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Thread: stopping rifles!

  1. #1

    Default stopping rifles!

    Stopping rifles (not just killing) seem to fall into a twilight realm that few seem to venture into, and as such, are very misunderstood. When discussing a 300 mag or a 338, everyone knows all about them and the power have, but mention the bigs boys: the kick butt, stompem into the ground types, and you start losing their attention. I realize that most of us don't need such rifles and as such, have not much interest in them, but that said, I would classify stopping rifles with the 338wm at the bottom of the list. To me, they really start with the larger (40 cal and up at modest speed). I guess the comparison would be similar to a Mack truck hitting a building at 60mph as opposed to Harley hitting it at 100mph. I'm curious to know other's opinions on this. Hi Murphy!

  2. #2

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    I lose interest because it's all supposition and opinion. Nuff of that in politics and TV news.

    How many people have ever stopped a charge? How many people have stopped a charge more than once? How many people have stopped a charge more than once with different rifles for comparison? How many people have stopped a charge more than once with different rifles AND the same independent witnesses each time?

    Right up there with comparing cars in order to forecast the laying rate of chickens.

    I know one guy who has stopped three brown bear charges. Did all of them with a 30-06 and Federal 180 grain factory loads. Of course it's the only rifle he's ever owned, and I've never seen him miss anything with it.

    Whole lot more to this than the volume of empty air in a barrel.

  3. #3
    Member WinMag_300's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maydog View Post
    Stopping rifles (not just killing) seem to fall into a twilight realm that few seem to venture into, and as such, are very misunderstood. ...
    I think many hunters understand such rifles, but as you pointed out, they are mere novelties for many of us because we don't have a practical reason for purchasing them. Most calibers greater than .40 are known as express or safari rifles and they are priced like new cars.

    The big magnums, Capsticks, Nitro Express, etc., can weigh 10 or 11 pounds and are generally too heavy for use as a practical hunting rifle where the hunter is spending all day on his feet. Those rifles don't out perform the .30 and .33 caliber magnum rifles at long range so they don't make better stand rifles. The recoil of larger rifles can preclude all but low power long eye relief scopes and generally shooters use open sights for close range shooting.

    Unless I'm spending time around onery elephants or rhinos, I'm not going to burden myself with an 11 pound rifle on the premise that I might need the power when I could carry a lightweight and low cost .375 H&H.

    Don't get me wrong, I would love to own a double rifle in a big magnum caliber someday. I once came close to buying a Westley Richards double rifle in .470 NE. It was used and available for a mere $12,500. I was prepared to do it then I got a hold of myself and I decided not to buy it. I knew that it would be a long time before I went on an African safari and I would have plenty of time to buy a double rifle and there are always bills to be paid. I don't regret it because I don't think I would feel comfortable stomping through the woods with a $12,500 rifle. I'm not there yet.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. - Henry David Thoreau

  4. #4

    Talking should have known better

    My intent with this post was just about stoppin rifles...not a critism of any one's pet rifle or whether or not you ever have or ever will need one. Just curious as to what some of you thought about the rifles and practicality of them...not the usual negativity and BS that's seems to permeate this forum. Too many people take themselves too serious.

  5. #5

    Default No ultimate rifle

    The biggest and or best rifle in the world is no better than the marksman behind the trigger. Bullet placement is the king of hunting any animal on earth. The best African ivory hunter was an excellent shot and used a rifle which was the equivalant of a 7mm Mauser. While muzzle energy and stopping power are a subject of lots of discussions, most people don't really have a clear cut picture of what is enough, the requirements are somewhat fuzzy.

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    Maydog, no BS, just trying to answer your question. What stopping rifle are you thinking of buying or what do you think would be a good caliber or do you already have one that you can tell us about?
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. - Henry David Thoreau

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    Generally, the minimum caliber for a stopping rifle is .45. Just read the stories from the old African explorers and hunters. This is for Africa. So how about America? Well, as usual it will begin all kinds of disagrement. Let me tell you a story:
    I was up past Russian Mission with two VPSO's from Marshall and Lime Village respectively. We were on an island with a huge football shaped clearing in the middle. This thing must have been half a mile across and twice that long. I stood in a patch of alder on the edge while I watched these two guys do some reconnaissance on the right edge. While looking at them through the binos I saw they kept starting and stopping every few minutes. After and hour of this, they hadn't made any headway along that side, and had turned around and began walking back. Later, having a snack, I asked what was going on? Both these guys had seen the elephant in thier line of work, they didn't scare easily, but when they walked down the trial, they were well and truly spooked.
    They had come across a gut-pile of a previously killed moose, which had a bear on it that thier approach had scared off. For the next hour, they couldn't do anything but stand their ground. If they moved the bear would charge. They never saw the bear. The grass was chest high, so all they saw was the grass parting as it would charge, but it always stopped about 10 feet from them, slobbering and chomping and growling horribly. They were armed with a .30'06, and a .270.
    Now the question: you will have one and only one shot. It will be from a barrel length away, and you will very probably not kill the bear because it is coming fast. Do you want a .270 with 150 grainers at 3000fps? '06 with 180 grainers at 2700fps? Or a .500 A-Square with 600 grainers at 2300 fps?

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    Make my A-Square a double please.
    Vance in AK.

    Matthew 6:33
    "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

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    I have owned several of what could be called Stopping Cartridges.

    450 Ackley, 505 Gibbs and 500 AHR. Anyone of these 3 would launch a 500 grain bullet starting at 2200 FPS to a 570 grain bullet to 2400 FPS. They definately were not made for target shooting. Get them sighted in with the load they liked and let that be it.

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    Although I own a stopper (458 Lott) and have owned a 450 Ackely in the past I never had the chance to shoot a large animal with either of them. Passing along thoughts from others who have used stoppers has me convinced a stopper starts at 45 caliber with usually a 500 grain bullet and goes up from there.
    I never had a moose or a grizzly travel more than 10 feet after being hit with my 375 H&H but all of these animals were unalerted to my prescence. But I wouldnt consider the 375 to be a stopper.
    Phil Shoemaker (noted Alaskan guide) reported he used to use a 06 to back up brown bear clients and it performed wonderfully. But he now uses a 458 WM mostly.
    This would be a good subject to debate on an African hunting forum as none of us here would have enough experience to offer valid opinions.
    But I still love shooting and using big bores. They are fun.
    Tennessee

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    Nitroman what is a VPSO?


    I would have to say anything 375 or larger has stopping power. If I had the money it would be a large caliber double rifle, because if I had the money dragging a $12,000 rifle through the brush wouldn't make me cringe with every mark on it.

  12. #12

    Talking stopping rifles

    Thanks. There's been some interesting posts. I'm not looking for any particular rifle, just chatting. By the way, on your "stopping" rifles that a lot of you (especially guides) use in the bush, what's more prevelant, low power scopes or open sights?

  13. #13

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    I am more satisfied with stopping bullet placement than rifle size or make. I will take a core-lok in the nose, eye or spine of a charging bear over an ankle shot with a 500 super-maxi-ultra mag any day

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    Default On THIS continent...

    I've often thought of taking a boxlock side by side 12 or 20 gauge, shortening the barrels to 18", shortening the butt enough that it would be easy to handle and not snag clothes, and develop a very heavy, solid, hardened slug load for it. Maybe use a paper patch, or a sabot of some sort for seal, then try and practice with it a lot from 50 yards to 'smelly breath' close.
    Nothin' faster on a follow up shot than a double, not likely to get more than two shots off facing a charge, either.
    Might be way off in my thinking, but it IS fun to think about......

  15. #15

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    My point exactly, highcountry! It's all about putting it in the righ spot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post

    Nitroman what is a VPSO?
    Village Public Safety Officer.

    VPO= Village Police Officer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broncoformudv View Post
    Nitroman what is a VPSO?
    ....
    I think it means Village Public Safety Officer.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. - Henry David Thoreau

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    Default stopper

    I carry the marlin guide gun in 45/70 stoked with Garrett 540 gr. hammerheads leaving the barrel at 1500 fps. Short barrel, quick lever, and holds five rounds. What more could you ask for???

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    Quote Originally Posted by highcountry View Post
    I am more satisfied with stopping bullet placement than rifle size or make. I will take a core-lok in the nose, eye or spine of a charging bear over an ankle shot with a 500 super-maxi-ultra mag any day
    Like I said in my original post, this subject will bring all kinds of disagreements. It goes without saying shot placement is very important, my point in the true story I related above is: you have no time or space for shot placement. You will use your ears and eyes to gauge just when the unseen will be at the end of the barrel, and you hope to God your timing is correct. Is was this experience that taught me the biggest hammer you can handle will always be preferable.
    If I want to jump on my snowmachine and tool up to the Kilbuck mountains to look around for a reindeer, I'd take my wife's 7x57mm. If I was going down towards Quinhagak for caribou, my .300 Ultra. During moose season, my .500 A-Square. I know it sounds kind of goofey to be talking about elephant rifles for something like bears and such. But then I just like big hammers.

  20. #20
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    Default Bigger is Better...

    I guess I just can't stay out of this.

    First let me say that I've only been in on one charge (actively) and that was a successful stop. But it wasn't that tough and a pretty easy stop, with a 416 Remington.

    Secondly, there is a lot of hype about the stopping rifle. Most of what was written about them was many years ago and many new calibers have come along since then.

    The double rifle is rarely ever seen in Africa today. I've been to many countries there and have only known two PH's who carried one. Some of the American hunters that can afford one will take one along to shoot a buff or cat or even an Eephant with one just to relive the "Ruark Era" and add a dimension to the hunt. I have used a borrowed one on a couple of occasions but never owned one.

    The double guns are made typically in the rimmed Nitro Express calibers but it is common to see them nowadays in 375 H&H and 416 Rigby, I have seen one in 458 WM. Generally they are not strong enough to handle the new magnum rounds in any quantity. There are certainly harder hitting calibers available now and in very good bolt guns.

    I think in the old days, stopping rifles were 45 caliber. (The 450 NE and the 450 #2 NE.) When the British Empire banned the private use of 45 caliber rifles, about 1907, then the 47 calibers began to show. The 470 NE, the 476 WR, the 475 #2 and the 475#2 Jeffery with .483 and .488 bullet diameters, respectively. Also the black powder express 500 was upgraded to a smokeless powder version and the 500 NE 3 1/4" and the 500 NE 3" were born. Then the long reigning king, the Jeffery 600 NE, which was recently replaced with the Holland & Holland 700 NE, was owned by few. Jeffery made no more than about 600 of them but there have been a few made in recent years.

    I have fired all of these except the 475 #2 Jeffery and the 700 NE. I load ammo for them on occasion. The 470 NE rose the the popularity charts due to the penmanship of Ruark, Capstick and others. Though in actual use it wasn't seen any more often than any of the others, even back in Rouark's day. If ballistics were the road to popularity the 500 NE 3" would have been the one. The 470's and the 500 weighed about 11 pounds. Considered packable by African standards. When moving up to the 577 NE or the 600 NE, weight ususlly increased to 15-16 pounds. Not Packable, thus the need to hire a gun barer.

    It has been said many times the double is the fastest for two shots, I'm sure that's true. But shooting a double effectively is so much different that we must practice with it to achieve the desired result, especially if we are bolt rifle users.

    Very few people alive today on this planet have ever hunted with a double and of course even fewer have ever stopped a charge with one. I have seen two buffalo stopped with a double 470 (actually one was standing and looking). Both buffalo were stopped with solids and both were shot through the head, through the boss of the horns and the bullet stopped in the neck on the animal. I have seen one stopped with one 600 NE. Through the boss, through the neck, and exited out through the brisket bone. That was a solid and it was a spectacular stop. I have seen two, shot through the body, drop and kills made on cape buffalo. One with a 450 Ackley magnum (500 grains at 2400 fps, 6500 ME)and one with a 470 Capstick (570 grains at 2400 fps, 7300 ME), both bolt guns and both deliver more energy than any double rifle save the 600 or 700 NE.

    There is only one modern day charge stopper individual around today, to my knowledge, and he has stopped hundreds of charges by mostly wounded buffalo and hippo. This is Mark Sullivan. You may have heard of him or his videos. He would not be considered a politically correct hunter today and on this forum would be viewed with disdain because of his hunting technique. Rather than sit and smoke and wait for a shot buffalo to bleed out he takes the fight to the wounded beast. He walks up in front, and the buffalo, like the true fighter he is, charges Sullivan's 600 NE ( A $125,000 H&H sidelock, beautiful gun.) Sullivan sell videos of his "hunts" for those of us blood thirsty enough to enjoy them and he is a master with the big double. Often the animal will take two shots to stop even with the big double. You can try this for a rather healthy fee and he will stand and watch until the need to shoot.

    To be practical and return to the real world, stopping rifles need to carry alot of bullet weigh. I won't say that a T-Rex couldn't be stopped with a 40 caliber 400 grain bullet, but considering the cost and weight, a 45 or 50 caliber could be had for the same considerations, and would be more effective. If a person cannot shoot this rifle, he should buy good running shoes and hunt with a slow buddy or better yet just take up golf. If you cannot shoot a 30-06 effectively, you can't shoot a 375. If you can't shoot a 375 don't waste your wife's money on a 500 Jeffery. This brings me to a minor point (all my points are.)

    If I were to build a new buffalo stopping, elephant hunting, bolt action rifle, the caliber list would start with the 458 Lott and include the 450 Dakota, 470 Capstick (H&H straightened out to 470), or my 475 Dakota and stop with the wonderful old 500 Jeffery (.510") In a double gun, I really want a 500 NE 3", but I would accept a 470 NE or a 475#2 in a good, plain jane, working rifle. A Watson Brothers or an Army&Navy, would be fine.

    For north american hunting of tooth and claw I think the 40's are the place to start. My list would include most of the 416 calibers capable of 400 grains at 2250 fps or so, the 404 Jeffery would be a good bear caliber and my 404 Dakota in a short and handy all weather rifle would be top notch. I would certainly include the 458 lott and the 458 WM. I would not want anything of any lesser thump than a 416 WSM or 416 Taylor (350 grains at 2400 fps) if I were to face big brownies.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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