By Stefan Fouché
What is the most important piece of equipment you will use on your African safari to determine the success of the hunt? Will it be the calibre, the rifle itself or your optical equipment?
I am sure one can argue that all these are equally important to achieve a certain goal (taking your intended trophy swiftly and successfully), and rightly so. However, I think there is one specific piece of equipment that determines the level of accomplishment, and that is the bullet you use. It’s that small item that does all the work and must therefore be of top quality. In today’s world, where technology is developing faster than the consumers’ ability to keep up, we are spoilt for choice. There are numerous brands and ranges available on the market. This facilitates choosing the correct type of bullet for the intended application.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that every bullet is designed to perform at its best at a certain velocity. It is no use torturing a softer lead bullet with extreme velocities – it will simply break up. Also, when choosing a monolithic type of bullet, you need to achieve the velocity prescribed by the manufacturer, otherwise it will not open up enough or even open up at all, leading to total bullet failure and compromising the success of your hunt.
The point where the bullet strikes the animal is of utmost importance. This is the deciding factor, the difference between success and failure. If your bullets are substandard, you put your whole safari at risk. Spending days tracking a wounded animal is hardly ideal, especially not for the animal. And in the case of a dangerous animal, you will be putting your own life, as well as that of your PH and tracker, at risk.
In this series of articles we will be showing what happened, with real bullets recovered from real animals after a hunt. We will put the facts on the table, give credit where it is due and also highlight mistakes, weak points and failures. This is what it is all about – where the Metal meets the Meat …