Why are some European Cartridges so odd?

For instance, why is the standard infantry rifle of Germany in the Second World War in .312 inches bullet diameter and have a bullet weight of 154 grains? Why is the rather famous, well respected dangerous game rifle have a diameter of .366 inches and a bullet weight of 186 grains.

Because it’s both are metric cartridges. The former round above is the 8mm Mauser, or more properly the 7.92mm Mauser. The bullet weight is an ‘even’ ten grams. The latter cartridge is the 9.3x57Rmm cartridge. Bore diameter is a simple 9.2mm and bullet weight is 12 grams. See? Simple numbers.

Consider the .45 ACP cartridge. In metric it is 11.5mm – which is reasonable – and bullets – for military load – is 14.9 grams. Which is close to a tenth.

Then the Europeans are as goofy as the U. S. about some things. 7.92mm gets rounded to 8mm. Look at cartridge lengths for most anything in Cartridges of the World.

Consider the .32 ACP (Automatic) round. It’s not .320 inches. Usually it’s .312 inches, but that doesn’t have much of a ring to it, huh? In Europe, (metric) the round is known as .7.65 Browning (after the designer) and would actually measure .3012 inches. But it is exactly the same as the U. S. cartridge.

The British aren’t all that innocent either. Officially, they use ‘English’ measurements (go figure) the same as the United States. But they fudge as well. The militarily obsolete but very useful “British .303” round is actually sized for .312 inch bullets. Since that cartridge has been around since 1888, that may have something to do with it. The U. K. also uses a different – than the U. S. – method of measuring bore diameter. We measure bore (the inside of a barrel) by the groove diameter. The British measure the land diameter. So a particular rifle once quite popular for medium sized game was called .256 Mannlicher; while the U. S. thought of it as a .264 bore and in Europe it was known as the 6.5x53Rmm or 6.5 Dutch. It’s very close in size (no matter which system is used) to the 6.5mm Carcano or 6.5mm Arisaka. With a huge rim.

We should be remiss not to mention the different names for the same cartridge. But that is a whole new discussion. So, I’ll leave it with the information the .38 S&W (not special) is the same cartridge as the obsolete British revolver cartridge .380/200. The 200 refers to the bullet weight in grains. Which was lowered to 176 grains at some point. But the name was kept.

No point in confusing anyone. :rimshot!:

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I must admit, I am somewhat a stickler for accuracy about words.  I insist, perhaps with some abrasion,  on using the correct word.
For instance, in terms of firearms there are four words or phrases for items used in a firearm to  contain ammunition for continuous firing.  (Actually five, but two are a distinction between types.)
Magazine:  A magazine is part of a firearm used to contain more than one round ready for firing in – reasonably – rapid succession.  There are two types.  
‘Fixed’ magazine which cannot be removed from the arm casually, like the tube magazine under the barrel of a lever action rifles or the ‘box’ magazine of many bolt action rifles.  They do hold several loaded cartridges for immediate use.  
“Detachable’ magazines may be removed at will by the operator and replaced at will to extend the period of rapid fire.  Most current handguns have such. The magazine is removed from the arm to reload the magazine, or to replace with another loaded magazine or clean, as needed.  
The Government Model (originally by John Moses Browning and Colt firearms has such a device.   The FN or Browning High Power has (had) such a devise.  Glocks have detachable magazines.  Nearly all fully or semi-automatic rifles (the M-14 and M-16 rifles have such, as does the M1 Carbine, the Bren Machine gun and so on.  
‘Clips’ are usually stamped and mostly disposable items (at least originally conceived to be) which hold several loaded rounds for rapid insertion into a fixed magazine.  The M1903 rifle had a fixed magazine and was reloaded rapidly by use of five round ‘clips’.  Most of the bolt action rifles used by militaries were reloaded using clips from about 1888 until during the Second World War.  
An item commonly confused with a ‘clip’ is properly known as an ‘en-bloc loading device’.  The commonest, most well known of the sort is the device for the M1 Garand.  It is stamped, holds eight rounds and makes a ‘ping’ sound when ejected from the rifle when empty.  Other versions of this were far more common in the past in the Mannlicher rifles and the Carcano.  
Lastly is the ‘belt’ of ammunition used primarily in machine guns.  Usually employed in light to medium use machine guns for continuous firing.  
All these items contain ammunition to be used for a firearm.  They are not interchangeable terms.  However, through neglect and lack of learning, a ‘clip’ and a ‘magazine’ are nearly interchangeable terms these days.  ‘Clip’ and ‘en bloc loading device’ (which I agree is a rather tortuous term, but I suppose ‘ebld’ never caught on) are used interchangeably even more so.
This occurs with other English words as well.  When I was younger, the word ‘gay’ meant happy, carefree and light hearted.  One hears it used that way in movies and songs from prior to the 1960s.  It now means ‘homosexual’.  Words do change over time, but I am admittedly somewhat opposed to the idea.  I’m old and grumpy that way.
Perhaps the most irritating (to this old man) misused word of current times is ‘awesome’.  The Oxford Dictionary defines awesome as “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.”  It is currently casually used in the sense of ‘something I like’.  
Merriam-Webster defines awesome as “inspiring awe”.  
Frankly I do not see sandwiches or movies (in general) in such fashion.  The story of movies or books may inspire awe, but the movie or book itself is not.  Sandwiches can be good, proper or soggy and movies are either ‘well done’ or ‘poorly done’ depending on how well they depict and explain the story line, the writing, the scenery (many of the John Ford cowboy movies used backdrops of the U. S. south-west even the dialogue was less than perfect) or are entertaining (the Marx Brothers movies suffered from poor camera technique, mediocre lighting and rather ordinary scenery – by modern standards, but are still quite fun to watch).
Of particular note, the word ‘awesome’ was used to describe a King or Monarch.  When in the presence of one with the power to kill one casually, one feels ‘daunted, great admiration, apprehension or fear’.  
More than a Monarch is the Person of God.  One who can make the entire Universe – including the laws and invisible forces like gravity and the quantum nature of many things – without working up a sweat is pretty much awe inspiring.  Much more so than a Mustang or Lamborghini automobile.  (Which are I admit, pretty impressive to me.)  
However, most of us rational folks can grasp that God is ‘awesome’ in a way not applicable to a sandwich, movie or song one likes.

Get a grip.

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Curiosity of Early Berdan Case Manufacture

Just an historical note regarding early smokeless Berdan primed cases. 

A short explanation.  Boxer primers (named for the inventor, Colonel Edward M. Boxer, Royal Artillery of Great Britain) are those most commonly found in U. S. made (or made for U. S. markets) ammunition.  The primer has an anvil as part of the device and the cavity or pocket in the case has a bottom against which to seat the primer and a single, central ‘flash hole’ to permit the flame from the primer into the powder chamber and ignite the powder charge.  

Berdan primers (named for Colonel Hiram Berdan of the U. S. Army – Berdan’s Sharpshooters) have no included anvil.  The anvil is part of the case, and the ‘flash holes’ are two smaller holes 180 degrees opposite each other in the base of the primer pocket.  

One can look this up in most reloading manuals or on line, complete with pictures.  

Of note, nearly all European manufactured ammunition is Berdan primed.  The Berdan case manufacturing process seems more intricate, time consuming and costly to me, but I’m not a manufacturer.  All U. S. ammunition (commercial and military) is Boxer primed.  (That does seem backward and I wonder about it on cold winter nights.)  

The round in question is a French Lebel (8x50mm R) case.  

The headstamp shows the numerals 86 or 98.  The bottom numeral on the headstamp is a ‘3’ and the orientation (read the headstamp from one view) makes the upper numerals 86.  So I think this may signify a headstamp showing the ammunition made in March of 1886.  1886 was the year of acceptance of the Lebel cartridge and rifle.  Even if made in ’98, that would be 1898 as the cartridge was no longer made by government arsenals and did not have the rather obscure government headstamp by 1998.  

This was a fired round from a forgotten source.  Like a number things in my life, it was given to me in a small pile (probably in a box or bag) of ‘stuff’ by one who said something on the order of “You like guns, I found this gun stuff in the attic.  Here!”  (Fair warning, it will happen to you at some point.)

It is a Berdan style primer arrangement.  As noted above, Berdan primers are not a novelty in European ammunition.

Three parts of case (including primer cup)

When I cleaned the case, it fell apart.  Upon examination, I found it interesting.  The case came apart in three pieces.

Instead of the case being one continuous construction of brass, the main cavity for the primer pocket was part of the main case.  (Shown above with headstamp.)

A smaller, internal ‘cap’ was made to fit from the interior of the case into the main cavity.

This little ‘cap’ was made with the internal anvil and the two flash holes and – I presume – force fit into the cavity from the inside.  Again – I presume – this was done prior to the final shaping of the outer case walls by forcing the case into a die prior to final charging and bullet seating.

Inserted ‘cap’, side facing primer

Inserted cap, side facing combustion chamber


The third piece is the primer cap, which once contained the primer compound.

As the round has been fired, the compound has been consumed.

I find this construction complex.  I suppose it seemed a good idea at the time.  To my knowledge, Berdan type cases are made from one piece and have been since prior to the Second World War.   doing a ‘web search’ I find no information regarding the manufacturing process for Berdan primed CASES.  (A fair bit of information about primers.)

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New bullets we need

No big secret, 6.5mm (.263-.264 inch) caliber cartridges are getting popular. I fully agree it’s about time.

Consider the following:

6.5x52mm Carcano (Italian). Adopted by Italian Army in 1891. Used much the same loading as the rest at the time. 10.1 gram bullet of .268 inch diameter (probably seemed like a good idea at the time) at 2430 fps. The rifle itself had some design quirks which made it less desirable for sporting use. The cartridge has great potential.

The 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser (now renamed the 6.5x55mm SCAN or SKAN for Scandinavia, it seems) was adopted for use in 1894 in rifles from Mauser (and many made locally). Also adopted about the same time by Norway for use in Krag-Jorgensen rifles. Original loadings used a 10.1 gram (156 to 160 grain) full metal jacket at about 2330 fps (710 meters per second). Still used to this day in Europe to hunt and kill nearly all indigenous animals, smallest to largest.

One notes more than one company is now offering 6.5x55mm chambered rifles using full strength actions. Which implies higher muzzle velocities.6.5mm

6.5x53mmR was offered in the 1895 Mannlicher rifle sold to the Dutch and Romanian Armies. Used the same type and weight bullet at about 2430 fps. Was popular in Great Britain as the .256 Mannlicher. Ammunition and cases no longer made commercially. Can be made from .303 British cases with a minimum of fuss.

6.5x50mm Arisaka (Japanese) from 1897. Suffered greatly in use by a rifle found to be unsafe (unidentified), the cartridge was used in the 1905 Model 38 rifle. Initially designed for a 10.1 gram FMJ at just under 2100 fps or a 9 gram (139 grain) FMJ at around 2500 fps.

6.5x54mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer (Greek) rifle and cartridge dates from 1903. Very similar to above specifications and ballistics. This is the rifle used by W. M. D. – Karamoja – Bell to kill over 300 elephants in Africa for the ivory trade. Not recommended (or legally allowed) for large, dangerous African game currently.

The 6.5mm caliber cartridges have a history over 100 years old of being quite useful for most any purpose. However, U. S. hunters and shooters have long been leary of ‘metric’ cartridges and not inclined to use such en masse. Until lately, that is.

The 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmore are two fairly recent developments quite popular in the long range target shooting world. One must note a bit of their appeal is the head size, making them easily chambered in ‘common’ bolt and magazine sizes for known rifles. (.308 Winchester and 7.62x39mm – adaptable to AR 15 rifles – head sizes.) The .260 Remington (one version of a 6.5mm x.308 Winchester wildcat) is what should be a marvelously useful hunting round, but Remington management has once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It is rather popular in the long range target faction.

Some modern failures show up as well. The .264 Winchester Magnum was a great idea for the potential high muzzle energy lovers. However, when the round was introduced (1958) the slow powders needed were not yet commonly available. So velocities suffered, barrels were ‘burnt out’ (heat eroded) and no one offered a factory loading in 160 grain weight.

The 6.5 Remington magnum suffered from the same problems, and the rifles had short magazines, so the bullets had to be seated quite deeply.

One great problem with all the modern cartridges is the lack of a heavy bullet. Historically, the 6.5mm round has used a bullet of 10.1 grams or between 156 and 160 grain weight. Now the manufacturers have decided no one needs more than a 9 gram (139-140 graim bullet) for anything.

Hornady is the outlier, offering a 143 grain expanding bullet for large game. They also make bullets of 147 and 153 grain weight, but non-expanding for target and ground hog use.

In the mind of your faithful servant, a 160 or thereabouts grain bullet – OTHER than the round nose type Hornady does indeed manufacture – is needed. Something spitzer pointed and perhaps a boat tail. Which will serve better in ballistic coefficient and therefore range and energy retention.

The same argument can be applied to .358 inch caliber rifles. A .35 Whelen with 250 grain bullet packs a serious wallop on large North American animals. (Moose, Elk, unfriendly bears, Caribou and such.) A 275 grain bullet would do better and give a bit more margin of error in dealing with dangerous game.

One notes the .338 inch bullets are available in 270 grain expanding configuration. One further notes Hornady used to make a 275 grain bullet some years ago. No doubt, that bullet lost popularity with the rise of muzzle velocity.

So, a 6.5mm bullet in 160 grain Spitzer boat tail and a .358 inch bullet in 275 grain Spitzer point would be useful. Perhaps even as ‘seasonal’ offerings.

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I’ve Done It!

The ‘range’ (Four Rivers Sportsmen’s Club, Hastings, Nebraska) to which I belong decided to set up one firing lane as a rimfire only system.  It is all metallic targets of various sizes and limited to rimfire calibers.  (Your club might consider this sort of thing.)

Two of the targets are silhouettes, one is a fox or coyote at the fifty yard mark; the other is a wild or feral pig at twenty five yards.

Metal Pig target for rimfire use
Fox (maybe coyote?)

My apologies for the rather poor editing of the colors. The white doesn’t show up on the picture and I thought black made for better visibility. The fox above really doesn’t have anything dangling from its belly.

There is an entire rimfire lane with other metal targets. They are shown here. Being metal, they ring nicely and move somewhat when hit.

I have two .22 long rifle rifles I commonly shoot. Both .22 rifles will rather handily keep all rounds on the Hog target.  I have them both boar sighted.  


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Just How Old is God, anyway?

How old? Well, He’s really old. The only source of dependable information about God is the Bible. There are probably other references and religious books (considered Divinely inspired) as well, but I tend to stick with the Bible. So that’s what I will do. By the way, for this bit, I cannot think of any other ‘religious work’ that disagrees.

God was in existence prior to the beginning of the Universe. According to the Bible (this section from the Hebrew Torah) God created the Universe. (Genesis 1:1)  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The heavens and the earth? So what does that NOT include?

Just for clarification, this does not alter depending on the age of the Universe. Whether 6000 years (give or take a couple years) or 14 billion years (give or take an eon), God was ‘there’ first.

God will be in existence after the Universe ends. According to the New Testament (not from the Torah, but First Century writings of Christians) in the Book of Revelations (more than one) from chapter four on to the end, John Bar Zebedee records the end of the Universe – as we know it. In short and for this essay, God is still around.

In the Hebrew Tanakh, Psalms (the same as the Christian Bible book of Psalms) 90 speak of the eternal existence of God. Verse 2 in contemporary English uses the term ‘eternal’. In the probably more familiar King James Version, the phrase is translated ‘from everlasting to everlasting’. Not just forever in the future, but forever in the past as well.

So. How old is God? The question is meaningless. One cannot set an answer. God has existed an infinite period before ‘right now’ (which seems less and less a fixed point as I age) and will exist an infinite period ‘after’.

One other point on this section: God does not seem to change. He does not change His mind, He does not change His edicts, He does not ‘age’. There are a number of passages showing how God is immutable. In scientific view, time is the passage of events. How water flows. How a clock movement ‘ticks’ along. How a caesium-134 atom decays. Time is change. Without change, time cannot be determined nor detected. God does not change, therefore, God is not subject to time.

What day is it? I have asked this question on occasion. If one were invited into God’s office (a metaphorical structure as far as I know) what date would His calendar show? Would it be the date of what I would think ‘right now’ (whatever that might mean) on Earth in the time zone I lived when last I was aware? Or, as I suspect, God has no such calendar.

To add to the concept of ‘forever’, it follows that in Eternity – the time flow which does not flow – the idea of ‘date’ as in 1 January or 4 July has no immediate meaning. Nor does ‘day of the week’. I have considered if there is a day of the week in Heaven, it will aways be Saturday. The standard week end for most of us. Most of us living in the United States, of course. Most of us living in the United States in the twenty-first century, of course. But our Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath. A day of rest, but not – possibly – of backyard cookouts.

See what I mean? I have no doubt God will sort it out. I’m pretty sure He isn’t waiting on me to show up and figure it out for Him.

So what? What am I leading up to? While God is aware of our day of the week, date and year and time, God lives in ‘eternity’. He is not subject to time and is not bound – as I am and probably all of you – to ‘right now’ and the idea of sixty seconds to every minute for the rest of our lives. He is NOT bound to my time. He is with me at what is to me ‘right now’, but that does not limit Him to me or this time. He was with me when I started typing this essay. He was with me yesterday, all day. He was with Paul the Apostle when Stephen was stoned, when Paul travelled to Damascus that memorial day and when Paul was executed in Rome. He still is with me yesterday. Perhaps I should write ‘He is…’ rather than ‘He was…’ in the forgoing. He is still with me tomorrow. He is still with me when I die (presumably not tomorrow).

Along with the already familiar concept of God being ‘everywhere’ (omnipresent), one must consider God is ‘everywhen’ (omnitemporal?).

How does this effect our understanding? For one thing, it rather ends the discussion of ‘soul sleep’. All souls get to Eternity at Eternity. No one has to wait for anyone else. Which shortens the discussion of “Do people in Heaven know what’s going on here on Earth?”

This will also affect the ‘predestination’ issue. It does not effect God’s Sovereignty, but it changes the perception of ‘picking’ one prior to one’s life. That’s a whole different question, and I’m not going to jump on it. God has it in hand.

Feel free to respond with comments, seconds, objections and what not. As usual, have an argument in support of your position.

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No, It Doesn’t Have to go That Fast!

I am one of some voices who grow faint in contemplating ‘hunting rifle’ velocities.  I see no reason to overwhelm myself with muzzle velocity and pin point accuracy at over five hundred yards.

There I was, looking about in a local gun shop and overheard a conversation between a customer and one of the employees.  The customer announced he was looking for a telescopic sight for his “.375” – no further identification – rifle.  He further stipulated he wanted to be able to shoot at game at 1,000 yards.  

I was confused, wondering what he intended to shoot with a “.375” over half a mile off.  Being the polite (other than the eavesdropping) gentleman I am, I avoided any communication.  

Of course, this brought up a whole bevy of questions to my fertile and suspicious mind.  

Will a “.375” kill game at 1,000 yards?  

What sort of game?  I live in Nebraska; we have deer, but hardly any elk or moose.  In some of the agricultural area, one might have a shot at 1,000 yards, but one must distinguish game animal from cow or (John) Deere.  

Target shooting?  Yes.  There are long range target shooting matches (I’m told) about.  I think a .375 H&H would be fairly good for range and wind drift considerations.  However, I would think one would need a fairly heavy rifle to deal with recoil.

How is the shooter to spot game at that range?  I can spot movement, but it’s hard to distinguish antlers at that range (presuming one is limited to taking one sex or the other).  For me, at 1,000 yards, I might have difficulty distinguishing a moose from a Fiat 500.  Especially if the Fiat were brown.

Back to reality, more or less.  Humans have successfully bagged game animals since the dawn of humanity with rather feeble weapons.  Rocks and clubs were probably the earliest.  Then pointy sticks.  Then pointy sticks with chipped rock points.  Atlatls.  Bows.  And so on.  We come to firearms.  

Hunters using firearms have taken much game with primarily precision shooting, but with firearms suitable to the task.  Most game of any sort, varmint or pests, small game and so on up to the African dangerous critters are usually taken at less than two hundred yards.  (One hunts elephants up to the point of smelling each other.  A normal human can smell an elephant a ways off and trust me, the elephant will detect a human sooner.)  

Shooting a squirrel or bunny does not take a great deal of power.  I’m sure the anonymous gun shop gentleman will not be shooting at either at 1,000 yards.  Probably not an elephant, either.  

Many manufacturers of firearms and ammunition seek to convince hunters – consumers – of the overwhelming advantage of having the latest, fastest, fanciest, coolest rifle and cartridge combination possible.  (Much like cars, if  no one buys them, the company folds.)  However, consider the vast number of Odocoileus virginianus taken with the lowly .30-30 rifle since 1895.  

Why should one think the lowly .30-30 has somehow ceased to function?  It isn’t like the laws of physics have changed.  (Even with Drs. Einstein and Hawking the basic laws are still the same.)  

Frankly, I’m not a lever gun proponent.  They work and are useful for all manner of things, but I’m a bolt gun sort of person.  They fit in my idea of being a gentleman.  And they’re available in pretty much any caliber.  

No.  I do not have a single answer.  Hunting is an art form and self actuating experience as much as a science.  Besides, there are all sorts of game and all sorts of terrain in which game will be taken.  But I do have some considerations for the hunter to consider.

What is being hunted?  Cartridges run the spectrum from small cartridges for small creatures to huge cartridges for large creatures.  Some game is thin skinned while other game is very tough to penetrate.  Some game is dangerous and may attack.  Other game is not.  One notes most bears are not the cuddly, friendly sort in the cartoons.  Female bears with young have less sense of humor than a state trooper upon whom one just spilled a beer.

Generally speaking, the larger the critter, the more ‘killing’ is required.  A rifle set up for rabbits will probably lack authority deer and be incredibly insufficient for elk or moose.  Do not stumble upon a large dangerous bear, for sure.  

Looking at the other direction, a rifle suitable for dangerous game will surely dispatch any of the smaller critters.  However, taking a .358 Winchester along while hunting is rather large for deer and far too much for rabbit.  The recoil might be objectionable as well.  Probably.  

Also to be considered is terrain.  Prong horned Antelope are notorious for being found in very open, arid areas.  Typically a prong horn will be a ways off and rather skittish.  This is one of the furthest shoots commonly made.  Or not made, as the situation dictates.  

On the other hand, deer in the Pacific Northwest (and other parts of the country) is typically found in forests.  Visibility is short and a ‘long shot’ may be no more than fifty yards.  A telescopic sight, good for shooting targets at several hundred yards will probably not be needed.

Mountain goats, prized as a trophy, live in the mountains.  (Go figure.)  Usually ranges are farther than average and the cartridge must be capable of reaching out accurately and powerfully.

Carrying a rifle in either long tramps through the forrest or while mountain climbing can be a burden.  Typically one seeks a rather ‘light’ rifle in these endeavors.  

One notes a “light” rifle is not always a “light” rifle.  Stalking a mountain goat usually requires some form of telescopic sight, which deep woods stalking does not.  Properly taking a deer or other ‘woods’ animal usually requires a heavier caliber than a mountain goat.  

Cartridges also have purposes and overlap.  Big cartridges usually come in bigger rifles, but some moderate sized rifles have rather powerful cartridges which mean recoil.  

Truisms for recoil:  All things being equal, (the rifle being the same rifle)

  • heavier bullets – the projectile – will generate more recoil.
  • faster bullets (pushing the same weight bullet faster) – will generate more recoil. 
  • A heavier rifle will mitigate recoil.  
  • A heavier rifle is not as much fun to carry, especially all day.

There is a trade off of bullet weight and bullet velocity when leaving the rifle (or handgun).  A slower bullet – typically a heavier bullets which does not move as fast – will have a slightly gentler ‘push’ feeling to the recoil while a lighter, faster bullet will give a more abrupt ‘slam’ feeling.  This is ‘felt’ or  ‘perceived recoil’; it is the amount of recoil ‘felt’ by the shooter, not the mechanical or mathematical amount of recoil generated.  

Bad stock fit or design – will generate more felt recoil.  A stock with a great deal of drop at the butt will tend to ‘rotate’ – around the pivot where the butt plate meets the shoulder – up and hits the shooter in the cheekbone.  The recoil isn’t any greater, really.  But it is more objectionable.

It should be clear when using the same cartridge and bullet weight, the lighter the rifle, the more recoil is generated.  And, surely, the heavier the rifle, the less a given cartridge recoils.  

The rub is to balance the recoil one can handle against the power needed.  

What is needed to harvest a specific animal?
The current trend seems to place great value on high speed. The factories seem desperate to have their cartridge go faster than brand X. Some of the ‘new’ cartridges are designed for long range target shooting and could be useful. The lure of a small group at 1,000 yards and more is apparent, even to me. But my eyes are old and they seem to give up quickly. So long range shooting is not at the top of my list.
My mind is more interesting in hunting game. Even if hunting season is too cold and too early in the morning.

Kinetic energy vs. Momentum.
A fast bullet is depending on kinetic energy – the sort of energy one finds in advertising and comparisons – which is calculated by squaring the velocity and multiplying the product by the mass (not weight) of the bullet then dividing that product in half. Setting aside all the complexities of calculating the result, one notes two often overlooked factors. One is the kinetic energy of the bullet is calculated at impact, not at the muzzle. So the advertised value of ‘muzzle energy’ is a good for comparison at the muzzle, not where the game is standing (or running). Secondly, one often achieves high velocity by using a light bullet. As it happens, lighter bullets loose velocity sooner in distance of flight than heavier bullets. Which means the impressive energy falls off rather quickly.

Momentum is developed by the product of velocity (not squared) and bullet weight.  Momentum seems to be less impressive – lower numbers – but it a good measure of quickly and humanely killing an animal.  Momentum does not dissipate with velocity loss as quickly as kinetic energy.  Momentum is also a greater factor in penetration.  This endears the concept to larger animals with greater and perhaps stronger bodies.  Like African game and large bears and moose.  

I have not found a table precisely defining the size of critter and required energy or momentum.  This can be deceptive as well.  A mountain lion can be quite dangerous, but is not a thick skinned, heavily armored, creature.  Sufficient power is needed to reach the vital components of the body, but not the level needed to penetrate and kill a Cape Buffalo.  

What accuracy is needed?

Hopefully, the reader recognizes any level of power is wasted if not applied correctly.  Normally, this means a direct hit to the heart and lung area, or the central nervous system.  A shot ‘anywhere’ on the animal in question is not particularly effective.

“Big” game in the North American Continent usually includes anything of deer and larger animals, with antelope and mountain goat included.  Feral pigs are often hunted, but are not always classed as ‘game animals’.  However, feral pigs are often quite impervious to small arms fire.  

The target zone of most of the ‘Big’ game in North America is around eight to ten inches in diameter.  (Obviously one is expected to do some research on the particular game animal.)  Usually a one inch placement criteria is not required.  

Distances are normally reasonably short, less than two hundred yards or so.  Varmints are shot at various ranges, ground hogs are typically longer range (two hundred to five hundred yards).  Antelope live in plains areas, and are normally encountered at several hundred yards.  Mountain goats are encountered in mountainous areas and legendarily at distances of over two hundred yards.  

Then again, it is only the long, spectacular shots that are written up on the commercial periodicals.  (Which probably influenced the fellow mentioned in the second paragraph.)  

So, by and large, one is shooting at an eight inch circle (more or less) at less than two hundred yards.  (Deer are commonly taken at one hundred yards and less.)  So it’s easy to see one does not require a bench rest rifle giving half-inch groups.  They are usually heavy, as well.

With all that, what conclusions may be drawn?  

I do not see the need for a “long range” rifle.  This applies to both range and accuracy.  A rifle that will group within four inches (2 minutes of angle) at two hundred yards will suffice in most cases.  

I do not see any need for an ‘excessively powerful’ rifle.  When first developed. the .257 Roberts was considered a high power cartridge.  Also consider the .30-30 Winchester has been used by many and for many years to kill deer, and possibly larger game.  I personally find nearly anything with a ‘belt’ on the case to be of greater power and velocity than needed.  Or even wanted.  Without attempting to name my own biases, I suggest a minimum caliber of .243 Winchester – which I consider to be the absolute minimum for humane kills and others think is just perfect – up to something like a .308  Winchester.   Once again ignoring some current trends, a heavier bullet seems to be of greater effect than a lighter bullet.  

Depending on location or type of hunting to be done, one must consider weight of rifle as a factor.  If one is shooting from a tree stand, blind or out the back of the camper, the weight of the rifle is probably irrelevant.  

However, if the tree stand is two miles into the forrest with undergrowth, one may not want to lug a heavy rifle in and out.  For sneaking and prowling in the undergrowth, a light rifle does not tax one’s strength as much.

Probably not more than around seven pounds or so for convenience.  

If the reader has a rifle and likes it, do not let anything I say be taken as criticism.  There is no need to buy a new rifle (as if one needed an excuse to buy a new rifle) just to align with my thinking.  

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