338 Ultra, 375 H&H or 375 H&H Ackley


Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2004
North Dakota
Well here is the run down I was at my gun smiths on saturday picking up my dads 6mm Ackley and I was asking my smith about the 375 H&H that I am getting built (Barrel is on Order) and he asked me what was I going to shoot with it and I said Moose, Elk, and Brown Bears. Then he suggestad that I should make a 338 Ultra or the 375 Ackley instead of the 375 H&H. I asked why? And he said most of your Elk shots will be longer and he really didnt like the 375 for Elk he likes the 375 Ackley or the 338 Ultra but he also has brakes on all his rifles that are over a 280 IMP. My rifle is going to weigh around 11 lbs with no brake on it. I can shoot a Rem 700 BDL in a 375 H&H pretty well and it weights about 10lbs. So here is my question will I really gain much ballistics wise over a standard 375 with the 338 Ultra or the 375 Ackley besides more recoil? I mean looking at some loading data you can push a 250gr out of a 375 H&H around 3000 fps and a 270gr in the 2800 fps to 2900 fps range and the Ballistic COE's with hunting bullets in the 338 and 375 are pretty close so would I really gain anything by going with the 338 Ultra? As for the 375 Ackley is it worth the extra work?

[ 07-14-2004: Message edited by: dakor ]
I forgot to mention how far I will be shooting. For Moose and Elk anywhere from 50 yards to 500 yards and Brown Bear 20 yards to 200 yards.
First of all, you must realize that your gunsmith is a "diehard." He, being like me does not view the extra work as a chore. We do it not only to gain velocity, but because we are diehards. The increase or difference has been the fuel for magazines for the last couple of decades. Look at a lot of Craig Boddington's articles. What I am trying to say is, this is a debate and you will have to eventually decide which side of the fence you are on. There are questions that you hve to answer. How much do I like to reload? Do you even reload? Are you wanting a wildcat or a SAAMI cartridge? How much time and money are you willing to invest? These questions seems so primitive, but will actually guide you and help you understand where other people, like your gunsmith are coming from.

Now down to the good stuff.....the stuff you wanted to hear. We must first recognize that any of the calibers that you mentioned are capable of killing any of the animals you stated. So, any of these you choose will get the job done. The main difference is getting there. I have a custom built 338RUM and it is awesome on performance. I am not recoil sensitive and it isn't too bad. If you are recoil sensitive, you may want to reconsider. I have a 28" barrel pushing a 250 grainer out at about 3300 fps. The advantage that this offers is bullet selection. I can go from 160 to 300. I would stay in the 200 to 250 range just because of that is what it degests best. The 375 H&H is a good caliber, yet I would prefer the improved version just because I am a velocity junkie. The improved version on average will give you about 100 to 200 fps across the board on all weight bullets. Other than that they are about the same.

To complicate things, I prefer the 375 Weatherby. Just personal preferance. It can digest the 375 H&H and 375 Weatherby. It is the same as the 375 ackley, but a double venturi shoulder. It does wonders on bears. However, I am building a 416 Remington Magnum for my next Brown Bear trip. I am also curious to see what it does on bull elk.

In conclusion, the 338 RUM will give you better long range and can me more versatile on a larger range of animals. The 375's long range trajectory drops a lot faster. You really can't go wrong with any of these though. Let me know if you have any questions and hope this helps. Good hunting!
I do reload and I have one wildcat right now a 6mm-284. I do have a 7mm STW that shoots 160gr at 3276 fps so I could use that for Elk and as for recoil the 375 H&H is the biggest I have shot so I do not know if I can handle anything bigger or not. I also shoot my rifles alot unlike most of people I know with big cals they shoot about 10 to 20 rounds a year. I take mine rabbit hunting and crow hunting just so I am good with the rifle when it really counts.

The debate of which caliber to use can also be applied to your 6/284. The 6/284 versus the 6/06 or 6mm ackley. And so forth. There are many cartridges out there. It may just boil down to personal preference.

I have always said this, people that are interested in guns are an unusual breed. We have are opinions and quirks about us. I always hear someone bad mouthing this cartridge and that cartridge. I have heard people bad mouth the weatherby and the double venturi shoulder and free-bore to cartridges that have rebated rims. It seems that we make excuses for reasons on why we like or dislike certain cartridges. I used to have a 6/284 too. i got rid of it since I got concerned on the availability of brass. Since then Winchester has pumped up volume production for the 284 and the 6.5/284 has become so ever popular. I guess my foresight was wrong. Oh well, I built a 6mm/300 WSM to take it's place. And boy, does she scream!!!

I hope that I have helped make your decision. If I were you, also look at the 358 STA. It is a good cartridge. Whatever you do, do not start building something until you have your mind made up as to what caliber. You will find that you may change your mind and then start over. Be patient. Good Hunting!
what weight bullets do you plan to use? will you go with one weight? I think the H&H has its limitations, but should be able to handle what you are asking. Tough choice. I love my H&H and with 260 partitions the recoil isn't bad at all. Something about that old clasic cartridge that puts a smile on my face every time i squeeze one off.
Rimfire For Moose, and ELk I think I would use the 250 Barnes X or the 260 Accubond and for Brown Bears the 270 Barnes TSX. I know what you are saying about the history of the cartridge it has taken lots of big animals and I know it would never be a 1000 yard gun but as long as I can shoot out to 500 yards I will be happy that is my limit anyway.
When I started loading the H&H NBT's and accubonds were not out yet. I looked at the 260 and 300 partition and at the speeds I could move them. The 300's held more energy from the barrel out to 500 yards but recoil was increased condsiderably. Since I intended to use it on plainsgame to 300 yards not DG I settled on the 260's. Since then I tried the NBT's but mine liked the partitions more. I am looking forward to trying the accubonds. If you can run the numbers for accubonds at 2800fps I would be interested to see what they do out to 500. I have not seen the published BC for them yet.
I know the partition is like a flying brick but they group well.
The BC for the Accubonds is 473 that is why I am staying away from the partition they have such a low BC and that is to bad because I really like how they have preformed for me in other calibers but from what I have read the Accubonds work about the same they open a little faster but penitrait and hold there weight about the same as a partition. How fast are you shooting the 260 Partitions and what setup?
24" Mod 70 Safari. I had to go with wood on this one. (I did not intend to use it for long range)trigger at 3 lbs Bisonite bedding and recrowned. barrel takes copper like a sharp file but still hods moa or better on average .8
72.0 of R-15 at 2780 fps.
For DG big bears / cape at shorter range I would use a 300 partition. Can't wait to try Accubonds.
Any excuse to take it out is a good one.
Happy i have one, next project is a 338 RUM
One thing to remember is that in the Ackley chamber you can still shoot 375 H-H factory rounds.The velocity suffers about 100 fps when doing this due to the case expansion.
On the other question of the muzzle brake i would follow your gunsmith and put one on anything bigger than a 280 improved in a gun under 17 pounds.I don't see heavy recoil aiding in anyway so why have it.
Lynn I am going with a standard 375 H&H with a longer tube of 28 inches. I figure with that length I will get the speed I am looking for and I will not have a muzzle brake I shot 300gr full bore loads this weekend out of my dads 375 H&H recoil is not a problem and that rifle weighs about 10lbs with a scope.

[ 07-26-2004: Message edited by: dakor ]
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