The most famous .303 Brits

They were the cartridges fired by Lt.Col. Patterson to kill 2 man-eating lions in Kenya in 1898 I’ll try to take a photo of the lions when I go to Chicago for my daughter’s Navy boot camp graduation in 3 weeks.

Great story, exagerated or not.

I wouldn’t like to go hunting lions with a .303. Even less with a single shot Martini conversion.

How about hunting elephants with 6.5mm - one early hunter used to specialise in that.

I watched a TV show on poaching in Africa. To give some idea of how the poachers (these are indiginous peoples shooting game for ivory, Rhino horn, and the like, not visiting or local hunters going above the limit or without a hunting license, in the sense that we know poachers in this country) operate, they used some footage of game rangers culling herds. They had FN-Type FAL Rifles. They came up very, very close to the elephants and it appeared that they generally double-tapped them. Every animal shot dropped instantly and dead, this with a 7.62 x 51 cartridge, probably FMJ.

I think the difference here, and with some of the great “white hunters” like Karamojo Bell,that used the 6.5 Mannlicher, and those who used 7 x 57s, .303 or similar calibers, was that they, and the game rangers, knew every nuance of the animal - when it is angry, when it is likely to charge, when it is likely to retreat or stampede, etc. - and exactly where to shoot it. In their knowledge, they have no fear (probably a healthy respect but not fear) of the animal. They don’t need a .416 Rigby to bring down the biggest animals with instant kills.

Myself, which if I was inclined to hunting these magnificent animals, which I am not, I would use the biggest caliber I could handle, and shoot them from the longest distant from which I think I could score a humane kill! Rear, a lack of knowledge and hunting skills, and a strong sense of self-preservation, would not put me in the same 1000 acre area as Lions, crocs, Rhino and the like.

The real poachers mob them, and generally have G-3s, FN-FALs, Enfields, or Kalashnikovs. They managed to kill elephants with a light cartridge like the 7.62 x 39, not as powerful as a .30-30, with multiple shots, full-auto probably, and care not one bit about a humane kill.

The movie based on this story is really nice. There was also an article published by Armi e Tiro magazine about the guns used in the movie.

Always tought that Col. Patterson used a sporterized Enfield bolt action istead of a single shot.

A 14.5mm KPV on the back of a Toyota truck would do me nicely…if I missed, the truck could get me away!

Here are the REAL ACTUAL cats, from the Field Museum in Chicago. To see these lions, I went through an extreme traffic created by Bears’ fans at a very closely placed (to the museum) Bears Stadium. Thanks, Pepper, for avenging my pain.


I saw that same thing years ago. I had to change the channel after a minute or so as it was sickening to watch those noble creatures fall into piles of dead meat.

Dennis - me too! I am not opposed to hunting, and this herd-thinning was necessary I suppose, but it is not something I care to watch nromally.

Regard the Tsavo Lions, a poor job of taxidermy. Compare the stuff animals in Chicago, which look more like big dogs facially than lions, with the original black and white picture. The two stuffed ones in Chicago are more like a cartoon caricature of these real maneless male lions. Frankly, I wish they would remove them from display. A good taxidermist can capture almost the very essence of the animal. These insult them. JMHO.

IIRC the original mounts basically fell apart, the ones at Chicago are re-mounts using as much of the original skins as could be salvaged (they were in real bad shape).

Regards Mr Bell, not only did he know the anatomy (IE where to place the shot, from any angle), he was also a good enough shot to take birds on the wing with the same rifle

In 1986 on a hunt in Zimbabwe several of the game guards that went everywhere with us carried old .303’s. They were very good shots and as they had to account for their ammo were frugal in its use. One of the hunters in camp spent several days trying to take an old bull buffalo that had a severe limp and an attitude toward humans. After a successful stalk the old fellow fell to a .450-.400 3". The cause of the lameness (and most likely his attitude) was a poachers makeshift muzzleloader projectile made from the conical cast iron trivet leg broken off of a cooking pot that was imbedded in the shoulder.