The aim of this article, or perhaps series of blogs, is to explore the potential of such a chosen path to hunting creatures from small to large employing one bullet for each rifle in our safes.
Of course, we know that if every hunter accepted that method of hunting all game, including varmints, it would soon put ammo companies and bullet manufactures out of business. Still, there are some sportsmen who practice this method in hunting with one rifle. We’ve all read or heard of men who’ve done just that the world over — and became famous. The .300 Weatherby and .30-06 are two rifle cartridges that have taken game on every continent in the hands of able riflemen/hunters. Of course, there are multiple weights, styles and construction in .308-caliber bullets available for anything from 110gr to 250gr, but that’s not our theme. The object of this piece is one bullet for each rifle whatever the caliber. What might be the limits?That’s more of a challenge than multiple styles and weights for the same rifle. I think we would agree on that.
Admittedly, I’m thinking more of North American hunting than African with it’s mega-fauna of the DG variety! But even then, some of our suggestions might be effective for most African game, including some of the “Dangerous Five”! For instance, I’ve already made the point several times that a well constructed and shaped 400gr in the .458 Winchester Magnum could be effectively used on all medium to large game throughout the world, including the hazardous African kind with the exception of where a solid would be needed. And a 400gr solid of the right shape, construction and MV would surely work on elephant in a “have to” situation, though this is about one bullet for all one may hunt with any individual rifle. So we’ll get into some details of that concept.
It was the late Finn Aagaard who wrote that he preferred to use “one load” for each of his rifles rather than changing loads for the same rifle for different hunts. I have the same preference and seek to make that possible through handloads even though I try several before settling on one.
In .308-caliber alone, Nosler sells nineteen bullets according to their Reloading Guide 6. Since that guide was published they may have deleted some and added others. And most bullet manufacturers are similar for the most popular calibers. Since I’ve owned ten magnums in .308 caliber, I’ve tried a bunch of brands and weights, but it would be near impossible to try all of them. What I’ve done in regard to the magnums is settle on 180s to 220s, and mostly on the 190gr Hornady and 200gr Nosler Accubond. Today, I’d choose the 200gr AccuBond as a one bullet for the .300 magnums and never look back. It’s suitable for anything I’d want to hunt with a .300 magnum, the .300 Winchester in particular. 2970 fps from a 24″ barrel is quite normal. As a “one load” for anything I’d choose to hunt with a .300 Win Mag, it would be a premium 200gr for moose to 500 yards, or anything smaller, including coyote, wolf, hogs, caribou, bears, white-tails, etc.
That’s only one example of what this topic is all about: One rifle, one load. Th 200gr AccuBond is sleek with a high .588 BC and designed to open at a minimum of 1800 fps, yet tough enough with a bonded core for heavy game. One could do a LOT worse than a .300 Win Mag for all hunting using a single load! True, not the best for varmints or pachyderms, but for anything in between it has had success. Obviously, they have impressed me. I wouldn’t cry if that’s all I had to hunt the world, leaving aside the elephants and possibly the Cape Buff. One rifle, one load. I might switch to the 200gr Partition if I thought that would improve anything — but I seriously doubt it.
<These are examples of two bullets I settled on for their respective cartridges: a 250gr AccuBond for the 9.3 x 62 on the left and a 250gr Speer GS on the right for the .350 Rem Mag. They each have an MV a tad over 2700 fps from their respective rifles. The 250 AccuBond has a better BC at .493 than the 250 GS at only .335 BC. Both, superbly accurate at around 1/2 MOA. (Right click on image, then choose “Open image in new tab”, then click on the new tab for a better view.)
The 250 GS (Grand Slam) was chosen for its toughness, velocity and accuracy. The action of my Rem 673 was short, constraining COL to 2.83″, so space for powder was limited to 62.5 grains (compressed). But that load averaged 2710 fps/4076 ft-lbs at the muzzle. It’s last trip to the range shot three into a neat cloverleaf of .375″. Yes, it went bear hunting. That rifle was traded for something else as it was too heavy for my intentions, and the silly rib on top of the barrel spoiled its aesthetics in my view. Nonetheless, it could with that one load have served for a bunch of hunting I’ve done over the years. My goal in its acquisition was a one rifle, one load, for most of my BG hunts. And it would have made a capable larger varmint rifle in addition to its main chores.
The 9.3 x 62 Mauser has the same positive attributes, plus others. While I’ve tested many loads from 232gr Oryx to 320gr Woodleigh PP, the 250gr Nosler AccuBond has become my all-around bullet of choice. I’ve also used the 286gr Hornady in hunting as well as the 286gr Nosler Partition, and shot bears with each, as well as with the 250 AccuBond, which has developed a Stirling reputation on big, tough game like grizzly. It shoots flat and hits like a ton, literally, at 500 yards! Something the .350 Rem Mag could only do at about 350 yards due to the rather poor BC of the 250gr GS. And I could only get over 2700 fps from the 250 Grand Slam because it was a shorter bullet than the other 250s with a better BC, such as the 250gr Speer HotCor. And all that was due to the short action 700 Rem.
Nothing of that sort for my TIKKA in 9.3 x 62. It has a clip magazine allowing a COL of 3.37″. The 9.3 x 62 case holds 77 – 78 grains of water compared to the .350 Rem case at 74. But the bullets in .358″ must be seated too deeply in the short-action M700 (later called M7) taking away space that should be reserved for powder. I load 70 grains of a slower RL-17 propellant behind the 250gr Accubond (the same as for the 286gr Partition which could also be a single load for the 9.3 x 62, and I do prefer it for moose. It has greater “power” all the way from the muzzle to 500 yards, but it also develops more recoil in that light rifle). The 62.5 grains for the .350 Rem was RL-15, and that was about the limit of compression for RL-15 in that case. In the 9.3 x 62 I can go to 71 grains at 2760 fps for the 250 AB but the accuracy isn’t as good at MOA when 1 grain less gives .44″ at 100 yards quite consistently for three when I do my part. Not that it makes a great difference in a normal hunt of less than 300 yards, but at 500 it might. So, a one bullet, one load for my 9.3 x 62 Mauser is the 250gr AB at 2714 fps avg. into about 1/2 MOA.
Another one rifle is a favorite in Africa, that being the highly regarded .375 H&H. While some use 270s for various plains game, then switch to 300s for ele and Cape buff, I’d go with a premium 300gr for anything and everything. That gives the best that this highly regarded cartridge is able to bring in my estimation. Look at these ballistics from a 24″:
Bullet: 300gr Nosler AccuBond, BC = .485, SD = .305
MV = 2650 fps/ 4678 ft-lbs
250 = 2226 fps/ 3421 ft-lbs (zero)
300 = 2194 fps/ 3205 ft-lbs -4.35″
400 = 2052 fps/ 2805 ft-lbs -18.62″
500 = 1916 fps/ 2445 ft-lbs -41.16″ (good for up to a 1 ton soft-skinned animal) *These results are from typical African temps.
There’s nothing wrong with a .375 H&H as a one rifle, one load for any BG hunting throughout the world. And surely it would work on a leopard as well as any black or brown bear in addition to the big and nasties of Africa.
Want more velocity? Not needed.
All for this time… til the next.