View Full Version : .338 Win Mag vs. .375 H&H Mag
08-02-2007, 12:39 PM
Folks I need some help deciding between the .338 Win Mag and the .375 H&H Mag, hopefully yall can help me.
My brother lives in South Africa and I'm heading out there this spring to visit him and do a little hunting. I plan on going after Kudu, Nyala, or Eland - so none of the Big Five or dangerous game. I'm wondering which rifle I should go for between the .338 Win and the .375 H&H.
As I see it, both rifles are capable of handling the game I'm going after. The advantage of the .375 is twofold - one it has a lot of stopping power and, secondly, I feel like if you're going to hunt in Africa you should be weilding a gun that fires the trusted old cartridge.
The advantage of the .338 is more a matter of practicality. The .338 can handle the plains game of Africa, as well as most of the big game of North America - elk, moose, sheep, and if need be whitetails. I think the .375 may be too much rifle for these animals (yes I've heard the argument that there is no such thing as too much rifle). Additionally, it comes in a more compact package which would be better for trekking around the hillsides of the western U.S.
If you had to choose between the two calibers, knowing that you were going to be hunting both African plains game and deer and elk of North America - which would you go with and why?
08-02-2007, 01:28 PM
I have asked the same question but with regards to hunting grizzly. I have never gotten a satisfactory answer. The general answer I always get is "which ever one you are most comfortable with"
FIrst of all, I am no expert. - Just an opinionated old ...........
I own both and handle both equally well. Personally, if I was going to buy a rifle (given your stated criteria - North America and Africa) I would probably go for the 338. It is far more versatile. It has pleanty of power for all the game you listed, you can easily find up to 250 gr loads, and with 180 - 200 gr loads it has a little advantage at longer ranges. While I really like my 375, I would never consider using it for elk (if I had a choice). It just does not have the range. Past 150 - 200 yds it drops like a rock. And, it would really tear up a whitetail.
If anybody has some real experience with big bears, I would love to hear it.
08-02-2007, 02:49 PM
Having hunted South africa and the animals you mentioned on a few occasions I would suggest this. For Kudu and Nyala both rifles are just fine, however I suggest the 375 for Eland as they are big and tough. I own several of both calibers and really like the 375 over the 338 for a host of reasons. The 375 is superior in all areas out to 300 yds and a bit more maybe. My 375 pet load is shooting a Barnes 270 TSX about 2800+ fps. and it shoot flat and hits like a locomotive going 60. Here's an issue you may not be aware of and that is you will have to pay the trophy fee even if you dont find the animal, and for a Nyala and Eland thats several thousand dollars american. Bigger guns do better work on big critters! There is also a chance of running into a big cat or Buff thats not in a good mood and is certainly not happy to see you on their turf. To be honest the recoil is about the same for both guns so in this case bigger really is better. One other thing Every place in africa has 375 shells available even the mud hut villages have a few shells lying around.
go the 375 H&H and never look back
08-02-2007, 03:15 PM
The only advantage of the 338 between the two is likely its a couple of pounds lighter.
I'd hunt more with my 375's if someone else would carry them.
08-02-2007, 05:47 PM
the answer you seek may be easier then you think.
find the hunting regulations i don't know if they do anymore but alot of african countries had a minimum caliber of .375 for non resident hunters.
plus if it kills hudu then no problem with whitetail iirc the kudu can be smaller.
08-02-2007, 06:27 PM
If u can handle the recoil go for the 338-378 Weatherby magnum. At over 3000 ft/sc muzzle, and over 2500 ft/lbs of energy at 500 yards, it is one of the flattest shooting and hardest hitting guns on the planet. My uncle shoots one and it will kick you, but very effective. Check it out here: http://www.weatherby.com/products/ammo.asp?prd_id=9
08-02-2007, 08:25 PM
I think that the 338 makes more sense as you will not be hunting dangerous game and it will also give you a much more practical package to sue back here in the U.S. Granted anything can happen in africa but really i would rather have a lighter quicker handling gun in .338 than a more powerful but heavier .375. Anyway jsut the way i see it.
08-02-2007, 09:52 PM
While I have never hunted Africa most of what I have read has lead me to believe that the 7x57 is the traditional plains game rifle. Also the 3 people I know that have hunted there all used .30-06 for their plains game hunting because thats what was recomended by their PH.
08-06-2007, 07:22 PM
Personally, I would probably go with the 338 myself as the chances of running into a buff or a lion in South Africa is not as "good" as winning the lottery. You are also going to use it for maybe a couple of weeks in Africa while hopefully a lot more back here in the States. The 375 H&H is a "classic" in the sense it was designed to be heavy enough for big game in a pinch but not too heavy for lighter game to feed the camp. If you are looking for a "classic" plains game cartridge, go with the 333 Jeffery or 318 Westley Richards. Hunting in South Africa is not the stuff of Hemingway and Ruark; that has mostly died out decades ago in SA. Most of your hunting will be on ranches with more of a bed and breakfast feel to them. You will be out driving tracks looking for animals to stalk and maybe tracks to follow up on.
The eland is a rather large animal but most say they are not all that robust. The most frequently used cartridge I have heard for them has been a 30/06 though those I know who have done this a fair bit prefer something along the lines of a 300 Winchester or Weatherby mag with a controlled expansion 200 gr bullet or stepping up to .338 with the same bullet in 250 gr if zebra are also on the docket. Also, with the literally thousands of hunters coming into South Africa every season, there is about as much 338 ammo floating around as there is 375 H&H. Considering the lack of dangerous game, I would suspect many of what we consider to be "elk rounds" to be maybe even more common in most areas.
08-07-2007, 06:49 AM
If you did not have eland on your list I would say the .338 is a good choice, but as other have mentioned eland are tough. You are looking at an animal that can weigh up to 2000 lbs basicly a 2X elk. I hit my eland with a 300 grain .375 H&H and it just flinched and moved off. The shot clipped part of the shoulder blade and penetrated both lungs but we had to follow up the animal as the sun was setting. It is not the best feeling trying to find and animal as the light was fading. We did recover the animal.
There is always the option of taking both rifle unless you are restricted by the weight of the baggage. The .338 will take eland but you will have to be more selective about the shot angle. I would also suggest the Barnes X bullet because after it opens it acts more like a solid bullet for deeper penetration.
Good luck in your hunting adventures and post the story of your hunt
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