by Ron Spomer - Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Editor's note: Field Editor Ron Spomer put all of this gear to use on a recent eland hunt. Catch up on his story here.
The world’s largest antelope require special gear; behind hunting skills the most critical thing to have is a tough bullet, one able to endure high impact energies and remain in a dense enough mass to penetrate mounds of muscle and break massive bones. The Norma Oryx is such a bullet. Its thick jacket and extra-thick base are bonded to a lead core. Thinner at the nose, the jacket grows progressively thicker toward the base to additionally control expansion. We found my 300-grain bullet lodged in the eland’s vertebrae. Mangled, it was still in one piece and still weighed 225 grains.
The Blaser R8 rifle has been my choice for a half-dozen safaris because of its reliable versatility. Instead of hauling two or three rifles to Namibia, I pack one with an additional barrel or two. Each is fitted with its own scope, zeroed and ready to hunt. Barrels with scopes can be removed and remounted without disturbing zero. To date, .375 H&H Mag., 7mm Rem. Mag., .458 Lott, .300 Win. Mag. and .308 Win. barrels have all shot MOA or better, consistently.
Directing the .375 H&H barrel during this trip was a Leupold VX3 2.5X-8X-36mm. Short, slim, light, bright and rugged, it’s the perfect match for a big thumper like the .375 H&H dragged through thickets. An eland is a major target, often encountered in brush where 4X is more than sufficient and 2.5X might be needed. In case of a long shot, like the 300-yarder I missed, 8X is more than enough. Trust me, my low shot had nothing to do with the scope. As for that little 36mm objective, at 4X it yields an exit pupil 9mm across, at least 2mm wider than my pupil can take in during the lowest light levels. At 8X the 4.5mm exit pupil is larger than any human’s pupil in daylight. Even 40 minutes after sundown I was easily able to see the Boone & Crockett ballistic reticle against oryx, kudu and even blue wildebeest. There’s no need to saddle any brush-country safari rifle with a 50mm scope.
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