Mediums that perform

Bush Buck

AH senior member
Joined
Jul 8, 2022
Messages
83
Reaction score
208
Location
Southeast
Hunted
Namibia
Hi Guys,

For the purpose of this discussion I am talking about cartridges above .30 caliber and up to 375.

I enjoy shooting mediums, loading for them and shooting them, but I've only hunted the 375 H&H.
I'm pretty well versed in the ballistics involved but I would like to hear from those that have hunted the mediums enough to get a real feel for performance relative to the .30 calibers.

When do you see a real difference in on game performance - what cartridge and load?
I am taking about larger deer through eland - not dangerous game. The various pigs included.

The cartridges I'm generally thinking about are 338 Federal, 338-06, 35 Whelen, 9.3x62 and 375 H&H - but please discuss any medium you have hunted.

Thanks,
Bush Buck
 
Well, my vote and usage has been a 340 Wby with 225/250 gr Nosler part. Used it on Alaska trips and as my PG rifle in Africa on several trips. Took all animals from Steenbok to eland in Africa and at ranges from a few yards to app. 250yds. I believe with a bonded bullet such as Swift etc it would handle Cape Buffalo.Waterbuck,gemsbok,sable zebra,wilder east we’re all one shot kills.Worked the same on cats.
 
I haven't hunted much with anything above a .30 cal, as most of my hunting is for whitetail deer and smaller game. However, I did pick up a 35 whelen about a year ago and in the few times I've used it for deer and hog, it's been deadly. Big holes for short blood trails, or dropped in their tracks - noting traveled more than 30 yards so far, albeit with limited sample size of maybe a dozen pigs, a couple of deer, and 1 coyote that wandered in. Longest shot approximately 200 yards so far at game animals, 300 yards at a target range.


My brother won a 338 Federal many years ago and it became his go-to rifle. A few elk at under 250 yards, many deer, a couple pronghorn, and some occasional pigs and coyotes. Most game shots at 50-150 yards, longest was a pronghorn at 400. Similar to the Whelen, short or no tracking needed, but over a much larger sample size. Longest tracking job was less than 100 yards on a whitetail deer.

As I'm sure you know, the 35 Whelen is a necked up 30-06, and the 338 Federal a necked up .308. Ballistically speaking they both perform similar to their parent cartridges, but with higher energy and lower velocity. Handloads will really maximize the potential of these cartridges, especially the 35 Whelen. Bullet choice is important to the factors of what game you're chasing and expected shot distance. Neither is designed to be a "long range" gun, but keeping them under 300 yards and they'll definitely provide bigger holes and more power than most 30 cal options. Given that most of my hunting experience is with deer and smaller animals, the added energy of these larger projectiles would be beneficial to the larger game you referenced. My one note of opinion and preference would be to not use either for shots expected to be over 3-400 yards. A larger case capacity (like 338 win mag 375 h&h) would better suit longer shots with the bigger bullets.
 
My only medium is a 358 Norma Mag. I have used it for black bear with 250 grain Oryx bullets and moose with 250 Nosler partitions. Both with great success, just watch them tip over through the scope, no tracking required.The Oryx are Norma factory ammo and I load the NP myself. Both impact within an inch or so of each other at 200 yards, so its point and shoot either way.
 
Its funny as I list 30 and below as small, 8mm-375 as med. With this in mind the two 338's I have experience with are the 338WM (elk and black bear) . and My wife took possesion of the 338 Ruger Compact Mag and has shot over 20 specis from croc, blue wildebeest down to steenbok. I have shot more game with the 9.3x62 and 9.3x74 than with any other mediums and when I reach in the safe 9 out of 10 times the 338 and 375's stay in the safe. For the 375's it is hard to go wrong (Exception is the 375 win, to small a case for the bigger plains game and has no place in the DG area) The 375 H&H, 375 Ruger and 375 weatherby are my three favorite. Currently working with a 376 steyr but havent shot anything with it yet. Outta the mediums I have the 9.3's are my go to.
 
8x68S .

HWL
 
You’ll hear from Bob about his fave- the 35 Whelen and nothing wrong with the Whelen.

I’ve settled on the 338-06. Lots of experience with it from impala to wildebeest.
 
375H&H is my vote and was my only centerfire rifle in my safe for over a year. Excellent ammo availability and if you handload, there is a myriad of bullet options. This caliber has the added bonus of being universally DG legal if you see yourself doing that kind of hunt in the future. And if you are on this site...you will. ;)

Other excellent choices (in no particular order) would be the 375RUGER, 375WBY, 338-06, 338WM, 340WBY, 9.3x62, 9.3x64, 9.3x74R and of course the 35W. Hey @Bob Nelson 35Whelen - where the hell are you?!?!

Can you tell I like the long and magnum action cartridges?
 
Great subject! I shoot and love the .358 Winchester in short action rifles. Load it with modern powders and bullets and it preforms all out of proportion to book ballistics. Works the treat on game up to Eland. Love my 9.3X62. With either 250 or 286grn A-Frames or Norma Oryx comes very close to what a 375 H&H will deliver. And of course the 375 H&H. What more can be said? There's just something about hunting with a classic African cartridge. At home it works great on feral hogs and makes good practice for that next trip to Africa.
 
I've hunted with .338 Winchester Magnums, .358 Winchesters, 9.3x62mm Mausers and a .35 Whelen. Very good for mule deer, elk, Sambar, Nilgai, African plains game and even dangerous game (where legal).

When I hunted my life's first Grizzly bear in Alaska in 1976 ...the .338 Winchester Magnum (loaded with the old 300Gr Winchester Power Factory load) used to be the universal caliber of choice amongst Alaskan bear guides (the most popular rifle amongst them being a pre '64 Winchester Model 70 Super Grade "Alaskan" in the aforementioned caliber). I hunted my life's first Grizzly with a .338 Winchester Magnum. Today ... it's become the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum, followed by the .416 Remington Magnum and a couple of .458 Lotts or .458 Winchester Magnums. But back in the old days (i.e up until the mid 1980s), rifles in these calibers were practically non existent in Alaska.

In British colonial Africa, the .318 Westley Richards and (to a lesser extent) the .350 Rigby Magnum and the .333 Jeffery were widely used for plains game hunting. The .318 Westley Richards and the .333 Jeffery were also used for opportune shots against dangerous game (such as elephant, Cape buffalo, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, rhinoceros).

In German Colonial Africa, the 9.3x62mm Mauser and the 9.3x74mm R was used for the same applications.

When I hunted in Kenya and Tanzania in the 1970s, the "Mediums" were practically non existent. Most hunters used some sort of .30 caliber (invariably a .30-06 Springfield or a .300 Winchester Magnum) for the plains game and then went straight to .375 Holland & Holland Magnum or .458 Winchester Magnum for the dangerous game. Kynoch and DWM closing down essentially killed off the old English and German medium bores.

.338 Winchester Magnum had a small following in Africa during this time, because by the time it got introduced in 1958 ... most African countries passed laws which prohibited the use of calibers smaller than .375 bore for dangerous game. Nobody brought one to Africa, except if they exclusively wanted to hunt plains game with it. It was sometimes used on thin skinned dangerous game in Zambia. The 300Gr Winchester Power Points and 250Gr Nosler Partitions were absolutely devastating on lion and leopard.


My favorite medium will always be the 9.3x62mm Mauser, followed by the .338 Winchester Magnum. I have used both on African plains game up to eland with great success. Both these calibers have a significant fan following in Africa as all round plains game calibers, ever since the mid 1980s. My favorite factory load for the 9.3x62mm Mauser will always be the 293Gr RWS TUG/UNI Classic. For the .338 Winchester Magnum, it will always be the 250Gr Nosler Partition.
 
Last edited:
I've yet to try out a 9.3 on game, but my expectations are high.
However, I've probably shot as many deer with my .358win as I have all my other rifles combined. To say it performs above expectation is an understatement. On paper, the .358 is, at best, underwhelming. In reality however, up to 400yds it's an absolute hammer. I shoot 220gn Speers (& my god i wish I'd stocked up before they were discontinued) over a healthy load of Ramshot Tac (per John Barsness's guidelines in Handloader magazine) and i have yet to recover a bullet. Not one animal I've shot, from 20 to just under 300yds, has done anything other than fold up on the spot & even with shoulder shots, meat loss is minimal.
I'm shooting a very light rifle (6lb 9oz) so my recoil experience is....brisk. I can't really call it bad, i don't think it's any worse than my ought-six shooting 180s, but it's sharper & faster. Zero issue from field positions, but you gotta get off the bench!
It's beautifully handy for the Tennessee thickets & wonderful to pack out west for elk & antelope. It's almost excessive for the hog hunting I do (although that's why I built the 9.3x62, so go figure....) but i don't own a rifle I'd rather carry. I've said it since i built it, but if i had to dispose of all my rifles but one, it'd be the one I'd keep, no question.
 
375H&H is my vote and was my only centerfire rifle in my safe for over a year. Excellent ammo availability and if you handload, there is a myriad of bullet options. This caliber has the added bonus of being universally DG legal if you see yourself doing that kind of hunt in the future. And if you are on this site...you will. ;)

Other excellent choices (in no particular order) would be the 375RUGER, 375WBY, 338-06, 338WM, 340WBY, 9.3x62, 9.3x64, 9.3x74R and of course the 35W. Hey @Bob Nelson 35Whelen - where the hell are you?!?!

Can you tell I like the long and magnum action cartridges?
@BeeMaa
You have a great choice of medium mediums and I'm glad you finally included the Whelen for a change
Bob
 
Hi Guys,

For the purpose of this discussion I am talking about cartridges above .30 caliber and up to 375.

I enjoy shooting mediums, loading for them and shooting them, but I've only hunted the 375 H&H.
I'm pretty well versed in the ballistics involved but I would like to hear from those that have hunted the mediums enough to get a real feel for performance relative to the .30 calibers.

When do you see a real difference in on game performance - what cartridge and load?
I am taking about larger deer through eland - not dangerous game. The various pigs included.

The cartridges I'm generally thinking about are 338 Federal, 338-06, 35 Whelen, 9.3x62 and 375 H&H - but please discuss any medium you have hunted.

Thanks,
Bush Buck
@Bush Buck
When I shot my orxy the PH asked what the hell did you hit that with. I asked him why and he said:-
I don't know if you saw it thru your scope but with the binoculars you could see the whole body ripple and shudder at the impact. I hit him we ith a 250gr Hornady RN that started at 2,700fps and impacted at 120 yards still travelling at 2,500 fps.
That bullet punched a golf ball sized hole out the other side.
I had shot game with spitzer shaped projectiles in the Whelen but the big round nose seem to hit a lot harder than pointed bullets. Just my observation. You can definitely see how game reacts when hit with a round nose. Looking forward to trying some Woodleigh 225gn round nose on pigs at 2,890fps
Bob
 
As it’s 1:45 am in New South Wales Australia, I think Bob might be sleeping! However I’m pretty sure he will see this while sipping his morning coffee, and share the virtues of the 35 Whelen.
@Boyd Brooks
You are correct, at 1.45am I was cuddled up to my beautiful wife getting my beauty sleep. Yeah I know beauty sleep will never work on this ugly old bastard. I did find it and replied whilst having my morning coffee.
The Whelen does have many virtues but so do a lot of other mediums like the 318, 350 Rigby, 9.3s, 375H&H and a few others.
Bob
 
I so forgot about the 8mm RM! Such a great performer. The only drawback that I see is the lack of bullet selection for commercial cartridges and hand loaders.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
55,071
Messages
1,169,700
Members
95,677
Latest member
RochelleAl
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

A.A. wrote on Msprenger!'s profile.
Are you still looking for a 375 H&H?
NRA Life, ASSRA Life, GGCA Life
Sable @ the lodge this morning

Buffalo encounter this morning!

here with available dates for 2024/25

1-13 September 2024
14-31 October 2024
1-7 November 2024
18-24 November 2024

March 2025 is wide open!
12-17 April 2025
24-28 May 2025
15-21 June 2025
7-12 July 2025
22-28 July 2025
13-31 August 2025
15-30 September 2025

October and November 2025 is wide open!
 
Top