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Federal Premium Safari Cape Shok Ammo: What You Need to Know

What You need To Know About Federal Premium Safari Ammo
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Federal Premium Safari Cape Shok ammunition is designed for use on thick skinned dangerous game like cape buffalo. Here's what makes this ammo special.

Really large and tough species of dangerous game require premium ammo to get the job done.

Indeed, the stakes are as high as they'll ever get on these hunts because bullet failure can result in death or serious injury for the hunter.

The good news is that there are some excellent options out there for hunters looking for the best possible ammunition to use on their grizzly bear or cape buffalo hunt. 

Just like the name says, Federal Premium Safari Cape Shok ammunition is specifically built for use on hunts for the largest and most dangerous game. While Federal Safari ammo is marketed for hunters making the trip over to Africa for game like cape buffalo and elephant, it's also extremely effective on game like grizzly bear or brown bear in Alaska. 

Federal Premium Safari Cape Shok Ammo

Federal Premium Safari ammo is currently manufactured in 9.3x62mm Mauser, 9.3x74R, .370 Sako Magnum, .375 H&H Magnum, .416 Rigby, .416 Remington Magnum, .458 Winchester Magnum, .458 Lott, .470 Nitro Express, and .500 Nitro Express.

Since it's intended for use on really big species of dangerous game, Federal Safari ammunition is only available in those specific centerfire rifle cartridges and is not manufactured in handgun or rimfire calibers.

Many of the world's most knowledgable and most experienced dangerous game hunters use and recommend the bullets Federal Ammunition loads in their Cape Shok lineup. There are a couple of different bullet type options for each cartridge, usually a mix of expanding (also known as "softs") and non-expanding bullets (also referred to as "solids").

The expanding bullets (soft points) used in the Cape Shok line include the Barnes TSX, Swift A-Frame, and the Trophy Bonded Bear Claw. Every single one of those bullets is specifically designed for controlled expansion and high weight retention in order to balance deep penetration with a large permanent wound cavity.

The non-expanding bullets used in the Federal Premium Safari lineup include the Woodleigh Hydro Solid and the Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer Solid. Both of those bullets are built for straight line deep penetration on heavy boned, thick skinned dangerous game like grizzly bear, brown bear, and cape buffalo.

Specifically, the 9.3x62mm Mauser, 9.3x74R, and .370 Sako Magnum are all available with 286gr Woodleigh Hydro Solid and Swift A-Frame bullets. The .375 H&H Magnum is available with 300gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer Solids, Swift A-Frames, and Woodleigh Hydro Solids.

The .416 Rigby and .416 Rem Mag are both available with 400gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer Solids, Swift A-Frames, and Woodleigh Hydro Solids. The .458 Win Mag, .458 Lott, and .470 Nitro Express use those same bullets as well, but in 500gr bullet weights. The Trophy Bonded Bear Claw is also available as a 400gr loading for the .458 Win Mag.

Finally, the .500 Nitro is available with 570gr Barnes Triple Shock X (TSX), Woodleigh Hydro Solid, and Swift A-Frame bullets.

Those are all real heavy hitting cartridges built for hunting thick skinned dangerous game and each ammo load uses heavy for caliber bullets ideally suited for that purpose and fired at a moderate muzzle velocity.

As a point of reference, these guys were hunting feral hogs in Florida with 9.3x74R and .577 Nitro Express double rifles. The results are pretty impressive.

All that power comes at a price though: recoil. Even when using a heavy hitting cartridge and premium ammunition, shot placement is extremely important and a bigger bullet in the wrong place won't be nearly as effective as a smaller bullet in the right place.

Cape buffalo in particular are known for being able to soak up a tremendous amount of lead. This video demonstrates that pretty well; the buffalo ended up taking eight hits from big bore rifles (four shots from a .416 Remington, two shots from a .458 Lott, and two shots from a .500 Nitro Express) and charged the hunters before finally going down at a mere nine yards.

If you can't handle the recoil of one of the bigger cartridges (like the .458 Lott), consider using a smaller cartridge (like the .375 H&H). Your PH or hunting guide would much rather you bring a rifle chambered in a smaller, but still powerful, cartridge that you can shoot accurately on your cape buffalo hunt as opposed to a really big and powerful cartridge that you can't handle.

Many hunters are tempted to use a muzzle brake to help tame recoil. While muzzle brakes are effective in doing just that, they also enhance muzzle blast. The muzzle blast is bad enough on a cartridge like the .300 Win Mag, but it can be downright vicious from a really big cartridge like the .416 Remington.

Anybody not wearing ear protection in that case can suffer immediate and permanent hearing damage. This is especially true for people like your PH or guide who are standing next to you when you shoot. For this reason, many outfitters discourage using a muzzle brake.

Fortunately, cartridges like the 9.3x62mm Mauser and the .375 H&H Magnum are extremely effective when using ammo like the Federal Premium Safari line and they also have a manageable amount of recoil without a muzzle brake.

So, if you're looking for some great ammo for an upcoming cape buffalo hunt, then consider adding some Federal Premium Safari Cape Shok rifle ammo to your wish list. As long as you're up to the task and place your shots where they need to go, the ammunition won't let you down.

Like what you see? You can read more great articles by John McAdams on the Big Game Hunting Blog. Subscribe to his show: the Big Game Hunting Podcast or check out one of his African hunting safaris.

NEXT: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FEDERAL POWER SHOK AMMO

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Federal Premium Safari Cape Shok Ammo: What You Need to Know