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Thread: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

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    338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Any opinions on what to go for? Mainly for hunting but also some target shooting.. Already own 300 win mag and .243

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    First off, welcome to the Hide. Do be sure to fill out your profile when you have a chance and at least let us know where you are located, etc.

    As to your question, what game are you planning on hunting (or what targets do you intend on shooting and at what ranges) that the .300WM won't already handle?

    No need to go off chasing an addt'l caliber when the 300WM, with the proper ammo (and rifle and shooter, etc. of course), is capable of outstanding long-range target shooting performance and any/all North America game animals.

    That said, it all comes down to what you want/need to do with the new rifle/round as to which might be the better option if those are the two you are set on. Try posting a better description of the specific game you are interested in taking, the ranges you'll be shooting (for game animals and for targets), whether you'll be reloading (ammo for either option ain't cheap or always readily available), etc.

    Off hand, neither of the rounds you mentioned are particularly well-suited for "target" shooting because of the recoil (even with a muzzle brake) which most shooters find "unkind" for prolonged strings of fire. Also, the ballistics of the 375 Ruger are not really all the suitable for a long-range rifle or long-range accuracy. At shorter ranges, both the 338WM and the Ruger are capable of outstanding accuracy and performance on paper and game with a competent driver but the .338WM takes the edge for longer ranges.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Thank you for your reply. The problem with .300 is that we mostly hunt in thick bush areas in the northern parts of South Africa. The .300 does well in the open long shots such as the Karoo and the Kalahari (150 - 400 yards)on Oryx, Springbok etc. but are a bit fast for close shots and causes meat damage. I want to get something that will be able to hunt from Eland up to Buffalo. I have the opportunity to add one more rifle to my collection (Only allowed 4 rifles in South Africa) and want to do a custom rifle based on something like the AICS\Roedale with viper skins. The AICS stock will only be for bringing something different to the game farm apart from the traditional wood stock. I would say 80% hunting, 20% target shooting.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    For poking around in the bush in SA I would go with a short/ handy 375RM (or 458 Lott) with a medium to low power optic. The 300WM is more than capable of scratching your long range itch so what you need is something to get you out of a charging situation. I probably don't have to lecture you on how many people water buffalo kill, that would be my biggest concern in that area. Good luck.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    If you plan to shoot Buffalo, then 375. I have hunted plains game in the Limpopo area and my understanding is that any dangerous game requires a minimum of 375 caliber, but you are from there, so you should know.

    Also, ammo availability and or components for reloading would be a consideration. I didn't think any of the 338 calibers were widely available there. The 375 H&H is more common as you should know.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Oh...well I incorrectly assumed (we know what happens when we assume) that you were in the US. In that case, the .300WM definitely loses SOME advantage for larger African game particularly when hunting in some of the dense brush you can encounter.

    If I were you and limited to only 4 rifles, I'd be very tempted to consider a shorter barreled .338 Lapua Magnum (say 20-22" barrel) with a faster twist instead of the 338WM. With that Lapua, you have both a proven long-range performer as well as a cartridge, topped with solids or other game-suitable bullets, that can take game up to and including Cape Buffalo (and arguably beyond). Just remember, with the chassis system and the barreled action alone, not to mention adding on optics, magazine, ammo, etc., you will quickly get to a rifle that will have a considerable weight and may not be ideal for many hunting situations. While the added weight cuts the recoil somewhat, it can be a royal pain in the neck (and back, and arms, etc.) to hump it around all day long. Just some addt'l considerations for you to think about.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    You can have both with a 375 Taylor. 338 WM case necked up to a .375 bullet. In a pinch you can pull a factory 338 WM round and just seat a 375 boat tail bullet in it. ( not the preferred method but will work)

    I thought about a .375 ruger, but you can ALWAYS find 338 WM cases. 375's are fine on all size game to, you just need to tweak the powder load to fit the game size.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    I don't think that any are the best choices for cape buffalo at short to medium ranges. The 375 ruger would do okay but the 375 HH would be much easier to load and get components for. For Cape buffalo you need a 375 solid minimum but for close work I think a .405 gibbs or 416 would be better. (And I'm not talking about a 416 Barrett either.) An AICS would be totally impractical. Much heavier than you would see me in African brush with. A light manners or Mac would be much better options. There is a reason you don't see sniper stocks in African hunting camps. There is also a good reason you don't see people hunting Elepahnts and Buffalo with 338 winchesters. Look I might be a redneck form Mississippi and I have never been to Africa, but I can read and I obviously know a lot more about big game hunting than you. I suggest that you crack a few books.

    An I deal African battery would be

    Shotgun 12 guage birds and beside

    308 winchester for light to medium game up to a Zebra or Kudo.

    300min mag or WSM for Eland, Kudo, distance shooting.

    405 Gibbs for Buffolo, elephant, rhino,

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Originally Posted By: Swampbuck
    I don't think that any are the best choices for cape buffalo at short to medium ranges. The 375 ruger would do okay but the 375 HH would be much easier to load and get components for. For Cape buffalo you need a 375 solid minimum but for close work I think a .405 gibbs or 416 would be better. (And I'm not talking about a 416 Barrett either.) An AICS would be totally impractical. Much heavier than you would see me in African brush with. A light manners or Mac would be much better options. There is a reason you don't see sniper stocks in African hunting camps. There is also a good reason you don't see people hunting Elepahnts and Buffalo with 338 winchesters. Look I might be a redneck form Mississippi and I have never been to Africa, but I can read and I obviously know a lot more about big game hunting than you. I suggest that you crack a few books.

    An I deal African battery would be

    Shotgun 12 guage birds and beside

    308 winchester for light to medium game up to a Zebra or Kudo.

    300min mag or WSM for Eland, Kudo, distance shooting.

    405 Gibbs for Buffolo, elephant, rhino,


    I am not sure what books you have read, but the OP has a good selection of rifles. The 308 wouldn't be necessary if you have a 300 mag. That is probably why he doesn't have one. Most plains game hunting is opportunity hunting and a 300 mag would be the better choice. It isn't that a 308 wouldn't work, it's just that the 300 mag covers the range of most plains game better. Blue Wildebeest for example are tough animals to kill. Also Gemsbok are tough and he may be hunting in the Kalahari, which could require longer shots. Also the benefit of the magnum comes thru if your shot is off a little. I don't think books cover that as well as actually being there.

    He has a 243, which is a good choice for the smaller antelope, such as Steenbok, Duiker and Dik dik. That may be why he has one. Maybe you missed them in your books. I met a guy in Africa who had been there before and he only brought a 243 because all he wanted was the smaller antelope. We were hunting with the same outfitter.

    Also you state that there is a reason why people don't use a 338 for Buffalo and Elephant, but you didn't say why. I don't know everything about Africa, but I actually have hunted there and it was my understanding that it is illegal to use them on dangerous game. Although, as I stated in my earlier post, the OP should know. Some PH's would also tell you that some clients are not very good shots and even though the 375 is legal, they want a little more knock down power to help with a poorly placed shot. That's why the PH normally carries the big stick (for back up).

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    .375H&H or 9.3x62 would do nicely for your needs. Both are legal for dangerous game and are more than adequate for buffalo, especially with premium bullets like the TSX or A Frame
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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    I have a 375 Ruger Alaskan model that I use while guiding brown bear hunters in Alaska.
    I use the 270 grain Fail-Safe bullets @ 2700fps out of the 20 inch barrel.
    This rifle load combo is awesome, flat shooting, hard hitting, reliable and handy. It doesn't seem to kick any harder than my .338 Win. Mag.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    I'm just saying that would be my ideal African battery. Sure a 243 is fine for the smaller antelope. And a 300 mag is great for distance (that is why I listed it). I do think a 308 is more versitle than the 243 and would be more forgiving of less than ideal shots. Why the 338's are illegal for dangerous game is because all the dead bodies of hunters seemed to be frowned upon. Sure a PH might be with you for back up but I don't feel good about claiming game that a PH had to put down for me. I also would rather not have to rely on a back up shooter no matter how competent he is. But hey people die of dumb stuff every day. The 375 ruger is fine but I think a 40 would be better. You would for sure have an easier time finding 375 HH ammunition in Africa.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    When those laws were passed bullets weren't as good as they are now.

    I can't think of a single rifle setup that I'd use for target shooting and dangerous game. A 22" .375 Norma in an ADJ HTG with a high powered scope and an imprint in QD rings would get it done with sacrifices made on both ends.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Originally Posted By: Swampbuck
    Sure a PH might be with you for back up but I don't feel good about claiming game that a PH had to put down for me.


    He is there for emergency purposes. Would you feel better about being dead? I think you would feel better about it if your rifle didn't fire or your shot was off a little and you were being charged by DG. Of course, that may be more difficult to figure out from your books.

    I would go do a hunt over there before you start telling other people to crack the books. Then you can come back and talk with a little more knowledge and authority, which you currently don't have.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    I have a interesting suggestion for you.

    How about using a 10 twist barrel and shooting the 350 grain .375 cal Sierra's out of a 375R for long range or maybe even the 330 lehighs? The 350 has a .78BC and the 330 has a .9 BC. They will probably need to be single loaded which is fine for long range. The velocity will be down some, I'm guessing in the 2600 fps region. I get 2960 FPS out of my 30-375R with 230's. The case handles pressures well.

    For Buffalo/whatever use the standard swift Aframe or Barnes in the magazine.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Look Magnum,

    Why are you so bent on diagreeing with and insulting me?

    We both agree that the OP should know the game laws in his area.
    We both agree that a 338 is too light for Dangerous African game.
    I'm not againt a PH being there for backup. I am against using an insufficient cartridge first and using a PH for back up.
    Do you disagree that reading a few Craig Boddington articles would be a bad place for the OP to start? Do you think first hand mauling experience is a better place to start?
    Other than having first hand experience what exactly have I said inaccurately in my posts?

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Guys, when he says hunting, it most propably means antelopes and critters like that, not dangerous game.
    A legal minimum caliber for self defence against dangerous game is absurd.

    Technically the .338 Win should be capable of taking any dangerous game in South Africa, provided that he uses the right bullets.
    Of course a .375 caliber bullet may be more effective, but the need depends on the enviroment he hunts in.
    Are there elephants, rhinos and hippos threatening you en masse?

    I think it's more important to consider if the .338 WinMag is a big enough step up from his .300 WinMag.
    For hunting in brush it is imho, when using .250gr+ bullets.
    Also there are a lot more target bullets in .338" available than in .375, over here they are cheaper too.
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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Buy a 50 cal.. shoot them from your porch..lol
    Aim small miss small

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    Originally Posted By: Cuga
    Guys, when he says hunting, it most propably means antelopes and critters like that, not dangerous game.
    A legal minimum caliber for self defence against dangerous game is absurd.


    Cuga,

    In his second post he did say Eland up to Buffalo. I think the 338 is an excellent caliber, but just for legal reasons when hunting Buff, I think you have to go with the 375. It would be interesting to see his response.

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    Re: 338 Win Mag or 375 Ruger?

    My apologies, I just skimread the thread today, after following it last week.
    Had to overlook the most important post [img]<>/blush.gif[/img]

    Well, a .375 caliber makes perfect sense under these conditions.
    Though the Ruger might be a tad to slow for my taste, when shooting animals farther out.
    If you consider Roedale parts, ask Pete about the 9.5x70 ELR, it's a .338 Lapua necked up.
    If you'd ever get serious about this cartridge, I could hook you up with someone with actual experience with it.
    [Someone else actually, I believe (but don't know) that Pete has some experience with it too.]


    Thanks for the hint Magnum!
    Sometimes I run into trees while looking for a forest.
    »Nur ein Traum war das Erlebnis.
    Weil«, so schließt er messerscharf,
    »nicht sein kann, was nicht sein darf!«