This buffalo you see here has horns with a spread of 49-inches

49-INCH BUFFALO

 

This buffalo you see here has horns with a spread of 49-inches. The left horn had its tip broken off, otherwise we think it would have gone 50-inches or may be a bit more. It is the biggest buffalo that I have ever seen, although I must have shot about 50 cape buffaloes on numerous Africa safaris.

I would like to relate how hard and long we had to work to get this buffalo, if I did that I would not being telling the truth at all, and I really have no wish to do that. So I better start telling the whole story as it actually happened.

I think it was about 3.30 in the afternoon, and we were on our way to a leopard blind. And as usual I had two rifles with me. One was a Lazzeroni Model 2000 stainless in 7.21 Lazzeroni Firehawk. This is large cartridge based on an improved 404 Jeffery case. This was a stock factory rifle, and the only thing I did to it was change the stock to a classical style stock from McMillan. I personally prefer classical stocks to all other designs.

The other rifle was a 375/404 wildcat I have made up myself. The rifle is based on the Dakota 76 action. It was loaded with the Barnes X 300 grain bullets, driven to 2660 fps with a charge of 95 grains of H4831SC powder. Primers were Federalsís 215. We used Dakota 416 brass for this particular load.

As we were on a general bag safari, I found it easy to have two ammo belts from Uncle Mike. I use one for the 7.21 Firehawk, and the other one for the 375/404. The belts have locks at their ends, so it is very easy to get them on and off.

And as we were hoping to shoot a leopard, I had the belt with the 7.21 Firehawk belt on. As we were driving along, Alan Vincent, my professional hunterís son, saw these two bulls running into the hills to our right. He was banging on top of the truck, and screaming at the top of his voice for us to stop the truck and shoot this HUGE buffalo bull. The buffalo were about 100 yards away from us. It only took me a few seconds to swap ammo belts, grab the 375 and join Roy out side.

The bulls were about to go over the brow of a small hill, with the smaller one in the lead. Fortunately they stopped just before going over, this one was almost broadside to us. I aimed behind his right shoulder and fired. They both ran over the hill, with us in close pursuit. As we got over the hill, we could see that our buffalo was about to drop down. The other one was looking at his friend a few yards away. He was looking at us at a slight angle. Roy told me to shoot this one too. I fired at him and hit him in the right shoulder. He took off to our left. And although the bush here was not as thick as some areas we hunt, it was not so easy to shoot him again. He kept running, and I was trying to find a gap to shoot through. I fired one more shot at him as he passed between two bushes, breaking his spine. He went down, but was not dead yet. Two more shots into his chest finished him off.

We left this buffalo and went over to the first one we had shot. My bullet must have cut his aorta, as there was so much blood where he was lying. When we found out that he had a spread of 49 inches, Roy was telling me that this is the largest buffalo he has had anyone shoot while hunting with him. And he has been at it for 30 years. He also told me of a 50-inch buffalo he had shot himself over 30 years ago. He has that head displayed his house in Bulawayo.

Roy took Alan and myself to the leopard blind, then returned to the buffalos to gut them and load them into the truck. We sat in the leopard blind. The leopard walked right under the bait tree without giving it a second thought. I could not shoot because of the bush. After it got dark, Roy came back and collected us to go back to camp.

 

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Last updated 18 June 1999