Jacks Browning 375 H&H A bolt

Discussion in 'tales of the hunt' started by Grumpy, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    I don,t remember the exact year now but I well remember Jack was always kidding me about using a damn CANNON on my elk hunts AS I had been using either my 340 wby or 375H7H carbine for several years on these yearly Elk hunting trips, and he had used his 30/06 for decades,
    now that 375 H&H carbine or 340 wby rifle had killed all the deer, and Elk rather decisively, and he had ever shot but both the SAKO and WBY ,had never been all that impressive in how effectively it had done so,
    but as Jack had stated many times ,with almost with boring and totally predictability, deer would be hit, and the deer would run off, an require a short tracking job, when hit with his 30/06
    now the bullet does ALL the work in any rifle shot as thats what impacts the target,and where you hit is more important to the result than what rifle you use (within reasonable limits of course) and as far as the games concerned, a good shot with a 270 win or 30/06 can sure put down game if the shooter knows the games anatomy, and if you either don,t place the shot in the vitals or use a projectile that expands too slowly to do much damage before it exits or one that expands to rapidly to penetrate to the vitals you will frequently see the game run off before dropping, it has very little to do with POWER ,VELOCITY ,CALIBER, or the head stamp on your case brass , whats important is your precise and exact shot placement, knowledge of the games anatomy and selecting the proper projectile for the intended application, but having a larger caliber bullet of decent weight that expands reliably and penetrates deeply and dependably , i an accurate rifle is a huge boost to any hunters confidence

    Jack purchased a browning A-bolt rifle several years ago, in 375 H&H now the calibers rather large and not necessarily needed on north American big game but with proper hand loads it can be and is an excellent choice.
    he complained that the rifle was heavy to carry but he also admitted the mass reduced the effect of recoil and the rifle was very accurate!
    the 375 H&H and 340 wby are closely matched in power and not far apart in trajectory,as the 340 throws a 250 grain at 2900 fps while the 375 H&H throws a 270 grain at about 2670 fps

    when he first bought it accuracy sucked,we traced that to a badly bedded action.
    a quick trip to the local range with his new toy gave me a good idea why the previous owner was willing to sell so cheaply, it would barely keep a 6" 100 yard group off the bench,
    100 yard bench rested groups ran in the 6" range but the targets had that tell tale, twin group indicator that either the bedding or scope mount was the cause.
    we checked the bedding and it was obvious that needed to be re-bedded,and we carefully cleaned the barrel, so we used a dremel to partly cut out the area behind the recoil lug and embed a stainless steel bolt and washer after careful measurements and cutting the required area and use of epoxy bedding material was used.
    we also piller bed the action bolts bosses,then we did a good bore cleaning , new scope mounts were installed,and a 4x Leopold scope
    accuracy improved dramatically with new action bedding
    well Jack stopped over Last night as he had to visit some old work pal in miami and stopped by here to B.S. and we got to talking about his old browning 375 H&H A-bolt rifle. and one of the hunts he had been on. now you don,t need a 338 win-375 h&h power but the 250 grain and heavier bullets do a very effective job.
    We had driven out to Franks in woodland park Colorado and spent the evening before, the day before ,the season opener sleeping in his living room, we spent that day before the season opened driving out and setting up camp near grizzly creek.
    It was the usual mad rush of trucks up the dirt logging roads into the mountains but as usual the further we traveled into the mountains the less traffic we had for company and by about noon we were virtually alone on remote logging roads that had obviously seen very little use in recent years.
    We set up our 8 man tent well off the road under some mixed conifer and aspen.
    there were 5 of us that year, Frank, Al, Jack ,Ron,Sal and I, the area we had selected had been selected mostly because we knew from previous years that as soon as the season opened a good bit of hunting pressure in the three lower canyons that fed into this upper drainage would over the next couple days produce a more or less rather consistent stream of elk fleeing the lower drainage areas and traveling up and over a ridge we planed to be sitting on and spread out on at strategic spots so we could in theory intercept them.
    The Flaw in the plan was that the Elk were smart enough to time the majority of the travel under the cover of darkness unless forced to do other wise.
    that and we obviously could not cover every potential side canyon, or escape route out of three different major drainage's.

    first light found SAL and frank and Al still in camp making coffee and breakfast and Jack and I well up on a ridge easily 2 miles up along a long abandoned logging road , where we spaced ourselves about 400 yards apart to watch a clear cut that was mostly grown back with raggedly inter-spaced 5-9 ft tall conifer.
    after several hours of seeing several groups of very nice mule deer ( Id skipped the license for deer that year)(naturally Id see several great deer) we had seen no legal elk yet.
    I saw Jack lay his rifle on his back-pack and look through his scope, I looked down into the clear-cut where he was looking but could not see anything moving, I continued to watch..
    IT was rather obvious Jack could see something but as we had been seeing small groups of mule deer and Jack did not seem to concerned I at that point assumed it was either deer or maybe a cow elk or possibly one of the guys from camp hunting up the clear cut.
    at around noon, Jack walked over and said he had seen a small spike elk earlier but nothing legal to shoot, we sat and talked and ate a few snacks we had in our packs and were getting board.
    Jack noticed movement down the clear-cut and used his Steiner field glasses ,it was a barely legal bull elk, but still a nice 4x4, Jack debated for a few seconds then decided that any elk that was legal on public land was worth taking as average success in that area was near 20%, and he was rather reluctant to take a chance at going home with an empty meat cooler that year!
    he rested his new browning rifle over his back-pack, and took careful aim, I judged the range to be only about 120 yards, (keep in mind Jacks an excellent shot) as he fired the elk spun and ran, Jack slapped the bolt,handle up, back then forward,cycling it, with practice all complete as the rifle recoils and as the rifle fired, the range was now at about 150 yards,as he was getting the second sight picture,from a sitting position, the elk went nose first into a stump, spun sideways, and slid down slope a bit obviously, dead,almost instantly as the second shot sounded,...on inspection there was a single hit in the rear upper ribs .on the left near the spine traveling downward and exiting the right chest , obviously the first shot was a total miss....we got to harass jack about that for days.
    Jack of course blamed, the missed shot, on my crappy hand loads, until I reminded him that HE hand loaded his own 375 H&H ammo that year!
    and we had the rather unusual experience of packing meat out in a mostly down hill direction, along what could almost be described as a trail, vs across a long steep upward slope ,one of the very few times that ever happened!
    a lot of that area looked similar to this picture I found

  2. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    now obviously you don,t need a 458 win to hunt, but many guys enjoy hand loading and casting their own bullets and a 45 caliber rifle is ideal for that purpose., and while Jack resisted buying a heavy caliber for years he bought a ruger 458 falling block a few years ago after he got more familiar with bullet casting and hand loading

    the butt stock cartridge sleeve that holds 8-9 cartridges is almost a mandatory accessory like a sling on most rifles in my opinion
  3. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

    A couple years later Jack and I had decided to hunt Colorado near , but several miles south of Gypsum, on I70, white river national forest area
    we wanted to find an area we could draw for but not face a mass of other hunters or an area so restricted that drawing a permit would be very difficult.
    the area we wanted to hunt was step rolling hills covered with aspen and conifer randomly spaced with oak-brush and grass meadows.
    much of the area looks similar too these pictures I found posted elseware
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    there are several trails that allow a 4x4 truck or jeep access too the perimeter areas,but its mostly horse or back-pack in on foot type hunting,
    as theres enough thick conifer and aspen growth, to limit vehicles plus a good deal of the area is off limits to motorized transport by regulation.
    finding a good area generally takes hours of research, the purchase of aerial photos and topo maps and maps with private property lines clearly marked.
    this area has the potential to on occasion offer a 300 yard or slightly longer shot, but theres a great deal of timber and areas that restrict shot ranges to well under 100 yards.
    this area is both a mix of elk and mule deer territory , so we knew we would need both licenses.
    Jack had his 375 H&H A-bolt
    I was using my (SAKO 375H&H carbine)
    I think both Jack and I had by this time developed a real trust in or appreciation for the 375 H&H rifle/carbine, and the cartridges sheer ability to put game on the ground very quickly if we did our part with proper shot placement!
    both Jack and I really liked the area because it was far less difficult to access or move through than the canyon country we generally hunt which looks much more like this picture of the canyon we hunt most years.
    I posted two pictures , below, of the actual canyon country we hunt elk in most years,
    keep in mind the drainage is 15 plus miles long and almost totally devoid of any logging road access

    we both filled mule deer tags the first year and we saw dozens of cow elk and a few bulls that we felt were not worth shooting even if barely legal.
    Jack and I found an area we could walk to in about 45 minutes too an hours time from where we camped , along a long un-used logging road that was barely decernable as there were young trees growing over short stretches , of its long un-used surface.
    that area overlooked several really active game trails and looking over the matching topo maps it was obvious why the area was rarely hunted heavily, the only viable, public access was from the up slope abandoned logging roads as private farm land or very steep slopes limited access from the lower slopes.
    this was to prove to be a good bit of info simply because most of the hunters at least the years we hunted the area seemed to be too lazy or at least un-willing to walk in the 45 minutes too an hour it took to reach the area from the nearest logging road access points.
    the end result was that we both thought we had found as close to an ideal area as we could imagine, as far as pleasant and easy hunting was concerned, and any time you find something like that you know it won,t last, and it didn't after we hunted it two years they changed to points system and made drawing a permit, every year next to impossible.
    Jacks mule deer was basically a gift as the buck with a 4 point rack and a 22" spread nearly ran up to jack, and stood there looking at him from about 45 yards as we walked up the logging road near dusk on the way back to the truck, a single shot from Jacks browning bolt action, that hit the lower edge of the mule deer's heart and exited the lower left ham low down as he faced jack, the buck,dropped instantly.
    Id loaded hornady 270 grain bullets over 75 grains of WIN 760 with a 215 federal primer for both rifles, as that load was accurate in both my sako carbine and his browning a-bolt


    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=375 HqqqH&Weight=All&type=Rifle&Order=Powder&Source=

    my deer came 3 days latter in that hunt, we were hunting for Elk, but the area held a good number of mule deer and only a few decent elk, as far as what we saw, no elk we saw was worth shooting that year,(as you get older and more experienced you don,t tend to shoot the first legal game you see, simply because years of experience tell, you the fun stops and the work starts when you pull the trigger and you darn sure don,t want to speed 2 days hauling 60-80 lb packs of meat a couple miles back to a truck if you already have mostly full coolers , so you have plenty of venison,and the elks rack is not that impressive!)
    your memory of past back-pack trips tends too allow you to pass up less than bragging rights level elk,
    ESPECIALLY if they are more than a few miles from camp,
    once you have spent the previous few days packing out a couple mule deer!
    I was 3/4 asleep at about 3 pm, while I sat, resting, under the branches of a large conifer on the edge of a shallow draw,when out of the corner of my eye I noticed movement across a meadow in an adjacent aspen patch, the buck never knew I was watching and at a range of about 145 yards I simply placed the cross hairs of the scope on his chest just behind the front leg about 1/2 way up and as he stepped forward I squeezed off a shot, the 4 point buck, with a 20" antler spread, but a taller set of antler tines than jacks buck, took off like Id shoved a red hot poker, up his $%^ and went face first into a large aspen at a dead run about 20 yards ahead of where he was standing, when the bullet impacted , he dropped and slid down the slope about 30 yards looking as limp as a bag of jello, the bullet took out the heart and most of the lungs , on its way out when it exited.
    Jack of course claimed Id missed and the deer had simply panicked, broken its neck running into the aspen.....
  4. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

  5. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey Staff Member

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