375 H&H Magnum- Ultimate prepper cartridge?
I know, possibly the most inflammatory post ever, right?
A 375 H&H, and a 22 lr pistol you could walk from Panama to Point Barrow, Alaska and kill every game animal breathing with no worries of inadequacy in your weapon selection.
Stay with me with this one because I make a great case for the 375 H&H being the Do Everything, Go Anywhere, Kill Anything centerfire rifle cartridge. Factory loads are plentiful and effective but can be a bit pricey. Hand loading to achieve its full potential as well as making it much more affordable is the way to go.
First, I have not lost my mind.
This has been in the back of my mind since the great panic buy of the Obama election. Im sure most remember not being able to find ammo, powder, primers, bullets and brass. Everyone and their brother was in the search for anything they could load in a 223/556 or a 308/30-06. And 762×39 was unobtainium.
So I looked around. A LOT of looking around. And the few consistent things I saw available in bullets were .358 and .375. When there were nothing but tags on the shelf at the big box outdoor stores in the .22-.30 cal bullet isle, .358 and .375 were there. There were always rifle bullets in 40 cal and over, but unless you are looking at the 45/70 it is really not practical for what I am talking about here.
The 375 has bullet weights ranging from 180 gr cast lead to 350gr Solids good for breaking the frontal armor on Elephants and AR500 steel plate. More on this use later:)
Things “everyone knows”
Most people know the 375 is considered an “Elephant gun” and isn’t useful in North America for anything. Most people also know its a heavy recoiling cartridge only suitable for “Manly Men doing Manly things”. And everyone knows its too much gun for all North American game. So what else is it good for?
Lets address these points in order.
The “three seven five” as it is commonly called is 100 years old, and it has been carried around the world. It is arguably the most common cartridge for hunting in Africa, and is as available on store shelves there as the 30-06 is in America and Canada. Its common in Alaska, used by Guides and Hunters for Moose and Bears. Its used by hunters in the east for White tails when loaded with the proper bullets, and in the Southwest for Elk and Deer. And everywhere in between for animals ranging from Coyote to Buffalo. Yes it can do it all. And really you only need 3 bullet weights to do it. And 1 powder. Magnum Large or Large Rifle primers depending on the load and your load data.
Really that’s it.
Ok, yes it will adjust your vertebrae IF you fail to engage your brain before firing it. Especially with the heavier loads. Good news is if you have a 12 gauge shotgun and you’ve fired slugs a 375 H&H is NO issue. I have a pre-64 Winchester Mod 70 in 30-06 that is painful to shoot, so much so Id rather shoot my 375.
I fired 30, 270 gr factory loads off the bench one eventful day when lack of sleep, and a failure to understand UP meant UP on a scope adjustment.
Yes Ill admit that. I made a mistake and its funny now. Not so much when $100 went down range
So, don’t crawl up on the scope, don’t fail to get a solid grasp and a good cheek weld , hold on and squeeze. It really is a lot of fun to shoot.
Hilarious in fact when my lady fires it and everyone on the range cant believe ” a woman” can shoot a rifle that big.
Ignorance is bliss apparently.
If again you can shoot a 12 gauge a 375 H&H is not a big deal, especially with the 235 gr loads. When you get up to the 300-350 gr loads, yes it does bounce you a little more. Hold on to your man card and do it.
Unless you don’t need a bullet that big. Personally a 260 gr Nosler, or my favorite, the 270 gr Barnes TSX is my go anywhere, do ALMOST ( with reservations on the really small and really big stuff) anything load.
Honestly the biggest problem with people is they are flinching shooting their deer rifles, and let the size intimidate them. And ” everyone knows” it will kill you by recoil.
In my experience with letting someone whose never fired something this size, it goes a little like this.
Round 1, fired off hand. BOOM ‘confused response” that’s pretty cool, can I try again?”
Round 2 again off hand BOOM Clang the target plate downrange. A smile creeps out as they realize yes they survived another shot and it was fun. ” Can I shoot another one?”
Round 3 Kneeling Boom-clang on the target. Grinning like a complete fool now, bolt comes back and all their friends who were watching, thinking they were going to see someone fly off the line now all wanting to try….
A smug smile as they hand the rifle back to me, and knowledge maybe all the crap they’ve heard in the gun shops, from people who’ve never seen a loaded round might be exactly that. And a new addiction is kindled in an open mind.
Yes its an addiction.
The first time Id ever fired a 375 H&H I was expecting much more recoil then my 30 cal rifles. I was pleasantly surprised that was not the case. I fired 70 rounds that day. Next range trip over 100. Then I had to own my own rifle because it was not acceptable for someone else to have control over how much I wanted to shoot a rifle.
Now, if you’ve made it this far and still wonder.
Too much gun??
This should not even be in your mind. If you are shooting for your family, you need a rifle which can shoot butt to chest, an animal the size of a steer or a moose if that appeals to you more. Hunting, you can use a smaller rifle, limit yourself to “only” broadside or comfortable shots. I am talking about staying alive, not impressing anyone with how small a bullet I can harvest game with. Gun rag drivel in my opinion.
The biggest disservice done to a caliber was putting the word Magnum on the marketing. Magnumitis is an affliction of people trying to push to small a bullet , faster than it should be pushed to make up for their inability to shoot.
A 375 H&H doesn’t truly shine until its getting dark, you have a terrible angle and the food is getting away in heavy bush. Your kids are hungry and you have what is jokingly called a “Texas Heart shot” . In Africa its considered very effective to drop the beast right where it stands.
Keeps you from having to chase it or getting mauled by your intended food source.
The “Texas Heart Shot”.
Base of the tail, through the paunch or heavy muscle and into the vitals in the chest, preferably exiting out the front carrying a significant portion of the lungs.
A 180 gr 30 caliber is not going to reliably do it. A 220 gr 30 cal bullet MAY do it. A 375 H&H 270 gr bullet WILL do it.
That means a 308 or a 223 is not the gun you want in your hands when you need to put meat on the ground.
Im not going into ethics or shooting styles. If you cant shoot at least don’t burn all your ammo before you die. Leave some for me to find.
YOU need a rifle firing the bullet which can do the job under any conditions at a velocity the bullet is designed to expand at. A 375 H&H is a perfect choice for this. And no one with any knowledge or real experience will ever tell you the 375 H&H lacks for velocity, in any bullet weights. The 270 gr loads average 2700-2800 feet per second which is comparable to a 30-06 180gr load but with much more penetration and terminal performance for those shots less than perfect.
Ive gone on enough about my reasoning and the why I think its best for the prepping person. Its not a fighting rifle, its not perfect for any 1 thing, but its a perfect solution for the 1 rifle for everything to feed yourself and family. In part 2 I will talk about rifles and loads. Powders, primers and techniques so don’t miss it.
375 H&H Magnum- Ultimate prepper cartridge?