The age old question of how much gun has and always will be posed when talking about hunting. The answer usually is, "always have more then enough gun." This should also be followed up with, "and make sure you have nerves of steel."
You can certainly hear the stories of those who have taken Dangerous Game with all sorts of smaller caliber rifles but the ones that you should be hearing about are the ones about having to pay for wounded game and not retrieving their trophies because of those smaller caliber rifles.
Red Ivory Safaris prides itself on being an ethical and honorable safari company that will not allow hunters to attempt shots that are not within these ideals. So with that said the legal minimum for Dangerous Game is .375 magnum. If you have a larger bore rifle and an use it well then that of course would be playing on the better side.
For Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo, Lion and Rhino you should have a
minimum of a .375 with a 300 grain bullet, but it would be preferable to use a
.416 with a 400 grain bullet and larger. Stopping cats in open country is not
too difficult, and any good soft-nosed bullet between 180 and 250 grain for
leopard and around 400 grain for lion will do the job perfectly. The 400 grain
bullet for lion is perfect according to the
size of the animal. The .375 with 300 grain is also excellent on lions but does not give the extra security margin of bigger calibers.
NOTE: You are not allowed to bring over a fully automatic rifle, a semi automatic rifle, a handgun for self defense nor a weapon that falls under military catagories.
There are questions about being able to use a deer slug gun for Buffalo but because there isn't enough power behind that projectile to penetrate sufficiently it is impossible to use effectively. Click here to read this interesting PDF.
for leopard, which normally weighs between 60 and 80 kilos and who has a
nervous system highly sensitive to hydrostatic shock, there is not a sporting
cartridge that can kill an elephant, rhino or buffalo with shock only. It is
imperative to physically destroy a vital organ. The only way to achieve this is
to employ a caliber powerful enough that the bullet will be able to penetrate
the animal's body from any angle and reach the various vital organs: heart,
lungs, major arteries, spine and brain.
A very important consideration in favor of today's hunters of the Big Five is the magnificent modern bullet design. Since approximately 1985, fantastic advancements have taken place in the world of bullet design, surpassing the
projectiles manufactured during the preceding 90 years with terrific performance. Any solid bullet manufactured today will withstand the impact against the bigger bones of an elephant without suffering distortion, and soft-nose projectiles will retain up to 97% of their original weight after expanding inside the animal. There are many excellent bullets available but those produced by Swift A-frame, Nossler Partition and Barnes in soft nose, the solids by Woodleigh in Australia and the Sledgehammer made by Trophy Bonded in the USA are among the very best. This means that problems caused by poor bullet performance are very rare today.
Please refer to our dangerous game page and find what bullet and caliber would be best for the specific specie you intended to hunt. With all the above taken into consideration, there are two main facets regarding the relative potential danger factor of each species: First, how difficult the animal is to stop when it is charging. Secondly, the animal's ability to kill the hunter if it catches him.
In terms of difficulty of stopping a charge, the Big Five can be ranked as
1. Buffalo 2. Lion 3. Elephant 4. Leopard 5. Black Rhino/Hippo
In terms of likely a hunter is to be killed if he is caught by the animal, a
different ranking apply:
1. Elephant 90% 2. Lion 80% 3. Buffalo 70% 4. Black Rhino/Hippo 50% 5. Leopard 20%
In the hunting world everyone will draw his own conclusion from his own
experiences, which are always dominated by the type of country where the
hunt occurred. For me the lion has caused me the most anxious moments of my