My brother-in-law Bo, nephew Ben, and I spent the past weekend in deep southwest Texas between Sanderson and the Mexican border. We took an assortment of rifles. Bo brought an SKS, M1, M1A, M1 Carbine, and a couple of AR 15s. I brought my SKS, M1, M1A, 1917 Enfield, Winchester Model 70 .375 H&H Magnum, and a Remington Model 41 .22. We both brought along a nice selection of handguns. A grand time was had by all. I came away with a new respect for both the .375 H&H Magnum and also for the 7.62X39.
The ledge on the rim from which we shot. Bo had his clever laser range finder with him and was able to advise us of the distances at which we were engaging our targets. We stayed under 500 yards. Some favored rock targets were at 125, 325, and 394 yards, and a rocky prominence at 500 yards.
It was noted that even on the 394 yard distant rock, the .375 could be held on the upper portion of the rock and a hit was guaranteed. Bo and I agreed that the rock was about the size of the "kill zone" of an elk. Most of the loads used featured a 270 grain spitzer bullet and this was really flat performance in my view. I also had some Remington factory 300 grain, round nose, soft points and even these performed well. I held what appeared to be a foot above the rock and smacked it with these loads too. I never gave the .375 H&H Magnum credit for being so flat shooting.
Shooting the Winchester Model 70 Super Express .375 H&H Magnum
Ben and Bo managing the recoil of the .375. They'd been aiming the rifle at a slightly downward angle at the rock in the canyon. They snapped me before I fired.
Everyone was far too manly to complain about the rifle's recoil. I also shot it some from a seated position, resting my elbows across my knees. The rifle did wear on me after a while when shooting continuously from such a position.
The 7.62X39 was better than I expected. I already really like the cartridge anyway. I think it'd be a dandy round for cast bullet experimentation in one of the mini Mauser actions and good for bench rest fun at 100 yards. I like the round better than I like the typical SKS or AK 47 rifle in which it is generally found. It was noticed that it was decently accurate on the torso sized rocks at 325 yards and also that it arrived down range more rapidly than expected. It didn't exhibit quite as much drop as I expected to find. The numerical graduations on the SKS's sights worked right along with Bo's range finding. I'm used to shooting .30-06 and .308 at long range but this little round surprised me. If it was in a decent rifle with a stock of proper dimensions and a trigger that didn't take two men and a boy to pull, it'd keep an adversary ducking and jumping out to 500 yards or so.
Shooting my Russki SKS
One thing I noticed was that the .223 and 7.62X39 both gave about the same "puff" of dust when striking rocks at all distances which was less than the "puff" exhibited by the .30-06 and .308. The .375 Mag didn't really seem to make much of a larger "puff" than did the two .30s in my estimation. This observation means nothing to the relative power of the various rounds but was interesting. I would have thought the mighty .375 would make a more impressive strike than it did.
Yes folks, ever optimistic about the capabilities of the .38 Special in the Smith & Wesson Model 10 Heavy Barrel, I'm taking on the two torso sized rocks at 325 yards. In the lower photo the rocks may be seen to the left and above the vertical crack in a rock face seen in the distance. A juniper bush is above and right of the crack and a large white splash on the rock face beneath the two rocks is the result of many bullet strikes. The wind was stiff in our faces on this day and any strikes by handgun bullets were mostly swept away by the wind and could not generally be observed. I only saw a couple of strikes and they were nowhere near the target.
The mighty Model 10 did prove deadly on basketball sized rocks out to 125 yards from a sitting position with arms rested on knees. Any farther and distance and wind waylaid performance for me that day.
The weather was perfect for our outing and it was nice to be so far removed from civilization that one wasn't reminded of it. We could see the red light on the cell phone tower on the hill behind Sanderson off in the distance and a couple of deer stands off on the horizon. No highways, high lines, fences, or structures to mar the view and only the sound of the wind to accompany us.