Favorite Rifles Above .308 Caliber

ldmay375

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Realizing and acknowledging that there many factors / experiences that can influence one’s likes. I have been pondering the rifles that I like the most for actual use.
I normally hunt in a wet environment, so this has considerably influence on my choices. My hunting is usually specifically moose in rather dense foliage areas. I think these cartridges would cover anything from deer size through large bears and bovines.
These are my favorites for the day:

416 Ruger, stainless Ruger rifle 20” barrel, aftermarket trigger and fiberglass stock, 1-6.3x24 scope

375 Ruger, stainless Ruger rifle with 20” barrel, aftermarket trigger and fiberglass stock, presently a 1.1-4x24 scope. This scope is subject to change, but has worked well for several years.

375 Ruger, stainless Ruger with aftermarket 23.5” barrel, aftermarket trigger and fiberglass stock, 1.5-8x42 scope.

338 Winchester, Ruger stainless rifle, aftermarket trigger and fiberglass stock, 1.5-6x42 scope. This scope is also subject to change. Though it has also worked well for years. Probably either a 1.5-8x42 or 1.7-10x42 will take its place.

325 WSM, Kimber Montana, 1.7-10x42 scope.
 

gesch

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Interesting question. I don’t have any big bore rifles. The biggest is my Ruger 300 Winchester Magnum M77. I really enjoy it. I thought the recoil would bother me. It doesn’t. I think the volume of the rifle had me freaked. I would like to try a 375 H and H to see if I could handle it. I am confident I could. I believe shooting 12 gauge slug guns can be a similar recoil. Thanks for this question.
 

USMA84DAB

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Idmay375 -

I am about to head out for Bambi hunting with my original run .375 Ruger Alaskan with 20" barrel, NO MUZZLE BRAKE, and Leupold VX-5HD 1-5x24.

It has a twin being fielded - .416 Ruger.

The .495 A-Square is under construction.

The .35 WAIs are laying about in the stable.
 

MS 9x56

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It definitely is an interesting question. In your context of moose in a brushy timbered wet environment I could choose from my Marlin 336 in 35 rem, my 35 Whelen in a rem 750, a 358 win in a BLR, or if bears are a possibility my CZ 550 FS in 9.3x62. I do believe any 35 caliber would suffice at close quarters. Decisions, decisions. Keeps life interesting. Happy hunting.
 

WAB

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9.3x62 seems like a natural for what you describe. It’s not just the caliber but the rifle it is chambered in that needs to be considered. My 9.3 is lighter and quicker than my .375. Both calibers would work but the 9.3 would handle better.
 

mdwest

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If I need more than 308... most of the time I’m going to reach for my 375 HH
 

AZDAVE

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As a primarily big bore guy that is a very interesting question. Using your requirements of North American game ie- Moose and Bears and not African DG

On the little rifles (30cal and smaller) The 300 H&H would be my choice.

On the mid bore (8mm-375) 9.3x62 or 375H&H in a bolt gun, and 9.3x74 or 8x57JRS in a double

On big bore (40cal and up) 400 Whelen or 416 (Pick a flavor) in a bolt gun. 45/70 in a lever gun. 405 WIN or 450/400 in a double.
 

ldmay375

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gesch,
Don’t be surprised if you discover that you enjoy shooting the 375 H&H more than the 300 Winchester.

Interesting question. I don’t have any big bore rifles. The biggest is my Ruger 300 Winchester Magnum M77. I really enjoy it. I thought the recoil would bother me. It doesn’t. I think the volume of the rifle had me freaked. I would like to try a 375 H and H to see if I could handle it. I am confident I could. I believe shooting 12 gauge slug guns can be a similar recoil. Thanks for this question.
 

ldmay375

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USMA84DAB,
I can appreciate a man using enough gun!
Very little that I would not use my 375 or 416 on. I like the rifles. My Rugers are the Alaskan versions also, without the muzzle brakes.
I have one of the Leupold Vx5 HD 1-5x24 scopes on another rifle. I have not sighted it in yet, but seems like a good scope.
Idmay375 -

I am about to head out for Bambi hunting with my original run .375 Ruger Alaskan with 20" barrel, NO MUZZLE BRAKE, and Leupold VX-5HD 1-5x24.

It has a twin being fielded - .416 Ruger.

The .495 A-Square is under construction.

The .35 WAIs are laying about in the stable.
 

ldmay375

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WAB,
The 9.3x62 is certainly a great round. And certainly would work admirably.

I agree regarding the rifle.
Within reason of course, I consider the rifle and scope as important as the cartridge choice.
I am a big fan of the 8mm through 458 cartridges. I have the infamous “overlap” in this cartridge range.

I do not own but have always considered the 9.3x62 and 9.3x66 / 370 Sako very interesting rounds. I was sad to see the Sako 370 did not achieve more popularity in the states.

As to handling / rifle feel, I suppose I am fairly adaptable. Though not the lightest, even with the fiberglass stocks, the 20” barrel 375 and 416 Rugers feel good to me.
I am sure the familiarity with these rifles has much to do with this.

9.3x62 seems like a natural for what you describe. It’s not just the caliber but the rifle it is chambered in that needs to be considered. My 9.3 is lighter and quicker than my .375. Both calibers would work but the 9.3 would handle better.
 

ldmay375

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Professor Mawla,
I would say that with your choices, you cover everything from smaller to very large game quite well.


Here are my personal favorites -
1 ) .338 Winchester Magnum ( a pre 64 Winchester Model 70 )
2 ) .458 Winchester Magnum ( my custom Enfield Model 1917 action rifle )
3 ) .505 Gibbs ( a custom piece , built by Reimer Johansson on a Waffen Prechtl Magnum Mauser action )
 

ldmay375

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mdwest,
Seldom is the 375 H&H not a good choice. Particularly with today’s powder and bullets, it is more flexible than ever.
The past several years, I have used the 375 Ruger more than the H&H. Performance wise they are both 2 peas in the same pod. My Ruger 338 Winchester is probably the cause. A 375 and 416 in nearly identical rifles nudged me to the Ruger cartridges.


If I need more than 308... most of the time I’m going to reach for my 375 HH
 

ldmay375

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AZDAVE,
The moose / bear scenario just happens to be my particular situation. I am also interested in what folks consider their favorites, regardless of location and game hunted.
AZDAVE, I guess I consider myself a heavier medium bore guy. Other than appreciation for capabilities of the larger, i top out at the 458 Lott. And for my uses, my upper preference is the 416’s in the Ruger or Remington cartridges.

.30 caliber and smaller preference, if I find a use for again would probably be either a M70 Winchester 7mm WSM or 300 WSM in the same rifle, or a 7mm Remington magnum that is set up the same as my other Rugers.

The 45-70, I am still a fan with heavier hard cast or monolithic bullets. I have a Marlin in stainless that I had the barrel cut to 20” and some other work done on. I recently and reluctantly mounted a scope on it. I am adjusting to that addition. But, the scope may put it back into at least limited use.
As a primarily big bore guy that is a very interesting question. Using your requirements of North American game ie- Moose and Bears and not African DG

On the little rifles (30cal and smaller) The 300 H&H would be my choice.

On the mid bore (8mm-375) 9.3x62 or 375H&H in a bolt gun, and 9.3x74 or 8x57JRS in a double

On big bore (40cal and up) 400 Whelen or 416 (Pick a flavor) in a bolt gun. 45/70 in a lever gun. 405 WIN or 450/400 in a double.
 

buffybr

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Other than my .45 caliber, .50 cal., and .54 cal. muzzleloaders, the only centerfire rifle that I have that is over .308 caliber is my .375 RUM.

I only used my .375 RUM on two African hunts where I shot a variety of critters from a couple of Steenboks to a Cape Buffalo. It worked great on everything that I shot with it, and it even made a one shot kill at 348 yards on my best Gemsbok.

But unless I decide to go after an Australian Water Buffalo or one of the big Alaskan coastal Brown Bears my .375 RUM will just retire as a Safe Queen. I don't know of any other North American animals that my .300 Weatherby can't easily handle.
 

ldmay375

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Being a 375 guy also. The 375 RUM has always intrigued me. I would still be Very tempted to purchase a stainless M70 New Haven Classic, IF I ever see another.
The 300 WBY, is a definite performer. I have one in a M70 stainless classic. I bought it used, put a take-off B&C stock, one piece bottom metal, mounted a scope, and still have not fired it. That cartridge pretty much covers North American game.
I have a buddy that loved his for anything in Alaska.
 

krish

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My favorite is 340 why with 275gr swiftaframe. For emergency back up couple of rounds of 275 gr speer African grand
Slam tungsten solid.
Second favorite is 375 wby with 350gr barnes Tsx.
How ever I do have several Big bores from 404 jeffery, 416 Rigby, several458's in Ruger Rsm and Ruger, cz. Then it goes to 505 gibbs and 500 jeffery.
Mostly I use my 340 for everything. It has done all I need in the us.
 

CBH Australia

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If we are going bigger than .30calibre or .308 diameter then all I have is a .375H&H, I might happy with that.

Bigger than .308, the old ..303 at .311” were very common in Australia once and probably tested on almost any animal we have .

I have it on good Authority that’s the .35 Whelen punches above its weight without going to a magnum. But maybe I could get Bob and Bruce arguing over the .35Whelen vs the 9.3x62 hmm,

:Cigar::A Stirring::A Popcorn:
 

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