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Thread: 338... or 375!

  1. #1
    Member AggieHunter's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 338... or 375!

    I was thinking about a 338, but is there any reason not to get a 375 h&h? Im planning on getting the abolt w/ boss, so recoil isnt really an issue. I like the fact that the abolt in 375 has a 24" barrel compared to the longer 26" barrel in the 338.

    I heard that with lighter bullets(250-260 grn) it is actually about as flat as a 338 out to about 300yrds; which incidently is about as far as i would ever even consider shooting a large game animal.

    Its going to be used for everything from caribou/elk/blackbear to moose/brown bear.

  2. #2
    Member barrowdave's Avatar
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    Default

    I have a .338 and don't feel the need for anything more. If you like a shorter barrel why not go with the Ruger 375 Alaskan, think it has a 20" barrel with better ballistics than the 375 H&H.

  3. #3
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    Default hmmmm.....

    I assume from your post that you are either moving up here or plan on coming up frequently enough to use this gun on everything you mentioned. If you want a new gun, thats great. On the other hand, it may not really be necessary. What do you have and use now? If you're just worried that whatever you have now won't be enough gun for Alaska, you might be surprised. With the possible exception of coastal brownies, an '06 is adequate for anything you are likely to hunt. I would venture a guess that more moose have been killed with the 30-30 than any other gun....its still very popular in the bush.
    Take a look through the archives here. Caliber selections have been debated many times. There was a poll on here awhile back. If I remember correctly, the '06 and 300 WM came out ahead of everything else. I personally have been successful in Alaska with everything from a 30-30 to a 35 Whelen. A lot of the people who tell you that you need a big magnum with an obnoxiously loud BOSS haven't actually got any Alaskan hunting experience.

  4. #4
    Member AggieHunter's Avatar
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    I just accepted a job as a field engineer with Schlumberger. I'll be moving up to anchorage in january and expect to stay 2 to 3 years. I currently have a 270 and a 444 marlin, both equiped with leupold 3.5X10 40mm.
    I plan on hunting black bear and moose more than the other species, mainly b/c i wont be a "resident" until after a year of living in alaska.

  5. #5
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    Default barrel length

    Regarding barrel length, for what it is worth I have a 338 winmag and ended up cutting the 26 inch barrel down to 23 inches. I'm much happier without the long barrel hanging out there.
    Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.
    Genesis 9:3

  6. #6

    Thumbs up .338 or .375

    Which ever you are comfortable with and can shoot well. I have both, but as has been said, unless you are hunting coastal brownies or where they are, a .270 class rifle is great up here. My very favorite Alaska caliber is my .280 Remingtons. I would HIGHLY recommend you get a bigger gun, such as a .338 or .375, tho, as these bears can "shoot back", and a lesser gun is not up to the task as a stopper. That is the issue. Any gun can kill a bear UNDER THE RIGHT CIRCUMSTANCES, but when you need to stop one, you need power behind the round.
    Besides, an excuse to get a new gun is always a good thing......
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  7. #7
    Member AggieHunter's Avatar
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    Yeah, im definitly not going to hunt with the 270, unless its sheep or caribou, and the 444 should be great for shots out to 200 yards on black bear. So i need to buy a gun that can be good for long shots and good for close bear support. I know i wont be the most popular guy at the shooting range with a 375 w/ boss, but i dont care about winning popularity contests. If i go up against a big bear and we both show our cards, i want at least Aces full.

    The only issue is if the 375 can make the long (250+) shots that the 338 can, and i think the answer is yes.

    With a compensated barrel, it cant kick that much worse than a 338.

    A shorter length rifle is easier to throw up and shoot as well

  8. #8
    Member ozhunter's Avatar
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    I have always worked on the theory of using the largest calibre you can shoot accurately and repetedtively(sp).

    I have a .375, and I am quite comfortable with it, but...

    I have used a 30/06 for all of my hunting thus far with the exception of a water buffalo here in oz. I have used this rifle a lot in the 14 or so years I have owned it.

    It feels like an extension of my arm when I put it up and i don't need to think about what to do when it comes time to squeeze the trigger, it just happens, even down to holdover on longer shots.

    Bear in mind I have a sum total of ten days experience in Alaska, but I have done a lot of hunting and shooting over the years and, IMO, it boils down to what i already said, if you are comfortable shooting a .375, why not use it, and use it excusively. There is an old saying here "Beware the man with only one gun", he knows that one gun intimately and can shoot it with a high level of proficiency and accuracy.

    Some might say the .375 is too much gun for moose or black bear, but I bet you wouldn't say that if a black bear was fixing on turning you into a pile of poop or (if you are a trophy hunter) a 70 inch + bull presents itself with only a body length raking shot the only option.

    It comes down to personal preference and skill level. But for mine, between the .338 and .375, I would choose the .375.

    oz
    il vaut mieux Ítre bon que la chance

  9. #9
    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Default my experience

    I have a 338 that goes alot of places with me and feel I can really count on it. I probably don't need anything else but I am buying a Ruger Alaskan (375 Ruger) this winter after reading up on this caliber/gun. The gun and round is very impressive for the way I hunt. If you plan on walking alot and want a heavy hitter, check it out. I can't think of any reason to own a 375 H&H now with this caliber out and in a compact little package. my .02

  10. #10
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    Default .338 vs .376

    My go to guns are both Browning Stainless Stalkers, one .300 WinMag and one .375 H&H Mag. I shoot left handed and they are great. The .375 has the Boss and the .300 does not. The recoil of the .375 is different from the .300. The .375 has more of a push recoil and is very comfortable to shoot. I have never shot a .338 but have read of those who describe its recoil as punishing. The key is to have a gun in which you have confidence and can spend a lot of range time without learning to flinch because of the recoil. I personally believe that any of the mags from .300 on up are plenty of gun. Personal choice, personal preference from there.

  11. #11
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    Default Take a look at this poll

    I use a .338WM for all my hunting in Alaska, which mainly consists of moose. Within 300 yards, both of the calibers you have asked about should work just fine, although the .338WM is more of an "all around" caliber than the .375 H&H. Perhaps because of this, the .338WM is more popular than the .375 H&H. While the .375H&H is great with 300-grain bullets, so is the .338WM with 250-grain bullets. Past 275 grains, the .375H&H does better than the .338WM, but the .338WM kicks on the hills of the .375H&H with bullets from 275 to 300 grains. What make the .338WM so versatile is the availability of light to heavy bullets you can use for it. If you really want to take a big step UP from the .338WM, then you would have to consider one of the .416's.

    Maybe this will give you some ideas:
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ad.php?t=14646

  12. #12
    Member MARV1's Avatar
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    Your .270 would work fine, that's if you trust your shooting. .300WM is more than enough IMHO. Those that have bigger guns may suffer from little **** syndrome and need to compensate, but that is my opinion and a few others. Shot placement is key to shooting any animal, I prefer head shots all the time if possible, but that is just me.
    The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!

  13. #13
    Member Roger45's Avatar
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    I personally use a Browning Stainless Stalker in .338 and love it. I usually shoot 210 grain Nosler Partitions and have been very satisfied. You wil find a little shorter barrel is desirable on any weapon as heavy foliage/brush can be a real issue. I personally also only use a 2.5-5 power scope, again because of the foliage here. I have never been dissapointed in my scope or rifle.

    Before getting the BOSS done I would recommend you waiting until you get to Alaska. There are a number of gun smiths here that can offer a better muzzle brake (IMHO). The boss is fine, but you might find something *better*
    "...and then Jack chopped down the beanstock, adding murder and ecological vandalism to the theft, enticement and vandalism charges already mentioned, but he got away with it and lived happily ever after without so much as a guilty twinge about what he had done. Which proves that you can be excused just about anything if you're a hero, because no one asks the inconvenient questions." Terry Pratchett's The Hogfather

  14. #14
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    I have the Browning A bolt SS in 375 H&H with the BOSS . Very nice shooting The only reason I picked this caliber was it came with open sights I have not put a scope on it yet I will in a couple of weeks . I have always hunted with a Remington 760 in 30 06 very nice shooting but I personally am not a fan of pump action rifles, but the gun was a gift from my Dad.Just bought my Wife a rifle got her a 338 Federal its a Ruger M77 Hawkeye only use at the range so far but really like how it shoots.

  15. #15

    Default

    You really can't go wrong with either. Period. They both shoot flat enough for anything you will hunt up here and they both have a tremendous amount of killing power. The bullets are easy to find as well. You are making a good decision by staying with a traditional, proven cartridge like the 338 or 375, unlike the Remington Ultra Magnums or Winchester Short Magnums (which are awesome rounds) you can find ammo anywhere here in Alaska. I shoot a 375, and it's always impressed me. I have a 21" barrel and a 3-9x40 scope on mine.

  16. #16

    Default

    Pick the one you feel most comfortable with, like I said, you can't go wrong with either.

  17. #17

    Default

    As others have said, go with the one that appeals most and you shoot best. Both are good. In my own experience, I've got a couple of 375's that have been with me for over 25 years- one with a 22" barrel and one with a 26" barrel. The 26" barrel model looks brand new while the 22" version is pretty scuffed up. Guess which one gets the most use?

    During the time I've owned and shot those 375's (500+ rounds a year, most years), half a dozen 338's have come and gone. There's been nothing wrong with them, but they've been the first to go when it was time to trade for new guns. There just wasn't any reason to own them when I already had 375's that worked so well.

    On another note, if you shoot cast bullets, the 375 has proven to be one of the very best rounds I've tried for mid-range and light load shooting with home cast, while the 338's have been a lot more finicky. Casting bullets isn't that big a deal and sure lets you shoot lots cheaply. With the high price of ammo and even jacketed bullets for reloading, you'll certainly do a lot more shooting if you cast your own for either caliber.

    And shooting big bores lots is the bottom line for doing well with them. If you aren't going to shoot one enough to get really good with it, why buy it?

    And as a final note, I turned loose a 270 when I moved up here over 30 years ago. Stupidest thing I ever did, and I still mourn the loss of that particular rifle.

  18. #18

    Thumbs up .375

    The .375 and .338 are very different in felt recoil. The .375 is a thumper for sure, but it's recoil is more of a heavy controlled push, while the .338 has a pretty stiff punch. Now, that being said, a .375 with 300 grain bullets lets you know when you pull the trigger!! But, it usually surprises folks the first time they shoot one. It ain't that bad.
    As far as Marv1 saying it isn't needed and some need to compensate, that is hogwash. If you have ever hunted the big bears and had any encounters in Alaska, you will change that tune REAL fast. As I said before, my favorite caliber here in Alaska is a .280, but I have had the "pleasure" of a full-blown brown bear charge, and if I hadn't had my .375 in my hands that time, my hunting partner and I would have been toast. That wasn't a bluff charge, and I stopped it at our feet.
    That said, if you DON'T plan on hunting in the coastal bear areas, your .270 will work just fine. Moose, caribou, etc., are easy to kill, and other than the big bears, there is no need for a large gun. Most all of Alaska is bear country, though, and even interior griz are tough to put down if enraged. Bigger IS better up here. Not in most other places in the Lower 48. It is a different world up here. Better to err on the side of common sense that listen to those that don't know........
    As others have said, the .338 and .375 H&H ammo is everywhere up here. Try finding .375 Ruger or .338 Ultra Mag ammo in a small town or village up here. You probably won't, so the tried and true .338 WM or .375 H&H can't be beat. The new rounds are outstanding, but my .375 H&H will kill just as dead as a .375 Ruger or Ultra Mag.......
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

  19. #19

    Default The Rifle

    Both are great choices for Alaska with the right bullet. I have been using a .338 Win. Mag. for 33 years. I used 250 grain bullets in the Nosler Partition until the early 90's when I switched to the 250 grain Barnes X bullet. I own a neat 21.5" barreled pre-64 Win. .375 that I have never shot anything with. If I was on a dedicated costal brown bear hunt I would use the .375 with a good 270 or 300 grain bullet. I also know my .338 would do the job just fine. I see a lot of guys using .338's and .375's with what I consider light for caliber bullets. Makes me wonder why they do not shoot a smaller caliber. Recoil is an interesting topic. They both recoil. Rifle weight, stock design, recoil pad, bullet weight, powder charge and mind set is the combination that determines felt recoil. I do not spend much time on a shooting bench. That is where most recoil is felt. After I verify my sight in I get off the bench and shoot from my hind legs, the prone, sitting and kneeling positions. I do this out to 300 yards on a 8" paper plate. Keeps me humble. I think on average most .338's are made in lighter rifles then the .375's are. But I know that varies with the company that makes them. In 33 years I have never had to shoot an animal more then once to kill it with the .338. This is not a brag on my part. Most all of my shots have been under 150 yards at a stationary animal. I have had a couple of spetacular misses that about any decent shot could have made. They still haunt me. A .338 with a premium bullet in 225 or 250 grain weight will do the job on any critter in Alaska whether it be 40 feet or 400 yards from the shooter. The .375 will also. About the worst thing you could do is get something that you do not enjoy shooting.

  20. #20
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    Default Either will do

    A few other posts have suggested that you'll be okay with a smaller caliber as long as you are not hunting coastal brownies. IMO, there are very few places in Alaska where there are no brown or grizzly bears. You may not be hunting them, but they may be hunting you.

    My buddies give me a hard time for hunting caribou with a .375H&H. I don't bring the .375 for the caribou.

    As others have noted, the 375 recoil is vigorous, but it is more of a push than the sharp crack of a 338. Try them both if you can, and you'll see what we're talking about.

    The bottom line is that regardless of what you're hunting in AK, you should carry a dangerous game rifle, like a .338 or .375 (or hunt with someone who does). If you know you won't be able to handle the recoil of either one well, that's the only decent argument for carrying anything smaller.

    One guy wrote about shot placement. Shot placement is the name of the game, but you will be a very lucky hunter to always have that luxury. When mama bear comes bounding out of the alders, you will be fortunate to get off OneRound in her direction. So much for shot placement arguments.

    Good luck. IMO, either caliber will serve you very well in Alaska.

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