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Jeff Cooper, Cape Buffalo and the .375 H&H

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September 22, 2011

Jeff Cooper, Cape Buffalo and the .375 H&H

By David E. Petzal

While poring through Jeff Cooper’s Gargantuan Gunsite Gossip books  (well worth the read) I noticed that he took a couple of occasions to savagely attack the .375 H&H. It was the classic criticism--kicks too hard to be generally useful, lacks the flat trajectory for long shots, and is not enough gun for Cape buffalo. I can follow him part way, but only part.

What I agree with is the buffalo. It’ll kill them, but it won’t impress them. The first one I ever shot was at 15 yards, right where the dewlap runs into the chest, with a 300-grain screw-machine Nosler Partition. He ran off a little ways to think things over while I continued to pump bullets into him. He was not so much hurt as aggrieved. Finally he collapsed under the sheer weight of the lead. The next three followed the same pattern, and that was the last time I used a .375 H&H on old nyati. Since then, I’ve shot them with a .416 Remington, .458 Winchester, and .458 Lott, and all three did much, much better.

On the other hand, the .375 H&H will flatten anything else you run into. I’ve shot all sorts of critters with it from small antelope to eland and lion and it works terrific. The kick is not that bad if your rifle weighs enough, and ammunition is available everywhere. If you want to make a one-gun safari and can handle the kick, it’s a fine choice. In fact, the only thing I rate higher is the .338 because it does pound you less, and is better on distant beasts.

Happy Myles, I think it’s time to hear from you on this subject.

Comments (64)

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from 007 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave, great post! Happy, I think you're being paged, looking forward to your insight and wisdom.

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from guyandarifle wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I've always thought most people pretty much considered the .375 basically the way you do. While absolutely vetted against everything walking, including Cape Buff and even Elephant, it's considered a bit on the light side for that task by the majority of people I've talked to or read. OTOH it's pretty much at the top end for recoil with many so the .40+ cartridges may not be viable options for such folk. For the one gun hunter though it's awfully tough to beat and in the right loading (250gr TTSX anyone?) is pretty darn flat shooting.

Personally if my "one gun" safari were to include plains game as well as ill-tempered biological tanks like Cape Buff it'd be a .416.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Guy I agree, it will kill MOST things quickly with proper placement, but for mbogo, you want something bigger.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I have no experience hunting with these rifles but do own and have shot them somewhat extensively bursting bolders into gravel. I know several people who have accounted for well over 100 Cape buffalo over the years. Essentially they have always said the same as Petzal. In fact one fellow is in Zimbabwe now with his .470 double looking for a decent elephant and a couple big buff. Another friend hunted contently with a .375 H & H for all the right reasons for several years until he was almost gored by a close call only to have the day saved at the last moment by the PH with a .450/.400. The H & H went for a .378 Weatherby but one year with another unwanted encounter and almost dire outcome prompted him to get rid of that rifle. His opinion was that the Weatherby was not practically better than the H & H, regardless of paper ballistics, plus local ammo in Africa was non-existant. Ever since he traded it for a beautiful custom of Frank Pachmyer's on a custom M-70 action in .416 Rem. he has been happy as hell, the buffalo usually drop at once, and all is well.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

One other comment, in Taylor's last book on Africa, I forget the title, he insisted that the .375 H & H was the ultimate one gun battery for the world wide hunter based on his decades of hunting for a living in Africa. Oddly it appears that he rarely used one personally.
Another thought, read up on why Jack Lott felt the .458 Win. was not enough gun, pretty interesting story even if you don't agree with him.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Having exactly zero experience at killing cape buffalo I will certainly defer to anything DP has to say on the subject. On the other hand, being a voracious reader about all things African, I recall quite a few experienced African hands actually preferring the .375 to some of the big .400s on warmblooded tanks, based primarily on the extra penetration they believed they were getting from a solid bullet with good sectional density. I think Capstick may have been in that group when he was culling elephants, although he went with something bigger as a PH.
It's been noted before, but the .270 was NOT Jack O'Connor's choice for the one-gun, global battery. It was the .375 H&H, and O'Connor's take was pretty much the same as Dave's; too big for most things and a tad small for elephants and buffalo, but perfect for lions, big bears and large antelope, and adequate for anything up to and including elephant with good shot placement. For the bigger stuff, though, he preferred and used the .416 Rigby. Incidentally, O'Connor also said that if limited to three guns in N. America, a hunter could scrape by quite nicely with a .22, a 12 gauge shotgun and a 30-06. So much for the claims that he was myopically boosting the .270. His views on the '06 mirrored his opinion about the .375; not the ideal choice for many things, but the most versatile for anything you might encounter. The .270 was his ideal choice for sheep, open country deer and antelope.

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I had a conversation with Jack Atcheson, Jr. some years ago and asked him his opinion on the .375 H & H for Cape buffalo. Jack, who has shot dozens with the cartridge, told me he found it entirely adequate. All others I have talked with agree with Dave's contention that the .375 H & H is minimal. With my gimpy legs I don't think I could walk far enough anymore to shoot a Cape buffalo, so for me the question is moot. My .375 sure has been wonderful for everything else though. I have taken a waterbuck, blue wildebeast and American bison, and some other smaller African animals with the .375.

Jack O'Connor wrote many years ago that he used IMR-4064 powder rather than IMR-4350 in the .375. The latter would deliver slightly higher velocities but with markedly more recoil. So I use 4064.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Jim Carmichael was no fan of the .375 for buffalo, either. It may depend upon hunting conditions; if you are shooting elephants and buffalo broadside at 200 yards, the .375 is probably pretty good. If you are shooting them at fifty feet, maybe not so much. You want to shoot big animals, you have to poke big holes.

For what it is worth, there are people that say the same thing about the .30-06; too much for deer (kicks more than you need, not as flat shooting as .270, .280, etc.), not enough for elk. I only lay this on the table; I am a happy .30-06 shooter.

This post is made for Happy Myles. Where is he?

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from jay wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy Myles is probably in Africa hunting Cape Buffalo with his .375 H&H.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Agree, DP. Go with large-bore rifle, most powerful you can handle. For me it was a 458.

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Being a reader of the venerable Colonel myself, I think his criticisms were more to the point being that the .375 is too heavy for 75% of the animals it is used for, and too light for the remaining 25%

Note, too, that he came to be a fan of the .376 Steyr round in the Scout, which he often called the near ballistic twin of the H & H; but he take a while to talk himself into this admiration.

If I were a hunter of bison, eland, nilgai or lion, I would want a .375 H & H in my hands.

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

As recently as a couple of years ago my firearms din not arrive in Bangui, C.A.R thanks to Air France. Arriving in camp, my French PH handed me a venerable, well used M70 375 along with a hand full of odds and ends for cartridges with which I proceeded to kill everything from duiker to buffalo. All with one shot except the buffalo, it took two rounds. One came apart in the shoulder, the second broke his neck when he charged around a tree. Feel it was the bullet, not the caliber. He also had a truck battery terminal in his neck fired through a homemade poachers muzzleloader.

The rifle I borrowed was a typical African experience where most "loaners" are either an 06 fro plains game or a 375 H&H for buffalo. A tribute to the versatility, popularity, and dependability of these two calibers. Are they perfect? Heavens no. as is no other caliber. However, they continue to get the job done all over the world. Their popularity continues despite the acclaim given to modern miracle calibers.

Most of my buffalo have been taken with the 416 Rigby with which have always been happy. In addition to the 25 or so with my Rigby, have taken maybe a half dozen with borrowed 375s which occurred when my rifles did not show up or decided to hunt buff only after arrival to hunt plains game. These include a couple of the western subspecies and a dwarf buffalo in Cameroon. Have also killed buffalo with 450 Ackley, 458 Win, and my 500 Jeffery. These are formidable killers, but too much recoil for most folks. Interestingly took my largest buffalo with one shot from a borrowed 375, it was shot perfectly through the shoulders but still ran over 125 yards. This animal probably would have got only a few yards at most if shot with a 416 using Triple Shock bullets.

Many folks cannot take more recoil than a 375, so by all means stick with it. Using a rifle one is afraid of or uncomfortable with, is asking for trouble. Today most PHs who focus on buffalo will be backing up with something larger than a 375.

My experience has been when you smack old Nyati in the right spot with something larger than a 375 you can tell he has been hit hard and more importantly so can the buffalo. Using the 416 animals shot by my Son and I have gone down on the spot or traveled only a few yards. My experience with 375s has been it lacks that authority even though have never had any problems, just a few moments of anxiety on occasion. Having stated that, the only buffalo hit initially by me that charged I stopped in his tracks with a borrowed 375

Have had to help out with buffalo wounded by others that took a lot of firepower from all kinds of calibers in my hands , 416, 470, and 500 Jeffery.

In closing, the 375 is a grand old caliber which I know I will use again.

Kindest Regards, these are just my experience I do not profess to have the answers

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Postscript,

Killed one cape buffalo with a 338 Win Mag using 250 grain bullet. Was hunting lion and ran into buffalo the lion were hunting, but that is another story. Long ago in Zambia

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from guyandarifle wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy,
While having nothing really to add to your most erudite original post I'd like to offer the observation to your postscript that, IIRC, the largest Buff Jim Carmichael felled was with a .338 Win and a 250gr Partition. I believe it was a DRT too if memory serves. Purely a matter of opportunity.

Too many people have accomplished too much for too long with the .375 to make it very vulnerable to disparaging remarks. Still, for the biggest and baddest I'd take much comfort in a bit more rifle. (Taking the recoil caveat into account of course)

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from Creek Chub wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave and Friends,

What say you on the .375's new to market in the past few years: .376 steyr, .375 ruger, .370 sako mag?

Also, where do the 9.3x62mm and similar calibers rank in your "All Africa" rifle?

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Forgot to mention the 416 Rem. I own an accurate custom beauty with which I took one buffalo in a proper fashion with one round of 400 grain Triple Shock. Do not use it as much as the 416 Rigby. The only reasons are have used the Rigby for decades and also the Remington seems to require more sight tinkering once I am in Africa. The cause may be due to it having higher pressures than the Rigby. I sight in here at home at sea level. Africa has higher altitude, higher temperatures and different humidity which which may make it a bit more temperamental than the low key old Rigby.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy,

Well stated, as usual!

b/r
WAM

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Jim Carmichel's opinion of the .375 in his "The Book of the Rifle" was pretty much the same as DP's. Jim Carmichel also had some interesting things to say in the same book about Karamojo Bell's use of the 7x57 on elephants.

On the other hand, gunwriters who had also some experience as guides in Africa, Joe Coogan, Finn Aagard and Ross Seyfried, believe the .375 is adequate. Especially if the PH backing you up has a Nitro Express double. Of course, confidence in your back up can work both ways, it can make you a better shooter, or a sloppy one (the PH will probably never invite you back if you're the latter.

I also would like to submit the following: back when the only "solids" available were made by Hornady, writer Layne Simpson recounts that while the .458 Hornady solids were excellent (both Simpson and Carmichel write that those recovered from elephants could be reloaded again, rifling marks and all), the .375 solids from the same maker had a tendency to bend, and therefore fail to reach the brain.

It has been said that many African calibers were undone by faulty bullets rather than faulty ballistics, resulting in some calibers becoming more popular than others because they were deemed more reliable. Was the .375 a victim of faulty bullets?

Of course, there's always the .500 Jeffery (actually the very German 12.7x70mm Schuler). With some 535 grain bullet loads it will deliver an honest 8,000 ft-lbs at 2,500 fps. And you don't have to ask a London house to build you a rifle for it, CZ can sell you a Magnum Express (Mauser-type ZKK Brno action, properly sized for true Magnum cartridges like the Rigby) in that caliber. Or .505 Gibbs, .450 and .416 Rigbys, .458 Lott or Winchester. In the Jeffery, Rigbys or Gibbs, the rifle will be assembled by a shop here in the US, so it will be a semi-custom. What's not to like?

Happy Myles' remark that no single caliber is perfect, is spot on. Any criticism we can make for the .30-06 (not as flat as the .270, not as hard-hitting as a .300), we've also made for the .300 Win. Mag. (not as flat-shooting as the .300 Weatherby, not as hard-hitting as a .338). We've made the same criticism for the 8mm Rem. Mag (not as flat-shooting as the .300 Weatherby, not as hard-hitting as a .338).

Critics of the .416s will say they're not as versatile as .375s and not as hard-hitting as .450s and bigger. Critics of the .416 WEATHERBY will say that while it shoots flat and has energy to surpass .45s, it kicks way too much and still lacks the bullet weight of larger calibers. And so on and so forth.

Layne Simpson prefers magnum .358's over .338's, and I'm sure someone already has made the criticism that .358's don't shoot as flat as "smaller calibers" (I did not say .338 Win. because the .358 Norma can match the .338's trajectory, but not the .340 Wby) and don't hit with the same authority as the .375.

Ah, the 375. And just like that, we're back to the beginning of this article.

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from shane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I wonder how much difference a Barnes TSX would have made in Petzal's situation, as well as in Happy's where his .375 bullet fell apart in the shoulder.

They do seem to be a miracle bullet. Expansion and penetration are mostly mutually exclusive, but they seem to do both as well or better at once than any other bullet. I would most definitely rank them above a Partition, especially if we're talking big, thick skinned game with an eye for carnage.

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from SL wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Jeff Cooper knocking the .375 H&H surely doesn't hold much water in my opinion. So in a few of his paragraphs he dumps on the .375 H&H while in just about every other paragraph he touts his worthless scout rifle as the greatest thing since sliced bread! That right there gives him very little credibility on such matters in my honest opinion.
He should have stuck to military pistols and left rifle discussions to others.

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from kudukid wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

It wasn't just Layne Simpson who remarked on differences in 458 solids back when they were all Hornadys. Finn Aagard wrote the same thing in the American Rifleman stating he thought between Remington solids or Winchester solids (don't remember which) one was slightly better than the other. That was when both were made by Hornady with copper plated steel supplied by Texas Instruments.

One of those same Hornady solids shred itself on the shoulder of a kudu bull - hit the shoulder blade ridge edge-on.

Shot a cape buffalo broadside from 20 yards with a 300 gr. Barnes with 50 thousandths pure copper jacket and pure lead core out of a ZKK 602 in 375H&H. Load chronographed 2650. Bullet penetrated the skin and thick muscle just behind the shoulder blade then tore out a whole rib. Soft bullet core disintegrated and along with the bone fragments from the rib exploded into heart and lungs like a load of no. 4 shot. Most of the thick jacket folded back to the base was found up against the far rib cage. Buffalo ran 40 yards then fell and bellowed his last.

Back at camp that evening we had grilled fillets along with an excellent tomato-base oxtail soup and finished with fresh peach cobbler topped with ultra thick fresh cream...all prepared on the cooks makeshift sheet metal camp stoves.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy, if you ever write your memoirs, I want an autographed copy!

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Little wonder why Mr.Myles is known as"Happy".

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Kudukid:

You had "ultra thick fresh cream" with the cobbler...and you were hunting Cape Buffalo...my question is:

Who drew the short straw, and did they survive?

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

SL, just out of curiosity, what caliber was the Scout rifle that you had the bad experience with?

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

O Garcia and Kudukid make some good points not limited to African hunting. Bullet construction and bullet placement will always be more important considerations than caliber choice, within reason. It doesn't mean you go deer hunting with a .22 hornet or choose a .243 for grizzlies, but any bullet placed in vitals that both penetrates and expands properly is going to kill whatever you shoot deader than something shot in the leg with an elephant gun, or hit by a bullet that either blows up on the surface or fails to expand. It always struck me that some of Elmer Keith's disdain for what he regarded as "small" bore cartridges had more to do with bullet performance than caliber. Keith's first hunting experiences had been with big bore, low velocity blackpower cartridges and bullet manufacturers were still trying to perfect terminal performances at the higher velocities possible with smokeless power when Keith first began using them (although I still believe the mule deer that he claimed ran away unperturbed by six 180 gr. '06 bullets in his chest had been missed six times).
O'Connor also believed that one of the reasons the .270 gained such immediate popularity was the excellent performance of Winchester's original 130 gr. "soft-point expanding bullet," which he called the first successful American design for high velocity. It's fun to argue about the relative merits of the .270, '06, .280 and other various 7mms, but all other factors being equal, I doubt that it makes much difference to a deer or antelope hit by any of them, as long as the hit's in the chest and the bullet does what it's supposed to do.

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from SL wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Oryx, it's not the calibers that I have a problem with, it's the concept of the "scout" rifle. I see absolutely NO legitimate use or advantages of it's design over any existing bolt action rifles. Like I said, if you read any of Cooper's rants he plugs his scout rifle in every other paragraph he wrote. If it were any good or if it had some real advantages, you would see scores of people owning and using them. The truth is they are nothing more than a novelty that some shooters may want, just for the sense of having one. Other than that, my opinion is that they are pretty much useless.

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from idduckhntr wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nothing wrong with a 375H&H period. The round has proven itself, as far as recoil I dont think it kicks that bad. shot worse.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy's writing is the equal of any gun and hunting writer that I have ever encountered. There are and have been many great ones including Petzal. Nevertheless I feel that we gun nuts will be at a loss if Happy fails to write his hunting book. I want my autographed copy as well.

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from kudukid wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

from Oryx wrote 1 hour 52 min ago
Kudukid:
"You had "ultra thick fresh cream" with the cobbler...and you were hunting Cape Buffalo...my question is:
Who drew the short straw, and did they survive?"

Answer...Why would I possibly care? I had a dirty job to do and did it without complaint.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

SL,
Ditto on the Scout rifle. I loved reading Cooper and I still own a 1911 Colt I had my dad buy for me with my Christmas money when I was 12 due entirely to Cooper, but I never understood the Scout rifle. When DP did his recent televised segment on the Scout rifle my wife was watching with me and asked me what it was supposed to be good for. I tried to explain but I don't think I succeeded very well, because I've never figured it out.

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Seyfried, Simpson, Boddington, write some things of interest once the ego river is waded. Carmichael, Aagaard, Keith, Cooper, seemed to have more anecdotal draw in their writings(moth to the flame)almost begging you to join them. I think Keith would have been surprised by these homogeneous projectiles but we may have lost Aagaard back to Africa. If Aagaard had the homogeneous expanding bullet his (soft pt. followed with FMJs)idea would have played pleasant sound of death bellow he had hoped for. Cooper was until his passing the only reason G&A showed in my mailbox, not agreed with by everyone but it was the last page I started with in that journal and he is missed. I think he wanted everyone to try a Safari is why he preached SCOUT(pre-Steyr), in cartridges chambered for it was shootable for almost anyone. He may have thought more of the .350RM case, probably couldn't get Steyr to bite ? I could see a .401, .411, .416, on a .350RM case or even a .284WIN case properly blown out & with the correct shoulder...double radius of WBY fame ?

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Creek Chub,

Since no one else has answered your question on new 375 type calibers or 9,3s. I will try a very anemic response. I have been to Africa many times since these new calibers have been introduced. Despite running into many first time African hunters, who would be an obvious market for new calibers, have yet to run into anyone using one, except gun writers who were trying one for article purposes. The only exception has been the 375 Remington Ultra Mag. Shared a camp on two occasions with two different very experienced hunters using that caliber, both liked it very much. However, both rifles had muzzle breaks and both hunters still ended up with sliced eyebrows. They still liked the caliber.

Have run into several European hunters using, and loving their 9.3x64 Brennekes. Also shared a camp with an Italian gentleman who had the most beautiful gold and silver chased 9.3x62 rifle I have ever seen. However, the owner appeared to be better at polishing off a bottle of vodka than killing game. His PH used it to finish off a leopard and a kudu and claimed it was a marvelous shooter.

Interestingly, in West Africa, Cameroon and the C.A.R., French PHs and French customers love the 460 Weatherby. A delightful and formidably experienced French hunter recounted how his 460 saved his life. He claimed his ex wife tried to kill him with it, after one round it leaped out of her grip injuring her hand preventing accomplishing the task. He was firm that he could never part with with the cherished rifle.

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from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

if i am going in to the long grass after cape buffalo i would pack a .458 winchester to avoid being stopped into a puddle of gooo (another reason hwy i am content to wacth football and not participat!) might be a little rough but it would be better than being flone back home in a plastic bag

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Kudukid:

Eh...OK.

I just had this vision of the odd man out in your hunting party resignedly grabbing the milking stool, bucket, and with a grim, but resolute face, slowly walking towards the herd, scanning all the while for the tamest-looking Cape Buffalo cow...

But whatever.

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Oryx/Kudukid,
What is the old saying......"I believe I'd pet her first".

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Two cartridges that have met with enthusiasm since becoming commercial are the 416 Remington and 458 Lott. Be gentle, to an old codger like me they are both new. Kindest Regards

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from calapp wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What about the 375 H&H with 350 grain bullets for dangerous game? I believe Norma loads them. Thanks.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I must have read the same book as M Reeder. I remember O'Connor saying he could kill any animal on the planet quite nicely if he only had three guns. A .22, a 12 gauge, and a 30-06. That was his ultimate three gun battery.

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from kudukid wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

from Oryx wrote 59 min 19 sec ago

Kudukid:

Eh...OK.

"I just had this vision of the odd man out in your hunting party resignedly grabbing the milking stool, bucket, and with a grim, but resolute face, slowly walking towards the herd, scanning all the while for the tamest-looking Cape Buffalo cow...
But whatever."

Oh, you mean that guy? He's OK. The doctors say his nervous tick will go away eventually. Short term only required a shower and change of clothes. Imagine her surprise when she found out it wasn't her calf.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Regarding Happy's comment concerning the newer "big" cartridges I frankly don't know anyone who owns a rifle chambered for one except for a very few .325s. I have also noticed only small quantities of boxes of cartridges at the local gunstores, if any. For the most part I think the new short cartridges .325 and above will fade away. A friend loves his .325 mag in a Kimber and has been rather successful on elk with it. However he reports that ammo and components are not easy to locate.
Concerning Happy's Frenchman, maybe I know of him. Another friend was out in the bush about 4 years ago with his PH hunting buff. The other PH who stayed in camp was a Frenchman. My hunter friend's wife was along on the trip but stayed in camp most days. It seems that perhaps the French PH was in the bush while staying in camp if you get my drift. The outcome of all of this was a divorce and a marriage. I wonder how long the Frenchman will remained married to my friend's ex. Most likely about as long as the "big" short magnums reign.

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To all the gents that want Happy's book. Please wait your turn, my request was put in over a year ago.

Happy, would you mind sharing your most recent trip to the dark continent with us? Any luck on that forest sitatunga?

As before I would like a signed copy of your book and a chance to call an old turkey gobbler in to your shotgun.

Many years ago an Army Colonel related his experience taking Tembo with a 375 H&H. Seems the elephant charged and the first shot turned but did not stop said bull. My friend continied to fire until the target was gone. After much tracking the dead bull was found to have expired from a bullet that hit a kidney as the bull ran by at close range. He decided something larger in caliber was needed.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Ishawoo;
We don't know each other but, I do own a 375 Ruger Alaskan. It's a great round,a great gun, but I can't tell the difference between it and the H&H round in recoil. Ammo is a lot easier to find here in Alaska for the older round. But I do have 4 places I know of (including Wal-Mart) that carry 375 Ruger ammo.
Two years ago I could not find 375 Ruger ammo anywhere, so someone was buying it up. I have seen a few rifles sell in 375 Ruger, and I haven't seen one on the used-rack yet, so people who buy them are hanging on to them.
I can't speak for Africa, but so far it seems to be gaining popularity here in Alaska. I do hope to take mine to Africa one day too.
AKX

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I have fired MOST calibers, from .22 to .458 (Due to friends asked me if I wanted to try it) recoil has rarely been an issue for me, but my three favorites have been the .22,30/06 & 375 H&H, I never made to to Africa but it did the job well in Alaska for me.

As for Cooper, I think he was at his best talking about.45 ACP, his quest to acceptance of his "Scout Gun" was not his best thought.

He wrote a very nasty article about a good friend of mine BG James N (Nick) Rowe, a Medal of Honor Member in 1989, in Guns and Ammo after he was killed in the Philippines. I wrote him in protest and he cussed me out in a return letter.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

HAppy PLEASE write a book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would like one also.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Jeff Cooper was a different sort of chap. Not sure why anyone would take his commentary on safari rifles seriously. Or his blabbering about the Scout rifle either.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

In the Big CALIBER dept I have shot a .375 H&H(Winchester 70) and a .460 Weatherby. That .460 is alot of gun in a (relatively)small package. Now if recoil is any indicator of game killing ability, then the .460 will kill anything on this planet! NOW, as for the .375, my friend's Father used one on more then a few hunts in the Canadian bush with very good success on moose, black bear, and of course; Whitetail deer. He even took a sizeable wolf at a speck over a 100yds.
I sure would like to hunt the Cape Buffalo one day..I would try a borrow a gun for it since the trip itself would cost a tidy sum I am sure!

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

not a cooper fan...the two gun writers books i enjoyed were Jack O'Connors and John Pondoros books....Happy ill put in a request for a signed copy of your tales as well.

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph:

I remember O'Connor speaking of his three gun battery but I believe he was speaking of American hunting. When O'Connor wanted to shoot something big he used a .416.

O Garcia:

This is just a guess but Aagard was an old Kenya hand, and did his shooting of big game on the plains. So his .375 was perfect. Double lunging a placid buffalo (or lion, elephant, etc.) at 200 yards is not the same thing as shutting down a nervous one at fifty feet. Plus, Aagard was a pretty good shot. He may not have liked recoil; his Alaska rifle was a .35 Whelen, no slouch but not a .338 or .375, either.

All:

The Scout Rifle was supposed to be an all purpose rifle. If the .308 Win is not your favorite cartridge, you won't want one. If you take shots at big game at over 300 yards, you won't want one, and if you have been shooting your specific rifle type for 40 years and have done fine with it, you won't want one. If you have to ask what anyone would want with one, you won't want one. But that doesn't make Cooper wrong for developing and championing it. Me, I wish I had one.

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from calapp wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dear Moishe,

I was in the Philippines when COL(BG?) James (Nick) Rowe was assassinated on his way to work at JUSMAG in Quezon City. I didn't know he was awarded to MOH although his fellow Vietnam POW MAJ Humberto R. Versace did receive it.

What did Cooper say about him that offended you or his memory?

Thanks,

Calapp

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

O'Connor spouted off way to much but he could get away with it back then. I'd love to see him try to pontificate his crap today. jmo, of course
Cooper, while making a good cause for 1911's and derivetive's of today, was quite taken by himself. I'll bet he never passed a mirror that he didn't look twice at. jmo

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Happy Myles: Thanks for the input. It sounds like you have to write a book. If you're interested, I can put you in touch, as they say.

Sorry I'm late jumping in, but I was on an elk hunt.

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

So Dave how did your elk hunt go? We in Kansas are hunting whitetails with muzzleloaders. Three days ago I passed on a very long shot at the best buck I have ever seen on our family farm. Will go again in a couple days. Hope you did well on the elk.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dear Moishe,

I was in the Philippines when COL(BG?) James (Nick) Rowe was assassinated on his way to work at JUSMAG in Quezon City. I didn't know he was awarded to MOH although his fellow Vietnam POW MAJ Humberto R. Versace did receive it.

What did Cooper say about him that offended you or his memory?

Thanks,

Calapp

I must apologize, I made 2 errors, His highest Award was a Silver Star. He had been selected for BG but not yet Promoted.

James Nicholas "Nick" Rowe (February 8, 1938 – April 21, 1989) was a United States Army officer and one of only thirty-four American prisoners of war to escape captivity during the Vietnam War.[1] Colonel Rowe was credited with developing the rigorous Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training program taught to high-risk military personnel (such as Special Forces and aircrews) and the U.S. military doctrine which institutionalizes these techniques and principles to be followed by captured personnel.

By February 1989, Colonel Rowe had acquired intelligence information which indicated that the communists were planning a major terrorist act. He warned Washington that a high-profile figure was about to be assassinated and that he himself was second or third on the assassination list. At around 7:00 in the morning of April 21, 1989, as he was being driven to work at the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group headquarters in an armored limousine, Colonel Rowe's vehicle was hit by gunfire from a .45 caliber pistol and an M16 rifle near the corner of Tomas Morato Street and Timog Avenue in Quezon City.[3] Twenty-one shots hit the vehicle; one round entered through an unarmored portion of the vehicle frame and struck Colonel Rowe in the head, killing him instantly.

I don't really know why LTC Cooper had a low opinion of him but he wrote an article in Guns and Ammo in March ( I think )of 1989 expressing an opinion that with the threats made against him he was not very bright to travel to Quezon City without armed escorts.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

focusfront,

I think Finn Aagard preferred the scoped .375 when he is the hunter-client with a PH backing him up, but switches to the .458 when he is the PH.

His .458, like Harry Selby's .416, was built on the Mauser 98 military action, including the wing safety. It was originally chambered for the .425 Westley-Richards, but converted to .458. Since the .425 was a proprietary caliber, and judging by its elegant lines and still pleasing looks, it was probably made by Westley-Richards itself ((Harry Selby's .416 was made by the Rigby house, but why it was made on the standard-length 98 instead of the Magnum, we'll never know).

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from Armchair Mike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy Myles has a lot of us who would pre-order that book right here on this site. Editors, are you reading the comments?

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

focusfront: O'Connor was talking about only being allowed three guns and it was for all hunting. He said the 220's are quite a bullet, but he would definitely not want to hunt dangerous game with them, but in a pinch they would have to do. If you had to choose only three guns what would you choose?

I think that would make an excellent post... hint, hint, hint. A shotgun and .22 would almost be a no brainer, the hard part is which rifle is the all around gun.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I would also pick the same 3 as O'Connor, and own those and many more.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy, I think I see a big advance coming your way if your willing.

Cheers!

Bee

As far as Col. Cooper goes, I'd believe most anything he said about a .45 ACP and Mr. Browning's Pistol as produced by Colt. Not a fan of Scout rifles either.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Bee, did my wife ever send you an order??? If not lev me know and I will chastise her ;-)

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,
As noted in my first post, O'Connor's three gun battery -- .22 RF, 12 gauge shotgun and 30-06 -- was in reference to North American game, although I do seem to recall him saying that it would handle most game everywhere else as well. I don't really see how anyone could argue the point. He wasn't saying you SHOULD limit yourself to those three choices; just that they not leave anyone unduly handicapped. His one-rifle battery for hunting the world was the .375 H&H, so I would assume he would have replaced the '06 with it for a three-gun world battery. His main point, I believe, was that while we all enjoy arguing the relative merits and ballistics of rounds that fall within the same basic sub-groups, any of them will do the job with correct bullet placement and performance.
The '06's biggest recommendation was its versatility. There are not many other cartridges that offer you bullet weights ranging from .55 grains in the accelerator round to the 250 gr. bullets offered by Barnes, with velocities spanning the spectrum from 4K-fps to 2,300.
Availability is also a major plus. Leaving the two extremes aside, you can find factory ammo for the '06 on virtually every shelf store ranging from 110 grains to 220, designed to do everything from blow up on a prairie dog to plow all the way through a grizzly or moose. In the 150 gr. through 180 gr. it also shoots plenty flat enough for 300 to 350 yard shots if the shooter does his part. A very good and careful shot will not have any trouble extending that range a bit, either.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I also remember Finn writing that he almost never shot past 200 yards, on non-dangerous game. Which was why he never really fussed about shifts in point of impact of the quick detachable Redfield mount that he used.

For dangerous game, he shot them much closer, and only resorted to a long shot when finishing off a wounded one that was about to disappear into the bush.

As for O'Connor's 3-gun battery, a 12-gauge with Brenneke slugs (or any Foster-type, or a Remington Buckhammer or any of the wasp-waisted sabot slugs) still routinely kills large animals, especially if it find the lungs. Remember that the Brenneke was originally designed for killing the European wild boar. Or at least, that's what I read.

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from mrenzyme wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Buffalo steaks are a healthy alternative to beef with less fat, higher nutrients and higher in protein than other red meats. When not overcooked they are tender and juicy. They are also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential to every cell in the body. Higher protein means more energy and lower fat equals less cholesterol. Range fed Buffalo isn’t pumped full of hormones, antibiotics and other harmful chemicals like beef, pork and chicken.

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from mrenzyme wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

mrenzyme

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

As recently as a couple of years ago my firearms din not arrive in Bangui, C.A.R thanks to Air France. Arriving in camp, my French PH handed me a venerable, well used M70 375 along with a hand full of odds and ends for cartridges with which I proceeded to kill everything from duiker to buffalo. All with one shot except the buffalo, it took two rounds. One came apart in the shoulder, the second broke his neck when he charged around a tree. Feel it was the bullet, not the caliber. He also had a truck battery terminal in his neck fired through a homemade poachers muzzleloader.

The rifle I borrowed was a typical African experience where most "loaners" are either an 06 fro plains game or a 375 H&H for buffalo. A tribute to the versatility, popularity, and dependability of these two calibers. Are they perfect? Heavens no. as is no other caliber. However, they continue to get the job done all over the world. Their popularity continues despite the acclaim given to modern miracle calibers.

Most of my buffalo have been taken with the 416 Rigby with which have always been happy. In addition to the 25 or so with my Rigby, have taken maybe a half dozen with borrowed 375s which occurred when my rifles did not show up or decided to hunt buff only after arrival to hunt plains game. These include a couple of the western subspecies and a dwarf buffalo in Cameroon. Have also killed buffalo with 450 Ackley, 458 Win, and my 500 Jeffery. These are formidable killers, but too much recoil for most folks. Interestingly took my largest buffalo with one shot from a borrowed 375, it was shot perfectly through the shoulders but still ran over 125 yards. This animal probably would have got only a few yards at most if shot with a 416 using Triple Shock bullets.

Many folks cannot take more recoil than a 375, so by all means stick with it. Using a rifle one is afraid of or uncomfortable with, is asking for trouble. Today most PHs who focus on buffalo will be backing up with something larger than a 375.

My experience has been when you smack old Nyati in the right spot with something larger than a 375 you can tell he has been hit hard and more importantly so can the buffalo. Using the 416 animals shot by my Son and I have gone down on the spot or traveled only a few yards. My experience with 375s has been it lacks that authority even though have never had any problems, just a few moments of anxiety on occasion. Having stated that, the only buffalo hit initially by me that charged I stopped in his tracks with a borrowed 375

Have had to help out with buffalo wounded by others that took a lot of firepower from all kinds of calibers in my hands , 416, 470, and 500 Jeffery.

In closing, the 375 is a grand old caliber which I know I will use again.

Kindest Regards, these are just my experience I do not profess to have the answers

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Creek Chub,

Since no one else has answered your question on new 375 type calibers or 9,3s. I will try a very anemic response. I have been to Africa many times since these new calibers have been introduced. Despite running into many first time African hunters, who would be an obvious market for new calibers, have yet to run into anyone using one, except gun writers who were trying one for article purposes. The only exception has been the 375 Remington Ultra Mag. Shared a camp on two occasions with two different very experienced hunters using that caliber, both liked it very much. However, both rifles had muzzle breaks and both hunters still ended up with sliced eyebrows. They still liked the caliber.

Have run into several European hunters using, and loving their 9.3x64 Brennekes. Also shared a camp with an Italian gentleman who had the most beautiful gold and silver chased 9.3x62 rifle I have ever seen. However, the owner appeared to be better at polishing off a bottle of vodka than killing game. His PH used it to finish off a leopard and a kudu and claimed it was a marvelous shooter.

Interestingly, in West Africa, Cameroon and the C.A.R., French PHs and French customers love the 460 Weatherby. A delightful and formidably experienced French hunter recounted how his 460 saved his life. He claimed his ex wife tried to kill him with it, after one round it leaped out of her grip injuring her hand preventing accomplishing the task. He was firm that he could never part with with the cherished rifle.

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Forgot to mention the 416 Rem. I own an accurate custom beauty with which I took one buffalo in a proper fashion with one round of 400 grain Triple Shock. Do not use it as much as the 416 Rigby. The only reasons are have used the Rigby for decades and also the Remington seems to require more sight tinkering once I am in Africa. The cause may be due to it having higher pressures than the Rigby. I sight in here at home at sea level. Africa has higher altitude, higher temperatures and different humidity which which may make it a bit more temperamental than the low key old Rigby.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Jim Carmichel's opinion of the .375 in his "The Book of the Rifle" was pretty much the same as DP's. Jim Carmichel also had some interesting things to say in the same book about Karamojo Bell's use of the 7x57 on elephants.

On the other hand, gunwriters who had also some experience as guides in Africa, Joe Coogan, Finn Aagard and Ross Seyfried, believe the .375 is adequate. Especially if the PH backing you up has a Nitro Express double. Of course, confidence in your back up can work both ways, it can make you a better shooter, or a sloppy one (the PH will probably never invite you back if you're the latter.

I also would like to submit the following: back when the only "solids" available were made by Hornady, writer Layne Simpson recounts that while the .458 Hornady solids were excellent (both Simpson and Carmichel write that those recovered from elephants could be reloaded again, rifling marks and all), the .375 solids from the same maker had a tendency to bend, and therefore fail to reach the brain.

It has been said that many African calibers were undone by faulty bullets rather than faulty ballistics, resulting in some calibers becoming more popular than others because they were deemed more reliable. Was the .375 a victim of faulty bullets?

Of course, there's always the .500 Jeffery (actually the very German 12.7x70mm Schuler). With some 535 grain bullet loads it will deliver an honest 8,000 ft-lbs at 2,500 fps. And you don't have to ask a London house to build you a rifle for it, CZ can sell you a Magnum Express (Mauser-type ZKK Brno action, properly sized for true Magnum cartridges like the Rigby) in that caliber. Or .505 Gibbs, .450 and .416 Rigbys, .458 Lott or Winchester. In the Jeffery, Rigbys or Gibbs, the rifle will be assembled by a shop here in the US, so it will be a semi-custom. What's not to like?

Happy Myles' remark that no single caliber is perfect, is spot on. Any criticism we can make for the .30-06 (not as flat as the .270, not as hard-hitting as a .300), we've also made for the .300 Win. Mag. (not as flat-shooting as the .300 Weatherby, not as hard-hitting as a .338). We've made the same criticism for the 8mm Rem. Mag (not as flat-shooting as the .300 Weatherby, not as hard-hitting as a .338).

Critics of the .416s will say they're not as versatile as .375s and not as hard-hitting as .450s and bigger. Critics of the .416 WEATHERBY will say that while it shoots flat and has energy to surpass .45s, it kicks way too much and still lacks the bullet weight of larger calibers. And so on and so forth.

Layne Simpson prefers magnum .358's over .338's, and I'm sure someone already has made the criticism that .358's don't shoot as flat as "smaller calibers" (I did not say .338 Win. because the .358 Norma can match the .338's trajectory, but not the .340 Wby) and don't hit with the same authority as the .375.

Ah, the 375. And just like that, we're back to the beginning of this article.

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from jay wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy Myles is probably in Africa hunting Cape Buffalo with his .375 H&H.

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from SL wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Jeff Cooper knocking the .375 H&H surely doesn't hold much water in my opinion. So in a few of his paragraphs he dumps on the .375 H&H while in just about every other paragraph he touts his worthless scout rifle as the greatest thing since sliced bread! That right there gives him very little credibility on such matters in my honest opinion.
He should have stuck to military pistols and left rifle discussions to others.

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Postscript,

Killed one cape buffalo with a 338 Win Mag using 250 grain bullet. Was hunting lion and ran into buffalo the lion were hunting, but that is another story. Long ago in Zambia

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from SL wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Oryx, it's not the calibers that I have a problem with, it's the concept of the "scout" rifle. I see absolutely NO legitimate use or advantages of it's design over any existing bolt action rifles. Like I said, if you read any of Cooper's rants he plugs his scout rifle in every other paragraph he wrote. If it were any good or if it had some real advantages, you would see scores of people owning and using them. The truth is they are nothing more than a novelty that some shooters may want, just for the sense of having one. Other than that, my opinion is that they are pretty much useless.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Having exactly zero experience at killing cape buffalo I will certainly defer to anything DP has to say on the subject. On the other hand, being a voracious reader about all things African, I recall quite a few experienced African hands actually preferring the .375 to some of the big .400s on warmblooded tanks, based primarily on the extra penetration they believed they were getting from a solid bullet with good sectional density. I think Capstick may have been in that group when he was culling elephants, although he went with something bigger as a PH.
It's been noted before, but the .270 was NOT Jack O'Connor's choice for the one-gun, global battery. It was the .375 H&H, and O'Connor's take was pretty much the same as Dave's; too big for most things and a tad small for elephants and buffalo, but perfect for lions, big bears and large antelope, and adequate for anything up to and including elephant with good shot placement. For the bigger stuff, though, he preferred and used the .416 Rigby. Incidentally, O'Connor also said that if limited to three guns in N. America, a hunter could scrape by quite nicely with a .22, a 12 gauge shotgun and a 30-06. So much for the claims that he was myopically boosting the .270. His views on the '06 mirrored his opinion about the .375; not the ideal choice for many things, but the most versatile for anything you might encounter. The .270 was his ideal choice for sheep, open country deer and antelope.

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from Beekeeper wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy, I think I see a big advance coming your way if your willing.

Cheers!

Bee

As far as Col. Cooper goes, I'd believe most anything he said about a .45 ACP and Mr. Browning's Pistol as produced by Colt. Not a fan of Scout rifles either.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I have no experience hunting with these rifles but do own and have shot them somewhat extensively bursting bolders into gravel. I know several people who have accounted for well over 100 Cape buffalo over the years. Essentially they have always said the same as Petzal. In fact one fellow is in Zimbabwe now with his .470 double looking for a decent elephant and a couple big buff. Another friend hunted contently with a .375 H & H for all the right reasons for several years until he was almost gored by a close call only to have the day saved at the last moment by the PH with a .450/.400. The H & H went for a .378 Weatherby but one year with another unwanted encounter and almost dire outcome prompted him to get rid of that rifle. His opinion was that the Weatherby was not practically better than the H & H, regardless of paper ballistics, plus local ammo in Africa was non-existant. Ever since he traded it for a beautiful custom of Frank Pachmyer's on a custom M-70 action in .416 Rem. he has been happy as hell, the buffalo usually drop at once, and all is well.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

One other comment, in Taylor's last book on Africa, I forget the title, he insisted that the .375 H & H was the ultimate one gun battery for the world wide hunter based on his decades of hunting for a living in Africa. Oddly it appears that he rarely used one personally.
Another thought, read up on why Jack Lott felt the .458 Win. was not enough gun, pretty interesting story even if you don't agree with him.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy's writing is the equal of any gun and hunting writer that I have ever encountered. There are and have been many great ones including Petzal. Nevertheless I feel that we gun nuts will be at a loss if Happy fails to write his hunting book. I want my autographed copy as well.

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Oryx/Kudukid,
What is the old saying......"I believe I'd pet her first".

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from Happy Myles wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Two cartridges that have met with enthusiasm since becoming commercial are the 416 Remington and 458 Lott. Be gentle, to an old codger like me they are both new. Kindest Regards

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Jim Carmichael was no fan of the .375 for buffalo, either. It may depend upon hunting conditions; if you are shooting elephants and buffalo broadside at 200 yards, the .375 is probably pretty good. If you are shooting them at fifty feet, maybe not so much. You want to shoot big animals, you have to poke big holes.

For what it is worth, there are people that say the same thing about the .30-06; too much for deer (kicks more than you need, not as flat shooting as .270, .280, etc.), not enough for elk. I only lay this on the table; I am a happy .30-06 shooter.

This post is made for Happy Myles. Where is he?

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from focusfront wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph:

I remember O'Connor speaking of his three gun battery but I believe he was speaking of American hunting. When O'Connor wanted to shoot something big he used a .416.

O Garcia:

This is just a guess but Aagard was an old Kenya hand, and did his shooting of big game on the plains. So his .375 was perfect. Double lunging a placid buffalo (or lion, elephant, etc.) at 200 yards is not the same thing as shutting down a nervous one at fifty feet. Plus, Aagard was a pretty good shot. He may not have liked recoil; his Alaska rifle was a .35 Whelen, no slouch but not a .338 or .375, either.

All:

The Scout Rifle was supposed to be an all purpose rifle. If the .308 Win is not your favorite cartridge, you won't want one. If you take shots at big game at over 300 yards, you won't want one, and if you have been shooting your specific rifle type for 40 years and have done fine with it, you won't want one. If you have to ask what anyone would want with one, you won't want one. But that doesn't make Cooper wrong for developing and championing it. Me, I wish I had one.

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from 007 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy, if you ever write your memoirs, I want an autographed copy!

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from kudukid wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

It wasn't just Layne Simpson who remarked on differences in 458 solids back when they were all Hornadys. Finn Aagard wrote the same thing in the American Rifleman stating he thought between Remington solids or Winchester solids (don't remember which) one was slightly better than the other. That was when both were made by Hornady with copper plated steel supplied by Texas Instruments.

One of those same Hornady solids shred itself on the shoulder of a kudu bull - hit the shoulder blade ridge edge-on.

Shot a cape buffalo broadside from 20 yards with a 300 gr. Barnes with 50 thousandths pure copper jacket and pure lead core out of a ZKK 602 in 375H&H. Load chronographed 2650. Bullet penetrated the skin and thick muscle just behind the shoulder blade then tore out a whole rib. Soft bullet core disintegrated and along with the bone fragments from the rib exploded into heart and lungs like a load of no. 4 shot. Most of the thick jacket folded back to the base was found up against the far rib cage. Buffalo ran 40 yards then fell and bellowed his last.

Back at camp that evening we had grilled fillets along with an excellent tomato-base oxtail soup and finished with fresh peach cobbler topped with ultra thick fresh cream...all prepared on the cooks makeshift sheet metal camp stoves.

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from kudukid wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

from Oryx wrote 1 hour 52 min ago
Kudukid:
"You had "ultra thick fresh cream" with the cobbler...and you were hunting Cape Buffalo...my question is:
Who drew the short straw, and did they survive?"

Answer...Why would I possibly care? I had a dirty job to do and did it without complaint.

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from guyandarifle wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy,
While having nothing really to add to your most erudite original post I'd like to offer the observation to your postscript that, IIRC, the largest Buff Jim Carmichael felled was with a .338 Win and a 250gr Partition. I believe it was a DRT too if memory serves. Purely a matter of opportunity.

Too many people have accomplished too much for too long with the .375 to make it very vulnerable to disparaging remarks. Still, for the biggest and baddest I'd take much comfort in a bit more rifle. (Taking the recoil caveat into account of course)

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

SL,
Ditto on the Scout rifle. I loved reading Cooper and I still own a 1911 Colt I had my dad buy for me with my Christmas money when I was 12 due entirely to Cooper, but I never understood the Scout rifle. When DP did his recent televised segment on the Scout rifle my wife was watching with me and asked me what it was supposed to be good for. I tried to explain but I don't think I succeeded very well, because I've never figured it out.

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Being a reader of the venerable Colonel myself, I think his criticisms were more to the point being that the .375 is too heavy for 75% of the animals it is used for, and too light for the remaining 25%

Note, too, that he came to be a fan of the .376 Steyr round in the Scout, which he often called the near ballistic twin of the H & H; but he take a while to talk himself into this admiration.

If I were a hunter of bison, eland, nilgai or lion, I would want a .375 H & H in my hands.

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Kudukid:

You had "ultra thick fresh cream" with the cobbler...and you were hunting Cape Buffalo...my question is:

Who drew the short straw, and did they survive?

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from davidpetzal wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To Happy Myles: Thanks for the input. It sounds like you have to write a book. If you're interested, I can put you in touch, as they say.

Sorry I'm late jumping in, but I was on an elk hunt.

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy,

Well stated, as usual!

b/r
WAM

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from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Jeff Cooper was a different sort of chap. Not sure why anyone would take his commentary on safari rifles seriously. Or his blabbering about the Scout rifle either.

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

To all the gents that want Happy's book. Please wait your turn, my request was put in over a year ago.

Happy, would you mind sharing your most recent trip to the dark continent with us? Any luck on that forest sitatunga?

As before I would like a signed copy of your book and a chance to call an old turkey gobbler in to your shotgun.

Many years ago an Army Colonel related his experience taking Tembo with a 375 H&H. Seems the elephant charged and the first shot turned but did not stop said bull. My friend continied to fire until the target was gone. After much tracking the dead bull was found to have expired from a bullet that hit a kidney as the bull ran by at close range. He decided something larger in caliber was needed.

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from Del in KS wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

So Dave how did your elk hunt go? We in Kansas are hunting whitetails with muzzleloaders. Three days ago I passed on a very long shot at the best buck I have ever seen on our family farm. Will go again in a couple days. Hope you did well on the elk.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I must have read the same book as M Reeder. I remember O'Connor saying he could kill any animal on the planet quite nicely if he only had three guns. A .22, a 12 gauge, and a 30-06. That was his ultimate three gun battery.

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from Tim Platt wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

focusfront: O'Connor was talking about only being allowed three guns and it was for all hunting. He said the 220's are quite a bullet, but he would definitely not want to hunt dangerous game with them, but in a pinch they would have to do. If you had to choose only three guns what would you choose?

I think that would make an excellent post... hint, hint, hint. A shotgun and .22 would almost be a no brainer, the hard part is which rifle is the all around gun.

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from ishawooa wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Regarding Happy's comment concerning the newer "big" cartridges I frankly don't know anyone who owns a rifle chambered for one except for a very few .325s. I have also noticed only small quantities of boxes of cartridges at the local gunstores, if any. For the most part I think the new short cartridges .325 and above will fade away. A friend loves his .325 mag in a Kimber and has been rather successful on elk with it. However he reports that ammo and components are not easy to locate.
Concerning Happy's Frenchman, maybe I know of him. Another friend was out in the bush about 4 years ago with his PH hunting buff. The other PH who stayed in camp was a Frenchman. My hunter friend's wife was along on the trip but stayed in camp most days. It seems that perhaps the French PH was in the bush while staying in camp if you get my drift. The outcome of all of this was a divorce and a marriage. I wonder how long the Frenchman will remained married to my friend's ex. Most likely about as long as the "big" short magnums reign.

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from Bernie wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I had a conversation with Jack Atcheson, Jr. some years ago and asked him his opinion on the .375 H & H for Cape buffalo. Jack, who has shot dozens with the cartridge, told me he found it entirely adequate. All others I have talked with agree with Dave's contention that the .375 H & H is minimal. With my gimpy legs I don't think I could walk far enough anymore to shoot a Cape buffalo, so for me the question is moot. My .375 sure has been wonderful for everything else though. I have taken a waterbuck, blue wildebeast and American bison, and some other smaller African animals with the .375.

Jack O'Connor wrote many years ago that he used IMR-4064 powder rather than IMR-4350 in the .375. The latter would deliver slightly higher velocities but with markedly more recoil. So I use 4064.

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Agree, DP. Go with large-bore rifle, most powerful you can handle. For me it was a 458.

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from AlaskanExile wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Ishawoo;
We don't know each other but, I do own a 375 Ruger Alaskan. It's a great round,a great gun, but I can't tell the difference between it and the H&H round in recoil. Ammo is a lot easier to find here in Alaska for the older round. But I do have 4 places I know of (including Wal-Mart) that carry 375 Ruger ammo.
Two years ago I could not find 375 Ruger ammo anywhere, so someone was buying it up. I have seen a few rifles sell in 375 Ruger, and I haven't seen one on the used-rack yet, so people who buy them are hanging on to them.
I can't speak for Africa, but so far it seems to be gaining popularity here in Alaska. I do hope to take mine to Africa one day too.
AKX

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from shane wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I wonder how much difference a Barnes TSX would have made in Petzal's situation, as well as in Happy's where his .375 bullet fell apart in the shoulder.

They do seem to be a miracle bullet. Expansion and penetration are mostly mutually exclusive, but they seem to do both as well or better at once than any other bullet. I would most definitely rank them above a Partition, especially if we're talking big, thick skinned game with an eye for carnage.

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from idduckhntr wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Nothing wrong with a 375H&H period. The round has proven itself, as far as recoil I dont think it kicks that bad. shot worse.

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from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

In the Big CALIBER dept I have shot a .375 H&H(Winchester 70) and a .460 Weatherby. That .460 is alot of gun in a (relatively)small package. Now if recoil is any indicator of game killing ability, then the .460 will kill anything on this planet! NOW, as for the .375, my friend's Father used one on more then a few hunts in the Canadian bush with very good success on moose, black bear, and of course; Whitetail deer. He even took a sizeable wolf at a speck over a 100yds.
I sure would like to hunt the Cape Buffalo one day..I would try a borrow a gun for it since the trip itself would cost a tidy sum I am sure!

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from Armchair Mike wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Happy Myles has a lot of us who would pre-order that book right here on this site. Editors, are you reading the comments?

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from 007 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave, great post! Happy, I think you're being paged, looking forward to your insight and wisdom.

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from Creek Chub wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dave and Friends,

What say you on the .375's new to market in the past few years: .376 steyr, .375 ruger, .370 sako mag?

Also, where do the 9.3x62mm and similar calibers rank in your "All Africa" rifle?

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from kudukid wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

from Oryx wrote 59 min 19 sec ago

Kudukid:

Eh...OK.

"I just had this vision of the odd man out in your hunting party resignedly grabbing the milking stool, bucket, and with a grim, but resolute face, slowly walking towards the herd, scanning all the while for the tamest-looking Cape Buffalo cow...
But whatever."

Oh, you mean that guy? He's OK. The doctors say his nervous tick will go away eventually. Short term only required a shower and change of clothes. Imagine her surprise when she found out it wasn't her calf.

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

focusfront,

I think Finn Aagard preferred the scoped .375 when he is the hunter-client with a PH backing him up, but switches to the .458 when he is the PH.

His .458, like Harry Selby's .416, was built on the Mauser 98 military action, including the wing safety. It was originally chambered for the .425 Westley-Richards, but converted to .458. Since the .425 was a proprietary caliber, and judging by its elegant lines and still pleasing looks, it was probably made by Westley-Richards itself ((Harry Selby's .416 was made by the Rigby house, but why it was made on the standard-length 98 instead of the Magnum, we'll never know).

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from guyandarifle wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I've always thought most people pretty much considered the .375 basically the way you do. While absolutely vetted against everything walking, including Cape Buff and even Elephant, it's considered a bit on the light side for that task by the majority of people I've talked to or read. OTOH it's pretty much at the top end for recoil with many so the .40+ cartridges may not be viable options for such folk. For the one gun hunter though it's awfully tough to beat and in the right loading (250gr TTSX anyone?) is pretty darn flat shooting.

Personally if my "one gun" safari were to include plains game as well as ill-tempered biological tanks like Cape Buff it'd be a .416.

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from dtownley wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Seyfried, Simpson, Boddington, write some things of interest once the ego river is waded. Carmichael, Aagaard, Keith, Cooper, seemed to have more anecdotal draw in their writings(moth to the flame)almost begging you to join them. I think Keith would have been surprised by these homogeneous projectiles but we may have lost Aagaard back to Africa. If Aagaard had the homogeneous expanding bullet his (soft pt. followed with FMJs)idea would have played pleasant sound of death bellow he had hoped for. Cooper was until his passing the only reason G&A showed in my mailbox, not agreed with by everyone but it was the last page I started with in that journal and he is missed. I think he wanted everyone to try a Safari is why he preached SCOUT(pre-Steyr), in cartridges chambered for it was shootable for almost anyone. He may have thought more of the .350RM case, probably couldn't get Steyr to bite ? I could see a .401, .411, .416, on a .350RM case or even a .284WIN case properly blown out & with the correct shoulder...double radius of WBY fame ?

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from Mike Plotner wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

if i am going in to the long grass after cape buffalo i would pack a .458 winchester to avoid being stopped into a puddle of gooo (another reason hwy i am content to wacth football and not participat!) might be a little rough but it would be better than being flone back home in a plastic bag

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from TED FORD wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Little wonder why Mr.Myles is known as"Happy".

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from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

not a cooper fan...the two gun writers books i enjoyed were Jack O'Connors and John Pondoros books....Happy ill put in a request for a signed copy of your tales as well.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

O Garcia and Kudukid make some good points not limited to African hunting. Bullet construction and bullet placement will always be more important considerations than caliber choice, within reason. It doesn't mean you go deer hunting with a .22 hornet or choose a .243 for grizzlies, but any bullet placed in vitals that both penetrates and expands properly is going to kill whatever you shoot deader than something shot in the leg with an elephant gun, or hit by a bullet that either blows up on the surface or fails to expand. It always struck me that some of Elmer Keith's disdain for what he regarded as "small" bore cartridges had more to do with bullet performance than caliber. Keith's first hunting experiences had been with big bore, low velocity blackpower cartridges and bullet manufacturers were still trying to perfect terminal performances at the higher velocities possible with smokeless power when Keith first began using them (although I still believe the mule deer that he claimed ran away unperturbed by six 180 gr. '06 bullets in his chest had been missed six times).
O'Connor also believed that one of the reasons the .270 gained such immediate popularity was the excellent performance of Winchester's original 130 gr. "soft-point expanding bullet," which he called the first successful American design for high velocity. It's fun to argue about the relative merits of the .270, '06, .280 and other various 7mms, but all other factors being equal, I doubt that it makes much difference to a deer or antelope hit by any of them, as long as the hit's in the chest and the bullet does what it's supposed to do.

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from calapp wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

What about the 375 H&H with 350 grain bullets for dangerous game? I believe Norma loads them. Thanks.

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from calapp wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dear Moishe,

I was in the Philippines when COL(BG?) James (Nick) Rowe was assassinated on his way to work at JUSMAG in Quezon City. I didn't know he was awarded to MOH although his fellow Vietnam POW MAJ Humberto R. Versace did receive it.

What did Cooper say about him that offended you or his memory?

Thanks,

Calapp

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

SL, just out of curiosity, what caliber was the Scout rifle that you had the bad experience with?

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from Jim in Mo wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

O'Connor spouted off way to much but he could get away with it back then. I'd love to see him try to pontificate his crap today. jmo, of course
Cooper, while making a good cause for 1911's and derivetive's of today, was quite taken by himself. I'll bet he never passed a mirror that he didn't look twice at. jmo

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Guy I agree, it will kill MOST things quickly with proper placement, but for mbogo, you want something bigger.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

HAppy PLEASE write a book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I would like one also.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dear Moishe,

I was in the Philippines when COL(BG?) James (Nick) Rowe was assassinated on his way to work at JUSMAG in Quezon City. I didn't know he was awarded to MOH although his fellow Vietnam POW MAJ Humberto R. Versace did receive it.

What did Cooper say about him that offended you or his memory?

Thanks,

Calapp

I must apologize, I made 2 errors, His highest Award was a Silver Star. He had been selected for BG but not yet Promoted.

James Nicholas "Nick" Rowe (February 8, 1938 – April 21, 1989) was a United States Army officer and one of only thirty-four American prisoners of war to escape captivity during the Vietnam War.[1] Colonel Rowe was credited with developing the rigorous Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training program taught to high-risk military personnel (such as Special Forces and aircrews) and the U.S. military doctrine which institutionalizes these techniques and principles to be followed by captured personnel.

By February 1989, Colonel Rowe had acquired intelligence information which indicated that the communists were planning a major terrorist act. He warned Washington that a high-profile figure was about to be assassinated and that he himself was second or third on the assassination list. At around 7:00 in the morning of April 21, 1989, as he was being driven to work at the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group headquarters in an armored limousine, Colonel Rowe's vehicle was hit by gunfire from a .45 caliber pistol and an M16 rifle near the corner of Tomas Morato Street and Timog Avenue in Quezon City.[3] Twenty-one shots hit the vehicle; one round entered through an unarmored portion of the vehicle frame and struck Colonel Rowe in the head, killing him instantly.

I don't really know why LTC Cooper had a low opinion of him but he wrote an article in Guns and Ammo in March ( I think )of 1989 expressing an opinion that with the threats made against him he was not very bright to travel to Quezon City without armed escorts.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I would also pick the same 3 as O'Connor, and own those and many more.

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Bee, did my wife ever send you an order??? If not lev me know and I will chastise her ;-)

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from O Garcia wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I also remember Finn writing that he almost never shot past 200 yards, on non-dangerous game. Which was why he never really fussed about shifts in point of impact of the quick detachable Redfield mount that he used.

For dangerous game, he shot them much closer, and only resorted to a long shot when finishing off a wounded one that was about to disappear into the bush.

As for O'Connor's 3-gun battery, a 12-gauge with Brenneke slugs (or any Foster-type, or a Remington Buckhammer or any of the wasp-waisted sabot slugs) still routinely kills large animals, especially if it find the lungs. Remember that the Brenneke was originally designed for killing the European wild boar. Or at least, that's what I read.

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from MReeder wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Dr. Ralph,
As noted in my first post, O'Connor's three gun battery -- .22 RF, 12 gauge shotgun and 30-06 -- was in reference to North American game, although I do seem to recall him saying that it would handle most game everywhere else as well. I don't really see how anyone could argue the point. He wasn't saying you SHOULD limit yourself to those three choices; just that they not leave anyone unduly handicapped. His one-rifle battery for hunting the world was the .375 H&H, so I would assume he would have replaced the '06 with it for a three-gun world battery. His main point, I believe, was that while we all enjoy arguing the relative merits and ballistics of rounds that fall within the same basic sub-groups, any of them will do the job with correct bullet placement and performance.
The '06's biggest recommendation was its versatility. There are not many other cartridges that offer you bullet weights ranging from .55 grains in the accelerator round to the 250 gr. bullets offered by Barnes, with velocities spanning the spectrum from 4K-fps to 2,300.
Availability is also a major plus. Leaving the two extremes aside, you can find factory ammo for the '06 on virtually every shelf store ranging from 110 grains to 220, designed to do everything from blow up on a prairie dog to plow all the way through a grizzly or moose. In the 150 gr. through 180 gr. it also shoots plenty flat enough for 300 to 350 yard shots if the shooter does his part. A very good and careful shot will not have any trouble extending that range a bit, either.

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from Oryx wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

Kudukid:

Eh...OK.

I just had this vision of the odd man out in your hunting party resignedly grabbing the milking stool, bucket, and with a grim, but resolute face, slowly walking towards the herd, scanning all the while for the tamest-looking Cape Buffalo cow...

But whatever.

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from mrenzyme wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

Buffalo steaks are a healthy alternative to beef with less fat, higher nutrients and higher in protein than other red meats. When not overcooked they are tender and juicy. They are also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which are essential to every cell in the body. Higher protein means more energy and lower fat equals less cholesterol. Range fed Buffalo isn’t pumped full of hormones, antibiotics and other harmful chemicals like beef, pork and chicken.

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from mrenzyme wrote 1 year 28 weeks ago

mrenzyme

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from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 29 weeks ago

I have fired MOST calibers, from .22 to .458 (Due to friends asked me if I wanted to try it) recoil has rarely been an issue for me, but my three favorites have been the .22,30/06 & 375 H&H, I never made to to Africa but it did the job well in Alaska for me.

As for Cooper, I think he was at his best talking about.45 ACP, his quest to acceptance of his "Scout Gun" was not his best thought.

He wrote a very nasty article about a good friend of mine BG James N (Nick) Rowe, a Medal of Honor Member in 1989, in Guns and Ammo after he was killed in the Philippines. I wrote him in protest and he cussed me out in a return letter.

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