Cultures & Calibres: An In Depth Analysis

Major Khan

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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.
Why thank you so much for your kind words , New Boomer . It is my utmost privilege that you have enjoyed this article so much . I always conduct a great deal of research before writing any of my articles ( Barring those times , when I am writing about any of my personal reminiscences ... Such as the 1st hand account of a shikar ) .
 

Major Khan

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Excellent read Major. I am surprised you would choose a BRNO 602 over a pre 64 model 70. They are both excellent choices however.
Best of luck with the restaurant!
Why thank you so much , Master Smith . It is my utmost privilege that you have enjoyed this article of mine , so much .
Let me now answer your question :

You see . I made these choices , based upon 2 assumptions :
1) I am going to be hunting ALL of the legally available game species in Old India .
2) I am restricted to choosing only from fire arms and cartridges ... Which were actually available , during my time .

So , we know that my list of intended quarry would definitely include a 3000 pound bull gaur bison . And we also know that the only commercially available calibres in the 1960s , which were larger than the .375 Holland & Holland magnum ... Were the .458 Winchester magnum and the .460 Weatherby magnum ( Both of which , are calibres ... Which I rather despise ) . Thus ... I would be FORCED to use a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifle on a bull gaur bison , due to the lack of availability of any RELIABLE larger calibres in the 1960s .

Now , if I were to contend with a 3000 pound bull gaur bison armed with a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifle
... Then , I would opt for the LARGEST POSSIBLE MAGAZINE CAPACITY I could find . The 6 cartridge magazine capacity of the BRNO ZKK 602 would certainly provide me with more added insurance ... Than the 4 cartridge magazine capacity of the Winchester Model 70 , in this context .

In modern times , if I knew that I would have to be contending with a 3000 pound bull gaur bison ... Then , I would personally opt for a Winchester Model 70 Safari Express , which had been re chambered to .458 Lott . This , I would load with 500 grain Trophy Bonded Sledge Hammer Solid metal covered cartridges .

By the way ... Do you remember your Captain Newaz ? The poor gentle man recently encountered a disaster with his .458 Winchester magnum calibre Model 70 Safari Express bolt rifle . I shall be sending you the photographs , video and details of the incident ... In a private message , shortly . You REALLY need to see this ... Because I sincerely believe that you will be able to figure out what had happened .
 

Art Lambart II

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Thank you Major for another great article and you have no need to apologize for your printing, you need to travel to the states and teach my younger engineers how to print, the computer has all but destroyed the art of hand writing.
 
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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 .
View attachment 348520


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 ) .
View attachment 348478


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 .
View attachment 348470
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 .
View attachment 348471


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 .

View attachment 348482
View attachment 348483

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 ) .

View attachment 348484


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.
View attachment 348518
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 .
View attachment 348517

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 “ .
My dear friend Ponton
I remember when we could buy a 93 Spanish Mauser converted to 308 in Australia for $39 in the mid 1970s.
Your humble reader and friend
Bob
 
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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.
View attachment 348579



Coming up next ... “ A Survey Discussed “ .
My dear friend Ponton
It just goes to show that nowdays sportsmen can cross country and cultural boundaries and use rifles of any caliber from any country to hunt with depending on that personal preference. In years past people were very staunch and mainly used caliber from their own areas. After 1 world wars there was still a lot of hatred on both sides hence the lack of European calibers in the USA and vice versa on the continent.
You also pointed out that the old big bores are making a comeback so all that was old is new again simply because it worked back then and proved itself and still works today. I don't know if it's nostalgia or we got smarter and realized the these old cartridges just work and do it better in some instances than the newer ultrahigh powered magnums.
Your observations are very enlightening in how we have changed but in some ways remained the same
Your humble reader and friend
Bob
 

Major Khan

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My pretty little 7mm Mauser was purchased for $75 originally. The owner gave if to me two years ago because he knew I would use it and take care of it.
Mexican Mauser , Master Smith ? Or Spanish ? Or Chilean ?
 

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Chilean, but it was made in Germany.
 
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Why thank you so much , Master Smith . It is my utmost privilege that you have enjoyed this article of mine , so much .
Let me now answer your question :

You see . I made these choices , based upon 2 assumptions :
1) I am going to be hunting ALL of the legally available game species in Old India .
2) I am restricted to choosing only from fire arms and cartridges ... Which were actually available , during my time .

So , we know that my list of intended quarry would definitely include a 3000 pound bull gaur bison . And we also know that the only commercially available calibres in the 1960s , which were larger than the .375 Holland & Holland magnum ... Were the .458 Winchester magnum and the .460 Weatherby magnum ( Both of which , are calibres ... Which I rather despise ) . Thus ... I would be FORCED to use a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifle on a bull gaur bison , due to the lack of availability of any RELIABLE larger calibres in the 1960s .

Now , if I were to contend with a 3000 pound bull gaur bison armed with a .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifle
... Then , I would opt for the LARGEST POSSIBLE MAGAZINE CAPACITY I could find . The 6 cartridge magazine capacity of the BRNO ZKK 602 would certainly provide me with more added insurance ... Than the 4 cartridge magazine capacity of the Winchester Model 70 , in this context .

In modern times , if I knew that I would have to be contending with a 3000 pound bull gaur bison ... Then , I would personally opt for a Winchester Model 70 Safari Express , which had been re chambered to .458 Lott . This , I would load with 500 grain Trophy Bonded Sledge Hammer Solid metal covered cartridges .

By the way ... Do you remember your Captain Newaz ? The poor gentle man recently encountered a disaster with his .458 Winchester magnum calibre Model 70 Safari Express bolt rifle . I shall be sending you the photographs , video and details of the incident ... In a private message , shortly . You REALLY need to see this ... Because I sincerely believe that you will be able to figure out what had happened .
My dear friend Ponton
Could you also send me the details of the good Captain incident as well please. Also it may make an interesting if somewhat embarrassing story for him to write his own article on it.
Your humble reader and friend
Bob.
 

Major Khan

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My dear friend Ponton
Could you also send me the details of the good Captain incident as well please. Also it may make an interesting if somewhat embarrassing story for him to write his own article on it.
Your humble reader and friend
Bob.
Consider it done , Bob .
 

Newboomer

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Please write the article on here.
 

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Most excellent Major Khan! I think this is the best article yet but, whenever I read a new article from you I always think the same.;):LOL: If I may be bold enough to ask, where is your new restaurant located?
 

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