View Full Version : need rifle for African plains game, moose, bear

05-24-2003, 02:18 PM
Hey all, I've been reading this board for a while and decided to go ahead and register.

My question: I'm beginning the process of choosing a gun that I can use for African plains game (including the bigger animals like kudu, eland) as well as moose, brown bear, and elk. I'm currently looking at calibers like the .338 Rem Ultra Mag., .338 Win Mag., and .340 Wby. My only requirement is that I don't really want a synthetic stock, so that throws out the .338-.378 Wby. Anyone have any input or suggestions?

05-24-2003, 04:40 PM
If I were you I'd look at a .375 H&H. It can do everything the others can and the ammo is easy to find everywhere.

Jim T
05-24-2003, 08:32 PM
I second that. For much African game, the 375H&H is the minimum caliber allowed. It's an oldie but a goodie.


05-24-2003, 09:00 PM
Hi Tex, and welcome--

For the game and locales you mention I'll third the venerable .375 H&H. If you'll learn to handload for it you'll find you can shoot from laser-like 210's thru Cape buff-fetching 300's (the latter of which you can find in factory fodder anywhere on earth). It's a do-anything still-wonderful caliber, and as you don't seem to be concerned about weight it'll serve you just as well as it has many, many men for 90-some years. Yes, it is that good.

I hail originally from out Mesquite way. Talk Texas to me sometime.

05-24-2003, 09:57 PM
Guys, thanks for the replies. Right now I'm not looking at a buff; if I ever decide to hunt one I'll look into getting a .375 or .416. Don't you guys think a .375 is a little much for impala and the smaller plains game? I want something that won't blow up the smaller animals but is still adequate on the larger plains game, plus the bigger North American game.

Plus, what are the ballistics like on a .375 compared to the calibers I mentioned earlier? I would imagine some of the shots in Africa would be out to 200 or 300 yards...

05-25-2003, 08:44 AM
I have to ditto the 375H&H remarks.....my three 375s all shoot most everything quite well but really love the Federal High Energy 300 gr Trophy Bonded ammo.....I haven't recovered a bullet yet but they sure hammer bull moose and grizzly....I've taken Sitka Blacktail deer with minimal meat damage...probably less than my 270 would have done.

But I don't think high tech bullets are required for most game.....the Remington Corelokt would work for most North American game...

Range is not a problem as the trajectory is quite silmilar to a 30-06.....I've taken moose at some very extreme ranges.

The 375 is as great as it's reputation.....I think Oz carries a 375 for his do-everything rifle also....

Jim T
05-25-2003, 11:54 PM
The 375 has excellent accuracy, and will not destroy meat IF you chose a high quality bullet. A cheap bullet will blow a hole in a caribou that you can put your fist into. I think it's unanimous. You just can't go wrong with this caliber. Get a bullet like a Fail Safe or Trophy Bonded and you will be a happy camper.


05-26-2003, 03:12 AM
Tex, I have never hunted in Africa, so this post is just in regards to elk and mule deer. The 340 Weatherby I am shooting is a very interesting rifle. The ballistics of the 250 Sierra Boattail are awesome when launched at 2950 fps. It carries 2000 foot pounds a very long ways. This rifle also shoots 210 Partitions sub moa and they take off at 3280 fps. For dangerous game, I would load up 250 partitions or 250 a-frames. It is uncanny how accurate this cartridge is. Mine is custom, but my buddies is standard Mark V and it is sub moa as well. It does recoil a tad.

For really long range work, in my opinion, this cartridge shines very brightly. Good luck with your choices. Make sure to put a premium scope and rings on either the 340 or the 375 as they tend to stress things a bit. Good luck.

05-26-2003, 06:35 AM

Im going to second one of the 338 cal. mag. cartridges. I have two 338 Win. mags. and two 340 WBY mags. Also I have two 375 IMP. and two 378 WBY.

The versatility of the 338WIN. Mag. cannot be overstated. The 250gr. bullets in 338 have a greater sectional density than the 300gr. 375 bullets, and the 250gr. bullets in 338 will definately our penetrate the 300gr. 375 bullets if the bullets are similar construction and shoot flatter too.

338 Win mag. ammo is also esy to find in Africa and it is easier to find in north America than 375 ammo is.

The 338 win. will likely come in some what lighter rifles and recoil isnt a problem at all with good stock designs. IF the mag. box is designed correctly you can load four cartridges into the rifle too.

With proper bullets and loads, I believe the 338 Win is the most versatile cartridge in the world for the type of hunting you are asking about.

The 338-378 is too much of a good thing for the type of hunting you want to do. It is not versatile and hard to find and it recoils like he.....

05-26-2003, 06:44 AM

I'll revisit this by way of a summary, if I may. The excellent advise accumulating here should give you a clue to the VERSATLITY of the .375. I put down a Roland-Ward class Kudu at 350 paces and then a duiker in the same day with the same rifle...yep, a .375 H&H. Add in a Buff a couple days later. You won't find the .416 so accomodating. After my adventures on that African hunt I retired my .338 upon returning to the states, switching all .338 tasks to the .375. Yes, it is that good. Beware the man with one rifle....

Yukon Hunter
05-26-2003, 07:25 AM
Dang, Patrick-
You took the words right out of my mouth! As I've stated here before, I'm a one-gun man, and that rifle is a Sako synthetic in .375 H&H. I haven't been to Africa (yet), but I use the .375 for absolutely everything up here. Heck, I'd use it on Ground Squirrels, if I was a varmint hunter. I don't find the .375 to be overly nasty as far as the kick is concerned (my sister, at 105 lbs., doesn't either). I'm also a firm believer in the old "they can't be too dead" adage.
As for ballistics, the .375, when loaded with 300 grain Boattail Soft Points and sighted in for 200 yards, drops ~50" at 500 yards, while retaining close to 2500 fp of energy, something to remember for hunting bear and moose.
Unfortunately, I don't have the specs for the 210 grain bullet, but I would imagine that it is, as Patrick says, a friggin' laser.

05-26-2003, 09:27 AM

Alrighty, if you want some loads for that ol' Sako ( I have one just like it) here is a bevy that'll stand you well for popping literally everything:

---small game: 20gr. IMR 4227; CCI 250 pr.; Win case; 220gr. Hornady bullet. (Great for rabbits, squirrels, grouse, ptarmigan and such).

---big game: 80 1/2gr. Reloder 15 or 78gr. AA 2520; Fed. 210 pr.; Win. case; 210gr. X-bullet. (3150 fps. and terrific for anything short of dangerous game...and probably not too bad for even that).

---another big game load: 83gr. H-380; Fed. 215 pr.; Win. case; 235gr. Speer bullet. (2950 fps. and so accurate in my rifle that I put in here for you too).

---dangerous/very large game load: 70 gr. Reloder 15; CCI 250 pr.; Win. case; 300gr. X-bullet. (About 2560 fps. Put the bullet in the right place and no critter on earth will fail to go down.)

I had a load for Barnes 300 gr. Super Solids (some African PH's still want you to have some solids handy), but I seem to have misplaced the info on that one. If you're interested, start a bit below the 300 gr. X-bullet load above and see what you get. Doesn't have to be "fast", you know. Of course, as always, start a bit lower than I've shown for all the big game loads and work up if warranted.

05-26-2003, 05:54 PM
/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/eek.gif OK, I'll stick my neck out a little here, just bought a Savage 116 Weather Warrior Stainless Steel in 7mm Rem Ultra mag. for $ 100.00 less than a Remington 700. Yes, not my first choice for the Big Bears or Africa, but hold on here. This beauty can have a quick change barrel made for it in anything you want. A quote from Pac-Nor Barrels in Oregon was $ 299 for a .375 Rem Ultra Mag SS barrel. All you need is the headspace guages, barrel nut wrench and action wrench, they can even be changed in the field. The action strong, a real extractor, even the bolt face can be changed in a minute for long, non- magnum calibers. The magazine liner changed out for another cartridge width, and it can be order with a walnut or laminated stock if you don't like the waterproof composite one. The new fully adjustable trigger can be ordered for it. Don't overlook this piece, it's a modern quick change artist!

Yukon Hunter
05-27-2003, 06:45 AM
I'm not up on reloading- the fella I bought the .375 from does that for me. I'm telling you, it's good to have a hunting mentor, even at my age. Not sure where I'd be without this guy. (BTW- my lovely wife was kind enough to go back to him for a nice little Leupold 2-7x for my birthday) I'll cc him a copy of your message. I can tell you that, right now, I'm using Hornady Interlock Spitzers w/ 73 gr CF8506 & Rem 9 1/2 Mag primer (this is all Greek to me).
BTW, I see by the Petersen's Hunting mag Ballistics chart that the .375 H&H, using 270 gr Barnes x-bullets, supposedly only drops 28 inches at 500 yards. I assume this is a misprint. Surely not even a rocket like the X-bullet is that flat shooting when it's only developing a little over 2800 fps at the muzzle.
I'm very interested in the 210 gr. X-bullet info you sent. Any idea what the ballistics of that little baby look like? The problem that I see with such a hot load, of course, is it blowing up at short range on a miffed Grizz. Sounds like just the ticket for Dalls, though.

05-27-2003, 11:05 AM

The thing about X-bullets is they kinda don't blow up. Of course you could have a magazine full of 300's for the trek up (and down) thru bear country. I am about to head out and do a bit of Rambling; will see if I can dig out the drops/speeds/etc. of that 210 load when I get back. Give me two, three days. Your handloading buddy probably can derive it all, especially if he has the BC of the 210 and a Speer reloading manual. I remember that the load was sighted in at something like 5 1/2" at a hundred yards and it hadn't much drop WAAAY out there. It would indeed be a terrific Dall load for a man armed with a .375.

William Clunie
05-28-2003, 01:37 AM
Years ago my shooting parnter and I decided that we wanted to go to Africa to hunt. I bought a Winchester Model 70 .375 H&H (wood stock) and he purchased a Remington synthetic-stocked .375 H&H. One trip to the range changed his mind, and he traded the Rem. for a Winchester like mine. The wood stock makes it a little heavier (10 lbs. with a scope), but the extra weight pays off in recoil reduction. The synthetic-stocked Rem. kicked more and it showed in my friends shooting. At 200 yards I can put them all in a fist-sized hole, so can my friend and his new wood-stocked model 70. If I were ever in love with a rifle, this is my honey. I am still working on Africa as a hunting destination, and have only taken one moose with it. At seventy yards the bull never new what hit it. One shot to the heart/lungs and the beast did an about face in one leap. An "insurance" round in the same spot dropped the moose in its tracks. (no chasing him into a swamp!) If you are worried about it being too much for all of Africa, take a .308 or something similar as a second gun. Good Hunting!

Mike T
05-28-2003, 05:46 PM
Tex: I fully agree with what's been written here about the 375. It is great "big medicine." I'm off to Africa in 3 weeks and decided to try something different this time. I'm taking a 9.3 x 62 Mauser. A common round there, strictly a hand loading prospect here. It looks like a 375 light on paper and I've found the 250 gr Swift a-Frames group very well, at least well enough to down a Kudu.

Half the fun of rifles is figuring out what you want...Enjoy the search.

05-28-2003, 10:38 PM
African Plains Game to Moose and Brown Bar... that's one helluva spread! I'd use the 338 WM... perfect!

05-29-2003, 08:48 AM

I'm back from a short ramble, and for Yukon I've dug out an old pocket notebook that has the drops and such for that 210gr. X-bullet in the .375. Bear in mind the site-in for that load was based on the site-in for the 300gr. load--it's where it came out, in other words, in relation to the dangerous game load. I made the decision that the heavier load was the more important. The upshot is that you'll notice the 210 bullet is pretty high at 100 yds. That has always been hunkey dory with me (I find it easy to hold low at modest range) and note that a benefit is a very scant drop at long range.

---100yds= 6", 400yds= -7". Not a bad drop at all, eh? I don't list the speed, foot pounds and such in my old book, and that's undoubtedly because it was "plenty" if you follow me.

Incidentally, the 300gr. load that the above matches up with was: 2" high at 100, minus 9" at 300, and minus 29" at 400, just for the record.


I note that Sundles and Brad advocate the venerable .338, and rightly so. The only reason I tend to favor IN YOUR CASE the .375 is that you're headed for Africa. And if a buff appears and the PH has an extra tag and y'all decide to whack him you'll be LEGAL with the .375. The .375 will do everything the .338 will do AND you'll be ready and legal for anything, in other words. It covers all the opportunities, the bases, quite well.

Yukon Hunter
05-30-2003, 05:44 AM
You're a gentleman and a scholar. I'll pass this on to my reloading swami.

06-07-2003, 02:47 PM
When I went to Africa I harvested 7 trophy animals from impala to Cape buffalo. Another hunter on the safari with me had a 375 H&H. I was so impressed with the 375 H&H that as soon as I got home, I had a 375 H&H built for me. I would not go back to Africa without it. I would use it for everything from dik dik to Cape buffalo.

06-10-2003, 04:08 PM
The .375 H&H is perfect for everything you want, in Africa you can use trophy bonded bear claw for the medium animal and solids for the real small and real big, the point in using the solids in the real small is to reduce the diameter of the exit wound and so the damage to the pelt.
Sorry for my faulty english.
Mexico City.

kotzebue kid
06-11-2003, 10:19 AM
I bought a lightly used older wood stock winchester model 70 375 h&h with a leupold 1.5X5 a couple of years ago Not knowing too much about it exept that the 375 is a very popular round up here. Also since I dont reload quality federal ammo is easily available at any wallmart when I'm in the city. Aside from being a little heavier than the ruger 308 that I also use, I can't imagine having a better performing and pleasing rifle to use. The 375 "300 grain hi-shok" does significantly less meat damage on a caribou than a 150 or 168 gr 308.
The winchester really is fine. I've heard the Sako is really nice too for alot more money. The standard issue fish and game rifle is the Sako 375 h&h. Happy hunting.

06-11-2003, 04:23 PM
Hey all, thanks for all the replies---I've been around but wanted to sit back and read some answers before I replied.

Okay, okay, now you guys have got me looking at the .375 H&H. I still haven't made a decision, but I'm looking more closely at that caliber. One of the reasons I'm looking is because I was gonna go through the Weatherby or Winchester custom shops for the .338/.340 but they're both backed waaaaaay up. I think I've found a guy with a couple of pre-'64 M70's in .375 H&H that I'm gonna look at.

Thanks again for all of the replies!

06-17-2003, 11:00 PM
Hi guys, Not wanting to miss out on this one, I'll jump in here for a short reply and move on. Vern is correct, I do use a .375 for everything here in AK, even took it sheep hunting once (I'll never do that again unless I'm desperate). You could sure do worse than those pre-64's, Mine's an Interarms Mk 10, basic, all hand lapped and polished, started life in blue, plated in grey chrome matte. Fine rifle, has saved my life for sure once with a brown bear, taken ptarmigan for the pot, a dozen or so caribou over the years, 6 or 8 moose, and did just fine on a couple of foxes too. Plenty of backup rounds fired over the years for visiting hunters and friends when the situation warranted it as well. As for small plains game and tearing them up, I subscribe to the "fox theory". Shot both foxes with 300 grain Hornady round noses, nickle size holes in and out. Just not enough heavy bone or muscle to even begin to upset that big slug. Used 210gr Speer softpoints on a couple of caribou with fair results, so as you can see, its been versatile for me, enjoy your search and good hunting.

Yukon Hunter
06-18-2003, 12:43 AM
Okay, Oz-
Being as how I've decided to be a one gun man (my Sako .375), and I live in the same neck of the woods you do, why NOT take this baby sheep hunting?

06-18-2003, 11:18 PM
Yukon, I took my .375 sheep hunting the one time when I was younger than I am now by at least 20 years (I just turned 46 last week) and even then realized that that gun needed a serious diet or I just wasn't the stud I needed to be. I hated to alter the 375 much 'cause it WORKS as is so I opted for a different approach. To say I'm a one-gun man isn't accurate because of this as I whittled down the first centerfire rifle I ever had (given to me by my Dad), a 30.06 in a commercial English Mauser action to 6# just for sheep and goats. I see no reason whatsoever for me to carry more than I need to up a mountain but if anyone else wants to, so be it. I also see no reason whatsoever for you to leave your 375 home and in a Sako action (sweet) with a synthetic stock it's probably at least a couple of pounds lighter than mine anyway. The 'ol girl weighs in at 10 1/2# so its not light but also not the heaviest either. I have a .458 that tips in at 8# in an Interarms action also and at 8# it's an eyeopener for sure. I'm certainly not taking it sheep hunting either!!! Love your .375? Then pack it wherever you like and I'll defend your choice for doing so and not ask why, 'cause I know why-it works for you. Thanks for asking, shoot straight, Oz

Yukon Hunter
06-19-2003, 12:27 AM
Great answer, Oz. I took my daughter's .270 in for sheep last year. The problem is, it only weighs 1/2 lb less than my .375 (scoped at ~8 1/4lbs.), and I just don't like the damned thing. I'm much more comfortable with the blunderbuss.

07-05-2003, 01:03 AM
Yukon, The blunderbuss it is then, and sheep beware the one rifle hunter. I can taste the sheep ribs over that fire at camp 1 at timberline on the descent. The high country beckons. Savor it all, Oz

Yukon Hunter
07-05-2003, 05:07 AM
Soon, brother, soon...
My sister (God love her) got a draw for Sheep in the same area I got one last year. Her husband got a Bison draw. I lucked into a 'bou permit in a pretty good area. Three more weeks...

William Clunie
07-05-2003, 05:58 PM
So what is the final verdict? Come on-you can't just leave us hangin'. What did you get?
Tell us all about it.

07-05-2003, 09:30 PM
William, good timing. As enticing as the .375 sounds, I decided to go with my second idea and get two rifles. I just picked them up today.

I ended up getting a Winchester Safari Express in .416 Rem. Mag. and a Weatherby Mark V Euromark (made in USA) in .340 Wby. Mag. Both are beautiful guns--the Winchester is NIB and the Weatherby is probably 99%, just has a few minor handling marks on the stock. I'm really impressed with the factory stocks on these guns. The Euromark really fits me well because it has the matte barrel and oil-finished stock, which I like better than the glossy finish of the Mark V Deluxe. I got it from Cabela's--hopefully this link will work: web page (http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/community/gun/gun-details.jhtml;jsessionid=NNWEFJAXHYSFCCWQNVECFFAK0 BWUOIV0?contentId=195004_wby340&hierarchyId=10473)

The best part? I was able to pick them both up for just over $2,000, well within my budget. Of course, now I just have to scope them!

The worst part? I don't get to shoot them until August 3rd! I'm studying for the bar exam right now and need to concentrate so I can pass, become an attorney (a respectful one!), make some cash, and take some trips where I can use these cannons!

William Clunie
07-06-2003, 11:40 AM
Both are great rifles. Good luck on your exam. If you have ever thought of hunting or fishing in Maine give me a call. Visit my website at:www.mooserock.org