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Thread: Time for a custom Rifle - 375 H&H

  1. #1

    Time for a custom Rifle - 375 H&H

    Having made it out the other side of a unexpected event at the beginning of the year (streptococcal peritonitis - several weeks in Intensive care and a vertical 12" abdominal scar that has left my international bikini modeling career in tatters - as the practice nurse said, 'a great way to loose weight but don't do it again') I've been thinking about treating myself to a custom rifle to use abroad.

    My principle workhorse is a Copper Arms model 54 in .260 Rem which I like a great deal and I've been thinking about another. - from the Cooper custom shop if I can organise the import from the US to go along side it (Brian Fox is no longer importing Cooper). I travel to NZ and Australia to see family once or twice a year so opportunity to get some use from something bigger is there; although its fair to say that I'm confident enough in the 260 to do the job in many cases, I just wqould like a little 'more gun'. Since its not going to be used every day, I'm going to go all out with polished mirror finish case colored receiver, exhibition grade claro stock, matching Apel mounts etc. I'm only going to buy this once so to hell with it.

    After hours with Cartridges of the world, and having discounted something sensible and middle of the road like a 30-06 I was fairly keen on a 300 Win Mag, but a couple of pieces by Craig Boddington has persuaded me that if I'm going to buy something bigger, then the 375 H&H is the daddy and there is little that I would want to shoot that I couldn't with that. Ammunition is no issue because I reload anyway, but helpful that its also available everywhere.

    I know how subjective recoil is (I'm not too frail!) but on balance opinion seems to be that the 375 is perceived to be a little less sharp than the 300 and 338 derivatives.

    Its all a matter of opinion of course and all of them will do the job if the user does his (or her)'s, anyone with experience care to comment though? Either on the chambering or whether you've regretted owning something that looked nice in the rack but then didn't use because you were worried about damaging it!

  2. #2
    Have you considered using a Mauser 98 action?

    Despite being chambered for the "short magnum" the magazine is actually a proper "Magnum" length one and happily accepts loaded .375 H&H cartridges. Bolt face is of course correct for the cartridge as well. I could not find a 404 or .375 H&H when was looking to fill the hole in the model line up so this is a P-H 1100M African Magnum. Due to restrictions on their use in the UK many are lightly used and often very reasonable to buy. This one is fairly heavy as P-H weighted the stock with lead to help absorb the recoil and she weighs about 10 1/2lbs empty.

    Just a thought!

  3. #3
    Its all a matter of opinion of course and all of them will do the job if the user does his (or her)'s, anyone with experience care to comment though? Either on the chambering or whether you've regretted owning something that looked nice in the rack but then didn't use because you were worried about damaging it!
    Whilst I have not owned a .375 H&H, see post above, I do happen to have a rifle that sort of fits in your question:-

    As you can see it was used as intended even though I understand it's the only rifle like this built by the makers. It now has some marks on the stock and small signs of handling and use in the field. The maker kindly sent me a letter with a replacement cost as I did not have the rifle built but acquired it lightly used. In fact i could not afford to have such a rifle built but that did not stop me using it in the field. That is what it was made for.

  4. #4
    The 375 H&H is a very good choice. If you reload, you can always download to something like a 260gn Partition, at reduced velocity, and use it over here without too much damage. It would make sense to have both your rifles of similar design, especially the safety catch, as you really don't need to think too much when confronted with dangerous game. I'm not sure I agree with the "highly polished" finish, which might be a bit obtrusive in the bush. Have fun thinking up the specification !

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Marcher View Post
    . I'm not sure I agree with the "highly polished" finish, which might be a bit obtrusive in the bush. Have fun thinking up the specification !
    Can you honestly say that you have lost game due to the reflection from your rifle?

    I cannot not! There is probably more chances of a flash or reflection from my spectacles than the highly Blacked finish of the rifle.

  6. #6
    Given you desires, I wouldn't think about a Cooper or the like.

    Look into TT Procter or Ronald Wharton, put yourself in one of those gents hands and allow yourself to be guided by them.

    Won't be cheap, but it should be tasty.....

    Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you......

  7. #7
    Ron Wharton is certainly a man who will listen then advise. I and those whom I know that had dealt with him can only say of the excellent help and advice that he has given. It was Ron who sourced and obtained he new Steyr 6.5mm barrel for my Model 1903 Schoennauer although due to his work load at the time he did not fit it and passed the job onto Lew Potter.

  8. #8
    Think about how you are going to use this rifle. If you are putting it in QD mounts, and really plan to mostly use the iron sights, you want a rifle which works with both open sights and scope, and fits you to a 'T'.

    Recoil on these rifles varies by fit of the rifle, weight, and how you shoot them.

    Before spending a cent on a custom rifle, I would borrow, try, and even buy some used rifles to get the feel of them, the weight and balance, the difference between a 24 inch barrel and a 22 inch. You can buy used ones and sell them at no loss, just to try for free.

    That is what I have done. I have owned over a half dozen .375 H&H, two of them custom for other men. One was an H&H SxS. The other was French walnut and a square bridge Magnum Mauser action, 22 inch barrel, Leupold 1.5-5x in a G&H side mount. The stock was just a bit too short for me.

    I have owned three pre-64 Winchesters, all wonderful rifles, but barrels too long or a stock modified by an owner to not fit me.

    You should look at a new Winchester. I had one, and it was better than all the pre-64s, except for the comb being too high for quick iron sights. I was going to restock it to suit me, when i was injured in an accident and could not shoot it for several years. I bought it for a lion hunt, cancelled that. Winchester was out of business, so I sold it to someone headed for Africa. Perfect weight ( 9.1 lbs out of the box ), and balance, the thick buttstock balancing the 22.5 inch barrel.

    I also owned a Ruger African ( too heavy at 10.5 lbs out of the box ), and a CZ550, too large and unwieldy for me, not as smooth as the BRNO 602, but the action will smooth out. A friend has one which he restocked, and has had it 17 years, lots of wild boar, three trips to Africa.

    My current .375 H&H is a Sako Finnbear L61R, longer barrel, and light ( under 8 lbs), but points for me like an upland gun.

    Don't believe any of the barrel lengths or weights; handle them yourself.
    Don't believe the myth that you must have a Mauser type claw bolt. Remington and Sako work perfectly

    And wood - you want dense wood. The Turkish walnut looks good, but not strong enough. If your preference is a smaller grip and forend for better control, then you are going to have a slim butt stock, too, and you need straight grain and dense walnut, like English or American Black. Some Claro will work, depending on how it grew.

    If I were building one today, I would buy a Winchester, and start there. The new stocks are beefy enough to cut them down all around to fit me and then rechecker them.

    I recently ran across four .375s in a small town gun store - two pre-64s, a post 64 and a new one - $1,200 to $700.

    Look at a BRNO 602 action. Handle and shoot a Parker Hale Mauser, and a CZ550 Magnum. Don't dismiss or pass by a Remington ( C Grade is nice), Sako, or post 64 Winchester. Most have very little use, and are well cared-for. So if you don't like the 25 inch barrel on a pre-64, cut it back to 23 and try it, then 22. Don't just walk into a gun maker and have them fit you up for more money than you need to spend before you really know what you want, by shooting some variety.

    Hope this helps, rather than confusing you.

  9. #9
    A 375 H & H, just has to be on a 98 action. It really is obligatory!!


  10. #10
    Just my 2 pence worth, but having bought a CZ in .375h&h about 18months ago, here's my take.
    I've become increasingly of the mindset that a rifle is there to do a job, end of. Looks aren't important, after all, most of our sport is undertaken in a solo manner so who are you trying to impress? If you want to show if, a nice purdey to wave in front of all the other guns on a shoot day will do far better!
    My sauer .308 with all it's glorious wood work never sees the light of day, instead it has a synthetic stock, that it lives in.
    if on the other hand, you have millions of pounds burning holes in your pockets, aside from speaking to your tailor about making some new trousers, fair do's, knock yourself out and buy a custom build, but unless you are planning on doing a lot of continental shooting, you will probably find that the .375 as with most 'African calibres' stays in the cabinet for most of its life seldom being used as it's just easier to grab the .308/.270 etc for day to day stalking, and this is coming from someone for whom the .375 is conditioned for AOLQ here in the uk, it hardly gets shot. I'm so glad I didn't spend a penny more, in fact I wish I'd been sensible and bought a second hand one as there are plenty collecting dust on the shelves of many a gun shop, all with the same story......bought for a trip to Africa, never to be used again.......
    dont get me wrong, I love the gun, it's shot a fair few deer and will get an outing or two this year I have no doubt, but there is nothing my CZ won't do, that a multiple thousand pound custom built will.... If you're ever up in east Anglia, and want to have a play, please shout.
    Opinions are like arseholes....... we all have them, and most of them stink

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