Oddball, eccentric or just different, some non-mainstream cartridges are too good to ignore, so let’s have a look at some.
When it comes to hunting or long-range rifles and cartridges, I more or less follow conventional paths and shoot more or less standard combinations, ie, .243 Winchester, .22/250 Remington and the .270 Winchester to name a few.
But over 40 years of reloading there were other cartridges that I reloaded, either for myself or to assist a mate or two.
I cannot remember what possessed me to buy a Brno rifle in .375 H&H. Perhaps I had read far too much about Africa.
I may also have had the thought of what 220 grains of projectile might do to the pigs that we were hunting at the time. The outback station that we had access to was crawling with them. The initial loads were with 270gn Hornady round-nosed projectiles.
Another early projectile that showed promise was the Speer 235gn round nose, propelled by 83gn of Winchester 760 powder with accuracy at 100 yards in the one-inch range overall, at a velocity close to 2800fps.
Over time I tried other combinations of powder and projectiles but none bettered the Speer in group size.
I shot an unrecorded number of pigs with it. Eventually, I sold the rifle. The gentleman who purchased it did the right thing and took it to Africa, where he shot a nice buffalo with it.
I include this more or less standard German calibre for a different reason. Some kind soul, whose name I’ve forgotten, gave me a cut-down Lee Enfield .303 that had been converted to a .303-22. It came with some very corroded ammunition that was immediately confined to the scrap heap — totally unusable.
The action was okay but the barrel rusted beyond help. The remaining bits lay in the gun cupboard for months until I mentioned them to a gunsmith, Jack Millar, who suggested that he could screw on a Walther barrel in 7×57 Rimmed calibre. It was an easy conversion — he did not even have to alter the extractor.
Such a combination also appealed to my somewhat warped sense of humour. The rifle and cartridge had been on opposite sides in many wars and skirmishes over time, but were now combined with a singular purpose in mind: pork destruction!
It served as my scrub/swamp rifle for many years and carried out the task admirably.
I have included this Australian classic simply because I have never owned one but I did reload it for a close mate who was one of our shooting group. We replaced the soft points with Nosler Ballistic Tips, which were very good fox medicine!
This rifle was a Manton Double. I wanted to see how it performed in the swamps and just how to reload such large cases. In reality, I only shot one medium-size pig with it.
The rifle weighed some 5½kg (12lb). No wonder the old-time hunters had gun bearers!
Eventually, I sold it and the gentleman who bought it did the right thing — he took it to Africa and decked a nice buffalo!
.30 Rimmed Blazer
Cameron wanted a suitable double for many years. Eventually, he purchased a Chapuis chambered for the .30 Rimmed Blazer cartridge.
It prefers 180-200gn projectiles, seems to prefer AR2213sc and or AR2217 powder, and groups around 5cm (2”), more than enough accuracy for the task at hand.
As a swamp rifle, it has no peer. The two pigs in the photograph were taken with a barrel each, a second apart. Proof that it works!
The owner is only slightly hamming it up with a solar topee!