A Prince, A Pauper &
Some Good Luck

Old West Meets Africa
; .

Tank practiced for three months prior the hunt and was getting pretty acquainted with the Skinner peep sights.

The sable is known as “the prince of Africa” for its majestic beauty. It’s a perfect moniker too. With sweeping, ringed horns, black saddle and gorgeous face, it’s certainly one of the noblest creatures in Africa.

When Tim Sundles, owner of Buffalo Bore Ammo, invited me on a cull hunt early in ’23, the sable was a top contender for my “most wanted” animal besides Cape buffalo. However, it would be like finding the proverbial “needle in a haystack” proposition as Sundles told me he only knew of two mature sables on his 15,000-acre property in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.


Here’s Tank’s sable. Having Tank in the picture would have
only detracted from the beauty of this majestic beast.

The Hunt

Since Sundles figured getting the right Cape buffalo would be the hardest task, we started hunting them first. I wanted to take a Cape buffalo with my peep sighted Marlin SBL 1895 .45-70, it’s what I would be carrying until we got our buffalo. Starting at the crack of dawn, we left the house to find buffalo. We saw a few, attempted some stalks, but the buffalo weren’t cooperating, being very wary, taking off before we could get near them for a closer look.

Mid-morning, while driving one of several roads traversing through a thick savannah we stumbled onto a nice, lone sable. His backward sweeping horns were thick and huge. Stopping the Land Cruiser, Tim examined the “Prince of Africa” for several minutes with binoculars. As he studied the bull, assessing his trophy status, he observed the horns had secondary growth rings at the bases.

Somehow, Sundles determined this particular sable was one of the original ranch sables from when he purchased the property. Turning slowly, he asked, “Do you want this sable?” Before his voice trailed off, finishing the sentence, I’d already opened the door and chambered a round in my ’95. I guess you could say action speaks louder than words.

The sable was around 110 yards away, above, and forward of us, standing on a small ridge with a dry creek bed to his left. He was facing left to right and had no idea we were there. Shouldering the Marlin SBL, I quickly found the bull’s right shoulder in the peep sight and centered the Skinner Sights white-lined Bear Buster front sight in the peep’s aperture. The gun was loaded for buffalo, literally, with monolithic 380-grain solids of flat-nosed design (8DG).

With the top of the front sight tattooed tightly behind the sable’s right shoulder, I started my trigger press. At the shot, the sable just stood there as if nothing happened. I knew he was hit but wasn’t taking any chances. Moving in slow motion, the sable slowly turned around to walk in the opposite direction. I’ve seen animals act like this before, when “dead on their feet,” but I wasn’t risking losing the trophy of a lifetime!

I quickly levered another round and shot, hitting the sable in the left shoulder. The second shot knocked him down, rolling him into the dry creek bed. Closer examination revealed either shot was fatal, but better to be safe than sorry.

The first shot landed tightly in the crease, behind the right shoulder. The second shot went where I was aiming, through the left shoulder joint after he turned around, breaking him down. I wasn’t risking losing this beautiful animal!


The Talley QDM worked perfectly, but Tank never
used them once in Africa, preferring the peep sights.

Close-up of Buffalo Bore 8DG 380-grain
monolithic solid Tank used on the Sable.


I’d spent three months shooting the Ruger Marlin 1895 SBL with its Skinner Sight set-up. Using Buffalo Bore 8DG ammo I could shoot 1–1.5″ groups with the peep-sighted lever gun. When scoped, groups shrunk to 0.75″ for three shots.

I had my sights zeroed for 100 yards. With my Skinner Sights 1-6X24 scope using a Talley Quick Detachable Mount, it was sighted-in for the Buffalo Bore 350-grain soft point. This ammo also grouped under an inch with the scoped lever gun. This speaks volumes on the quality of gun, ammo and scope by shooting sub-MOA groups, with a sporter-style rifle, and lever gun at that!

My strategy was to hunt with the peeps until I got my buffalo, then pop the scope on for other game using the 350-grain load. The only fly in the ointment was once I started killing things with the peep sight, I didn’t want to use the scope. Using peeps on a lever gun is fun, traditional and just felt right. I ended up taking my sable, Cape buffalo and blue wildebeest using “just” the peeps.
I then started hunting with my scoped Ruger African in .375 Ruger, but that’s another story … another successful story.


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