Learning to shoot a 375 H&H

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by Bearkat, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. Bearkat

    Bearkat AH Member

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    I know the 375 H&H is on the lower end of the big bores and the rifle I have is on the heavy side (Ruger RSM), but what would be some suggestions on learning to shoot this round? I have only hunted whitetail in the southern US and use a .270 the majority of the time. As a matter of fact, the largest rifle I have ever use is a .30-06. Should I begin with some type of reduced loads and work my way up? I wish to get comfortable enough with the rifle to use it in Africa in 2011 or 2012.
     
  2. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    BearKat,

    Wonderful to know that you are inclined on to take up the EMPEROR of all calibers The famed .375H&H Magnum. A little write on this most versatile caliber might give you some insight about it ...

    The Legendry .375 Holland & Holland Magnum Rifle

    Introduced in 1912 by the British company of Holland & Holland, the .375 caliber soon became one of the deadliest calibers in existence for versatility, reliability, accuracy and stopping power.

    It is possible that the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum formerly know as the Nitro Express is the greatest rifle caliber of all time. Many suggest that it is perhaps too big and too powerful, maybe even a case of overkill, but when you are hunting big game or taking long distance shots then you need all the power and accuracy possible for that clean kill or bulls-eye shot...and the .375 H&H Magnum can deliver both.

    The .375 H&H will drop a deer dead on it feet and not smash up the meat any more than say a .270 or .300 caliber would. Furthermore the .375H&H Magnum has been the undisputed champion for bagging dangerous game right the way up to cape Buffalo and elephant with a single shot kill.

    Be it moose, big bear or elk the .375H&H Magnum can be depended on where other calibers may slacken off to a 2 round kill, the second round being more of a coupe d' grace shot on the downed, stricken and alive game.

    The .375 H&H Magnum delivers a super flat trajectory over and beyond 300 meters when using spitzer type ammunition and delivers a knockout punch like comparing Mike Tyson to a middleweight.
    One of the only draw backs of this caliber was the poor variety of bullet heads for the shooters all favorite pastime of hand loading. This is now changing and changing fast as Nosler, Speer, Hornady, African Grand Slam and even the popular Barnes X- and MRX Bullets are now catering for the .375 H&H magnum, this along with the amount of custom bullets of controlled expansion design has given the kiss of life to this venerable old round.

    A Sierra 300 grain spitzer boat-tail or a 250 grain Grand Slam bullet has been proven to be an ideal and unbeatable round for maximum penetration instant kills on African Antelope, Cape Buffalo and big Elks, and at longer ranges than the more common calibers.

    If hunting dangerous game such as African Lion and Brown bear then of course a controlled expansion round is really the only serious option and the Nosler Partition or the Barnes MRX are fantastic choices.
    The Barnes MRX has a patented Slivex® core that is surrounded by an all copper body. The manufactures say that the dense tungsten based core makes the MRX bullet shorter than their other counterparts and gives increased penetration of the toughest hide even heavy bone.

    The streamlined polymer tip gives a flatter trajectory and enhanced expansion at longer ranges, upon impact the MRX expands into four tough copper petals that double the bullets original diameter creating maximum shock and tissue damage at short or long range. The special multi rings cut into the bullets base offer great accuracy and reduce fouling in the barrel.

    Sierra also offer a couple of bullets that should suit any hunter armed with the .375H&H Magnum.

    Also the .375H&H Magnum needs a good powder to shove that slug up the barrel and two of the most popular powders are IMR-4064 and also H4895 . These powders burn at an excellent rate giving enough combustion and pressure build up to fire the bullet at an optimal velocity.

    Overall the .375 H&H magnum is an excellent choice for the hunter, be it big game, silhouette or long range target shooting. The recoil of this big caliber is one that the shooter of course has to get used to, but all rifle shooters are accustomed to the kick that almost every rifle gives apart from .22, so it should not present to much of a problem for the experienced.


    Monish
     

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  3. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    The .375 isn't a lot of fun off the bench (though much more gentle than a lot of slug loads). Use a sissy bag, lead sled, or something similar to get it where it needs to be, and then spend the rest of your practice time off sticks, sitting, and off hand. I don't find a half a dozen full power loads particularly bad from any of those positions. Use that .270 off the sticks as well (even a .22). You really want that to be second nature when you get to Africa and the .270 teaches that discipline as well as the .375. In particular practice getting off a second aimed shot. I would note that I have never noticed recoil from a .375 in the field.
     
  4. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Well timed thread, I have a Winchester Safari Express in 375 H&H on it's way to me. I went over to Cabelas tonight and picked up a Caldwell Lead Sled which by the way are on sale for $90. I think this would be a good starting place. I don't know what the Ruger has for a recoil pad, I suspect a decelerator, if not, get one.

    If you still have the 30-06, I might would load up some rounds with as heavy a bullet (220 grain?) as you can shoot in that caliber. Work yourself up to it. If you know anyone with a .300 Win Mag, you might ask to shoot it if you can. I hunted with my Tikka T3 Lite (a roughly 6lb rifle) in that caliber last month. With the Limbsaver pad and 180gr bullets, it's not a big deal. In fact I shot this weekend on the range which is of course the worst case for recoil, still not bad.

    You might want to consider one of these too: http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/t...parentType=index&indexId=cat601044&hasJS=true

    Definitely take the time to work up to this, you don't want to develop a subconcious flinch.
     
  5. Bearkat

    Bearkat AH Member

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    Thank you all for the information. As I assume most hunters are, I too do not notice recoil while in a hunting situation. Sitting down to fire a weapon is when you really notice it. Shooting from other positions is a great idea as are the use of the bags, etc. I just don't want to develop a flinch by approaching my shooting the wrong way.
     
  6. Ron Duval

    Ron Duval Guest

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    Load up some light loads for practice and do not spend much time shooting from the bench. I am not a fan of the Lead Sled. Your .375 will not feel bad at all if you practice from field positions (sticks, off-hand, etc.).
     
  7. Bearkat

    Bearkat AH Member

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    Are there any light factory loads available? I have not delved into the world of hand loading.....yet! Moving to a new place this month and I will have plenty of room for some new equipment.
     
  8. Mike70560

    Mike70560 AH Fanatic

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    Truthfully the 375 is a very easy rifle to shoot if:

    Make certain the Length of Pull is reasonably correct. If you are of average height, arm length, and chest size you should be OK. Assuming you are right handed hold the rifle with your right hand like you are going to shoot with your finger on the trigger. With the barrel pointed up place the stock in the crook of your arm. Holding your wrist straight the stock should fit snugly.

    Second have a good recoil pad fitted. You can take care of any LOP issues at that time.

    Shooting off the bench is a necessary evil. I do not use a lead sled, instead a Sinclair rest that is adjusted to the maximum height. When shooting I sit upright leaning slightly in to the rifle just like I am standing. It works well all the way up to my 470 Nitro.

    Use a good scope with plenty of eye relief (Leupold VX III 2.5 by 8) or iron sights.

    Once you are sighted in buy or build a set of three legged shooting sticks and learn to shoot from them.

    The little things like holding the rifle tightly, a good cheek weld, and rolling with the recoil definitely apply for the 375.

    With a little practice a 300 grain bullet at 2500 FPS is a joy to shoot.

    Hope this helps.
     
  9. Bearkat

    Bearkat AH Member

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    Thank you Mike. I am taking my rifle to a smith next week and let him run through the action, trigger, bedding, etc. I will have him check the fit and add a better pad. I like the idea of having a rest so you can sit more upright. I am fairly tall, 6'2", and I always find myself hunched over at a bench with sandbags. Makes for some uncomfortable shooting. The scope you recommend is what I have decided to go with and I am going to make a set of shooting sticks.

    Enjoyed your website as well.
     
  10. MarineHawk

    MarineHawk AH Senior Member

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    I personally wouldn't use light loads. I would gear up with a good shoulder pad (I use a Cabela's one, which I think is a lot like the Past ones). It makes a big difference. First, fire it offhand. Then you'll quickly realize it's not big deal. I was all freaked out when I bought my .340 Wby--thinking that it was going to blow my shoulder off. I started out firing a milder 200gr load. Then, I was thinking "pop in the 250gr loads; it's no big deal."

    Put it on a lead sled (without the lead) at first. Get used to it a bit. Mind over matter. I did this for about 80 rounds with my .375 Wby--sighting in with precision. Then, I started shooting off the bipod or off-hand. Before this, I barely believed the advice that one actually gets used to it. You do. If you focus. After you fire a couple hundred rounds through it, you really will have it down. You'll have "acclimatized" to it. It's a good feeling. Then, when you shoot your .270, you will wonder if it even really went off.
     
  11. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    Marine Hawk,

    I believe you are immensely glad with your 375 Weatherby . fantastic caliber & a classic rifle . Did you take any game with your new 375 ????

    Monish
     
  12. MarineHawk

    MarineHawk AH Senior Member

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    First hunt with it will be for Brown Bear and smaller game starting on Sept. 6 in SW AK.
     
  13. monish

    monish AH Elite

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    May you bag a record class bear trophy & other game on your hunt list ....

    Happy Hunting !!!

    Monish
     
  14. browningbbr

    browningbbr AH Enthusiast

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    Bearkat,

    I have the same Ruger rifle in .416 Rigby and have already done some of the things that have been suggested in previous posts. (Better recoil pad, sight in with sled, practice off-hand, practice with sticks, keep it tight to your shoulder, etc.)

    Just to let you know, the suggestions that the other AH Members are putting out there are good ones and will work for for you as they did for me. I'm now very comfortable shooting the rifle with 400gn, 2400 fps loads.

    One more suggestion: When you take the rifle to the gunsmith, also have him take a look at the ejector blade for spring tension and free-travel. Some (not all) Ruger 77's have a little bit of a problem the blade being sticky or coming up slow. The issue only shows up when the bolt is pulled back quickly. One of my two 77's exhibited the problem. I've also read about it being a problem for others. You don't want to find out about it when hunting DG!

    Good luck. Have fun!

    - browningbbr
     
  15. MarineHawk

    MarineHawk AH Senior Member

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    Thanks Monish.
     
  16. kfrye

    kfrye New Member

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    Great advice

    I became acclimated with my M70 Safari 375 H&H in the same manner- starting with the 200 grain plinker loads for break in and working up to the middle of the road 270 grain charges. Even off a bench, the recoil is very tolerable. In fact, it is a pleasure to shoot. I can imagine that full house 300 grain loads could grab your attention real fast, but not be anything that couldn't be handled.
     
  17. DUGABOY1

    DUGABOY1 CONTRIBUTOR AH Enthusiast

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    Monish is right on target with the prince of rifle chamberings for the world!

    The old 1912 375 H&H is one of the mysteries of the ballistics world. It is the only chambering, I’m aware of, that just seems to do everything right. The chambering is very versatile for everything from whitetail deer to elephant with proper loads and conditions. The 375 H&H rifle seems to be able to print most bullet weights in the same group, so that one can carry heavy solids and softs of the same weight for the big boys, and carry a few rounds with light bullets for smaller game like Dik Dik, or clipspringer if one chooses.

    However, there really is no need for anything but the 300 gr softs, and solids for everything. That is what I do with my 375 H&H rifles, and in fact all my rifles of any chambering. I use only the heaviest bullet available for whatever caliber I use and use it for everything I hunt with that chambering. This way there is not guessing as to which cartridge you are using at any given time for a long shot. Not only that but you become used to the recoil and never notice it in the field, and even on the bench after some use. There is an old saying that I find to be very true ; ie “Beware the man who has only one rifle, and uses only one load, for he likely knows how to use it!”

    As recommended by many , get off that bench as soon as you are sighted in, and do your practice stump shooting. Walk through the woods, or open hills, and shoot at targets of opportunity of unknown range. Things like rocks the size of the vital zone on what you intend hunting. A cape buffalo is easy for a half blind man to hit, but that 8 –10 inch kills zone is another matter. This stump shooting will teach you to judge the hold over for the range you are shooting in the field. I recommend a slightly different schedule for learning the rifle. The sticks come later, because you need to be able to shoot the rifle off hand, standing, sitting, or kneeling with no rest other than your own body. Shooting walked up running jackrabbits, teaches instinctive shooting where leading a running animal is the target.

    With these rabbit targets you don’t have to hit them, but as long as you hit very close, and hit one out of ten running jacks out to 100 yards, you will never miss the kill zone on a Buffalo or lion. Once you get to hitting most of the stump shooting targets, then start with the sticks, and resting your forearm against a tree trunk without letting the rifle touch anything but your hands, face and shoulder. By this time you will be deadly with this rifle on what ever you hunt with it. Let me say right here that I DO NOT recommend the use of a lead sled for any rifle, but especially a rifle that has a two pieces stock, like a double rifle.

    On the rifle it’s self, you need to practice shooting a full magazine without taking the rifle down from your shoulder, then re-load the magazine while walking without taking your eyes of the target you just shot at. This does two things. # 1 is: once you fire on a dangerous animal you never take your eyes off him, and # 2 is: you need to know that the rifle operates properly from the round in the chamber to the last round in the magazine. This is also because once you fire on an animal that doesn’t go straight down you don’t stop shooting till he is down or out of sight, and if you run dry, you need to re-load the magazine without having to look at the rifle. Practicing these things teaches muscle memory, so the subconscious takes over in the field when you need every advantage you can get to stay alive, and finish the job at hand.

    The 375H&H is not a heavy kicker, even with the 300 gr loads for DGR shooting. I find things like the hot 300 magnums in their lighter rifle to have a very sharp recoil that hurts much worse, and the 375H&H is easier to learn to shoot well than most of those .300, or .338 chamberings! The 375H&H is a rifle that is legal for the big five in all but a couple of places for Buffalo, and elephant. It is minimum in all but a couple countries for any of the top four Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, and elephant. The Leopard is the exception where much smaller chamberings are allowed. The 375 H&H is a better choice for the leopard anyway IMO. No matter if you ammo makes it to camp with your rifle tha ammo for a 375 H&H is almost surely to be in just about every camp you get to, and is available over the counter in about every country where hunting of big game is legal.

    One rifle for the world will always be chambered for the old 1912 375 H&H !
     
  18. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    The .375 H&H is, in my opinion, a pussy cat to shoot. My wife often claims that I am insensitive, and perhaps, that has something to do with it, but I think that anyone with a good deal of shooting experience can quickly learn to handle this cartridge in a rifle with a stock that fits them fairly well. I have never understood the need for light poofter loads in this cartridge as I just do not think it is that bad in a rifle of normal weight. Mind you there are a lot of shooters out there who can't handle much in the way of recoil because they simply do not shoot enough of anything to get use to recoil and they think everyday cartridge like the .30-06 and the common everyday 12 gauge are at their limits.

    My current .375 H&H has a 23 inch barrel and a nice McMillan synthetic stock, weighs about 7 pounds loaded, with just the iron sights. It is a pleasure to pack and shoot. I do not get to hammer big stuff with it very often when I am guiding, perhaps 3 to 4 times a year on average...........so I take it and use it on some of my personal hunts where it most certainly is not needed, but I pack it just because. When I point it at things, they go down.

    The .375 H&H is truly one of those few cartridges that is the right blend of bullet weight, caliber, velocity and inherent manageability...........a cartridge that is capable of great things in the hands of individuals who know it and shoot it with accuracy and confidence.
     
  19. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    After having shot my .375H&H yesterday for the first time, I'm in agreement here. I was only shooting 260gr bullets, but I also shot my 300 Win with 180gr yesterday just to have a direct comparison. It's a bit of an apples to oranges comparsion because my Tikka only weighs about 6 1/2 lbs, perhaps 7 1/2 with the scope. But, it is a much sharper crack to the shoulder whereas the .375 feels much like a sudden shove.

    After 20 rounds yesterday, my shoulder is feeling it a bit, albeit I touched off quite a few of the .300 Win's. But I don't have a shoulder that looks like ground up raspberries either.
     
  20. Big5

    Big5 AH Enthusiast

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    Although his wife would likely accuse me of insensitity as well I must agree with 'Skyline' as I too feel the .375 H&H is a quite tame round. There also must be a lot of folks who agree with us for the .375 H&H has remained an extremely popular sporting round for nearly 100 years now. Surely if the recoil was deemed to be excessive it would have long ago been sidelined as a ‘specialty use’ cartridge rather than enjoying a near century long reputation for a wide range of use.

    I must also add that from the time of it introduction the vast majority of rifles chambered for this cartridge were manufactured without an ear shattering muzzle brake device and they were not shot while cradled in a lead sled. I believe it’s a lack of shooting experience that leads many people to just psych themselves out about recoil.
     

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