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French SCI Member Likes .338 Lapua

I’m an SCI Member from France, writing in answer to your question about what kind of rifles, scopes and types of bullets I am currently using when hunting. I have now done 38 hunting trips since 1985 when I first hunted in Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean. There I was lent a .300 Savage for the first wild boar I shot and it worked fine.

Africa

I started to hunt in Western Africa (Burkina Faso) in 1989, 1990 and 1991. I used at the time a .375 H&H Heym rifle topped with a 2.2-9x42mm Swarovski scope and Nosler Partition or Trophy Bonded bullets. That combination worked fine on all kind of animals, including western buffalo.

Since 1998, I’ve shifted to a .416 Rigby–a bespoke rifle based on a Mauser action. With it, I took my first lion using Woodleigh bullets. The performance was devastating. As a second rifle, I had a .338 Lapua Magnum—a Sako model TRGS that is now discontinued. It is a great caliber and rifle, and I personally handload my cartridges using Vithuaori N165 powder and 250-grain Nosler Partition bullets.

The Rigby is scoped with a 2.5x20mm Kahles; the Sako with a 1.1-4x24mm Schmidt & Bender.

red-deer-091012

In 2000 in Burkina Faso, I used only the .338 Lapua Magnum Sako, as the stock of the .416 Rigby was broken when I arrived in the country. Using 250-grain Nosler Partition bullets, I took a buffalo, a lion and various antelope including (at that time) the SCI World Record western bushbuck that scored 39 6/8 (it now ranks 7th).

In 1997 (in Benin), and 2004 (in Burkina Faso), I did most of my hunting using a .458 Win. Mag. Brno rifle and A-Frame 500-grain bullets along with my .338 Lapua Magnum Sako rifle. I shot a buffalo with the .458.

Mountain Hunting

For this kind of hunting (Scotland, Kazakhstan, Azerbajan, also France where I hunt the Corsican sheep with shots up to 270 meters), I currently use a 7mm Rem. Mag. Prohunter Steyr Mannlicher, using handloaded 150-grain Ballistic Tip bullets, or factory-loaded 162 KS RWS bullets. All of them are extremely accurate (three bullets in a 2-inch circle at 300 meters). The recoil of the 7mm Rem. Mag. is mild and allows very long, accurate shots. The rifle is scoped with a Multi-Zero CS 2.5-10x50mm Kahles that allows me to sight up to 500 meters.

Eastern Countries (Bulgaria, Serbia, and Hungary) And Driven Hunts In France

I now use a bespoke .300 Win. Mag. rifle based on a 1924 Mauser action made by a French master gunsmtih, Joel Doreac, from Perpignan.  I stuck with the .300 Win. Mag. as I use mainly 200-grain Norma Oryx bullets when stalking wild boar (from 100 to 350 pounds) or red deer, and 220-grain Sako Hammerhead bullets when on driven hunts in France. I use a 3-12x56mm Multi-Zero CS Kahles scope for stalking and a red dot Docter for driven hunts.

Buffalo Hunting

I’ve shot three buffalo using three different calibers. With a .375 H&H, the buffalo walked 80 meters after being shot; with the .458 Win. Mag., the buffalo fell in its tracks; with the .338 Lapua, it walked 30 meters and fell, but I had to reshoot three times to kill him.

I personally think that the caliber in Africa will depend on the territory you hunt. In open field, a .375 H&H will be enough for buffalo when using 350-grain bullets, but you will be safer in very heavy brush with a larger caliber. –Christian S.  Limoges, France

 

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