[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]LOADS FOR THE LADY (AND ME)

Buckets of ink are spilled annually analyzing what rifle and ammunition is best to take on safari, but almost all are aimed at men. Little thought is given, it seems, to what rifle a woman should use.

There are women who hunt big game on their own, and do so with the same implements of destruction as their male counterparts, but they are rare. Most women who go on safari and shoot a few animals are accompanying their husbands as he makes his dream trip.

It is a fact that women are generally smaller and lighter than men, and that they do not like recoil. In reality no one does, but men are likely to grimace and insist they don’t mind it. Women, sensible creatures that they are (on this subject, at least,) have no ego-driven impulsion to pretend they like being battered by a rifle.

In recent years, the most famous of women big-game hunters was Jack O’Connor’s wife Eleanor. She accompanied him on big-game hunts from mountaintops in the Yukon, to tiger-hunting machans in India, to safari cars in Tanzania. Early in their marriage, she hunted with a .257 Roberts. Later, she moved up to a 7×57 and shot most her game with that thereafter, although in some instances (tigers and her one elephant) she used a .30-06. Mrs. O’Connor fired her husband’s .375 H&H one time, he reported, and decided he could keep it.

The key to Eleanor O’Connor’s success with the 7×57 was precise shot placement, and the fact that she insisted on stalking as close as possible before pulling the trigger. She took no misplaced pride in making a long shot if it wasn’t necessary, although she was good enough to make one when she had to.

O’Connor himself was a great admirer of the .270 Winchester, but he loaded his own and loaded them hot. A hot .270 has both a bark and a bite, and this did not appeal to his wife at all. However, the .270 Winchester can be loaded in such a way that it is both relatively (!) quiet and well-behaved, yet still pack all the punch most of us need.

I once put together such a load for a lady of my acquaintance. We used a 130-grain Sierra GameKing spitzer bullet. Sierra makes both a spitzer and a spitzer boat-tail in the GameKing, but the flat-base was more accurate in this load. With a muzzle velocity of about 2,800 fps, it was both deadly and deadly accurate, and no more uncomfortable to shoot than such noted pussycats as the .257 Roberts.

For the non-handloader, finding comparable factory ammunition was difficult. Now, a company called HSM (hsmammunition.net) is marketing an extensive line that includes specifically low-recoil combinations. Among their .270 Winchester loads is one that more or less duplicates my handload, using the Sierra bullet. They say (and I have no reason to doubt them) that it has 53 per cent less recoil, and my own experience with it would tend to confirm it’s somewhere in that neighborhood.

I chose the Sierra GameKing for my own load because it’s accurate, and also because it expands well at lower velocities. Put the bullet in the right place, and it will expand and do the job. In this age of premium and ultra-premium bullets (with prices to match) the Sierra GameKing is often overlooked. It should not be. It is one of the world’s great all-around hunting bullets.

HSM ammunition is available from a number of sources, including MidwayUSA, which makes it easy to find.

One should add that, just because a load is civilized, its use is not limited to women. I will always load my own .270 ammunition, and some of it’s pretty warm, but I’ve developed a distinct taste for using my “ladies’ load” for practice. One of these days I may just forget and take it hunting. If I had to bet, I would say I would notice no difference as long as the bullet went in the right place.

And, a .270 for a lady’s rifle on safari makes a good back-up as well, in case something goes awry with the main armament. You may have to arm-wrestle her for it, but that’s your problem.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_gallery type=”image_grid” images=”12636,12637″][/vc_column][/vc_row]