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Thread: 338 Winchester Magnum or 375 H&H; which one best all around?

  1. #1

    Default 338 Winchester Magnum or 375 H&H; which one best all around?

    I need some advice on which caliber rifle to keep, 338 Winchester Magnum or 375 H&H? I need to settle on one for my “heavy”, I’ve got the 30 calibers covered well and also have a 338-06. It is just not prudent for me to have the money tied up in both of them (338WM & 375HH) when I hardly ever have a chance to use either to hunt game. If money was no object I’d keep them both, but that’s not the case.

    Someday I’d like to think I’d need my “heavy” to hunt a big bear or take to the dark continent, but that is a dream and may never be a reality… I’d like to think it still a possibility though… Reality is using it for elk or moose and smaller game loaded down and with lighter bullets.

    So, since I can only keep one which do you recommend and why?
    I love them both as calibers and keep changing my mind on which one goes... I don't want to tell you what brand/model the rifles are as that would only complicate things further!!!

  2. #2
    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    Default If I were in your shoes

    the 338 would go down the road.

    Caution poster has stong dislike for the 338 caliber so post may be biased.

  3. #3

    Default Agreed

    The 338-06 will fill the 338 slot well enough, and then the 338 WM becomes semi-redundant. Making the 375 the most logical choice to keep.
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    If I already had a 338-06 I'd skip the .338WM altogether. The .338-06 or a good .300 will do 90% of what the .338WM does. The .375 however is a significant step up in frontal area and energy.

    If I thought I might go to Africa- .375 all the way.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    If you didn't have the 30 cal base covered I would say 338 but since you have that covered in spades I would say keep the 375.

  6. #6

    Talking Choice

    Well, I know you don't want talk about it but......how are the rifles set up? S/S, blued, wood that sort of thing. Really, either of those 2 calibers will work wonderfull for the heavier stuff like moose and bears. I've had several of each and killed game with both. For me it came down to what RIFLE fit and felt best, which happened to be a Win Classic S/S .338
    I felt better to carry around all day compared to the .375's I had, except for the Rem XCR which was too light to shoot much. Anyway, I'm sure that didn't help much!

  7. #7

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    Mix in Africa, and the 338 stays home. It's not legal for some of the heavies over there, while the 375 is.

    In the field I don't notice much difference in performance, but I like the option of 300's in the 375. Besides, everyone and his dog has a 338, but the 375 still holds a "cool" factor for me.

    I own both, but would part with either or both of my 338's before I'd let either of my 375's go down the road. Both my 375's also outshoot either of my 338's with cast bullets, which is also a big factor for me. The price of jacketed bullets isn't likely to go down, so I think more and more hunters will need to "discover" cast bullets if they want to shoot a bunch.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    If keeping the 338-06 the 375 H&H wins

  9. #9

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    My 375 is one of my favorite rifles. Everything I have shot with it falls over dead in its tracks. I have several 338 wm rifles but have never bothered to take them hunting. There is nothing a that a 338 wm can do which can't be done better with a 375 H&H.

    If I were in your situation the decision would be very easy. Sell the 338 wm.

  10. #10

    Default well...

    You asked which was the best all around, the .338 or .375. For North America I would say the .338 Win. Mag. is, for Africa it would be the .375 H&H. Still, a good shot and hunter could get by with either in North America. From the description of your other rifles you might as well keep the .375 H&H. But, that does not mean it is the best choice if you only had those 2 and had to choose one for North American hunting.

  11. #11
    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LuJon View Post
    If you didn't have the 30 cal base covered I would say 338 but since you have that covered in spades I would say keep the 375.

    I agree. The 375 H&H heavy loads can do things the .338 can't (literally, or at least legally, in Africa). And loads like Federal's 2,700fps 260-gr Accubond one will somewhat simulate a .338 Win.

    With the high-BC AB, it carries pretty far and shoots pretty flat. If sighted in so that it never rises significantly above 3 inches above the sight line (2.85" high at 100 yds; 2.99" at 150 yds), it will be only 6" low at 300 yds and 12.6" low at 350 yds. At 350 yds, it will be moviig at 2,070 fps with almost 2,500 ft-lbs. Even at 400 yds, it's only 21" low and putting out 2,300 ft-lbs. Such loadings add to the versatility of the caliber and actually allow the 375 IMO to be a great long-range big game cartridge.

  12. #12
    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    From the sound of your post you've got things pretty well covered up to the medium caliber rifles. Comparing the external ballistics of the 338 WM and the 375 H&H you'll find the 338 is "better" with lighter bullets and the 375 is "better" with the heavier slugs. Since you have ample selection for lighter bullet requirements (.30 caliber and the 338/06) it seems that choosing the 375 makes the most sense.

    I would add this caveat though, you haven't mentioned what types of rifles you have. If the 338 is in a better rifle that could change my mind. If either are single shots I would prefer the other rifle for hunting purposes. There isn't much to choose between them for NA game in the end. The 338 is suitable for all critters here. A good case can made that the 375 is more suitable for the biggest critters, but the 338 is enough and enough is all you really need.

    One final thought, can you part with one of the 30 calibers and keep both big guns? For example if you have a 308 & 30/06 you could part with either of them and keep the 338 & 375. I've nothing against the 308 or 30/06 but there is not a lot of difference in the two cartridges, certainly not as much as in the two bigger guns. It's just a thought.

  13. #13
    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    One final thought, can you part with one of the 30 calibers and keep both big guns? For example if you have a 308 & 30/06 you could part with either of them and keep the 338 & 375. I've nothing against the 308 or 30/06 but there is not a lot of difference in the two cartridges, certainly not as much as in the two bigger guns. It's just a thought.
    That's a great suggestion. Even if he had both a .308 and a 300 Win Mag, the .308/.338/.375 combo would be a more versatile group IMHO than a .308/.300WM plus either one of the .338 or .375.

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    Member MaximumPenetration's Avatar
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    338 WM has 0 advantage over a 375 H&H. There is not one situation where a 338 WM is a better caliber. People might try to list one, but they would simply be wrong. The 375 H&H is the ultimate caliber for big game hunting in North America and beyond.

  15. #15

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    If I had only one rifle for alaska it would be the 338wm, but since anyone reading this forum probably has a dozen rifles that they admit to, and more in the closet, i would opt for the 375 for any heavy work and a .308 diameter or less for any lighter mountain hunting where rifle weight is an issue. For me, the ideal combo is a 300wsm montana w/180tsx and a 375ruger w/270tsx

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumPenetration View Post
    338 WM has 0 advantage over a 375 H&H. There is not one situation where a 338 WM is a better caliber. People might try to list one, but they would simply be wrong. The 375 H&H is the ultimate caliber for big game hunting in North America and beyond.
    I was advocating the .375 as being better than the 338 for someone who already has 30-cal rifles, but the 338 has less recoil and somewhat better loads for longer-range shots (even though as I noted above, the 375 has some good ones), right?

    In the lower 48, at least, I think the vast majority of people would think the 338 was a better pure-Elk caliber than the 375.

  17. #17
    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    the 338 would go down the road.

    Caution poster has stong dislike for the 338 caliber so post may be biased.
    Why no love for the Win Mag?? Or is it really that you dislike that diameter bullet?

  18. #18
    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    I was advocating the .375 as being better than the 338 for someone who already has 30-cal rifles, but the 338 has less recoil and somewhat better loads for longer-range shots (even though as I noted above, the 375 has some good ones), right?

    In the lower 48, at least, I think the vast majority of people would think the 338 was a better pure-Elk caliber than the 375.
    I agree with MH on this. There are a few situations where the 375 is better, but for most circumstances the 375 is only as good, not better than the 338. They are both very popular NA calibers so ammo availability is not normally a problem in either cartridge, but from antelope to brownies I'd pick the 338 WM and not look back. For the very specific purpose of coastal BROWN BEARS I would select the 375 (actually I carry a 416 RM when hunting brownies) over the 338. This is the sole reason that I recommended the 375 over the 338 for the OP. The various 30s will suffice in most areas for even big bears, but the 375 is a step up for the close range brownies.

    For everything else the 338 is as good and for animals under 1000 pounds I (as do many others) think it is better. The 338 WM can be built in a lighter more comfortable gun to carry. It has less recoil and a flatter trajectory. Ammo is less expensive; components are less expensive. Craig Boddington (not necessarily a better hunter, but he has a lot of field experience) has repeatedly claimed that forced to choose one cartridge to hunt NA big game it would be a 338 WM. I can't build much of a case against his selection. I'd love to hear counter arguments though.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kloshe View Post
    If I had only one rifle for alaska it would be the 338wm, but since anyone reading this forum probably has a dozen rifles that they admit to, and more in the closet, i would opt for the 375 for any heavy work and a .308 diameter or less for any lighter mountain hunting where rifle weight is an issue. For me, the ideal combo is a 300wsm montana w/180tsx and a 375ruger w/270tsx
    Now that you mention it my favorite rifles for big game are a 300WSM in a lightweight and a .375 Ruger in their Alaskan.

    A .338 would be great one gun show but what fun would that be. For that matter the .375 would be a great one gun show too...

  20. #20

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    For the possibility of short shots with enough to do the job, medium shots with still muscle to get it done and long shots out to where the 375 won't go it leaves the 338Win Mag as the better all around cartridge of the two.

    With no more than a 24” barrel, with the receiver no longer than a standard 30-06 length, producing reasonable recoil that could push a 200gr bullet at 3025-3075fps, a 210gr bullet at 2980-3010fps, a 215gr bullet at 2880-2930fps, a 2225gr bullet at 2850 - 2900fps, a 250gr bullet at 2800 - 2820fps, a 275gr bullet at 2670 to 2700fps and a 300gr bullet 2500-2550fps, manufactured by 90% of the major gun companies, WOW!!! Now that is and all around heavy weight with a long reach to boot.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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