One Gun…One Africa
well known Safari outfitter to answer the question for us
By Don Lafferty
Edited by Mike Lipshultz
and Tyler Harwood

  As business people “we” are often defined by what “we” do for a living.  In fact  it is often that way in life.  However if one takes the time to look past a persons “Job” description, one often finds.. Well a complete person.  A person with likes, dislikes, and knowledge and expertise that goes beyond the knowledge you know them professionally for.  In business if you want to build lasting relationships that go past the basic business connection one must take the time to get to know the person behind that “Job” description.  With this in mind BizNet Online Magazine pulls back the “Curtain” on Mr. Don Lafferty. If you only knew Mr. Lafferty though his “Job” Tile you would only see the A retired Farmer,  and not the accomplished Big Game Hunter.

One Gun…One Africa
By Don Lafferty

If you had an opportunity to hunt for plains game in South Africa but only had one gun to take with you, what would you choose????
Think about that for a minute! There are a huge variety of animals that you take which vary in size dramatically. The duiker weighs about 20-30 lbs and the monkey weighs even less, but if you have the opportunity to aim at the Eland you will be scoping a 1,500 -2,000 lb animal. The other 40+ species of plains animals that roam South Africa fall in between those sizes. Some would think that a .223 or a 22-250 would certainly be enough fire power to land the smaller animals but what about the larger animals???

Now, there is another factor that must be considered when deciding the most perfect all-around single rifle to take on this once-in-a-lifetime journey….. The terrain. The terrain also varies so much that you could be shooting distances ranging from 20 yards to 400+ yards. Almost always if you are after the extremely fast and elusive Springbucks you will be looking at more open flatter terrain thus shooting distance are generally very long. Often, you will need to do some clever sneak just to get to within 300-500 yards. I was lucky to get to 320 yards and this was the third Springbuck we tried to sneak up on. At my age (ancient) “sneaking” is no longer a word in my vocabulary.
Size of the animal and shooting distance are the two most critical factors in determining what single all-around rifle to use, but don’t forget some other subtle factors that enter into the equation. Wind, brush, and fog can make a big difference in the accuracy of your shot. Wind and brush especially affect lower caliber rounds and may cause your round to completely miss its target, or not have enough killing power even if it hit’s the target. Remember, do not shoot if you do not have a high percent chance of killing the animal. This may mean you have to pass on a chance to land a trophy animal just because you do not have a high enough caliber rifle for the conditions.
So, with all this to consider, what is the best all-around rifle for South Africa plains game??? Well, I am no expert to answer that question, so I relied on our professional guide and owner of a well known Safari outfitter to answer the question for us. He indicated the only rifle they recommend and the only rifle they use for all their hunting guests is a 30.06. This is the only caliber rifle in their gun vault. He feels there are other rifles that are probably good, but the one all-around best is the 30.06. It has good killing power at longer distances even in windy or brushy conditions, yet it can still kill a duiker at twenty yards without blowing it apart. There are also many gun manufactures that make this caliber so if you partial to a single brand name they more than likely produce a 30.06.
As a side note, there are several grain bullets for 30.06’s which can definitely affect velocity and accuracy. I personally choose the 180 grain but check with your guide for his/her recommendations.
          There you have it. One mans opinion on One-Gun for One-Africa….Thanks for reading.

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Editor: Tyler Harwood, Mike Lipshultz