by Mark Clammer
|Now that's a big Buffalo! One shot with a Thompson/Center Encore in .416 Lockhart.|
Ernest the PH from Spear Safaris said, "Here's the plan Mark, we are going straight in the middle of the herd. Everyone is lying down except that Big Boy so get your pistol ready and follow me. Soon as I give you an all clear, take your time and then take him." I mentally checked my wrist ammo carrier for two spares, took a long deep breath and hoped this .416 Lockhart loaded with a 400 grain Sledgehammer solid was going to have enough Oomph to bring this Bad Boy down.
Fred Smith at Bullberry Barrel Works had talked about a round that I could use for big stuff and I liked the .416 Lockhart that Fred and another person had dreamed up. It's based on the 350 Remington Magnum case, which is still plentiful and it is a darn strong case to open up to a .416 diameter.
So that was the plan, we stalked to within 70 yards of this monster bull and waited for a clear broadside shot when the PH said, "As soon as that cow moves to the left, you've got a clear shot." and so it was. I launched that solid at 2000 feet per second and the herd exploded with movement all around us but instantly I could hear a long drawn out bellow coming from the center of the surrounding herd. I still couldn't see the bull because of all the commotion. " Is that a death bellow? Ernest is he down?" Ernest had his binoculars fixed on the bull the entire time. Finally he said, "He's down Mark and you have yourself a excellent bull. One shot!"
Wow, I did it, a Cape Buffalo with a pistol. The pleasant surprise about the whole thing is he is tied with # 4 SCI record books for Cape Buffalo with a handgun. After the 60 day drying period and a re-measure it should still be in the top Ten.
This .416 Lockhart is an outstanding cartridge capable of taking just about anything with the right loads and lots of practice. Fred told me it was very similar to the Ken Waters .416 Express which Redding had produced dies for. So I want to thank Fred for an incredible barrel with excellent fitting tolerances to my Encore frame. It has shot accurately with all of the powders I have tried. The old tried and true IMR 3031 gave excellent low-pressure loads and accuracy. That in combination with the muzzle brake made this quite the "Buff rig" for Africa.
I want to thank Ernest Dyason and Spear Safari for an excellent hunt. Without his expertise in getting me in close to let the air out of this monster, I wouldn't have been able to pull it off. What a heart pounding experience!
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