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In the last African Expedition Magazine, I wrote about using the new VorTX ammunition, and now want to continue on with more experiences. On the previous trip, I used 225-grain Barnes VOR-TX ammo in my .338 Winchester Magnum with wonderful success. This year I used the same Barnes VOR-TX ammo in the .338 Winchester Magnum, but this time with their newer 210-grain TTSX bullet.

Here is a picture of my 5th Bush Pig taken in daylight… it also is my 500th African animal.

You know what? It made no difference to the Wildebeest, Gemsbok, or Kudu whatsoever. When the lighter 210-grain bullets went through their lungs, they died as quickly as with the 225-grain bullet.

I then used my old .300 H&H Magnum with Barnes 168-grain TTSX bullets over Hodgdon H 4831 SC powder at 3,065 fps, and whoa, what a job that load did! The recovered bullets weighed 167.1 and 166.9 grains. I think that higher velocity bullets are even more effective on game than the heavier bullets in the .338 Magnum. One Gemsbok in particular seemed to be stunned to point of looking paralyzed, and then just fell over dead. My PH was absolutely impressed.

Not only was this the reaction of this Gemsbok, but also several Blue Wildebeest who just went down at the shot.

I then tried some of Hornady’s new 165-grain GMX bullets in the .300 H&H and was quite happy with them as well. I recovered 3 bullets, which weighed 137.0, 163.9, and 155.2 grains, then shot 7 more animals where the bullet went right through, with most of them going down at the shot. These did not retain as much weight as the 168-grain TTSX did, but certainly no reason not to use them again.

When these monolithic bullets first hit the market several years ago as the old "X" bullet from Barnes, I was skeptical, but after using them now almost every year since then, they have proven themselves over and over. Do you remember the old saying, "Home Sweet Home"? You know, the older we get, the more this saying is the absolute truth. As much as we anticipate these trips, there is a time to go home.

Another old saying is, "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it". Well, our trips seem to have developed into what works. So, we always use United Airlines to fly from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Chicago, Illinois, and then on to Washington/Dulles airport, continuing on South African Airlines (SAA) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB).

While we were arriving at Washington/Dulles airport, we had the chance to watch a NASA 747 land next to us with the Space Shuttle Enterprise on it. The Space Shuttle Fleet has been retired, and the Enterprise was flown to it final resting place at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.

Wednesday April 18th

On arrival in Johannesburg, we were met by a representative from Air-2000, who escorted us quickly through Immigration and Customs, then over to the South African Police Service office (SAPS) where our guns were waiting for us. All we had to do was open the gun case, verify the serial numbers, and we were out the door in 15 minutes.

Our old friend, Marius Kruger, from African Dawn Safaris, was waiting for us at the SAPS office, and we were soon on our way to his house for the evening. Marius’ house is our Home Away From Home, since we leave all our clothes, boots, binoculars, and bi-pods there each year when we go home. We only need to retrieve our gear and we were ready to go. It really helps save luggage weight on the plane ride over.

The next morning we are off to his ranch, which is about a 3-hour drive northwest, near the town of Vaalwater. At least we were arriving in drier conditions than last year, although the grass was still very high.

This year I’m field testing more of the new Barnes VorTX ammunition loaded with their 210 grain Tipped Triple Shock Bullets (TTSX) in .338 Winchester Magnum, along with the new Hornady 165 grain GMX bullets in .300 H&H Magnum.

While at African Dawn, I took a warthog, a kudu bull with a broken horn, a zebra, an impala male with a skewed horn, a blue wildebeest, and a waterbuck cow. Both the VorTX and the GMX bullets performed perfectly.

Soon our week was over, and we moved further north up to Polokwane with Shi-awela Safaris, and our good friends Ken & Jo Ball. We met them about halfway there, so no one had to drive too far.

At Shi-awela, I used the Barnes 210 grain VorTX in my .338 Winchester Magnum to take my 500th game animal in Africa, which of all things was a bush pig. 99% Of all bush pigs are taken at night, as they are nocturnal, but… this was the fifth one I have taken in daylight. The weather was quite nice all week, with clear skies at night showing millions of stars.

While we were there, our friend, PH Nicole Martin, and his wife Karia stopped in for a few days to visit, and we had a chance to play with their two little boys.

Wednesday, May 2nd

Our time in South Africa was already over, so it was time to move on. We were flying from Polokwane back to Johannesburg, and were were staying overnight again at Marius Kruger’s house.

While there, re-supplied and got ready for our trip to Namibia. We did not need to take our complete inventory with us for the two weeks in South Africa, but now we needed to bring everything, especially ammo, for our month in Namibia.

Our SAA flight to Windhoek, Namibia, was at 10:00 AM. Arriving in Windhoek at 11:00 AM gave us adequate time to get to the ranch in time for lunch. The weather was beautiful and the flight was not full. Although it was only a two-hour flight, SAA served us a complete lunch and beverage service. It was a far cry from the ‘pop and pretzels’ we sometimes get on flights in the USA.

Upon arrival in Windhoek, the police department was quite efficient in completing our gun permits. Soon, our hosts Bennie & Esmarie Beukes, from Keerweder Safaris came over to pick us up. .

I had quite a shoot-fest there, taking 17 animals, which consisted of the usual springbok, blue wildebeest, gemsbok and zebra. The VorTX with Tipped Triple Shock Bullets and the Hornady GMX continue to perform flawlessly in my rifles.

Friday May 11th

The weather this morning was perfect, and we are on the move to go "next door" to meet our friends Danie and Ansie Strauss from Kowas Safaris.

We arrived at their ranch at 9:00 AM. After unpacking, we had some lunch, took a nap, and then went for a ride to see what we might be able to find before dark. As luck would have it, we found a very large and old kudu bull with a broken horn. My PH Mathews asked, "Can you walk hard for 30-40 minutes? If so, we can catch up with him and get a shot before it gets too dark". So walk we did, and sure enough I got a shot at this old bull, with the .338 Winchester Magnum using the 210 grain Barnes VOR-TX ammo, and down he went. What a great way to start off the week at Kowas Safaris.

While at Kowas Safaris, I took a total of 10 animals consisting of four springbok, two blue wildebeest, one kudu bull, and three gemsbok. Danie and Ansie are extraordinary hosts and their ranch has plenty of game.

The sun came up without a cloud in the sky and it looked like another perfect day. The temperature at noon was 74˚ Fahrenheit with only 39% humidity, and throughout the week, every morning was "Another Day in Paradise".

We finished up hunting a day early, so we went to Windhoek and stayed overnight so Danie and Ansie could do some shopping before we went fishing.

Thursday May 17th

We left early at 6:00 AM to drive up north for tiger fishing on the Okavango River in what is known as the Caprivi Strip. This is a 14-hour drive with miles and miles of empty terrain.

On the way up, we stopped in the town of Otavi where our next PH, Larry Bussey, met us. We gave him the rifles and all the extra clothes and gear we would not need for fishing.

We stayed at the Mahangu Safari Lodge, right on the Okavango River. It was a beautiful place, with everything well looked after, plus great food and accommodations.

However, the fish were not so accommodating. Late rains kept the river higher that usual, and the tiger fish were scattered and tough to come by. We did catch a few tigers and also some very large catfish, plus a few bream (or bluegills as we Americans call them). They are a beautiful fish, and remind me more of a smallmouth bass than a bluegill.

Tuesday May 22nd

Danie and Ansie took us to meet with Larry Bussey from Tambuti Safaris in the little town of Otavi about 1:00 PM. Larry is an American who purchased this ranch as an abandoned cattle farm in 1994, and has transformed it into one of the finest game ranches I have ever seen.

The ranch is thick and brushy, but Larry has cleared out a lot of the area over the past years. Even today, his bulldozer was busy keeping the brush under control and making sure the roads were in great condition.

Arriving in camp about 2:30 PM, we had a quick snack after unpacking, and then headed out for the rifle range, and to see if we could find something to shoot before dark. We saw lots and lots of game, but since I was on a management hunt, most of them were TOO BIG. By any standards, the game we saw were really great trophies.

Sure enough, we found a magnificent kudu bull whose horns did not look ‘just right’, so Larry said, "Shoot him". My .338 Winchester Magnum, again with the Barnes VorTX ammo, took the kudu right in the armpit behind the front leg and he took off like a rocket. It was getting dark fast, so Larry put his faithful Jack Russell terrier on the blood trail and right away "Impy" found him.

After taking some pictures and loading him up, we did not go 50 feet when we blew a tire. Change a tire in the bush with a flashlight is the way life goes on a hunt. Dinner will be served when we get back to camp, simple as that.

We had five more wonderful days at Tambuti taking a total of 20 animals, consisting of kudu bulls, blue wildebeest, gemsbok, and a warthog.

Most of the game shot was evenly split between the .300 H&H Magnum with Barnes 168 grain TTSX bullets and the .338 Winchester Magnum with Vor-TX ammo. This year, I recovered fewer bullets than I usually do. However, that was OK, since I really want all my bullets to go through the animals, leaving an exit hole that bleeds and is easy to follow.

Sunday May 27th

Tonight was pack-up night, as we are leaving the ranch at 7:00 AM and driving back to Windhoek for our 3:00 PM flight back to Johannesburg.

Monday May 28th

We arrived back in Johannesburg at 6:00 PM and were met by our friends from Air-2000 since we had to clear our firearms again with the SAPS. Marius Kruger was waiting for us as usual, and soon we are off to his house for the night.

Tuesday May 29th

We spent the day repacking and deciding what we are going to leave with Marius for next year, and what we needed to take home.

Our SAA flight back home left at 6:20 PM, so we had plenty of time to lounge around.

The flight home was basically an endurance contest to see if it was your back or your butt that died first. The ride seems to get longer and longer each year, and each time I swear I am going to start flying business class regardless of the additional cost. Then, my Dutch nature takes over, and I forget about it in the anticipation of the hunt and book the cheap seats again.

We arrived back in Washington DC with the temperature at 64˚ and 88% humidity at 6:00 AM, then continued on to Chicago and connected back to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

While waiting at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, we had the chance to witness a freak airplane collision. An EVA Airlines Cargo 747’s wing hit the tail of an American Eagle jet parked at the ramp. As the 747 was coming towards us, I said to my wife, "Watch this, he is going to hit that other plane". Sure enough, a few seconds later the 747 clipped the Eagle’s tail.

Terry Blauwkamp is a lifelong hunter and a veteran of many African safaris. His reloading expertise extends beyond the standard American calibers to metric and classic African calibers.

It seemed that in a matter of seconds, there were fire trucks coming from everywhere. I am sure they were worried about the 747 having a hole knocked in its wing, allowing fuel to leak out and catch fire. Fortunately, nothing leaked out and there was no fire or casualties.

However, I just can imagine the finger pointing and legal wrangling about who was in the wrong. Personally, I think the 747 was right, and the American Eagle caused the problem by parking too far back.

There really is no place like home, and eventually we did get there about 5:30 PM. Nothing is better than sleeping in my own bed, having enough lights in the bathroom, and not living out of a duffle bag, BUT, I am always anticipating next years trip.

• Poor Man's Leopard •
• One on one with Africa's Black Death •
• The Monster from Namibia •
• The Ultimate Dangerous Game Rifle •
• Predicting Bullet Performance •
• New Thunder in the Bushveld •
• Diana in Africa •
• Buff Tuff •
• Hunting the mtagati •
• Debunking Ballastic Myths •
• Ghost Rings •
• Graduating to buffalo •
• Hunting Botswana with a pocket battleship •
• Take a Rest •
• Secondary explosion effect •
• Uganda hunt •
• Classic Cartridges •
• All American Double •
• Bell's Base Camp •
• My lord Derby •
• Only 1 first safari •
• Famars Leonardo •
• The Double Falling Block Rifle •
• Casting basics remembered •
• BP Virus •
• As good as it gets •
• .375 Flanged Nitro •
• Hunting buffalo and pulling teeth •
• M77 Hawkeye African •
• Just a few seconds more, old chap •
• The .220 Swift •
• 270 Winchester reload session •
• Casting for the the .257 Roberts •
• Baiting leopard •
• My tender shoulder •
• The .416 Remington Magnum •

•  •

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