The .375 Ruger Cartridge – A Handloaders Dream Cartridge

Wouldn’t it be neat to own one rifle/cartridge that you can hunt large jack rabbits with a reduced load without blowing it to bits and the next day hunt deer with a more powerful load in the same rifle and the next day hunt the largest game on the Planet with a 300 grain Dangerous Game Load – All in the same Rifle? YES! You can only do this if you hand load your own ammo for the .375 Ruger.


Shown here is  the Ruger® Hawkeye® African with a 23 inch barrel verses my 20 inch barrel. See the Ruger website below.

My Ruger is less embellished with the ebony cap and sling on the barrel. But it is very accurate indeed with the .375 Ruger Cartridge and so versatile for handloaders.  The .375 Ruger Cartridge was a joint collaboration of Hornady and Ruger back in 2007. Wikipedia has a write-up at  

As I said, If  you hand-load you can load to shoot varying bullet sizes and energies for small game all the way up to dangerous game.


It has been tried before on older .375’s like the H&H magnum, very successfully, I might add! Most African hunters shoot a .375 H & H for everything from the 15 pound Dik Dik Antelope up to and including Elephant. Africans don’t often change loads though, most all sizes are taken with big bullets. Hornady made 220 and 225 grain heads but has not made any for a while. The 235 grain Speer Hot Core is still available as are lead cast bullets with gas checks. Sorta like “Quigley Down Under” cast bullets at 260 grains.

Damara Dik-Dik.JPG

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia (Kirks Dik Dik)

and then shoot Impala (impala venison is fabulous)

Female impala.jpg

(Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia – Impala)

Then Shoot Cape Buffalo with the same Rifle

Serengeti Bueffel1.jpg

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia – Cape Buffalo

Or Elephant Below

African Bush Elephant.jpg

Photo Courtesy Wikipedia – African Elephant


Enter the newer 2007 Cartridge, the .375 Ruger that is stronger than the .375 H & H cartridge, Shorter, Has no belt to be concerned for head-space,  and fits in a standard bolt action and holds 6 % more powder than the older .375 H & H.

375 ruger unprimed new cases



At left is the .375 Ruger Cartridge loaded with 235 grain Speer Hot Core bullets and the 243 Winchester at right for comparrison.

The problem for many .375 Ruger owners is that there has been little published data out there to aid the .375 Ruger Cartridge Owner to establish a cross section of bullet types and weights, powders and loading data that take you from small game, medium game. Most data is about really big game or African Game.  So I went into student mode and gathered data over the years and worked up my own loads using available .375 Caliber published data for starting loads, small game loads and lower bullet weights with copper jackets. As with all load data work from low to higher very slowly, examine the spent round for primer and case indicators with a good Reloading manual as a Reference, like Hornady or Nosler. Pay attention to case length and Cartridge overall length COL making copious notes to refer back to.

I think that for medium and small game lead bullets can be cast and SR 4759 starter data can be found for reduced loads at 1200 fps and for 220 to 235 grain heads pushing a small game load at 1500 fps to a deer load at 2100 fps for 100 yard or less shots. The trick here is to shoot either a flat point to deliver more energy on impact or a bullet that is traveling at near to 1900 to 2000 fps at impact in a spire point to mushroom adequately. I have created a new lower power load of IMR ( )  from Hodgdon®  that provides 235 grain Speer Bullets at 2400 fps for most North American Game at 200 yards and easier recoil like a 30-06. Yesterday I shot 3/4 inch 3 shot groups at 100 yards with that new load.

The data for starter loads can be extrapolated from published data by experienced wildcatters and reloaders.  After that there is a plethora of published data for Elk, Big Bears, Moose, Bison, and larger African Species up to Elephant. The .375 Ruger with my M77 African  Ruger Rifle 20 inch barrel can throw a 260 grain spitzer out of the muzzle at 2800 fps for Brown Bear or a 2000 pound Bison. Then Switch to 300 grain AccuBonds backed up by 300 grain Monolithic Solids for Africa’s Big Five. As Robert Ruark says: Use Enough Gun! I would choose a bigger rifle for close work on testy Bull elephants may be a 470 Nitro Express Double gun with 500 grain solids.© 2014

This entry was posted in Big Game Hunting, Cartridge Reloading by Ed Hale. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game
such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.

4 thoughts on “The .375 Ruger Cartridge – A Handloaders Dream Cartridge

  1. Read your articles a couple of year ago. Really great info. Finally bought a the Ruger in 375R. Have not shot it yet, but as soon as I have some ammo. It is a beautiful, trim rifle. I do reload other cartridges and and can calculate the charge weights, but I have two opening questions….

    1. the load listed above was what powder ? IMR (4895???) or H-4895 ?

    2. do you need to crimp the bullets on the low and moderate loads ?

    • Hi Tim,
      The 375 Ruger shot with a Ruger M77 Hawkeye is exceptional for it wide range of application and extreme accuracy over a wide range of bullets. I use SR 4759 for deer with 235 grain Speer bullets and Hornady 225 grain flat nose (both bullets are hard to find today). Reading published 375 H & H Reduced Load data along with other 375 reduced loads and developed a starting load and worked up. Better yet, from Chuck Hawkes there is 5744 powder from Accurate Powder Company that gives excellent reduced load published data at
      For a slightly hotter load for big game use Hornady table for 250 g GMX starting at 2400 fps with many powders. . The GMX is GaMe eXpanding. Beyond that, I used Nosler 260 grain AccuBonds for Moose and Buffalo. See On IMR 4895 and Hodgdon powders use published data. You can use a web browser to find most of the data out there and read Forum topics on the 375 Ruger.
      Be aware that Nosler used a 26 inch barrel and is perhaps generating nearly 100 fps faster but it is best to invest in a chronograph to get actual velocity data.
      The 375 Ruger, if handloaded, is a one gun for all game kind-of-rifle. If you are shooting full power loads at the bench, use a recoil reducing pad with a shoulder pad. If standing and shooting off hand, recoil is a push and you do not need extra padding. I shoot full power “standing” in a T-shirt. Use JBM ballistics on-line software for your trajectory and power calculations.
      Good Luck,

  2. Thanks Ed. I think I have some SR4759 leftover from shooting cast bullets in my 375H&H. Still have bullets too, but will have to check the weights. More on that later. I do want to try out some loads with the 5744.

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