It is generally acknowledged by those with handloading experience with each that the maximum difference between the two is 150 fps in favor of the Weatherby: 2550 fps vs 2700 fps or 2650 fps vs 2800 fps, depending on views and experiences of handloaders. That’s assuming equal length barrels, but not necessarily equivalent PSI. Depending on sources of information, the Weatherby PSI is assumed to be 65,000 with the H&H at 62,000. That could already account for 100 fps advantage for the Weatherby.
Then, of course, there’s the matter of the Weatherby’s “free bore” that permits the use of slower magnum type powders, and more of it than “normal” due to peak pressure arriving less quickly than in the H&H in which medium burn-rate propellants are generally employed by most handloaders. That’s the jist of it though more details are involved. Yet there’s really no logic in holding the H&H to 62,000 PSI when the same brass fired in a Weatherby or improved chamber is allowed 65,000 PSI. So the same H&H cases in an H&H chamber could therefore also safely handle 65,000 PSI…. if logic is the gauge and not sentiment.
When more recent and better propellants are employed in the H&H cartridge at 65, 000 PSI, instead of traditional mediums like IMR 4064 or RL-15, the old H&H is in the same room as the Weatherby .375. Research and experience reveals that RL-17 is such a powder that potentially and experientially may be the best among them.
I’ve always had the inkling that most human-made “things” and ideas could be improved. So, also with regard to the .375 H&H’s I’ve owned. The first two: a Winchester M70 and a Browning A-Bolt were both considered for rechamber jobs to .375 Weatherby Magnums. For one reason or another that didn’t happen. Now, with a new 22″ M70 Zastava, I’ve already pondered the same thing!
But, from initial results, in using more modern powders like CFE 223 and RL-17, I’m already there – no need for an “improved” chamber! Nevertheless, an improved chamber does have some benefits: less case stretching and longer case life. Still, is it worth it in a longer run?
And will my rifle handle the extra stress? Only time will tell, but some precautions should be taken. One precaution is for myself as well as the rifle: I’ll not be setting at a range bench for hours on end shooting dozens of .375 bullets! I’ll shoot enough to get 2 or 3 good loads, and for some practice… then off to the hunting grounds! No more bench shooting! And a few will be fired “in the woods” for practice in off-season, but not during an actual hunt unless on live game.
What advantage, then, does “book” .375 Wby Mag ballistics have over “book” .375 H&H ballistics… if any?
When a similar question was asked on a forum, many with African experience favoured the H&H. Interesting! But why?
Less recoil; shots not usually over 200 yds, so the H&H will kill big game at that range as well as the Weatherby… perhaps. Then range is a factor of impact velocity: a 300gr NP leaving the muzzle of an H&H at 2550 fps will impact a brown bear at 150 yds with about 2236 fps/3329 ft-lbs, whereas a 300 Partition from a Wby Mag leaving at 2700 fps would impact that same bear at 2375 fps/3758 ft-lbs. Would that matter if both were hit in the same place? Or… the impact velocity by the H&H at 2236 fps at 150 yds could be stretched by the Wby Mag to about 218 yds for the same effect assuming an equally sound hit! Does that matter? And up closer to, say 50 yds the H&H hits with about 2443 fps force while the Wby Mag hits with 2589 fps force, or more than the H&H at the muzzle! Does it matter?
Any advantage matters, but by how much depends on a number of variables that could increase or decrease the ultimate value of the impact of each… one could be too far back or a quartering away shot. But typically, for any comparison to be valid, we say “all other matters equal”.
<A screen shot of an Alaskan brown bear shot, I believe, with a .375 H&H. It’s a brute that looks like it could go well over 1/2 ton!
When I made the decision to go with a .340 Wby for moose hunts in “The Far North” of our province it was due to potential ranges and conditions that might exceed any advantage a .375 H&H might otherwise have as I then understood it, but not a .375 Wby Mag. And in reviewing matters there were better bullets in .338 than in .375 for long-range shooting – shooting flatter with greater impact at 500 – 600 yds. However, Nosler seems to have gotten the message that .375-cal N.A. hunters are wanting to use those rifles on large game at ANY range without being hampered by bullerts with poor BC’s! Hence – the 300gr AB. But we’ve had 300gr/.375 projectiles with very good BCs for a very long time… but gun writers (and others) have dispensed notions that they would fail if hit anything tough! “We must have ‘premiums’ for tough African game”! So Nosler finally came back with a 300gr “tough” premium Partition in .375 with a BLUNT nose profile and a BC of less than .400! Started at 2400 to 2500 fps, as recommended by some PH’s, it falls below the expansion threshold of 1800 fps, as recommended by Nosler, at about 400 yds in African heat. “Good enough for Africa!” But in the cold north of Canada during the moose season, it falls below 1800 fps just past 350 yds. “Plenty good enough for Canadian moose!” under ideal conditions where shots are short of 400 yds/meters. But my .340 Wby was “good enough” for a bull moose at +600 yds! And so would be a .375 Wby when loaded to 2800 fps with the current “improved 300gr Nosler AccuBond” and a .485 BC!
In fact, according to computer generated ballistics, my current load for the H&H at 2740 fps using the 300gr TSX, IF exchanged for the 300gr Nosler AB (or Sierra or Hornady) would fall below 1800 fps at 562 yds (at 1799 fps). A .375 Wby at 2800 fps would be right on 1800 fps at 600 yds. (That’s 1200 ft elevation, 40*F, 58% RH – average late fall conditions in my hunting areas.)
< There are three moose in this photo at about 450 yds – a bull, cow and calf. They came into this meadow from the woods beyond at around 550 yds. It was raining and I was on my way home from bear hunting. It wasn’t moose season, nor did I have a license.
Ergo: 2800 fps from a 26″ .375 Wby Mag firing a 300gr Nosler AB is no slouch in trajectory or hitting power to 600 yards! But neither is my H&H at 560 yds shooting the same bullet at 2740 fps. At that range it would be going ~1800 fps/ 2160 ft-lbs/ 73.56 TE.. enough for what? The ballistics should be ample for a ton of soft-skinned animal with a hit to vitals. But is the shooter capable? With little wind, a tricked out scope, patience and nerves of steel, experience AND a STEADY REST it’s doable, but how many could pull it off? The right person could, but the “right person” is few. At my very best in younger years, I’d have taken a shot on a 600 yd bull moose with the .340 Wby Mag if it was the only shot I had after travelling 1600 kms/1000 mi. to get there. And the .338/250gr Partition would have made about 1940 fps/2090 ft-lbs/ 61 TE on impact; around the same TE (Terminal Effect) as my 9.3 x 62 firing the 286gr NP (+2600 fps) hitting at 500 yds. Thus in theory the .340 had a 100 yd advantage over my 9.3 x 62 as I loaded them for moose. But, from a practical view, how many shots on moose, elk or big bears are actually taken past 350 yds in the grand scheme of things? However, several of us choose to be prepared for the ultimate challenge, not just the average.
Factory cartridges for the .375 H&H are much more readily available than for the .375 Weatherby, as well as empty cases for handloaders. And they will be more economical. As for the rifles themselves, new .375 H&H’s will run 2K or more. If you get into exotics, that could run into ten times that amount. I was very fortunate in finding what I did at less than 1K. As to MkVs, from what I’ve seen at where I do most business, a “standard” MkV in .375 Wby could go anywhere from $2500 to $3300 – too rich for my budget.
Is my M70 Zastava a “cheaply made” product? The barreled actions have been bought and used in their own stocks by both Whitworth and Remington. In the past the Zastava stock has been criticised, and the action as being too rough. However, the action is CRF and a basic Mauser ’98. Mine has obviously been much improved in every way over earlier editions: It has very nice walnut, inletted to perfection with a free-floated barrel – no contact until the front recoil lug. It also has a thick rubber recoil pad on the butt end, and in a left-hand configuration which I wanted. The action is notoriously strong and smoothing up with use. It also has a cross-bolt. The trigger pull is fine and will be left as it is. The safety is on the left side, up top, behind the bolt handle – a straight back for safe and forward for fire – not complicated and it works.
It’s no “lightweight”, as with a Bushnell Trophy 3 – 9 x 40 scope it comes in at exactly 9.75 lbs – so the rifle alone weighs ~ 8.5 lbs with a 22″ barrel, so I’d say it’s well built. Nothing has moved out of place after 16 hot rounds through it.
< Is the rifle a favorite? It could become one, but favorites happen over time. So far, I’m impressed. My 9.3 x 62 Tikka T3 Lite is a favorite. Proof of that is I’ve owned it for 12 years. If it were not, it would have been gone 10 years ago! My Ruger No.1H in .458 Win Mag is a favorite though it has been with me for only 5 years. I love No.1s anyway, but that one is special for too many reasons to discuss now… that will come later.
< The .375 H&H (on right) has a heavier barrel and a longer-heavier action than the Tikka T3 Lite in 9.3 x 62 (on left), and a longer-heavier stock, thus 2 lbs heavier overall. The Tikka has a 22.44″ barrel, plus brake, and the .375 a 22″. Both at the range on April 27/23.
There are several .375 magnums. Among them is the humongous .378 Weatherby, introduced in 1953 to replace the .375 Wby Mag but with the same bore size. There are those that use them and think they’re great! But sales have not worked out as hopped for, so Weatherby brought back the .375 Wby a few years ago. The original .375 Wby Mag is simply the H&H improved with the radius shoulders and free bore made famous by Weatherby – it dates to 1945. Typically, their rifles are well made and accurate… and expensive along with factory ammo as previously noted.
If costs were not an issue, that is if I were wealthy enough to not consider those extra costs, which would I choose – the H&H or Weatherby?
Since ballistics can be manipulated one way or the other, i.e., a longer barrel on either will usually affect results, as well as handloads and psi, I’m not sure I’d make the decision based on ballistics alone, as, for example, I’m already getting .375 Wby Mag ballistics from my “short” H&H. So the choice between them would depend on the total package: The rifle itself: fit and finish, weight distribution, comfort in handling and shooting, looks, retained value, component availability, etc. There are therefore several variables but not one by itself that would count definitively. But weight of the rifles, their balance and handling, and first impressions goes a long way in choosing. I did that in choosing the Tikka T3 Lite in 9.3 x 62 over a Rem 700 SS in .338 RUM a dozen years ago and have never regretted it.
Regarding rifle scopes: I’ve read many times over, and perhaps you have too, that we should pay more for the scope than the rifle. I’ve never subscribed to that, and apparently neither does famed writer John Barsness! He’s done, I believe, an honest and fair job in both testing and evaluating rifle scopes from cheap to very expensive, and he may have some favorites. But, if I read him correctly, he has pointed out that whatever the price of a scope, there is no iron-clad guarantee that the most expensive will outlast a cheaper one! Like with any machinery, while the parts may be assembled in one place usually they’ve come from various parts of the globe; so with any optics, including rifle scopes. Also, there may be various brand names but the same product put together at the same facility.
Do you use a range finder? How often? They don’t need to cost $500 to get the job done. Same with trail cams. And a rifle that cost less than 1k might get the job done as well as one that cost 5k… or more!
This C8 astro telescope, with all unseen accessories, is worth over 5k, yet I’ve built several of my own that were larger, more powerful and with better viewing that cost less than 1k.
< It was a gift from a friend who is no longer with us.
How do we measure value? By dollars or sense?
“You get what you pay for” is largely a myth
Regarding my latest outing with the .375 H&H: On thursday, the 27th April, the weather cleared enough that I made my second trip to the range with it. Other than reducing the 235gr Barnes TSX’s by 2 grains of CFE 223, I loaded six more of the 250gr Sierras with the same load that shot so well on April 11, and one more of the 300gr Barnes TSX with 77 grs of RL-17. But in the midst of testing loads for the 9.3 x 62 before the .375, the battery on my Chrony died part way through the .375 tests. Nonetheless, I finished shooting anyway for poi on targets at 100 yds.
The 2 Sierras recorded 2997 and 2991 fps before the battery died – 3008 fps corrected to MV (I had a spare but I couldn’t shut everyone else down till I changed batteries!). So I carried on. That was an average of 17 fps less than two weeks prior (3025 fps) when the temps were high for that date at 74*F. This past Thursday (April 27) temps were just above freezing when I started shooting.The circles inscribed in blue is where the same load hit the target on the 11th April. All 4 are within MOA if shot on the same target. For hunting purposes next week I’ve adjusted the reticle 3 clicks right and 2 down. If you’re aware or not, those 250gr Sierras are running 200 fps faster than “normal” due to CFE 223. That puts it in the class of the .375 Wby Mag.
The two 235gr Barnes TSX’s were not recorded due to the dead battery, but that’s where they impacted without any adjustment to scope setting, prior to changes for the 250gr Sierras after shooting was over. Those two 235 TSX’s measure 0.93″ center to center.
Till the next