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Buffalo - with a handgun
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An 8 The Hard Way

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by a.k.a. SAM     Last updated: 2010-07-11 19:53:29

My first buffalo

They said that within all the years they have been hunting for buffs – they have seen a lot of them which was running away for a long distance with bullets from 500 NE in the body and blah, blah, blah. In the camp – there were some other hunters too – and nobody had any believe in my short buffalo gun.

My only support was Johan. He was sure that I would do my job!


Corris and Rod had a challenge.

- a handgunner who would not shoot if the buff was beyond 50 m

- a cartridge they didn`t know nothing about

- a guy who have not shot any larger animals than zebra, oryx and blue w.beest

The days past quickly, and several stalks were not successful for a handgunner.

We could not come close enough – but we were thaaaat close to good buffs.

I don`t know how many times I could hear comments like: “If you have had a rifle....!”

The seventh day – we observed two “dagabulls” (bulls which is 10-15 years of age).

Both bulls had a good boss – but the length of the horns was not so big.

But there was “no room” for being too selective.

My “target” for the travel was a buff – not Africa`s biggest trophy.

The area was very, very dry – because the last rain was 5 months ago.

The ground was like crispbread – and that didn`t do it easier for our stalks.

How should we do this?

We found a river bed – and we walked carefully against the bulls.

The bulls was right to us – and the wind blew in their direction.

But we did not have any other possibility – to come close to them.

“I think we wait for them here” – Corris said.

“Schhhhh! There they are!”

Two bulls – at 50 m.

Ohh – shit!

They stopped – and we were sure that they have smelled us.

They stood still for minutes – and those minutes was like days, but suddenly one of the bulls started to walk – and the second bull followed.

35 m away from us – Corris whistled, and the bulls stopped.

Docter`s red dot – was placed on the buff`s shoulder within 2 seconds – and pang!

We could see that the bull lifted his left foot – and was hit.

Both bulls start running – and the “trees passed fast”.

The red point followed the bull – and pang – the second shot hit 10 cm from the first one.

The third bullet stopped in a tree.

At 50 m – I could only see his back leg before he disappeared.


Then we waited for some minutes – and suddenly we heard the bulls`deadroaming.

Corris turned around, took my hand and said: “Congratulation! You have got your first buffalo”!

Carefully I walked to where the roaming came from – and could see the bull lying on the ground. Still carefully - I went to the left for him - so I could go up to him from behind.

Then I shot him in the spine, just to be sure that I could write about this!

Choice of bullet

Proper bullet is important for a successful hunt.

Accuracy is one thing – but will the bullet crack or expand too much/little?

When you are hunting dangerous game like a buffalo – it is very, very important that you have done your homework.

In August -06 I traveled to Zimbabwe together with my South African friend and outfitter Johan Dreyer.

I had chosen the FA .454 as my buffalo gun.

Before the hunt – I spend a lot of time testing a good bullet, and I found Frontier`s 390 gr. FP as the perfect big-game bullet. The bullet penetrated very well, and the accuracy was also good. But – the crimp groove was not deep enough. Sometimes (even that I used Lee`s crimp die) the bullet loosened a little bit – and the cylinder could not rotate.

What would happen if a bullet loosened after a shot on a buff which was standing 30 m away?

I couldn`t take that chance on dangerous game!

A friend of mine – “Calibros” – had shot a girafe and some other big antelopes with his homemade “Caly 378”. This is a 378 gr. hardcast bullet with a deep crimp groove.

I loaded it with Hodgdon 110 – 23 gr. which gave 1350 fps.


Isn`t open sights good enough? I don`t think so!

At the shooting range – on a steel plate or some paper – where the target is standing ”broadside” all the time until you are ready to shoot – yes!

But are most of the hunting situations like that? No!

The animal is standing in a angle, and the vegetation doesn`t do it easier (a branch or two is always in front of where you want to shoot).

Open sights where you have to have a focus on the front sight – doesn`t make it possible to have “control” on the target.

When using a scope or red point sight – you put the dot or cross where you want to hit – and still have “steel-control”. A bad shot on the range – means nothing! A bad shot on the animal – means tracking – and if you are lucky – you will find the animal.

If you don`t find it – you become frustrated, you loose the pleasure with hunting, loose time – and you must pay for the trophy.


Revolvers in cal. 357 Mag., .44 Mag. and .454 Casull - and single shot pistols like Thompson Contender (TC) in cal. 30-30 and .375 JDJ - is what I have shot my 123 animals with.

To avoid to talk about all the details I have experienced with those calibers - I have ended up with a Freedom Arms (FA) mod. 83, 7,5 " barrel in .454 Casull - and TC in .375 JDJ - as my perfect hunting-guns.

With those guns/calibers - I`m ready for everything!


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Recent Comments:

Poster: SAM    Date: 2012-08-02    Top

Hi! Within 454 range - my sights are "dead on".
Poster: dh360300    Date: 2012-08-01   Top

Do you have any experience with severe uphill or downhill angles while using your 454? P.O.I. changes say w/in 50yds. Thanks
Poster: Zimph    Date: 2012-02-09    Top

Hi Sam I read your article and well done its not easy to stalk in the dry season and especially with no cover, when you are ready to try with a hand at a jumbo and real close up then try us
Poster: tradmark    Date: 2010-12-20   Top

congrats, great shooting and i'm sure a hunt of a lifetime. that's the exact gun i'd have used. awesome.
Poster: dc74    Date: 2010-11-05    Top

great story and great piks thanks. loved it
Poster: Tigger    Date: 2010-07-14   Top

Great buffalo!!!!! Nice article and pictures.
Poster: glynn41    Date: 2010-07-14    Top

great job -- you behaved as a true hunter in your standards
Poster: jamesfromjersey    Date: 2010-07-13   Top

Excellent.....Tell Calibros I said hello, James
Poster: Russell    Date: 2010-07-12    Top

Congrats on the buffalo!! Really enjoyed your write-up.
Poster: Gregg Richter    Date: 2010-07-12   Top

Great Hunt, Sam. I too like the red dot sight and have one on my FA 500 WE, and also on a Ruger SBH and a Custom Ruger .475L.
Poster: SChunter    Date: 2010-07-12    Top

SAM, What a tremendous trophy - Congrats on your buff!
Poster: KRal    Date: 2010-07-12   Top

Congrats and great article!
Poster: MIHunter    Date: 2010-07-11    Top

Awesome trophy, congrats!

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