By David Tong
.375 Holland & Holland Magnum history and review.
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- In 1912, British arms maker Holland & Holland introduced the world to the belted magnum rifle case.
In so doing, and by design, they also created the world’s most versatile rifle cartridge.
From its introduction it harvested all types of game from thin-skinned small deer all the way to elephants, with three bullet weights.
.375 Holland & Holland Magnum
The 235gr version of the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum, was intended for open plains game, and at 2,900fps, it shoots as flat as a 180gr .30-06. My own pet load in a Remington 700 Safari used Winchester cases, Federal 215 Primer igniting 80.0gr of IMR-4350 capped with the Speer semi-spitzer bullet. Using a Williams aperture sight, three shot groups land at 1 1/8 inches at 100 yards.
The .375 Holland & Holland Magnum in a 270gr bullet was used for heavy-skinned non-dangerous game, though of course it would work splendidly on the large bears. It would be suited for elk and moose in North America but “pleasantly over-powered,” while in Africa they would be used on lions. These can be had in both round-nosed or spitzer forms, and my notes indicated the same components but with a lower powder charge of 77.0 grains.
The .375 Holland & Holland Magnum in a 300gr. Bullets were designed for the largest and toughest African animals. These include the elephant and its pachyderm cousin, the rhinoceros. Designed for very deep penetration, 300gr bullets are nearly invariably found in round nose form, although Sierra does make a spitzer boat-tail for longer range shooting.
. 375 Holland & Holland Magnum Popularity
There are a few reasons why the .375 has remained so popular.
First, Holland & Holland did not make the round “proprietary.” Thus, many rifle builders chambered it.
Second, most African countries mandate the use of a .375 as the minimum caliber if one seeks dangerous game, namely Cape buffalo, elephant, lion, and rhino. These hunts are increasingly expensive and rarer due to a variety of factors, including, sadly, poaching and loss of habitat range.
Third, the round strikes that balance of “all the rifle most people can shoot comfortably,” recoil-wise. In my experience, a nine pound to nine-and-a-half pound rifle means that it can be carried with relative ease, and the slight muzzle heavy weight of the long-actioned bolt gun allows for steady aim when the adrenaline starts flowing.
Fourth, it is an old saying that it shoots all three .375 bullets to the same relative point-of-aim out to one-hundred yards, and this is also borne out by my own experience. Sure, there is roughly a three-inch vertical spread between the three main weights, but usually these are right on, windage-wise. This greatly simplifies your life using either sights or a telescope.
Finally, the .375 huge case with its long tapered form and minimal shoulder is a sure feeder in all bolt-action rifles. It is a problem for reloaders like myself, because it headspaces on the belt rather than the shoulder, and case stretch will limit reloads to three or four cycles before incipient head separation occurs if one is full-length resizing. If one backs of the loads about five percent of what is stated above, or uses a neck-sizing die instead, case life will dramatically improve. No matter – lovely accuracy is the benefit of using the round.
I once took my .375 Holland & Holland Magnum rifle to deer camp in NW Pennsylvania for use on whitetails. A couple of guys scoffed saying that “that cannon will beat you up.” I said it would probably kick less than their .300 Winchesters did, and that caused two of them to try my 235gr loads. They agreed, the lower-pressure .375 Holland WAS softer shooting than the snappy kick of their lightweight sporters.
We were all over-gunned. That’s the price I paid for the romance of using the 375 Holland & Holland Magnum round that has proven itself over more than a century!
Author’s note: All loading information above were for my personal rifle and components, and you should absolutely consult a current reloading manual to ensure your safety!