So, I asks this question about the 375 Ruger...


Joe Gunns
November 6, 2007, 07:25 PM
...and the 375 H&H. I've read the puff-pieces, I wanna know how real people think they compare. I gets no answers. Post sinks like a stone. (Maybe the replies were on the quantam board in the next universe.) So I decides to get the Ruger and an H&H and find out for myself.

Decided to start with the Ruger, since it is the new wunderkind. Chose the African over the Alaskan for the extra few barrel-inches and the wood stock. Looked nice outta the box. At 7 3/4 pounds it feels pretty light. Fits me well. Plunk down $100 plus tax for 40 rounds of Hornady 300 grain cigars. Hike out to the club. Post targets at 50 and 100 yards.

Am thinking the thing is gonna kick, but 12 gauge and those hotter end 45-70's dont bother me, but they are heavier than the Ruger, so I'll just man-up on my grip, take the first shot offhand to get the feel before sitting at the bench. I snug 'er in tight, lean into it. POW Nails dig into the checkering on the fore-end. Left foot swings back to catch balance. Pain in shoulder. Feel like one of those clowns in that video on the internet shooting the elephant gun. :o Silly grin on my face. Surprized to find my hat is still firmly on my head. Put gun on bench, scope out 50 yard target. No hole. :(

Based on the dull ache starting in my shoulder I decide I need to get acclimated before I shoot this thing from the bench. Pick up gun. Really pay attention to my form, snug up tighter, lean into it more. POW Keep grip on fore-end. Keep balance. Pain in shoulder now a bit worse. Put down gun. Scope target. No hole. To cut to the chase, I let off a total of six rounds off-hand, with no holes appearing in the target. Quit 'cause I realize that all I'm doin is reinforcing a helluva flinch. :mad: Tell a just-arriving young fella with some ak-looking rifle that he can use my targets since they're virgin. :o

Go over to the pistol range. Flinch is so bad the .22 rounds are hitting the bottom of the target. Keep at it til the flinch is gone, even on the .45 "bear" loads. Go home, clean guns. Check out bruise on shoulder. Console self with observation that at this rate I will get a lot of range sessions outta that $100 worth of ammo. Go online, find a recoil calculator. Put in the numbers using suggested handload data from a HANDLOADER magazine article. Calculator sez recoil is 66 pounds -Holy Cow! (the articles in the gun mags claimed recoil in the 40-50 lb range :cool: ). Read up on managing recoil. Think about getting a Lead Sled and/or a different recoil pad. Dont get around to it. Takes about a week before I am not havin probs with occasional flinching whilst shooting handguns. Takes week and a half before shoulder no longer has any discernable soreness when proded.

Go to range yesterday with buddy. Shoot my '06. Shoot my 45-70. Put folded towel over right shoulder. Shoot the 375 Ruger, offhand. Shoulder hurts anyway. First hole just below black at 50 yards. Second hole thumb-width almost directly below first hole. Feelin' saucy now! :D Third hole two handspans left in a northwesterly direction. :scrutiny: Shoulder aching again.

Buddy wants to shoot it. I give him the towel and some instruction on his stance and grip. He puts a hole between my flyer and my two-shot group. Looks a bit goggled-eyed. Declares himself satisfied. Despite positive encouragement, expresses guilt over using up more of my $2.50-a-pop ammo. :rolleyes:

I think about taking three more shots from a rest, but... Shoulder aching (no bruise showed up later). Decide that the flyer was indicative of the flinch coming back and its time to call it a day. Decide to look into replacing the buttpad cause I don't want an achy shoulder for a few days after each session. Also will be looking around for a LeadSled type of gimmick to use from the bench so I get the sights set to my eye. (I also gotta get back into rolling my own!) But basically, I was encouraged that the recoil bothered me less and that my first two shots gave me an acceptable little group. :)

So, Other than felt-recoil being significanly more than I expected, I am happy with the rifle. Stock comes up fast to cheek-weld. Trigger is smooth, break is clean, action was stiff, but daily sessions of working it have smoothed it out quite a bit. Like all the rugers I have bought over the last few years, sights seem pretty close right outta the box. I figger a month or so with this gun and it'll be time to get an H&H so I can finish answering my own question.


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November 6, 2007, 07:36 PM
Thanks for the insite, keep us posted.

November 6, 2007, 09:13 PM
I've got a #1 Tropical in 375 H&H and reading your great report had me nodding in agreement. Pretty much exactly the same thing I experienced when first shooting the Midbore with full-squat 300grn handloads.

Part of my pain was the redrock buttplate. I have milsurps with steel so I figured it couldn't be THAT bad! First problem. By the fifth....the small area of the shoulder taking the pounding was starting to let the brain know that it wanted a ceasefire. NOW! It isn't that they kick all that hard, it is they concentrate it on a very small number of nerve endings and make them pay.

I have since installed a KickEEZE pad and it really took the sting out of shooting it. Still a nice, healthy push....but no more pain. Heck, they could have installed a pad made of nails and called it the "Indian" and it wouldn't have hurt much more than the factory one. The Sorbothane pads are your friend!

Oh, I don't think you will notice any difference in the H&H. Longer bullet, same recoil. Unless the rifle weighs more, you won't be able to tell them apart shooting with your eyes closed.

November 6, 2007, 09:51 PM

Does anybody else think that this trend for more-powerful rounds and lighter-weight rifles isn't such a good thing from a shootability standpoint? I mean, I LOVE my Encore Katahdin .45-70 (weighs about 6-6.25 lbs), but launch 300gr slugs at 1850-1900 fps with it and you know what you've done. I'm thinking of taking a batch up to 2000+ just for :D !

Bah, keep at it Gunns! Let us know how they compare. And when you plan your safari! ;)

November 6, 2007, 10:20 PM
I reload my 458 Winnie with 400 gr. bullets at 2100 fps, and my 45-70 with 300 grains at 2150 fps. Both are still a handful at the bench, but I wear a Past Magnum Recoil pad and that keeps the hurtin' to a minimum. My 458 is on a Mauser action with a heavy weight 24" barrel weighing in at 10.5 pounds, and the 45-70 is a Browning 1885, both probably considerably heavier than the Ruger.

I don't like light in a big bore.

November 6, 2007, 11:27 PM
My insight on the .375 Ruger is an attempt to create similar ballistics to the .375 H&H in a shorter action.
Apparently the rifle shooting community is demanding shorter and lighter rifles that perform like bigger heavier weapons.

I can see the advantage of a shorter bolt stroke in preventing misfeeds under stress but I can only imagine the muzzle blast of a full power big bore in a twenty inch barrel.

+1 on those Kick-Eze recoil pads, they really work!

The Slug
November 7, 2007, 12:22 AM
I got the Alaskan. Recoils a lot like my 45-70 with Buffalo Bore 350 grain loads. Stiff but not too bad. The Hogue stock on the Alaskan has a much better recoil pad than the African.

November 7, 2007, 12:50 AM
i look forward to the dissertation on the 375 ruger and 375 h&h!

for recoil control, pachymar decelerator is better than factory. sims limbsaver is better than the decelerator for softening recoil, but is tacky and picks up a lot of fuzz. the kick-eez ranks better than the decelerator in the fuzz-factor, and probably as good as the limbsaver for recoil reduction, and is easier to grind.

still, my favorite pad is the decelerator because of its classic basket-weave look. and, the recoil pad truly does make a difference.

November 7, 2007, 01:27 AM
Ruger's African pad is the same one they put on the other wood stocked Hawkeyes. It's soft enough, but it's only about a third of an inch thick. Good for a .270 but on an 8 pound .375 that's just plain masochistic. A good 1" pad will really help.

The poor man's lead sled is a sandbag between the butt and your shoulder.

November 7, 2007, 12:55 PM
I got a 376 steyr a few years ago, before the 375 ruger was announced. Already had a 375 RUM- love it.
First shot with the 376 - with open sights - hits the 3/8" steel target at 225 yards, blows a hole thru it and resides in the hillside. 4 shots later - I'm done. All hits. Love the stock and recoil pad.
Remington 700 S/S with muzzle break and 26" (thank you Lord) barrel, R3 pad and 300gr bullets is a cream puff ; except the factory syn stock must flex a little much - it is swelling at the recoil pad.
Fast foward to the PAST, have a beautiful M77 laminated stainless in 300 w.m. ; it recoils like a sledgehammer. Ditto on the 300 and 7mm Ruger #1's.
That stated, Ruger stocks must enhance recoil. Only thing I can reason from my experience.
BTW, the 376 is a wonderful caliber - I have read of many reducing the power of the vaunted 375 H&H to get better terminal results.
The 375 RUM is NOT for sissies, but the cheapo Remy stock and muzzle break tame this monster fine for me.
I'll stick to my 375 RUM and 376 styer, but NEED a 375 H&H ;)

November 7, 2007, 01:56 PM
browningguy beat me to it...I am going to be needing a Past recoil pad for my 416 Taylor...I have only shot full-house 400 gr loads out of her at about 2300 fps ONCE...everything else has been light cast bullet loads...

so...this tells me that if i need a 375 caliber I will go with a 375 Winchester. :neener:

November 7, 2007, 02:20 PM
I have heard stories of ".375 HH magnum for sale, comes with a box of 18 rounds".

November 7, 2007, 02:42 PM
I have a Winchester M70 push feed in 375 H&H. Heavy rifle. Recoil with factory loads is far less objectionable than shooting a 12 Ga.

Fired two shots from a Ruger #1 in 458 Win Mag. Hurt bad. You can have those pain machines, I don't want one.

Guns and Ammo just came out with an issue with the 375 Ruger and a 338 Ruger Compact Magnum.

Somewhere the "market research" indicated that people want ultra light and ultra short cannons.

Well those folks who want it, their eyes might be bigger than their stomach. Like all those people who wanted a .500 S&W Magnum. Prices have dropped I have heard, from all used guns that came back on to the market.

Joe Gunns
November 7, 2007, 02:46 PM
Thanks for the recoil pad suggestions! I was thinking about the Decelerator, AND one of those "strap on" shoulder cushions. Will also check out the others mentioned.

I originally wasn't going to scope it, but am thinking about doing so for the bit of extra weight. (Ruger includes the rings in the purchase.) My 45-70 is a Japanese Winchester 1886 with curved steel butt plate which tips in at near 10 pound and is fine with "bear loads".

Hmmm, maybe the Hogue-stocked Alaskan woulda been the better choice, but my prejudices prevented me from even lookin' at it. Wanted wood and a longer barrel. (Although the part of my brain that doesn't worry about checkbook balances kept tellinging me to get a "set" so I'd be able to compare 'em both and be good for damp and cold as well as dry and hot. :) )

I was thinking of looking for a nice mauser action H&H when I get to that stage. Might hafta look into that 375 RUM and that 376 Steyr sometime, too.


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