Shooters, don’t try this at home…
Q: Back in the early 1970s I read an article by you about hunting in India. You had some very interesting and sometimes hairy experiences during that trip which lasted six weeks. I can’t find that particular magazine, but you mentioned some very primitive reloading methods an Indian used to reload cases for his Savage Model 99. Would you care to refresh my memory about this?
A: I do remember that episode really well. The Indian hunter-reloader used some old .308 cartridge cases of Indian and ICI manufacture that he’d managed to scrounge from the sahibs he’d gone hunting with. The bullets were recovered fired bullets that he’d carefully filed the rifling marks off. the primers were removed from the fired cases and the striker indent tapped out and refilled with ground-up match heads. The cartridges were loaded with powder of local manufacture, composition unknown. When the supply ran out, he loaded his cases with finely sliced movie film bringing the charge weight to somewhere between 32 and 38 grains. I’d love to have chronographed his loads, but I doubt if the muzzle velocity of those reloads was more than 1100-1300fps. Every time he fired the rifle his reloads gave off a bright muzzle flash and a cloud of smoke. Hitting a deer much beyond 50 metres would have been a miracle.