Steyr Dragoon Scout and African Big Game Cartridges: .376 Steyr, .375 Ruger, .375 H&H

Jeff Cooper envisioned a few variation on the Scout Rifle, most notably a heavier-caliber type suited more for African dangerous (or large) game hunting, for which the .308 Winchester cartridge was not really suitable. Cooper had a rifle he called his “Lion Scout”, chambered for the .350 Remington Magnum cartridge. In order to offer a commercial version of that rifle, Steyr and Hornady introduced a new cartridge in 1999 – the .376 Steyr. Many African nations require .375″ as a minimum bullet diameter for hunting, and so this new round was designed to meet that requirement and be as long as possible while still fitting in the existing Steyr Scout action and magazine. The result was a round based on the 9.3×64 Brenneke, which was just slightly lower velocity than the gold standard of African hunting, the .375 H&H.

In the years since its introduction, the .376 Steyr has failed to become popular however. What has taken off much better is the .375 Ruger, a longer cartridge that fully duplicates (exceeds, actually) the Holland & Holland cartridge ballistics. Today I’m trying out all three cartridges on the range…

25 Comments

  1. Apart from purely finacial reasons on the part of the gun business, I see no reason for tryig to improve on the .375 H&H Magnum. There has been no practical improvemnent on it. I am a strong proponent for the one gun hunter where dangerous game exists.
    For many years in my life in Arica, my gun was a Winchester model 70 in .375 H&H Magnum with a Lyman 57 aperture sight using 300 grain bullets. It is responsible for many one shot kills on a wide variety of game, starting from elephant down.
    And yes, never shoot it prone.
    I must admit to using another gun, a .22 Rimfire Magnum for the “small stuff”, Impala and smaller.

  2. 7.62x39mm Kills loads of Elephants in Africa seemingly; I assume they dump a mag and run off & come back. Clearly said rounds will “go through” thus it must be multiple hits, rather than these “thumpers” thats does it…

    Nice Pith helmet. That Steyr looked like a lightweight, compact, easy, to aim quickly type of gun anyway; but perhaps if its that quick, there wasn’t a market for change I.e. The other works fine.

      • Now if you put a 30rnd mag on that, and mounted it on one of those Lafette tripods; you’d have a market. Be no end of dead animal bits you could sell to China. You couldn’t get them on the planes quick enough, Pangolins full of novel virus’s; great tasting soup they say over there. Bingo.

  3. The way that a 7.62×39 kills an elephant is to shoot it in the belly, run away, and then watch it die slowly over the next few days of peritonitis.
    The .303 was used to kill them this way.
    The only ethical way to kill aan elephant is with a brain shot.

  4. Elephant hunters get a bad rep, mostly from people who don’t know much about neither elephants nor hunting.

    1: Yes, poachers killing elephants for their tusks need to get hunted themselves.

    2: Elephants aren’t endangered. In fact some places have an over population of elephants.

    3: The people who hunt elephants pay huuuge money to the authorities for the license to do so. That’s money that keep the wildlife reserves going.

    4: The hunters also bring in a solid income to the local population: Guides, people to carry the gear, etc. Sometimes that income sustains local families for months at a time, and obviously gives the locals a motivation for protecting the parks and wildlife.

    5: The elephants who get killed are usually selected by the park authorities. They select older (bigger!) male elephants who have already bred.

    6: Since the tusks and teeth of elephants keep growing throughout their life, older elephants sometimes can’t feed themselves effectively. The alternative to getting shot by a hunter is often literally starving to death.

    I like elephants and could never kill one. But I have zero problems with hunters killing elephants given the way it’s organized.

  5. Ian should have his own TV show. Preferably a sci-fi show where he has a time machine and every week dresses up in a period costume and travels back in time to look at historical weapons.

    Along with his trusty sidekick Karl, obviously.

    • This is his tv show. And it’s not every week, it’s 6 days a week. We just need him in more historical costumes.

  6. Watching the video the Ruger roa sse up in two distinct stages as opposed to a single rise for the other two. Interesting.

  7. Can we look forward to tests of (seriously) old school elephant guns (ammunition allowing – their availability + the appropriate rifles may be ‘interesting’) e.g. .4-.577″ etc. Also providing your willingness / that your shoulder will stand firing such behemoths.

    • Ammunition is available for most of them

      And also for one that no one had ever seen until it was registered with the CIP as the original.

      Although some calibres are well known in the literature, and guns are still being made for them, and both brass, bullets and commercially loaded ammunition is available

      The total number of guns made in the calibre may be far fewer than 100.

      The limiting factor is depth of pockets. Small runs of premium quality ammunition are very expensive.

  8. Light weight rifles with horrible recoil – hang onto your retinas and frontal lobes.

    And cartridges that do the same as a 9.3×62 from the 1900s (there’s all of 0.009″ difference between 9.3mm and 0.375″), except you get one less magazine capacity with those obese cases than you would with 9.3×62.

    With a .375 H&H, you also need to get a “long” action, which opens up a bunch of other absurdities.

    Here’s one of them.

    Schüler, managed to fit his .500 (there’s some confusion about whether the correct metric designation is 12.5×70 or 12.7×70) into standard length Mauser ’98 actions, Westley Richards did the same with their .425s, yet the first .222 Remington rifles were on actions scaled to be able to take .375 H&H.

    Anyway…
    Cooper may (or may not) have had some good ideas. The few that I’ve heard about that were tried commercially, dont seem to have persuaded many people to part with their hard earned.

  9. That is not an elk. That is a deer printed on that target. And I hope you train more to shoot for the heart if you ever go hunting, Ian.

    I wonder if a spinner target is going to flip with one bullet from these rifles?

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