I've some friends that hunted them there and they say you do need a tought bullet. They were using a 338 win mag with Barnes bullets if I remember right. Tell him to practice most shot will range from 100 (if real lucky) to about 325 yards.
Kentucky, it depends so much on the type of hunter he is. If willing to pass up heavy quartering shots adn look for the broadside, he can get by with "reg." bullets. If he wants to take "any" shot possible, then look at the Barnes/failsafe type of bullets. 165gr in these bullet should be enough.
With the lower vel of the '06, many of the newer bullets like the Interbond will work very well (165 or 180gr bullets is right) too. Of course, the partition is a given.
Discuss with the guides the types of range likely to be encountered. My guess is that they will not encourage long pokes and would anticipate 350yds as max.
Although a big fan of the SST, I would go with the interbond with this type of game. I can see Ian smiling already.
Having hunted on the King for Nilgai, he is in for a blast. For the most part I used a 338 on mine, but the .30-06 is plenty of rifle. Now what I would do is go with a 180 gr bullet, Nosler Partition is good also Trophy Bonded Bear Claws, Woodleighs, Swift A Frame and the Winchester Fail Safe. If the Federal High Energy load shoots well in his rifle, I would go with that. They are a little bit on the stout side, as for accuracy, any of those load that put 3 shots into 2 inches or less will be fine. I would have your friend zero his rifle to be spot on at 200 yards.
I have also hunted blue bulls down there and found them to be extremely spooky animals by nature. They see something and run over the freaking horizon.
They have a reputation for being tough but any reasonable bullet will do the job, accuracy and shot placement are everything.
Stout bullets would make sense, as would fast ones like the Hi-Energy or Heavy Magnum from Hornady if they shoot well.
Your friend is in for a great time, they are unique and a very interesting animal to hunt. Their meat is considered a delicacy by many people.
A good guide will get the shooter into a hundred yards or so if things work out, otherwise shots might get out to 300 or even much farther if you are up to it.
I hunted with a muzzleloader and was forever wishing for a .300 Weatherby when the big suckers were posing out at 5-600 yards. Had a lot of them do that.
Lots of bugs, we showered using dog flea shampoo every night to get rid of all the **** creepycrawlies. Really nice terrain, exept for the fact that every **** plant that grows is designed to stab, stick, impale, cut or poison you. Souvenirs of Texas fester out for several weeks after you get home...
A friend of mine in San Antonio has won a nilgai hunt next spring (I think) on the King Ranch in Texas. He's a whitetail hunter and has a .30-06. He's not a reloader and uses factory ammo on whitetail. He's asked me two questions:
1) What factory fodder would I recommend for nilgai.
2) The nilgai on this ranch inhabit flat, open plains, so the hunt will be from the ground, stalk-style, rather than from a treestand. My buddy hasn't done much offhand shooting from a standing position, so he's wondering about the advisability of shooting sticks.
For what it's worth, I recommended any name-brand factory fodder that uses a 180 grain Nosler Partition as my first choice. I told him I was pretty sure someone on this board had actually hunted nilgai and could give first-hand suggestions.
As for the shooting sticks, I think that's a superb idea, but with the brush in that area, he may need to carry a set long enough to shoot standing. Since this is a one-time hunt, he won't want to spend a ton of money on something like carbon-fiber shooting sticks, so can you guys suggest something that could be built inexpensively and still do the job?