SHOT PLACEMENT: SPRINGBUCK
Many young hunters cut their hunting teeth on springbuck. This small, colourful antelope is synonymous with the open plains of the Karoo, Kalahari, Northern Cape and Namibia. Springbuck are still affordable, plentiful and their meat very good to eat.
Although small centrefire calibres such as the .222 Rem and .223 Rem are popular for springbuck (especially when culling is done) we do not recommend these two as general springbuck calibres. Due to their love for open terrain it can be difficult to approach springbuck and shooting at longer ranges is of- ten called for (240 to 400m). The lightweight 55gr bullets that are so popular for these .224” calibres are just too wind sensitive at ranges beyond 150m and they lack power at 400m. There are better calibres available for shooting springbuck.
A .22-250 Rem, loaded with 75 or 80gr bullets (only rifles with fast 1-in-8” rifling twists will stabilise such long, heavyweight .224” bullets) is a better choice, but still better are the various 6mm calibres firing 87 grain or 100/105 grain bullets at 3 000fps, or faster. The .25-06 Rem, 6.5x55, 6.5 Creedmoor and others in the same class are all good choices. In windy conditions the .270 Win loaded
with 130 grainers is also a popular choice. Springbuck are small animals and all the calibres of 6mm and bigger, launching bullets at 3 000fps or faster will result in a lot of meat damage when body shots are taken inside 250m. Therefore most experienced hunters who are able to shoot accurately often go for brain or neck shots. Of course slower calibres (loaded with heavier bullets 150gr and heavier) such as the 7x57, .308 Win or the .30-06 can be used very successfully, if the hunter is familiar with the trajectory of that calibre/load combination and uses a rangefinder to determine the distance.
Because springbuck are often shot at distances beyond 150m and in places only beyond 250m it is important for the hunter to be thoroughly familiar with the trajectory of his calibre/load combination. We strongly recommend the use of a rangefinder.
A springbuck’s heart/lung area is approximately 20x14cm in diameter and the heart is about 10x7.5cm big. These are small targets at longer ranges. Because of their small size and their excellent meat, many hunters prefer, as mentioned, to go for brain or neck shots to save meat. Because these targets are even smaller than the heart/lung area they are much more difficult to hit and it is easy to wound. That is the reason why some farmers do not allow the taking of head shots.
To prevent excessive meat damage with body shots, place the bullet slightly behind the shoulder instead of on the shoulder in line with the front leg if the animal stands broadside. You will still hit the back part of the lung. However, a shot low on the shoulder (in line with the front leg on a broadside standing animal) is still the safest. It places the bullet in the centre of the socalled vital triangle and leaves the biggest margin for error.