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April 20, 2008

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Sound Advice On Sighting-In

I was at my gun club earlier today putting a new rifle through the paces—a Remington 798 Safari chambered in what is perhaps the most romantic sporting cartridge of all time, the .375 H&H.

I had done a lot of prep work on the rifle before heading to the range, mounting the scope bases and scope, bore sighting the rifle, checking all the various screws and fasteners, giving the gun a thorough cleaning (it is amazing how dirty a new gun can be), assembling the ammo and so forth.

This particular rifle is destined for at least one, and possibly two, hunts in the near future. First off is a bear hunt in northern Alberta with an outfitter who guides in an area with some ridiculously large bears. I’ve been in a bit of a bear drought of late. A week of spot-and-stalk hunting in B.C. two springs ago yielded nothing and another spot and stalk hunt I had scheduled for Montana last year fell through at the eleventh hour. Likewise, a bear tag I had on me during a hunt last fall in Newfoundland went unpunched. But I’m hopeful this hunt will change my luck. I’ve spoken with a number of folks who have hunted with this outfitter and all have had good things to say.

The other hunt is in Africa in June and I’m very tempted to bring along the Remington as my “light” rifle for plains game.

The two loads I put through the rifle today were both from Remington, a 270-grain softpoint and a 300-grain Swift A-Frame. My inclination is to use the 270-grain bullets for the bears, as they pack more than enough oomph to handle bruins.

I was shooting from the comfort of a Caldwell Lead Sled and was starting to get some good three-shot groups. One of my fellow club members came up to me to chat about the rifle and asked about what kind of hunting I planned to do. I told him about the bear hunt and he agreed that the .375 H&H is about the best all-around cartridge one can bring on any hunt for big game.

“There’s just so much good factory ammo available for it and you can buy it anywhere,” he said.

Very true that. It is a comfort to hunt with a cartridge that you know you can purchase ammo for no matter if you’re in Gnome, Nogales or Namibia.

He also suggested that after I was done shooting off the Lead Sled to shoot off some plain sand bags with my hands positioned as they would be in a normal field shot. “Changes the zero you know when you grip the rifle with both hands,” he said. Again, very true. I had planned to do that anyway, as well as do a bit of shooting from regular, off-the-bench, field positions, but his advice was well received nonetheless.

Most of my three-shoot groups ended up looking like the ones here and my last shot of the day, taken from a sitting position at 100 yards, was dead-on in the black square. Looks like the rifle is ready to hunt.

—John Snow




Good choice of rifle & caliber. Your fellow club member gave some excellant advice too. I have one rifle that hates to be shot from sandbags. It will group 8"-12" differently when rested from when it is fired in a field position. Always double or triple check before you go on your trip.

steve thompson

whats youre shot group look like without the sandbags? at 100 yards i fig. any big cat can close that distance in about 3 to 4 seconds a buff just a tad slower now youre getting sound advise 6phunter