Best caliber for hunting in Africa

Best caliber for hunting in AfricaBest caliber for hunting African plains gameBest caliber for hunting the African Big 5Minimum caliber for African game

Best caliber for hunting in Africa with Hunting in Africa Safaris

The best hunting caliber for big game hunting in Africa will be debated for many years to come. In the end the decision for which hunting rifle and caliber to bring to Africa for a South African hunting safari will lie with you. This decision will many times be a no-brainer but for some who have never been across for an out-of-country hunt it can become a major decision.

After a number of years in the African safari hunting business we have learned that a possible definition of the right or the correct rifle caliber to bring on a South African hunting safari is rather simple: bring the rifle or rifles (you are allowed to bring two rifles) you feel most confident shooting with. The rifles you intend bringing along are subject to government rules and regulations as set out in the SAPS 520 section of this website.

If we were to recommend two calibers it must only be seen as a recommendation as not as a rule. With a 30-06 and a 375 you will be able to hunt anything that walks in the African bushveld. The most popular calibers brought along on any South African hunting safari trip range from a 270, 7mm-08, 7 mm Rem Mag, 30-06 to a 300 Win Mag.

One aspect Hunting in Africa Safaris will remain adamant on will be the quality of the ammunition you bring along. Please only use the best premium grade ammunition that your rifle shoots accurately. A number of game animals have been wounded and lost due to hunters not adhering to this rule. We recommend the following brands of ammunition and if we have inadvertently omitted one or more brands please accept our apology: Nosler Partition, Barnes X, Federal Premium and Woodleigh. The bullet weight will also be determined by which weight performs with the best accuracy. Good thing is with premium grade ammunition you can hunt African big game with smaller bullet weights. 

 

Best ammunition for hunting in Africa

 

Best caliber for hunting African plains game with Hunting in Africa Safaris

If I could choose the best African plains game calibers it would be a 30-06 and a 375. These two calibers are the best all-round rifle calibers for big game hunting any African big game – Pieter Kriel

 

Best caliber for hunting African plains game

The best hunting caliber for big game hunting in Africa will be debated for many years. One of our recommended calibers for plains game hunting is the 30-06 because it has a proven track record, ammunition is readily available and it is just a sweet shooting caliber. This does not mean we do not have confidence in any other calibers. On the contrary, other calibers like the 270, 308, 7 mm Rem Mag, 7mm-08, 300 Win Mag and others have all been used with big success on our African hunting safaris.

Recommended calibers for plains game hunting in Africa – see the detailed list below where calibers are recommended per plains game animal

Ammunition recommendations for African plains game hunting – on this issue we are extremely clear. It is our recommendation for any hunter to only use premium grade ammunition like Nossler Partions, Barnes TSX and TTSX, Federal Premium and Woodleigh whichever particular brand works best for accuracy in your particular hunting rifle you intend bringing over for your African big game hunting safari.

What is the minimum caliber for African plains game hunting – in most places a 243 is the absolute minimum caliber allowed for hunting in Africa. Some land owners have their own regulation to only allow 270 for rifles for African plains game.

African big game trophy animal to be hunted

Best recommended caliber for hunting African plains game

Average hunting distance in yards
Baboon First rifle handy! 22-250, 222, 223,243, 270, 30-06, 308, 300 WM orany comparable caliber

100 + 

Black wildebeest 270, 30-06, 7mm (all), 300 WSM, 300 WM, 308, 338, 375

150 – 250  

Blesbok 270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all)

150 – 200

Blue wildebeest 308, 30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 338, 375. Generally: the bigger the better  

50 – 150

Bontebok  270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all)  150 – 180
Bushbuck  270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all)  30 – 60
Bushpig 270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 12 ga shotgun  30 – 60
Caracal 375 with a solid round as it does the leastdamage to the trophy, 410 shotgun, 17 cal,12 ga  30 – 50
Duiker  375 with a solid round as it does the leastdamage to the trophy. 17 cal, 22-250, 222,223, 243, 308  30 – 50
Duiker – blue  375 with a solid round as it does the leastdamage to the trophy, 12 ga, 410, 17 cal  25 – 40
Duiker – red  375 with a solid round as it does the leastdamage to the trophy. 12 ga, 410 shotgun  25 – 35
Eland 30-06, 300 (all), 338, 375  60 – 180
Fallow deer 270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all)  100 – 180
Gemsbok  30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 308, 338, 375  60 – 180
Giraffe 300 WM with premium grade ammunition, 338, 375  30 – 50
Hippo Legal requirement: minimum 375.Recommended 375, 404, 416, 458 WMand 458 Lott  30 – 50
Impala  243, 270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all)  40 – 150
Jackal  The very first rifle handy! 17 cal, 22-250, 222,223, 243, 270, 30-06, 308, 300 (all)or any comparable caliber.  30 – 150
Klipspringer  17 cal, 223, 243, 270, 308, 30-06,375 with a solid round  100 – 200
Kudu 308, 30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 308, 338, 375  80 – 180
Lechwe – red  30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 308, 338, 375  100 – 200
Mountain reedbuck  223, 243, 270, 308, 30-06  100 – 180
Nyala  30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 308, 338, 375  50 – 150
Ostrich  223, 243, 270, 308, 30-06, 375 with a solidround  70 – 90
Reedbuck – common  270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all)  120 – 180
Red hartebeest  30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 308, 338, 375  80 – 180
Rhebok – vaal / gray  223, 243, 270, 308, 30-06  130 – 200
Roan  30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 308, 338, 375  100 – 180
Sable  30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 308, 338, 375  100 – 150
Springbok – any color variation  243, 270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all)  150 - 200
Steenbok  17 cal, 223, 243, 270, 308, 30-06,375 with a solid round  50 – 80
Tsessebe 270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all)  100 – 150
Warthog 270, 30-06, 308, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 338, 375   20 – 100
Waterbuck 30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 308, 338, 375  80 – 150
Zebra – Burchell’s and Mountain zebra  308, 30-06, 7mm (all), 300 (all), 338, 375.Generally: the bigger the better.  80 – 180

Best caliber for hunting African dangerous game with Hunting in Africa Safaris

The best caliber for hunting African dangerous game would be one of the 400 caliber hunting rifles. A 404 Jeffrey, 416 Rigby, 458 WM, 458 Lott, 470 or bigger – Pieter Kriel

The best caliber for hunting African dangerous game (African elephant, Cape buffalo, lion, leopard, rhinos and hippos) would be the largest caliber you feel comfortable shooting accurately with between 20 and 35 yards.

The best African safari hunting rifle calibers for hunting the Big 5 start at 375 as the minimum allowed caliber by law in most Africa countries. It is our experience that the best big bore caliber rifles are the 400 range – 416 Rem Mag, 416 Rigby, 458 WM, 458 Lott and 470 because these safari rifle calibers have the best stopping power and best knock-down power in their class. With regards to dangerous game hunting and dangerous game hunting calibers it is our experience if you have bigger or other dangerous game rifles that you are comfortable with please continue to use them.

Minimum legal caliber for hunting African dangerous game – 375 in most African countries.

Ammunition recommendations for African dangerous game hunting – only use premium grade ammunition on any dangerous game hunt for obvious reasons. We have had very good results with Hornady solids and Rhino solids when hunting elephants and rhinos. For soft skinned dangerous game hunting like hunting lions and hunting leopard we recommend using Woodleigh soft nose ammunition. For hunting Cape buffalo we have had excellent results with Barnes TTSX ammunition.

Working up a load for your rifle will depend on how well your rifle shoots a specific weight and brand projectile at optimum muzzle velocity.

 

Best caliber for hunting African dangerous game

African Big 5animal to behunted Best caliber for huntingthe African Big 5 Average huntingdistance in yards
Buffalo – Cape buffalo Legal requirement: minimum 375.Recommended 404, 416, 458 WM,458 Lott, 470, 500 20 – 60 depending on caliber, open sights or scope andterrain
Buffalo – Cape buffalo cow Legal requirement: minimum 375.Recommended 404, 416, 458 WM,458 Lott, 470, 500 20 – 60 dependingon caliber, opensights or scope andterrain
African elephant Legal requirement: minimum 375.Recommended 404, 416, 458 WM,458 Lott, 470, 500 15 – 40 dependingon caliber, opensights or scope andterrain
Hippo Legal requirement: minimum 375.Recommended 375, 404, 416,458 WM, 458 Lott, 470, 500 30 – 50
Leopard Legal requirement: minimum 375 60 – 80
Lion Legal requirement: minimum 375 40 – 60
Lioness Legal requirement: minimum 375 40 – 60
White rhino Legal requirement: minimum 375.Recommended 404, 416, 458 WMand 458 Lott, 470, 500 10 – 30

 

 

Minimum caliber for African game as per legal requirements for South Africa and Zimbabwe

One of the frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) is: is there is a minimum caliber requirement for hunting in Africa. Yes, most African countries require some form of a minimum standard with regards to either caliber, or energy produced when rifle hunting. You can also have a look at the best recommended calibers for hunting African game in general.

Click here for caliber recommendations per trophy animal

Common sense should play a part when a hunter decides to hunt no matter where you are hunting. It would be as silly for an African hunter to want to hunt a kodiak bear with a 223 as it would be for a foreign hunter to want to hunt Cape buffalo with a 223 in Africa. Although this caliber has the ability to kill either of the mentioned animals it is common sense to not attempt such a hunt with that caliber.

Below is a list of current minimum requirements with regards to rifle calibers for hunting in South Africa and hunting in Zimbabwe. Please be aware that we cannot keep up with all the changes in legislation in all the countries all the time:

 

Minimum caliber for African game in South Africa

Minimum caliber Most South African provinces do not have a minimum caliber requirement for rifle hunting and rely on common sense. Some landowners prescribe the minimum caliber allowed on their property starting at 243 while many landowners prescribe the 270 as being the minimum caliber allowed on their property.
Minimum caliber for dangerous game: Big 5 and hippo             Most South African provinces require require a minimum caliber of 375 when hunting dangerous game.
Minimum energy requirements None of the South African provinces require minimum energy

 

 

Minimum caliber for African game in Zimbabwe

The minimum caliber for African game rifle hunting in Zimbabwe
Class game Game animals Caliber Energy Ft-lbs
A Elephant, Cape buffalo,hippo 9,3 mm 4 300 J 3 906 ft-lbs

 

The minimum caliber for African game rifle hunting in Zimbabwe
Class game Game animals Caliber Energy Ft-lbs
B Lion, giraffe, eland 7 mm 4 300 J 3 170 ft-lbs

 

The minimum caliber for African game rifle hunting in Zimbabwe
Class game Game animals Caliber Energy Ft-lbs
C leopard, crocodile,kudu, red hartebeest,blue wildebeest,zebra, nyala,sable, waterbuck,tsessebe andothers  7 mm 3 000 J 2 220 ft-lbe

 

The minimum caliber for African game rifle hunting in Zimbabwe
Class game Game animals Caliber Energy Ft-lbs
D warthog, impala,reedbuck, sitatunga,duiker,steenbok, jackal,game birds, andothers 5,56 mm 850 J 630 ft-lbs

 

Black powder rifle hunting in Zimbabwe
The minimum caliber requirement for black powder rifle hunting in Zimbabwe is .40 cal