Visiting Sportsmen & Their Firearms In Old India

Kawshik Rahman

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Based on how well received , my two previous accounts of Indian Shikar in the old days from 1947 to 1972 was , l have decided to continue to write a few more. The respectful and friendly forum Member , Mark Hunter requested a certain subject to be the topic of my article today and thus , l shall talk about
Visiting sportsmen of Old India and the fire arms that they would bring. Before we begin , l must give a small notice. I am an old man talking about arms and ammunition from a bygone era and so not consider myself to be an authority on giving opinions on the batteries of modern sportsmen. For that , please consult a modern professional hunter who is better read than l am. You will not be disappointed . I am merely narrating about fire arms and ammunition in my time . With the above precaution in mind , let us begin.
The visiting sportsman would be allowed to bring two fire arms into the country along with 250 cartridges for each fire arm. These two fire arms could be anything except a .303 bore which was prohibited . However , in light of the animals the visiting sportsman is pursuing , some foresight is required as to deciding what those two fire arms should be. Many sportsmen on this forum speak very highly of hunting four legged animals in India. However , l would think that they would find our bird shooting excellent as well . Thus , the appropriate battery for the sportsman who wishes to pursue four legged creatures and winged fowl would do well to consist of a good shot-gun and a rifle capable of taking all animals from the small Darjeeling bush boar to the large Gaur bison. Elephant shooting was unfortunately prohibited since 1873 and with the exception of rogue elephants , these could not hope to be shot ( it is my life's incomplete desire to shoot an elephant , but l have seen some shot in front of my very eyes either by poachers or by forest department officers , including my late friend Mohiyuddin ) .


The Shikaris who worked for Sundar Raj had developed a method of labelling clients based on their fire arms choices. The saying was that the client who would bring a .3006 for Royal Bengal tigers was arrogant and boastful of his shooting skills and always argued about how a light bullet in the right place mattered more than a heavy bullet in the wrong place. The saying was that a client who brought a magnum .458 Winchester for Royal Bengal tiger was simply a man trying to flaunt his wealth who believed that any hit from a big gun could kill a Royal Bengal tiger through sheer force alone . Then the saying was that a client who brought a magnum .375 was a client who respected the animal he was hunting , and gave equal priority to correct aim and power. I personally do not share this judgemental attitude and found it a little condescending towards our clients . A client should use what they shoot best , as long as they are reasonable.
The perfect rifle calibre for all applications and by far the most popular was the magnum .375 by the English firm , Holland and Holland. No better rifle cartridge exists in this world , in my humble view , atleast . A gentleman armed with such a rifle could ( and frequently did ) secure everything from a mouse deer to a large male Gaur , by using appropriate ammunition ( which l shall relate further down ). I had a proud German client who used German tailors , drank German beer ( still the finest in the world , in my opinion ) and was as proud of his German heritage as any patriot whom l have ever had the pleasure to cross paths with. When a patriot such as this chooses to use a British magnum .375 instead of any of the excellent German calibres , you know that this gem of a cartridge is one which has permeated all national boundaries and found a place in the battery of sportsmen from all over the world. The same could be seen of many of my proud American clients who treated this British cartridge with more fondness than some American cartridges.
Interestingly enough , while this excellent cartridge was made by the firm , Holland and Holland, and Holland and Holland now claim on their web page that they use the venerable mauser mechanism , l have never in my career as a professional Shikari ( 1962 to 1970 ) , actually seen a rifle from Holland and Holland in this calibre which used a mauser mechanism. I have only seen one Holland and Holland bolt operation rifle in magnum .375 and it was built on an Enfield mechanism ( a pattern 14 or 15 or 16 or 17 , if l recall the owner saying. Please forgive me as it escapes my memory. It was a teen number for certain ) It was an excellent gun . Please do not think that l am being dishonest , as l know that the gun was definitely built on an Enfield mechanism and not on a mauser mechanism ( which l was very familiar with , by that point of my career ).
The vast majority of magnum .375 rifles would be from the American firm of Winchester or from Belgian firms . Excellent weapons they were all of them. My former client , Don Fernando Delgado owned a magnum .375 Winchester rifle which had a Mauser type extracting claw device which other Winchester rifles of the same calibre lacked. Perhaps it was a custom order or a special order , but it certainly looked older than the other rifles. It had a stock that had split and was patched up with large bolts . However , it was excellent for dangerous animals . Mr. Mark Hunter was kind enough to educate me that such rifles are called control round feed rifles or crf in abbreviation. The best rifle of this calibre which l have ever seen was owned by a repeat British client of mine. He owned a beautiful magnum .375 made by the firm , John Rigby and co. on a large mauser mechanism . I almost envy him in a harmless way , for that rifle.
There is a certain Magnum .375 rifle l have seen which was owned by a repeat client . It was built on a mechanism which was similar to a mauser but with some modifications . It was called a Brevexe mechanism rifle and l actually had the chance to borrow it from the client and shoot a boar with it. Beautiful rifle , it was. I have never seen another Brevexe rifle in 53 years.

If a client could not handle a rifle of this calibre due to the recoil , then the suitable alternative would be either a 9.3 millimeter German mauser caliber or the American .338 by Winchester. However , common sense must prevail and it must be borne in mind that these will lack the punch of a magnum .375 , but only just. Unless one is going after a large male Gaur over 1500 pounds in weight , this is of little consequence if your aim is correct behind the shoulder.
The 9.3 millimeter was popular among European clients and indeed a great deal of execution could be accomplished with it . The bullet weighs a little over 280 grains and one client used to bring this ammunition in little boxes with " RWS" imprinted on them. There were metal envelope bullets and soft lead nose bullets for this caliber. German guns are flawlessly reliable in my humble experience and their mauser rifle is probably Germany's greatest gift to the world of sportsmen.
The American .338 by Winchester was certainly nothing to ignore either. With a bullet of little of 270 grains , it was an excellent performer on the Royal Bengal tiger . I have only ever seen soft nosed bullets for this American piece of ingenuity , although my fellow forum member , Hoss Delgado assures me that they do exist. These rifles were usually made by Winchester in the bolt operation configuration .
There are those sportsmen who sometimes liked something a little larger than a magnum .375 . This was invariably the magnum .458 by Winchester. Even though a decent number of my must clients used this calibre , only two come to my mind immediately. One was a gentleman with a bolt operation rifle from Birmingham Small Arms . His Shikar experience in India was not one to be envied , as my previous article " The Gaur Shikar which went very terribly wrong illustrates in good detail . The other gentleman owned a double barrel rifle in magnum .458 Winchester made by the excellent British firm , Holland and Holland. My young friend , Hoss Delgado refuses to believe that a double barrel rifle exists in this calibre. As knowledgeable as he is on fire arms , l know for a fact that the gun was a magnum .458 Winchester . My client was blessed by Divine Providence in his skills with that double barrel rifle , as three Gaurs ( all upwards of 2000 pounds ) and one Royal Bengal tiger can attest to. Cartridges for this calibre came from many firms , but it is the American firms of Winchester and Hornady which l remember most vividly. Bullets were invariably 500 grains or 510 grains. These either had a soft nose or a metal envelope. My former shikar partner , the late Karim Chowdhury was always a little distrustful of this cartridge . The first time , Karim had seen a client bring a fire arm of this calibre , the following happened :
Karim looked at the cartridges and said " Shahib ( sir ) , may l ask a question ? " . The client responded in the affirmative. Karim asked " Shahib , the magnum .375 cartridge is loaded with a lighter bullet of 300 grains , but it has a larger cartridge size to keep a larger charge of powder . If these bullets in your gun weigh 200 grains more , then should the cartridge size not be larger to accommodate a corresponding charge of powder . Why is it smaller than the magnum .375 ? ". The disastrous incident of that Shikar ( previously related ) did not help to improve Karim's view of this cartridge. I , however , am much more forgiving , based on my experiences with the client who owned the double barrel rifle in this caliber.
If a sportsman was not interested in shooting birds , then he would invariably bring a rifle of smaller calibre as his second gun , to shoot smaller animals , but as mouse deer , hares , barking deer or the Darjeeling bush boar .
A rifle of such caliber would typically be either a .3006 by Springfield , a magnum 7 millimeter by Remington or a magnum .300 by Winchester. Other calibres , l have of course seen , such as the .243 by Winchester or the .308 by Winchester , but their popularity paled in comparison to the aforementioned calibres.
The .3006 by Springfield is a true American Classic. I believe firmly that it will never die. Cartridges came in all forms and from all firms , but the heaviest, l believe is 220 grains and came from the American firm , Remington . Invariably , these were soft nose bullets. I have never seen blunt nose bullets with metal envelopes in this calibre , although Hoss Delgado tells me that they exist. It was an excellent cartridge for boar , deer and Nilgai , but a dangerous game cartridge , it is not. It had a tendency to wound more leopards than it killed and Karim and l were always a little unnerved when a client would appear with a rifle in this calibre and a license to shoot a leopard or a Royal Bengal tiger . Nevertheless , American gentlemen are marksmen of unrivalled skill. A gentleman from Texas killed not one , but three Royal Bengal tigers using the 220 grain soft nose variant of this cartridge and a model 1917 rifle by Enfield. The exception , however , is not the rule . Rifles of this calibre came from all firms , including but not limited to : Springfield , Winchester , Remington , Birmingham Small Arms and even the British firm of Westley Richards . I did have to endure a very specific problem with some sportsmen who would bring a rifle of this calibre. In order to be a bit frugal , these gentlemen would bring ammunition purchased from surplus military stores with pointed metal enveloped heads. These were available in green color containers and while excellent for war , has no place in the pursuit of wild beasts . For this application , they were foul things . Hoss Delgado has shown me a page from a book about a gentleman in Africa named Mr. Harry Manners who used a .3006 rifle by Winchester loaded with these pointed end bullets to shoot 40 elephants with mixed success. I have no doubts about Mr. Manners prowess , but he must have been exceptionally fortunate , as a pointed end bullet is not designed to go through the heavy bones of large animals without deviating from it's course. It has it's place in the battle field but not in the world of Shikar.
The magnum 7 millimeter by Remington was a good weapon and not surprisingly most rifles In this calibre came from the American firm of Remington . With it's heaviest bullet being of 175 grains in weight , it was an accurate and capable performer on any animal below a leopard in weight. I have only seen soft nose cartridges in this calibre , but Hoss Delgado , being more knowledgeable than l , suggests that metal envelope solid bullets in this caliber certainly do exist. Boars were classified as vermin in those days and there were no limitations on how many could be taken in a single season . A Canadian client of mine laid low five Darjeeling bush boars with five cartridges of a magnum 7 millimeter by Remington . That should speak well of it's quality.
The magnum .300 by Winchester was a cartridge which l consider the unrivalled best for shooting undangerous animals at longer distances. These rifles were invariably made by Winchester , but l have seen custom rifles buit on mauser mechanisms as well for this excellent calibre ( one of which will feature prominently in a future article ). The bullets would come in weights from 150 grains to 180 grains and very virtually always with a soft nose head. However , l am told by the redoubtable Hoss Delgado that solid bullets with a metal envelope are also available for this excellent cartridge . Ammunition was made by countless firms , but it is Winchester who l remember as being the most popular.


With rifles calibres discussed , let our topic now shift to shot-guns. The universal shot-gun calibre is the 12 bore . Cartridges for this calibre come in 65 , 70 , 76 and 89 millimeter lengths. I do not think too highly of the 89 millimeter cartridge and fortunately these monstrosities did not exist when l was an active Shikari ( unfortunately , now l have to teach many young shot-gun shooters in Bangladesh how to fire these large abberations , which is a story for another day ). My personal fondness is lies with the classic 70 millimeter 12 bore cartridge , however the 65 millimeter and 76 millimeter cartridges are decent chamberings . The 65 millimeter cartridge makes an excellent choice for quails and pigeons ( creatures for which my foolish young pupils now think than an 89 millimeter cartridge is required ). The 76 millimeter cartridge is excellent for those shooters who are fond of shooting ducks and geese from a distance greater than thirty yards.
American clients always brought either the 12 bore or the 20 bore. The 20 bore cartridges were of 70 millimeter length , however the knowledgeable forum member , Co Elk Hunter has educated me that a 76 millimeter variant of the 20 bore cartridge exists today. It was excellent for shooting any bird that was not not of the water fowl category.
A calibre practically unknown to my American clients , but very popular among the European clients was the 16 bore. With lighter recoil than a 12 bore , but a larger bore diameter than a 20 bore , it was used successfully by my many of clients for everything up to teal . A client even used one of these 16 bores ( A beautiful side by side shot-gun made by a Belgian firm ) on geese with success , but l would personally feel more comfortable with a 12 bore for these large birds .
We now come to which form of shot-guns were popular. The answer is that they all were used in India for bird shooting. There was the side by side , the over-under , the pump operation and the auto loader. For the side by side shot-guns , English firms were the most popular and with good reason. The grand gun makers like Holland and Holland , Westley Richards , Purdey , I Hollis and William Wellington Greener were the most skilled makers of the side by side configuration which l have ever seen. Alongside the quintessential English bird shooters , even American gentlemen liked these .My respected young colleague , Hoss Delgado does not think too highly of the English side by side. His reasoning is that the shot-guns have a narrow splinter type fore end which forces the shooter to grip the gun by the muzzles with his non firing hand. Unless one wears a glove , their hand could get blistered after a few firings. While Hoss is correct , l do not think of the need to wear a glove as being any noticeable disadvantage. Surely , a man who can afford to purchase fire arms , can also afford a glove . Every shot-gun in my youth , was taken to the field with a light leather gloves being worn on the shooter's non firing hand. Belgian side by side shot-guns were not far behind in beauty and reliability either , with Joseph Saive being a very popular firm among many continental clients .
American side by side shot-guns were rugged and durable . They were beautiful in a different kind of way. The model 21 by Winchester built to take the 76 millimeter cartridge with full choked barrels above 30 inches in length was used by one of my clients to great effect against a dozen geese , as a picture here will illustrate.


My former partner , the late Karim Chowdhury said something which l will repeat here " The over-under is a science , but the side by side is an art " . I agree with his statement.
Over -under shot-guns were relatively recent in our time , but not so rare , so as to be uncommon . The first over-under , l had seen a client bring into India for Shikar was a 12 bore made by the firm , Browning. I later saw many Beretta over-under guns as well and thought that one day l would like to own one. English sportsmen at the time thought poorly of them , but continental sportsmen and American sportsmen held them in high esteem. These invariably came with the new single trigger , which at the time , was unheard of , in India. You could move a switch which would control which barrel would be fired first. The fact that my shot-gun of choice today is a 12 bore Beretta s686 Special over-under with a full choke barrel over a modified choke barrel speaks how highly l think of this design.
We now come to the topic of repeater shot-guns. The traditional pump operation shot-gun evokes images more in line with the American duck hunter than the Indian Shikari , but they were extremely popular as well. Models from Winchester , Remington and Ithaca were popular. An American client used a model 1897 from Winchester in 12 bore loaded with number 1 shot to kill nine teals with twelve cartridges. He also told me stories about how the American Expeditionary forces during the first and second world war would use the American equivalent of SSG in the model 1897 Winchester to devastating effect on the enemies in trenches ( perhaps somebody here could confirm this for me ). It would finally be in Bangladesh in 1997 , that l was able to try a model 1897 from Winchester in a friendly skeet shooting competition with the other members of Bangladesh shooting federation ( for actual competition , the over-under is requisite ) .
Among auto loaders , the only models which l have seen during my time as a professional Shikari , would be the models from Belgium in 12 bore. Excellent pieces , they were too. They held five cartridges and an American client used one such shot-gun loaded with German lead slug projectiles to kill a Royal Bengal tiger


The shot-guns would come in all chokes . Different quarry require different levels of constriction . The goose requires a full choke while the quail is contented with the quarter choke. I find that for guns with permanent chokes , the half or modified choke was best for all Indian winged game as long as the shooter takes care . During my career , l had actually seen a few shot-guns with adjustable chokes. One was an American 12 bore auto loader shot-gun made by the firm , Hi Standard . The other was a single barrel shot-gun made by the English firm , William Wellington Greener which looked very much like the Martini Henry rifles seen in the film " Zulu " . Today the removable choke system is popular but my fondness lies with the permanent choke as it is the system of my childhood.
Screenshot_20190926-010411_01_01.png

The armaments of two clients after a successful Shikar of leopards. The fact that they were brothers shows in their choices. Two .3006 rifles by Springfield and two William Wellington Greener single barrel shot-guns in 12 bore with adjustable chokes.




The question now about rifles comes to this : Were double barrel rifles or bolt operation rifles popular ? Considering that American cartridges were more popular than English Cartridges at the time of which l write , the answer is bolt operation rifles. However , l have also had a good quantity of loyal clients come for Shikar with double barrel rifles . These were invariably in magnum .375 calibre. However , as previously mentioned , a good sportsman also came with such a rifle calibrated for magnum .458 Winchester made by the firm , Holland and Holland and it was as beautiful as it was efficient. Is any better than the other ? After six decades of hunting , eight years of which was as a professional Shikari , l have this to say. Both are good . It depends on what you are comfortable with. There are clients who can operate a bolt mechanism rifle fast enough to empty the entire magazine in less than five seconds. Then , there are clients who could fire off both barrels from a double barrel rifle , reload it ( by keeping the cartridges between their fingers ) and fire off two more shots in the same time period.
However , l am of strong opinion in one matter. For those clients who use a double barrel rifle , l will strongly discourage them from purchasing a double barrel rifle for dangerous animals which has automatic safety mechanism. The automatic safety in the double barrel rifle prevents the shooter from reloading the rifle and firing off a second pair of shots swiftly , in the case of an emergency. Of course , for an ethical and enjoyable Shikar the objective is to ensure that the first bullet is placed correctly . This eliminates the need for any extra shots. However , nobody knows what fate might have planned for you on a particular day. It is better to err on the side of caution.
There is , however , one circumstance where the double barrel excels and the bolt operation falls a little behind. If you are pursuing a leopard into thick vegetation, l would highly recommend a double barrel shot-gun with Large projectiles in each barrel. Leopards average in weight between 200 to 270 pounds and are extremely quick. I would recommend SG 12 pellet cartridges , as l have had great success with on leopard. However , the modern hunter may perhaps benefit from solid slug type projectiles.
Regarding bolt rifles , Are rifles with Mauser type extracting claw devices better than those rifles which lack these features ? My clients have done a great deal of execution with both configurations , so clearly both work. However , in risky situations where a panicked shooter operates the bolt too fast ( which can happen to anybody , no matter how proficient one is, on an unfavorable day. ) , mauser type claw extractor is decidedly advantageous. However , l believe that the rifles without claw extracting devices are too harshly criticized by some ( namely , my learned colleague , Hoss Delgado ). It is true that they can jam in certain situations ( for instance , if they are dirty or if one operates the bolt improperly ) . However , this happens a lot less frequently than some would think. At any rate , l believe that for shooting animals which are not dangerous , a bolt rifle without a claw type extractor will not suffer. However , for dangerous animals , my preference lies with the mauser type extracting claw device as l value my life and the lives of those hunting with me. These rifles were invariably loaded only from the magazine .My learned colleague and forum member , Hoss Delgado is fond of filling the rifle magazine and then putting another round into the chamber of rifles by getting the extractor to slip over the rim of the cartridge. I believe the term used is " topping off " .While this is alright with rifles with no extracting claw device , l would be very cautious about doing this with mauser type rifles . A client of mine had actually broken the extractor of his magnum .300 ( Winchester firm) calibre rifle which was built on a mauser mechanism by repeating this practice frequently. Perhaps newer rifles with mauser mechanisms will not suffer this way. Nevertheless , a great deal of strain is placed on the extractor . I would like to add my experience with a certain rifle which l hear mixed views on : The model 700 Remington. Some like it . Some dislike it. I have seen 18 specimens in my professional career , mostly in .3006 calibre. I have only seen two which jammed . It was certainly alright for undangerous animals. Barring the absence of the mauser type extracting claw device , l cannot think of any reason why it would be poor for dangerous animals as well. A client of mine did , infact , kill a Royal Bengal tiger with it. Nevertheless , for dangerous animals l prefer a rifle with a Mauser type extracting claw device . I do respectfully disagree with my fellow hunter , Hoss Delgado about these rifles firing on their own. I have never seen a model 700 from Remington fire without someone pulling the trigger. It is my view that this must have happened when some well meaning gentlemen tried to alter the trigger pulling weight .
For ammunition , solid metal envelope bullets were only popular among clients who had a Gaur or mouse deer on their mind. Other than that , soft nose bullets ( the Winchester silver tip being a particular favorite ) were used for everything else. For shot-guns , a large quantity of number 6 would be suitable for general bird shooting. However , deviations to this rule must be made for other creatures planned to be taken with the shot-gun . The snipe or the dove , for instance demands the number 8 , while the duck and goose demanded number 1 or BB. For cranes , the standard shot sizes were BB or AAA ( which l still use for cranes in Bangladesh today ).
Thus , l conclude this article with a small summary of what l would recommend for my clients in those days . For a client looking to shoot both beasts and fowl , l would recommend a 12 bore double barrel shot-gun for the fowl and hares . Side by side or over-under is a matter of preference . The two chokes of a double barrel were advantageous for bird shooting in India. If one disliked the recoil of a 12 bore , then a 16 bore would be serviceable alternative . For a client only wanting to shoot land fowl , a 20 bore would be no big disadvantage .
The rifle should be a magnum .375 preferably with a Mauser type extracting claw device . If they find the recoil of the magnum .375 to be too unpleasant , then the 9.3 millimeter Mauser is a serviceable alternative. If no Gaur is intended for Shikar , then the .338 by Winchester will do just fine.
If the client is not after birds , then the shot-gun may be substituted with a good rifle of lighter calibre for long distance shooting on undangerous animals . I would recommend the magnum .300 by Winchester over all others for this work. However , the .3006 or the magnum 7 millimeter by Remington were also proven performers in this field. I would like to finish this article by apologizing if l have seemed authoritarian in my choices . Or condescending towards anyone's choices. I do not claim to be an expert in anything , but am merely talking about fire arms from five decades ago. With so many excellent modern choices today , my choices in those days certainly are now antiquated. The homogeneous metal bullet seems to be the standard now for large thick skinned animals and with good reason . The design is a sturdy one. The humble Winchester silver tip has now been replaced by excellent bullets with controlled rates of expansion . High velocity bullets are common. However , l do not believe that ammunition for dangerous animals should have a higher velocity than 2400 feet per second. Anything less than 2000 feet per second is similar to the old black powder rifles of the days of Sir Samuel Baker ( author of the Rifle and the Hound , in Ceylon ) . Too high a velocity is just as detrimental as too low a velocity.
 
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Kawshik Rahman

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Thank you once again for writing down your reminiscence of days past. It is most enjoyable to read.

And many here would agree with your calibre advice from 50 years ago - a 375 H&H and a 30 calibre rifle makes a good pairing for hunting critters large and small.
Cmk ,
Thank you for your kind words. I have always wanted to try a magnum .460 Weatherby calibre rifle . It was the most talked about rifle of our time and l always hoped that a client would bring one so that l could try it. But it was never to be.
 

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Very interesting Mr. Rahman. The cartridges used then are still very common now. You might want to check out Toby 458s thread titled THE KING. It’s about the 375 h&h, you might find it interesting. And yes Americans did use 12 gauge pumps with 00 buckshot (9 pellets 70mm) with such effectiveness that the Germans tried to outlaw the use of shotguns in combat.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Very interesting Mr. Rahman. The cartridges used then are still very common now. You might want to check out Toby 458s thread titled THE KING. It’s about the 375 h&h, you might find it interesting. And yes Americans did use 12 gauge pumps with 00 buckshot (9 pellets 70mm) with such effectiveness that the Germans tried to outlaw the use of shotguns in combat.
Wyatt Smith
Thank you so much for your appreciation. I now know that my client was telling the correct information. No doubt a shot-gun without choke must have been used against those German soldiers.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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The picture of Mohiyuddin lining-up on that elephant with the .303 is wonderful!
Ben KK
You would have made good friends with him . He died protecting a dozen fellow freedom fighters and soldiers during the liberation war . He was one of the men to be awarded the highest military award in Bangladesh posthumously for his extreme bravery and self sacrifice. His award is three awards higher than myself.
 

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Thank you again my friend. A wonderful read and interesting how actual experience leads to similar assessments about calibers and firearms regardless of era or location.

And don’t listen to Hoss with respect to British firearms. ;) There are many in this country, and many more worldwide who recognize them as the ultimate solution for shooting game flying. My William Cashmore, James MacNaughton, Stephen Grant and others have accounted for most of the game birds and competitive pigeon shooting I have done over the last two or three decades. Everyone who shoots them of course uses a glove on at least the left hand.

Did you ever see or did any of your clients bring a Paradox gun? These are English guns that were built just before WWI and into the late twenties (Holland & Holland reintroduced them about ten years ago). They look like a normal English SxS, except they will have folding rifle sights and the last six inches or so of the barrels are lightly rifled. They typically are 67 or 70mm though Westley Richards made a magnum version. Most shoot a modified shot pattern and a conical bullet. I have a lot of experience with the 12 bore version which fires a conical 740 gr bullet with remarkable accuracy. They were popular with young British officers in Africa and the Raj where they could be used for everything from jungle fowl to Tiger. Mine is a William Evans made in Birmingham in 1912. In Namibia a few years ago I took a pile of sand grouse and two warthog with it from the same waterhole.

Many double gun makers have built doubles in .458 and .375. The .458 was particularly popular among American sportsmen in the years following WWII as British rimmed ammunition became ever harder to find. By the better makers (H&H was certainly one!) the little tabs on the extractors seem to work with great reliability to the apparent frustration of many traditionalists. My Blaser S2 double in .375 has never bobbled an extraction.

Thanks again for a wonderful post.
 

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Dear Sir, mr Rahman
I do enjoy your writing, and once again you have excelled in my humble opinion. What I want to say, you have pointed out many of today present truths of firearms and ballistics. What ever you have observed, it is still absolutely valid today. Old thruts remain!

I do have a small request:
Pls do not stop writing and sharing your experiences with us.

On this one:

These rifles were invariably loaded only from the magazine .My learned colleague and forum member , Hoss Delgado is fond of filling the rifle magazine and then putting another round into the chamber of rifles by getting the extractor to slip over the rim of the cartridge. I believe the term used is " topping off " .While this is alright with rifles with no extracting claw device , l would be very cautious about doing this with mauser type rifles . A client of mine had actually broken the extractor of his magnum .300 ( Winchester firm) calibre rifle which was built on a mauser mechanism by repeating this practice frequently.

As @Red Leg has put it dont listen to Hoss Delgado! :)
(Sorry Hoss, no pun itended :) )

I do agree with you absolutely!

I remember one driven hunt for boars, when one of older and more experienced hunters was loading his Mauser type rifle, topping up a first round to be fired in same manner, over fully loaded magazine.

What happened is: he placed the round on top of full magazine, and easily pushed the bolt forward. It was simple push feeding, on typical controlled round feed system.

So, the round was chambered, and the long extractor claw did not slip over, or jump over the rim. Possibly, inside of chamber there was no enough space for this mechanical function, once the cartriodeg was in final position.
(rifle was Mauser type, but I do not remember exact maker, like mauser, winchester, etc..?)

Anyway, then he pulled the bolt backwards, and of course, round was not extracted. He pushed again forward, and claw would not slip over the rim. Few times repeated. Even with force. he could not close the bolt.

Removing the bolt, and shaking the rifle to kick the chambered round did not help either. So till the end of hunt, my dear colleague was sitting with round chambered, and bolt open, useless.

He was lucky, because no wild boar came to his stand, otherwise bad luck would be absolute.

He removed round later when getting at home using barrel cleaning rod.

Magazine remained full, because it had fixed type of floor plate, and with one round chambered, and open bolt, it was impossible to empty the rest of rounds from double stack magazine.

This has brought him to another unfortunate (and illegal) situation - because in my country (just as in most European countries) travelling with loaded gun, is not allowed by law.
The consequence if get caught would be momentarily confiscation of the gun till the court proceeding on charges brought by police dept.
Final outcome will depend on local judge, that can go from "legal warning letter", to imposed fine, or up to permanent confiscation of all firearms in possession of the hunter (plus fine).

In this, case however, he came home, and safely emptied the chmber using cleaning rod, and magzaine emptied with bolt manipulation . Nobody caught him when travelling home!

In case a person wants to properly load (top up), extra round in CRF action, he should remove the bolt, place the round in nice claw of long extractor which will hold the cartridge in horizontal position, gently place the bolt with round inside action, while with another hand thumb to push down rounds in magazine to allow bolt with cartridge to slide forward.
In that case, there should be no problem, neither with jamming the round in chamber as described, nor braking the extractor as what you have noticed.

I tried to see what will happen with another Mauser in same situation, many years earlier to this event (for testing only, as I am endlessly curious on rifle designs) with my grandfathers Mauser, produced by Serbian zastava.

In case of of this zastava rifle of earlier production, extractor claw can easily slip over the rim, but again as you have already explained in the long run this can easily come to breaking extractor.
Controlled feeding in my humble view is not designed for additional push feeding just for topping up on 3+1, or 5+1 mauser systems.

I can also say to add to the point, that competition single shot center fire rifles for this reason will never have Mauser style action, it is always - push feed of some sort.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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Thank you again my friend. A wonderful read and interesting how actual experience leads to similar assessments about calibers and firearms regardless of era or location.

And don’t listen to Hoss with respect to British firearms. ;) There are many in this country, and many more worldwide who recognize them as the ultimate solution for shooting game flying. My William Cashmore, James MacNaughton, Stephen Grant and others have accounted for most of the game birds and competitive pigeon shooting I have done over the last two or three decades. Everyone who shoots them of course uses a glove on at least the left hand.

Did you ever see or did any of your clients bring a Paradox gun? These are English guns that were built just before WWI and into the late twenties (Holland & Holland reintroduced them about ten years ago). They look like a normal English SxS, except they will have folding rifle sights and the last six inches or so of the barrels are lightly rifled. They typically are 67 or 70mm though Westley Richards made a magnum version. Most shoot a modified shot pattern and a conical bullet. I have a lot of experience with the 12 bore version which fires a conical 740 gr bullet with remarkable accuracy. They were popular with young British officers in Africa and the Raj where they could be used for everything from jungle fowl to Tiger. Mine is a William Evans made in Birmingham in 1912. In Namibia a few years ago I took a pile of sand grouse and two warthog with it from the same waterhole.

Many double gun makers have built doubles in .458 and .375. The .458 was particularly popular among American sportsmen in the years following WWII as British rimmed ammunition became ever harder to find. By the better makers (H&H was certainly one!) the little tabs on the extractors seem to work with great reliability to the apparent frustration of many traditionalists. My Blaser S2 double in .375 has never bobbled an extraction.

Thanks again for a wonderful post.
Red Leg
You are a good supportive friend . To answer your question in depth : As mundane as it may sound ,
my clients never brought a Paradox type shot-gun by Holland and Holland . However , l have secondary ( not first hand ) experience with them in a few ways , as l shall relate below.
The paradox type gun by Holland and Holland was introduced to me when read the autobiography of His Excellence , the Maharaja of Kuch Bihar. This was when l was a child and l have the book still in the book shelf of my living room. There is also a photograph of His Excellence on a tiger Shikar . I have taken the picture below for you.
IMG_20190625_232416_01.jpg

I have seen a pair of paradox type guns , not from the firm , Holland and Holland , but from the gunmaker , Charles Lancaster among the forty or so fire arms which was confiscated from the palace of His Excellence , the Maharaja of Bhopal during the sickening acts in 1972 . The event was cataloged on the news paper and the name of every fire arm was mentioned over there . However ,this was done in a manner to make His Excellence look cruel to animals and to highlight His Excellence's " immodest " standard of living. However , the news paper must have made a printing error , as they listed the gun as a 14 bore , but l think it should have been 12 or 16 bore , as l have never heard of 14 bore except in muzzle loader.
My third experience has been decidedly more positive. As you know , during the genocide prior to the 1971 war of Independence , the Pakistani army had confiscated all the fire arms owned by civilians ( which is why l support the American constitution's second amendment , because l have witnessed first hand what lack of right to bear arms can lead to ) , many old guns stayed inside an armoury called mal khana . In 2004 , many of these second hand arms appeared in arms shops. Currently , at this very moment , on face book , the Dhaka arms shop known as Columbia fire arms has one paradox type gun available for sale second hand. It is not from Holland and Holland , but it from the equally respected firm of Westley Richards. It is called an Explorer 12 bore model , if l recall correctly. I can learn from my niece ( who is here now ) how to capture a photograph of the screen from my touch phone and post the picture here. Perhaps , it will interest you ?
 

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Red Leg
You are a good supportive friend . To answer your question in depth : As mundane as it may sound ,
my clients never brought a Paradox type shot-gun by Holland and Holland . However , l have secondary ( not first hand ) experience with them in a few ways , as l shall relate below.
The paradox type gun by Holland and Holland was introduced to me when read the autobiography of His Excellence , the Maharaja of Kuch Bihar. This was when l was a child and l have the book still in the book shelf of my living room. There is also a photograph of His Excellence on a tiger Shikar . I have taken the picture below for you.View attachment 308284
I have seen a pair of paradox type guns , not from the firm , Holland and Holland , but from the gunmaker , Charles Lancaster among the forty or so fire arms which was confiscated from the palace of His Excellence , the Maharaja of Bhopal during the sickening acts in 1972 . The event was cataloged on the news paper and the name of every fire arm was mentioned over there . However ,this was done in a manner to make His Excellence look cruel to animals and to highlight His Excellence's " immodest " standard of living. However , the news paper must have made a printing error , as they listed the gun as a 14 bore , but l think it should have been 12 or 16 bore , as l have never heard of 14 bore except in muzzle loader.
My third experience has been decidedly more positive. As you know , during the genocide prior to the 1971 war of Independence , the Pakistani army had confiscated all the fire arms owned by civilians ( which is why l support the American constitution's second amendment , because l have witnessed first hand what lack of right to bear arms can lead to ) , many old guns stayed inside an armoury called mal khana . In 2004 , many of these second hand arms appeared in arms shops. Currently , at this very moment , on face book , the Dhaka arms shop known as Columbia fire arms has one paradox type gun available for sale second hand. It is not from Holland and Holland , but it from the equally respected firm of Westley Richards. It is called an Explorer 12 bore model , if l recall correctly. I can learn from my niece ( who is here now ) how to capture a photograph of the screen from my touch phone and post the picture here. Perhaps , it will interest you ?
Initially, the term “Paradox” was covered by H&H’s patent, and so WR called their version the Explora. By the time the term “Paradox” had become free to the trade, WR’s versions were also well established. A good friend has an Explora and Fauneta (the 20 bore version). He has taken buffalo with both - though with specially crafted deep penetrating ammunition. My William Evans is remarkably accurate. It will place four shots LxR/LxR into 3.5 inches at 100 meters - probably better if my old eyes were better. Amazing guns.
 

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Initially, the term “Paradox” was covered by H&H’s patent, and so WR called their version the Explora. By the time the term “Paradox” had become free to the trade, WR’s versions were also well established. A good friend has an Explora and Fauneta (the 20 bore version). He has taken buffalo with both - though with specially crafted deep penetrating ammunition. My William Evans is remarkably accurate. It will place four shots LxR/LxR into 3.5 inches at 100 meters - probably better if my old eyes were better. Amazing guns.
Red Leg ,
I have only been fortunate to see and hold the Westley Richards version with my own hands in the shop , Columbia Fire Arms. It is a 12 bore with 70 millimeter paper cartridges. I have only seen the Holland and Holland Paradox gun in a black and white photograph , therefore l cannot comment on it. However , l would imagine that it is as beautiful as the Westley Richards version . Unlike India , none of those old British pieces of art are destroyed in Bangladesh, but due to unavailability of paper cartridges , at least eight of these fine shot-guns are lying around in the four main gun shops in the Capital city. Our of fear that some over enthusiastic young man may try to put a modern slug bullet into the gun or some high pressure SG cartridge into the gun , BSF has issued a warning that purchasers of these guns must have the guns checked by a competent gun smith and use only paper cartridges in them. Bangladeshi owners of such guns typically bring paper cartridges which they privately purchase from foreign counties . While l use plastic cartridges now , l am an old soul and still have a weakness for the paper cartridges of the kind used by my late father .
I can relate about the eye sight completely . I have had cataract surgery in 2007 , but fortunately l do not need spectacles anymore.
 

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Red Leg ,
I have only been fortunate to see and hold the Westley Richards version with my own hands in the shop , Columbia Fire Arms. It is a 12 bore with 70 millimeter paper cartridges. I have only seen the Holland and Holland Paradox gun in a black and white photograph , therefore l cannot comment on it. However , l would imagine that it is as beautiful as the Westley Richards version . Unlike India , none of those old British pieces of art are destroyed in Bangladesh, but due to unavailability of paper cartridges , at least eight of these fine shot-guns are lying around in the four main gun shops in the Capital city. Our of fear that some over enthusiastic young man may try to put a modern slug bullet into the gun or some high pressure SG cartridge into the gun , BSF has issued a warning that purchasers of these guns must have the guns checked by a competent gun smith and use only paper cartridges in them. Bangladeshi owners of such guns typically bring paper cartridges which they privately purchase from foreign counties . While l use plastic cartridges now , l am an old soul and still have a weakness for the paper cartridges of the kind used by my late father .
I can relate about the eye sight completely . I have had cataract surgery in 2007 , but fortunately l do not need spectacles anymore.
Plastic loads are fine in these older guns - it is the load and pressure that matter. Most were 67mm and proofed for 1 1/8 ounces of shot. A 67mm plastic shell with a 1 1/8 ounce or less load will be perfectly safe. People get in trouble trying to feed them 70mm 1 1/4 ounce loads. The 70 mm English guns were typically proofed for 1 1/4 ounce loads and were intended for waterfowl and competitive pigeon shoots (bird had to be dropped in the ring). A number of makers also built these heavier guns for export to the Empire. Many of these older guns do pattern a bit better with the older style paper shells with felt wads, and several manufacturers now offer them in the States due to the renewed interest in these guns. My favorite Pigeon gun is a 70mm William Cashmore built before WWI. It was built for that and trap shooting and has very tight chokes. It handles modern 1 1/4 ounce loads easily.

However, it is always a good idea to have a competent gunsmith inspect these older guns before firing. One never knows what idiot may have taken a screwdriver to it over the last century. Would love to prowl those gun shops!
 
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Plastic loads are fine in these older guns - it is the load and pressure that matter. Most were 67mm and proofed for 1 1/8 ounces of shot. A 67mm plastic shell with a 1 1/8 ounce or less load will be perfectly safe. People get in trouble trying to feed them 70mm 1 1/4 ounce loads. The 70 mm English guns were typically proofed for 1 1/4 ounce loads and were intended for waterfowl and competitive pigeon shoots (bird had to be dropped in the ring). A number of makers also built these heavier guns for export to the Empire. Many of these older guns do pattern a bit better with the older style paper shells with felt wads, and several manufacturers now offer them in the States due to the renewed interest in these guns. My favorite Pigeon gun is a 70mm William Cashmore built before WWI. It was built for that and trap shooting and has very tight chokes. It handles modern 1 1/4 ounce loads easily.

However, it is always a good idea to have a competent gunsmith inspect these older guns before firing. One never knows what idiot may have taken a screwdriver to it over the last century. Would love to prowl those gun shops!
Red Leg
You have just given me an excellent piece of news. This means that when l go to the United States this time , l can acquire a few boxes of paper cartridges to bring back to Bangladesh for my friends ( two of whom own these excellent English shot-guns but are afraid to fire them until they acquire a stock of paper cartridges. ) . I had purchased several boxes of such cartridges from the England for them when l had gone there in 2015 , with a little assistance from a friend there who owns a shot-gun certificate. You are correct . They are excellent with their natural wad pieces.
In regards to the old English shot-guns lying around in the gun shops in Bangladesh , l will write an article on them in a few days.
I envy you in a healthy manner. I have only seen a William Cashmore shot-gun on an internet auction last year.
 

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Red Leg
You have just given me an excellent piece of news. This means that when l go to the United States this time , l can acquire a few boxes of paper cartridges to bring back to Bangladesh for my friends ( two of whom own these excellent English shot-guns but are afraid to fire them until they acquire a stock of paper cartridges. ) . I had purchased several boxes of such cartridges from the England for them when l had gone there in 2015 , with a little assistance from a friend there who owns a shot-gun certificate. You are correct . They are excellent with their natural wad pieces.
In regards to the old English shot-guns lying around in the gun shops in Bangladesh , l will write an article on them in a few days.
I envy you in a healthy manner. I have only seen a William Cashmore shot-gun on an internet auction last year.
Have @Hoss Delgado order you a flat before you come. You won’t find them in a local sporting goods store.
 

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Have @Hoss Delgado order you a flat before you come. You won’t find them in a local sporting goods store.
Red Leg
Excellent advice. I will tell him tomorrow . He will be asking me some questions tomorrow about the magnum .458 Winchester rifle made by Birmingham Small Arms which my client used during the incident involving the Gaur.
 

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