August 01, 2008
Petzal: The .375 H&H: Fraud or Scam?
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
If you ever want to start a screaming fight at an SCI convention, use this gambit: "The .375 H&H is too big to be a plains game cartridge, and not big enough for dangerous game."
Then get under a table. The reason for the frenzy is that there is a considerable number of people who consider the .375 to be the single most useful African cartridge around, a sort of sub-equatorial equivalent of the .30/06. I am with the second school of thought, sort of. You can get .375 ammo loaded with 300-grain bullets at 2,550 fps, 270s at almost 2,700, and I've seen bullets in that diameter as light as 235 grains and 260 grains that you can handload. The only weight I've ever used is 300. I never saw the need, or the sense, in anything lighter.
*As a killer of plains game, especially the big antelope, the .375 is terrific. It's unhandy at 300 yards, but then there's not a lot of shooting at 300 yards over there. If your rifle weighs in the neighborhood of 9 1/2 to 10 pounds, its recoil is very manageable.
*The .375 is highly popular as a backup gun among PHs.
*If you can't shoot anything bigger for dangerous game, you're a lot better off with a .375 than with a cannon that petrifies you.
*If you want to make a one-rifle safari, there is no better round.
*However, I don't think it's much of a buffalo cartridge. It will kill them, eventually, but it won't discourage them. When you shoot old nyati, you want him to think: "Jeez, that felt like the wrath of Hillary Clinton. Maybe I better die right now and save everyone a lot of trouble."