.375 Magnums are quite popular, especially the H&H while the Ruger is coming on strong.
There are six listed these days in various handloading books, so we’ll limit ourselves to those: .375 H&H, .375 Weatherby, .378 Weatherby, .376 Steyr, the .375 RUM, and the latest in .375 Ruger.
The Steyr is only listed in Hornady and I expect there are few of them. The .375 Weatherby was an improved H&H with nearly straight walls and the Weatherby double-radius shoulder adding 100 to 150 fps to the H&H. It was replaced in Weatherby’s lineup by the humongous-cased .378 Weatherby, which is perhaps the least popular of all Weatherby cartridges. It’s too much of “too much”. The list above is in a chronological order, but today there are only four listed in Nosler’s Handloading Guide 6: The H&H, Ruger, .378 Weatherby and the RUM (Remington Ultra Magnum).
Many authors have favored the H&H and, by far, it has remained the most popular. A few authors have promoted the .375 Weatherby as the best overall, which died for a while when replaced by the .378 and then experienced a revival of sorts before the RUM came to the show. The RUM has a larger case, based on the .404 Jeffery, but has been loaded by Remington to about match the .375 Weatherby as loaded by its parent company. Yet the RUM, having greater powder capacity, when handloaded comes very close to the .378 Weatherby in ballistics.
Today, these three are the most popular in the following order: H&H, Ruger and the RUM. Their cases are quite different in concept and capacity being individualistic. The RUM has the greatest capacity, therefore the greatest ballistic potential, followed by the Ruger and finally the H&H. I nearly had one of my H&H’s “improved” to a .375 Weatherby.
We’ll examine the ballistics of all from various configurations employing handloads, and then make a more in-depth view of the utility of the final three: the H&H, Ruger and RUM.
Of those finalists, I’ve had three copies of the H&H: a 24″, a 26″ and a 22″ in that order.
First off, however, we need to consider the general purposes of .375 Magnums:
1) They are the largest caliber of the Mediums, which means that potentially they can shoot the heaviest bullets of that class of cartridges. Bullets from 235grs to 350grs are readily available making them suitable for deer-size game to elephant. They also shoot plenty flat to 400 yards employing projectiles from 235gr to 270gr. The .375 H&H can drive a 235gr to 3000 fps with relative ease and a 270gr to over 2700 fps. With todays tough, aerodynamic projectiles, the H&H is a capable moose gun to 400 yards in the hands of an able sportsman. Ditto for African Plains Game. And that’s for starters only!
2) Generally, they produce less recoil than the true Big Bores while being more versatile in the process, given best handloads. In addition, some assert that they can do the same jobs as effectively as the Big Bores with less pain. We’ll examine that claim.
But before we do all that, I want to give AN UPDATE ON MY 2015 BEAR HUNT, then next time we’ll get down to specifics on those .375 Magnums.
My bear was shot Thursday evening at 5:57 p.m., Oct. 1st, 2015. Saving the hide for the taxidermist, the work was done by my cohort, Brian, who is not only a sheep farmer and an appraiser for compensation of loss of domestic animals by predators, but also a trapper who prepares hides for sale. Ken and I worked in skinning the body while Brian did the delicate parts of paws and head. It was a very “nice” male in excellent condition of about 4 – 5 years old with a prime coat. A bear’s canines are not made for chewing gum. They are for grabbing, holding and puncturing. They use their claws for removing the hide of a prey animal by starting at center belly and removing the hide both up toward the head and down to the hams. They don’t like hair.
For the record: I was not looking for a large, old bear. What I wanted is exactly what I shot — a healthy four-year old in prime condition. As he was stretched out on the butchering table, he was 7.5 feet from toenails to teeth with head tilted forward, and 6 feet from tail to snout, the way that bears are usually measured. An official measurement includes the span of its reach added to snout to tail divided by two. We didn’t do that, so unofficially it was a 6-foot bear for conversation purposes. I seem to have shot several 6-footers. But the last one (2 years ago) was not as heavy, and about a year younger. To put things in perspective, Ken (on left) is 6′- 2″, plus boots and cap, and 220 lbs; Brian is a couple of inches taller and 250 lbs.
The meat is tender, and when properly cared for in the field, and in dressing out, has potential for gourmet meals. I took 1/3, mostly in roasts, and shared them with friends and neighbours, especially with one lady and her husband who would be considered on the low end of any North American economic scale.
The 9.3, 250gr Accubond worked perfectly. Because of the angle of the bear, the bullet hit center-mid-chest, traversed the chest diagonally, mulching the heart, and made exit behind the off-shoulder. The bear made 20 – 25 yards and expired on a “dead run”. It’s nose hit the ground first with its hind legs still pushing. It never bawled. The 9.3 X 62 is very much the equal of a .338 Win Mag and very close to a .375 H&H. I never noticed the recoil with the 250gr leaving the muzzle at 2700+ fps from a 7.5 lb rifle all-up. Range was 85 yards, impact velocity was about 2560 fps/3637 ft-lbs KE and 102 TE. One rib was taken out on entry and two on exit. My impression of the Accubond is very positive. There were no fragments in the “wound channel”. The heart was pulverized. It was indeed amazing that the bear could still make those 20 yards or so. Under the same conditions, I would expect the same results from a .375 Magnum employing any good bullet from 235 to 300 grains.
My bear came to the bait running! In fact, he ran past the bait barrel heading east on the trail we use for baiting. He turned abruptly 180* and headed west (from where he emerged from the woods) past the bait set-up again, disappeared for a couple of seconds, then came running back to the barrel, raised himself up by his left paw on the barrel’s rim, I then fired before he had even a chance to grab a mouthful! I did that because it was obvious he was excited and nervous, likely due to the presence of the “monster bear” in the area, which I didn’t know about until I checked the trail cam a couple of days later.
The real purpose of this account is to stress the need for a capable rifle and load that will not allow an adrenaline-charged wounded bear to escape into thick brush on the edge of darkness. I found the dead bear in the woods within 10 feet of our game cart! That took less than 15 minutes. The bear was located before I radioed my buddies who were 1.3 kms from me. They arrived in about 20 minutes. First, they had to get out of their stands, walk to their truck, drive to the property I was on, and then proceed cautiously on a twisty, bumpy farm road to my location near the other end of that property. Had the bear been wounded only, he would have been awaiting my arrival in a thick bush he would have back-tracked on for a surprise counter-attack! I know that from the experience of thirty years of bear hunting, sometimes alone! So, I never follow up a bear alone once darkness falls, even though it may be as dead as a doornail! The point? Be very familiar with your firearm and use enough “horsepower”!
AND BE VERY WARY ON THE FOLLOW-UP OF GAME THAT HAVE DISAPPEARED FROM VIEW DUE TO TERRAIN, BUSH OR DARKNESS… ESPECIALLY THE HAZARDOUS SORT! AND AWAIT ASSISTANCE FROM COMPANIONS OR OTHERS WITH EXPERIENCE.
All for now… more to come.