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

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

  1. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    Consider the near 11 pound weight of the 375's and whether you want to carry that everyday for a week. Personally, I'd rather be carrying a normal 7.5-8.5 pound rifle.
     
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  2. Von Gruff

    Von Gruff AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    A 375 does not have to be 11b. My 404 Jeffery was 9 1/2 lb and that was more than enough, so 9 lb is plenty for comfortable shooting and easy carry of a 375
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2019
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  3. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Mt_Fin,

    Welcome to the greatest forum in the world.
    I might be crazier than you and a dozen more like you but, the .375 H&H is my favorite “plains game” caliber.
    Not that I’m the burning bush of rifle knowledge but, I’ve hunted a fairly wide range of conditions here in N. America and Africa as well, with a fair selection of calibers, sighting arrangements, bullet brands and so forth.

    My conclusions are as follows:
    The .375 H&H is probably the very finest hunting cartridge ever dreamed up.
    It’s certainly more than needed for things like deer / small antelopes but, none too much for things like eland, zebra, moose, waterbuck, grizzly or lion.
    It is perhaps a little light for heart/lung shots on elephant, rhino and hippo on land but, with meplat (flat nosed) monolithic solids, it has worked more than enough times on them to argue against my suspicion that it’s maybe a little light for this sort of scenario.
    Furthermore, we’re talking about calibers for non-dangerous game anyway so, .......

    Anyway, an excellent rifle for the .375 cartridge is the Model 98 Mauser (or similarly robust / reliable type of bolt action, such as the Brno 602, Winchester Model 70 and CZ 550, just to name but 3).
    I suggest that you install a high quality, smallish power scope (the non-variable 4x is my personal favorite) set in sturdy low rings.
    I like iron sights on all my rifles but, some folks prefer to travel with an extra scope, in case of any mishap involving their first scope.

    With such an arrangement, you will be all set to tramp the earth in hunting everything from eland to dik dik.

    Parting Shot as it were,
    The .375 shoots about as flat as the .30-06 and yet is not as distructive on edible meat (game meat is a real delicacy IMO) as faster cartridges generally are, given similarly designed projectiles.
    Likewise, animal skins are not splattered as badly by it either, much to your Taxidermist’s delight.

    Cheers,
    Velo Dog.
     
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  4. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    11 was perhaps on the highest end. Most are 8.5-9 plus scope. So I'll amend my number to 9.5-10 pounds

    Something like browning xbolt 375 could be in around 8.5 ready to roll
     
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  5. Ernie Shipman

    Ernie Shipman AH Veteran

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    Listen to your PH... It's what you are paying him for.
     

  6. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Actually living in Montana you would get good use out of the 375 Ruger. You have the opportunity to hunt elk moose bison and also you are close to Canada. The guide gun would be handy in the mountains of Montana. With the right bullets it will handle anything in Africa.
     
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  7. CBH Australia

    CBH Australia AH Enthusiast

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    Im hoping to get a.375H&H for versatility.
    Ive read enough in support of it
    Im sure there is a suitable projectile for plains game and there are heavy projectiles for DG
    I think if it was a one gun trip to a place like Africa the .375H&H would be capable of covering all your potential targets.
     
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  8. Philip Glass

    Philip Glass AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    I have .375 Ruger Hawkeye African with McMillan stock and Leupold VX6 2-12. It’s a great setup. For this hunt a .300 win mag would be the best choice but I’ll never vote against a .375.
    Depending on what DG you hunt in the future a .416 may be the way to go. Just keep that in mind.
    Happy planning,
    Philip
     
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  9. Shaneb

    Shaneb AH Member

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    The African safari I went on the trackers carried my rifle and water for me so the weight wouldn’t affect my decision.... lol
     
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  10. Scott CWO

    Scott CWO AH Enthusiast

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    My personal choice for PG, leopard and lion is a .338 Win Mag and a .458 Lott for the really big stuff but if you are looking for one all-around rifle for PG and DG, the .375 H&H would make the most sense. Ammo is easy to find and most African camps have some spare .375 H&H ammo if you run short.
     
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  11. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    MT_Fin, have you made your mind up yet? If it were put to a vote, it looks like the 375 H & H won handily. IMHO the extra 3" of barrel is more of a plus than a minus. I purchased a newer CRF Win. Mod 70 in 375 H & H off Gunbroker about a year ago for $900. The rifle was in fantastic condition and suits me just fine.
     
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  12. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    Fin,

    I have very many rifles in many different calibers and for them bullets to handsomely murder many different species of animals.

    But! I never "push" any caliber and load past what I consider to be it's reasonable killing limit. I.e....A 375 H&H loaded with rounds that are too heavy in an attempt to turn a big medium bores into a large bore dg killer.

    Ultimately the decision of what you buy must suit your particular specific needs.

    Ok, so let's say that this rifle will be used on pg only and your tear bags don't explode like a hurricane at a moderate amount of recoil. If that's the case a 338 or a 375 is a great choice as a competent handloader and crackshot can come up with a reasonable combination to take out any pg in Africa at a grand distance if so desired.

    But you you be of the sort who has leakage down his leg at the "sound and the glory" of a thumping Magnum and can not control yourself then you have two choices......give up the idea of ever hunting in Africa or prepare yourself to go into battle with a smaller and less powerful outfit and become a highly competent rifleman and hit with the right bullet and velocity combination.

    A fella came to me year ago with the idea of a 460 mag when his threshold of pain and competence leveled off at a 6.5x55.

    I never saw a man who picked up a 96 Mauser carbine and fell immediately in love with it as this guy did.

    He bought the rifle and the lessons and when he went to Africa successfully murdered everything he went there for with a "almost new" 80 year old firearm .that was in original condition and no scope mounted.

    He did a few hunts with this rifle and never lost any game. He did eventually did have me scope it and do a cock on open, a new bent bolt and low safety.

    Eventually he did move on to much larger animals and calibers, though never with the ,460 as his friends attempted to get him to buy.

    It's all up to you....
     
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  13. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin AH Senior Member

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    Nope, not yet. I liked the look of the Ruger Hawkeye and guide gun and have heard good things which I why I was thinking 375 Ruger. Plus I like the idea of a shorter action, but a Win M70 safari express or CZ 550 found for the right price would be very tempting too.

    If I’m lucky, a ways down the line, I MIGHT hunt Cape buffalo as I’ve always dreamed of doing it, but that would likely be the extent of my DG hunting. So something that could be used for PG, maybe DG, and Alaska was my thinking. Plus it could be put to use on elk and bear here in MT or if I ever draw a moose tag. Not that it’s needed for the critters.

    I owned and hunted with a 338wm for years, but didn’t particularly like the rifle so I sold it, but I have zero experience shooting 375. I’m not a small guy, and while I’m not a glutton for punishment I am not especially recoil shy either.
     

  14. tarbe

    tarbe AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    MT_Fin - it sounds to me like you need a .375!

    There is a beautiful AHR for sale right here...so long as you can handle a long pull (or are ok with shortening).
     
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  15. MT_Fin

    MT_Fin AH Senior Member

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    You may be right!

    That one in the classifieds is stunning, but well beyond my means.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2019

  16. Von S.

    Von S. AH Fanatic

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    Fin,

    After many, many lustrums of humping the heavy iron to murder animals who weigh more than 4 - 30 packs of barley pops I have come to the realization that either you can or can not withstand recoil and that there really is no in between.

    Can you build into be recoil resistant? Sure! I think so, but if not born with it it takes many years to build that mindset.

    I used to box when I was younger and thankfully I quit before I became totally brain damaged. But I did retain the fact that to be a good boxer that not only did you have to hit hard and fast, you also had to be able to take being hit hard and fast.

    It is pretty laughable to watch two grown men attempt to fist fight with their heads turned sideways, eyes closed and slapping like girls because the are afraid of being hit.

    I suggest to anyone before they buy anything that they somehow get to shoot one first.

    I an a firm believer in the bigger, badder, faster, stronger, shoot um across the chest and their piss bag even explodes from then encounter, but unfortunately that requires speed which induces recoil.

    When I lived in Africa I probably went murdering every other day and in trips there afterward hunting every day was the norm. This by no means is to infer that somehow makes me " Mister Africa", quite the contrary! I was and have always been one of the people who would say , " ok! Let's shoot one of those things and eat it" without knowing, or even caring what it was.

    Many people here may make suggestions on what caliber and rifle that you should buy. I personally believe that most do so with the best of intentions and sometimes are surrounded by well meaning " hangers on,". Many of which just don't give any thought to anyone "wallet weight," before commenting.

    I believe that most here would be in agreement that the Mauser actions are about as good as you can get, but very few ever use them in their military configuration especially with the original military round.

    As many rifles as I own I can tell you that I am still tickled to take hunting a military Mauser, maybe with a scope,maybe not and just knock the hell out of animals with a 8mm that is coming out of the pipe at close to 3000fps.

    ....and you just don't get that sick feeling in your stomach if you scratch or dent it in the bush.

    A good bullet,speed and accuracy is what is needed.....not fancy wood or mirror polished metal.

    A whole bunch of they 4 legged horned bastards in Africa are the size of American deer and on this site we are up to our loin cloths with guys who have been dropping them dead in their tracks with bullets like Berger's and Noslers.
     
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  17. brandondd24

    brandondd24 AH Enthusiast

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    my dad is going on his third safari in april, I'm going also, he's taking his 30/06 for the third time, just saying
     
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  18. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH Elite

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    As a suggestion only, consider the 338 Winchester magnum for plains game. The 375 is excellent of course but possibly a bit much for PG.
     
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  19. bassasdaindia

    bassasdaindia AH Elite

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    I own several rifles , my 375 Ruger Alaskan has been my first choice PG rifle for a few years now .

    I can recommend the rifle and the caliber.
     
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  20. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Legend

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    Fin, what area will you be hunting? If Limpopo, then sure, the 375 will work, but in the Eastern Cape, no. You will need something with a better ballistic coefficient than the .375 bullet. If you were hunting down South, my vote would have gone to the .300Win as you are often required to shoot across valleys and mountain faces.
    Enjoy the planning, and we look forward to the awesome photos!

    Take Care,
    Marius Goosen
     

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