Dangerous loads for Dangerous Game (??)
I am hoping to get some wise words from experienced reloaders on DG loads for my 375 H&H.
I went on a DG hunt in Zimbabwe recently, taking my 375 H&H, and my intention was to use Woodleigh 300 gr RNSP bullets and Woodleigh 350 gr solid bullets. I wanted to use 350 rather than 300 for solids, as this would give an extra bit of punch, which I felt would be better for Buffalo and Elephant.
Woodleigh doesn't produce a loading manual and their advice is to use other load formula, start low and then work up to get the right speed.
I did this for the 300 gr RNSP and took them up to the speed I wanted without any problem, but when I tried to do the same with the 350 gr bullet I had trouble. I found a 350 gr formula somewhere on the internet (I forget where), clipped a few grains off the maximum powder load and then worked up at half grain increments, chronographing the results. I was using RL 15 powder. However, what happened was that the speed did not increase very much as the powder weight was increased. On adding more powder for the 300 gr bullet I would see a corresponding increase in speed, although if I added more powder for the 350 gr bullet then the increase in speed would only be marginal.
Now, that extra energy has to be going somewhere. If it's not resulting in more speed, it must mean that there is a build up in pressure. I therefore abandoned loading the 350 gr bullet; it seemed too dangerous to continue. I substituted them with Barnes Banded Solids in 300 gr, for which there is reliable load data.
Personally, I think Woodleight has a responsibility to issue some meaningful data, so reloaders can see what the safe parameters are. I think the statement on their web site: "You can use published data from other bullet and powder manufacturers. For safety, reduce by 5% and work up" is feeble and potentially dangerous.
Most reloaders will have a chronograph, or access to one, but very few have access to equipment that measures the pressure within the gun.
This is an accident waiting to happen and Woodleigh should issue load data that is backed up by professional pressure testing.
I would be interested to take guidance and opinion from anyone who has experience or an opinion in this area.
PS The 300 gr Barnes Banded Solids worked fine