The African Buffalo personifies the words "Dangerous Game." Tremendous strength tops the list after which comes the extreme sense of smell. Sight and hearing are not as good. However his skulking attitude should never be taken for as a run and hide disposition. He will run and hide....and then wait until the right moment to charge, gore and decimate his intended victim by tossing the unsuspecting hunter in the air with his tremendous horns. Once on the ground he will trample and crush you with his hooves until he feels that it is over. Never the less he will come back and do it all over again....just to make sure and feeling good by doing it.
The side on heart-lung shot are recommended for the surest/most efficient first shot. Putting the first shot through the vitals either from a side on, or the frontal shot will put the bullet path through the vitals of heart and lungs. The animal will not go down right away, but he will run off some distance, where you will either find him still alive or dead. If he is still alive, he might wait for you as he had by then circled back to his own tracks. On finding him first you will need to put another shot into him.
Circumstances will dictate the shot and bullet to use, if the animal is in a herd the hunter can not use solids as the bullet will over penetrate and hit another animal. In such circumstances a soft will be appropriate. If he stands alone, a solid will work fine for a frontal shot and penetration would be desirable. To take a frontal brain or go for the chest cavity will be dictated by the distance and position of animal; if the animal stand broad side then the obvious would be to go for the heart-lung shot again. Your PH will take you through all these steps and decisions to make. Generally the first shot will be a good quality soft and there after solids. After the first shot your PH will tell you what to expect as it might be visible that the bull move away from the herd if it was part of a herd.
Contrary to some beliefs that after a buffalo are hit once, one should just keep firing in the hope of hitting it, most of the time this result only in more adrenalin being released in the animal and in making it even more aware that it is being hunted. In doing so one just pushes the animal further and makes it more alert. If you do have a good follow up shot, then take it, but don’t just “throw lead”. Rather follow the animal until a second, well-placed shot can be made.
By law some countries may require a minimum calibre of .375, but for South Africa a minimum requirement is a bullet weight of at least 250grain. We would how ever not recommend other wise and not less than 250 grain soft and solids. The bigger the calibre the hunter uses the better. Other standard factory calibres such as .378, .458 Winchester Magnum, .460 Weatherby and the various .416 manufactures are all good options. The older British calibres like, .450, .470, .475, .500, .577 and .600 would be also enough gun if ammunition is available. Remember to select the calibre with which you are most comfortable – think of the recoil – and with which you can shoot consistently well.
If you use a scope it would be advisable to use a fixed scope of 4x magnification, or then a variable of 1.25 – 6 x magnification. If the scope supports an illuminated dot/crosshairs it will be plus as the hunter might take shot in poor light conditions. Good quality scope mounts are essential, as all of these large calibres have a hard kick that might have an impact on your scope and mounts