Few things about hunters and their guns

Posted by Admin


To many hunters, their weapon is a very personal possession…to others, it means about as much as a ball-peen hammer. In other words, it's just a tool. If you are one of these guys, just borrow a weapon from your PH and save yourself the hassle of lugging around gun cases standing inspection at every check-in. But, if you are the former and want to take your own weapon, I believe it enhances the experience if not improving the outcome of the hunt. I am constantly asked, “what gun do I need to take”?

The key word here is “need”. You only really need one gun for all game be it “plains or dangerous” and that would be a .375 H & H (9.5mm) magnum (minimum caliber for dangerous game in Tanzania) with a low to medium power scope. This caliber will do it all. One word of caution here also…avoid the hyper-magnums. Heavy caliber bullets are designed to do their best work between 1800 and 2200 fps (depending on caliber). Believe me, you want and need maximum bullet efficiency with African game. Evolution has done a very good job of weeding out the weaklings.

Personally I like to bring one “normal” magnum, either a 300 or 338 and one medium-heavy to heavy caliber… 375 and up. I’ve hunted with everything from a 308 Win to a 510 AHR with a 600 gr bullet. I like iron sights for under 50 yards and good light…scopes for everything else. Handguns are prohibited.

As far as bullets, I like Speer’s Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer solids and the Trophy Bonded Bearclaw softpoints designed by the renowned big-game hunter Jack Carter that Federal is loading in their premium ammunition. Actually, I’ve seen more one-shot kills on buffalo with the Bearclaw bullet in .375 H&H caliber than any other combination. For heavier guns I use exclusively Woodleighs but, Barnes Super Solids are also killers. For medium weight rifles a good partitioned bullet will do the job although, I do believe a thin jacketed bullet will produce better results and shock effect on thin skinned, small to medium boned plainsgame and leopard.

You are allowed to import 200 rnds of ammunition per rifle or shotgun although 40 to 60 should be enough. Firearm permits cost $150 per rifle and are purchase by your safari operator once he receives all the information on your weapons of choice. There is also a 5% import levy on all guns (highly subjective) usually in the neighborhood of $50 USD for all.

NOTE: Most airlines require that ammunition be packed in checked luggage separate from the weapons case. However, KLM/Northwest allows ammunition to be packed in the gun case as long as it is also packed in a separate container. Airline and/or security personnel may ask you if the ammunition has been packed in “approved containers”. I interpret this to mean (and I have never had a problem) either the original box or even better, plastic ammunition cases. I then load these into a designated box like a small Pelican Case. Although Tanzania allows 200 rounds per weapon, your airline will most likely have weight restrictions. Make sure you contact your airlines (and interlines) as to the amount of ammo you may check. It’s usually 5 kg (11 lbs) as with KLM/Northwest, Delta and SAA per passenger. NO airlines allow carry-on ammunition or guns.

Regardless of what you shoot, bullet placement (and to a somewhat lesser degree bullet choice and bullet velocity) is critical. I highly recommend reading The Perfect Shot by Kevin Robertson before setting foot on the dark continent. Good Luck!