.375 H&H Barrel Length? - Pistolsmith

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Old 05-28-2004, 09:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 46
.375 H&H Barrel Length?

A few monthes back I bought a Winchester Classic M-70 Stainless in .375 H&H. The barrel is 24". Maybe just a bit unwieldy in my opinion. I do plan on hunting with it. You folks know more about this stuff than I do, what would be the minimum practical barrel length for this round? I am not opposed to shortening it to make it easier to use, but I don't want to effect reliability on game either. Opinions are most welcome.

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Old 05-28-2004, 08:27 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 139
TWM, I'd suggest a length between 20-22". No real sacrifice in terms of velocity but makes it just a little more manuverable.

But, I do prefer a 24" tube.
Old 05-29-2004, 01:56 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 106

I tend to hunt in fairly light cover but have never found even a 26" barrel to be unwieldy. Hunted the thick thorn bush with a 24" barreled M70 .375 in South Africa a few times and still the 24" tube was not a huge problem.
Personally I wouldn't cut it unless you routinely hunt TRULY thick stuff for dangerous game. Then 20" would be as short as I would go. To me the 24" tube on the big mag M70's "hangs" just right.

FN in MT
Old 05-29-2004, 08:25 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 260
If it were mine I'd leave it alone assuming a good crown but

If it were mine I'd leave it alone assuming a good crown but then again I actually use a Steyr .376 in the Cooper version which I find immensely handy and great fun.

My experience is that if I am moving as slowly as I should a longer barrel is no handicap and occasionally reminds me to slow down.
Old 06-05-2004, 09:12 PM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 194
Surely would like to second Mr. Myers last paragraph. Probably worth forming up an "Amen Corner."

I've got 375's ranging from 21 & a fraction (just behind the ramp on a pre-64 Model 70) to 25 inches. I like the look of the shorter barreled piece and keep it with Lyman 48 and Sourdough foresight for just the right situation. I might add that I've never found that precise situation given limited wpns permits in Africa and that I've never hunted elk in the black timber nor the big bears in Alaska since I've owned the foreshortened 375. Figgered it might make a nice pair with another scoped 375 Model 70 for an African hunt, but I'd probably opt for a 416 if buffalo or larger game were on the menu. It does makes for a quick and lively pointing rifle and given the weight of the Model 70 barrels of that vintage, it isn't too muzzle light.

In my limited experience, though, I can't say a barrel between say 21 and 25 inches makes a great deal of difference for a weapon in terms of maneuverability in the hunting woods. If I carry a weapon at sling arms, it's generally with the muzzle down and in fairly open country. If I'm in really thick bush, the weapon is in my hands with sling removed and I think maneuverability based on barrel length is more a matter of good fun in guntalk over a cup of coffee or a class of whisky. I am assuming, of course, that you aren't talking about some crew-served weapon length of barrel but something between say 21 and 26 inches. Short weapons are a bit handier in getting in and out of vehicles as you might be doing on most of today's hunts in Africa. (I will note that I'm over six foot tall and that must surely make a difference in comfortable overall length of a weapon, I would guess, for someone who is substantially shorter.)

I do have some foreshortened 12 bores that are handy when hunting wood cock in some of the drainages and bottoms in Georgia, for example, but in reality, there's not much advantage in the 22 inch tubes as compared to the same weapon with 25, 26, or 28 inch barrels as far as edging thru the brush. There, any weapon not in a belt or shoulder holster under a vest or outer garment is an encumbrance--and it isn't substantially lessened by a couple of inches of barrel. With the short shotgun, there IS some spin off on a fast shot at the close ranges, but the advantage is sure lost when hunting in more open country as far as leading the birds.

Velocity loss may be a consideration with one of the high velocity screamers designed for advertising or perhaps for taking shots at game much beyond ranges that have been my experience considering realistic field shooting and a reasonably decent collection of hunter's ethics. Certainly, the velocity loss with the 375 H&H or with the heavier bores seems pretty moot. The critter will NOT be able to tell the difference in velocity from losing a couple of inches of barrel, BUT many current 375's with truncated tubes seem to me to make the weapon too muzzle light for steady hold if an off hand shot is required. Problem is though, unless you have a friend with the same weapon already foreshortened, you won't really know whether it suits you 'til after it's lopped and it's pricey to reattach that chunk of muzzle...

As purely a matter of taste, I think the 22 inch barrel is a nice looking overall weapon in something with the lines of a classic Brit express rifle, but that's obviously a matter of personal preference. I surely wouldn't fall prey to cutting on my weapon or adding on marginally useful or even detrimental add ons just to show how individualized I've made it. If you've not done so, I surely would add a Pachmayer Decelerator pad with the insert in the heel to preclude hanging up when mounting the piece.

Bottom line is, I wouldn't worry overmuch about the standard length barrel until I'd hunted with the weapon enough to KNOW exactly what I wanted. Then, I really couldn't care less what other folks had to say about my decision.

Good luck with your new 375....it's a lovely calibre in any barrel length.
Old 06-06-2004, 07:18 PM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 46
Thanks for all the replies. I have never been much of a knee jerk customizer. If I don't think it will help the performance of the firearm, or my performance with that firearm, I don't do it.

My primary experience with centerfire rifles has been with barrels shorter than 24". The 24" barrel is going to take a little getting used to. I have not put nearly enough ammo through this rifle to decide whether I would want to permanently alter it.

256 your comment about this being good gun talk over a cup of coffee or a glass of whiskey is pretty much what I intended. This is my favorite forum on this site.

Thanks for the opinions and advice.

Old 06-11-2004, 07:00 AM   #7
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 251
It really is personal opinion. Only been to the dark continent once,but found my 24" tube to be no problem, but the days of many elephants and foot safaris are gone. So too are the problems of long barrelled rifles hanging up in the brush. Good conversation but practical application is moot.
Old 03-29-2007, 08:12 PM   #8
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1
length does matter

I few of my friends and I have all cut our 375 H&H down to 20 inches. It makes for a handier rifle. Since most of africa is hunted from a Land Rover, and Alaska from float planes, dosen't it make since to have a more portable firearm. The 375 is an efficient cartridge and fairly mild pressured so you don't lose much velocity. It has long been established that stiff barrels are more accurate. Thats why heavy barrel guns tend to shooter better. I know some guys that hunt with 14-16lb heavy barrel rifles simply because they wont sacrifice a little accuracy. One alternative is a shorter barrel. I know I'm going to get some old cranky guy who will curse and scream heracy but short barrels are just as accurate or more accurate than their longer counter parts. If a stiffer barrel is more accurate and a shorter barrel more stiff. Wouldn't a short barrel be more accurate all other factors being equal? The best group I've witnessed from a 308win at 500 meters was fired from 20inch barrel. Believe it or not but his bullets didn't drop any farther than the ones fired from 26 or 24inch barrel. I seriously doubt any animals you shoot will notice the difference of a few feet per second.[/b]
Old 04-04-2007, 08:34 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Virginia
Posts: 185
Re: length does matter

I agree that shorter barrels are certainly stiffer than a longer barrel of the same taper, and in the instances suggested, I would seriously consider cutting my barrel down were I to be in those situations. As it stands, I was given a M70 .375 with an experimental compensator attached. Overall length of the barrel with approximately 4" comp. is about 27", I think. It's not difficult to maneuver, but it wouldn't be my first choice brush gun. I will say that the comp. brings the perceived recoil down to a level on par with my .243, but that's just my and my wife's opinions for all that they are worth.
Old 02-07-2011, 03:38 PM   #10
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Eastern part of Norway, where the moose n wolf knock on your door
Posts: 23
The 375 H&H is my favorite moose rifle. I have two of them. One long barreled Brno 602 that I dont use anymore and a cut down Remington. Barrel of the Rem is no more than 19". Compared to the long heavy Brno its like carrying a toothpick. I lost 164 f/s compared to the long one. But the moose does not complain about it. I would do it as short as possible not offending any law. Norway used to have a 18.5" as a minimum on rifles, a coulple of years ago it changed to 15.7". If I had puchased my rifle today, it would have been 16" . Depending on what and how you are hunting though.. If you are hunting deer in somewhat poor light, dawn or evening I would be carefull about a short barrel in the 375. The muzzle blast blinds you. The "blam" is bad too. Anyway, I like my hunting rifle mobile. The terrain I hunt in is like walking into a hayball, you dont want a long heavy rifle there.

What kind of bullets are you using? 300`s? I wanted a woodpecker, so I have been using the Rhino 380 grs for years now. Handles the bush a lot better. But I like the Barnes tripple shock just as much when it comes to reliability. I find the tripple shock a lot more accurate than the regular Barnes. If you go to africa to hunt dangerous game, waterbuffalo in particular, go for the 380. Its specially made for deep penetration at close range. A lot of 375 bullets wount stabilize at short ranges, the 2" long 380 grs bullet does.

Jesus.... this thread is just 3 days younger than my daughter... Sorry about that. Didnt see that..... So what length did you go for?

Last edited by Hedning; 02-07-2011 at 03:42 PM.

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