375 Ruger vs 375 H&H Magnum
Ballistics Performance Comparison of 375 Ruger vs 375 H&H Magnum Cartridges
The .375 Ruger and the .375 H&H Magnum are two very serious, heavy hitting cartridges for large and dangerous game. The .375 Ruger is the newest threat to the .375 H&H, which was previously viewed as easily the most versatile large-caliber cartridge by many hunters. So what are the differences between what many view as the top two toughest game hunting cartridges?
The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 375 Ruger vs 375 H&H Magnum based on bullet weight and performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.
375 Ruger 270 gr vs 375 H&H Magnum 270 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.
|375 Ruger||375 H & H Magnum|
|Bullet Velocity (Muzzle)||2,840 ft/s||2,800 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds||2,600 ft/s||2,562 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds||2,372 ft/s||2,336 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds||2,156 ft/s||2,122 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds||1,951 ft/s||1,919 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds||1,759 ft/s||1,729 ft/s|
|Bullet Energy (Muzzle)||4,835 ft⋅lb||4,699 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 100 yds||4,052 ft⋅lb||3,935 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 200 yds||3,373 ft⋅lb||3,272 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 300 yds||2,786 ft⋅lb||2,699 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 400 yds||2,283 ft⋅lb||2,208 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 500 yds||1,855 ft⋅lb||1,793 ft⋅lb|
|Usage @ 0 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 100 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 200 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 300 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 400 yds||Largest Game||Largest Game|
|Usage @ 500 yds||Large Game||Large Game|
|*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures taken from Sportsman's Warehouse rifle ballistics and rifle recoil tables. Recoil score based on weighted average of recoil energy and recoil velocity normalized between 1 and 10.|
The big advantage you’ll read about the .375 Ruger having over the .375 H&H Magnum is its increased velocity. However, this advantage is actually rather small, and the velocities are quite comparable. Looking at 270 grain bullets, the .375 Ruger has an advantage of just 40 ft/s over the .375 H&H Magnum out of the muzzle. This advantage is down to 34 ft/s at 300 yards, and 30 ft/s at 500 yards. It’s doubtful whether a difference of this magnitude could really impact your hunting success very strongly.
In addition to increased velocity, we do see a bit more energy coming from the .375 Ruger. Out of the muzzle, the .375 Ruger has an advantage of 136 ft-lbs over the .375 H&H Magnum. At 300 yards, that advantage has shrunk to 87 ft-lbs; and at 500 yards, it is down to 62 ft-lbs. Remember, a bullet’s energy is related to its weight, so using lighter or heavier bullets will affect the ultimate stopping power.
A bullet’s trajectory impacts how accurately you can shoot your target. At 300 yards, the .375 H&H Magnum will see just over 10” of bullet drop, while the .375 Ruger will drop over 10”. At 400 yards, the .375 H&H Magnum will drop nearly 30”, while the .375 Ruger will drop just over 30”. While the .375 Ruger has a higher velocity, the .375 H&H is shooting just a bit flatter, though the trajectories are highly comparable.
The .375 Ruger and the .375 H&H are both well-suited for the toughest game, including African game such as buffalo and elephant. While the extra velocity might appeal to some hunters for game of this size, it’s a small enough difference that it’s debated whether the .375. Ruger can actually take down substantially more than the .375 H&H. At this level, your ability to place a shot well on a moving target will be much more important.
Price & Availability
Availability goes down and the price goes up once you get into large-caliber cartridges. The .375 H&H has a longer history, and is therefore produced and sold by a wider selection of ammunition manufacturers and dealers. While you can generally count on an African hunting post stocking .375 H&H (not that it hurts to check before you cross an ocean), the .375 Ruger has yet to catch up in availability as a newer cartridge.
The .375 H&H has a belted case with a .532” rim diameter and a 2.85” case length. It can only be chambered in long actions, and its tapered shoulder gives it a smooth feeding – and a stronger recoil. The .375 Ruger has the same .532” rim with no belt and a 60-degree shoulder. The case is shorter at 2.580”, so it can be chambered in a standard action. Its tapered shoulder gives it a 4% greater capacity than the H&H, which gives it its slight edge in velocity.
As we’ve just discussed, due to the case lengths, the .375 H&H can only be chambered in long actions, while the .375 Ruger is just barely small enough to fit in a standard action. This means that the .375 Ruger is often chambered in smaller rifles, which can be an advantage if you’ll be carrying your hunting supplies through the backcountry on long trips. The .375 Ruger is most frequently chambered in rifles with 22” barrels, while the .375 H&H is usually found in a rifle with a 24” barrel.
These are two serious cartridges, and with that comes serious recoil. The increased velocity and smaller rifle of the .375 Ruger means that it has a stronger recoil than the .375 H&H Magnum. In a lighter rifle, even a similar amount of force is more difficult to control – so while we might appreciate the lighter rifle for backcountry treks, make sure you’re prepared to shoot that smaller rifle accurately despite a punch to your shoulder.
Which Caliber is Best?
The .375 H&H Magnum is a classic African hunting cartridge that can be found in pretty much any safari post (though don’t take our word for that – call ahead!). The .375 Ruger offers higher velocity and energy in a smaller rifle, but this must be paid for with an increase in felt recoil and less available ammunition. Ultimately, both of these calibers will help you take down some of the toughest game on the planet, so it’s a matter of personal preference and priorities in choosing a firearm.
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