Don Heath's 'All Round Rifle'

Nkawu

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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?
 
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Desert Dog

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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.)
 

crs

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CT, I love your logic.
 

JPbowhunter

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

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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?

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."
 

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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."
Pretty close to magic - particularly with modern bullets.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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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.
 

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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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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.
 

Nkawu

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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.

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.
 

JPbowhunter

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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.
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.
 

Russ-F

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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.

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?
 

Alexandro Faria

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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


Man after my own heart.
 

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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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