The Woodleigh Hydro

bowjijohn

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The Woodleigh Hydro

Rather than hijack someone else’s thread I thought I’d start a new one.

My interest with this fascinating design is based upon two different needs

A personal one where I was interested in the hydro for it’s ‘force multiplier’ properties in 2 different scenarios:

1. When bumbling around the bush with (in my case ) a 9.3 x 62, perhaps in search of something for the pot. The hydro might provide an extra dimension to my arsenal in addition to solids in the event of bumping into something large and with attitude.

2. The other is in consideration of the endless discussions around the camp fire of solid / soft make up within a magazine. It struck me that the hydo might be a suitable ‘do it all’ round (and therefore be part of the mag load in my 404 Jeff) when walking through the bush with non-hunting clients.

A technical interest, as a result of developing a course for Zoo staff and Police Departments, both of whom have a responsibility and a role to play in the event of an escaped dangerous animal.

Part of the course deals with the selection of calibre and bullet. Zoos often hold a .variety of rifles in their safe and some Police Forces attend with a pump action Rem loaded with LG and/or solid shot in addition to service weapons.

In this part of the course we look at terminal effects and straight line penetration; comparing and contrasting soft nosed rounds with solids (round meplat; flat meplat). Into this evaluation I want to add the hydro – particularly as it might facilitate a discussion on ‘over-penetration’.- an important factor in built up areas.

All of this brought me to the issue of reloading for the calibres we explore on the course.

I currently reload for .223, 6.5 x 55, 6.5 creed and 9.3 (using noser partitions). Measuring distance to the lands and establishing a suitable jump is a natural part of that procedure

However..

Up until now I had thought the manufacturer's recommended COL to be an absolute not to be exceeded.

Clearly this is not necessarily the case – reloading for the hydro has shown a lack of understanding (about COL) on my part.

Further confusion arose when I discovered that both my 404 and 9.3 have huge free-bore so for my rifles, neither COL nor distance to the lands, appear to be useful reference points.

So I’d be happy to hear the thoughts of anyone who is currently reloading hydros as well as any thoughts on the wider issues touched upon here.
 

Scrumbag

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John,

The methodology you describe works very well for getting accuracy in rifles and is particularly popular for the current trend of longer range shooting. It also lets you tune your load quickly (Start near the lands and shorten with shooting groups to see where they tighten up).

So, if we think about load development for a rifle -

We have selected:

Bullet
Powder
Case - probably including trim length
Primer

After that we really have 2 variables
COAL
Charge weight

So, first 4 you have picked, usually I would say load your rounds with the bullet ~20 thousands of an inch off the lands and then you come up a charge weight ladder seeing how group size varies and watching for pressure signs as charge weight increases. Then when you see what looks like a charge weight that produces smaller groups you load up some more with that charge weight and shorten in maybe 5 thousands increments. And with a bit of luck you end up with a nice tight group.

For a lot of the older classics (9.3 and 404 particularly spring to mind) came with quite generous leedes / freebores so that in days of old with less consistent ammunition, less temperature stable powder charges and "field conditions" you were less likely to have problems with pressure or feeding. Also, if you think if what bullets used to look like, a round nose soft point were often the thing (look at old 175gr 7x57 ammo or 160gr 6.5x55 for example) the ogive (point back from the tip where the bullet reaches "bore" diameter), the old round nose rounds had the ogive near the tip so the lands were set further forward for those bullets. So, for some bullets in the older chamberings you might find seating 20 thou off the lands is impossible for feeding with a modern, pointier bullet.

However, all is not lost:

For much of the data you have on the Woodleighs, I would be tempted to load to SAAMI / CIP max length and tune the powder charge from there using load development. Ammunition should then function through your magazine and feed nicely.

So, if it were me:

Load up your bullets to max length SAAMI / CIP
Ladder test with fairly large increments (say 0.5gr) and shoot 3 shot groups.
Then, when you have the results, pick the smallest group powder charge and load a couple of groups 0.1 or 0.2gr outside that to see what works.

Fortunately, in my (limited) experience of reloading these "big, old" things (Like you 9.3x62 and 404J) they tend to be quite forgiving in terms shooting acceptable accuracy and loads (Fortunately we aren't shooting lots of groups at long ranges with these things).

Give me a call if you like and we can talk about the black art / pseudo science of OBT and charge weight node prediction ;)

ATB,

Scrummy
 
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Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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I hope this helps

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CBH Australia

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Mmm,
It sounds like you know a bit about firearms and you train "Organisations".
I have worked in organisations, that can get interesting they are full of experts.
I think about it this way, We, have a genuine interest and We learn from our own investment in time and experience.

An organisation, will train people and deem them competent if they meet a benchmark accepted by Hierarchy.

I have the manual, the Hydros but not the experience. I haven't loaded a single Hydro yet.

I have contacted Geoff McDonald of Woodleigh direct for advice.

Police department and Zoos will not be reloading. But they do need to have resources and common sense.

They need good training from a common sense provider.

The thing is I have been and learned from my own experience at my own expense.

Given the scenario that wild animals that bite, scratch or stomp may get loose in public areas and built up areas, that might be when Hydros are not the first choice.

Take the safe option and teach that using a Premium Projectile loaded in Premium Ammunition from a company that markets it's products as suitable for such game as fit for purpose. Their "Premiums" are higher than yours and their Public Liability is better.

Let the experts decide, push that practice and annullal accreditation are paramount.

Stand behind those who stand by their product.
 

bowjijohn

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You make a good point about zoo staff and police not reloading

It is not the purpose of that section of the course to talk about reloading

Organisations choose their own suitable commercial ammo

We want to use the hydros as part of a penetration test/demo, merely as an illustration when talking generally about bullet design etc - this encourages attendees to consider such factors when making an informed choice on suitable ammo & calibre selection.

We need to reload them as we can't buy them commercially

Going back to the reloading issue...

I think I'm a bit more comfortable now with the seating depth that will suit my 2 rifles.

I am reassured that the absence of a manufacturers recommended COL is not the problem I thought it to be

It has been an interesting exercise and has shown up the gaps in my understanding of the reloading process
 
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BeeMaa

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1. When bumbling around the bush with (in my case ) a 9.3 x 62, perhaps in search of something for the pot. The hydro might provide an extra dimension to my arsenal in addition to solids in the event of bumping into something large and with attitude.
IMO solids are a specialized bullet with a few (very good) properties, but they are still specialized. They do have excellent straight line penetration but that can also be a bad thing as over-penetration now becomes an issue. For taking a snap shot on game you bump into, I'd recommend a premium soft like the SAF, Barnes TSX, TBBC or Norma Oryx. Having a few solids in an ammo carrier with you is a good idea for those specialized times, but premium softs are the way to go.

Most (client) hunting situations where solids are used the game animal isn't "bumped" but is standing very still, safe backstop can be assured and no other animals will be injured. The other situation is an injured animal (usually Buffalo) running away or towards the hunting party and solid is needed to stop the charge with a brain shot or break the hip when running away. Even when running away, most PH's would recommend a soft because assuring a proper backstop in that situation is nearly impossible. Thus increasing the chance of injuring another animal.

Solids can be used to great effect on smaller antelope like Suni and Dukier with DG caliber rifles, making a neat little hole into and out of them to preserve the hide. This is done because the expansion of a soft will make the job of the taxidermist much more difficult. @Red Leg has taken at least a couple of the T10 with the Woodleigh Hydro with excellent results, 2 small holes and DRT.

The only client hunting situation I know of where solids are used exclusively is hunting Elephant. For all other use of solids I would defer to the PH and their decision. Have a few with you, but leave them out of the magazine until needed.

All this being said, there is a thread here on AH of a guy using .30 caliber Woodleigh Hydros on all manner of animals to take them. If I recall correctly, these were all hunting scenarios where a well placed first shot was assured, not a snap shot of a bumped animal. I will look for the thread and post a link if I find it.

EDIT - Found the thread. @264 has some excellent experience with the Hydros in smaller calibers.

 
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bowjijohn

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I think you really make a good points here BeeMaa

The issues with escaped animals is very much like a hunting scenario in many ways

We tend to construct our shooting drills around 'stopping a charge' as that is the most dangerous of scenarios, and the most challenging for the shooter.

However, most animal engagements with an escaped animal are going to be more akin to hunting

There are of course a range of confounding factors

- That the animal might find itself in a built up area

- That it might be in a heightened sense of distress as it is out of its comfort zone

- That the firearms team might be engaging with an animal they know well, love and cherish, and do not wish to shoot

The list goes on and on - it makes for a fascinating conundrum

Throw into the mix the possible presence of civilians, the pressure of police vs zoo staff roles and responsibilities - where and when and how a handover is conducted

The fear of litigation, the complication of various Health & Safety legislative requirements.

I find it a fascinating scenario that extends well beyond the mechanical elements associated with shooting
 
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BeeMaa

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I think you really make a good points here BeeMaa

The issues with escaped animals is very much like a hunting scenario in many ways

We tend to construct our shooting drills around 'stopping a charge' as that is the most dangerous of scenarios, and the most challenging for the shooter.

However, most animal engagements with an escaped animal are going to be more akin to hunting

There are of course a range of confounding factors

- That the animal might find itself in a built up area

- That it might be in a heightened sense of distress as it is out of its comfort zone

- That the firearms team might be engaging with an animal they know well, love and cherish, and do not wish to shoot

The list goes on and on - it makes for a fascinating conundrum

Throw into the mix the possible presence of civilians, the pressure of police vs zoo staff roles and responsibilities - where and when and how a handover is conducted

The fear of litigation, the complication of various Health & Safety legislative requirements.

I find it a fascinating scenario that extends well beyond the mechanical elements associated with shooting
There are so many scenarios that one could not possibly cover them all. I will contain my comments to those about hunting, for that is what I'm most familiar with. Zoo escapes (or police use) are extremely specialized and way above my level of knowledge as to how to handle even the most simple situation. This is why I only addressed the first part of your query. I prefer stay in my lane as a client/recreational hunter. I have no aspirations or delusions of becoming or being a PH or professional guide. My hat is off to those that have attained that level of skill with wildlife and firearms.
 

bowjijohn

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There are so many scenarios that one could not possibly cover them all. I will contain my comments to those about hunting, for that is what I'm most familiar with. Zoo escapes (or police use) are extremely specialized and way above my level of knowledge as to how to handle even the most simple situation. This is why I only addressed the first part of your query. I prefer stay in my lane as a client/recreational hunter. I have no aspirations or delusions of becoming or being a PH or professional guide. My hat is off to those that have attained that level of skill with wildlife and firearms.

But still of great relevance to me

I have to come clean and admit that - other than shooting for the pot - I now have little interest in pulling the trigger on anything.

My mag therefore probably would reflect the rounds I'd use only in extremise rather than hunting.

Likewise I'd not likely be with a PH in a professional capacity.

I used to hunt though, and do borrow heavily from those experiences, as well as those more akin to field guiding (I'm not a PH).

Peoples' hunting experience with PG and DG is very relevant here.

There is no great cadre of knowledge - other than that of experienced guides, PHs and hunters.

You would be surprised how little knowledge even Police 'armed response units' have about this topic.

We all tend to think everyone else knows what we know - but they don't

We have tried to introduce many of the elements that hunters already know into an introductory of just a few days .

Many participants, unless they are hunters and or stalkers, wont pick up a firearm from one refresher course to the next.

It is a challenge establishing a basic level of competency

As for the hydro?

Not likely to feature in the above scenario, but might well find its way into my mag load - if I ever get to return to the bush (God and Covid willing).
 

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