…out of the same era and primarily aimed at African fauna – including the DG. 1905 for the naissance of the 9.3 x 62 in Berlin by gunsmith Otto Bock for German settlers in East Africa, and the competition was created in Britain by Holand and Holland in 2012 as the .375 H&H. Yes, there are other details regarding their histories, but it’s of little value to a current day analysis unless the reader is someone who must have the full and complete story in finite, boring detail. But that doesn’t fit my purpose in a relatively short blog. History has some value… occasionally for the more nostalgic or curious. And I’m not one of those! Sorry… (I think). No offence intended, but frankly I’m just being honest! I know enough history of each cartridge to know they’ve been eminently successful on their intended African game. And the consensus of two legendary PHs, Drs Kevin Robertson and the late Don Heath, is that they couldn’t honestly discern any meaningful difference in effect on the likes of lion, Cape buff or elephant with proper bullets placed correctly.
Since I’ve shot none of those big, bad African creatures, I’ll take their word for it! But where I’ve lived, and have hunted, the most dangerous, and perhaps hardest to kill, are big bull moose and big-bad black bears. And since I’m inclined to like more powerful rifles with larger holes in their barrels, I’ve owned both.
In fact, I still own both… A recent acqusition of another .375 H&H (my third – the last departed in favor of a .340 Wby over 1/4 century ago.) and my one-and-only 9.3 x 62 – I’ve never felt the urge to own another.
They are indeed so similar in ballistics it would be nearly impossible to make a hunting choice for a particular hunt based only on ballistics. Yes, I know that certain African countries mandate a .375 H&H as minimum for DG, but not all. Nevertheless, as to practical ballistics, the one is as good as the other when each is given their best components in powder and bullets. And many safari hunters with experience in each cartridge have testified to that fact as well.
For the past dozen years as a handloader and hunter using the 9.3 x 62, my claim was that it had replaced all my “mediums” – which was true. And on paper I had compared it with the .375 H&H, .338 Win Mag, .35 Whelen, .350 Rem Mag and .340 Wby – all of those having experienced my top handloads.
But the truth became evident that it was so perfect in everything: handling, power and accuracy, that I became bored with it! No challenges left! I had to try some others again to maintain interest in handloading and hunting. Strange perhaps, but I had NO interest in some of the “new” offerings like the latest Nosler magnums, but what I wanted was a renewed interest in some from the past that I really liked, and try new bullets and powders in them raising their profiles beyond “traditional” views. After all, that’s what I did for the .45-70 and .458 Winchester Magnum (before the latest renewed interest in the great .458 Winchester Magnum). That personality trait was discovered sometime ago in Pastoral ministry – improving the old, not replacing it. That’s my motivation… bringing matters not only “up to date”, but making improvements not only for the present but on into the future as well.
So that was my goal for the 9.3 x 62, sharing loads that are safe but well beyond traditional ideas and book stuff! I did that for Marlins in .45-70 ten years before Brian Pearce pubished his in HANDLOADER. Then it was the Ruger No.1 in .45-70, etc, and more recently in the 9.3 x 62.
< A 9.3mm 250gr AB from my 9.3 x 62. (Add 9 fps for correction to MV). One of these killed a good bear.
After some research and testing, I’ve used, promoted and published a load for the Traditions G3 single-shot in .35 Whelen that rivals some .338 magnums…. a 225gr AccuBond at 2850 fps/4059 ft-lbs.
All of that past experience to say that I’m confident that the “ancient” .375 H&H will experience the best possible ballistics while under my care. At least two “new” powders will find testing through handloads – the same favorites for the 9.3 x 63 and .35 Whelen.
The advantage my 9.3 x 62 has had over the .375 H&H is its compact design and weight, a relatively new powder, loading it to modern psi, and bullets with higher B.Cs. A 286gr Nosler Partition with a .482 B.C. makes 2640 fps/4427 ft-lbs. According to Nosler, its S.D. is .307 rather than .305 that is assigned to other 285 – 286s – I’m not yet aware of Nosler’s physics. At 2640 MV it is making over 2900 ft-lbs at 300 yds and just over 2100 ft-lbs at 500 yds. It does all that while having enough velocity remaining at 500 yds for expansion on larger big game like elk or moose, and PG in Africa. The TSXs can’t compete with that due to the extra length of equivalent weight bullets that rob powder space, and poorer B.C’s that slow those bullets more quickly than Nosler’s 286 Partition, resulting in far less velocity and energy/momentum at impact. So, for the 9.3 x 62 at least, I much prefer the Nosler over the TSX, which I’ve mentioned several times in my blogs on that remarkable cartridge; reloading books do it no favours!
As to my current .375 – that has yet to be fired, though several handloads are ready as soon as April appears on the horizon, here are some data points:
- It doesn’t appear to have been previously fired by the original owner…
- It’s a Zstava with a Mauser 98 action (that’s a bit rough, but I’m working on that with improvement already).
- 22″ barrel.
- 9.75 lbs with a new 3-9 x 40mm Bushnell Trophy, no frills scope. Have had them on past magnum rifles without issues. Lifetime warranty, including replacement if necessary… and relatively close in the GTA.
- Left handed action.
- Magazine holds three cartridges.
It comes to the shoulder nicely, fits perfectly and settles down quickly due to its heft (with 3 cartridges = 10 lbs exactly – 1/2 lb lighter than my Ruger #1H in .458) without any shakiness.
While my 9.3 x 62 has equivalent ballistics, yet there are significant differences between the two:
- Weight: 8 lbs for the Tikka in 9.3 x 62, ready to shoot vs 10 lbs for the .375 H&H. The Tikka now has a muzzle brake and the .375 doesn’t.
- Calculated recoil: 37 ft-lbs using a max load of RL-17 under the 286gr NP in the 9.3 x 62 at 2640 fps, with the brake, and 46 ft-lbs without the brake. (along with the brake, I’ve reduced the load for the 286gr by 2 grs to 2585 fps… not expecting to be in the Far North of our province for a future moose hunt).
- Calculated recoil: 41 ft-lbs using a max load of CFE 223 under the 270gr TSX at 2800 fps from the .375 H&H – wishing that TSX were a TTSX for improved downrange ballistics – but .375″ bullets are scarce in this area, so we buy what’s available.
- In momentum the two bullets are about equal at the muzzles of the two rifles, but the 286gr from the 9.3 x 62 soon passes the 270gr from the .375 due to a much better B.C. of .482 for the 9.3 vs .326 for the .375.
Why then, the .375 H&H? Well… let’s see… hummm… a .35 and a .36, why not a .37 caliber?
Ballistics isn’t the only reason for the purchase of a particular rifle. A friend, who has spent many working years in Alaska, and builds many of his own rifles, said he’d willingly spend the amount paid for that rifle on the action alone! It’s an investment piece that may be kept if it proves worthwhile to do so. And it’s a fresh experience. It will see a lot of range work and, if all goes well, will also see where I’ve spent years in chasing various fauna.
While some may question my suggested 2800 fps MV for the 270gr TSX, especially from a 22″ barrel, yet check out Barnes #4 from the H&H: 2824 fps from 80 grs of Win 748. Yes, from a 24″, but I’ll be using CFE 223, a tad slower than W 748, but also a ball powder that has already shown great results in my .35 Whelen, and the higher the psi, the better the results! So, I’ll start at 80 grs and go from there.
But also check Barnes numbers for the 235gr…. OVER 3000 fps! Even with the rather poor B.C. of .270, that bullet’s results are still impressive to 500 yds. 87.5 grs of Win 748 gave 3092 fps/4990 ft-lbs at the muzzle! Using an equal amount of CFE 223… What? 3050 fps from my rifle? Maybe more…
Bullet: 235gr TSX
S.D. = .239
B.C. = .270
MV = 3050 fps/4853 ft-lbs/ -1.75″/ 76.5 TE
100 = 2719 fps/ 3856 ft-lbs/ +1.5″/ 68 TE
200 = 2411 fps/ 3033 ft-lbs/ +0.0″/ 60 TE
300 = 2124 fps/ 2353 ft-lbs/ -7.5″/ 53 TE
400 = 1857 fps/ 1800 ft-lbs/ – 22.8″/ 46.6 TE – adequate for a Canadian bull moose from a single shot to the vitals.
- That would be an adequate load for anything in North America, PG in Africa and most other world wide game. Yet, if I were hunting trophy moose in particular, or brown bear, I’d go with something like a 300gr Partition at 2600 fps or the 270gr TTSX at 2700 – 2800 fps.
- DISCLAIMER: Of course, if someone choses to start with top loads from BARNES or any other reloading book, or Bob Mitchell’s loads, that would be stupid! I assume NO responsibility for what some other handloader does! Period!
Till the next…