Best Ammo for Hunting African Game

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Best Ammo for Hunting African Game: Essential Guide for Successful Hunts


Most beginners in an African Safari think they need more power and are over-gunned.

In general, there are three main types of hunting over there:

  • Standard Plains
  • Dangerous game
  • Combination game

Standard Plains game hunting resembles North American deer hunting, so you can certainly pack that deer rifle. The same goes for dangerous games. You can bring that elk rifle if you want more power. Having the right ammo for the job is more important than the rifle. There is no one magical ammunition type that works for all game.

Ammunition Basics For African Game

Several factors should be considered when choosing the right ammo for African big game and plains hunting.

Some of the most important include caliber size, bullet weight, and performance factors. Remember that the best ammo for elephants and lions might not work as well for plains game. It is essential to consider higher-quality rounds that won't leave you wondering why a shot went off track.

Caliber Selection For Big Game

The big five animal types for African hunting are elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, and buffalo. These all have thicker skin. Having a bullet that packs more punch is not only more effective but also more ethical.

The larger calibers are generally necessary for their ability to deliver high penetration through the thicker animal’s hides. These heavier bullet weights allow for more penetration, making an effective and ethical shot. Some popular big-five ammo options are:

These three calibers are often legally required in some countries and offer some of the best recoil and effective stopping power on the market.

Selecting Ammo For Plains Game

Kudu, impala, and wildebeest are similar to some North American game, where you don't need as much power as dangerous game.

Many hunters favor the .270 Winchester because it is precise at long-ranged distances for medium game. The .308 Winchester also offers an ideal flat trajectory and high velocity, perfect for varied distances with minimum meat damage. Hunters are more likely to take longer shots, ranging between 300 and 500 yards. The .308 is one of the most popular options for hunting wildebeest and antelope. An ammo perfect for these distances is the 7mm Remington Magnum due to its ballistic characteristics and terminal performance.

Top Ammo Brands and Options for African Hunting

While getting ready for your next African safari hunt, plenty of reputable brands consistently produce high-quality and effective ammo.

Some of the top brands include Federal Premium, Barnes, Nosler, Winchester, and Remmington. These brands have so many great options, but some of the most popular are:

  • Federal Premium Cape-Shok with Trophy Bonded Bear Claw
  • Barnes VOR-TX LR with LRX bullets
  • Nosler Trophy Grade
  • Nosler Ballistic Tip
  • Winchester Deep XP
  • Remmington Premier Accutip

Going with higher-quality ammunition is always better than just picking up something on sale. These brands offer some of the highest quality and most reliable products with different options. Some options include copper and bonded bullets that offer better expansion and penetration.

Performance and Price Comparison

You can get all the range experience and practice you want, but nothing compares to the adrenaline rush and real-life experience of hunting in Africa. You want to be sure you are bringing the right gear along, and it's a good thing that there are thousands of experienced hunters who know the right ammo for the job.

When it comes to African hunting ammunition, you want to buy quality products rather than the cheaper option. This doesn't mean there aren't cost-free options. Two popular options with hundreds of hunter testimonials are the .308 Winchester and the .300 Winchester Magnum.

The .308 Win costs around $50-$70 a box or around $3.50 per round. The .300 Win Magnum is more expensive because it packs more punch. There are plenty of other options, and the price range is huge. For example, the .470 Nitro Express is a much bigger bullet that comes in at around $17 per round or $170 per box of 10.  

Buying in bulk is a great way to be more cost-effective. Usually, ammunition companies offer deals for larger orders. So, if you want more affordable ammunition, sometimes the best case is buying more.

From hunter testimonials, there are cost-effective options where you can just bring one cartridge that will work great on dangerous game and plains game alike. A great choice is the .45-70 government, sometimes overlooked because of how old the ammo is.

However, it has over two tons of kinetic energy behind it with only 60 foot-pounds of recoil. These 300-grain bullets get pushed to 1895 fps, making them suitable for any African game animal.

One of the problems, however, is the lack of range. The .45-70 is most effective within and around the 150-yard mark. Two other similar options to the .45-70 Government are the 9.3x62 Mauser and the 375 Holland & Holland Magnum. The 375 Holland & Holland Magnum is an absolute classic for all African Game. It should be considered by anyone looking to have an affordable ammunition option for both Big Five and Plains game.

Field Tips for Using Ammo on African Hunts

When it comes to using ammunition in Africa, the most important factor, no matter the ammo type, is being able to hit your shots in the right place.

Ethically, your shot placement will determine how quickly that animal goes down. Some of the best advice from other hunters is just to hunt more. An inexpensive hunting trip to Africa provides more real-life experiences you can’t practice on the range. However, the range will do fine for practice before you hit the real deal.

Understanding the vital zones of your target animals will help identify the area of the animal you should be targeting. Using 3D targets while practicing is more effective than a paper target.

With hunting rifles and ammunition getting better through more advanced technologies, hunters can take shots at longer ranges. It is now common to take shots over 500 yards. But you should practice taking shots at this range so that when you get to the real deal, you’ll be more confident hitting those vital zones. 

The African bush is wild, and you should adapt to the climate and terrain. While in the savannah, you might find yourself in a range of shooting positions. Be sure to practice taking shots from kneeling, standing, prone, or shooting tripod.

Also, getting used to Africa's heat and weather conditions is vital. Good fitness is crucial for success in the African heat and wind. Be sure to care for yourself by hydrating and protecting yourself from the sun. 


If you’ve practiced and trained well for your African hunt, your final shots will be a testament to how well you actually prepared. Make sure you are taking the right ammo for the job. Choosing the right ammo and considering ethical considerations go hand in hand.

Be sure of your shot placement, and make sure those bullets have enough power to put the animal down quickly and humanely. There are plenty of ammunition options that are perfect for an African safari hunt.

As we stated earlier, these top brands include Federal Premium, Barnes, Nosler, Winchester, and Remmington. These brands offer great options for hunting the Big Five or any plains game. Some options, like .45-70 Government, work great for both hunting groups.

Be sure to get plenty of practice before heading to Africa. You’ll want to be able to hunt efficiently and ethically. Grab all the hunting ammo you need at US Reloading for your next African Game hunt. 


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