Shot Placement (1): That Rowland Ward Impala (edited)

Updated: Mar 25




Of course the scene below does not allow for a shot - but the stance is representative of what the hunter will typically encounter during a crosswind or upwind hunt. Distance will be between 70 and 120 meter depending on the vegetation density of the habitat. We aim to rip open the heart top chambers and hopefully sever the aorta group as well.

The heart is low in the frontal chest cavity almost resting on the breast bone which is its bottom protective shield. From the side it is protected by the rib cage and the two humerus bones and shoulder joints (connection of the humerus and scapula).


In this instance the bullet will break the left shoulder, rip open the top chambers of the heart and break the opposite elbow. At the shot the ram will fall INTO the bullet because the left leg looses support first. It will either fall dead in its tracks if the aorta had been severed - or fall-struggle around in a tight circle to the left and be dead about where it had stood if the bullet went through the atrium.


Typical errors:

The instinctive (brain and muscle memory) point of aim the first-time visiting hunter to Africa typically employs is to aim into the dimple above the elbow, right on the dividing line of the darker top body. That shot will either completely miss the lungs with this stance, or just nip the left lobe. It will perforate the diaphragm and cause the animal to die in about 1-2 hours from asphyxiation and some internal bleeding both sides of the diaphragm. Depending on the density of the vegetation it may take hours to find it as very little - if any - blood will be flowing to the outside.


The hunter must be self-disciplined to resist this instinctive aiming point of too high and too far to the rear. That is easier said than done because at the trigger moment it is him and his animal; the present world - including the PH - does not exist. It is totally human because old habits linger. Study the animal: the elbow, humerus and scapula forms can be clearly seen on the skin of this ram and the PH will also nominate each outside aiming point for every stance of every animal to be shot. Even then many visitors, at the moment of truth fall back on habit.


For his shoulder mount the hunter wants not larger than calibre-size entry and exit wounds, so speedy, light weight bullets are no good. No need at all to bring a .300 Win Mag for Africa game - from impala to wildebeest they all fall dead at this shot from a 30-06 / .308W / .303 Brit / 7x57 when a heavy bullet of strong construction is used. A guideline for bullet weight per calibre is that which will ensure not faster than 2,600 ft/sec impact velocity at 120 yards and even then the best quality bonded core like Federal Fusion, or a monolithic bullet should be used. The most expensive hunting bullets are cheap insurance for clean shots on an Africa hunt.


Regarding bullet integrity:

From long experience the use of the following bullets is discouraged as they all are too fragile for this shot and cause too much skin and meat loss:


* Norma: Ballistic Tip / Partition / Accubond.

* Hornady: SST.

* Remington: Corelokt.

* Sierra: All of them.

* Speer: Totally inconsistent - some stay together and some do not.

* Winchester: Fail Safe / Ballistic Silver Tip / Silver Tip.


The best factory ammunition for this shot, no matter whether the hunt is for the seven medium game (deer size) or twelve big game (elk size) species is Federal Fusion, and not lighter than 180 gr in the .30" calibres or 175-165 in the 7mm (.284") calibres. If the hunter prefers the 7mm-08 which for various reasons is used with 140 gr bullets it is strongly advised to load Barnes TSX.

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