their Martini Henry single shots and those massive dollops of paper patched lead – the ones that they used against the British in the Anglo Boer war. You don’t need speed to make a bullet kill something effectively, you need a good heavy bullet, you need a good pair of sights and you need to learn how to hunt properly – like getting out of a truck and stalking an animal to within the reaches of your particular firearm.Despite being country bumpkins from the dark continent there are a few things we know and have learned about rifles and guns in Africa, perhaps passed down from our grandfathers with
My grandfathers knew more about the trajectory of a 500 grain lead bullet than I ever would know and they took game out to 200 yards – with poorly loaded bullets, old pre war powder and open sights - they remained fat and happy on venison their whole life through! This is what many hunters and PH’s in Africa know – a heavy bullet does not need to travel at light speed to be effective, in fact faster is often a disadvantage – it kicks like a mule and it bites like a crocodile – and makes you flinch and miss.
In addition, big dangerous game like to frequent heavy cover and mostly you’re going to want to shoot through thick grass and brush, often in a split second. In times like this there is nothing that beats a sluggish 400 to 500 grain bullet - and yes gents, you can shoot through grass, brush and even decent sized branches with a nice heavy 500 grain bullet, I've done it too many times to remember!
This is good news for us 45/70 Government toters of course yet you’d ask the question, do I need to go as heavy as 500 grain bullets? As far as I understand it, the 45/70 was first designed with a 405 grain bullet in mind yet it was changed a few years later to a standard 500 grain lead bullet which proved to be more accurate over long distance. Of course when it comes to dangerous thick skinned game, you’re not going to lob 500 grain lead projectiles at the beast from way yonder (like those South African PH's do), you’re hopefully with a PH who will get you into the 30 to 50 yard range of the Black Death. You’ll also take into account that you’re shooting with a rifle that has some limitations and take your time and make sure of your shot, squarely in the vitals always does nicely. Without a doubt, projectiles weighing between 400 and 500 grains, loaded properly and credibly are suitable for the kind of penetration you need for the dangerous beasts of Africa and this includes the thick skinned heavy game - plain and simple folks, it will kill an Elephant!