Plains Game rifle choice... Am I crazy???

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by MT_Fin, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin AH Senior Member

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    Hello all,
    I am in the middle of first safari planning overload and having a grand time researching and soaking up as much info as possible. I would love some feedback on rifle/chambering choice..........

    My first trip will be most likely looking for wildebeest, Zebra, Blesbok, Warthog, and maybe impala. I have standard caliber rifles which I hunt with here in MT but none of them scream AFRICA!!!!!! as they as synthetic stocked etc. I’m thinking I need a new rifle to play with and practice with while waiting until next year to go, which I think can only add to the excitement.

    The recommended calibers on the PH’s website are 30-06 and 300 win with average shots being 150m or less (but possibly more).

    I can get a Ruger Guide Gun or Hawkeye African in 375 Ruger out of my head. Am I being crazy being ill only be after PG this round. I would love to hunt DG in the future and I could use a lighter load for elk/bear here at home too. Thoughts on 375 just for PG? Of course they chamber them in 300win as well, but that doesn’t seem as exciting as a 375!

    Also, any input of Guide gun vs Hawkeye African? Thoughts on shorter 20” barrel vs 23”?

    Thank in advance, if you can’t tell, I’m excited!!

    Fin
     
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  2. Bullthrower338

    Bullthrower338 AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Go for it, 375 is excellent choice for PG! Either rifle will be fine, pick the one that feels right. The 375 Ruger was made for a 20” barrel so you aren’t losing anything going with the shorter tube.
     
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  3. njc110381

    njc110381 AH Veteran

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    Well I can give my opinion on the Ruger Hawkeye, but that's about it. Mine was a reliable rifle. Nice finish, shot well and didn't give me any bother. I don't suppose there's much in it regarding barrel length, but I would choose the one that will be the most useful at home seeing as that's where you'll use it most. Both will work.

    Strictly on an opinion basis I'd buy the .375. You clearly want one so do it. .375 is recognised as one of the best all rounders so my personal feelings aside, it won't be a bad choice. I have it in my head that I want a .40+ for DG but plenty of people do it with the .375.
     
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  4. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi Fin, For the animals you mentioned, a .300 Win Mag will work fine. Be sure to use premium bullets, (always in Africa, regardless of the game)A zebra stallion can get big and will run a long distance without a good first shot. If you are wanting to use the same rifle for dangerous game in the future, a .375 HH is the hands down one gun caliber. A new Win Model 70 Express at about $1400 new is an obvious answer although there are other choices you can make. For plains game, scope it with a 1x5 up to a 3x9 or so. If you are using it for dangerous game only, go with the 1x5 or 1x6 or so. A huge choice of scopes from say $400 up to $3000 are available. It comes down to how much do you want to spend.

    Depending on where you are hunting can make a difference on your rifle/caliber choice. The Eastern Cape can give you 200-300 yard shots. I have hunted twice in the Northwest Province and Limpopo Province. First time .375 HH, second time .404 Jeffery since my primary target was buffalo. Longest shot of both trips...90 yards, the remainder were 75 or less.

    There are many choices of rifles and calibers for you to choose from. If you reload there are many here that can advise you. If you don't, no problem, I have never reloaded. There are a wide variety of factory ammo available made for Africa hunting. And there are several places that will custom load your ammo for you.
    Whatever you choose, you will have the time of your life planning and your first hunt. Once you choose, practice, practice practice.
    Good Luck!
     

  5. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin AH Senior Member

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    Thanks for the input!
     
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  6. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin AH Senior Member

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    Thanks! DG would be a while down the road if at all, but you never know......dang kids are expensive! I primarily hunt with a 308 here in MT so though bumpin gup might be fun and then I would have a rifle for DG should the opportunity arise. In the meantime it would be good medicine on bears and elk I’m thinking.
     

  7. AB2506

    AB2506 AH Enthusiast

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    Never ask if you are crazy! The answer just might be YES!

    If you are set on the 375 Ruger, the African would be my choice. I recently purchased one for our SCI Chapter Banquet/Auction. Never having handled one, I did not realize what a sweet rifle it is. Very nice. I would go with the African. It is beautiful, handles nice, and the sights are great.
     
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  8. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    A .375 HH will work great on elk, but go with the more powerful scope, not a 1x5.
     

  9. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    If you've got that '06 down pat, go with it. For short range plains game, anything 6.5 to .30 in a standard cartridge, with correct shot placement, will work.

    Edit: You may be surprised at how much .30-06 screams Africa when you get there.(y):)
     
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  10. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin AH Senior Member

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    I guess I already know the answer to that :)

    For sure, I usually run a vx3 2.5-8 or similar. If I get the opportunity to hunt DG in the future I can buy a lower power variable that would be more appropriate. Thanks!
     

  11. 375 Ruger Fan

    375 Ruger Fan AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I got my 375 Ruger Alaskan (stainless and laminated stock) for a brown bear hunt a few years ago. I wasn't keen on the 20 inch barrel and held out until I found a 23 inch model. Like it a lot. Some folks will say load the 270 gr for PG, but a 300 gr Swift A-Frame will work just fine on everything. I put a Leupold 1.5x5 scope on it.
     
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  12. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    My favorite caliber for plains game is .275Rigby ( 7 x 57 ).
     

  13. Shaneb

    Shaneb AH Member

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    If it’s a African rifle you want, then nothing says Africa like a .375 h+h. Not Ruger, but if that’s the rifle you want go for it. I used a .270 on my pg hunt and knocked down everything I hit. My next rifle for deer size game will be a .300 h+h.
     
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  14. spike.t

    spike.t AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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    I don't do 375....but go for it as you obviously need a new rifle fix....and as you in Usa and you can simply go get one it would be rude not to.......and I like short barrels so you know which one gets my vote (y):D Beers:
     
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  15. Newboomer

    Newboomer GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Check out a Win 70 Safari Express in 375HH. Sweet handling and you can get bullets from 235 g to 350g which will take any game on the planet. They have good range, too, out to 300 yards plus.
     
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  16. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    No you are not crazy! In my book it doesn’t take much to get me thinking about a new rifle. The 375 Ruger in the Guide Gun will do plains game or Dangerous Game. My Guide Gun is a bit bigger in 416 Ruger.
    5B605F63-C595-45E8-9E0D-BEBB30C31A3E.jpeg
    My son took two warthogs with this rifle one afternoon and a giraffe another day. At first I didn’t much care for the color of the stock but it grows on you!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2019
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  17. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Well, at least there's one sane guy here.:)
     
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  18. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I'd vote for the 375 H&H in a Winchester African Safari. It is a controlled feed rifle. Apart from that most folks that own Winchesters have more than one, and for good reason.
     

  19. Michael Dean

    Michael Dean AH Enthusiast

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    I personally believe that a 375 caliber is too much gun for plains game. My plains game rifle for this fall is a 270 WSM. Something in the 7mm, 7x57 Mauser caliber is perfect. You can shoot 120 grain bullets or load it up to 175 grain bullets. A 7x57 Mauser covers the entire spectrum. Most antilope are thin skinned and just don't need the killing power of a 375.

    I own a 375 H&H, a Colt Sauer. It's a great gun and it will kill just about anything. When I go to Africa this fall the 375 will stay in the gun vault; I just don't need it. I am taking a second rifle a 338 federal, that will be used for my Eland. Everything else will be shot with my 270 WSM.
     
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  20. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I agree with you. But if you are looking for one rifle to handle PG and DG. The .375 HH is the answer. IMO.
     
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