Handgun Hunting

If you've never been to Africa before it is truly a handgun hunters paradise but if you're like most first timers you'll have many questions and some doubts. African game, for the most part, is big and tough and larger calibers with heavy bullets work best.

Jim Osborne, Bobby, and a Cape Buffalo shot with a 454 Casull. A caliber of .375 or more is required by law for dangerous game in South Africa.
Americans will find many species that are roughly the size of their Elk. Even the Impala is a 200 pound animal and a big Eland bull can weigh more than 2000 pounds. Kudu, Waterbuck, Nyala, Wildebeest, and Zebra fall between three and seven hundred pounds.

Hunting is usually done by both spot and stalk and from blinds set up in key locations. Blinds typically offer shots of 100 yards or closer and the game is usually unaware of the hunter. If you are proficient at ranges longer than 100 yards you will have an advantage in the spot and stalk situations. When hunting on foot, shooting is normally done from the standing position using shooting sticks; this technique should be practiced often in advance of the hunt. Brush and grasses can make shooting from sitting or prone positions impossible. It's best to know where your gun and load shoots for a variety of ranges.

If you prefer to hunt with a revolver there are several that are sufficient. The 44 Magnum is a fine gun for plains game out to 75 or 100 yards with the right bullet but I would recommend not going below that level of power. Other top choices would be the 480 Ruger, 454 Casull, 475 Linebaugh, etc. If you are a regular 44 Magnum shooter and can keep your shots on a 10" plate from a field rest at 100 yards you'll do fine. Being able to place your bullet in the right spot is far more important than bringing a gun that you aren't totally comfortable shooting. Some hunters, rifle hunters included, go out and buy a heavy recoiling gun a month or two before coming to Africa because they think they are going to need something super powerful. This is often a mistake and some find they have too much gun for their capabilities. Bring the gun or guns you are most confident shooting.

    Keep in mind you can not enter South Africa with two guns of the same caliber.

In the single shot pistols like the Encore and Contender, the 375 and 338 calibers will take care of any plains game you wish to tackle and have the power and accuracy for shots out to two hundred yards.

Mark Hampton and a large Eland taken with Bobby Hansen. A perfect combination for the handgun hunter in Africa would be a Contender in 375 JDJ and a big-bore revolver.

The 375 JDJ is a top choice in the Contender and in the Encore a 30-06 will work using heavily constructed game bullets like the Nosler Partition.

Having the right bullet is critical to success in Africa. Deep penetration is of paramount importance since quartering shots are often encountered. A hard cast bullet works well in the 44 Magnum and the 300 grain Federal Cast Core and the 310 grain Garrett are good choices where deep penetration is needed. Smaller caliber bullets should be capable of both penetration and expansion. The Hornady and Speer 270 grain are good choices for the 375.

Scopes are of great benefit when hunting in Africa. Often game is partially obstructed by brush or other animals in a herd. A scope of about 4x is a good all around power but a quality variable of 2x6 or perhaps slightly more will be beneficial. It's always a good idea to pack a spare scope that will fit on any of your guns when heading for Africa, especially for guns with no iron sights.

To learn more about handgun hunting visit HandgunHunt.com.