I recently posted eight videos related to my 2005 hunt with Professional Hunter Earnst Dayson in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. These were recorded by Carl Zaayman with the idea of releasing them as two hour-long CDs in the South African and American markets, but I could not interest a publisher. I acquired the gear to break these up into eight smaller segments and have now published these on YouTube.
One advantage of remaking these videos is that I was able to incorporate still photography of the guns, pictures of earlier and later hunts as well as re-dub some segments to provide a more through explanation of my activities.
My original concept was to make a detailed, informative video on how a variety of muzzleloaders could be used to take plains game. These guns range in power from the .460 S&W to the .30‘06, which rank as small-bore guns by African standards. The classic medium-bore gun is the .375 H&H Magnum.
The three muzzleloading guns selected were the .50 caliber 209X.50 Thompson/Center Arms Encore pistol, the Knight .45-caliber Ultra-Mag rifle and the Davide Pedersoli double-barreled 12-gauge Slug-Shotgun. The guns were all available on the U.S. market, and the last two still are. The modern power-equivalent of the Encore is the CVA Optima .50-caliber muzzleloading pistol. Although not as well made a gun, the Optima is the equivalent of the Encore, and is as effective with the same loads.
The instructional nature of these videos is most obvious in “Components for Muzzleloaders Used on African Game.” In this video I start with the 4-bore round ball and explain why I used the PowerBelt and MaxiBall bullets with modern black-powder substitute powders made by Hodgdon along with the traditional round ball and black powder used in the Pedersoli 12-gauge smoothbore.
In “Muzzleloading Safari Guns Loads and Results” I discuss with Earnst how these guns and loads performed on game and what he thought of them. I follow up with the detailed cleaning of each of the guns in “Cleaning African Muzzleloaders.” This 30-minute video is the longest of the three videos, and it goes through every step of the process, including disassembly and reassembly of the guns.
Because the use of smoothbore muzzleloaders, except for shotguns, is almost unknown; I recorded a segment on sighting-in the Davide Pedersoli .12-gauge with round ball in “Sighting in the Davide Pedersoli Smoothbore Slug-Shotgun.” This gun shoots remarkably well with patched round balls, and at 30-yards placed a Left and Right within two inches with off-hand shots. This is not a fluke. Two-to-three-inch close range groups are common with this gun. It is also one of Pierangelo Pedersoli’s favored guns. Of all of the company guns he had available that he used on a hunt we did in Italy where he took a European boar and a nice sheep.
I am a bird hunter. Africa has different game birds, and I particularly wanted to illustrate that this gun could take birds as well as plains game. Although Spear Safari does not offer bird hunting, Marita Dyason informed me that they did have a few birds that we might walk up. After I shot my five species of plains game, Earnst and I went bird hunting in the company of rhinos, leopards and elephants. We found rhinos and leopards along with yard-high piles of steaming Elephant droppings along with Guinea fowl and francolins, which are grouse-size birds. These birds are runners, but I did take a few with the gun. These were cleaned and Earnst stewed them up that night in a cast-iron pot.
For those who want to see the hunting and shooting, I did “African Muzzleloading Hunt 2005, Kudu and Zebra.” On both of these animals I made kills with the Knight rifle using .45-caliber PowerBelt bullets. These bullets were/are the heaviest that PowerBelt makes in this caliber. They used with 150 grain powder charges (three Hodgdon Triple 7even Pellets), and got the animals down. A finishing shot was used on both, as these are powerful animals that can strike out with deadly results even when mortally wounded.
South African laws prevent bringing in more than one gun in any given caliber, and as I was bringing a .50-caliber pistol, I had to select a different caliber rifle. If I were going to bring in an in-line rifle for African Plains Game, and was not under this restriction, I would have taken a .50-caliber gun, rather than a .45.
I enjoy hunting with muzzleloading pistols, and the Encore is the best gun in this class. Its performance far outstrips the .44 Remington Magnum and can be depended on with a 370-grain T/C Maxiball to penetrate 29-inches of flesh and bone. I had already killed several animals with it including a boar hog in Texas that weighed over 350 pounds on a T/C sponsored hunt on the Nail Ranch.
Hog hunting interest me, and I wanted to take a trophy-size Warthog with the gun as well as an Impala. These hunts are reported in: “The Encore 209X.50 Muzzleloading Pistol in Africa.” The Warthog was taken at a waterhole. The shot was good and the animal ran and was found dead about 50-yards away. The shot at the Impala was not as successful. It was not that the load failed, but the shot placement was poor because of the way the animal was standing. The animal was ultimately recovered with the help of John, the tracker, and Earnst’s dogs. The video shows exactly how this shot went wrong.
This series of African videos concludes with “Muzzleloading Stories from Safari Camp” where over sundowners I tell of my humorous adventures with muzzleloading guns in North America and how dogs generate “sleep ions” which are powerful agents in inducing their pups, and humans of all ages, to sleep.
Many of these stories are related in more detail in my books “X-Treme Muzzleloading: Fur, Fowl and Dangerous Game with Muzzleloading Rifle, Smoothbore and pistol,” and an in-progress E-book Series among whose published titles are “Muzzleloaders for Hunters,” “Hunting Big and Small Game with Muzzleloading Pistols,” “Shooting and Maintaining your Muzzleloader,” and “Hunting with Muzzleloading Shotguns and Smoothbore Muskets”. All are available from Amazon.com and other sources.