One Rifle

NAH Staff Writer Larry Weishuhn looks at one of the most versatile rifles

“If you had to choose one rifle, one caliber to hunt the world, what would it be?” questioned a voice from the back of the gathered crowd.

Without hesitation I responded, “Ruger Model 77 Guide Rifle chambered in.375 Ruger shooting Hornady’s 250 grain GMX, 270 IB, 300 grain DGX or DGS ammo, depending upon the animal and terrain hunted.!  Extremely accurate, hard hitting, long range capabilities, reasonable recoil, fun to shoot, takes animals down quickly and humanely!  And I have used it over much of the world!”  I continued, “In Africa I’ve taken elephant, hippo, various buffalo, lion, eland, kudu, gemsbok on down to the diminutive steenbok and duikers.  In Europe I’ve used a .375 Ruger on alpine ibex, mouflon, reindeer and roe deer.  In Australia I’ve used it on buffalo. Here in North America I’ve taken a wide variety of game from monstrous Alaskan brown bear down to coyotes, including numerous whitetail deer!”  The .375 Ruger in Ruger’s Model 77 bolt action is my perfect “one rifle to hunt the world”! 

I awaited an argument from the crowd, but none came.

The .375 Ruger was developed by Hornady and Ruger, as a medium length round, about the same length as the .30-06, that exceeds the ballistics of the much older African standard, the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum.  It was introduced by Ruger in their Model 77 African during 2007.

I dearly love the old .375 H&H Mag and because of that I was initially a bit reluctant to jump on the .375 Ruger bandwagon. While traveling through various African countries I asked gun shops about the availability of .375 Ruger ammo.  Sometimes I got a blank start.  Other times times I was simply handed a box of .375 Holland & Holland Magnum.  .375 H&H Mag ammo could be found throughout the world, but not .375 Ruger.  Then things started changing.  Writers started touting the benefits of the new “kid on the block”.  Ruger rifles chambered .375 Ruger were taken to Africa and used on elephant, buffalo and other big and dangerous game with excellent results.  Here in North America several of us started using the new Ruger magnum on big bears, elk, and moose!  While the .375 Ruger was not replacing the older .375 H&H Mag it is certainly taking its place along side the older magnum!

The first African game I shot with my .375 Ruger was a monstrous eland in central Namibia with Omujeve Safaris, using Hornady’s 300 grain DGX (Dangerous Game Expandable).  The bull was essentially dead with the first shot into the shoulder, but I quickly shot him twice more.  Since that time I’ve used the round on elephant and hippo (using Hornady 300 grain DGS – Dangerous Game Solid), as well as several buffalo including in Namibia, Uganda, Benin and Burkina Faso. Hornady during that time, through their international sales groups saw to it that gun stores in Africa started stocking .375 Ruger ammo.  I have also found Hornady’s .375 Ruger ammo on sporting goods shelve in Australia and in Europe.  Concerns about not finding ammo abroad have disappeared. 

I am NOT a proponent of long range shooting when hunting.  I love shooting steel targets at great distances, but not animals.  To me, hunting means getting as close as one possibly can before pulling the trigger. With today’s rifles, ammo, optics, range finders, ballistic charts there really is no challenge in shooting at game long range.  I personally question the ethics of doing so!  I shoot long range at targets so that I know when I get to within less than 300 yards I know I can precisely place the bullet within the vitals of a game animals and take it down as quickly and humanely as possible. But I have shot my .375 Ruger rifles out to 750 yards and found them to be extremely accurate out to that distance, shooting four-inch groups.

The .375 Ruger is capable of quickly bringing down the world’s largest big and dangerous game but also sufficiently accurate to take down the smallest “big” game. Ammo for the round is now available worldwide.  In the Ruger Model 77 Guide Rifle it is somewhat compact and fast-handling with its 20-inch barrel.  It’s the rifle and caliber/round is without a doubt the “perfect one gun to hunt the world”!

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