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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > 375 Ruger Handloads for Alaska

375 Ruger Handloads for Alaska

16 Aug 2018
@ 07:29 pm (GMT)

Luke Schmidt

I've been working with my Ruger Alaskan in 375 Ruger that I'm handloading for. I've replaced the factory stock with a Hogue fully bedded stock. With hunting season about to start I don't have time for a glass bedding project (and no butstocks available for months anyhow) but the current stock seams solid. It's free floated and stiff.

Now I'd like advise on the best bullets for bear and moose. With full power loads I'm considering the Barnes 250 grain TTSX or the Sierra Gameking 250 grain. Both of these are available to me. I've tried the TTSX and two brands of factory ammo. So far groups have averaged 2-3 inches with what appear to be occasional fliers. I attribute those to user error. Either an occasional flinch or just the lower powered scope (1-4 Leopold). There is no discernable pattern to fliers and I ruled out barrel heating by spreading shots out.

Because the 375 is right at my comfort limit I was considering some reduced power loads and was looking at 376 Steyr data for ideas. For lighter loads I could use the TTSX or Gameking 250 grains. Or I could use 235 grain TTSX or 235 grain Speer Hot Cor which I have. There aren't any other options available before hunting season.

Thoughts? If I stay full power which of the 250 grain loads would be better? If I drop the power down a notch what do you guys think would be the best bear medicine inside 150 yards?

I'm not going to shoot a bear much past 150 yards. Party for excitement sake and party because a poor shot on a bear could get ugly for me or someone else an injured bear encounters. I'd shoot a moose a bit farther but 300 yards would be the limit.

I've read Nathan's articles on the 375s. I'm not clear however where a bear fits into the discussion. I'm assuming"heavy game" refers more to bovine. A big grizzly is still smaller than a bull but different from a large deer.


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20 Aug 2018
@ 01:48 pm (GMT)

Gerry Moriarty

Re: 375 Ruger Handloads for Alaska
We used factory Barnes 180gr in the 30-06 and hand load 180gr Nosler ABs in .300WM. with the first bear. With the second bear factory Federal .300 WM ammo with 180gr Nosler ABs. With poor results from both bullet types
21 Aug 2018
@ 11:24 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: 375 Ruger Handloads for Alaska
Right, Nathan. After re-reading, I mis-remembered the GMX vs. TTSX comparison. Somehow got it in my head it was a GMX vs. AB.
22 Aug 2018
@ 09:11 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: 375 Ruger Handloads for Alaska
I just want to clean this thread up a bit as it may be confusing for new players.

Regarding the .375 cal Gameking (250 and 300gr). As many of you know, these have an extra thick jacket and tough core. Nevertheless, when used on large animals, it is all quite relative. If you have used a regular Gameking in a mild small bore on fairly large bodied deer, the performance is quite comparable (eg 7mm08 / 6.5x55 140gr). This bullet has the potential to produce very broad internal wounding when appropriately matched to game. In the KB, I set what I believe to be realistic body weight limitations for the .375 caliber bullets. About the only thing I did not include from my own notes was that I noticed that outside of heavy round bone, changes in the medium (within the animal) appeared to be mostly likely responsible for jacket core separation as can happen with other GK bullets.

Moving away from the GK we have the slightly tougher Accubond. Personally, I don't like this bullet. It actually works quite well but gives a false sense of security with its bonding. The bond does keep the jacket and core together, but it flattens right out and much too early once you get up to 1200lb body weights. Its the sort of bullet a guy might have an excellent run with (truly broad wounding / fantastic performance), then thinks he can take on anything at which point things suddenly fall apart, guy stares like a stunned mullet, no follow up shot, no real handle on what just happened.

Then there is what I call the middle Ground, the Partition. It has its limits but is a good place to start if you don't know what else to do. Aim shoot, reload, wait. The website that was shared earlier within this thread explained why an H profile bullet can work so well.

Following this we get into the heavier core bonded types. As we get into the tougher stuff, there is a bit more dependency on impact velocities. If the impact is too slow, you get runners. If the impact is too fast, the bullets can roll back into a musket ball. But generally speaking, if the bullet is of a good base design and we stalk in close, these will work fine. We can also muck around with bullet weights and meplat shapes to enhance performance in different ways. The further we can keep your shots forwards (heavy muscle and bone), the less reliant we are in actual impact velocities. To get the best results from these bullets, make a mental note note of the range at which the bullet crosses the 2400fps threshold, then the 2200fps threshold. If you hit a lean animal at 2200fps, you may get a pass through with very little expansion. Yet on a heavy animal at 2200fps offering mush greater resistance and in theory better energy transfer, there is not a great deal of energy left to transfer so either way, it can pay to avoid 2200fps. In other words, work to the strengths of the bullet design, get relatively close, aim forwards, get the job done.

Both H profile and core bonded pills can on occasion deviate from the intended bullet path if game weights are too heavy. Sectional density is a major factor as a means to minimize the risks of this (retaining the shank form of the bullet during penetration). Impact velocities are also key, the closer we get to 3000fps, the more likely we are to see a major loss in the shank form of the bullet resulting some deviation. Yet still, this middle ground can be a good place to start, adopting an H profile bullet in an attempt to balance wounding versus penetration.

When it comes to tough bullets and large game weights, I quite like the new Hornady DGX with its core bonded steel jacket design. If you have a look at the Woodleigh bullet in my video, there was a serious risk of deviation had I used it on the shoulder quartering on, it could have zipped down the onside ribs to the flank. Look closely and you will see that my bullet had very little shank remaining. A heavier jacket as per the DGX can help a great deal on very heavy game weights with my preferred hunting methods (get close / 2900-3000fps).

And then finally we have the copper pills and all of the BS politics and dirty secrets behind the scenes including batch to batch variations in hardness and other issues that none of you are aware of. We are really in BS territory now. Such issues aside, these are the toughest and if you are running at high velocity or hunting very large animals, these work quite well. They also tend to boast much better BC's than the likes of the Hornady DGX. At this point, we are quite dependent on both shot placement and impact velocities. One could say that "copper is best because I want to be able to take game from all angles". That's a fair comment. But if the velocities are down or game resistance (weight) is light, all we are doing in some instances, is selecting a bullet that performs well on a Texas heart shot but is actually quite poor when it comes to ordinary cross body shots. We have gone from one extreme (Sierra) to the other. We have to be a bit careful in what we are asking for. The key with these pills is to 1, check that they actually shoot straight because some rifles really do not like homo copper. 2, aim to break bone and 3, try to avoid shots below 2200fps (that also applies even if the bullet has "long Range" stamped on the box. This applies whether we are hunting large or lean game.

A guy who is starting out and is not sure of what body weights he might encounter (but with a possible massive variation) may want to start in the middle. But if a guy only has one of the bullets mentioned here on hand, its just a matter of understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the bullet design. If using the Sierra for example, I know that it most likely won't handle heavy bovine bone, this leaves me the scapula, tight behind the shoulder or neck. I can aim tight behind the shoulder but without being silly and aiming way off (which is quite common). The bullet will most likely not make it through the offside ribs so I need to be ready to shoot again, same place, nice and tight. Or I can neck shoot with no issues. If its the Barnes or GMX, I need to work the angles a bit more. I have to check myself, not allow myself to become overwhelmed by the sight in front of me. Yes its exciting and so it should be but I also need to stop looking at the whole picture for a moment and to break it down into smaller bits, a shoulder, then an individual shoulder bone, then ask myself what is behind that bone at this angle?

No matter what we use, as game weights increase, the cartridges we use are truly diminutive compared to the sizes of the animals we may be hunting. If you have a look at that old footage I uploaded, you'll notice just how much that .375 RUM looks like a tiddler when I laid the loaded bullet over the vital organs. Its nothing, just a tiny little peewee of a bullet. This is why it is so important that we do not over play recoil and power etc. One can understand why an authority may state that the magnums can be too much and that folk may do better with lower recoil. But on the other hand, if we are to be honest, the problem is not always the magnums, it is the rifle designs coupled with poor technique. The magnums are mostly quite small compared to some of the animals we hunt.

In the case of the Hogue stock (Luke's Ruger / Hogue), its proportions are not so bad. This one has the full chassis. Those of you familiar with ali welding will know the levels of heat needed to get a pool flowing. It will therefore be obvious that to cast a chassis and or weld parts to it, the heat will result in some degree of warping. This warping is not conducive to a true fit. In other words, the Hogues, B&C's and HS designs can invariably end up stressed. The rounds seem to suffer the least, the stepped square actions tend to suffer more. As Thomas suggested, the rigid mount method I described in the Accurizing book is an immediate solution (leave the action screws loose until after the cure to prevent any stress). This is one method we can use to to get up and running in a hurry. Trigger work is also important on the big guns, possibly more so than on the smaller stuff, though it is important to test the trigger in the temperature conditions it is going to be used at (how much feeling you have in your finger tips). It has to matched to the situation, light and crisp but with a feel to it. On the Rugers, the lugs are also important, as is the mag box fit - absolutely critical. I covered all of these issues in the Ruger bedding vid and within the Accurizing book.

Whatever the case, I really believe that the key to success is to fully embrace what we are doing, to get passionate about it. As Luke tests his GMX load, it may shoot well or it may shoot quite poorly but either way, its all valuable practice, time to get to know the rifle, to get used to the recoil.

Hopefully this helps to tidy up this thread a wee bit.

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