05.22.2023 | By John Geiger
The PH and I settled in for what we thought might be a long night in the blind. The bait — the carcass of a zebra shot and cleaned the day before — was barely visible 100 yards away. A few bushpigs had tripped a trail cam the night before. We were hoping one of those big African boars would be back.
The guide clicked on the flashlight for a quick look at the scene. Nothing but the picked-at zebra. He clicked it off. I leaned the Henry level-action rifle chambered in Remington’s new 360 Buckhammer against the corner of the wooden blind. The guide sat back in his chair and pulled his hat over his eyes. It had been a long, amazing September day in northeast South Africa. We stalked big game for miles, and I brought down a golden wildebeest with a Springfield Waypoint. Michael Holm of Federal dropped a fine eland and a waterbuck. A bushpig with a brand-new cartridge would be an epic end to an action-packed day with Theron Safaris.
I was too excited to sit back. When in Africa, I never want to miss a minute. So, I let my eyes adjust to the darkness, then craned my neck to see through the gloom and make out any movement.
Something moved. “SW, shine the light out there,” I said.
“Ok,” said PH SW Lotter.
The beam hit the side of a mature bush pig. Lotter nearly fell off his chair.
“How did you see that?” he said, clicking the light off and trying to keep his voice low. “OK. Ready?” He counted down while I peered at black through the scope.
On three he clicked the beam on and illuminated the rooting pig. I found it in the scope, picked a spot on the shoulder and fired.
The bullet spun him around, and he was as dead as the zebra.
(Pictured: This bushpig was one of the first African wild game animals taken with Remington’s new 360 Buckhammer cartridge.)
Giant eland, elusive golden wildebeests, a 50-inch sable and many other top-tier game animals fell on this safari, but when that pig dropped, you would have thought we saved the world.
The guide gave me a bear hug and shouted, “Great shot!” He was proud that the setup worked as he envisioned. I was proud that my aging eyes saw it and that I had made the shot.
There was nothing scientific about it, but the effects convinced me then and there of the effectiveness of this new cartridge. The bullet flew true. It did what it was supposed to. It made a mess out of the mature pig’s vitals.
The 360 Buckhammer cartridge is designed for deer, yet it’s been proving itself on wild hogs across the U.S. as well. Originally developed for lever guns, it’s now migrated into other actions. Magnum Research, in fact, recently announced a new revolver in Buckhammer.
The idea is, Remington knew that it could create a bullet that would fly faster, hit harder and have less felt recoil than what guys have been shooting from their 30-30s for years. They also knew that many of the states that once prohibited any kind of rifle for deer are now allowing straight-walled cartridges. They are solid options for hunters who were once relegated to either a slug shotgun or a muzzleloader during firearm season.
Whether you live in one of these states or not, any hunter can see that this cartridge is something special. Like the original .35 Remington developed back in 1906, this new Buckhammer has a .358-inch diameter bullet. But at about 2,400 fps, it’s faster and shoots flatter than the .35. It has the ballistics and power of the .30-30 yet less recoil.
Federal Premium drafted in with their own version of the Buckhammer. They load their tried-and-true Power-Shok jacketed hollow-point bullet in 180 and 200 grains. Expect to pay about $39 for a 20-cartridge box. Remington loads their classic Core-Lokt bullets and also has 180- and 200-grain options.
With a name like Buckhammer, it’s made to appeal to the millions of deer hunters in the USA. But it also drops the hammer on feral hogs in Texas, Russian boar in Spain or a wild bushpig in the night somewhere in South Africa.
Originally published in the May 2023 edition Safari Times, in safariclub.org.
Core-Lokt 360 Buckhammer