Thread: African Safari
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Old March 19, 2006, 09:27 PM   #10
Join Date: November 7, 2005
Posts: 28

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I am more than passing familiar with the current offerings in high-energy .45-70 loadings. My first hands-on exposure to them was in A.E.'s 24" octagonal bbl Marlin, plinking rocks on the Triangle. There's no doubt that they are impressive thumpers, nor that they will handily take care of buffalo. I had heard that Danie van Graan was using a Co-Pilot as a backup rifle. It's nice to hear from someone that's seen him carrying it.

As to legality, while the Game Scout MAY be a reliable source for determining legality, I have never met one that I would consider authoritative. The one I hunted with a couple of years ago could barely read. Many of those jobs are political appointments or family favors. As for my own direct knowledge, most of what I know comes under the heading of "second hand information". The only direct cite for regulations I can find at the moment is from Zimbabwe, which is below:

"The Third Schedule of the Firearms Act - This states a calibre of no less than 9.2mm in diameter with muzzle energy of 5.3 kilojoules is required for Elephant, Buffalo and Hippo.

5.3kJ=3909ft.-lbs., which is pretty well beyond the energy claimed by either Buffalo Bore or Mr. Garrett when using suitably heavy bullets. I am not able to find any of the other southern African countries game regulations posted online, but I will see what I can scratch up. As far as I know, it is perfectly legal to use the .45-70 in RSA, but that's not where the best buffalo hunting is to be found. Most of the rest of Southern African countries have both caliber and energy restrictions for hunting dangerous game, with the minimum energy requirement in the 4000ft.-lbs. range. They have these regulations for a very simple reason; They noticed over time that as hunters used more powerful rifles they were less likely to need to be transported home in a sealed, rubberized bag.

A simple analogy may help clear up my position on the matter. If someone is asking advice about the best vehicle to buy for getting back and forth to work, with the occasional off-road excursion, there are going to be dozens of good options available. I think, though, that anyone recommending a WWII M553 Jeep would come under some scrutiny about the good sense of their recommendation. Sure, you can drive one back and forth to work, and they're cool beyond cool. They also perform well off-road and are (well, used to be anyway) pretty cheap. But if that person ever gets into an accident at anything approaching freeway speeds, they're going to be very, very dead. That vehicle simply isn't nearly as safe an option as any well made modern SUV or truck.

The same goes for D.G. calibers. There's a gentleman who is affiliated with the Zimbabwe professional hunting licensing authorities that tracks and reports on D.G. encounters and survivability (in African Hunter magazine and in other places), and he has noted that there is a strict correlation between caliber, energy and survivability. The high-energy large-bore "stopping" calibers give one the best chance to survive an encounter with dangerous animals. And, it looks like you mostly agree with me on this point. You did recommend a .375, .416 or .458 to our friend above, which recommendation I heartily second. In a similar vein, I doubt that we'll see many articles in SWAT recommending the .32 ACP as an appropriate modern duty sidearm. A .32 is certainly a lethal round, and thousands of people have been shot and incapacitated with them. .32's were even a popular police sidearm (in europe, anyway) for decades, but there's much better choices available today, and the difference in performance is so great as to place the choice of a .32 somewhere between silly and reckless.

My only quibble was in also recommending a .45-70. The next time I find myself in elephant country, I DO NOT want to look down and see a rifle that only puts out 3500ft.-lbs. of energy. I've never felt so small in my life as when I was fortunate enough to be looking at 12 elephant from 20-60 yards in thick cover, and I'll stick to my .375 or my .458 Lott for those circumstances when they roll around again. I don't know of any PH's or practiced D.G. hunters that recommend a .45-70 for those conditions.

I wish you the best in September in Zimbabwe. I'm sure you'll have a great experience. I won't be going back until probably 2007, so I'm appropriately jealous. We'll all look forward to your stories and photos.
Draw quickly, shoot carefully.

If you can get closer, get closer. If you can get steadier, get steadier.
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