Nilgai hunt

TackDriver284

Handloader
Feb 13, 2016
2,308
1,553
Woke at 3 am, took a shower, and packed my gear, headed to a local store to grab coffee and a taco. Met up with the hunting guide at the ranch and loaded my gear and my 300 Win Mag in the guide's truck, we drove some short distances to scout waterholes and several nilgai cows scurried off due to our presence. We back tracked up the road and headed around ahead of those nilgai and waited for them to walk by and there they were, they got wind of us left the area. We stalked other waterholes and we saw a big herd of about 30 to 40 nilgai cows and bulls mixed in, the bulls were young and I passed up on them. I decided to take down a full grown nilgai cow at a range of about 150 yards. I had a plan to test the 200 grain ELD-X on bone and without bone, this cow I aimed a couple of inches behind the crease of the shoulder, and the rifle barked and spit the pill at close to 3100 fps and heard the thump of the 200 ELD-X and it ran off into the thick brush. We waited about 5 minutes and we headed over to where it was hit. I found a nice sized piece of lung that measured roughly an inch on the ground, no blood was seen there or on the trails in the thick brush, we scouted for roughly 15 minutes but no avail, the hunting guide moved further into the brush while I backtracked to where it was hit and meticulously looked carefully for any sign of blood, about 40 yards into the brush, i came across 2 small drops of dark red blood, a yell to the hunting guide to alert him that blood was found, and we tracked carefully, seeing small drops every 15 -20 feet, and larger drops were found, and we found her further left of where we started looking earlier, she expired roughly 60 yards from where she was hit. High fives between us and we hacked a route into the brush to bring in the Jeep with its motorized hoist to haul it out and we had her gutted. The 200 grain ELDX entered in the ribs and traveled its way out the other side and turned her lungs into mush. No bullet recovery and the entrance and exit is just a caliber sized hole. I had mentioned that its skin is elastic and tends to close the wounds, the drops of blood we found on the ground was from her mouth, not from the wounds. We headed to camp to wash her down and put her in the cooler, drank some water and headed back out again to search for a 2nd cow nilgai. Thirty minutes later, we came a across a herd that scurried off and we headed up a side road and waited to see if they will cross a road, about 20 plus cows and bulls ran across the road without stopping, except for a few cows which stopped and curiously looked at the Jeep from close to 300 yards away. I scanned them and chose to take down the biggest one of the bunch, clicked the ATACR to 2.8 MOA and settled the crosshairs on the center of the shoulder right up the front leg and squeezed and another hard thump, the cow nilgai buckled and I noticed that her shoulder broke when she hobbled off, about 30 yards in, she expired. After gutting her, the bullet entered the shoulder, shattered the bone, shredded the lungs and only dented the inside of the opposite ribs. We lost the bullet in that discard pile, I was hoping to find it, but no bullet sadly. Washed down the 2nd nilgai and put her in the cooler for an hour and loaded up the nilgai in my truck and filled the cavities full of ice and wrapped in a tarp and headed off to the butcher about 30 miles away. I signed up for chorizo, crumbled breakfast sausage, fresh grilling sausage with jalapeno and cheese, 70 /30 ratio ( nilgai / beef brisket ) for hamburger grounds, backstraps, loins and roast. Should be ready in 3 weeks.
I want to make a suggestion if using the ELD-X on big game, the bone of those shoulders will wreck the bullet and may prevent it from exiting, due to a soft bullet. Shooting behind the crease resulted in a pass through. I would suggest using a Barnes, AccuBond / Partition if hunting nilgai. I am not satisfied with ELD X not being able to penetrate the opposite shoulder at all after hitting the shoulder bone. I expected the bullet to travel through both shoulders and rest under the skin or make an exit. Next time I'm hunting nilgai, I'll go back to the Accubonds. They work wonders.
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First cow
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Entrance
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Exit
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Entrance
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Exit
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2nd cow
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Shoulder entrance
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On the way to the butcher
 
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An excellent adventure and interesting report on bullet performance.
The Precision Hunteer ammo with ELD-X bullets is accurate, but definitely seems to be for less hardy big game animals.
Nilgai have a very hardy reputation and seem to require a bullet with a propensity for controlled expansion and better penetration.
I know I like the Partitions and AccuBonds for large North American game, and would think that the Swift A-Frame would be another great choice for nilgai.
From all that I have seen and read about nilgai hunting has me intrigued on this challenging animal.
Looking forward to more details on the quality of the meat.

Thinking of going with a friend to Texas next February for a blackbuck and axis deer hunt...might have to consider nilgai!

Who did you hunt with, and what were costs?
Would you recommend them to others for a hunt?
 
Mark
Congratulations on your successful Nilgai hunt.i to have read that they are tough and that some guides recommend a 300 Win Mag as a minimum. I agree with your thoughts regarding the 200 gr ELD-X.
Nice shooting and enjoy your upcoming feasts.

JD338
 
Just seeing this. Great write up Mark.

I tried the 200 ELDX's when they first came out years ago from a 300 Wby and something else and had similar results in water jugs. They came apart pretty quickly. I kinda swore them off at that point for much. I used the 212 ELDX out of the 06 at 2700 and was quite impressed after it crushed both front legs and retained the base real well which matched what it did on jugs.

Fast forward to today I hear folks say how the 200's are more robust than the 212's? No idea if that is true or not. I have a friend that uses the 220's in a 300 RUM and absolutely pounds elk to the ground, but he also doesn't have much for exits, but for him in the open country he hunts elk don't wander far and aren't hard to find.

I guess my experience is keep the ELD's under 2900 or even better, under 2800 and let their BC work for you, above those sorta speeds the Accubonds and similar are better ideas.

Cool stuff, thanks again for writing it up. I have heard niglai is some very good meat. How did all of yours come out?
 
I put a 250gr AccuBond through both shoulders of a large bull moose at 55yds. The bull flipped over backwards and never even twitched after that. The bullet busted completely through the shoulders and was caught in the hide on the off-side. The recovered bullet weighed 140gr, which I thought was pretty good considering how much bone it smashed through.

I shot another bull twice in the boiler room at about 300yds. Both bullets exited and the moose went about 35-40yds before piling up.

Accubonds have always worked well for me.
 
Great write-up. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on a couple of fine animals. Good report on the bullet performance.
 
Just seeing this. Great write up Mark.

I tried the 200 ELDX's when they first came out years ago from a 300 Wby and something else and had similar results in water jugs. They came apart pretty quickly. I kinda swore them off at that point for much. I used the 212 ELDX out of the 06 at 2700 and was quite impressed after it crushed both front legs and retained the base real well which matched what it did on jugs.

Fast forward to today I hear folks say how the 200's are more robust than the 212's? No idea if that is true or not. I have a friend that uses the 220's in a 300 RUM and absolutely pounds elk to the ground, but he also doesn't have much for exits, but for him in the open country he hunts elk don't wander far and aren't hard to find.

I guess my experience is keep the ELD's under 2900 or even better, under 2800 and let their BC work for you, above those sorta speeds the Accubonds and similar are better ideas.

Cool stuff, thanks again for writing it up. I have heard niglai is some very good meat. How did all of yours come out?
The meat is excellent, its not tough like the bulls, its more tender. I like it more than whitetails. Processor made excellent grilling sausages with jalapeno and cheese, breakfast sausages, chorizo , hamburger, roasts and steaks. It's worth going on another hunt soon. Cook one side and flip once when grilling , just don't overcook them, sear it fast and keep the steaks and straps medium to medium rare. Bacon wrapped straps is awesome.
 
Those things are native to India and have tiger resistant hide.The membrane around the muscles are also thick.A lot of them are killed with small caliber cartridges.My opinion a 30 cal or greater,with a good stout bullet is the best choice.I shot a cow with my 300 Win Mag using a 165gr Hornady Interbond.Those Interbonds are really tough bullets,maybe even a little tougher than an AccuBond.I never recovered one because everyone I've used exited.
 
Those things are native to India and have tiger resistant hide.The membrane around the muscles are also thick.A lot of them are killed with small caliber cartridges.My opinion a 30 cal or greater,with a good stout bullet is the best choice.I shot a cow with my 300 Win Mag using a 165gr Hornady Interbond.Those Interbonds are really tough bullets,maybe even a little tougher than an AccuBond.I never recovered one because everyone I've used exited.
Did you shoot through the shoulders or double lunged them? I ones I double lunged was not recovered, exited the opposite said and the wound closed up, hide was elastic. Not even a drop of blood from the wounds.
 
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