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Thread: Ideas for Handloading for a 20" Barrel .375 H&H?

  1. #1

    Default Ideas for Handloading for a 20" Barrel .375 H&H?

    Hello--I am hoping some of you may have experience or information about loading for the .375 H&H with a short barrel. I bought a Remington 700 with the metal work done by Homer Strickland of Accuracy Arms. It has a 20" PacNor barrel, 1 in 12" twist, with Homer's muzzle brake on it, fitted in an HS Precision stock from a factory Remington. I like the way it feels in the hands, and I am looking forward to carrrying it through the alders on Kodiak in late April. My buddy has a bear permit over there, so my .375 will just be for backup or self defense.

    From what I have seen, Homer built really accurate rifles, so I am looking forward to shooting this one. He moved down south a while ago, so I can't ask him what load data worked the best. He did exhaustive research in barrel shortening for the .375, cutting one off 1/2" at a time from 26", re-crowning, and then chronographing the results. It takes a real "gun guy" to spend that much time on a project like that. I recall that he felt that the 20" barrel was the best compromise between ballistic performance and carryability.

    I have loaded for the .375, but for a rifle with a 24" barrel. I am looking for ideas for the best powder/bullet weight combination for optimizing performance in the 20" barrel. My other .375 likes Reloder 15 the best. I have never tried Reloder 17 in anything, and it looks like it might be a good application, along with H4895 or IMR4064. I will be trying 270, 285, and 300 grain bullets from Hornady, Barnes, and Sierra.

    Anyway, thanks in advance for any advice you might have on this fun project!

    Jim

  2. #2
    Member marshall's Avatar
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    The 375 H&H likes 4350 burn rates and of course RL-15.

    If it were mine I would not hesitate to try RL-17. It's new and published data isn't out for that combination yet. You can use minimum 4350 data and work up from there, that's reasonable.

    RL-17 claims to offer more velocity with similar burn rates to IMR-4350. I recently worked up a load for my 375 with great results.

    The Hodgdon extreme powder series claims to be more resistant to temperature swings. If you lean that direction H-4350 may be your go to powder.

  3. #3

    Default Thanks Marshall

    Hi Marshall--Thanks for your input. I know you have a good scientific and disciplined approach to loading, and I appreciate you taking the time to write. I guess I will just have to go and buy a pound of that RE17. I am sure happy to see the shelves filling back up!
    Jim

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    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Jim please keep us posted on your progress as you work up some loads. Much like you I think a 20" barrel on a 375 H&H would be perfect for all around use in Alaska. One of these days I will put one together.

    Rob
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    Default 375 short barrel experience

    I reload for 2 of my friends 375 H&H w/ 20 inch barrels. My research has come up w/ the quicker burning powders & lighter bullets do better w/ the short barrel. One load is w/ 4064 & a 235 gr speer bullet ( my favorite ) & the other is w/ win 748 & a barnes 235 gr bullet. And don't worry if you think these are light because the have proved themselves in the field for 5 years now w/ griz to little ol deer fallen to these loads. Best one yet is a bull moose collapsed @ 438 yards.

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    Member Dan in Alaska's Avatar
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    I've had two short barreled .375's - one was a 20" Savage Alaskan Guide Model and my current one is a Remington 700 with 21" Douglas barrel. Both of mine liked IMR 4064 and RL-15 powders with 260-300gr bullets. I've never tried RL-17 in a .375H&H, but I've got some sitting on the shelf. RL-15 and 270gr TSX's work so well, I haven't really developed even ambition to try RL-17 yet. Maybe this winter?

  7. #7

    Default

    I'll chime in on behalf of 4064, too. My shorty and that of a buddy I load for are real fond of it with 235's and 270's, and 4350 with the 300's. I'll add that with the 270's it's a tossup between 4064 and 4320, with the velocity edge going to the latter. The 4064 wins seems slightly more accurate with both bullet weights.

  8. #8

    Default Weatherby

    I have some experience with the 375 Weatherby in a 20" barrel and RL-17. 84 grains gave good velocity and accuracy. Went all the way up to 88 grains. I would think it would be a slightly better powder for the H&H, just start with similar low end 4350 data.
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    Member nrc's Avatar
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    Default Varget RL15

    I had a CZ550 shortened to 20". It shot 300gr Hornady RN quite well with Varget, and 270TSX with RL15.

  10. #10

    Default Shorty

    If you want to load for a short barrelled 375 H&H you should use a powder on the fast burning side, like H380 or H4350. Since a slow burning powder will probably not all be consumed in a 20" barrel and will just give you a pick-up truck sized fireball/muzzle flash.
    It might not deliver maximum velocity but it will make the rifle easier to shoot, especially in the mornings and evenings.
    The original 375 H&H shooting a 235 grn KYNOCH bullet at 2700 fps was considered "enough gun" for the BIG 5 when it came into use.
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    I have handloaded rifle cartridges for Encore pistol and have come to appreciate taming intense muzzle flash. Like others have said, going to the faster burning powders is a big part of doing it. Midnightsunforfun...I'm assuming you have a burn rate rate table comparing powders, if not here is one for reference

    http://www.reloadbench.com/burn.html

    Could some of you who have worked-up loads for the short barreled version of this great caliber (my favorite caliber for Alaska) comment on muzzle flash with your loads? I'd be real interested in hearing about it.

    Doc

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    The design of the 375 H&H case which makes it great for temperature extremes also makes it somewhat resistant to barrel length problems.

    I used to have a 375H&H Sako guide rifle with a 20 inch barrel and a Mannlicher style stock. I wish i would have never sold that rifle... I think I traded it for an original 1886 Winchester...I got the Sako in trade for a rusted out jeep CJ5.

    Anyway:
    76 grains of RL-15 was pushing a moly coated 270 grain Barnes bullet at 2,700 fps from my 20 inch. Back off some for non-moly bullets.

    I have a load from the Alliant powder book that used 78.0 grans of RL-15 to push a 235 grain bullet to 2,820-2,850 fps from a 20 inch barrel. I never got around to trying it...since I don't think I ever had many of the light bullets.

    I tried RL-19 but it was too slow for the shorter barreled rifle.

    72.0 grains of IMR 4064 will do about 2,650 fps for a standard 270 grain bullet.

    H-4350 really worked out well for accuracy. Plus it burned pretty clean. 81 to 83 grains (Start at 79.0 and work up) pushed a 270 gr bullet to 2,600 but it was very accurate.

    I think that the new 260 grain accubond would work great with this powder. It sure worked great with the 300 grain Sierra boat tails. I was pushing those at 2,520 from the 20 inch with 81.5 grains H4350. It might have helped that I hand coated them with graphite..
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  13. #13

    Default Thanks, and Problem with Erratic Bullet Seating

    Thanks to all of you for the good info--it has been very helpful in determining what to try for this new rifle. I set up the first round of tryouts with Reloder 15 and Barnes 270 TSX Flat Base bullets, and 300 grain Barnes TSX Flat base bullets, and Reloder 17 with 300 grain Barnes TSX Flat base bullets. I kept seeing erratic overall length as I seated the bullets, and finally discovered that the bullets were sticking in the seater plug in my RCBS seater die (because one finally stuck so hard that it pulled it clear back out of the case).

    I tried polishing the inside of the seater plug with progressively finer grits of sandpaper from 320 to 1200, and it didn't seem to make a bit of difference. I am going to write to RCBS and ask if they have encountered this before. I have loaded quite a few rounds with these dies before, with no problem (that I noticed), with Hornady, Speer, and Sierra bullets. This is the first time I have tried the Barnes bullets in the .375, and they are consistently sticking in the seater plug.

    Just wanted to let you all know what was happening, and see if anyone has encountered this problem.

    As Murphy says, "Good Shootin'"
    Jim

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    Member marshall's Avatar
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    I don't use RCBS dies so I don't know if you can swap out seater plugs from other dies.

    My thoughts would be to use a seater plug from a .338 or .308 die if they are interchangeable. Perhaps the smaller plug wouldn't go down as deep on the pointed Barnes as it does on your other bullets.

    Some dies have the same O.D. on their plugs with different I.D.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by midnightsunfun View Post
    Thanks to all of you for the good info--it has been very helpful in determining what to try for this new rifle. I set up the first round of tryouts with Reloder 15 and Barnes 270 TSX Flat Base bullets, and 300 grain Barnes TSX Flat base bullets, and Reloder 17 with 300 grain Barnes TSX Flat base bullets. I kept seeing erratic overall length as I seated the bullets, and finally discovered that the bullets were sticking in the seater plug in my RCBS seater die (because one finally stuck so hard that it pulled it clear back out of the case).

    I tried polishing the inside of the seater plug with progressively finer grits of sandpaper from 320 to 1200, and it didn't seem to make a bit of difference. I am going to write to RCBS and ask if they have encountered this before. I have loaded quite a few rounds with these dies before, with no problem (that I noticed), with Hornady, Speer, and Sierra bullets. This is the first time I have tried the Barnes bullets in the .375, and they are consistently sticking in the seater plug.

    Just wanted to let you all know what was happening, and see if anyone has encountered this problem.

    As Murphy says, "Good Shootin'"
    Jim
    Jim,

    This has come-up before. I researched the archives and found the thread. I think will be helpful for you...

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ht=seating+die

    Good luck...I'm heading to the cabin right now, and I'll check back Monday night.

    Doc

  16. #16

    Default Problem Solved!

    Thanks Doc for doing that research for me, and to all of you for your good insights. The link steered me to the solution. I chucked the seater plug into a drill, and with the drill spinning the seater plug, I used a 1/8" diameter grindstone in my Dremel to open up the conical inside shape of the plug. It took 3 tries before it was enough to get the plug to release the Barnes TSX's. (Each try, I polished the inside of the plug with 320, then 600, then 1200 grit sandpaper, so the process took me quite a long time).

    I didn't figure I had anything to lose if I ruined the seater plug, since it didn't work the way it was.

    Oh, and by the way: I took a look at the seater plug from RCBS .338 WM dies, and it has a smaller O.D. than the .375 plug, so that wasn't workable in this case. Good thought, though. Thanks Marshal.

    So now, back to the original process of load devleopment for this short barreled .375 H&H. I will post my results.

    Best Regards,
    Jim

  17. #17
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    Glad the link helped...I made a mental note when I saw it last year, thinking that I might need to go back and repeat a similar procedure some day.

    For years I have primarily loaded 270grn TSX's for my .375H&H, using a max charge of RL-15. I also use RCBS dies, and I've occasionally experienced a slightly erratic seating length (with trimmed brass). My suspicion was that every now and then a bullet was momentarily hanging-up on the seating stem as the cartridge was retracted from the die. However, I've always been able to correct the variance by running it back through the die or making a slight adjustment and running it through again. I've not had a bullet stick in the die. (I'm knocking on wood right now).

    Doc

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    Member Eastwoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brav01 View Post
    If you want to load for a short barrelled 375 H&H you should use a powder on the fast burning side, like H380 or H4350. Since a slow burning powder will probably not all be consumed in a 20" barrel and will just give you a pick-up truck sized fireball/muzzle flash.
    It might not deliver maximum velocity but it will make the rifle easier to shoot, especially in the mornings and evenings.
    The original 375 H&H shooting a 235 grn KYNOCH bullet at 2700 fps was considered "enough gun" for the BIG 5 when it came into use.

    This is what I was thinking. I had to run and get my notes to confirm what was in my brain.

    I have a 20" Sako AV in 375 H&H and am planning on trying IMR4064 and the even faster IMR3031.

    Re15 & 17 and H4350 seem a little slow if you were to try and reduce muzzle blast.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eastwoods View Post
    This is what I was thinking. I had to run and get my notes to confirm what was in my brain.

    I have a 20" Sako AV in 375 H&H and am planning on trying IMR4064 and the even faster IMR3031.

    Re15 & 17 and H4350 seem a little slow if you were to try and reduce muzzle blast.
    No flash in a 20" Ruger 375 with RL-15 over 260's and 270's or RL-17 over 300's, I have used H-4350 and RL-19 in the past and I don't remember any flash at that time either.

    I also load for a good friends 375H&H with RL-15, I can't imagine needing a faster powder than that. His loads are not compressed and a faster powder is going to offer a poor case fill regardless of barrel length.

    I suppose if you're using the lighter 225 or 235gr bullets a faster powder would be in order but I haven't been down that road yet.

  20. #20
    Member Eastwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by marshall View Post
    No flash in a 20" Ruger 375 with RL-15 over 260's and 270's or RL-17 over 300's, I have used H-4350 and RL-19 in the past and I don't remember any flash at that time either.

    I also load for a good friends 375H&H with RL-15, I can't imagine needing a faster powder than that. His loads are not compressed and a faster powder is going to offer a poor case fill regardless of barrel length.

    I suppose if you're using the lighter 225 or 235gr bullets a faster powder would be in order but I haven't been down that road yet.

    Good stuff to know, thanks. I'm going to try 250 sierras and 250 accubonds. And since I have Re15, I'll try that too.

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