Loading the .375 H&H
Date: Nov 01 2007
The .375 Holland & Holland is probably the most popular cartridge for large, dangerous game ever developed, but it is also eminently suitable for shooting smaller big game. While it kicks more than a .30-06, the recoil really isn’t all that bad, and accuracy is normally quite good.
The case also has a bore/powder capacity ratio about like the 7mm-08 Remington, so a wide variety of powders work quite well. Among the powders I’ve used when loading bullets in the more-or-less normal 260- to 300-grain range are IMR-4895, Reloder 15, Varget, IMR-4350, H-4350 and Ramshot Big Game and Hunter. That’s quite a wide range of burning rates, yet all work pretty darn well.
Some, of course, provided a little higher muzzle velocity, but there’s some debate over whether any increase over the factory standard 2,530 fps with 300-grain bullets is valuable. Traditional African hunters often maintain that any muzzle velocity over 2,400 fps results in erratic bullet behavior on really big game, whether with expanding bullets or solids. The only time I’ve seen anything of this sort was when a 300-grain “premium” softpoint from a factory load hit a Cape buffalo in the front leg. It appeared to be a perfect heart shot, but the bullet deflected off the leg bone and, apparently spinning, turned back through the lung. It was recovered from the ribs on the same side it went in, looking like an advertisement for expanding bullets.
Maybe a little less velocity would have prevented that, and maybe not. At any rate, some African professionals advise loading 300-grain bullets down to 2,400 fps or so. Such a load is not only more comfortable to shoot, but even with solids the bullet is not likely to penetrate completely through a Cape buffalo. There is then less likelihood of wounding another animal on the far side of the targeted buffalo.