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Thread: Advice needed on 338Mag or 375H&H

  1. #1

    Cool Advice needed on 338Mag or 375H&H

    Howdy, I'm a newbe to this forum as well to the higher calibers of rifles that are needed to hunt in Alaska. I do need some advice and knowledge regarding a suitable rifle for hunting deer and large enough to take a bear down, mainly in self defense. I have heard that the 338 Magnum is large enough but also a 375H&H is better....the ONLY problem that I am having with the 338 Mag. is, I can not locate a new rifle out of the box with fixed iron sights....I was hoping that Ruger makes one and they do but does not come with sights attached.

    Does anyone have any answers to this? Maybe who does know a particular brand name in preferably 338Mag with sights from the factory? I see that CZ Arms makes on in 375H&H but I think it may be overkill for deer as well. I am down in California where the largest caliber I have is a 308 and am not that well versed in anything higher that 30-06. I was also told that, a 300Mag MIGHT be good for bear only with a well placed shot...ANY advice or help will be much appreciated!

    (new guy)

    Thanks,

    dogtag

  2. #2

    Default 338 with iron sights

    I sent you a PM.

  3. #3
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    dogtag,
    You can have iron sights put on any rifle of your liking by a gunsmith, just so you know.

  4. #4
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Ruger used to make a nice stainless 338 mag that had iron sights, and came with their scope bases. I'd look around to see if you can still find one, they are a great gun for the money.

    The 375 H&H is a bit more gun than a 338, but they are also heavier guns. IMO, if I'm going to carry something heavier than a 338, and I need more power, I'd go right to the 416 rem mag. That said, there is nothing in Alaska a 338 can't cleanly drop with a good bullet properly placed. That really goes as well for smaller calibers, however there are some shot placements and situations that call for more. I see it as, a 30-06 (or 300 mag) is just right, a 338 is just in case, bigger stuff is for situations you never want to find yourself in.

  5. #5
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    I have to disagree with the if you need more than a .338 go right to the 416. The weight of a .375 H&H varies greatly depending how the rifle is set up. I've got one with a McMillian stock topped with a 3x9 B&L scope and people's
    first reaction to it is "Man that's light." And I have picked up a .338 where I wondered where the wheels were. I've also picked up 416s where I darn well wanted to know where the wheels were because after a couple hours of carrying it, I'd need them.

    But back to the discussion. A .300 win magh will take a grizzly bear assuming proper bullet placement with a well constructed bullet. However if anything goes wrong, it might be a little light. I have not recently went looking for a .338 but last time I looked, Ruger rifles still had iron sights although may not now. If you don't mind a used rifle, there are a good numbers of rarely shot .338s out there for resale. The .375 is an excellent round that, IMO does not kick as sharply as a .338. I have two of them. The variety of ammunition available makes it a very versatile caliber suitable for the big bears. I have taken black bears, caribou and black tails with mine in country where running into a big bear was a possibility. But I have to agree no matter what you shoot, bullet placement is critical. There have been African elephants killed with a .22 long rifle, with proper bullet placement, just took a few minutes, and I don't condone trying it with an elephant or a bear. So the decision is which caliber do you feel more comfortable with and which can you shoot more accurately. Either will do but I just feel a little better with the 300 grain .375 bullet. If you are in Anchorage and want to try a .375, let me know.

  6. #6

    Default either one

    either caliber works great. I seem to reach for my .338 a lot, despite having a decent battery at home.

  7. #7
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    They both kick a good deal in a medium weight rifle.
    Have you fired either one?

  8. #8
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    Default 416 Rem, if comfy

    I'd worry less about the "heaviness" of any rifle and concentrate more on shooting what you are comfortable with, and as big as you can. I shoot a 416 and I don't give one hoot if it is heavy; if it were light it would probably knock the snot out of me. As it is, it kicks with authority. I'm 165 lbs, btw, and the 416 (Winch) whacks about like a 375 now that it is ported. It kicks a fair amount more than my Ruger 338. To me, the extra weight and bullet smack are a cheap trade off for some insurance in case things aren't quite ideal after you wee something off by shooting it. Now, if I could only get the opportunity to get something really mad....

  9. #9
    Member alaska bush man's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 416 Rem

    I suggest the 416 Rem for large brown bear......in a 700.
    Alaska

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskaCub View Post
    dogtag,
    You can have iron sights put on any rifle of your liking by a gunsmith, just so you know.
    Alaskan Cub, thanks...I spoke to my local gun dealer, what he said to me makes sence that, (his opinion) anytime the rifle gets altered as in drilled, it drastically changes the strength of the metal or the barrel strength. I would think that it would be no problem. It still may be okay to do it, adding a sight that is. I havent got that much time looking in to the matter but (my opinion) I don't think it would alter the metal strenght thus making it a weak point.

    Actually I am doing this gun search for a good friend of mine before he goes back up to Alaska.

    Thanks,
    dogtag

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill S. View Post
    I have to disagree with the if you need more than a .338 go right to the 416. The weight of a .375 H&H varies greatly depending how the rifle is set up. I've got one with a McMillian stock topped with a 3x9 B&L scope and people's
    first reaction to it is "Man that's light." And I have picked up a .338 where I wondered where the wheels were. I've also picked up 416s where I darn well wanted to know where the wheels were because after a couple hours of carrying it, I'd need them.

    But back to the discussion. A .300 win magh will take a grizzly bear assuming proper bullet placement with a well constructed bullet. However if anything goes wrong, it might be a little light. I have not recently went looking for a .338 but last time I looked, Ruger rifles still had iron sights although may not now. If you don't mind a used rifle, there are a good numbers of rarely shot .338s out there for resale. The .375 is an excellent round that, IMO does not kick as sharply as a .338. I have two of them. The variety of ammunition available makes it a very versatile caliber suitable for the big bears. I have taken black bears, caribou and black tails with mine in country where running into a big bear was a possibility. But I have to agree no matter what you shoot, bullet placement is critical. There have been African elephants killed with a .22 long rifle, with proper bullet placement, just took a few minutes, and I don't condone trying it with an elephant or a bear. So the decision is which caliber do you feel more comfortable with and which can you shoot more accurately. Either will do but I just feel a little better with the 300 grain .375 bullet. If you are in Anchorage and want to try a .375, let me know.
    Thanks & will do. I am looking for this rifle for a friend of mine. I was hoping that Ruger still had them in iron sights to solve my delima....I do however see that CZ Arms are selling the 375 with sights...Gun Broker also has a few for resale. I may have some luck there.

    Thanks again,
    dogtag

  12. #12
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    dogtag, he(your gun dealer) is incorrect in his opinion. I discussed it in detail with Gary Junk of Arctic Gun Works in Fairbanks, and there is no compromise to the metal of your barrell. I too was in the same predicament you are in a while back. I wanted the older tang safety Ruger in 338 with iron sights but could only find the wood/blued models on sites like Guns America and GunBroker and I wanted Stainless. So I bought the newer stainless M77 and have been meaning to drop it off with Gary to have him install the iron sights. He even has a decent selection of different iron sights to choose from. Just thought I would let you know, I want to say he quoted me $150 for the work and the sights which seemed pretty fair. I like the Rugers because I like the idea of being able to quickly remove the Ruger rings and remove the scope in the field if needed and hunt with iron sights if the situation predicts.Just my opinion but I dont see the need for anything more than a 338WM with a quality 250 grain bonded bullet and you can even load up some 275 grain A-Frames for the big bears if you really desire. On the other hand there are rounds available for the 338WM that make it a good all purpose gun for all uses with good ballistic trajectories.

  13. #13
    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    your gun smith tells you that drilling iron sights on there will make it weak, translates into.."i don't wanna do it."
    The 338 is a great round, works on everything. obviosuly the more pissed off it is and bigger it is, the bigger the gun your gonna want. But i've never stood next to brown bears at close range and sait to myself, "ahhh i've got enough gun." when it hits the fan your gun will never be big enough. Your 338s, and 375, and even the 416's will do less meat damamge on deer and caribou size game than the 270's and 30 calls. making them more of an overall rifle in my opinion than the 30 calls. bigger bullet range with the .338, fair choice of bullet styels with the .375 and the .416 doesn't have a big market of loads out there for it. But the ones that are, all work freagin' awesome!! hence...no core-lokts!!!

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    Thumbs up Somebody needs to start a poll!

    This will go on and on! LOL We might as well have a POLL going on. I like the .375 H&H, but i have nothing against the .338 As long as you have a well constructed bullet you will be fine. (I would advise a large extractor claw)

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    Quote Originally Posted by dogtag View Post
    Alaskan Cub, thanks...I spoke to my local gun dealer, what he said to me makes sence that, (his opinion) anytime the rifle gets altered as in drilled, it drastically changes the strength of the metal or the barrel strength. I would think that it would be no problem. It still may be okay to do it, adding a sight that is. I havent got that much time looking in to the matter but (my opinion) I don't think it would alter the metal strenght thus making it a weak point.


    Thanks,
    dogtag

    I believe Brownell's sells the original style iron sights for the Ruger M77. The front sight is a barrels band type sight and the rear sight would have to be D&T or you could go with a Ruger 1/4 rib style rear sight which would also have to be D&T to fit.

  16. #16
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    What others have said sounds fine to me, but just to add fuel to the fire I will add the following:

    The most popular cartridges in Alaska are the .30-06, .300WM, and the .338WM. These three can be considered "the all around cartridges" in Alaska, and outnumber all other cartridges by a wide margin. These also account for killing the majority of Alaska game, including bears, because most hunters up here are not carrying a .375 H&H through .458 Magnum while moose, caribou, deer, end even elk hunting. Even so, these folks end-up using whatever gun they have at hand at the moment to kill the occasional bear they happen to come upon.

    The .338WM with 275 to 300-grain bullets kicks on the hills of the .375 H&H. It's not a .375, but it's close with these bullet weights. Now, for a significant step over the .338WM, the obvious choice is one of the .416's.

    I remember one case where two Alaska fellows were grizzly hunting with both a .338WM, and a .375 H&H. They shot a large bear several times with each, and the bear ran into the brush. They waited for awhile, and then began tracking it, and the bear charged them. Again they shot the bear with each rifle, finally killing it. One of these guys swore to never use a .338WM nor a .375 H&H again for hunting bears.

    Now, just watch the bear stories where bears are killed by hunters each year, and you will notice that Alaska hunters use mostly the three cartridges I listed above.

  17. #17

    Default Mark II M77

    Maybe they discontinued the line but I bought the stainless synthetic version of the .338 Mark II M77 three years ago from Sportsman's Wharehouse and it had iron sights. I'd previously always hunted with blued wood. Go synthetic stainless, maybe not as good looking as wood but this can be a wet state, particularly southeast, and I now no longer have the rust problem (and possible potential accuracy problems with wood swelling).

    In my opinion the .338 is the only gun you need in Alaska. Wide range of bullet sizes to choose from with potential for long range trajectory and power.

    Luke

  18. #18

    Default remington 700 375 H&H

    Very happy with my .375H&H - haven't actually hunted w/ it (usually use my old '.06) but I bought it before moving up here on the advice of several.

    To reiterate what several have said, .375H&H IMO isn't as sharp a kick as .338. More of a "shove" than a "smack" if you will. Has to do with the way the case is shaped and the resultant powder burn kinetics, etc. Way beyond me, but I can vouch for the H&H feeling "better" to the shoulder (not that it's pleasant!)

    I bought a 700 BDL SS (came with open sights) a few years back - I don't think they make this anymore, but the new XCR is basically the same thing. Don't quote me, but I think it too has iron sights? Unfortunately you'll probably hear the extremely worn out joke about filing off the sights once you get up here... Just sigh and smile.

    Don't know anything about .338 ammo, but up here it's hard to find a wide variety of .375. Basically (in Anchorage area) there's the Remi soft point round nose stuff (270 or 300Gr) or the really expensive other stuff ($60/box.) I bought a couple boxes of Federal Vital Shock 260 Gr Nosler Accubonds a couple years ago when back down in the states visiting my folks. Haven't shot them yet, but they're supposedly "da bomb..."

    Great tried and true rounds either way; I guess the mystique of the 100 year old British safari round helped win me over. Happy hunting.

  19. #19
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    Thumbs up Read this

    Go pick up a 2006 Hodgdon reloading manual. It should be on most magazine racks for $7.99. Go to page 22 and read "The All-around Champion: The .375 H&H" by Craig Boddington. Its a GREAT read!

  20. #20

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    Brwnbr:

    Having read many of your posts, i don't doubt your experience, but I can't agree with the "less damage than the .30 cal" opinion. I gaurantee a .270 with, say 140/150 grain loads or an .06 w/150/165 gr. loads will have significantly less damage than a 338 or 375 on deer to moose size animals. I hve witnessed this many times over my years here and will allow that if the heavier round punches thru meat only then it may be a push. But if you hit bone-whether a neck/rib or shoulder, you will be forfieting a sizablechunk of meat compared to a lighter diameter bullet-assuming it isn't the type that explodes on impact.

    Other than that, the .375 gets my vote for a lighter recoiling cartridge (and more effective on dangerous game) than the .338 in typical factory rifles.

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