The big bore Scout and the .376 Steyr cartridge were officially unveiled at the 1999 SHOT Show in Atlanta. However, the cartridge has become quite popular in Africa and among custom rifle builders.
This chambering was dropped in January, 2009 for the Scout but continues to be available in the Pro Hunter series.
The .376 Steyr Cartridge
(9.55 x 60 mm)
The .376 Steyr and the big bore Scout should be a perfect cartridge/rifle combination for those folks roaming the woods after moose, elk, or bear, or for those venturing after thin skinned African game. It was decided to go for .375" diameter bullet rather than the .358" of Jeff Cooper's original "Lion Scout" to allow its use in those countries that specify a minimum bullet size of .375 caliber for certain game. The sectional density for a 250 gr .375 bullet is .254 and that of a 270gr bullet is .274.
The .376 Steyr cartridge case is based upon the case of the 9.3 x 64mm Breneke although the case is about 4 mm shorter, making it midway in physical size between the .350 Remington Mag and the .375 H&H as seen below.
|Left to right: .308 Win, .350 Rem
.376 Steyr, .375 H&H
|Dimensions of the .376 Steyr cartridge|
Hornady is currently the only source producing ammunition in the US. Two bullet weights are offered--a 225 gr reduced power loading and full load 270 gr. Factory specifications are based on a 24" test barrel and are 2610 f/s for the 270 gr load and 2610 f/s for the 225 gr reduced load. Using handloads it should be possible to achieve about 2800 f/s with the 225 gr bullet and between 2300 and 2375 f/s using a 300 gr bullet. Hornady now has dies available (product #544417 @ $63.75) and loading data is in their new 5th Edition manual. (Data in their manual suggests that IMR 4895 and BL-C2 are good choices for the 270 gr and 300 gr bullets while AA2230 looks good for the 225 gr bullet. RCBS has .376 dies sets available, part number 17901 and the shell holder (#42) is part number is 99242.
A Warning About Hornady Dies
I have received several reports that the Hornady dies are cut short and that when screwed all the way down that they set the shoulder back too far causing case separations. I strongly suggest that you back these dies out one full turn, smoke the neck and shoulder of the cases, and then size and adjust the die down 1/8 turn at a time until the neck is resized without the shoulder being touched. Hornady is currently investigating this problem.
The published ballistic coefficient for the 270 gr Hornady Spire Point is G1=.380 and the 225 gr bullet is.320. Chronograph data for the actual velocity of the 270 gr load from the .376 Scout was initially reported as between 2420 f/s (730 m/s) and 2525 f/s (770 m/s). Recent testing on a known accurate setup says that current loads are giving 2550 f/s (777 m/s) and 2580 f/s (785 m/s) from the Scout. I have used a muzzle velocity of 2550 f/s to compute the preliminary ballistics from the .376 Steyr Scout as given below, using a 200 yard zero. The 225 gr reduced load seems to currently be giving around 2420 f/s (730 m/s) from the Scout.
Working pressures are listed by Steyr as approximately 58K psi with a maximum of 62K psi.
|.376 Steyr Data - 270gr Hornady SP Bullet|
|.376 Steyr Data - 225gr Hornady SP Bullet|
Below is a chart comparing the ballistics of some contemporaries of the .376 Steyr cartridge. Note that the .376 does as well as or better than most from only a 19 inch barrel.
(m * v)
|.350 Rem Mag||250||19||2430||3280||86|
|.358 Norma Mag||250||24||2850||4500||101|
|9.3 x 64 mm Breneke||247||24||2760||4180||97|
|.376 Steyr Reduced||225||19||2420||2930||77|
Given the ballistics from the .376 Scout's 19" barrel it is a really excellent cartridge for medium to large soft skinned game, giving better ballistics than a very heavy loading in the .350 Remington Magnum with a bullet offering 10% greater impact area and the ability to use even heavier bullets if wanted. Hopefully, someone will offer a 250 gr and/or a 300 gr full power factory loading eventually. Field reports from Africa on 300 gr handloads reveals something very interesting. Professional hunters have for years been loading down the .375 H&H and getting better terminal performance. The 300 gr loads duplicate the performance of the reduced .375 H&H loadings.
The Big Bore Scout Rifle
|The .376 Steyr Scout|
The .376 Steyr Scout is not a true "scout rifle" (defined as being a "general purpose" rifle) but rather it is a special purpose scout type rifle. It is basically the standard Steyr Scout with a heavier 19" barrel, and without the lightening cuts and flat on the bolt. The rifles have a black finished bolt and the receiver is marked ".376 Steyr Scout." It's weight is about 7.75 pounds (3.5 kg). It was available in two configurations. A package similar to the current .308 rifle for $2799 and a rifle only package for $2069. The rifle was furnished with either a gray or black stock depending on the packaging. Steyr Mannlicher did a tremendous amount of testing of this rifle and ammunition combination to insure its durability because of the higher stresses this more powerful round produces. The factory recently completed a 1000 round endurance test using 270 gr ammunition with the only noticeable failure being the shooter's shoulder.
.376 (left), .308 (right)
This is not a rifle for the overly recoil shy. While the effects of recoil are very subjective, the recoil will be about double that of the .308 Scout as one can see from the table below. However, the excellent stock design helps to mitigate its effects as does a new recoil absorbing butt plate. I had the opportunity to fire several .376 Scouts and the recoil, while stout, was nothing to be afraid of nor was it uncontrollable. The rifle was completely reliable with production Hornady 270 gr loads. No formal accuracy testing was done due to limited ammunition being available but the steel targets that were aimed at were easily hit out to 200 yards. (It generated a resound "clang" when it hit.)
|.308||150 gr @ 2835||12.4||16.6|
|.376||225 gr @ 2350||14.5||25.4|
|.376||270 gr @ 2420||16.8||34|
The .376 Steyr cartridge is now only available in the convention model Pro-Hunter. While it is not a "scout" rifle it was nifty enough that I thought you would enjoy a picture of it. It is 40.9 inches long, has a 20" barrel, holds four rounds in its magazine, and weighs approximately 8 pounds. The barrel is noticeably heavier than that of the .376 caliber Scout. The receiver is marked "376 Steyr." Retail price is $799 with swivels, but without scope or mounts. The receiver is drilled and tapped for standard "Browning A-Bolt" mounts. Fitted with an after market ghost ring rear sight this should be a nifty piece.
|The .376 Pro Hunter|
Taming The Beast
BP-Tech makes their "Venturi Accelerator" muzzle brake for the .376 Steyr Scout. They claim a significant reduction in recoil. The price is $235.00 plus 49.00 to thread and fit, and about $35 in shipping. The device is tuned to the barrel.
This may be just the ticket for those who feel the .376's recoil is too much. See their web site at: www.bp-tec.com or contact Rick Hebert" firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. Please tell him that you were referred from the Steyr Scout web site.
Photographs courtesy of BP-Tech
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