Mossberg 375 Ruger is affordable, accurate.
So what is a Mossberg 375 Ruger and how do it’s ballistics compare with that famous 375 H&H Magnum?
Pretty darn well.
American’s have always had access to budget priced hunting rifles, but rarely big bore, dangerous game, budget priced hunting rifles. Thanks to Mossberg’s 375 Ruger Patriot rifle, we now do.
A few years ago Mossberg set out to build a solid, simple, rugged, dependable and affordable bolt-action hunting rifle. At MSRP as low as $384, the Patriot is that rifle. As this Patriot video review shows, this Mossberg sports clean lines, a balanced look and weight and all-round usability. It’s not the ideal rifle for backpack mountain hunting, not ideal for extreme range sniping, probably no one’s idea of the ultimate “safe queen,” but it’s just right for throwing in the truck, hanging off your shoulder and hunting almost anything: hogs, whitetails, mule deer, elk, black bears, coyotes… most of the game we hunt in North America.
And now it’s suitable for Africa.
Most of the commonly hunted animals in Africa can be taken with good deer and elk cartridges, but there are larger beasts for which a larger bore with more power seems appropriate. The 375 H&H Magnum, throwing a 300-grain bullet about 2,500 fps, has long had the reputation for being the perfect all-round cartridge for Africa. Not so big and punishing that you couldn’t shoot it at impala and even dik dik, not so small that you couldn’t terminate a buffalo (as my wife did in this video) or lion. Many find it perfect for eland, as this slam dunk video shows. Lots of folks like the 375 H&H for America’s bears, moose and elk. It suffers just one problem…
It has to be chambered in a magnum length action.
Not many major American rifle builders make magnum actions. That’s why Winchester and Remington concocted their popular 7mm, 300 and 338 and 458 belted magnums by shortening the 375 H&H case to sit in their standard-length (30-06 length) rifles.
The 375 Ruger was created in 2007 by Ruger and Hornady. They started from scratch rather than use an existing case. They went with a rim/head diameter of the belt of a 375 H&H case, gave it minimum taper forward and a sharp, 30-degree shoulder and an overall length of 2.580” compared to 2.494” in the 30-06. An action that handles the 30-06 can handle the 375 Ruger.
Internal volume of this 375 is actually greater than that of the longer 375 H&H. The Ruger pushes 300-grain bullets 2,550 fps. That’s just 50 fps faster than the H&H and no big deal. The big deal is Mossberg and other gun builders can chamber their standard length actions for it.
This year I worked with a Mossberg Patriot Laminate Marinecote in 375 Ruger and found it to be a good option for anyone on a budget wanting a big bore. This is a push-feed action, so traditionalists might reject it as untrustworthy in dangerous situations. Readers are welcome to argue their pros and cons on push-feed vs. controlled round feed (see explanation in this video,) but my opinion is that we, as guided hunters, are not likely to be using our rifles in true, self-defense, dangerous game stopping scenarios. That’s the PH’s job, and on every safari I’ve attended this professional was there with his backup rifle, ready to engage overly aggressive beast regardless what the clients were willing or trying to do. Really, all I had to do was make the first shot count. Besides this, I’ve never had a push-feed screw up the way they’re supposed to. But you can make up your own mind on this.
So, don’t buy a push feed 375 Ruger if you’re wanting to be the last defense. Buy it if you’re looking to hunt with an affordable 375 magnum.
I carried my Mossberg 375 Ruger to Alaska last month in hopes of engaging a moose, but Mr. Moose didn’t get the invitation. Two days after I left he did. And he even brought a buddy. My young fishing guides called the pair within 100 yards of where master guide Charles Allen and I had been trying to lure them the previous week. Once again, that’s why they call it hunting, not shooting.
So, I’ve only shot paper, and only with three handloads from Massaro Ballistic Laboratories. The 285-grain Grand Slam load hit 2,650 fps and grouped 2.2 inches at 100 yards. The 300-gr. Swift A-Frame zipped out at 2,475 fps and punched 1.3”. The 270-gr. Swift A-Frame grouped 2.5” at 2,725 fps. While those aren’t eye-popping groups in anyone’s book, it pays to remember these are preliminary tests with a new rifle. Besides, a 1.5” group at 100 yards is going into a 3” circle at 200 yards, a 4.5” circle at 300 yards. You aren’t going to miss many buffalo, moose or elk with that accuracy.
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