African Shooting Lessons

If you are not familiar with the 8-bore, it shoots a 1,250-grain conical bullet at about 1,500 fps, or an 860-grain round ball at 1,650 fps (he uses the round-ball load). Powder charges vary from 270 to 325 grains, depending on what the rifle is regulated for. Recoil is 140 foot-pounds, give or take a few ruptured blood vessels, or more than twice what you get from a .458.

Every year the Greener's (did I mention that it has a steel buttplate?) owner offers to let me take a couple of shots, and every time I refuse. There is a limit to what I can take, and 8-bore is far beyond it. This year, one of the .375 shooters got the chance to try it, and asked me if he should.

"Sure," I said, "it will take you into a whole new world of pain that you never dreamed of."

He fired two shots, and when we met down in the pits, he said, "You were right."

The point of all this is that everyone has their limit as far as recoil is concerned, and it's ultra-dumb to try and go beyond it. It can wreck your shooting permanently, and you can get hurt in the process as well. Most people accept their limit and don't push things. If you can't handle more than a .30/06 you'll have to forget about hunting Cape buffalo. But that leaves a lot of other game that you can take.

Fear is a good thing. Take heed of it.