Know your .338s and .375s

By Mark V. Lonsdale

I’ve talked to several individuals in recent years who had confused 338 WinMag with 338 Lapua Mag, and 375 H&H with 375 CheyTac. In short, these are very different cartridges in both purpose and range. While 338 WinMag and 375 H&H have stood the test of time as big game hunting cartridges, 338 LM and 375 CT are designed for long range shooting, with larger case volumes producing higher muzzle velocities. In addition, 338 WM and 375 H&H are based on belted magnum cartridges with a 0.532” bolt face, so can be shot out of standard long action rifles. The other two are special purpose cartridges requiring larger bolts and actions, such as the Stiller’s TAC338 and TAC408 (the 375 CT is a necked down 408 CheyTac).


300 WinMag was actually introduced by Winchester after the 338 WinMag by increasing case capacity. 338 WinMag was a modified 458 WinMag while .375 H&H was developed by Holland & Holland in 1912 as an African big game cartridge

Introduced by Winchester in 1958, the 338 Win Mag is a necked down 458 WinMag that can run bullets from 185 GMXs through 200 SST and 225 TTSX for elk, up to 250 grain Match bullets and big game 250 Interlocks. The 250 SMKs with 73 grains of VV N165 produced 2,700 fps, making for solid hits out to 1,000 yards with a sub-MOA rifle.


Introduced in 1987, the 338 Lapua Magnum was designed specifically for long range sniper applications so can handle heavier bullets and higher muzzle velocities for hard hitting at longer ranges. However it is also a good caliber for big game. While 2,750 fps is considered the standard MV, the 338 LM pushes 300 SMKs with 100 grains of VV N570 at 3,000 fps, making it effective out to 2,000-2,500 yards. Again, effective range is dependent on the accuracy of the rifle and experience of the shooter.


Remington 700 Sendero .338 WinMag with a McMillan A3 Sporter stock from the Remington Custom Shop

338 LM

.338 Lapua Magnum ELR rifle build on a Stiller’s TAC338 action, Bartlein barrel, Piercision brake, in a McMillan A5 stock, with an AccuTac bipod and NightForce ATACR. 

Coming out of Holland & Holland in 1912, the 375 H&H Magnum quickly established itself as a smooth feeding, venerable big game hunting cartridge. It is also the minimum caliber for professional hunters and dangerous game in Africa. This is a caliber that routinely pushes 220-270 grain bullets in the 2,600-2,750 fps range, ideal for elk, and 300s at 2500 fps. With a 350 grain bullet, the 375 H&H can be pushed to 2,250 fps – but still ample for dangerous game. For longer range open country hunting, the 375 H&H can push a 200 grain bullet at 2,900 fps, making it more than capable at 600 to 1,000 yards, depending on the accuracy of the rifle.

Rem 700 375 HH

Remington 700 .375 H&H Magnum. One of the most popular African safari rifles. 

Jack-Morin Rem700 375HH 

Cape buffalo taken with a Rem 700 .375 H&H 

375 CheyTac is a true long range sniper rifle and extreme long range (ELR) competition rifle reaching out to 3,000+ yards. Factory 350 SMKs produced a muzzle velocity of 3,100 fps, and running CEB 352 MTACs with 143 grains of H50BMG I’m getting 3,000 fps out of a 29” barrel. The 400 grain Lazers with 135 grains of H50BMG are running at 2,950 fps and well suited to ELR competitions.



Hill Country Rifles .375 CheyTec built on a Stiller’s TAC408 action in a McMillan A5 SuperMagnum stock


About Mark V

Dedicated shooter, seeker, traveler, teacher, trainer, educator
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