Experiences with Ruger .375 Alaskan?

Tony Parisi

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I've been mulling over the purchase of a .375 Ruger "Alaskan." The one I'm considering has a laminated stock rather than the Hogue stock, 20" barrel, barrel band, express sights. Apparently, these have been discontinued by Ruger. From time-to-time I see these rifles for sale and was wondering if any members have any experience with them. I've hunted Alaska twice and plan on going back at some point. It seems to me the stainless gun in the laminated stock would be a good choice. Not very expensive, actually kind of an all-around sport utility gun for any wet, marine environment. Any thoughts? shooting impressions? Accuracy? Also wondering about velocity loss from that stubby 20" barrel. Let me hear the good, bad and ugly! :) Thanks to all!
 

375 Ruger Fan

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You are right, they discontinued the laminated sporter style stock. The 23 inch barrel in stainless was even harder to find, but I found one online and bought it in 2012. Took it to Alaska in Spring of 2014 for a brown bear hunt and had 10 days of sunshine so can't comment on how it handled wet weather. Recoil is substantial, since it's a relatively light 375. Iron sights shot well at 50 yards and with a Leupold VX3, 1.5-5 scope it makes for a nice, reasonably priced hunting rifle. I've shot a bunch of the Hornady factory ammo, both 270 and 300 gr and some handloads with 300 gr Swift A-Frames. Good enough groups of just over 1 inch at 100 yards, using a Lead Sled.
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ActionBob

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As I understand it, one of the goals for the 375 Ruger cartridge was to equal the performance of a 375 H&H out of a 24" barrel, but to do it with a 20" barrel. The cartridge is a bit "snappier" than the 375 H&H and I believe can achieve about 200 fps more velocity if fired from the same length barrels. For all practical purposes and especially for hunting, they are ballistic twins but the Ruger may have the advantage in a short barrel as it is designed for it.

So why not just buy a Ruger Guide gun? It seems to have everything you're asking about. Lots of discussion and fans of it here on AH.
 

Tony Parisi

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As I understand it, one of the goals for the 375 Ruger cartridge was to equal the performance of a 375 H&H out of a 24" barrel, but to do it with a 20" barrel. The cartridge is a bit "snappier" than the 375 H&H and I believe can achieve about 200 fps more velocity if fired from the same length barrels. For all practical purposes and especially for hunting, they are ballistic twins but the Ruger may have the advantage in a short barrel as it is designed for it.

So why not just buy a Ruger Guide gun? It seems to have everything you're asking about. Lots of discussion and fans of it here on AH.
Well, that's a good point, ActionBob, I suppose I could go with the guide gun, though I'm not wild about mzzle brakes. Perhaps it's removable? Is the guide gun an "improved" Alaskan? If so, what improvements? Don't really understand why they discontinued the Alaskan in the first place. The guide gun looks to be essentially the same gun with a different stock and a muzzle brake. Thoughts anyone?
 

Tony Parisi

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Well, ActionBob, I should have done a bit of research -- I could have answered my own questions. My apologies. It appears Ruger supplies the Guide Gun with three muzzle attachment options: 1) the brake, 2) a muzzle weight (similar to the CR body of the Browning A-bolt) with no brake, and a simple cap to protect the muzzle threads. Adjustable LOP through stock spacers, and a reportedly better trigger than the original Alaskan. Also a bit heavier overall than the Alaskan, a good thing in such a rifle. And best of all it's available in a left-handed model, which is great for me, because, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya from the Princess Bride movie (a modern classic), "I am not right-handed!" :). I'll have to look into this a bit more. Many Thanks! Anyone else, feel free to chime in.
 

ActionBob

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And they do show up used now and then (as all big bores tend to!). There was a used left hander at the newer Cabela's in Woodbury MN some time back. although the new ones are very cheap for what you get. At least if you buy from a dealer who will negotiate. Heck get a set!
 

Tony Parisi

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And they do show up used now and then (as all big bores tend to!). There was a used left hander at the newer Cabela's in Woodbury MN some time back. although the new ones are very cheap for what you get. At least if you buy from a dealer who will negotiate. Heck get a set!
As I parse through AH I see there has been quite a bit written about the guide gun. I think I'm sold. Problem solved. Many thanks!
 

ActionBob

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Only issue I'm aware of is that occasionally, one comes out that does not feed well... If it is just sticky, it will likely resolve itself with a bit of use. And I think it was mostly the .416's that had the issue. However Ruger customer service, in my experience, is second to non on new gun problems. The dealers I normally buy from in person, have had no issues with returns if there is a legit problem. But Ruger themselves will stand by their new guns really well also. I had a Predator that with the included mounts, I could not get on paper at 25 yards. The scope would not adjust far enough... Called and made arrangements to ship it back, explaining my deadline for a hunt in Africa... Got a new gun in time. They scrapped the original.
 

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I've got an idea for you. Why don't you try to find one of the Alaskan models with the 23" barrel. That way you could have it all, stainless, laminate stock, increased velocity and a bit heavier. I see them from time to time for sale. But I don't think that you will find one that operates from the wrong side. Just kidding, my son had the same problem, he settled for a Hawkeye in .375 Ruger. Good luck with whichever one you decide on, they are very nice rifles for the money. Of course if you decide to go with a Guide Gun there is nothing wrong with that choice either.
 

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Hi Tony Parisi,

None of these here-today-gone-tomorrow, "better" .375 cartridges appeal to me (neither does stainless steel for that matter).
However, if a left handed stainless steel rifle in .37 caliber is what you must have, I could see putting up with dodgy ammunition availability and a little more recoil/blast, perhaps a tiny bit more ruined meat and such, from a proprietary cartridge like the Ruger version.
If however you are interested in the Ruger cartridge's potential for higher velocity, you might be amazed at how well you can hit small targets at fairly long range and yet also bag very large / heavy animals at short range with the old H&H.
If you cannot hit something or bag something with the H&H version, buying the "latest & greatest" version from Ruger or any other maker, will not be your salvation.
Plenty of proper / meaningful practice with your rifle will be your salvation.

I really like the looks and handling characteristics of the rifle you are looking at but, the 23" barrel version would be more to my liking than the stubby 20" barrel would be.
Does / did Ruger make it in 9.3x62 by any chance ?
Certainly the old 9.3 is not a super long range cartridge but I can hit real well out to about 300 yards with 286 grain round nose bullets with mine (Mauser), from the shooting sticks.
Here in Alaska, the 9.3x62 is gaining popularity whereas, the .375 Ruger (and .416 Ruger) seems to be sort of just holding on with a small cadre of loyal fans.
Therefore I wonder if things are the same in Africa for the Ruger version's ammunition availability.
I do like the shape / design of rifle itself though.
And if they have discontinued it, that is a shame.

Sometimes this old world has "wretch rules."
If you see something you really like, you had better "wretch out and take it" or, it might not be there tomorrow.

If you ever find yourself in Anchorage, with a little time on your hands, let me know, as I only live a short ways to the Airport and I can pop over to say hello, or get lunch, maybe visit a gun store.

Cheerio,
Velo Dog.
 

Tony Parisi

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Hi Tony Parisi,

None of these here-today-gone-tomorrow, "better" .375 cartridges appeal to me (neither does stainless steel for that matter).
However, if a left handed stainless steel rifle in .37 caliber is what you must have, I could see putting up with dodgy ammunition availability and a little more recoil/blast, perhaps a tiny bit more ruined meat and such, from a proprietary cartridge like the Ruger version.
If however you are interested in the Ruger cartridge's potential for higher velocity, you might be amazed at how well you can hit small targets at fairly long range and yet also bag very large / heavy animals at short range with the old H&H.
If you cannot hit something or bag something with the H&H version, buying the "latest & greatest" version from Ruger or any other maker, will not be your salvation either.
Plenty of proper / meaningful practice with your rifle will be your salvation.

I really like the looks and handling characteristics of the rifle you are looking at but, the 23" barrel version would be more to my liking than the stubby 20" barrel would be.
Does / did Ruger make it in 9.3x62 by any chance ?
Certainly the old 9.3 is not a super long range cartridge but I can hit real well out to about 300 yards with 286 grain round nose bullets with mine (Mauser), from the shooting sticks.
Here in Alaska, the 9.3x62 is gaining popularity whereas, the .375 Ruger (and .416 Ruger) seems to be sort of just holding on with a small cadre of loyal fans.
Therefore I wonder if things are the same in Africa for the Ruger version's ammunition availability.
I do like the shape / design of rifle itself though.
And if they have discontinued it, that is a shame.

Sometimes this old world has "wretch rules."
If you see something you really like, you had better wretch out and take it or, it might not be there tomorrow.

If you ever find yourself in Anchorage, with a little time on your hands, let me know, as I only live a short ways to the Airport and I can pop over to say hello, or get lunch, maybe visit a gun store.

Cheerio,
Velo Dog.
Hi Velo Dog! I see you're a bit of a traditionalist, as am I for the most part. I'm a classic cartridge man myself. I own or have owned rifles chambered in 375 H&H, 300 H&H, 7x57, 7x75R, 6.5x54 MS, etc. I recently sold a friend on the idea of a 9.3x62 in the form of a CZ 550fs as he was looking for a reasonably priced all-around "woods rifle" and he loves it. Frankly, if Ruger offered a similar rifle in a left hand, stainless/laminate .375H&H (or 9.3x62!), that would be wonderful-- Alas, they do not. Besides, as a long-time handloader and wildcatter of sorts, I simply enjoy experimenting with different and sometimes oddball cartridges. I see the Ruger as just another interesting option that fills a particular niche. And the rifles are inexpensive in the scheme of things.

Though I agree that most of the "new" and 'improved" cartridges out there on the market that also tend to be chambered in cookie-cutter rifles with painted on finishes and black plastic stocks seem to exist for the sole purpose of generating sales and to cut production costs, every once in awhile someone comes up with something that does have some merit. Do I think that the .375 Ruger is "better" than the old 375 H&H because it can push a bullet of equal weight 150 fps faster? Of course not, my friend! I know better. It's simply another tool, sort of like a "beater" pickup truck that you might employ for some rough and dirty jobs.

Perhaps I'll take you up on your offer of a visit. Planning to head up your way to see our man Cal Pappas next July. Yes, THAT Cal. I've been getting an education in classic British double rifles! Ciao! :)
 

Tony Parisi

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View attachment 48837 View attachment 48838 I've got an idea for you. Why don't you try to find one of the Alaskan models with the 23" barrel. That way you could have it all, stainless, laminate stock, increased velocity and a bit heavier. I see them from time to time for sale. But I don't think that you will find one that operates from the wrong side. Just kidding, my son had the same problem, he settled for a Hawkeye in .375 Ruger. Good luck with whichever one you decide on, they are very nice rifles for the money. Of course if you decide to go with a Guide Gun there is nothing wrong with that choice either.
Thanks! If I pickup a 20" gun I'll experiment with some different loads and see what I can wring out of it. They're inexpensive enough for what you seem to be getting. I could always just have it rebarreled if the velocity turns out to be lacking. But from what I've read elsewhere, it seems the 20" barrels do well enough.
 

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I have a 416 ruger in the guide gun. It handles very nice I think I'm going to put a straight 6 power leopold scopes on it. It has a muzzle brake on it and from what I understand it is no louder with the brake on then without. I saw a videio on youtube comparing it with the brake on and with the brake off . I don't have it quite set up yet but seems like a pretty nice rifle all around.
 

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It has a muzzle brake on it and from what I understand it is no louder with the brake on then without. I saw a videio on youtube comparing it with the brake on and with the brake off

The video is deceptive. The rifle is no louder at the muzzle with or without the break but at the shooters position it is MUCH MUCH louder with the break fitted. I have fired one shot with my 375 Ruger with the break fitted (in an open paddock) and now have permanent hearing damage (well it hasn't recovered since March). Don't believe the hype and my advice is don't use the break.
 

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The video is deceptive. The rifle is no louder at the muzzle with or without the break but at the shooters position it is MUCH MUCH louder with the break fitted. I have fired one shot with my 375 Ruger with the break fitted (in an open paddock) and now have permanent hearing damage (well it hasn't recovered since March). Don't believe the hype and my advice is don't use the break.
I too fired one shot with the muzzle brake on, although I kept my ear phones on. (And glad that I did) The noise and the shockwave were both noticeably louder and stronger. I took the brake off and I'll never put it back on.
 

larry4831

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The video is deceptive. The rifle is no louder at the muzzle with or without the break but at the shooters position it is MUCH MUCH louder with the break fitted. I have fired one shot with my 375 Ruger with the break fitted (in an open paddock) and now have permanent hearing damage (well it hasn't recovered since March). Don't believe the hype and my advice is don't use the break.
I kind of thought it might be too good to be true
 

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I have the guide gun and fired it on elephant , Nyala, Cape buffalo, lion and warthog without ear protection and I'm fine! Now that being said some ear protection is warranted. So if it's to loud take the break off.
 

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I have the 416 Alaskan and I love it. I have a 416 guide gun and love it. I would buy a 375 alaskan if I found one.
 

ActionBob

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It has a muzzle brake on it and from what I understand it is no louder with the brake on then without.

The video is deceptive. The rifle is no louder at the muzzle with or without the break but at the shooters position it is MUCH MUCH louder with the break fitted. I have fired one shot with my 375 Ruger with the break fitted (in an open paddock) and now have permanent hearing damage (well it hasn't recovered since March). Don't believe the hype and my advice is don't use the break.

I seem to have permanent damage/ringing (since last winter) in my left ear from forgetting my muffs when I had a thick warn hat on over my ears. I did fire that shot under the canopy at our range but the concussion and blow back is terrible as well... Cursed things those brakes! Great little rifle without it though...

And I'm not sure why you'd want a longer barrel in the Alaska bush? Seems the guide gun was made to be an improvement for AK. It is very quick handling. Nice in the African bush as well. With the stock spacers it is ugly to the point of being beautiful in it's utility.
 

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