was available, as opposed as "the" choice for a tiger hunt...

That old Hi-Power deserved its name, given the era: It could drive a 45-grain bullet to 3,800 ft/sec; a 55-grain bullet to 3,300 ft/sec, and a 63-grain bullet to 3,100 ft/sec. Doggoned good, for 100 years ago!

The Model 1899 Savage was developed specifically for this cartridge. It was only later that it was chambered for the .250-3000 and the .300 Savage.


Paul B.
December 17, 2000, 11:55 AM
Glamdring. If you check the records, more people have been killed and eaten by Black Bears in this country that all the attacks by Brown and Grizzlies combined. We had an incident here in southern AZ about two years ago, where a lovely 15 year old girl was attacked in her tent and was being dragged out into the woods when the camp counselor shot it three times with his .44 Magnum revolver, causing the bear to let go and run off. Fish and Game officers tracked the bear down and finally killed it.
When I go hiking in those mountains, I always carry a heavy handgun due to harassment by bears. I have not had to shoot one yet, and I hope I don't have to, but nontheless, the problem exists. So yes. I consider the Black Bear dangerous game.
Paul B.

December 17, 2000, 06:58 PM

I've never had to take a dangerous game animal yet, but the time may come. I work in the logging industry and with the increase in Black Bear and Cougar in our area, the peaceful encounters may become nasty before long. I spend a lot of time walking in the woods looking at jobs, all alone. It's just a matter of time. There's getting to be a bear behind every tree around here and the cats are losing their fear of people since they outlawed hound hunting. Had a cat giving me a look-see a month ago. As soon as I saw it, it took off. Makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up!

Oh, I carry a cut-down Marlin 1895SS ( Wild West Guns Co-pilot) in 45-70 with either some 405 gr Kodiak Flat point FMJ solids or Garrett's 530 grain hammerheads. Either will shoot through any living thing and leave a BIG hole doing it. I carry it in a Nimrod back-pack scabbard. Really works slick. Sometimes I'll carry a Marlin .44 carbine or occassionly a 1911. Mostly the 45-70.

Zorro is entirely correct on one thing. The most dangerous thing a person is likely to come up against is a pack of feral dogs. It's the only thing that ever "treed" me. Kept me there for 45 minutes. Never left the truck without a gun after that.


December 17, 2000, 07:39 PM
Not the ol' "I picked up a piglet and the momma popped her jaws" story again??:rolleyes: hehe, that's gotta be the third time I've heard it:D :D

Art Eatman
December 18, 2000, 12:20 AM
Well, now, Bad Medicine, my father said that *he* had done it, so naturally, anything he said he had done and gotten away with, I wuz gonna try. And after all, would my father lie to me?*

So, I did.

He wuz right--they behave just as he said, just as I just told ya.

Don't reckon I'd try that, with some of the feral hogs I've seen. But ain't bear cubs cute?

:), Art

*In a heartbeat. Although, come to think of it, he might have said, "Well, what you can do, is..."

December 18, 2000, 03:32 AM

December 18, 2000, 07:29 AM
I had to use four rounds from a Winchester 1300 Defender and six rounds from my Smith and Wesson I was carrying as a backup when it became necessary to defend myself against a wounded and enraged...........wait for it.......squirrel.

December 18, 2000, 01:59 PM
Leopard hunting is extremely hazardous in my experience( 3 safaris.) I haven't needed a second shot but I wouldn't hunt them with deer calibers.I have taken several buff with .470 Nitro (500 A-Square solids)and one with .375H&H (300 Swift A-frame.)I use the .375H&H with the 300 Nosler on leopard. The hippo is most deadly when afoot, not in the water. I have carried the .416 Rigby when in hippo country and used it on eland. They are huge but not dangerous. In Rhodesia .375 is minimum for eland,jumbo,lion,buff and white rhino.Yes I know it is Zimbabwe now, I am being politically incorrect. The thing to remember in Africa is that one never knows what one will encounter when bounding through the bush.

December 22, 2000, 04:27 PM
I never know what kind of game I am going to encounter, wherever or whenever I hunt. Any animal weighing over 150lbs, when in the wrong frame of mind, can become bellicose and dangerous. For this, as well as other reasons (such as unpredictable, difficult shots), I hunt with a .375H&H loaded with 300-grain softpoints - always.

In Africa, dangerous game is encountered most often, whether they be part of the big 5 or just some other cantankerous critters such as hippo, croc or zebra, who decide they don't like the cut of your suit. And the overwhelming choice among African professional hunters is the .375H&H, both as a personal choice and as a recommendation to clients.

A friend of mine and prominent South African Bwana has explained to me that the .375, unlike the 416s and the 458, is very easy to shoot by the average hunter, and is less likely to cause a nervous client to flinch when the chips are down. He therefore prefers to see his clients armed with the old H&H than with any of the more modern and potent fodder such as the Weatherbys.

Even Craig Boddington, possibly the most literate of modern-day experienced hunters, has tallied the .375H&H as by far the most recommended cartridge for anything larger than medium plains game in his must-read tome Safari Rifles (Safari Press, Long Beach CA, 1990).

In my less rembunctious years, I have come to lay down the old .416 in favor of the .375, which I would not hesitate using on any game on Earth. I have come to learn to place my shots with surgical precision (as far as it's possible) and the gentle shove of my 9 1/2-lbs rifle has become second nature.

I have not yet had a use for solid bullets, though. I think that their need is very limited. Brain shots on elephant (hardly a commonality these days) and body shots on rhino (ditto) are the only 2 instances in which I would use them. Thing is, that controlled-expansion projectiles have gone such a technological distance by now, that with them you still get plenty of penetration plus expansion and hydrostatic shock. The Trophy Bonded, for example is a helluva lot of bullet, as is the Hawk and, of course, the Partition.

If I had to face a charge, I would much prefer a good, controlled-expansion 375+ bullet than any solid on Earth, possibly even for elephant. Put such a slug in an animal's puss and you'll turn it at the very least. Instead, a solid could even go clean through (especially with a soft-skinned animal such as lion or leopard) without making much of an immediate impression.

This is just my opinion, and I bow to any of you more experienced hunters out there, but so far I have not been disappointed. I am thinking of re-barreling one of my .416s to the 450/400 Nitro Express, and see if I can unseat the .375 as my King of calibers!

December 22, 2000, 06:05 PM
MountainGun44: That was a great post about the dreaded North American Grey Squirrel. I'm still laughing!
Good Shooting, CoyDog

December 22, 2000, 09:44 PM
416Rigby, if you like the .375 better, why the name??:D

Thank you for clearing up that little bit about the .375 being heavily used in africa, even on big game. *somebody* not to name any names, but you know who you are, said basically that a .375 was a wussy gun, only to be used on small plains deer and antelope!! I was like "WHAT???" but couldn't find any supportive info on the net to post a rebuttle. However, comming from a guy whose actually been on african safaries, I take your word for it, as I've heard it before.

The late Hal Waugh, of kodiak alaska, guided bear hunts for many years. He has shot many bear (sometimes as a backup for his clients) and reported never having to shoot a bear twice with that gun, whom he named "Big Nan." He also took a safari in africa, and what did he use?? say it with me "A 375.H&H." And What did he shoot?? THE BIG FIVE. That's why I opted for a .375 this spring when getting a new gun, instead of the .338. My dad and his friend had to shoot my dads grizzly 7 times with .338 mags, and only one wasn't through the heart/lungs. That stray went through the bottom jaw. These huge bears whip themselves into such a frenzy, and have gallons of adrenaline pumping through their veins that you can't hardly kill them, that's why I wanted a little more gun. Mine is a Rem 700 BDL with a synthetic stock that kicks like a pissed off mule. I dunno how much it weighs prolly about 6 lbs:D but it sure is a hoot. I shot at a couple coyotes a few weeks ago and was so excited didn't even notice the kick.

Wanna know what gets me?? the 700BDL's that are in .308 have muzzle breaks factory installed on them. Who needs a muzzle break on a .308??? but on a .375, a gun that really could use a little less kick??? Nothing, No break at all. IN THE SAME MODEL OF GUN!!! What is that about???? Hmmm, makes me wonder what they're smokin over there at remington:D

December 23, 2000, 06:41 PM
Bad Medicine: I also have one of those .375's that kicks like a pissed off mule (great expression). But it's worse on the other end. I killed a black bear with mine so quick that he didn't even twitch a whisker. He was walking toward me head down when struck at base of neck by a 300 grain Nosler Partition. Bullet took out base of neck, top of shoulders, and then ranged back through bear and was found in a hindquarter. I never feel that recoil in the field, but sighting in can be pure hell.
Good Shooting, CoyDog

Nevada Fitch
December 24, 2000, 07:27 PM
Well, I haven't killed any dangerous game with it but I really do like my 375HH Mag in my Remington 700 Classic.If I had to choose one gun to hunt everything that would be it.

December 25, 2000, 02:25 AM
Coydog, what model is your's? Where do you live/hunt?

December 26, 2000, 04:28 PM
BadMedicine: My .375 H&H is a Browning A-Bolt Stainless. It's a pretty light outfit, weighing about 8 pounds with a 2.5-8 Leupold. I just put a Kick-Ez recoil pad on it which helps a little, but I still get that stunned feeling when touching one off at the range.
I took the black bear in Manitoba on a guided hunt. I live in Kentucky, but I'm moving to Wyoming in the Spring-2001. I'll be spending a lot of time in grizzly country, so I recently took the scope off the .375 and installed a ghost ring rear peep from Ashley Outdoors, with a fiber optic bead up front. When scouting for elk or just knocking around in the wilderness, I'll take it along for general protection purposes. I usually hunt elk with a .300 Weatherby, but I may use the .375 one of these days to see how it performs.
Good Shooting, CoyDog

December 27, 2000, 12:41 AM
How about 454 Casull , does anybody plan to make a companion rifle for the revolvers in this caliber.
I dont have a story but there is a guy in the NW
that hunts bear with the 454 casull and he is also selling a pistol safari in africa videotape. see the following link
to read his story about killing a brown bear that charged his stand with his Freeddom arms 454 http://www.pistolwhipvideo.com/Bigbear.htm

December 27, 2000, 03:57 PM
416Rigby, if you like the .375 better, why the name??

....A throwback to my younger, stronger years, perhaps?...;)

Between the two... tough choice. But in the field, the .375H&H is simply unbeatable. I am so in love with that cartridge, that I always carry a loaded shell in the loop of my loden jacket, the belted, shiny case making quite a fashion statement :D!!!

I am actually trying hard to find a cartridge that would beat the .375. But it's hard to find something that has the timeless appeal, the impeccable performance, the widespread availability, the romantic aura, the versatility and the sheer history of the .375H&H. It's the same story for all the American ol'timers who are in love with their '06.

I am glad to see that many of y'all like the old Brit classic too. (BTW, I am an anglophile ONLY when it comes to riflery and brew).

Actually, I would like to know who in gawd's name could possibly infer that the .375H&H is good only for the little stuff? I would like to find out what sort of personal experience (misadventure) could have possibly given origin to such an idea in his head?!?!

December 28, 2000, 06:06 PM
Dumped a 9 foot brown bear here in Alaska with my 35 Whelen last April. Used crappy 250 gr Federal ammo.

December 29, 2000, 12:43 PM
416Rigby: As to failures of the 375 on dangerous game see page 44 of the April 2000 issue of Handloader No.204 where Ross Seyfried mentions a solid from a 375 that broke up on the shoulder knuckle of a buff after 2" of penetration. As an aside in a story on 416's.

And Ross doesn't bash the 375, he recomends the 375 or 416 for most people as heaviest rifle they need for [b]hunting Africa.

I suspect that the reason we hear about failures from the 375 and the 458 Win is because they are the rounds used most often. So they do have a greater total number of failures even if they have a higher % sucess rate.

That and for the 375 I think you need very tough solids because it is a high velocity cartridge for solid use. The standard velocity for most NE rounds is ~2100 right? With the 416 Rigby at ~2370. [Note also that Bell's 7x57 with the 173 grainers would have been doing about same velocity as the 416 IIRC]

December 30, 2000, 10:38 PM
What about 50 bmg would this be effective on african dangerous game i didnt see that anyone mentioned it is it just not good for hunting?

December 31, 2000, 02:04 AM
Was that a serious post? [I can't tell for sure :)]

Far as I know no one makes real hunting bullets for the 50 BMG. And most of the portable [light enough for hunting] ones are single shots with rather extreme muzzle blast due to the muzzle brakes. You would probably need to wear plugs and muffs for hearing protection even if you were hunting with the 50 BMG.

If you want an extreme elephant caliber I would suggest the 577 or 600 Nitro as a better idea in a single or double rifle. Or the 500 Jeffery, or the Jeffery Improved which shoots a 535 grain bullet @ 2400, for a bolt gun.

December 31, 2000, 09:26 PM
what about 12 ga. slugs?I've read these will stop a griz,
never seen a bear outside a zoo, so have no expertice. but
heard buckshot killing black bears, with one shot.a rifled
barrel with a solid sabot must dump alot of energy.a shot to
the head or neck?

January 1, 2001, 12:33 AM
Slugs seem to work fine for defense from bears, and would probably work fine in Africa on Lion and smaller.

The main problem with 12 slugs for dangerous thick skinned game is that no one makes a true solid non-expanding slug (yet). The Brennekes [sp?] are supposed to be tougher than the standard American slugs, but I still don't think I would count on them for buff or elephant.

To the best of my knowledge all the sabot slugs for shotguns are hollowpoints that normally penetrate less than normal lead slugs because they spend more energy to deform [ie expand] than the normal slugs.

Now if you handloaded a 420 grain .475" hardcast LBT style bullet in a sabot you might have something. Or even a 360 grain .452" hardcast LBT slug.

January 1, 2001, 10:50 AM
Winchester has come out with a new slug that I intend to try out. It has a 385 grain Partition Gold bullet. This is patterned after the Nosler Partition, with the addition of a steel cap on the rear section. Should hold together well. Advertised velocity is 1900 fps, with 3086 muzzle energy. That's a pretty good thump!

For bear defense, I like the idea of a Benelli Super 90 with five rounds of these on tap...sorta like a semi-auto 45/70.
Good Shooting, CoyDog

Keith Rogan
January 9, 2001, 04:17 PM

Black bears kill about as many people as brown/grizzlies but you have to remember that black bears outnumber the big bears by about 100 to 1.
Ie: when encountering a bear, you are 100 times more likely to be attacked if it's a brown/grizzly.
Actually, it's more than 100 times more likely because more people survive brown/grizzly attacks than black bear attacks - territorial vs predation attacks and these stats only deal with fatalities. Nobody really knows how many people are attacked, because there is no central repository for such statistics. About a dozen people a year are attacked in this state alone.

So.... while you are more likely to be attacked by a brown, you will probably survive. If attacked by a black, you'll probably die unless someone is there to intervene with a firearm.

Reassuring, eh?

As for guns, the .45/70 rules in my opinion. Not entirely for it's ballistics, but also because it's usually housed in a short handy rifle that can be employed quickly.

January 9, 2001, 04:58 PM

Welcome back Keith!!!! Have you been out on walkabout??? I was hoping the worse hadn't happened, again:) Have you been lurking and not posting?? Hmmm, well it's good to have your expert bear advise back at TFL.

January 9, 2001, 05:22 PM
an enraged squirrel once with a load of 22 Fineshot. Stopped him cold. ;)

January 10, 2001, 01:01 PM
Keith: This thread was supposed to be about results of guns/loads on dangerous game...when you were hunting. Not defensive shooting or defensive weapons to protect oneself in the woods from attacks. Though it has wondered off topic a bit.

As to black bears vs browies...I was simply making clear what I considered dangerous game to be. IMO a black bear isn't dangerous game since deer rifle work fine on them.

Now if you want to call black bears dangerous animals or whatever that makes sense to me. They can kill people, but so can dogs and rattle snakes. I don't consider dogs or rattlesnakes as dangerous game though.

Brown Bears will hunt and eat adult black bears. I don't think very many black bears would hunt and eat an adult brown bear.

January 10, 2001, 01:24 PM
I saw this discovery channel thingy, about bears eating salmon....

There was this HUGE blackbear eating salmon at a stream, probably 400lbs. Then out of the brush on the other side of the river come this grizzly, half his size, prolly 200 or 250lbs. The grizzly just walks strait towards him like he don't care at all. The blackie looks up and kinda trots about 30 yards down stream and starts fishin again. The brown bear don't even break stride, just pivots on two legs, and resumes course strait towards the Black. The black saw him comin' and high tailed it out of there.

I was like "go whoop his a$$, you're bigger!!!" evidently he didn't want to tangle. The browns claws were about 4 inches long. I couldn't really tell the length of the blacks, but alot shorter. They know whose king of the woods:D

Don Gwinn
January 11, 2001, 10:24 PM
I have zero experience, but I just finished Death in the Dark Continent, in which Capstick discusses which of the Big Five is most dangerous. He doesn't really come to a conclusion, but he does devote a chapter to illustrating why the Leopard is possibly the most dangerous. I wouldn't dismiss leopards so easily. Capstick says leopards:
1. Are nearly invisible because they're small and perfectly camouflaged.
2. Are utterly determined to kill once wounded.
3. Charge only from very close quarters, about 5 yards or less, and without any warning noise or growls as lions do.
4. Attack with teeth and all four sets of claws at the same time, sort of grabbing with the teeth, raking with the front claws and windmilling the rear legs to disembowel.

Capstick hunted them with major calibers and uses a homemade armored jacket and helmet along with a Winchester Model 12 full of buckshot for going in after the wounded.

Keith Rogan
January 16, 2001, 01:37 PM
Yeah well, I've been having trouble with TFL since they "upgraded" in December, so while I pop in occasionally, it sometimes won't let me post.

Point taken as to hunting vs defensive arms. Having shot both, I much prefer the .375 to the .338. Even though I know that "on paper" the .338 has less foot pounds of recoil, it's a sharper kick and much more unpleasant to shoot than the good old .375. And of course with the .375, you can get more bullet weight and still an entirely reasonable trajectory for long shots, so... why not?

I say that even though I don't own one. I'm now hunting with a .350 Rem Mag which is sort of a ".375 Light". A short action model 7 in a 6 pound package. A good compromise when you gotta sneak around in thick brush in brown bear country. I don't think I'd want to hunt a cape buffalo with it though....

January 24, 2001, 10:45 AM
Women are the most dangerous game there is.
All require a different tactic.
Good luck to anyone on this hunt.
May the force be with you!!!!!!:D