View Full Version : Help Me Save a Friend From FOLLY...

April 24, 2001, 02:32 PM
Our dearly beloved Rich Lucibella plans on hunting buffalo in Africa this coming October.
That's great, I hope he does.

The problem is this:
He plans on taking Buf with a lever actioned 45/70 with a short barrel. Madness.
This weapon is arguably an 80 yard bear gun at best, but Rich, testosterone soaked fool that he is, wants to use this questionable canon on Buf anyway.
Admittedly, others have done this successfully, but the fudge factor is reduced to nil.
I want Rich to take Buffalo, and I want him to come home in one piece rather than as a dripping work of impressionist Buffalo art entitled "Use Enough Gun".

My motives are selfish in the extreme:
I need him here at TFL to continue the RKBA fight!

What I have proposed is that I will GIVE him a .505 Burns on a CZ602 controlled feed mauser action, Pac Nor super match barrel, custom composite stock, sights, the works... IF he will use it instead of the antiquated and woefully underpowered lever gun.
Sing out, Y'all!
Let Rich know how we feel!
Mad Dog

Dave R
April 24, 2001, 03:36 PM
Mad Dog, I know this isn't what you want to hear, but some of the hot loads for .45-70 are about equal to .458 WinMag. That has been a standard African big game gun for many years, right?

And the range won't be beyond 80 yards...

And I know Rich would not take a compromised shot, but he'll have 3-4 followups faster than a bolt gun, in the unlikely event...

I've never been, but it doesn't seem TOO outlandish to me.

Hard Ball
April 24, 2001, 04:24 PM
Hot loads in a .45-70 could do thr trick but you would need some god solid point bullets for adequate penetration. Buffs are tough!

April 24, 2001, 05:55 PM
I take it that neither of you have hunted Buf or other large, very dangerous game...

The best 45/70 loads are only good for about 3000 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. Assuming a modern weapon and "hot" loads, 500 grain bullets doing a mere 1650fps from the muzzle? Gimme a break. there is no way that this is even remotely equivalent to a .458 Win Mag that will toss 500 grains at 2100FPS.
The .505 with 500 grainers will do 6000 foot pounds and 2400 fps easily. Plus, you can use 600 or 700 grain bullets as well. NOT an option with the anemic 45/70.
Personally, I wouldn't trust the 45/70 to do the job, which is the reason for this post and my offer to Rich.

April 24, 2001, 08:52 PM
Got news for you, you kill big animals by destroying internal organs not with shock. Unless you are packing a .50 BMG or better.

The 45-70 with Garrett loads will do the trick.

I also doubt that he will do no less than double tap it no matter what!

Teddy Roosevelt did it with a lever action in .405 WCF. A modern 45-70 is much more powerful than a .405 WCF.

April 24, 2001, 09:29 PM
Sorry Mad Dog, I'm with the others on this one. My brother and I are planning just such a trip for next year and I plan on using a 45/70 as well. My brother is using a .460 Weatherby, by the way.

Art Eatman
April 24, 2001, 09:39 PM
"If everything goes right" and "If nothing goes wrong", I imagine a hot .45-70 would be adequate.

A cartridge that's straining its milk to give enough energy just doesn't strike me as being as good as one which just naturally has another 1,000 or so foot-pounds.

Thick hide, heavy bones, bad temper. Hmmm. Bad combination if something ain't just perfect.

Wonder why Professional Hunters age rather quickly?

:), Art

Bud Helms
April 25, 2001, 04:29 AM
Heck, I thought some one was getting married!

A .45-70 on Buffalo ... right! No margin. Murphy WILL be lookin' you up in Afrika!

Buff #1 to Buff #2: "Did you see what that little white dude shot me with!? Here, hold my beer. Watch 'is! SNORT!"

Hey, Rich, just a thought ... can I have your Softail?:D

Paul B.
April 25, 2001, 11:23 AM
If the 45-70 woth garret's loads are so pitifully inadequate, why are African PH's going to it for their backup gun on dangerous game? Because it works.
Have a good hunt Rich.
Paul B.

Art Eatman
April 25, 2001, 01:03 PM
Paul B, my vast armchair knowledge of African hunting :) leads me to believe that the PH's backup gun is more a function of the particular animal than the particular cartridge.

For example, I've read that a 12-gauge with 00 is preferred for leopard by some. I have the vague opinion that a .45-70 would serve as a backup gun for lion. Further, it seems common for the PH's backup to be a more powerful cartridge than the client's. Given how much I've read about the lesser effect of second and third hits on large animals if the first shot is not a quick kill, this makes sense to me.

Something with the reputation of the African buffalo is an animal which has the talent and ability to work well with Mr. Murphy--or so I've read. I don't think we're regarding the hot .45-70 as pitifully inadequate. I think it's more a concern that specifically referring to buffalo, it might well be marginal even without Mr. Murphy.

I look at the "people-factor" as well. Skill, physical condition, and self-control of the panic-factor all play a part. How good a hunter somebody is; how far they can travel across country and still not be trembly from fatigue at the time for the shot; and avoidance of buck fever--these are all a part of the equation.

To me, any hunt is thus a package deal, and I guess each of us has to decide for himself.

$0.02, Art

April 25, 2001, 02:36 PM
I don't have an opinion either way. No experience=no opinion.

I'm just curious what kind of loads are we talking about using in the .45-70? The best I've seen on the web are Garrett and they give 3200 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle compared to the .375 at 4262, .416 at 5115, and .458 at 4618. Meplat diameter helps with the deer and boar I KNOW ABOUT but two thirds of the muzzle energy is still two thirds.

Randy Garrett
April 25, 2001, 02:39 PM
It seems quite common to attribute effectiveness to power generation, or, more specifically to kinetic energy generation. Although they can be related, far too often they are not. A far better measure of effectiveness is tissue destruction. However, even if one wishes to relate effectiveness to power generation, one should keep in mind that there are numerous ways of calculating power. If one prefers to use kinetic energy calculations, one has bought into the view that high velocity is more important than bullet weight or diameter. This may be the case for small or medium game, but the experience of a great many hunters of heavy game clearly places this view in doubt. If one prefers to measure power as the famous African hunter Taylor did, through his Taylor Knockout Values, one finds that a heavily loaded 45-70 generates as big a Taylor Knockout Value at 130-yards as does a 375 Holland & Holland using 300-grain bullets measured at the muzzle. Obviously, this is very different from conclusions drawn based on kinetic energy calculations. However, the major shortcoming of power measurements of any kind is the fact that they do not take bullet performance into account. When one simply adopts criteria that can be observed through simple testing, as opposed to complex theories, it is possible to draw conclusions that are far less likely to lead one astry. Since I am most knowledgeable about the performance of our factory loads, I will compare the performance of our 540-grainer for the 45-70 to factory loads available for the 375 Holland & Holland and the 458 Winchester Magnum, both calibers widely respected for use against heavy game. Interestingly our 540-grainer far outpenetrates anything that can be fired from the 375 Holland & Holland, even including roundnose solids. Yet our 540-grainer is much larger in diameter, and more importantly, sports a meplat (.360-inch), not a gentle roundnose, with a diameter nearly equal to the bore diameter of the 375 Holland & Holland. When we look at the 458 Winchester Magnum, we see a caliber capable of much more power generation than the 45-70, but a caliber that suffers from its inability to use blunt flatnose bullets, unless they are fired from a single shot rifle, something not adviseable when shooting dangerous game. The reason for this shortcoming regards the characteristics of bolt action rifles and the manner in which they move cartridges from the magazine to the chamber. Almost without exception, they will not transit blunt flatnose bullets without hanging up on the rear of the chamber, something that cannot be tollerated when shooting dangerous game. The 45-70 lever-action rifle enjoys the cartridge lifter transit mechanism that allows the use of the bluntest non-expanding flatnose bullets, and this is key to its effectiveness when shooting heavy game. When comparing the properly loaded 45-70 to the 458 Winchester Magnum, we find that as a consequence of the 458s cartridge transit characteristics, one must use roundnose solids if more penetration is required than can be achieve with expanding bullets. This is due, again, to the fact that roundnose solids are easily chambered by a bolt action rifle's mechanism, unlike blunt flatnose bullets. Unfortunately, roundnose solids are notorious for their lack of fast incapacitation, something not disireable when shooting heavy, dangerous game. By comparison, the 45-70 with our 540-grainer is capable of providing far more penetration than the 458 with expanding bullets, with far faster incapacitation than the 458 when it deploys roundnose solids. Given the fact that our 540-grainer will shoot lengthwise through buffalo, with an impressive wound channel diameter, far bigger than that produced by any roundnose solid, can there be any reasonable doubt about its effectiveness on heavy game? None of this results from debateable theory, but from simply testing that any of us can do, and from the field experience of a great many hunters of heavy game, including a great many of our customers.

Best regards, Randy Garrett

April 25, 2001, 04:27 PM
Thanks, Randy.

Since it just got explained in detail, I won't bother.
I will say that I plan on taking a Buff with .45-70 Garrett rounds one day, so it would seem hypocritical for me to advise Rich not to attempt the same. "What one man can do, another can also."

Of course, I also plan on taking one with a 12 Gauge one day...:D

Mad Dog, it sounds like you're making Rich a darn good offer. I'm sure everyone here appreciates that you want our fearless leader to survive and thrive. I know I do! I also feel that most here agree that the .505 you propose sounds like it might be *just* the ticket for buff. Just try not to take his refusal as though it had anything to do with your smithing abilities, or your dearness as a friend.

Also, please remember that other ideas are not necessarily wrong just because they did not originate inside Kevin McClung, Esquire, acknowledged evil genius. :D

April 25, 2001, 04:49 PM
Randy Garrett is trying to sell ammo.
I am not hawking anything but common sense, which woefully appears to be getting less and less common.

Contrary to what Randy says, a lot of well built bolt guns (not Remington 700s) can and will chamber flat nosed bullets. The cone breached versions are particularly good at this with little or no modification.

Rich hasn't refused the offer yet.
I am still hoping that he comes to his senses.

Naturally, the fact that using a 45/70 on Cape Buf is an idea that did not originate with me is something that I am very proud of. :D
I have made the mistake of using too little gun on DGs in the past, and managed through great good fortune to survive the misadventure caused by blind belief in what the ammo manufacturers were saying in order to sell their wares.
I would just rather not have to say, "I told you so" to Rich's casket...

You can keep your flat noses and meplats. Cast lead indeed!
I will gladly take another 100-200 grains and 3000 pounds of energy delivered efficiently on target from a controlled feed weapon.

"Anybody ever short stroked a lever gun and then tried to clear the malf??", he asked smugly. :D

April 25, 2001, 05:13 PM
Hell MAD DOG, I would take you up on the offer just so I could get a free custom magnum buff stomper rifle out of the deal! :D

I don't doubt that the 45-70 is a lot of gun, or that Garrett bullets are wonderful things, but the .505 is just MORE. Faster and Bigger. Sounds good to me.

April 25, 2001, 05:58 PM
Mad Dog,

It appears to me that the most important thing about a DG round is its caliber (ie diameter of bullet, as opposed to its "power") and the typical penetration depth. It is known that well-designed and loaded .45-70 bullets penetrate deeply, and by definition (at .458"), are close to 1/2" in diameter.

You do have a point about the malfs, but that is a rifle, not a caliber, comparison: in this case, Mauser-style action vs lever.

Anyway, what bullet construction do you favor for dangerous thick-skinned game?

Randy Garrett
April 25, 2001, 06:01 PM
Mad Dog,

You shouldn't portray other's motives in a negative manner. My reply wasn't about trying to sell ammo, it was about what I know, from experience. No doubt your 505 Gibbs is an excellent choice, I certainly wouldn't suggest anything to the contrary. Nor would I suggest that you are just trying to hawk you wares. I am simply reporting what anyone can measure themselves if they take the time to do so, and what my customers have experienced on a great many occasions.

Best regards, Randy Garrett

Rich Lucibella
April 25, 2001, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the offer of the .505. Fact is, I won't be shooting a buff....I have three on the ticket. :D I had looked at picking up a Krieghoff in .470 Nitro for the purpose. But it would be right cool to be in the TX hog fields 20 years hence and mention that the scarred and worn breakdown rifle in your hands had also taken Cape Buffalo.

My PH, Danie van Graan (who also uses a 45-70 as his main weapon) is an accomplished field writer. This provides a wonderful opportunity for field testing. It's our intent, with Randy's blessing, to take two of the buff in as controlled a manner as possible (not much!) with the 45-70...one with Randy's loads and the other with Buffalo Bore offerings. While it will never prove to be a definitive "study", if I can manage similar shoulder shots with the two bullets, autopsy pictures should provide one hell of an interesting article. (BTW, it's Danie who talked me out of the .470 and insisted that the 45-70 would work just fine....it's also Danie that gets to track wounded buff with me if it/I fail.)

Personally, I don't believe that either round will be the limiting factor here. The shooter is the potential weak point in this exchange; and no caliber will make up for a failure on my part. So it's up to me to practice, practice, practice! ;)

As an aside, my plains game gun is a Blaser .338, set up with a forward mount scope by Ashley Emerson hisself....with bullets loaded by our own Mad Dog. Since I'll be lugging{?} that (7lb) gun all over Africa, I figured I may as well pick up a .416 Remington Magnum bolt face, barrel and stock insert-recoil reducer and throw those in my kit. (Like I said, there's three buff on the menu.)

Now play nice or you'll not get a live baboon chew toy on my return!

April 26, 2001, 12:24 AM
Okay, fine.
I give up. Throwing in the towel on this one.
I can tell when I am beating a dead horse, and this one expired a while ago. Undoubtedly shot to death with the over rated 45/70 stoked with cast lead bullets. :D

Just remember Rich, there are bold PHs, and old PHs; but no old, bold PHs...
You have signed up for three times the amount of grief that I thought you had. Buffalo non carborundum.

Guess I will just keep the .505 Burns (no, not a Gibbs, Randy), and shoot jack rabbits with it while trying to find the elusive hogs in Texas with Ashley.

Mad Dog.

Bud Helms
April 26, 2001, 06:51 AM
Rich, please don't forget the Soft Tail ...

Art Eatman
April 26, 2001, 07:47 AM
Well, MAD DOG, I guess you oughta just bring that .505 on down and see what it does to coyotes. (We have more coyotes than jackrabbits, unfortunately. Is there some connection?) If ya wanna reach way out, I've already got the 500-yard targets. One of my Big Fifty buddies wants to see can he hit anything at 1,000, which means setting up another frame.

If ya wanna show maximum patience, I still have a couple of lions along my south fenceline. (Lions like biscuits in bacon grease, I've found...)

:D, Art

PS: This horse is officially declared "Deader'n a hammer."

[Edited by Art Eatman on 04-26-2001 at 09:11 AM]