Don Heath's 'All Round Rifle'

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Nkawu, Aug 13, 2018.

  1. Nkawu

    Nkawu AH Veteran

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    I recently read and re-read the article by Don Health entitled The "All Round Rifle" And Other Slippery Shibboleths'

    In the article, Don discusses his requirements for the one rifle to do it all in Africa, which are briefly outlined below:

    • The rifle must be able to drive a bullet through to an elephant brain from any angle;
    • The rifle must be accurate enough and flat shooting enough for use on plainsgame under local prevailing conditions;
    • The rifle must be easy to shoot and absolutely reliable;
    • A selection of bullet types must be available that are suitable for taking all size classes of game from dik dik to elephant efficiently;
    • The cartridge chosen must be easy to reload, and economical to practice with;
    • The scope should have a setting of 2x or below for use on dangerous game;
    • The ammunition should not be so bulky as to preclude easily carrying 20 or 30 rounds;
    • The rifle design should facilitate rapid follow up shots.

    In terms of cartridges he concluded that the 375 H&H was too long, the 9.3x62 was just adequate in power, and that the 376 Steyr was anaemic. He did write that if the 376 Steyr had been designed to fit a standard 30-06 length action instead of a short action it would have been 'the ultimate general purpose cartridge for Africa.

    This brings me to the 375 Ruger. Is this the cartridge Don Heath had envisioned? Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2018
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  2. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog AH Veteran

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    416 Rem Mag would fit the above criteria, especially throwing a 350gr mono bullet out at speeds close to 2600 fps.

    * Big enough for ele
    * Flat shooting for plains game
    * Cartridges are physically smaller than 416 Rigby and less powder is needed to achieve the same velocity.
    * Ammo and reloading components are readily available everywhere (unlike the Ruger offerings).
    * Readily available in production rifles from many different manufacturers (Winchester, CZ, Montana, Blaser, Kimber, etc.)
     
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  3. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    I've always said that the 375 Ruger is the finest cartridge to appear on the scene since the 338 Win Mag (itself the finest since the 270 Winchester...itself the finest since the 30-06, which just so happens to be the best of them all).
     

  4. crs

    crs AH Fanatic

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    CT, I love your logic.
     
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  5. JPbowhunter

    JPbowhunter AH Fanatic

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    So did don heath end up naming a calibre or was it left open?
     

  6. Aaron Nietfeld

    Aaron Nietfeld AH Fanatic

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    Looks like the old H&H was the closest he could come up with from the below quote.

    "At this stage of cartridge development the title must stay with the .375 H&H. It is not the magical round that Taylor made it out to be, but it does everything adequately."
     

  7. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Pretty close to magic - particularly with modern bullets.
     
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  8. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hell Ya! (y)
     
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  9. CTDolan

    CTDolan AH Elite

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    Thank you, sir. I call it as I see it.
     
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  10. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    So far I have shot a springbuck, impala, white blesbock, golden wildebeest and a hippo with the 375 H&H. All one shot kills.
     

  11. Firebird

    Firebird AH Veteran

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    I confess to being a huge fan of the .30-06 but I would throw the .375 weatherby into the ring. A little more energy than the .375 h&h but can shoot that ammo ina pinch-both my -06 and my .375 are Winchester Model 70. Hope to use the .375 in Africa in a couple uears
     
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  12. Russ-F

    Russ-F BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Senior Member

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    Quote "In terms of cartridges he concluded that the 375 H&H was too long".

    Within the context being considered - to rule out a cartridge because it's a few tenths of an inch longer than another seems rather odd.
     
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  13. Nkawu

    Nkawu AH Veteran

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    My guess concerning his reasoning is that he would have preferred a non-magnum length action (lighter, faster and handier). I believe he was a huge fan of the 9.3x62.
     

  14. JPbowhunter

    JPbowhunter AH Fanatic

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    I saw a video of him talking about a lion that was shot with a 416 and a 9.3 and he did make comment about how much more appropriate the 9.3 was for them.

    To me it makes plenty of sense, lions dont seem to have the mass for those cannon cartridges to expand properly. I haven't shot a lion but I've seen guys in aus shoot a fallow yearling behind the shoulder with 338wm's for example and they comment on how tough fallow are because it ran 100m. You look at the wound and it's clearly pencilled through both sides and not released anywhere near enough energy. Horses for courses type thing.
     
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  15. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I ussing .375H&H and 9,3 x 62.
    I think that Don Heath is right.
     
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  16. Russ-F

    Russ-F BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Senior Member

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    That could well have been his thinking but I wonder if saving 2 or 3 ounces on action weigh is so critical for such rifles that it would affect the cartridge choice especially when there's opportunity to save more weight in other parts of the rifle (if required - which it often isn't)? It's not like its going to be an ultra-lightweight mountain rifle.

    As regards 'handiness' when 14" of butt stock & 22 or so inches of barrel are considered 3/8" less on the action length isn't a great saving. The Win Model 70 action for instance seems handy enough.

    Speed of operation due to a shorter bolt throw appears to be the only tangible benefit inherent in a shorter action but as the author was considering an 'all round' rifle speed is unlikely to be a consideration most of the time whereas the cartridge used affects every shot - hence my thought that it was odd that cartridge choice was affected by such a illusory or marginal considerations.

    We all have our foibles though - in the authors shoes I'd be very tempted to go for the 9.3x62 because it can fit in the superb BRNO ZG47 action, which I have a very soft spot for (having got one in 7x57). Logically I couldn't defend picking a certain cartridge just so I can use a particular action (when there are so many actions to choose from) - but in the end this sport is one of the heart isn't it?
     
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  17. Alexandro Faria

    Alexandro Faria AH Veteran

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    Man after my own heart.
     

  18. bpcr

    bpcr AH Senior Member

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    I just don't know if one rifle would do you in Africa. I feel if plains game is on the order a 3006 would be fine. However if I was going after the dangerous stuff I would take a 500 NE double for the simple fact that you could be charged by any animal from any direction and it don't necessarily have to be one that you have wounded it could be somebody else's. It may not be wounded at all except just pissed off because you're in his neighborhood. You could only have twelve feet or less to stop him.A bigger rifle could be way better to have.
    Just sayin.
     
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  19. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    I just knew that was coming!
     
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  20. Tom Hawk

    Tom Hawk AH Enthusiast

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    What makes this so unsurprising, what exactly what?
     
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