Selecting guns and ammo for your Zimbabwe Safari

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Selecting guns and ammo for your Zimbabwe Safari

No make of rifle can really be recommended above another, but It is important that you do not buy a new gun and bring it out to Africa without shooting it.  It should be tested thoroughly.  The stock and scope screws tested for tightness.  The feeding should be checked, with the ammunition type to be used on the hunt, and the scope should be zeroed.

In Zimbabwe the law divided hunting into three categories and there are minimum calibers required for hunting these:

1.  Thick-skinner dangerous game - Elephant, buffalo, rhino ad hippo.  Minimum calibers for these animals are .375 H & H Mag or 9.3 x 64 Breneke or equivalent.

2.  Thin skinned dangerous game and large sized non-dangerous game - Lion, Eland and Giraffe.  The minimum would be .279 Weatherby or a 7 x 61 Sharp and Hart, or equivalent.

3.  Thin skinned big game - Sable, Leopard, Kudu, Zebra, Wildebeest, Crocodile, Waterbuck, Hyaena, Nyala.  The .270 Winchester is the minimum in this category.

A .375 H&H is probably the best all round choice if a hunter is going to bring only one rifle.  Another good rifle for dangerous and plains game would be .416 Remington Mag, Rigby or any of the other  .416's if a hunter can cope with the recoil.  One of the 300 magnum rifles, or 7 mm Remington Magnum makes a good second rifle, if two are considered.

The Bullet type used is important, as these should be properly constructed and of the correct weight for the type of game being hunted.  the premium type bullets, like Swift, Nosler, or Trophy bonded, and other premium soft points are by far the best.  These bullets are expensive ,  but they are the cheapest part of a hunting safari and well worth the investment.  Bullet placement and the right bullet is in fact far more important than the caliber.  Bullet should not be too light, and in the case of 300 magnums for instance the 180-grain weights are better if there is a chance of long-range shots (150 to 300 yards).

Saeed Al Maktoum with a very nice Elephant taken in 1999




Scope should be rugged 1 1/2 to 5 variable or 2 to 7 or 8 for most conditions.  Those for low-light conditions, (like cat hunting) should have good light gathering ability, with a  good quality, large objective lens, like Leopold, Burris and other quality makes.  The German scopes are hard to beat for light gathering ability.  Scopes should be mounted as low as possible on a rugged scope mounting that will allow the objective lens to clear the barrel, and bolt handle.  It is a good idea to bring along a spare scope, pre-zeroed, and in the same kind of detachable mount as the one on the rifle, so that it can be mounted quickly and checked for zero.


Meat is dried and sold as a inexpensive source of protein


A belt and good quality cartridge holder for each caliber will be needed.  A sling is also an important requirement, as it is not much fun for a Professional hunter to walk in front of a rifle being carried over someone's shoulder, aside from it being an uncomfortable way to carry a gun for a few hours at a time.


Saeed Al Maktoum with a magnificent Mob Sable taken at


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