Gunfight Friday: “Alaska” Rifles

For this week’s Gunfight Friday, we’ve got two light heavyweights. Both are intended for big critters, some of which can bite and stomp unlucky hunters if things go badly. One is a .338 WBM belonging to frequent commenter pcspecht, who urged me not to make this gunfight an apples-to-oranges comparison. I put it up against a .375 Ruger, which has been to Africa, but I imagine it would do pretty well in Alaska, too. So what we have instead is an apples-to-oranges is apples to bigger apples.

Here they are:

Pcspecht’s Tikka T3

My Tikka T3 in .338 WBM has 24 3/8-inch barrel with a custom muzzle break. The barrel has been cryo-tempered to reduce barrel stress. The rifle is topped with a Leupold 3-9x40 standard ballistic reticle zeroed at 275 meters. The T3 may be one of the best-kept secrets in the long-gun marketplace. The T3 series is designed to be very accurate, lightweight (this rifle weighs 6 1/3 pounds out of the box and 8 pounds, 6 1/4 ounces as shown with a full magazine) for all-day carry. It’s highly weather resistant and easy to maintain in stainless steel and a synthetic stock. I use this rifle as my backup when taking friends from the Lower 48 to hunt in Alaska. To date it has been responsible for a number of caribou, several moose, a black bear, and a coastal brown bear that charged a friend who had just downed a Sitka blacktai—and didn't see the bear to his left until I fired.

Tim’s 375 Ruger

A few years ago I had an opportunity to hunt in Zimbabwe. The time of my trip coincided with Ruger’s release of their 375 Ruger. I liked the idea of the standard length action and a bit more power than the 375 H&H. It is a light, handy rifle, but the factory stock had a minimal recoil pad. I traded the walnut stock out for a Hogue like the one that comes on Ruger’s Alaskan rifle. I mounted a Trijicon 1-4 scope on it. Ammunition is becoming more common but still not like 375 H&H. Then again nothing is readily available these days.

The ammo situation has probably eased up some since Tim sent me this picture last year. I have been waiting for the right rifle to put it up against, and I hope you will agree this is a good one. Pick your favorite, vote, and comment below—and keep the gun pictures coming to fsgunnuts@gmail.com.