We love to read the great old stuff about Africa–but Africa has changed (and not all for the bad!). Craig Boddington’s first safari was in Kenya 35 years ago. Since then, he has hunted Africa 100 times in 16 countries. He will take you back to the great old days of Safari…and bring us up to date with today’s Africa.
There have been some losses: Kenya, Southern Sudan, Chad, the days of the big tuskers, availability of lions and rhinos. But there are also many gains: more countries are open to hunting; more game animals; and the “plains game safari”–all more available and affordable than ever before.
Included will be discussion of how CITES and U.S. Fish and Wildlife rules have impacted trophy importation.
When asked what his go-to hunting gear consists of, SCI Member Jeffrey P. responds:
“My regular hunting partner and I have been to Africa twice. Just returning on 10 June from the East Cape. We hunted plains game both times using .30-‘06. On this recent trip, we added another friend, also using a .30-‘06. The battery included one Kimber, one Ruger, and one FN-made Model 70. On our first trip I used Black Hills Gold ammunition with 180-grain Barnes Triple Shock bullets. My partner used handloads with 165-grain Barnes TTSX. Due to difficulty in finding Black Hills, I switched to Barnes VOR-TX 180-grain TTSX, while my partner stayed with his handloads. Our new guy also used VOR-TX in 180 grain.
“Performance from the .30-‘06 was excellent. All of my shots, with the exception of the blue wildebeest, were pass-throughs including a 252-yard kudu shoulder/neck shot. The wildebeest was shot on the shoulder at 90 yards and the bullet recovered on the opposite side. A number of shots on zebra, warthog, and gemsbok were angled shots with performance also being excellent.
“I took a .375 Ruger on my first trip, and a .243 Model 70 on the second trip, but ended up shooting the .30-‘06. No fault with the guns or calibers–just the way hunting goes sometimes. My Model 70 wears a Swarovski Z6 2X12, so sometimes the scope made the choice. I also shoot a custom .338 Remington that I use for elk, but like the lighter ‘06 for Africa.
“There has been a lot of press on the old standby. If I only owned one gun it would be an ‘06. I started my twin boys on deer with a Model 70 Featherweight and a Ruger Hawkeye. That Ruger was used by one of my pals on our most recent trip. The ammunition these days is so good that the use of magnums out to 300-350 yards is just unnecessary. We sight the guns in at 2 inches high at 100 yards resulting in a 200 yard zero.”
SCI Member Terry B. has been using and testing many different guns and loads since 1961. According to Terry:
“I’ve been to Africa 24 times, and this year took my 500th animal including my 107th blue wildebeest, and my 5th bush pig in daylight.
“In North America, from 1961 to 1983, I hunted all over Alaska for moose and caribou. I hunted elk in Montana, Colorado, and Idaho, and sheep and goats in B.C. In those years, I pretty well used a simple push-feed Model 70 Winchester chambered for either .30-’06 or .270 Win. with a 2×7 Redfield Widefield scope. In those calibers, I reloaded almost everything with either 180-grain Nosler Partition (the old ones) or 180-grain Hornady spire point bullets.
“In 1985, I took my first trip to Zimbabwe and brought a fiberglass-stocked FN Mauser chambered in .375 H&H using 300-grain Hornady roundnose bullets. The rifle was topped with a Burris scope. I also took a .308 Winchester using 165-grain Speer soft-points. That rifle had a Tasco 3×9 scope and yes, I still have the Tasco, but it is on my .22 for plinking.
“In 1986, I took a 7.65 Argentine Mauser firing 174-grain Hornady bullets as well as some 180-grain Sierra soft-points. The other rifle I took was my “then-new” pre-’64 Model 70 Winchester topped with a 2-7x Refield scope chambered for .338 Winchester Magnum. I used 250-grain Hornady roundnose bullets.
“Not long after that, I pretty well switched to 3-9x Var II Leupold scopes and still have most all of them in service. I’ve sent them all in to have click adjustments installed rather than the rubber friction.
“In 1989, I took two Cape buffalo using my .375 H&H and old Jack Carter 300-grain Trophy M Bonded Bear Claw bullets. I also took my .338 Winchester Magnum along for plains game and used 250-grain Bear Claws.
“About 1991-92 I got my first 7mm Remington Magnum and found that it loved only 175-grain flat-base bullets. For the next several trips, I used it almost exclusively with 175-grain Speer Mag Tip, Hornady Spire Point, or Bear Claw bullets to kill everything from impala to eland.
“In 1995, I got my first .300 Winchester Magnum–a Remington BDL stainless. I made many trips to South Africa’s Eastern Cape with it, and used various 180-grain bullets. About that time I also started using 180-grain Swift A-Frame bullets.
“In 2000, I used Barnes 200-grain X-Bullets in the .338 Winchester Magnum for the first time, and that was the beginning of a long and loving infatuation with Barnes bullets. One of the first gemsbok I killed with it really impressed my PH because he could see the bullet hit the dirt after going through the animal. Since then, I have almost always used Barnes X, TSX or TTSX bullets in my .338, and now also the new Vor TX bullets. I always take along another rifle for smaller plains game.
“I still use those Var II 3-9x Leupold scopes and even own one Var III 2.5-8x scope, and have put a Hogue over-molded stock on my Remington Model 700.
“When I went to Namibia in 2012, I took an old push-feed Winchester Model 70 in .300 H&H with a Leupold 6 x 42 scope on it shooting Barnes 168-grain TTSX bullets for longer range.”