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.