The .375 H&H: Salute to a Great Cartridge

posted on December 15, 2014

It is often surprising to realize that some of our most useful hunting cartridges have been around for a long, long time. One of my favorites is the .375 H&H cartridge which was introduced in 1912, by the English gun firm of Holland & Holland.

The .375 H&H was one of the first, if not the first, rifle cartridge to feature a belted case. There are those who believe that the case belt was designed to give more positive headspacing for this tapered cartridge. Others will tell you that it was included to make the cartridge reliably eject from double rifles. Regardless, the .375 H&H quickly built a reputation for power, accuracy, and reliability, that continues to this day.

There are a couple of factors that favor this grand old cartridge as a hunting proposition. The first is that it operates at relatively low pressure levels and this is especially important to those hunting in hot climates as it avoids sticky extractions. The second is that the felt recoil from most .375 H&H rifles, while stout, is manageable for most hunters.

The .375 also offers bullet weights and velocities that make it suitable for taking a wide variety of game animals around the world. The cartridge, loaded with bullet weights in the 235 to 270 gr class, can produce velocities up to 2900 fps. In the 300 to 350 gr class, velocities can run from 2300 to 2500fps. Proper bullet selection make the .375 H&H suitable for taking game animals from the size of elk and moose right on up to bison and the various buffalo.

My .375 H&H is a Ruger No. 1, mounted with a 1.5-5x Leupold scope. To date, it has accounted for eleven head of Australian and African buffalo. While I have had good luck with the 300 gr Swift A-frame bullet, my preference is the Barnes TSX bullet for buffalo. And, in the near future, I plan to put that combination to work on American bison and Alaskan brown bear.

We certainly don't need the power of the .375 H&H for taking most of the game animals in the continental United States, however it will do the job. But, when the big stuff is on our hunting menu—especially those critters that fight back—the .375 H&H is simply hard to beat. It is truly one of our classic hunting cartridges.


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