Help me decide on my first DG rifle

Which rifle should I get?

  • Ruger M77 Hawkeye African - 416 Ruger

    Votes: 4 7.1%
  • Ruger M77 Hawkeye African - 375 Ruger

    Votes: 8 14.3%
  • Winchester M70 Safari Express - 375 H&H

    Votes: 30 53.6%
  • Winchester M70 Safari Express - 416 REM

    Votes: 5 8.9%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 9 16.1%

  • Total voters
    56
  • Poll closed .

700xcr

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I have the 375 Ruger Guide Gun. I worked up 2 loads that are accurate.
Load #1: 78.5grs. of RE17 behind a Nosler 300gr. Accubond with WLRM primer seated 3.385" OAL. I get 1/2" 3-shot group at 100yds. Average chronographed averaged velocity was 2590fps.
Load #2: 73.0grs. RE17 behind a Woodleigh 350gr. PP with WLRM primer seated 3.385" OAL. I get an 1" 3-shot group at 100yds. Averaged Chronographed average velocity was 2391fps.
The 350gr. PP in printing 2" lower POA at 100yds. Going to sight in 300gr. Accubonds dead on at 200yds. and the 350gr. PP should be right around 100yd. zero. I will use the 300gr. Accubonds for then skinned game and the 350gr. PP for game that charges or bites back.
 

brushmore

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Thanks everyone for the input. I ended up placing an order for a M70 in 375 H&H. Now comes the hard part of waiting for it to come in!

I'm also getting ready to put done a deposit for a trip back to Africa in 2017. I think this addiction is getting serious now....
 

rookhawk

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Why not buy a pre-64 375 HH instead? They go for $2300-$3000 and they are better built and they appreciate in value?

A new one goes down in value, an old one does not.
 

shuter

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Why not buy a pre-64 375 HH instead? They go for $2300-$3000 and they are better built and they appreciate in value?

A new one goes down in value, an old one does not.
Because a new, South Carolina Model 70 costs half that amount, and it's highly debatable that the old rifles were "better built". In fact, one could argue that these current Model 70s are the best ever (if we take emotion out of the equation). And what about the issue of obtaining parts and service should the need arise? Then there's the issue of finding the right rifle in the right caliber in the pre-64 marketplace. I've owned 2 nice pre-64s and now a new Model 70 Safari Express in .375 H&H, and there's no question in my mind the OP has made the right call.
 

sierraone

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Shuter, I agree with you 100%. With the new model 70s, the pre 64s are way overpriced. I questioned their value even before FN took over production, now I have no doubts. Unless you are a collector of pre- 64s, stay away unless you want a type and caliber that is not available through current production.
 

Panielsen

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I have owned the Ruger Hawkeye African in .375 Ruger for several years now, and love it! Loading for it is easy, and the rifle handles nicely. In fact, I'm taking it to kill coyotes and other pests on the ranch this weekend. I must say though, that my first Buff hunt is fast approaching, and have ordered a Winchester Model 70 in .458 for the Buff. Like another post on this thread, the .375 is a gateway drug! While I love the .375, I read Capstick, Hemingway, and Ruark and find that lure if the big bore is not to be ignored! I chose the Winchester as my father has an alaskan and the action was nice and buttery. The CZ is a fine rifle, and nearly bought one, but the actions were not as smooth as the Winchester on the rifles I was allowed to fondle. I will tell you all more about it in about a month, when Winchester finally finishes building it, and I get to run some rounds through it. I would say if I had to do it over, I would go with the Winchester in .458. Great Buffalo and bear medicine I should think, and your already set up for Elephant should you win the lottery!
 

8x68

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Find a BRNO 375 H&H with the ZKK602 action! Barrel band..............and a super reliable rifle............

I guess I am saying my vote for today, is CZ! With my experiences, one of the best value rifles in this class!
Got one. BRNO ZKK 602 375H&H. Great rifle!
 

Warbird782

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@brushmore thank you for this post. I have had the same questions regarding buying a new DG rifle. I am still unsure which way that I want to go.
 

8x68

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If you are able to some places have demo rifles that you can try out, or if you have and real good "buddies" that will let you shoot their "babies" (well not babies per say but you know what I mean. Gotta be careful what one says nowdays!)
 

Geoclarkclark

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My choice has been the Ruger Hawkeye African, in .375 Ruger. I have restocked mine with a McMillan McWoody stock, which looks and handles great. I have used mine on Asian Water Buffalo and African Lion, with great results. I handload for mine, using Barnes TSX 270 gr. and TTSX 250 gr. bullets. With the TTSX, the .375 Ruger also doubles as a fine longer-range caliber for plains game. Mine has been used to take black Wildebeest, Springbok, Sable, and here in the US, a Nilgai bull- all of these were at ranges from 200 to 275 yards.
I really like the Ruger design- integral scope base, three position safety, CRF action, etc.
 

brushmore

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Just picked up the Winchester today. It's much nicer than I expected and it fits me perfectly. Thanks everyone for the suggestion, this is a really nice rifle! Tomorrow is the only day in the next 6 days with no rain predicted so hopefully I get a chance to go and try it out at the range!


winchester.jpg
 

Royal27

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Congratulations!

.458 Lott is next!
 

8x68

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Nice looking piece! Don't forget to break it in properly if that appeals to you.
 

CTDolan

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Wally Johnson staked his life on an extremely heavily used Winchester in 375 H&H. For him, it was THE rifle, no question (the only time he was forced to part with it, that I know of, is when the piece spent some time living in the bottom of a river, after having been lost due to an overturned dugout canoe...the rifle was eventually found and delivered to his camp, and put right back in service!). Granted, Wally's 375 pre-dates even the pre-64 M70, but the salient features remain the same and, as has been eluded to elsewhere, what Winchester is turning out today just may be the best yet.
 
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Panielsen

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Beautiful Winchester! Can't wait to read the range report! Mine should be here in a couple of weeks, so I will definitely be watching for your report! Congrats!
 

brushmore

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Beautiful Winchester! Can't wait to read the range report! Mine should be here in a couple of weeks, so I will definitely be watching for your report! Congrats!

I did take it to the range last week. I only had limited amount of time so the plan was that my son and I would shoot just a few shots to get an idea of what it was like. This was the first time either one of shot a magnum rifle. The recoil wasn't not as bad as I expected. Because of the recoil pad the impact to my shoulder was negligible. But the big push back is certainly there. I was using Trigger Sticks and on more than one shot they ended up collapsing.

For this session I was using the iron sights (a Leupold VX-3 1.5-5 is on my shopping list). My first shots were with PPU ammo and nothing special with the grouping at 25 yards. I figured it was because I haven't used iron sights in awhile but I tried some Hornady GMX and the three shots all made one whole. The next session I will try shooting it from the bench so I can adjust the sights and get an idea of the insert accuracy but if I can do that with a lousy set of sticks I don't think this rifle will have any accuracy issues.

The only problem was when it came time to clean it. Even though we only fired 13 shots the rifle lands looked as if they were made of solid copper! (Maybe I should have done a proper break in?) Hoppee's Bench Rest soaking overnight several times seemed to be the best at cleaning it.

I completely understand why the M70 is called the rifleman's rifle. It's kind of hard to express it in words but it just feels right. This is my new favorite rifle!
 

robertq

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Winchester 70 Safari Express 375 h&h
I went to the S.A.A.M shooting school in Texas for Dangerous Game.
They have Ruger Hawkeye in 375 h&h, I found the actions very sloppy and not very smooth.
 

Nic7-300wsm

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Hi Brushmore
Sorry I missed the cut of date for you vote, but still my opinion. there is nothing you can not shoot and kill with the .375. From elephant to hares.... When travelling to different African countries, there is always the possibility of loosing your ammo box or somebody mistakenly miss placed it at the airport and you arrive at your final destination firing on all cylinders just to be informed that you have whatever make, brand or model rifle without any ammo. If your rifle then happens to be a .375 H&H, just drive into the nearest town, find a gunshop, bar (locals and local PH's hang there) or department of wildlife of some sort, and you will find some good Samaritan with spare .375 H&H ammo. It is probably the most commonly used large rifle in Africa (same as Toyota Land Cruiser SUV).
As mentioned by other members, this will only be the start of many more "big guns". There is no such thing as an "all-rounder"! This term is reserved for those who cant fool their wives into believing that they have bought that next gun "years ago for a steal from a friend's friend who's wife had a baby and they needed the money for milk because they can not sell the car because the dog was sick and...."
Every game animal deserves a caliber suited only for the purpose of hunting that specific animal in a specific environment. You may actually need 3 different models of the same caliber depending on region, altitude and prevailing weather conditions....the lengths we will go to justify a new gun!!!
 

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