Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day Three – Wednesday, July 18th, 2012 (part 1) Practicing for Elephants

by david on August 6, 2012

I have had the suggestion made to break up some of my longer post into smaller pieces for easier reading.  I do tend to get long winded on occasion so I’ll give it a try.  If any of you want my post to revert back to the way I was doing things drop me a note.  

Day Three – July 18th, 2012

            Since I am not hunting this morning, I get to sleep in this morning, 7:00 is the designated time to rise and shine.  Breakfast is at 7:30 and is my standard hunting breakfast — four pieces of bacon, two eggs over-easy (and cooked in lots of bacon grease), one piece of toast, and copious amounts of black coffee.  The protein stays with me, the carbs fill me up, the caffeine wakes me up, and the bacon grease is just for good measure (I am from the south, after all).  Having breakfast on china in the bush never ceases to amaze me.  I have come to expect it from Johann and Vera; it is just the way they do things.

            After breakfast, it is off to the shooting range to check the scopes on my rifle and to make sure the iron sites are hitting where I think they are.  The 9.3×62 Mauser is first.  It is deemed spot-on after three shots, with the two softs and one solid impacting in the same place.  I have the rifle set up to shoot 2 inches high at 100 yards, dead-on at 200 yards, and it is 10” low at 300 yards.  It does not matter whither I am shooting the Barnes TSX or the Barnes Banded solid; both bullets group nicely.  Interestingly, I can get the same points of impact with my .416 Rigby.  The 400-grain bullet, at 2380 fps, shoots surprisingly flat-out to 300 yards.  After that, it falls pretty much like a cinderblock.   

            I was not planning to hunt elephant when I came over, but it was now on the menu, where heavy rifle hitting was most important.  My shot would come at between 15 and 30 yards.  I was hoping that I’d have a chance at a side brain shot.  On a difficulty scale of 1-10, it is about an 8.25 (the target area is about the size of a football).  The other alternative is the frontal brain shot (target area slightly larger than a grapefruit), which is dramatically more difficult.  The rifle must shoot where I point it.  This is for my safety as well as the others in the group.  A wounded elephant can deal a whole lot of death and mayhem before it dies.  I must also check the iron sights.  If we end up in very thick cover a scope is not practical.  I have quick release scope mounts on both rifles just in case of a situation just like this.  Since the scope is already off target it is the perfect opportunity to make sure it is shooting to the same place as the iron sights.  The scope is only slightly off, but I am able to get it back in ship-shape after only about 10 rounds.  Believe you me, 10 rounds from a .416 in the space of 15-20 minutes is all you want.  The recoil in foot pounds from your average high-powered deer rifle is 17-20.  The recoil of the .416 is 54 foot pounds.  That will rattle the teeth right out of your head if you do not watch it.  I finally give up my spot at the shooting bench to Johann only a little worse for wear.  My teeth are still tight, but I will sport one heck of a bruise for the next week or so.  Johann mounted the scope I brought over for him on his new camp rifle and wants to sight it in.  Shooting is like walking for him, and he zeros the scope after only a half-dozen rounds or so.  With the rifles shooting like we want, it is time for me to watch an instructional video on elephant hunting.  After all, we are hunting elephant.


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