The two most popular .375-caliber rifle cartridges - .375 H&H vs .375 Ruger - square turn off to view which is the best for big game.

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.375 Ruger (top) vs .375 H&H (bottom)

The .375 H&H is prefer Coca Cola, a century-­old icon that gets the task done. The .375 Ruger is like Red Bull, a younger upstart with a bit an ext kick. But when you need a powerful cartridge to avoid a dangerous beast, you require it bad. However, which large bore need to you be transferring to gain the project done?

It is taken that once cartridges exceed .30 caliber, sales drop like a rock. Even so, attention in large-­caliber cartridges has always exceeded need, so this days we have actually lots of choices in .375, .416 and at the very least three in .458, add to a slew the resurrected British large bores.

For this work, the .375 is generally considered the minimum, but it’s a sound minimum and also a flexible caliber. The .375 is great for buffalo and the biggest bears, and with lighter, much faster bullets, have the right to be used efficiently for elk and moose and the full selection of African levels game. The .375 H&H is the grand-­daddy that the clan and also has to be the ultimate all-­around selection for hunting the world. Although there have actually been various other .375s for numerous years, I have actually long taken into consideration the H&H unassailable for versatility and shootability.

Then along come the Hornady-­designed .375 Ruger, a shorter, unbelted and a bit quicker load.


Introduced in 2007, the .375 Ruger was among the most successful large-­caliber cartridge introductions in history. The H&H remains the world’s most famous .375-­caliber cartridge, but the young .375 Ruger is already in 2nd place.


In recent years, a question I’m often asked is i beg your pardon .375 is better? Which need to they choose? by circumstance, I taken place to have actually on hand 3 rifles in each chambering (a personal herd that .375s), for this reason I thought it can be fun to try to answer that inquiry for myself and for you.

Case Study introduced in 1912, the .375 H&H has a long, tapered case with a gentle shoulder. That belted situation with a .532-­inch in salt diameter quite much specifies the base diameter of a belted magnum. V a situation length that 2.85 inches, the cartridge to represent what we think of as a full-­length case and also a full-­length action.

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Although the .375 H&H and also .375 Ruger room the most popular, they room not the just .375-­caliber cartridges. Left come right: .376 Steyr, .375 Flanged Magnum, .375 H&H Magnum, .375 Ruger, .375 Weatherby Magnum, .375 Remington Ultra Magnum and also .378 Weatherby Magnum.

Many wildcats and also the .375 Weatherby Magnum have the human body taper removed and have a sharpened shoulder angle, increasing instance capacity and velocity. The result is flatter trajectory and also greater energy yield. The primary cost, however, is in recoil, yet there’s no denying the smooth feeding of the archaically tapered .375 H&H case. Its major drawback is that it can not be housed in a standard-­length action, and not all manufacturers offer a full-­length action. Today, there are various other choices, yet the most popular .375 loads have featured a 300-­grain bullet traditional at 2,530 feet per 2nd (fps) and also a 270-­grain bullet traditional at 2,690 fps.

The .375 Ruger is essentially a new start. Although that has because spawned the .416 Ruger and also the shortened Ruger Compact Magnums (RCMs), it started as an original case style that used the .532-­inch rim however without a belt, the instance is fatter with little body taper and a 60-­degree shoulder. The is also much shorter at 2.580 inches, (barely) fitting into a traditional .30-­’06-­length action. However, the is a manufacturer’s dream: typical belted-­magnum bolt encounters working there is no modification, as carry out standard actions.


Case volume is 4 percent higher than the .375 H&H. The initial goal was to same the .375 H&H in a .30-­’06-­length case. However, because of the burning efficiency of the shorter, fatter case and also slightly better capacity, the .375 Ruger it is provided a bonus: together a manufacturing facility load, it runs on average perhaps 50 to 100 fps faster with equal barrel length and also it is definitely much more efficient in a shorter barrel.

Realistically, many .375 Ruger rifles stay 22-­inch barrels, while most .375 H&H’s have actually 24-­inch barrels. This means that a .375 Ruger with a shorter barrel will pretty much equal a .375 H&H. Include this come a shorter action and the typical .375 Ruger is a couple pounds lighter than the typical .375 H&H, as well as much shorter and handier.

This is not entirely a bed of roses. Add velocity and you increase recoil. Mitigate weight and you rise recoil. Perform both and you add an ext recoil. One of the endearing properties of the .375 H&H is that, in the median 10-­pound rifle (with scope), recoil is tolerable and also most civilization can learn to shoot the well. Autumn a pair pounds and also recoil is remarkable sharper.


Field Work simply last fall, us were functioning a large herd of buffalo on a floodplain in seaside Mozambique. As if ~ above cue, a yes, really nice bull, large and fully mature, stepped to the edge. I was already on the sticks v a Leupold-scoped legend Arms functions (LAW) skilled in .375 H&H loaded through 300-­grain Hornady DGX. Ns fired as shortly as the shoulder was clear, observed a great hit, and also then the bull was lost in the stampede. Castle ran to the right, the stricken bull easily lagging. As quickly as he to be clear, ns made ready to shoot again. Before I might press the trigger, the turned away, staggered and also fell over. Over there was just no factor to fire an additional shot.

When the cartridge to be new, the very first buffalo ns took v the .375 Ruger to be bedded in deep shade in the cool sand the the Chewore flow in Zimbabwe. Us were around 90 yards away once he rose from his nap. Ns shot that on the shoulder, climate again, and also a couple times an ext as that struggled increase the steep bank. The very first shot looked good, yet I wanted to avoid him in the flow bed, no in the special bush beyond the bank. I expect we compromised. He made the top and also died best there.

In isolation, these two incidents might suggest the the .375 Ruger isn’t quite sufficient gun, when the .375 H&H is certain perfect for buffalo. No conclusion would certainly be completely correct, because perfect is an elusive concept.

Pure one-­shot kills on pets as big and tenacious as Cape buffaloes are rare and also the one mentioned over would no have occurred had the bull continued to be clear because that a second shot. With our existing proliferation that so-called “over .40” cartridges, one commonly hears that the .375s are marginal because that buffalo. Steed pucky!

The milder 9.3s, such together the 9.3x62mm Mauser and 9.3x74R, space marginal. The slower .376 Steyr is marginal. The .375 H&H was taken into consideration adequate in 1912, yet with the bullets we have today, it’s better than it supplied to be. By logical extension, because the .375 Ruger is a little faster and also uses the same good bullets, it’s at the very least as adequate as the H&H.

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Whether you pick the .375 Ruger or .375 H&H, one of the great attributes the the .375 is that versatility. Powerful enough for large game, and with a trajectory flat enough for practically everything else. This nyala to be taken in Mozambique making use of a Leupold-scoped legend Arms works (LAW) M704 experienced in .375 H&H.

With equally good shot placement and also equally good bullets, there can be an ext dramatic effect and more instant gratification from larger cartridges. However, the .375s are much easier to shooting well, therefore shot placement has tendency to it is in good. The .375 is plenty. If it’s a heavier bullet of greater diameter, it might make a slim difference, but buffalo room not conveniently impressed through foot-­pounds alone. Taking them down efficiently requires adequate cartridges and also bullets, but shot location is by much the most important.

One can theorize that, v a little extra velocity, the .375 Ruger is much better than the H&H. I do see a difference in hitting power through the really quick .375s, yet in my experience, the .375 Ruger isn’t sufficient faster to see a difference. Thus, the selection falls to other considerations, consisting of accuracy, ease of access and platform preference.

Rifles & tons In .375 H&H, I had on hand a CZ 550 through 25-­inch barrel, an legislation M704 with 22-­inch barrel and also a Montana Rifle company rifle v 24-­inch barrel. The .375 Ruger team fielded all its weapons with 22-­inch barrels ~ above a Mossberg Patriot, Ruger M77 Hawkeye and a Ruger No 1. It seemed to make sense to use comparable loads in both cartridges. This had Hornady’s Dangerous game 300-­grain DGX in both cartridges, together with Hornady’s Superformance 250-­grain GMX. Published velocities for the tons with 24-­inch barrels are: .375 H&H, 250-­grain GMX comes in at 2,890 fps when the 300-­grain DGX at 2,530 fps. For the .375 Ruger, we have a 250-­gain GMX in ~ 2,900 fps and a 300-­grain DGX v 2,660 fps.

The legend that the .375 is that it will certainly fire a variety of loads into the very same group. Probably sometimes, yet rarely with two lots of such different bullet weights and also velocities. Actual difference in impact between the 250-­grain GMX and also the 300-­grain DGX varied amongst the rifles however was always extreme. At 100 yards, the 300-­grain load dropped from 5 inches to as lot as eight inches below the 250-­grain bullet. So, let’s discard the idea the you can lug a light, quick load for levels game and a heavy-­bullet pack for dangerous game. Instead, pick one pack that will certainly be sufficient for the largest video game you intend to hunt.

Shooting Protocol & outcomes All the rifles in ours test to be scoped, return some had low-­power variables, while rather wore scopes with greater magnification. To save the playing ar as level as possible, all groups were shot at 4X magnification, i beg your pardon no doubt increased group sizes. To save my shoulder, i deployed a Caldwell lead Sled. While the Sled reduce a most recoil, shoot these huge boys still mounts increase on the body.

My shooting protocol consists of very first rough-­zeroing every rifle, an ext or less, “on” in ~ 50 yards through the 250-­grain GMX, then clean the barrels. Fouling shots to be fired to verify zero, followed by five, three-­shot groups with the 250-­grain GMX. Shoot the rifles in sequence so the barrels to be cool for each group. After five groups to be fired, ns rezeroed through the 300-­grain DGX loads, cleaned the barrels, showed zero v fouling shots and also then repeated. (This test took a pair of days.)

Velocities varied considerably among the rifles. I’ve watched a lot of 300-­grain .375 H&H lots running as slow-moving as 2,400 fps, so ns was surprised to watch the 300-­grain DGX .375 H&H load develop a very considerable velocity bonus of 60 fps in the 22-­inch legislation barrel and also a chuck 140 fps extra in the 24-­inch Montana Rifles barrel.

There are sluggish barrels and also there are rapid barrels, and also the barrel of the Montana .375 H&H, though not the longest, had actually the greatest H&H velocity with both loads, if the Mossberg Patriot in .375 Ruger had actually the greatest velocity v both loads. There weren’t any other velocity anomalies as the .375 Ruger loads tallied an extremely close to specifications, regardless of coming from 22-­inch barrels.

As far as accuracy goes, this was simply a photo in time with just two loads. This is no unreasonable because, for nonhandloaders, lots are still limited in .375 Ruger. Also, for many folks, load an option in .375s is most likely driven more by cartridge performance 보다 raw accuracy. On dangerous game, certainly it should be. It doesn’t take it minute-­of-­prairie-­dog accuracy to be minute-­of-­buffalo, however the bullet should do a proper job once it gets there.

I do not imply that these room the ideal groups any of this rifles are qualified of. I know that a pair of lock shoot better, or at least have on various other days, but that wasn’t the suggest here. Rather, I wanted to to compare each chambering with comparable bullets and also loads and also see what would certainly happened.

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In September 2015, the writer took this terrific Mozambique buffalo with one 300-­grain DGX from the legislation M704 expert in .375 H&H. Pure one-­shot kills on buffalo are rare, yet with great bullets and great shot placement, the .375s are certainly capable.

The ideal average of the five, three-­shot teams came from mine left-­hand activity Montana Rifles H&H with 300-­grain DGXs measuring 1.49 inches. The best average the five, three-­shot groups with 250-­grain GMXs was v the legislation M704 expert .375 H&H at 1.54 inches. With the 250-­grain GMX, the .375 Ruger “won” with an aggregate (15, three-­shot groups) the 1.75 inches come the .375 H&H’s 1.92. However, acquisition the typical of 30, three-­shot groups with every cartridge, the .375 H&H come out front at 1.79 inches come 2.13 inches.

The winner is ... Quite than gift conclusive in any way, come me this suggests that the playing ar wasn’t level. The CZ 550 ($1,215) was the only production .375 H&H; the LAW and Montana Rifles H&Hs space upgraded rifles with top-­quality barrels. Their respective averages of their 10, three-­shot teams were the best among the six rifles (and should have been). All three of the .375 Rugers to be standard manufacturing rifles. This renders a skewed comparison. For instance, the Mossberg Patriot had actually the best average the 10, three-­shot groups among the 3 .375 Rugers, and also was third in overall accuracy. Store in mind that it to be shooting against rifles that, in part cases, cost more than 5 times together much!

Note that I claimed this “skewed” the accuracy results. Ns didn’t speak “unfair,” since it’s vital to mental that since the .375 H&H needs a full-­length activity (that no everyone makes), the is regularly seen in one upgraded or tradition rifle. Every .375 H&H rifles room considerably an ext expensive than the Mossberg Patriot ($629) and also Ruger Hawkeye ($1,280).

So, i beg your pardon cartridge must you choose? Both offer power and also accuracy that are adequate for any type of job suitable for a .375. Since of generally shorter barrels (again, it’s no a level play field), the .375 Ruger doesn’t have actually a far-reaching edge in velocity or energy over the H&H. However, couple a much shorter barrel through a compact activity and a .375 Ruger will be lighter and also handier than many .375 H&Hs. Over there are areas such as in Alaska and also Africa’s forests where this matters. Top top the other hand, a irradiate .375 Ruger kicks an ext than the average, heavier H&H.

Now, i hesitate to do too lot of this due to the fact that I provided two lengthy bolt actions. However, the .375 Ruger has a shorter bolt throw. Purely as a issue of physics, the much shorter action is faster and at least, theoretically, less likely to be short-­stroked.

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In regards to platform cost, the .375 Ruger wins hand down. My Ruger No. 1 in .375 Ruger has actually a light 22-­inch barrel, but it expenses the exact same as the longer, more heavier Ruger No. 1 tropical ($1,900). However, mine light, comfortable Ruger M77 Hawkeye in .375 Ruger is a walnut-­stocked rifle through a left-­hand action. I am not aware of any type of factory .375 H&H rifles (right or left hand) at a comparable price point, back Browning, CZ, Remington and Winchester (and others) offer .375 H&H rifles in ~ minimal premium. The Mossberg Patriot in .375 Ruger is very affordable .375 that shoots just fine and also handles well. If budget plan is a concern, the .375 Ruger wins.

In regards to availability, the .375 H&H is the clear winner. Everybody makes ammunition, and also everybody who has actually a long activity makes rifles. The .375 H&H is a people standard, and while that is not true that you deserve to buy ammo everywhere (for anything), most searching camps in Africa will have actually a stash the .375 H&H. This is no yet true that the .375 Ruger. I lean towards the H&H based on long-­term familiarity as well as nostalgia, yet it’s quite to carry a lighter .375 Ruger. Take your pick either way. It’ll it is in a while before I go again come firing 60-­odd teams from .375s. 

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Notes: Velocity is the average of five shots v the chronograph set at 10 feet. Accuracy is the median of five, three-shot group at 100 yards. Barrels were cooled and also cleaned between loads v a fouling shoot fired before grouping.