Cultures & Calibres: An In Depth Analysis

Major Khan

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Tonight , on African Hunting Forums ...
I shall be writing an article about the different calibres of rifles , brought to Old India for shikar ... by my clients of various nationalities , during my career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India .

I shall also be examining the role that a client's particular back ground or nationality may have played in his choice of calibre ... Back in those days .

For the sake of convenience of my Dear Readers ... This article shall be broken down in to the following sections :
> American shikar Calibres ( 1961 - 1970)
> European Calibres ( 1961 - 1970 )
> The Boundary Breakers
> Cultures & Calibres : A Modern Perspective
> A Survey Discussed
> Conclusion

Let us begin , Dear Readers .

Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself of a brace of boxes of 7 × 57 mm Mauser calibre vintage Winchester Super X soft point 175 grain cartridges ... The property of my good friend , fellow forum member and former fellow professional shikaree , Sergeant @Kawshik Rahman . The 7 × 57 mm Mauser calibre is a continental calibre , with an English spin ... That has eventually ( and rather justifiably ) achieved world wide fame and appreciation .
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Major Khan

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American Calibres ( 1961 - 1970 )

It goes without saying . Most people tend to be quite proud of their nationalities and thus ... Are patriotic ( And so , they should be ) . It is therefore , quite understandable ... That shikarees will always invariably display a soft corner for fire arms , calibres and ammunition which have been manufactured or designed in their own home land .

During my 10 year career as a professional shikaree ... roughly 75 % of my clients were gentle men and ladies , coming from America . This is hardly surprising . The ( Much agreeable ) American philosophy of shikar being a God given right of the every day working class common man , as opposed to being a sport restricted only to wealthy elitists ... Certainly aided in these people’s enthusiasm to hunt in exotic locations all over God’s Green Earth . And Americans were as patriotic a sort ... As they came ( These were the good old days , before the trends of burning flags and refusing to stand up during the National Anthem ... Became wide spread ) .My American clients used to be extremely proud of calibres ... Which were designed in their home land .

I shall always firmly believe that the 1960s were the hay day of the American sporting calibres . Relatively few fire arms chambered in Continental European calibres ... were still having any factory loaded ammunition commercially available for them . The British gun trade was completely in shambles . It had become a shell of what it once used to be , during the days of the “ Empire “ . Once ICI Kynoch had completely ( and officially ) ceased to manufacture central fire cartridges for the British sporting calibres in 1963 ... the traditional British sporting calibres ( Such as .318 Westley Richards or .416 Rigby ) had virtually COMPLETELY been eradicated . They had completely disappeared from the scene . It goes without saying that American calibres became the fire arm calibres of choice ... For sports men all across the world .


And they were good calibres . The American calibres brought to India for shikar by my clients , were :
> .22 Long Rifle
> .22 Winchester magnum rim fire
> .22 Hornet
> .22 Savage Hi Power
> .243 Winchester
> .264 Winchester magnum
> .270 Winchester
> .270 Weatherby magnum
> 7 mm Weatherby magnum
> 7 mm Remington magnum
> .30 - 30 Winchester
> .308 Winchester magnum
> .30-06 Springfield
> .300 Winchester magnum
> .300 Weatherby magnum
> .338 Winchester magnum
> .348 Winchester
> .378 Weatherby magnum
> . 458 Winchester magnum
> .460 Weatherby magnum


These were extremely solid calibres . And many of them had reached such a great degree of international fame ... That they were equally popular among my Continental and Australian clients ... As they were among my American clients .I have ( In countless of my previous articles ) already established that , back in those days ... A foreign client shikaree would be permitted to bring up to a maximum of 2 fire arms and 250 cartridges in to India , per shikar trip . The 2 fire arms and the 1st 100 cartridges were actually duty free . Therefore , my clients had to be extremely thoughtful about what 2 firearms , they would bring with them ... On their shikar trip . Naturally , it all depended upon the quarry that they wished to pursue .

In 13 of India’s 30 states , there a legal regulation ... Which stipulated that foreign client shikarees were to use no calibre smaller than .375 Holland & Holland Magnum for the shikar of royal Bengal tigers , gaur bison and water buffalo.

Assuming that a client had 1 of these 3 brutes on their menu , and they wished to pick their calibres exclusively from American choices ... There were a few popular combinations . Let us also assume that the client booked Allwyn Cooper Limited’s “ Trophy Room Special “ ( Our most expensive package deal ... Which allowed a client to secure 1 specimen each , of all of our 4 legged game animals ... Along with 15 of each species of Indian game birds ) .

An “ All American Combination “ could be :
> Large bore rifle calibre : .378 Weatherby magnum , .458 Winchester magnum or .460 Weatherby magnum .
> Small bore rifle calibre : .270 Winchester , 7 mm Remington magnum , .308 Winchester , .30-06 Springfield , .300 Weatherby magnum or .300 Winchester magnum .

Among these , my favorite combination would have to be -
Large bore rifle calibre : .458 Winchester magnum ( only with FRESHLY hand loaded cartridges , utilizing Hornady 500 grain bullets ) .
Small bore rifle calibre : .30-06 Springfield ( Only with 220 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges ) .


Now , yes ... I have a very out spoken distaste for the .458 Winchester magnum calibre . However , I would personally take it over the Weatherby calibres ( Without meaning any sort of disrespect to Mr. Roy Weatherby . Weatherby calibres are perfectly alright . But they are just not for me ) . The sad truth is that ( prior to the development of the .458 Lott and .416 Remington magnum ) American fire arms designers did have a bit of struggling ... When it came to designing sporting calibres larger than .338 Winchester magnum . This is natural . Back in those days most American calibres were designed by their makers to dispatch AMERICAN game animals ... The largest of which , is a Kodiak Bear . It took them a while to design a calibre ... which could successfully be used with 100 % reliability on African and Asian thick skinned , big boned game animal . At any rate , a .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifle , loaded with FRESH ammunition ( Utilizing Hornady 500 grain bullets ) is certainly no calibre to be taken lightly .

Below , I have provided a photograph kindly lent to me by my good friend and former fellow professional shikaree ( Who shall soon become a forum member , here ) , Riaz Sharrif ... Of a bull gaur successfully hunted by 2 of Riaz’s clients . The rifle on the left is a Winchester Model 71 lever rifle , chambered in .348 Winchester.
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Below , I have provided a photograph taken by the late Tobin Stakkatz of our client who shot the most royal Bengal tigers and water buffalo on a single shikar trip ( 4 royal Bengal tigers and 4 water buffaloes ) . We were able to accomplish this by rotating 4 different shikar blocks in 48 hours . The client shikaree’s weapon of choice was a .30-06 Springfield calibre sporterized Enfield Model 1917 bolt rifle . For the royal Bengal tigers ... He had used 220 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges . For the water buffaloes ... He used 220 grain Winchester solid metal covered cartridges .
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Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself of my dearly deceased friend and shikar partner , the late Tobin Stakkatz in America ... with a freshly hunted American Black Bear . In Tobin’s hands is is custom made .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifle ... Which is built on a Springfield Model 1903 action .
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Coming up next ... “ European Calibres ( 1961 - 1970 ) “ .
 
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Red Leg

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Though I suspect more than a few Americans showed up with a .375 H&H rather than a .458 or a Weatherby?
 

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I’m surprised by how many Weatherby calibers are on the list, what percentage of American clients at the time would bring Weatherby rifles?
 

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As always, I'm following with interest Major!

I'm especially interested to hear about the 'mid-calibre' choice for my British compatriots. I must confess that whilst I can think of many DG calibres that are British, my knowledge of british developed 'deer' rounds, espeically those knocking about in any number by the 1960's, is sadly lacking.

Certainly, I'm not patriotic enough to eschew my trusty .270win, although I'd take a 375H&H, 416Rigby or 470NE in preference to any of these newfangled colonial DG calibres!

Al
 

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I am enjoying the read Poton. Your observation about hunters bringing rifles in calibers native to their own country i.e. what they are used to using isn't at all surprising. The one European (actually British ) caliber that many American hunters have adopted is the 375 H&H. I'd almost be willing to bet that there are more 375 H&H(s) in the States than 458 Win Mags.
 

Major Khan

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European Calibres ( 1961 - 1970 )

Now , the popularity of the Continental European central fire rifle calibres in the 1960s were a mere shadow of what they once were ... Prior to the 2nd World War . That said ... They still very much had a place among my clients ( Especially my Continental European clients ) and , even though the variants were not as diverse as the aforementioned American calibres ... They were still consistently brought to India for shikar , by my clients .

The Continental European calibres brought to India for shikar by my clients , were :
> . 256 Mannlicher
> 7x57 mm Mauser
> 8x57 mm Mauser
> 9.3x62 mm Mauser
> 9.3x74 mm Rimmed
> 10.75x68 mm Mauser

5 of these 6 .... Were magnificent calibres , by every definition of the word . 1 of them ... Fell a little short . However , we shall be getting to that momentarily .
As I have already established in the “ American Calibres ( 1961 - 1970 ) “ section above ... there were 13 states among India’s 30 , which did not permit foreign client shikarees to legally use any rifle calibre smaller than .375 Holland & Holland magnum to dispatch royal Bengal tigers, gaur bison or water buffaloes .

Below , I have provided a scan taken from my copy of our “ Professional Shikaree’s Book Of Rules & Regulations In Uttar Pradesh For 1967-1968 “ . Observe the regulation stipulating the use of a minimum calibre of .375 Holland & Holland magnum ... For the shikar of royal Bengal tigers.
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Assuming that a foreign client shikaree intended to hunt in 1 of these 3 brutes in 1 of these 13 states , and that they wished for an “ Exclusively European” battery ... a few combinations could be had . Albeit , no where as diverse as the American calibres .

The typical “ Exclusively European “ combination could be :
> Large bore rifle calibre : 10.75x68 mm Mauser .
> Small bore rifle calibre : .256 Mannlicher , 7x57 mm Mauser or 8x57 mm Mauser .

Personally speaking , If I was only limited to choosing a combination exclusively from Continental European calibres ... Then , I would have rather opted to book my shikar in 1 of India’s 17 states , where no legal regulations stipulating a minimum rifle calibre ( For use against royal Bengal tigers , gaur bison or water buffalo ) existed . My favored combination would then be :
> Large bore rifle calibre : 9.3x74 mm Rimmed ( Using only RWS 286 grain factory loaded cartridges ) .
> Small bore rifle calibre : 7x57 mm Mauser ( Using only RWS 175 grain factory loaded cartridges ) .

Back in those days , the only Continental European calibre larger than the 9.3x74 mm Rimmed , which was commercially available ... Was the 10.75x68 mm Mauser . Also known ( to us , local Indian shikarees ) as the “ .423 Mauser “ ... This calibre was ( for all points and purposes ) a massive disappointment on game animals any larger or any more dangerous than a Bengal Bush Boar . Without derailing the subject of this article any further .... let us just say that the .423 Mauser ( Which utilizes a 347 grain bullet ) was actually a much less reliable performer on dangerous game animals , than a .375 Holland & Holland magnum ( Which utilizes a 300 grain bullet ) .

Now , the 9.3x74 mm Rimmed was a whole different animal . Loaded with 286 grain RWS brand factory loaded cartridges ... This venerable calibre could practically do what ever the .375 Holland & Holland magnum . It was an extremely potent performer on the largest of our South East Asian royal Bengal tigers and our water buffaloes . While it certainly would not be my very 1st choice for hunting gaur bison .... Critical shot placement ( such as opting for a broad side double lung shot , with a 286 grain RWS soft point cartridge ) could guarantee you a dead 3000 pound bull gaur bison , by making use of a 9.3x74 mm Rimmed calibre weapon .

While I personally opted for the 9.3x74 mm Rimmed ... this is only because I have a soft spot towards side by side double barreled side by side rifles ( A set up for which ... The 9.3x74 mm Rimmed calibre is ideal ). Make no mistake in assuming that the 9.3x62 mm Mauser is , in any way inferior to the 9.3x74 mm Rimmed . It is an excellent calibre in every way . I have always personally considered the 9.3x62 mm Mauser to be the .375 Holland & Holland magnum’s mild mannered elder brother .


Below , I have provided a photograph kindly lent to me by Riaz Sharrif ... Of a bull gaur bison dispatched by 2 of his clients. The rifle on the right .... Is a Fabrique Nationale Mauser 98 bolt rifle , chambered in 10.75x68 mm Mauser .
The brute needed 16 shots from the 10.75x68 mm Mauser calibre Fabrique Nationale Mauser 98 bolt rifle ( and 9 shots from the .348 Winchester calibre Model 71 lever rifle ) ... Before he was finally laid low .
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Below , I have provided a photograph kindly lent to me by Kawshik of a client of his ... Who had dispatched this 502 pound male royal Bengal tiger with the 9.3x62 mm Mauser calibre Mauser 98 Oberndorf bolt rifle , which he is holding in his hands .
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Coming up next ... “ The Boundary Breakers “ .
 
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Major Khan

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The Boundary Breakers

We now come to the central fire rifle calibres , which have achieved SUCH an immense degree of international fame ... That they have EFFORTLESSLY broken all cultural boundaries and are internationally standardized for the purposes of shikar.
During the time of my career ... There were 3 such calibres : A Continental , An American and An English .


Let us 1st commence with the 7x57 mm Mauser . This particular calibre is German in origin , but it has achieved a level of popularity ... which is is rivaled only by the other 2 calibres , which I shall be mentioning afterwards . The fact that it was adapted by the Spanish military ( In the form of the Mauser Model 1893 bolt rifle ) , the Chilean military ( In the form of the Mauser Model 1895 bolt rifle ) and countless other South American military forces ... Only did more to increase it’s world wide popularity . British brand , John Rigby & Co is widely credited with introducing the bolt rifle to the English hunting community . They had entered in to a collaboration with Germany’s Mauser brand ... To use their Mauser 98 receivers as actions in their bolt rifles . And their very 1st offering ... Was chambered in 7x57 mm Mauser calibre , which they labeled the .275 Rigby ( Until they began to offer a variant in .303 British , a couple of years afterwards ) . What happened next ... Was inevitable . Scores of celebrated English sports men , such as Africa’s WDM Bell and our ( India’s ) Jim Corbett put the .275 Rigby to extremely good use . Mr. Bell used his rifle ( Loaded with 175 grain German DWM brand military surplus round nose solid metal covered cartridges ) to lay low 800 African elephants ... By making exclusive use of brain shots ( Before eventually “ Stepping Up “ to a .318 Westley Richards calibre bolt rifle , by 1913 ) . Mr. Corbett used his rifle to lay low man eating Indian forest panthers ... As well as at least 3 man eating male royal Bengal tigers ( Although he pre dominantly favored his .450/400 Nitro Express calibre side by side double barreled rifle ... For dispatching the latter brutes ) . The calibre caught on extremely quickly among American sports men , as well . In the 1950s and 1960s , American fire arms magazines would advertise 7x57 mm Mauser calibre military surplus Spanish Mauser Model 1893s and Chilean Model 1895s for very little cost ... Along with large lots of military surplus cartridges . At 1 point in time , or another .... The Winchester Model 70 , the Remington Model 700 and the Savage Model 110 have ALL been offered in a 7x57 mm Mauser calibre variant . American ammunition brands ( Including , but not limited to Winchester , Federal and Remington) all offer ( or have offered ) factory loaded cartridges for the 7x57 mm Mauser ( Whether or not these factory loaded cartridges are up to the mark ... Is a completely different matter , altogether ) . Needless to say ... The 7x57 mm Mauser is going no where .

Below , I have provided a scan of 1 of John Rigby & Co.'s earliest advertisements for the .275 Rigby calibre Mauser 98 action bolt rifles .
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Below , I have provided a scan of an advertisement from a 1957 era fire arms magazine . Observe the price of the Mexican military surplus 7x57 mm Mauser calibre Mauser Model 1936 bolt rifles . They are a modest $ 49 ( Without ammunition ) and a still modest $ 57.50 ( With ammunition ) .
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Below , is a photograph kindly provided by Riaz of his 7x57 mm Mauser calibre Remington Model 700 ... 1 of 8 imported into Bangladesh for sale by BSF ( Bangladesh Shooting Federation) in 1996 . Riaz has used this rifle to dispatch 2 man eating royal Bengal tigers in 1997 and 1999 , respectively ... Under orders from the Sundarban Forest Department .
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Below , I have provided a photograph taken by myself of a couple of boxes of vintage Winchester Super X soft point 175 grain cartridges ( Property Of @Kawshik Rahman ) . 16 of these cartridge boxes were imported in to Bangladesh by BSF in 1996 .
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The 2nd “ Boundary Breaker “ was , without a doubt ... The .30-06 Springfield .
Need anything more be said about this magnificent cartridge? Even though it was neither a colonial era British nor colonial era German cartridge ... It has captured world wide fame . It all started when the great American President , Theodore Roosevelt went on Safari to Africa in 1909 with his son , Kermit Roosevelt and Bill Judd as his White Hunter ( As recorded in the President’s excellent work , “ African Game Trails “ ) . Both the President and his son carried ( Among other rifles & shot guns ) Springfield Model 1903 bolt rifles ... Chambered in .30-06 Springfield. These excellent military pattern bolt rifles helped the 2 gentle men successfully account for numerous head of African game . And the popularity arose from then , onwards .Perhaps no sports man ( Dead or alive ) has ever relied upon the .30-06 Springfield calibre to “ Save His Hide “ ... as much as the late C T Stoneham has . This unassuming name ... Is of a gentle man , who was the very 1st documented ( And probably ONLY ) White Hunter in ALL of African history to use a .30-06 Springfield calibre rifle for ALL of his hunting purposes ... Exclusively . Mr. Stoneham made use of a modestly priced , simple Springfield Model 1903 bolt rifle and 220 grain Winchester cartridges . Yet in his hands ... This unremarkable weapon was devastatingly efficient . Mr. Stoneham is even documented as using it against almost every species of African dangerous game ( Barring elephants ) including Cape buffaloes , rhinoceroses , hippopotamuses , lions and leopards . In more modern times , we have Mr. John Coleman ... A retired White Hunter based in the Eastern Cape of Africa . This gentle man has become quite close to 1 of our members of Dacca Rifle Club ... And the 2 frequently exchange correspondence about hunting and fire arms . During the olden days when Zimbabwe used to be called “ Rhodesia “ ... Mr. Coleman successfully used a .30-06 Springfield calibre bolt rifle to lay low countless African elephants and Cape buffaloes . His rifle was a Mauser Oberndorf bolt rifle ( originally chambered in 8x60 mm calibre ) ... Which had been re barreled to .30-06 Springfield . His ammunition of choice ... Was Winchester brand 220 grain solid metal covered cartridges . Today , the .30-06 Springfield is with out a doubt ... 1 of the most universally beloved calibres of all time . Virtually every brand who manufactures sporting rifles ... Shall offer a .30-06 Springfield variant . Literally , EVERY manufacturer of ammunition in the world ... Shall offer a selection of .30-06 Springfield calibre factory loaded cartridges . Practically shikarees of EVERY nationality across God’s Green Earth ... Have some degree of familiarity with the old American stand by - The .30-06 Springfield . And virtually all of it ... Is positive .

Below , I have provided a photograph taken from the internet of Mr. C T Stoneham ... As well as a scan from the page of his book , “ Wanderings In Wild Africa “ which details the author’s ( Well deserved ) admiration for the .30-06 Springfield .

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Below , I have provided a photograph taken by old Tobin ... Of our wealthy Turkish client , who had successfully dispatched 4 royal Bengal tigers and 4 water buffaloes in less than 48 hours . His weapon of choice was a sporterized Enfield Model 1917 , chambered in .30-06 Springfield . His ammunition of choice was 220 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges ( For use against the royal Bengal tigers ) and 220 grain Winchester solid metal covered cartridges ( For use against the water buffaloes ) .

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And last , but definitely not the least ... We now come to a central fire rifle calibre , which is probably the most beloved calibre of all by big game hunters ALL ACROSS THE WORLD . In all probability , the only “ All Rounder “ central fire rifle calibre ... If such a thing ever truly exists . There is only 1 calibre on earth ... which could EVER achieve THIS level of fan following . It is the .375 Holland & Holland magnum . International sports men all across the globe ... Have a most complicated relationship with the .375 Holland & Holland magnum . Designed by the American , Colonel Jefferson Spydell for the British brand , Holland & Holland and 1st chambered in a bolt rifle built on a Mauser 98 action in 1912 ... The . 375 Holland & Holland magnum has ( What I personally like to term ) the shikar / safari standard . In 13 of India's 30 states ... The .375 Holland & Holland magnum was the minimum legally permissible calibre for the shikar of royal Bengal tigers , gaur bisons and water buffalo . Today , in most African countries ... The .375 Holland & Holland magnum remains the minimum legally permissible calibre for hunting African dangerous game species . Call it an " Industry Standard " ... If you will . Now , initially the .375 Holland & Holland magnum was quite un mention worthy . Prior to the 2nd World War ... There are no records of any documented sports men actually using a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifle as their primary weapon for hunting dangerous game animals . Quite a few sports men did own 1 as a part of their battery ... But they were always restricted to the role of a “ Medium Bore “ . The .375 Holland & Holland magnum was just 1 of the countless British proprietary large game calibres in existence . Holland & Holland , then decided to make a radical decision after the 1st World War ... Which would impact sporting world history , for ever . They decided that the .375 Holland & Holland magnum would no longer remain a proprietary cartridge . The results influenced the rest of the sporting world ... In a dramatic manner . The American custom rifle makers , Griffin & Howe and Hoffman Arms Co . were the very 1st American brands to turn out .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifles . However , these were still expensive custom pieces ... Far out of reach for the ordinary working class sports man , on a budget . In 1937 ... The American brand , Winchester made a truly revolutionary development by offering a variant of their newly introduced Model 70 bolt rifle ... In .375 Holland & Holland magnum . And thus , history was changed ... Forever .All of a sudden , you had thousands of working class sport men ... Who could now finally own a rifle , that was chambered in a calibre fit for hunting the dangerous game of Africa & Asia . Adding to this ... Was the fact that the Winchester Western brand had begun to manufacture factory loaded 300 solid metal covered cartridges and soft point cartridges ( Which would eventually develop in to the iconic Winchester Silver Tip ) . This made the .375 Holland & Holland magnum , the very 1st British sporting calibre ... For which American brands used to manufacture factory loaded cartridges . It was 2 Mozambique based African Ivory Hunters , by the names of Harry Manners and Wally Johnson ... Who truly made the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre Winchester Model 70 bolt rifle famous in Africa . They used it ( Along with 300 grain ICI Kynoch solid metal covered cartridges ) to successfully lay low African elephants ... By the thousands ( Although , once in while ... They both could have nearly lost their lives ... Due to not using a slightly larger calibre ) . The fact that Winchester Western was manufacturing factory loaded cartridges for the .375 Holland & Holland magnum ... Is what eventually proved to be it’s saving grace , in the end . When ICI Kynoch ceased to manufacture all central fire rifle cartridges in 1963 ... It sounded a death knell for all of the traditional British sporting calibres . That is ... All traditional BRITISH sporting calibres EXCEPT the .375 Holland & Holland magnum . Because Winchester was continuing to manufacture factory loaded cartridges for the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre ... It died not die off . This is why , in the 1960s and 1970s ... The popularity of the .375 Holland & Holland magnum began to soar . Countless other American and European brands began to manufacture rifles , chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum ( Such as Remington , Schultz & Larsen , Brevex and Fabrique Nationale ) . The development of the .458 Winchester magnum calibre ... Did little to over shadow the popularity of the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre . Once it was discovered that the .458 Winchester magnum had ( Some very obvious ) issues with case capacity ... most shikarees ( Regardless of nationality) merely opted to use their .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifles for ALL of their large game hunting . I personally have intimate familiarity with the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre . Allwyn Cooper Limited’s head shikaree , the Great Rao Naidu Of Hyderabad used to own a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre double barreled side by side rifle built by the English brand , Westley Richards . The rifle was originally regulated for ICI Kynoch 300 grain cartridges , when it originally belonged to Rao Naidu’s father . However , Rao Naidu had the rifle re regulated for 300 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges and 300 grain Winchester solid metal covered cartridges . The very 1st client in my life , whom I had guided on a successful royal Bengal tiger shikar in 1961 ... Was an American gentle man , who was armed with a .375 Holland & Holland magnum . Roughly 80 % of all of my clients ( From all across the globe ) , who used to come to Old India for shikar ... used to bring a rifle chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum . And they were SMART gentle men . The .375 Holland & Holland magnum never let down any of my clients in ANY situations , whatsoever ( Although , you really had to pick your shots ... When using the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre on our 3000 pound bull gaur bisons ) . Today , the .375 Holland & Holland magnum is recognized by all . If you intend to hunt in Africa some day , and you have never ever heard of the .375 Holland & Holland magnum ... Then you do not deserve to hunt in Africa . The bulk of the visiting sports men , coming to Africa for safaris today ... Opt for 1 of the countless excellent modern rifles , chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum , to secure all of the trophy game animals on their list ( From duiker to African elephant ) . For all points and purposes ... The .375 Holland & Holland magnum truly is immortal .

Below , is a photograph kindly lent to me by @Panther Shooter of the John Rigby & Co. brand double barreled side by side rifle ( Chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum ) ... Which he used from 1973 - 1974 to dispatch 16 man eating forest panthers in Jolpaiguri , India . It was regulated for 300 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges and 300 grain Winchester solid metal covered cartridges.
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Below , is a photograph kindly lent to me by Panther Shooter of 1 of the 16 man eating forest panthers ... Which he had dispatched in Jolpaiguri , with the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre double barreled side by side John Rigby & Co . rifle .
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Needless to say , few central fire rifle calibres had successfully transcended cultural and national boundaries ... Like the way the 7x57 mm Mauser , .30-06 Springfield or the .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre did , by the 1960s .

Coming up next ... “ Cultures & Calibres : A Modern Perspective “ .
 
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Art Lambart II

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Great read I look forward to your next post.
 

Newboomer

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Major, Sir,
Very well written, concise and factual on all counts. I like the reference to famous hunters who used the various calibers. It lends credibility. Anxiously awaiting the next installment.
 

Major Khan

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Cultures & Calibres : A Modern Perspective

A great deal of positive changes have been made in the world of sporting fire arms ... Ever since I retired from being a professional shikaree in 1972 . 1 significant positive change is the fact that sports men from all across the globe nowadays make use dozens of different sporting calibres , of all origins ... Without caring even the slightest bit about nationality . For example : Continental European sports men making use of the American 7 mm Remington magnum calibre , American sports men making use of the British .318 Westley Richards calibre , and British sports men making use of the Continental European 9.3x74 Rimmed . Clearly , the “ Nationalistic Boundaries “ of the 1960s ... No longer exist today . Or do they ?

There have been the addition of at least 5 popular large bore rifle calibres , ever since I had retired in 1972 :
> .400 Holland & Holland magnum
> .416 Remington magnum
> .500/416 Nitro Express
> .450 Rigby
> .458 Lott

( I really wanted to add the .500 A Square to this list . However , it appears to be completely dead , and never really seemed to be popular ) .

While these calibres DO enjoy a steady market and fan following ... It is my humble observation that they have been slightly overshadowed by ANOTHER category of calibres .

Thanks to the efforts of Norma’s “ Professional Hunter “ line , Federal’s “ Trophy Bonded “ & “Cape Shock “ lines , Hornady’s “ Dangerous Game Series “ , Hendershot’s “ Custom Ammo “ line and Kynamco’s “ Big Game “line ... The traditional colonial era British sporting calibres have all returned , full swing ( Barring the .476 Westley Richards ) . The aforementioned companies , all provide factory loaded cartridges for the traditional British sporting calibres :
> .450/400 Nitro Express
> .404 Jeffery
> .416 Rigby
> .450 Nitro Express
> .470 Nitro Express
> ..500 Nitro Express
> .500 Jeffery
> .505 Gibbs

It would appear to me that this group of calibres ... Is what most hunters of large game opt for , these days . This is hardly surprising . The British had colonized Africa and India during the “ Golden Age Of Safari / Shikar “ and therefore , they had a great deal of time to perfect large bore rifle calibres ... Intended for use against dangerous game animals . All of these calibres were developed prior to the 2nd World War .

The irony is melancholic . Great Britian ( In modern times ) is probably the only 1st world country , today ... Where so many leftists and anti hunters exist , and attempt to criminally snatch the rights of our brother British sports men ( Almost on a daily basis ) . Yet , it is sporting calibres of British origin ... Which are almost universally used by sports men all across God’s Green Earth , to lay low large dangerous game .

I made 1 other observation about English sporting calibres smaller than .375 Holland & Holland . While cartridge cases , primers and re loading components are readily available for these calibres in modern times ( Such as .318 Westley Richards , .333 Jeffery or .350 Rigby magnum ) ... Very few ( If any ) brands appear to manufacture factory loaded cartridges for these calibres . This would lead me to believe that there appears to be ( relatively ) little demand for these calibres . Restricted mostly to fire arms collectors , hand loading enthusiasts ... Or simply gentle men who enjoy hunting with a piece of history . The 1 exception here ... Is the .300 Holland & Holland magnum . Both Federal and Nosler offer factory loaded cartridges for this calibre ...Which leads me to believe that it is significantly more popular than the other other small bore British sporting calibres .

Continental sporting calibres are certainly holding their own ... In today’s world .
5 calibres , in particular ... Are enjoying a renaissance :
> 7x64 mm
> 8x64 mm
> 8x68 mm
> 9x64 mm Brenekke
> 10.3x60 mm Rimmed

The RWS brand , in 2017 did some thing truly revolutionary ... By developing a brand new sporting calibre : The 10.3x68 mm magnum . It ( From my limited understanding) appears to be a .416 calibre cartridge ... propelling a 285 grain bullet . Despite Blaser offering their revolutionary line of R 8 bolt rifles , and Sauer offering their 404 line of bolt rifles in this calibre ... It does not appear to have caught on , in terms of popularity ... Just yet . The only information about this calibre , which I have been able to acquire on the internet ... Are a few ( obviously ) paid reviews . Till now, I have not yet had the good fortune to read a single INDEPENDENT review of the 10.3x68 mm magnum , on the internet .

Below , I have provided a photograph taken from the internet of a box of RWS brand 10.3x68 mm Magnum 285 grain cartridges.
9EE2EC46-E98A-43D0-BD47-A9FCBF22B4E0.jpeg




Coming up next ... “ A Survey Discussed “ .
 
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Major Khan

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A Survey Discussed

Last week , I had asked our fellow forum members of African Hunting Forums to list their favorite central fire .30 calibre ... For the purposes of a survey that I was conducting .

Below , I have provided the results of the survey ( I sincerely apologize for my loathsome hand writing ) .
20710D48-72D2-4579-98DE-BC620FDFBA16.jpeg

81E61C51-5E72-4353-91B0-55214B363DF8.jpeg


85 forum members had responded to my survey .
>1 voted for the .300 Remington ultra magnum
>1 voted for the .308 Norma magnum
> 2 voted for the .300 Savage
> 2 voted for the .30-30 Winchester
> 3 voted for the .303 British
> 3 voted for the .300 Weatherby magnum
> 10 voted for the .308 Winchester
> 13 voted for the .300 Winchester magnum
> 14 voted for the Holland & Holland magnum
> 36 voted for the .30-06 Springfield ( Myself included )

If we were to look at the top 4 contenders ( Those with double digits) ... Then , it is obvious that they are :
> .30-06 Springfield
> .300 Holland & Holland magnum
> ,300 Winchester magnum
> .308 Winchester


What I noted in my survey , was that those who opted for the .300 Winchester magnum and .300 Holland & Holland magnum ... prefer them over the other .30 calibres , due to greater accuracy at longer ranges . Those who chose the .30-06 Springfield or the .308 Winchester over 1 another ... Did so largely out of reasons of familiarity with 1 calibre , rather than having any negative experiences with the other .

It is interesting to note that the .30-06 Springfield is mostly preferred by our American forum members ... While the .308 Winchester is mostly favored by our forum members , hailing from commonwealth countries ( Generally speaking ) . Our Australian and Canadian forum members comprised of the majority of the voters for the .308 Winchester , .30-30 Winchester and the .303 British . There is an under lying reason for this , however .

The .30-06 Springfield was the standard American service calibre for both the 1st World War and 2nd World War ( Chambered in the Springfield Model 1903 and the Enfield Model 1917 bolt rifles and Model 1 Garand semi automatic rifles ) . After the wars , the military surplus rifles were sold to the civilian markets ... And saw extensive use , at the hands of local America hunters . Even though the .30-06 Springfield was eventually replaced by the .308 Winchester, as the American service calibre ... This did little to impact it’s popularity . The similar principle applies to Australia and Canada . The .303 British was the standard Australian and Canadian service calibres ( Chambered in Lee Enfield bolt rifles ) and countless military surplus rifles were sold to the civilian market . These rifles saw extensive use ... At the hands of local Australian hunters . The same principle applied for the reason behind the .308 Winchester’s popularity in Australia . When the Australian and New Zealand militaries adapted the .308 Winchester / 7.62x51 mm NATO calibre FN FAL automatic rifle , as their standardized service weapon of choice ... military surplus cartridges became widely available to the civilian market , at a modest cost .

This leads me to believe that the service calibre of a particular country’s military forces ... Greatly influences how that calibre shall be popular in the civilian market , among hunters . This is completely understandable . Some of the cheapest rifles and cartridges available to local hunters of every nationality ... Are those , which are acquired by way of military surplus .

Below , is a scan of a page from “ Ballistics In Perspective “ ... An exceptional book , written by my favorite living author of all time - Retired Zimbabwean Problem Animal Control Officer , Mr. Mike La Grange ( Who has single handedly culled more than 6000 African elephants , during the 1980s ... When he was in charge of the culling teams at Nyamanetchi ) . Mr . La Grange does an excellent job at explaining the reason behind the .308 Winchester’s popularity in Australia .
D90B97D1-B00A-428B-A051-A7851953BA2C.png


Speaking of Mr . Mike La Grange and Zimbabwe ... It is worth mentioning that all of the cow and calf elephants dispatched during the 1980s African elephant culling programs , were culled by using the .308 Winchester calibre FN FAL automatic rifles . Why ? The principle is identical to reason behind the .308 Winchester’s popularity in Australia . In Zimbabwe , military surplus FN FAL automatic rifles and 147 grain spitzer tip solid metal covered cartridges ... Were available in abundance . The professional elephant culling teams merely used , what was mostly widely and economically available to them ... At the time . Taking a file to the points of the spitzer tip solid metal covered cartridges .... effectively converted them in to improvised soft point cartridges , in a pinch .These could be used against softer skinned game ... upon which it was imperative to utilize a bullet , which could provide some degree of expansion .

Coming up next ... “ Conclusion “ .
 
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Major Khan

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Conclusion

We are now nearing the end of this article . I often get asked by younger shikarees , in modern times , “ If you could go back in time to Old India in the 1960s , but this time as a client ... What battery would you personally take with you for a shikar trip , with the intention of securing all of the Indian game species ? “ . This question certainly merits a great deal of thought . However , I have an extremely simple and straight forward approach to it .

Based STRICTLY upon the fire arms and cartridges which were available , back in those days ... My battery would simply comprise of :
> A BRNO ZKK 602 bolt rifle , chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum , equipped with a low power telescopic sight .
With this , I would bring 50 Winchester Silver Tip 300 grain soft point cartridges and 50 Winchester 300 grain solid metal covered cartridges .
> My “ Old Belgian “ 12 Bore double barreled side by side shot gun . With this , I would bring 3 inch Eley Alphamax magnum # 6 , # 4 and # 2 bird shot cartridges , Winchester Australia’s 12 Bore 2.75 inch 32 gram AAA cartridges and my hand loaded 2.75 inch Vili “ High Brass “ 12 Bore spherical ball cartridges .

Such a battery would allow me to secure every single species of game animal available for shikar in Old India , with utmost confidence ... Be it furred game or feathered game. By using the appropriate bullet for each brute ... I could effortlessly secure every thing on the menu from the petite mouse deer to the gigantic gaur bison ( Although , this would also mean that I would definitely be needing to pass up some shots on the gaur bison ... Which I would not have to pass up on , had I been using a larger calibre ) . The shot gun would ( Along side wing shooting ) also serve as an excellent fire arm for following up wounded forest panthers in to the thickets . Or during driven hunts for wild game .,. where beats would be conducted .

For clients who were not interested in wing shooting , beats or following up wounded panthers in to the thickets ... I would personally recommend them to substitute the shot gun , for a .30-06 Springfield calibre pre 64 Winchester Model 70 bolt rifle . This , when loaded with 220 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges ... Would make for an excellent lighter bore rifle . Alternatively , if longer range hill shooting in West Bengal was to be had ... Then , I would personally recommend the lighter rifle to be a .300 Winchester magnum calibre Pre 64 Winchester Model 70 ( On account of the increased accuracy out to greater ranges ) . This , I would recommend them to load with 220 grain Winchester Silver Tip soft point cartridges . However , the large bore rifle would remain chambered in .375 Holland & Holland magnum .

Well ... that concludes another article from me to my Dear Readers . I sincerely hope that all of you gentle men have truly enjoyed reading this article ... As much as I enjoyed researching on it and writing it . I shall be away from writing articles for African Hunting Forums for the next 2 days ... Because the newest branch of my restaurant chain is fortunately finally opening in another city , after a prolonged delay caused by the recent COVID19 Coronavirus out break ( And I shall be needing to attend the grand opening ... Like I always do , whenever a new branch of my restaurant opens ) . I hope to write my next article on African Hunting Forums after 2 days again ( When I return home ) .I am still not certain about the topic of the next article , as of today . However , I do believe that it shall be , “ The Art Of Hunting The Indian Bear : A Comprehensive Guide “ . Stay safe everyone .


THE END

PS : If any of you gentle men happen to be bored during the lock down ... Then , I would highly recommend you to read “ Ballistics In Perspective “ . Never did a more thorough book about sporting calibres ever exist . I cannot recommend it strongly enough . It is only 76 pages , extremely precise and is written by a gentle man with unrivaled field experience against African dangerous game animals . I was personally re reading my copy during this week ( Prior to writing this article ) ... And I remembered just what an excellent little read , it really is .
 
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Major Khan

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As always, I'm following with interest Major!

I'm especially interested to hear about the 'mid-calibre' choice for my British compatriots. I must confess that whilst I can think of many DG calibres that are British, my knowledge of british developed 'deer' rounds, espeically those knocking about in any number by the 1960's, is sadly lacking.

Certainly, I'm not patriotic enough to eschew my trusty .270win, although I'd take a 375H&H, 416Rigby or 470NE in preference to any of these newfangled colonial DG calibres!

Al
Why thank you so much for your enthusiasm , Alastair . To answer your question ... The most popular central fire rifle calibre used by my English clients for deer hunting ( Back in Great Britain ) in the early 1960s , was the 7x57 mm Mauser . I used to have countless conversations with my clients about the kinds of shikar ... Which they personally enjoyed in their own home lands . My English clients virtually always spoke of hunting red deer with 7x57 mm Mauser calibre bolt rifles .Invariably, these rifles were manufactured by Birmingham Small Arms ( BSA ) and were the " Viscount " model .

From 1964 onwards ... The standard " Production " English deer hunting rifle had become the Birmingham Small Arms Majestic bolt rifle . And these were chambered in .270 Winchester .

Birmingham Small Arms used to be an extremely affordable brand of English fire arms , back in those days . Virtually ALL of my English clients ( Who could not afford bespoke " London Best " rifles or shot guns ) opted for rifles and shot guns made by Birmingham Small Arms .
 
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Major Khan

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I am enjoying the read Poton. Your observation about hunters bringing rifles in calibers native to their own country i.e. what they are used to using isn't at all surprising. The one European (actually British ) caliber that many American hunters have adopted is the 375 H&H. I'd almost be willing to bet that there are more 375 H&H(s) in the States than 458 Win Mags.
Why thank you so much , Shootist43. It is my utmost privilege that you are enjoying the article so much .

History may actually end up surprising you . Countless of my American clients in the 1960s preferred the .458 Winchester magnum over the .375 Holland & Holland magnum ... Simply because the .458 Winchester magnum was American in origin . As I have said ... Nationalism was quite prevalent ... Even during the 1960s .
Therefore , back in those days ... The .458 Winchester magnum rivalled the .375 Holland & Holland magnum , neck & neck ... In terms of popularity among my American clients .

Fortunately , today ... Such sensibilities are no longer prevalent . American sports men have come to embrace ALL sporting rifle calibres of different origins and national back grounds .
 

Major Khan

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Dear Major Khan, I am always interested to read you articles, but also I am interested in firearms development history - so from both points, you have excelled again.
Thank you for the time, and such meticulous efforts to share this with us!
I enjoy writing these articles for all of you gentle men ... Just as much as you all enjoy reading them , Mark Hunter . Thank you so much for your kind words .
 

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