Gary's Gun Notes #4
Having just returned from a hunt in Australia I sit here scratching a couple dozen mosquito bites an going over the shots I took and the results of those shots. I learned long ago that I'm never too old to learn something. I get questions even week on "Ask Reeder Custom Guns" as to what load will do a certain thing on large game. In fact today I answered a question about the best load in a 475 Linebaugh for Cape Buffalo and Elephant.
As I told him there is not set load or bullet that will prove to be absolutely a sure thing on dangerous game. The main thing for handgun hunters to remember is Murphy's Law. What can go wrong , will.
In Australia I used our 338 GNR and 475 GNR. The 338 GNR I used on medium game like kangaroo, etc. Anything larger I used the 475 GNR. I have taken elk size game with our 338 GNR repeatedly thru the years but I also know how hard some game is to take down, especially in Africa and Australia.
I shot a donkey that was the size of a large mule, probably 650 pounds, center chest with the 338 GNR and he ran off, to about 70 yards and turned to look back at me. I hit him again, point of the shoulder. Again he trotted off and stopped to look back at me. Again and a third time I hit him point of shoulder. The shoulder was obviously out of commission but he still was up and moving. To end it all I put the last one in the head. 5 shots with a cartridge that has put elk down repeatedly with one shot. All 5 shots did an amazing amount of damage but he was still up and moving.
I have no idea but it happens. There is no sure shot on wild game other than a head shot and sometimes even that is not positive.
One of our hunters, Charlie Herf, of Phoenix, shot his big buffalo in the head with a 375 Ultra Mag that we built for him on a stainless Ruger #1. It stunned him but he was far from down. It took several more shots, including one more in the head to put him down.
Another hunter, Paul Pavlich, shot his with a 375 H&H. Again it took several shots, all in vital areas, to put it down for good.
After my original animal I switched to the 475 GNR. My buffalo was at approximately 75 yards and I put a 435 grain LBT bullet just behind the shoulder. He calmly turned and walked off into the dense brush. The same load that I had used on 4 large 600 pound feral donkeys showed no effect on the buffalo. The 475 GNR had gone completely thru the donkeys end to end and exited in each case, but it just annoyed the buffalo.
This brings to mind the old saying, "Use enough gun". I don't think you are ever overgunned or over powered on wild game. People are often kidding me about using some of our large 450's and 475 calibers on wild game. I have been very lucky over a 30 year period and have never lost an animal and most of this I owe to my being overpowered.
On this same hunt one of our hunters used a double rifle in 470 Nitro and shot his buff 4 times with it and the animal still got away. Another used the same gun and shot a donkey 4 times and to finish it off with his 375 H&H.
I guess all this is leading to the answer to the earlier fellows question of what will take a large dangerous game animal, for sure, every time. I wish I knew. My suggestion is to put the largest bullet you can shoot accurately on the point of the shoulder or just behind the shoulder, and wear a comfortable pair of running shoes.
One last thing. For almost 10 years we have held the same price on many of our cowboy guns and for over 4 years on most of the others, but unfortunately that is coming to and end. We will be raising our prices September 1st, and I wanted to give those of you that I have talked to and those that I haven't that had planned to order a gun a chance to do so at the lower price. We are still running 6 to 7 months on delivery and this won't change September 1st, hopefully.
Those of you that ordered a full custom gun in November or December of last year have probably noticed that your gun is a bit late. We had 3 magazine articles hit during this period of time and received a tremendous amount of orders in December and January. Due to this we are running a bit late. Please be patient. I won't rush any order just to keep a deadline. I would rather take a bit longer and get it right. Hopefully you will agree.