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KINGS of African tribes wear cloaks of leopard skin as these beautiful animals are a symbol of power. It is known for its ferocity and, after the Cape Buffalo, is the second most dangerous animal in Africa. Resources however indicate that Hippo are the biggest killers, this is however not due to their ferocity, however due to the fact that humans often end up coming between Hippos and their water pools – a recipe for disaster.
Leopards however, are dangerous predators, and have the widest distribution of all wild cats and is found throughout the continent of Africa, Asia, and in the Far East. Its name is derived from the Greek word leopardo after leo for lion and pardus for panther.
The leopard was first described as Felis pardus by Linneaeus in 1758. In 1930, TI Pocock renamed it Panthera pardus, distinguishing it from the non-roaring cats. It belongs to the family Felidae, order Carnivora, class Mammalia. Initially, some 27 sub species were named, of which 13 occurred in Africa. More recently, this number was reduced to eight but serious controversy led to the suggestion in 1995, of classing all African Leopards into a single subspecies Panthera pardus pardus.
Except for the Namibian and Saharan deserts, leopards are found across the entire African continent. They have a high level of adaptability and live in a variety of habitats ranging from sea level to over 5000m. It is one of few of the larger mammal species remaining in the neighbourhood of human developments, such as the environs of Cape Town and Nairobi.
The leopard has a typical cat-like profile with a powerful, muscular body, relatively short legs and a very long tail. The pelageis covered with a series of black rosette spots. The background colour, which is a light tan to golden yellow, varies depending on the habitat, which has led to considerable taxonomic confusion and debate. Individuals can be identified by the pattern of the rosettes, especially those around the neck.
Adult males have a mean live body mass of 135 pounds and females around 70 pounds. We have however seen much larger animals than this hunted over the past few years, only recently Real Africa Safaris and a client shot a leopard male in excess of 200 pounds. Here is an example of a big cat shot with us recently:
The mean shoulder height of males is 27.6 inches and of females 23.6 inches. A male can reach a total body length, from the nostril to the tip of the tail, of 115 inches and bigger. They have five toes on the front paw, of which only four are printed in the spoor, and four toes on the hind paw. Both prints lack claw marks as the powerful claws retract fully into the nail beds. Claws are 1.2 inches long.
Trophies are measured by combining the maximum width of the skull and the maximum length.
Habitats are almost unlimited, ranging from wet tropical forest to bushveld, thickets, savanna, grassland, highveld, marshland, fynbos, Karoo shrub land and semi-arid deserts. Leopards are found in areas as diverse as plains and beaches, and on mountains as high as the snowline. The only habitat totally avoided is the Namibian and Sahara deserts. The suitability of of a habitat is determined by the availability and abundance of prey and the accessibility of terrain for stalking. Tall grass, bushes and rocks provide camouflage for successful kills.
Leopards tend to favour rocky areas and hills, kloofs and riverine areas. They occur at an annual rainfall of between 4 inches and 80 inches, are dependent of surface water and can survive in semi-arid environments, such as the Kalahari.
Leopards are primarily nocturnal and kill mostly at night; they hunt alone. When stalking, a leopard crawls up to the prey to a distance of between 13 and 23 feet. It then leaps forward onto the animal with lightening speed, aiming for the neck but usually landing on the shoulders. The momentum of the leap mostly knocks the prey off its feet and the cat rolls over it and attempts to rip out its throat. Smaller antelope are often killed by biting through the back of the skull. Leopards do not chase prey and only 20% of stalking attempts are successful. Once killed, the carcass is protected from scavengers by dragging it into thicket, or by hoisting it into a tree; a carcass up to twice the leopards mass can be lifted with ease. It will return repeatedly, for up to six days, to feed on the hidden carcass. Hunting success relies mainly on an extremely well-developed sense of sight and hearing while scent is of little importance.
During hot daylight hours leopards rest in dense cover, between rocks, in caves, old burrows or high up on the branch of a tree. In early mornings they tend to lie and view their surroundings from sunny spots on rocks or river banks. They are excellent swimmers and do not hesitate to enter water. One leopard was seen crossing 900 yards of open water between islands on Lake Kariba.
In bushveld terrain, leopards rarely move more than 4 miles per night. Stander measured an average daily travelling distance of 7 miles in the dry savannah of Namibia. Up to 18 miles have been recorded in the Kalahari. Movement is not continuous but consists of a series of short distances of up to 250 yards.
Leopards are vicious when aggravated, short tempered and constantly ready for a fight. Attempts to follow a leopard on foot are very dangerous and the uttermost caution is essential. Once the cat realises a human is in pursuit, it often circles back on its tracks, selects an ambush site and waits for the intruder, who is met by a sudden, fierce attack. When stumbling across a leopard unexpectedly, eye to eye contact and sudden movement should be avoided as these trigger an immediate attack.
FEEDING AND NUTRITION
Leopards are opportunistic and will eat any available food source. The natural diet depends largely on the composition of the natural prey in the area. In some areas hyrax and rodents, such as mice and porcupines, are readily hunted. The size of prey varies from a mouse to an adult gemsbuck. Studies indicated that Impala represented 78% of leopards diets in the Kruger National Park.
Leopards do not fear humans and have been reported to become man eaters, a phenomenon especially common in India.
We will continue our report on leopards in a next post, so keep watching our blog. In the mean time, how about coming on a great leopard hunt in Namibia – the world of leopards!
Filed under: Record Breaking Trophies | Tagged: Big man eating cats and leopards of Africa, huge monster leopard shot during October 2008 in Namibia, Hunting leopard in Namibia and the great Kalahari | Leave a Comment »
This a long article, however, we believe an informative one and you should enjoy this if you are hunting fanatics like we are. Most seasoned hunters and gun fanatics may find this article as old news, however, if you are a hunter who packs out the rifles once a year, and want to improve your general knowledge, then you will find this article interesting and informative.
EFFECTS OF DESIGN ON BULLET PERFORMANCE
(Extracts from Cleve Cheney’s original article on the same topic)
This article is commissioned for JOE ‘the ordinary guy’ (Yes not JOE THE PLUMBER – Joe ordinary).The purpose of this article is to give Joe ordinary guy some usefull information, so that he doesn’t have to put up with the sniggers from the gunship seat warmers when he walks in and asks for a pack of 120 grain round nose soft-point bullets in ,243 calibre for his annual deer (or springbuck) hunt, only to be told that there is no bullet of that weight in ,243 calibre; even if there were, it would not not be the right bullet for shooting at long range on the plains. OK, I’ll take whatever you’ve got – “a bullet is a bullet, isn’t it?” (more sniggers).
Next time, armed with the bit of know how from this article, you will be better informed and need not fear any derisive looks or “knowing glances” as you walk into the gunship and order the right ammo for the right job. So, the experts can skip this article and read something else on their level, and Joe, you can get yourself that cup of coffee and enjoy the reading.
As professional hunters in Africa we often end up in culling/harvesting/cropping operations. It’s a job that needs to be done, and one which we like to do as humanely and quickly as possible, keep wounding down to an absolute minimum. As written by Cleve, we also very quickly in this process and operations, came to learn that two bullets of exactly the same calibre and mass (weight) can in fact perform very differently. We do a lot of culling in Namibia, of mostly springbuck and gemsbuck, and we were soon forced to learn more about ballistics and what accuracy and efficiency is all about.
Thanks to authors such as Cleve Cheney, we can all sigh a sigh of relief and get back into those gun shops, talk the talk and get the right stuff for the right job. In order to do that, we need to learn a bit of the technical jargon used in the expert circles.
Firstly, a bullet is not a cartridge and a cartridge is not a bullet. Huh? OK, let’s put an end to the confusion. A bullet is the projectile that flies out of the end of the barrel (muzzle) when a shot goes off. A cartridge consists of four basic components: the bullet (the part we have just spoken of), the case (usually made of brass), propellant or powder (no it’s not “gunpowder”), which burns (no it does not ”explode”) to produce the gas, which forces the bullet down the bore, and a primer (which does explode), used to ignite the propellant. Cool, now that we know what we are talking about let’s carry on.
When a bullet leaves the muzzle of a firearm two things happen. It starts dropping (due to the effects of gravity) and it starts slowing down (due to the effects of air resistance and because the thrust supplied by the gas of the burning propellant in the barrel of the firearm dissipates once the bullet leaves the muzzle).
The way in which the bullet now travels towards the intended target (exterior ballistic performance) and the way it reacts when it hits the target (terminal ballistic performance) are determined to a significant degree by the design features engineered into the bullet shape, material and construction. We will now examine two of these design parameters – ballistic coefficient and sectional density. Now, don’t stop reading! This is not just about some useless, intellectual good-for-nothing know-how; it has some very practical application when you grasp the concepts.
BALLISTIC COEFFICIENT (BC)
Let’s start with ballistic coefficient. Ballistic coefficient (BC) is basically a measure of how streamlined a bullet is, which determines how well (or poorly) it flies through the air. Air acts like water and the way it flows around a bullet determines how easily the bullet flies through the air. The airflow can be smooth or turbulent. Turbulence is caused by airflow separation and the creation of vortices. Airflow turbulence causes a phenomenon called “drag”, which works in the opposite direction to the bullet’s line of motion and tends to hold the bullet back. It’s like something holding onto your shirt while you are attempting to run away from them. Bullets are thus designed for different purposes and have different shapes.
The shape or profile, therefore, determines a bullet’s aerodynamic efficiency. The more dynamic the shape of the bullet, the lower the drag factor. A lower drag factor translates into a flatter trajectory. The larger the ballistic coefficient, the more efficient the bullet’s performance in the air. The ballistic coefficient increases as one moves from the flat nose to round nose to spire point to boat-tailed spitzers.
Now you might well ask: If bullets with a higher ballistic coefficient have flatter trajectories, why are all bullets not designed this way? Good question; we will answer it a little later on.
For the technically inclined the mathematical formula for a bullet’s ballistic coefficient can be expressed as the ratio of its sectional density to its coefficient of form, where sectional density is the weight (mass) of the bullet divided by the square of its diameter. It can be written as follows:
Sectional density (SD) = Sectional density (SD) / (divided by) Coefficient of form (i) = Weight of the bullet (in pounds) / (divided by) Diameter of bullet (inches squared (2)).
Coefficient of form, or form factor, is a mathematical number that relates to a bullet’s shape, smoothness and shape at the base. The form factor compares the shape of a bullet being tested to the shape of a standard bullet used in a particular ballistic table. Ouch. This is getting a bit complicated. Don’t panic there is good news.
Near the turn of the last century, many tests were done by the Krupp Company in Germany to determine the bullet drop characteristics of so-called standard bullets. Soon after the Krupp data had been published a Russian colonel named Mayevski constructed a mathematical model for the drag deceleration of a standard bullet. The standard bullet was one inch in diameter, weighed one pound and had a ogive head of 8 calibres radius. Colonel James M Ingalss of the US army later used the Mayevski’s mathematical model to compute his now famous ballistics table.
The standard Krupp bullet proved to be such a good model for use in calculating ballistics of most bullets used in sporting firearms, that today most of the major bullet companies use the Ingalls or similar tables together with test firings of production bullets to compute ballistics’s coefficients for their bullets. These coefficients are published in most of the major reloading manuals. Some ammunition manufacturers publish the ballistic coefficient of their bullets, most instead include ballistic charts in their sales literature and catalogues that show drop and remaining down range velocity for bullets used in each cartridge that they manufacture. So, you don’t have to do the maths.
Now, back to the question you asked earlier on. If bullets with a higher ballistics’ coefficient have flatter trajectories why are all bullets not designed this way?
The answer is that bullets are designed for different applications. Bullets with a high BC work well when shooting animals at long ranges. The trajectory remains reasonably flat and by the time the bullet arrives at the intended target it will still be in the kill zone. When trajectory becomes pronounced, accuracy (at long range) becomes more difficult. Bullets of identical weight, calibre and sectional density (see later) will have decidedly different trajectories. Bench rest shooters who shoot at long range generally prefer flat shooting boat-tail spitzers as opposed to round-nose bullets for example. Hunters shooting on open plains, where it is difficult to get closer than 300 yards from their quarry, would also go for spitzers, spire points or boat-tailed bullets. But bullets with a high BC do have a disadvantage and that is in their “brush busting” capabilities. They are easily deflected by vegetation and this is where round-nose bullets come into their own. So, if you are hunting in areas of dense bush where you will be shooting at much closer distances (in many cases under 100 yards) where range and bullet drop are not as critical and you might have have to shoot through vegetation, then a round-nose bullet would be a better option. Some firearms, such as those with tube magazines, also require the use of round-nose bullets.
Handgun bullets use mostly round-nosed, flat-point, hollow-point, semi wadcutter or wadcutter configurations, again because their application is mostly close range.
The BC is however, not based on the nose shape alone. It is based on nose shape plus sectional density. The reason is that a short bullet with a sharp nose will drop faster than long bullet with the same nose. The BC therefore describes the performance of a bullet as a whole. The higher the BC, the flatter a given bullet will shoot.
Sectional density is the ratio of a bullet’s weight (mass) to its core diameter expressed as a number. For a given calibre the lighter (and shorter) the bullet, the lower the SD, the heavier (and longer) the bullet, the higher it’s SD. The SD gives a basic idea of a given bullet’s performance characteristics, because a long bullet retains velocity, while a shorter bullet sheds velocity.
Because sectional density relates strictly to weight, not shape, it means that the most blunt-nosed bullet has the exact same SD as the most streamline bullet of that same weight and calibre.
SD is important because it has a significant effect on penetration. All other variables being equal (like impact velocity, bullet design and material, etc) the higher the SD number, the better the bullet’s penetration. In other words, a small diameter bullet of a given weight tends to penetrate better than a large diameter bullet of the same weight, because it concentrates the same force on a smaller area of the target. Penetration is important because the bullet must get well inside an animal to disrupt the functioning of it’s vital organs.
Bullets for medium sized game should have sectional densities ranging from .216 to .250 with a mean of about .237. For big game, bullets with higher sectional densities should be should be selected in a range from .271. to .287 with a mean of about .279.
So, let’s wrap this up and summarize the effects that ballistic coefficient and sectional density could have on bullet performance.
A heavy bullet (one with a higher SD) would drop less than a light bullet (of low SD) over a given range if both bullets were fired at the same muzzle velocity. In other words, a heavy bullet retains more velocity (and energy) than a light one and drops less on it’s way to the target.
Long, streamlined bullets have high BCs and shed velocity slowly. Short stubby bullets with low BCs lose velocity rapidly.
Long, heavy bullets with a high BC require a relatively fast twist to spin the bullets’ greater mass at the proper speed for stabilization. If the twist is much too slow, the bullet may require as mush as 100 yards to stabilize.
Penetration is dependent on the force of the bullet being able to overcome resistance. Its momentum must therefore be sufficiently high to displace the mass of opposing material. Penetration is best achieved by improvements to sectional density rather than velocity. By increasing sectional density, using a heavier bullet in the range available for any one calibre, the momentum of the bullet is increased. In other words, a bullet with greater SD will better penetrate into an animal.
The higher a bullet’s BC the flatter it will shoot.
Round-nosed bullets (a lower BC) are less deflected by brush than bullets with a high BC.
Now, just when we Joe ordinary guys were beginning to get a hold on things, some experts throw us a curve ball, saying that sectional density theory is only applicable to a restricted range of bullet weights. Ah, well, we will leave it to the guys with the white lab coats to sort out.
In the mean time, happy hunting and God bless.
Filed under: HART RIFLES AFRICA | Tagged: A passion for rifles and accurate shooting, free report and rifle and ballistic accuracy, how to choose the right bullets for accurate shootig, Joe the 'ordinary guy and not Joe the plumber | Leave a Comment »
RW HART & SON appoints REAL AFRICA SAFARI HOLDINGS as official agent in Africa
Real Africa Safari Holdings is proud to announce that it has recently been appointed by Bobby Hart (President of RW HART & SON) as the official agents for Hart Rifles and Custom barrels in Africa.
Custom rifles bearing HART barrels are widely used in benchrest, silhouette, Olympic events, high-power, small-bore, military shooting events, as well as hunting. Our barrels hold several World Shooting Records and our performance in the shooting sports is unparalleled by any other barrel maker.
BEAUTIFUL GUNS and BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
The HART Accurizing Package
There are several procedures that will improve the accuracy of your ‘off the shelf’ factory rifle. We have combined these into the Accurizing Package! It includes the following:
1. Lap the Bolt Lugs - This will allow the lug surfaces to be in total contact with the receiver surface thus preventing crooked case heads which will deter from your accuracy.
2. Lap the Barrel -This will remove any burrs or imperfections to give you consistant velocities and less fouling of the barrel.
3. Touch up the Crown -This is the most overlooked item in creating accuracy. The Bullet must exit the barrel evenly to eliminate flyers. We use the same set-up as we use on our match rifles.
4. Adjust Trigger Pull -On rifles that have adjustable triggers (i.e. remington) we set them at a crisp 3.5lb pull. On non-adjustable triggers we try to achieve a reasonable crisp pull.
5. Skim Bed Action and 2” of Barrel - This process will ‘marry the action to the stock’ thus eliminating any uneven pressure or stress points. This allows the barrel to be what is termed ‘free floating’.
6. Install Rings, Lap Rings, Install Scope and Boresight - This will relieve any stress on the scope tube.
1. Reduces recoil by up to 45%
2. Our special design uses the escaping gas to counter act the righthand twist of the barrel due to the torque of the bullet.
3. Sends the sound waves out on a horizontal plane instead of down range. On longer range shots, the game can not tell where the shot (sound) came from.
4. Muzzle brake is removable (threaded onto barrel). Caps are available to protect barrel threads when break is not installed.
IF YOU NEED ACCURACY YOU NEED A HART RIFLE
Tel: (01127) 12 346 5034
Mobile: (01127) 83 441 3571
Mobile: (011 264) 811 277 626
Filed under: HART RIFLES AFRICA | Tagged: Agents for Hart Rifles and Hart Custom barrels now in South Africa, HART RIFLES AFRICA, Hart Rifles and Hart custom made barrels now in Africa, Long distance accuracy by Hart Rifles, Precision shooting and custome rifles | 1 Comment »
Huge Record Breaking Trophies can still be hunted in Africa.
Finding good quality trophy’s in Africa is becoming more and more difficult. This is largely due to the huge amounts of outfittters and operators who have entered this market. Quite a few of these are luring naive and non-informed hunters from the east (China), whom are lured into paying rediculous prices for example – rhino’s. In principle we most probably can’t object to the practice, since top quality trophies are not produced or bred overnight.
The fact of the matter is that many of these operators also subsequently cast a black shadow of doubt over our industry. They do this by offering these hunters access to a range of other species such as lions for example. Many of these lions are however bred in captivity, and kept in captivity till the day before the hunt. They are then released and hunted by a very satisfied hunter who is 99% of the time unaware of the preceding activities prior to the hunt.
THIS IS CANNED HUNTING AT IT’S BEST! PLEASE READ OUR POST ON ETHICAL HUNTING!
A sore subject in hunting circles, and detested by most if not all! In essence we do not have a objection to breeders who breed such animals to be released free to roam and on large properties, providing that such breeders adhere to the ‘strict guidelines’ of Nature Conservation’s policies and procedures. It is however a fact that there are many loopholes in the current guidelines and even more difficult to police by the authorities. The simple, and possibly easiest way of distinguishing the ethical breeders from the rest, is by looking at the size of their properties or private nature reserves. The moment you find top quality trophies on very small and restricted properties, chances are good that this will most likely be a ‘canned hunt’ of sorts.
Real Africa Safaris Holdings prides itself on the fact that it has taken us many years to secure our current hunting facilities and areas. Our areas and concessions are huge with the smallest being in excess of 30000 acres, and our big concessions in excess of 1000000 acres. Our big 5 hunts are generally conducted in either Botswana, Caprivi Delta, Zimbabwe, Mozambique or the Kalahari. We do however have excellent buffalo hunts in South Africa, and leopard hunts in Namibia (which is well known for large amounts of leopard)
We still have a few huge trophies available. 2 x Rhino’s: One Rhino cow at 30′ (that’s 30 inches) and a HUGE BULL of 27.5′ (27,5 inches). That’s record book stuff! Check out the SCI scores on Rhino’s and you will see that a 27,5′ (27,5 inch) Rhino BULL, will get you right there in the BOOK!
These are guaranteed sizes, as the Rhino’s have been darted and measured!
Contact us immediately should you want to secure this magnificent trophy for yourself!
HUGE LIONS AVAILABLE FOR THE TROPHY SEEKERS
THESE LIONS ARE MAGNIFICENT AND WILL RANK AS A HIGH LIGHT IN ANY TROPHY HUNTERS RECORDS.
How about a magnificent “Cape Buffalo” trophy? The following “Buffalo is an old “bull” measuring 46′ (that’s 46 inches!)
You won’t get much better than this, and this is a huge beast with beautifull semetric curls!
Perhaps a ‘Big Elephant’ is what you are looking for. We have a number of great elephants, ranging from 60 to 80 pounds.
NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR – IF IT IS IN AFRICA, WE WILL FIND IT!
Contact Real Africa Safari Holdings today for a tailor made package. Prices available on request.
Filed under: Record Breaking Trophies | Tagged: huge cape buffalo trophies available, huge elephant trophies, huge lion trophies available, huge rhino trophies available, Hunting in Africa, hunting safaris in africa, Monster lions, monster trophies still availabe to hunt in africa, Record breaking trophies can still be hunted in Africa, where to book my african hunt, who to hunt with in africa and south africa | 1 Comment »
As the year draws to an end we, we want to use this opportunity to thank all of our friends who have hunted with this us year. We look forward to seeing you soon at the annual shows in the USA.
WE STILL HOWEVER HAVE SOME EXCELLENT HUNTS AVAILABLE for 2008:
7 x Days – all inclusive, meals, bevarages, day rate, transport costs to and from airport, also including all permit costs and conservation fees.
TOTAL COST: $8000 only
(Excludes your airfare to Windhoek Namibia (Johannesburg South Africa) and your shipping & dipping taxidermy costs only. Airfare from the USA can be bought at about $2000 per person)
This is a great price for a magnificent hunt, $8000 all inclusive of taxes, levies and the whole package mentioned. That’s one trophy per day!
WAIT – THERE’S MORE!!!
Bring a friend along and we will include an additional FREE WARTHOG for each of you!
Filed under: The Bargain Cave | Tagged: Add new tag, Bargain and discount hunts in Africa and Southern Africa - including South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique, Hunting in Africa, Hunting in Namibia, Hunting in South Africa, hunting specials in Africa and Southern Africa, Namibia, Real African Safari, Real Safaris in Africa, where to hunt in africa | Leave a Comment »