Round-Nosed Reverence

"Old Fashioned" Still Works On African Game
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The results speak for themselves. Round-nosed bullets just plain work.
No animals were lost and over half were taken with one shot.

Today’s advancements in bullet technology provide sleek, sexy, needle-nosed projectiles with ballistic coefficients north of .500, intended for ranges farther than most of us can see without optical assistance. Yet, they provide miraculous expansion and tremendous wound channels. What more could you want, or need?


Traditional Is Cool Too!

Then there’s the old school, mild-mannered, round-nosed bullet. With a ballistic coefficient of a brick, this Cinderella slug is pleasing to the eye and like grandma’s chicken soup, soothing to the soul. Sometimes we need to scratch the nostalgic itch to experience what those before us did.

Simple cup and core construction with RN bullets still gets the job done on tough African game.

Historically …

When thinking of great turn-of-the-Century African hunters like Taylor, Selous, Bell, Hunter and Roosevelt, visions of long, round-nosed bullets pop into our minds. Made with a simple copper-jacket surrounding a lead core with an exposed nose, these bullets lack the sleekness of today’s bullets but still have wonderful sectional density.

In other words, they are heavy for caliber, making them torpedoes capable of penetrating deeply through tough African game. Driven at moderate velocity, these rambling rockets kill animals by using momentum to reach the vitals on raking shots. Dependable expansion, combined with deep penetration is a simple formula that still works. Hunters appreciate quick expiration and recovery of game and round-nosed bullets fill the bill when properly placed.


First Hand Is Best

On a recent hunt in Botswana, I used round-nosed bullets exclusively. Yes, Tank’s maiden voyage to the Dark Continent was an utter success using such a simple slug.

Rather than bring my own guns, I opted to use the camp rifle, a Sako bolt-action rifle with internal suppressor using hand-loaded .308 Winchester ammo with Hornady 180-gr. Round-Nosed bullets at 2,450 FPS. Sound familiar?

The ammunition was ordered by the Wildlife Game Manager of the ranch, Richard Pascall, a certified Professional Hunter with over 50 years’ experience, along with a younger PH, John Sheehan, who has a mere 33 years’ experience. Think they know what works?

Ammo on Tank’s safari was Hornady 180-gr. .30 caliber RN bullets. The target was confirmed
after blowing a shot on a bushbuck. It was not the rifle …

Tank’s Terminal Turmoil

I was fortunate to take nine different animals ranging in weight from a 100-lb. springbok to a 1,400-lb. bull Eland. I can tell you the Hornady 180-gr. RN bullets performed beautifully, performing five 1-shot kills out of 9, while I accounted for four 1-shot kills out of 9 animals. How? you ask? Because bullets do the darndest things, usually due to the shooter. Let me explain.

My four single-shot kills were a red hartebeest, eland, wildebeest and impala. My waterbuck required two shots as the first totally missed. How? I haven’t a clue? My sight picture was good at the trigger break but the 80-meter chip shot was anything but — it went over his back! Our tracker, Barrond, showed his skill by tracking the hiding waterbuck and another 80-meter neck shot off the sticks dropped him. So bullet-wise, the Hornady was responsible for five one-shot kills.

Close-up of a perfectly expanded Hornady RN 180-gr. .30 caliber slug recovered from a critter.

Kudu Deflection?

The Kudu bull required two shots. The first at 220 meters dropped him with his left femur shattered by the bullet! How I managed to be 6 feet off-target, I don’t know. I’m calling deflection from a thorny acacia bush. A second double-lung shot finished the majestic bull.



While driving one evening with Richard we came across a majestic gemsbok. While snapping pictures, Richard asked, “Would you like to shoot him, Tank?” I respond, “Yes, I have several pictures of him, Richard.” “No, with the gun, TANK!”

Lickity-split, I swap my camera for the Sako rifle and steady the crosshairs tight behind the shoulder for an easy 100-meter shot. Just as the trigger breaks, the bull whirls. My shot drops him. Cycling another round, he gets up and takes off. Damn!

Barrond again shows his skill. The old bull, very sick from the shot that caught his rear ham and angled up to his chest, only went 70 yards. A follow-up shot through the lungs ended things quickly.


Tank used this suppressed Sako bolt-action .308 Winchester (right) along with an
Interarms .30-06. A wide brimmed hat, binos and water are essential in the Kalahari Desert!


After a 2-1/2 hour track, we spot a lone zebra stallion in an acacia thicket. The 200-meter shot is tough, and I’m having a helluva time steadying the crosshairs from the shooting sticks. Normal maximum heart rate is 210 minus your age but I’m sure mine was around 260. Walking in sand is tough when following a 120-lb. bushman/Hottentot because my feet sink deeper than Barrond’s.

My first shot strikes too low and forward. A second angles through the ribs as he runs. A half-hour later, and roughly seven miles total, he is down. Who said safari hunting is easy?

Placement Perfection?

We all strive for perfect shot placement. In the real world, real things happen, whether hunting, or defending yourself. Bullets miss, deflect, hit low, or high. The thing to remember is never give up and shoot until your quarry is down for keeps.

And lastly, the wonderful RN still has a place in the vast array of wonderful bullet choices.

Kudu Safaris
Ph: (702) 637-9836
[email protected]

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