Lightweight 375 Ruger project (I might be crazy)

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by Alaska Luke, Mar 26, 2020.

  1. Alaska Luke

    Alaska Luke AH Member

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    I love to hike so my rifles get carried a lot. With that in mind I sent my 375 Ruger off to a gunsmith to loose weight. So far he's cut the barrel to 16 inches and shaved a bit of metal off both the barrel and the action. He also replaced the safari style sights (they are 3oz) with a lighter Williams front site. I ordered a quick detach peep site I'll install if the scope ever breaks. I'm using a plastic stock that I glass bedded.
    The total weight for this rifle should be 6.8 lbs plus whatever scope I put on it.
    I'll post pictures when it gets back. This is what it did look like.
    20 (2).JPG
    I might be a bit crazy but here's the logic. I handload so I'll load down a bit so that ballistics are basically between a 376 Steyr and a 375 H&H. Recoil should be manageable. In a sense I'm "wasting " cartridge capacity by making a carbine out of a magnum. On the other hand all the alternatives I looked into were either harder to handload (350 Remington Magnum, 376 Steyr) or I'd take a real step down in power (358 Winchester). This project should be about as handy as my 308 Ruger Scout rifle while being a lot better if I chase a grizzly. Even with lighter loads this thing should reach 400 yards IF I use a range finder and my 2-7 scope. My hope is that it will basically be my one "do everything " rifle for big game. Not too heavy for sheep and not too small for brown bear. Anybody else build a "mountain bear gun?"
     
    USMA84DAB, Philip Glass and Mekaniks like this.

  2. Badboymelvin

    Badboymelvin AH Senior Member

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    Hi Alaska Luke,

    I don't think your idea is crazy at all.
    I think you had a specific idea for this rife and you've carried it out. Also, because this is a rifle of your creation, you'll feel a sense of pride and enjoyment when using it which will lead to good, confident shooting.

    Well done.

    The only other thing I think I would say is "I think you're kidding yourself a wee bit!" when you say recoil will be manageable. It will probably be manageable - but not real friendly.
    l'll be honest and say I reckon it's going to back you out from under your beanie!
    But it'll be worth it for the light weight, portability and maneuverability.

    It's a really nice rifle and you should be proud.

    Cheers,

    Russ
     

  3. Alaska Luke

    Alaska Luke AH Member

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    Haha "manageable" is a relative term. I think I'm still an amature compared to some of the guys around here with their 500s and such.

    I'll definitely practice with lighter handloads. I never notice recoil in the field so this has worked well in the past. I have a pet load with Varget and a 260 grain Nosler Partition going about 2550 fps. Kicks about like my old 338 and it killed the grizzly in my picture just fine. On the other hand a full load with IMR4350 has noticeably more buck. I want to try Accubonds eventually. They look way better for stretching the 375 out a bit compared to the Partitions. I've considered 235 grain rounds a few times (Woodleighs for bear, Speers for caribou). But experimenting gets expensive. Unless someone chimes in saying they are way better I'll probably stick with what's proven.
     

  4. Dewald

    Dewald AH Veteran

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    I have 2x Ruger Alaskans - one in .375 Ruger and one .416 Ruger. The latter I’ve used and abused for the last few years and never felt it to be to heavy or clumsy.

    What kind of velocity will you get out of the 16” barrel? I’d be worried if it is that short that it will negatively affect the balance of the rifle.
     

  5. Alaska Luke

    Alaska Luke AH Member

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    Dewald balance might be a real concern if I had the original stock. The replacement stock is lighter in the back so the gun was a bit muzzle heavy as it was. I think balance will be okay. Velocity is more limited by my tolerance for recoil then barrel length. I'm expecting 2550 fps with 260 and 270 grain bullets with loads a bit under max. Those loads were okay to shoot without the scope when the rifle weighed just under 7.5 pounds. With a scope it will be about 7.35 lbs so I feel good.
    One reason for going short is the brush here can be pretty dense in places.
     

  6. USMA84DAB

    USMA84DAB AH Veteran

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    WOW! I thought my Ruger Alaskan was already pretty short at 20"! I have recognized the same issues and sought short handy rifles that carry well for the 98% of the time one uses them - carrying. My efforts in this direction are being directed to a 22" .495 A-Square. I also have the Alaskan in .375 Ruger, but I really love it exactly as it is with Hogue overmolded and 20" barrel. I have several ARs with 16" barrels, but that is a varmint cartridge. Interested to hear how you like your creation when it is done. I think you will have checked the block on "light" and "handy"!!!!
     

  7. Standard Velocity

    Standard Velocity AH Veteran

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    Sounds like the right cartridge for your idea. The Ruger is designed to maintain velocity with short barrels. My concern would be less of recoil and more of concussion/flash. I don’t wear ear protection when hunting and that 16” barrel with all that expanding gas sounds horrific.

    Not sure if you plan to thread the muzzle but a linear compensator would direct flame and blast directly towards the target and only add an 1.5-2”. You’d still be short and handy but less ear bleeding. Possibly you could have the gunsmith return it without the front sight until you determine if you need a muzzle device/threading?
     

  8. Alaska Luke

    Alaska Luke AH Member

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    Standard Velocity I've gone back and forth over that idea. For now my priority is just getting it back in time for bear season so no new changes. Alaska just got a "shelter in place order" so it might be dicey even getting it in time. We can still hunt I think but I don't know if the post offices will shut down or slow down.

    Prior to the trim my 375 was noticeably less "blasty" then my 308. Not sure why. I don't think I've taken a shot without ear plugs since I was 14. It will be interesting to see how it compares.
     

  9. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    I love my Alaskan in 375 Ruger and wouldn’t touch it , i think it makes the perfect size and weight rifle already .
     

  10. Alaska Luke

    Alaska Luke AH Member

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    To be honest if I was hunting in Africa I'd have a more "traditional " setup. I actually backpack with overnight gear on some of my hunts. That's when weight matters. A heavier and longer 375 makes a lot more sense for the typical safari hunter, who I assume is not carrying as much non rifle weight. What's logical for me is not everyone's cup of tea.

    With the Coronavirus thing going on my Kodiak hunt probably won't happen. Plan B is to hunt bears when they wake up in April. Hopefully I can get a ways back on this old snow machine and then I'll have to start hiking. Perfect place for a lighter rifle, fingers crossed it gets back in time. A Kodiak hunt would have been a bit later.
    20200327_184551.jpg
     

  11. NTO

    NTO AH Member

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    I had a 5.8 lb 375 ruger NULA built me. Was great to carry and recoil was not as bad as one would think.
     
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  12. Alaska Luke

    Alaska Luke AH Member

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    NTO someday I'll be as cool as you.

    Actually if this isn't to bad I may get an MPI stock for it next winter. That should make it a bit lighter still but more importantly I think a slightly different stock design would help with recoil. Should be in the mail soon.
     

  13. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Assuming you are of normal human dimensions and not suffering from some medical issue, I think such a rifle is a little odd. I am all about rifles that are carried a lot and fired relatively rarely. In a .375 that is essentially a 8.5 lb rifle with scope and ammunition. For a fight in a stairwell a sub 7 lb rifle would have utility - but then it wouldn't be a .375 of any description. Shootability is every bit as important as any other characteristics. An African .375 may have to make a double tap a 30 yards or a perfectly placed shot at 250. A sub 7 lb rifle is anything but ideal for those two scenarios. A .375 of any weight would never be my choice for a general purpose mountain rifle.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020 at 10:25 PM

  14. NTO

    NTO AH Member

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    Yeah have Rick at Extreme Rifle works do you a Stock I have several he can do one as light as 18oz. I have a 375 RUM he built that weights less than 6lbs
     

  15. Alaska Luke

    Alaska Luke AH Member

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    Red Leg I'm fully embracing the madness.

    NTO, funny you mention Rick. He is doing the rifle for me. He offered a lighter stock but I didn't think the was time.

    Joking aside I could add weight back with a cheap Hogue stock if this was too much of a good thing. Ideally I'd like a fiberglass stock with dimensions similar to a Remington Sendenero. I think a 7 pound rifle with that would be just as comfortable as a 8 pound rifle with the old stock (narrow with a hard recoil pad).

    Partly I love to experiment. I did it with rafts, and backpacking gear. Now rifles.
     

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