375 Rifle Choice

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by PHOENIX PHIL, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Okay, so it's been a little less than a month since returning from my first safari in South Africa. I don't think a waking hour goes by that I don't think at least for a moment about either the hunt I was on or the next one I'm planning. I don't know whether or not I'll pursue buffalo on my next trip, but I'm giving it much thought. If I do, I'll need a new rifle and I'm pretty convinced that I'd like to go with the .375 calibre. I know you're asking, H&H or the new Ruger version? For now, put that aside. I'm partial to the H&H for nostalgic reasons and availability, but I'm not strongly in favor of it either. What I'm more concerned about is picking the right rifle.

    It seems that buffalo hunting usually involves relatively short shots, 100 yards or less, in fairly to very thick brush and usually at the end of a very long walk. So in relation to the short shots and thick brush, it would seem to me that a shorter barreled rifle would be best. With respect to the walk, a lighter rifle would also be better. I realize this means more recoil, but I've never felt recoil when the target had legs and hair versus being made of paper. Furthermore, I found that my Tikka T3 Lite in 300 Win mag had it's recoil eaten up very well by the Limbsaver recoil pad I put on it and was never a problem when I was shooting it at the range.

    So here's what I'm considering.....

    Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker - The upside of this gun is it's light, coming in just under 7 pounds. It's a synthetic stock, a plus in my mind because I don't worry about scratching it. It has a 24" barrel, one of the shortest I've found. The only downside to me is I just don't really love that A-bolt style action.

    Ruger Hawkeye African - The upsides of this gun is the controlled round feed, a 23" barrel, weight is a bit more than the Browning at 7.75 pounds but still not too bad. The downside is that it is only available in .375 Ruger. I've nothing against the round, but could you find it in Africa if your bag with the ammo gets lost by the airline? Or would your outfitter have it on hand? Not so sure, but I'm virtually 100% certain that he'd have .375 H&H all over the place. It also comes in a wood stock, a downside to me.

    Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan- About the same as the African but with a synthetic stock, and shorter yet with a 20" barrel, perhaps this is getting too short however.

    Winchester Model 70 Safari Express - I have two Model 70 Classics in .270 and 7mm Rem Mag, the latter of which I may request to be buried with. I love my Winchesters plain and simple. It also has a fairly short 24" barrel, but a wood stock that I guess I'd just have to accept the scratches and scars that come from hunting. The big downside is the weight at 9 pounds. That could get to be old on a long day's walk.

    CZ 550 Safari Magnum - I have no experience with the CZ rifles, but do read lots of good things about them, so I'm giving them consideration. However with a 25" barrel and coming in at 9.4 pounds, it's last on my list, but not yet ruled out.
     
  2. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Phil,

    Go in for the Classic combination, .375 H&H chambered Model 70 Winchester Safari Express, you would be more than a happy , elated big game hunter all your life ,owning the EMPEROR of the all the calibers THE .375 H&H MAGNUM............... You can also check on for the Mark V Weatherby ,chambered for 375 H&H Magnum.

    Monish
     
  3. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    I hear you Monish. I guess I've really just come to appreciate a lighter rifle with carrying that Tikka. But my heart is with the Winchester.
     
  4. kdup

    kdup New Member

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    Hi Phil
    You need a rifle with control feed or a wide awake PH with something like a 458 caliber next to you because if a daggaboy is wounded things can go south (wrong) very quickly, like rounds that don't feed correct if the adrenalin is going 100 mph. I saw a guy recycle a whole magazine without firing a follow-up shot, the PH had to step in.

    The CZ's is good rifles and will always get the job done (if you keep up your end)

    Cheers

    KduP
     
  5. swampdonkey

    swampdonkey AH Member

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    Phil,

    I would second that on going with the Model 70 Safari Express in 375 H&H Magnum.Stick with a heavier gun, 9 pounds at least. That is what a sling is made for.There are several combinations of reduced loads that you can practice with if your into reloading.Your right about finding ammo for the 375 H&H in Africa versus the 375 Ruger.I 've been shooting a Sako action on a 25"douglas barrel with a browns synthetic stock since 1986 and even hauled it along on sheep and goat hunts.Great caliber and accurate too.
     
  6. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Phil,

    Follow your Heart my friend , with a 375 H&H magnum youd never be undergunned , can take from duiker to the massive pachys just have your rifle chamber & cartridge belt loaded with choicest of .375 H&H loads & beam with confidence....... for a sure shot KILL shot... I am in love with this caliber.

    Monish
     
  7. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Phil ,

    Read a complete article on these 2 great calibers - real guns The 375 H&H Vs the 375 Ruger Part I of II.....

    Monish
     
  8. TexasAg

    TexasAg AH Member

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    Phil,

    One thing to think about on the CZ (the older version known as Bruno) is that there are a lot of PHs that carry these for dangerous game. It all a matter of what you feel comfortable with. As far as control round feed, my two cents worth, is that it is not needed (unless the buff has already hooked you with a horn and you are doing somersaults through the air - than do you really care at that point? :) ) I agree with you on a shorter barrel. My CZ 550 in .458 Lott had a 25" barrel. Hunted the first time with this length and when I got home I had a gunsmith take 3" off of it which made a big difference my next time in Zim (by the way this rifle is for sale also).
    I am the same way as far as recoil - do not feel it when hunting. I would suggest a heavy rifle versus the light weights. Helps with recoil and you do not have to worry when it gets banged around in the vehicle.
     
  9. tarawa

    tarawa AH Veteran

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    When the Remington Model 798 rifles dropped below $500.00. I picked one up instead of the CZ 550 that I was originally leaning towards. It is a European made Mauser. I was quite pleased with it when it arrived. At the price i paid, there is plenty of room for a good scope and rings. It does have controlled feed.
    My second and much more expensive choice would be a Ruger M77 MKII Safari Grade in 375 H&H. Not real fond of the newer versions with laminate stocks and matte finish. Aesthetics I guess? I prefer a classic rifle.
    I think that all the guns mentioned would be a great choice.
     
  10. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Well thanks to tarawa, I've got a Winchester Safari Express in .375 H&H being shipped to me next week. This is just the beginning of a journey back to Africa for Cape Buffalo. I plan to spend plenty of time at the range putting a couple hundred shots through it making sure the rifle has no flaws from the factory. Time to head off to Cabelas for some reloading components!
     
  11. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Phil,

    CONGRATULATIONS !!!! great to know that you are procuring the Forever Classic Caliber & a Classic Winchester Safari Express, do post the photos once you have it with you .......
    Happy Hunting , may you bag record trophies during your Safaris to AFRICA ....

    Monish
     
  12. ibie

    ibie AH Veteran

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    I just shot 2 buffalo,a eland,kudu and black wildebeest with a 308 rifle they all died with 1 shot
    so i trust a 308 it does the job
     
  13. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    So what country did you kill the buffalo in with your .308? As far as I knew the legal minimum for buffalo was .375. I'd wonder about the PH that allowed you to do this. I'm not saying it can't be done, but I know I wouldn't want to try it.
     
  14. MarineHawk

    MarineHawk AH Senior Member

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    He probably used a Ninja chop to disable the buff before he shot it with the .308.
     
  15. AfricaHunting.com

    AfricaHunting.com FOUNDER AH Ambassador

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    PHOENIX PHIL, a great point to raise. I don't know where ibie is from though a country like South Africa would allow you to take a Buffalo with a caliber smaller than a .375.

    Here is a bit of information on the minimum equipment requirements for rifle hunting in South Africa:
    • Most provinces do not have a minimum equipment requirement for rifle hunting and rely on common sense.
    • Some provinces require a minimum of .375 caliber for dangerous or big game hunting.
    • No provinces require a minimum energy (Eo - muzzle velocity) for calibers used.


    Some official information taken directly from their respective ministry in South Africa:

    NATIONAL NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR THE REGULATION OF THE HUNTING INDUSTRY IN SOUTH AFRICA
    Compulsory conditions subject which hunting authorisations and permits must be issued
    All provincial hunting authorisations and national hunting permits authorizing the hunting of a listed animal must, in addition to any other conditions the issuing authority may or must impose, be issued subject to the following conditions:
    - The animal may not be hunted by means of -
    (vii) a firearm other than a rifle or a handgun specifically designed for hunting purposes.


    SOUTH AFRICA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM
    NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT: BIODIVERSITY ACT, 2004 (ACT 10 OF 2004)

    Prohibited methods of hunting
    26. (1) An issuing authority considering an application for the hunting of a listed threatened or protected species may not authorise the following methods of hunting, unless it is for the management of damage causing animals in accordance with regulation 14:
    (a) Listed threatened or protected species, may not be hunted by means of -
    (vi) a weapon which, after it has been discharged, automatically reloads and fires
    when the trigger thereof is pulled or held in a discharged position;
    (vii) a weapon discharging a rim firing cartridge of .22 of an inch or smaller calibre;
    (viii) shotguns, except for the hunting of birds; and
    (ix) airguns;
     
  16. tarawa

    tarawa AH Veteran

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    Phil,
    Please post pics of your new Winchester when it arrives.
    Tarawa
     
  17. ibie

    ibie AH Veteran

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    O O Pardon me
    Sorry Thats my Mistake i have a 308
    but it was my mistake i ment the
    375 H&H magnum
    I would want to now if thats a good gun or is they better
    Kind regards
    ibie
     
  18. kfrye

    kfrye New Member

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    +1 on the Winchester. I was lucky to pick up one of these in a New Haven Classic Model and fell in love with it. After proper break in, the rifle has potential to be a tackdriver, or rather spike driver. I'm planning to take the 375 and a 338 Win Mag in a Classic Stainless version for a Plains Game Hunt.

    I'm glad I discovered the Model 70 CRF early in life.
     
  19. TerryR

    TerryR AH Veteran

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    You'll love the Winchester, great choice. Make sure that you mount a good scope, I prefer S&B but Leupolds seem to be the most popular choice. Just avoid a cheap scope, you can't hit what you can't see plus the bush is no place to discover that your scope can't handle your rifle's recoil.
     
  20. Rastaman

    Rastaman AH Veteran

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    cut an inch or two off the barrel of that Win model 70 and you will be very pleased with the gun
     

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