Having been involved in the taking of literally hundreds of game animals from the tiny Damara dik dik to bison, buffaloes, brown bears, and hippos with a wide variety of cartridges/bullets, I can’t with straight face say 2,800 f-p of kinetic energy are appreciably more effective at terminating deer or even elk and moose than are 2000 f-p. But if you believe they are, the 375 H&H is your baby. I’d certainly want that extra horsepower on my side in any charge, though I’m not convinced even that will guarantee better results. I’ve read and heard too many stories about multiple hits from 416-, 458-, and 500- caliber stopping rifles that didn’t stop anything until one of the principals had been bitten, clawed, gored, or stomped. Hard, high SD bullets of lesser caliber and horsepower have been known to reliably stop the biggest and baddest with a proper central nervous system hit, likely the only hit to reliably stop a charge.
To be fair and accurate, a 300-grain from a 375 H&H at 2,550 fps is appreciably more impressive than a 220-grain from a 30-06 at 2,550 fps. Muzzle energy is 3,177 for the 220-grain .308 slug, 4,332 f-p for the 300-grain .375 slug. At 100 yards the 375 carries a 1,000 f-p advantage. Crank bullet mass to 350-grains in the 375 and you’re clearly way, way out of the 30-06’s league. On Pondoro Taylor’s Knockout Value scale, this 30-06 scores a 23.3 KOV. The 300-grain 375 almost doubles it at 40.1. But for further perspective, know that a 500-grain from the 458 Win. Mag. scores a KOV of 69.7. Furthermore, those values do not relate directly to body strikes. They were Taylor’s measure of a bullet’s ability to stun or knock out an elephant if the bullet passed within an inch or two of the brain, but failed to reach it.
Regardless dangerous game handling, how many hunters/shooters looking for a versatile, all-round rifle are spending more time engaging charging buffalo and bears than whacking whitetails and wabbits for dinner? This, to me, is a more valuable reality for defining versatility. Each of us must decide what the bulk of our shooting will require. Lighter loads for plinking, small game hunting, and medium game hunting? Or heavy loads for stopping bison, buffalo, brown bears, and hippos? The ultimate pragmatist might argue that he’ll make sure he’s got the stopping power he needs first because failing to stop a brown bear intent on a hug has more significant repercussions than failing to stop a cottontail intent on reaching a brush pile. Another pragmatist might think it foolish to suffer 50 years of recoil and 375 H&H ammo prices to shoot whitetails, springbucks, duikers, coyotes, and jackrabbits on the decidedly off chance that his one or two forays to Alaska or Mozambique might result in a charge more deadly than his outfitter’s fees.
Is 375 H&H Magnum more versatile than 30-06? — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com