Collecting the big five is a dream that is impossible for many, but that is in the imagination of all fans of big game and, above all, those who have already set foot on the African continent ever.
A safari composed exclusively of the big five is a luxury within reach of few for a mere question of economic cost. However, in our attempt es safaris, we can include some other member of the big five as a complement: buffalo, lion, leopard, elephant… The rhino, on the other hand, is difficult to hunt because of its scarcity, and as far as hiccups are concerned, although we are probably facing the most dangerous of the quintet, it is not a very attractive trophy.
Okay, let’s do a combined safari. We make a list of species, including some of the great ones such as eland or kudu, and add a buffalo, animal highly sought after by Spanish Africanists. Perfect, but now we’re being robbed of a couple of questions: What rifle will I need? What will be the most suitable caliber for this combined safari? Let’s see.
Express or Bolt
Excluding semi-automatics, banned in Africa, and dismissing mono varieties as impractically (which does not mean that some carry out hugely successful hunts in Africa with such rifles), we have two options: bolt rifle or express.
When it comes to dangerous hunting, the express is faster if we need to immediately support the shot in the face of the animal’s cargo, and, if practiced a little, becomes faster to load. The rifle should have two triggers for mere safety: we are faced with a weapon that is more delicate than the bolt, and in case of failure of one of the firing mechanisms, we will always have the other.
As for throwing with or without visor will depend on whether we hunt in savannah or jungle, but in any case, the viewer has to be of few magnifications, a 1.5-4x or similar will be more than enough. When mounting it should be observed the eye-visor distance, especially in the case of thick gauges; although considering that the shots will be at relatively close distances opting for the sights of the visor is an option to consider, both for the speed of facing a load and for the integrity of our eyebrows.
Choosing the caliber well
We have imagined a safari with antelopes and a buffalo, so we need a quality that, more or less, is worth everything, and with which we are comfortable and accurate.
For these situations, we can lean towards the popular .375 H&H, which, with the exception of the rhino, serves us both for small antelopes and to take down one of the large ones, depending on the type of ammunition. Advantages? The recoil is achievable, its ammo is cheap, and the results we will get will be better since we will throw relaxed, placing the bullet where it should, without fear of recoil.
Other “Africans” suitable for express is Krieghoff’s classic .470 Nitro Express and .500/416, both powerful and quite pleasant. If we choose to lock, we also have the extended .416 Rigby, the .458 Win. Mag. and the Weatherby .30-.378 and the .378 Wealth. Mag. Forget other more powerful and unpleasant shooting, like the .460 Wealth. Mag. or the .500, .600 and .700 N.E.
When it comes to throwing
Finally, and although we have said it above, we must know how to master the rifle and never let the rifle dominate us; Also, the professional will always be supporting us and ready to support the shot.
We usually will pull with a fork to mitigate nerves and tremors so that we can focus on the target. On the other hand, we have to know our trigger thoroughly and drop the shot at the right moment we want. In this regard, rifles with hair are not recommended for hunting the big five because it could be that with our nerves, we missed the shot sooner than we wanted.
Another tip is to study anatomy and position of each animal’s organs, which is essential to make mistakes than not and know where to aim. For that, from here we recommend two interesting books on this aspect: ‘The Perfect Shot’ and ‘Africa Safari’.