Gunfight Friday: Feral-Cow Rifles

Before the holiday break last week, we learned about saving coffee plantations from feral cattle. Today, we'll consider hardware for the job. One of the two rifles is an actual, proven, working cow gun. The other is one of those aspirational safari rifles that people buy hoping someday to use on Cape buffalo in Africa, water buffs in Australia, or, as we now know, on feral cattle in Hawaii.*

Both of these rifles are chambered in calibers big enough to turn bovines into beef. One is a .375 Ruger, a 2007 Hornady/Ruger collaboration that puts slightly better than .375 H&H ballistics into a standard-length cartridge. The other is the powerful .458 Lott, designed by hunter and writer Jack Lott, in retaliation for rough treatment at the hooves of a buffalo in Mozambique that was insufficiently impressed by Lott’s .458 Winchester Magnum. The .458 Lott was based on the .375 H&H case and was legitimized as a factory load in 1989.

Howa 1500 in .375 Ruger
A rifle for hunting cattle in dark forest canopies.Reader Submitted

Bruce's .375 Ruger

This is the newest addition to my arsenal—a Howa 1500 in .375 Ruger, which compares very favorably with the venerable .375 H&H. It is equipped with a Vortex Crossfire ll scope, quick-detach rings, and fiber-optic sights. The scope is great for my old eyes, but the tree canopy where I hunt cattle is so thick that sunlight penetrates only a few areas. That, coupled with early morning and late evening hunting and very close shots, often creates the necessity to rely on open sights. A flashlight base is attached to the barrel for hunting in the darkness beneath the macadamia nut trees in the final moments of daylight. The rifle is deadly accurate out to 200 yards, but my longest shot on cattle to date is about 80 yards. I’ve taken two large bulls with it, and they both dropped within 50 yards. Sighting in is not unpleasant, since the Hogue overmolded stock and thick recoil pad take the punishment.

.458 Win. Mag.
A ‘someday dangerous-game’ rifle.Reader Submitted

Amflyer's .458 Lott

This is a ‘someday dangerous-game’ rifle. It started life as a .458 Win. Mag., and was reworked in Plains, Mo., to take the bigger Lott cartridge. The scope is a VX-3, chosen for its eye relief and ruggedness, although in a caliber like this, a scope is probably a consumable item, and I will take two when the day arrives that I hunt with the rifle. The Talley detachables will make that easy. Other than re-bedding the forward lug, the rifle is stock, including the MOA trigger, which breaks crisply at about 4 pounds. A specialty rifle, it is good at what it does, but it has limited applications.

There are your choices: a real feral-cow rifle and a dream feral-cow rifle. Vote and comment below and keep the gun pictures coming to fsgunnuts@gmail.com