The Real Wonder-Nines

Way too much fluff has been written about the silly 9mm Europellet (a.k.a. 9mm Luger), the most egregious being its appellation as the “Wonder-Nine” [eyecross] , the only “wonder” being how people can believe all that crap.

So today I’m going to look at the two real wonder-nine cartridges that came out of Europe, i.e. the 9.3x74R and the 9.3x62mm, both well over a hundred years old and both the only serious contenders to the equally-venerable .375 H&H Magnum (blessings be upon it).


Both cartridges have a bullet diameter of .366″ with a typical weight of 285/286gr, and despite the different casing lengths, they are to all intents and purposes ballistically identical.  The 9.3x74R is, as the nomenclature suggests, a rimmed cartridge intended for use in double rifles such as the Beretta 689:

…while the rimless 9.3x62mm (sometimes called the 9.3x62mm Mauser) is available for both the Mauser Model 12 and 98:

…the Sako 85 Bavarian:

…the CZ 550 line:

…and SIG Sauer’s Model 100 XT plastic rifle is also available in this caliber:

No prizes for guessing which rifle I’d pick, but let’s just say that full-length stocks make me twitch in all sorts of places, while plastic stocks… never mind.

The 9.3x62mm is expensive to shoot, not so much because of the ammo cost (inexpensive Prvi Partizan sells for around $26 per box, while premium hunting ammo runs around $90 — in other words, pretty much the same as .300 Win Mag) but because the rifles thus chambered are generally super-spendy (with the exception of the Sauer 100 XT rifle, for around $700-$800;  the wood-stocked “Classic” is about $200 more).  CZ-USA doesn’t even issue the Mod 557 in 9.3mm, which is a pity.  (American hunters are already well served with other cartridge choices, which is no doubt the reason CZ didn’t extend the offering.)

As to why the smaller 9.3x62mm is often preferred over the .375 H&H, here’s a decent look at its ballistics.  Also, because the 9.3x62mm can be fired from a “standard” length bolt-action rifle, it’s still cheaper than  the longer “magnum” or “Safari” rifles — and, as the linked article suggests, its sectional density / penetration is pretty much the equal of the .375H&H, for considerably less recoil.

It’s even worse for the rimmed 9.3x74R cartridge (see here for an example), although I note that you can find the excellent Ruger #1 Medium Sporter chambered thusly, for about the same price as a regular quality bolt-action rifle.


I don’t think that anyone reading this is going to rush out and buy a rifle in either chambering anytime soon, but should you come across one for a decent price in a garage- or estate sale sometime, know that you won’t be making a bad buy, or buying something shooting an inadequate cartridge.


  1. Oh Lordy bless you Kim !!! I fell in love with the 9.3×62 about 2 decades ago. Cartridges of the World sits on my nite stand. I simply detest the new super duper cartridges pushed today. Give me something with 100 years of service under its belt anyday. As noted CZ had a run but I missed it. Then Ruger had a sweet Hawkeye African model a while back. Picked it up in a hurry !!!! Life is complete !!!! Beautiful and fine shooter. Even with my old eyes and a scope runs 5 right around an inch at 100 yards. So if I ever come across a big Eland in my neighborhood Home Depot parking lot or a lovely Irish Elk down by the local 7-11 I am ready !!!

    1. It started out so wonderful, scrolling through a beautiful assortment of rifles and then the plastic Sig. It’s like thumbing through an old girly mag and seeing Phyllis Diller as the centerfold. It’s enough to make a dildo go limp.

      1. I KNEW I should have put the SIG Classic in there, but the plastic one is so much cheaper than all the others…
        Forgive me, Dear Readers, for I have sinned.

  2. Years and years ago I seriously looked at the 9.3×62 but went with the .338-06 instead. I did find out about the 9.3×64 which nobody seems to ever talk about. I liked the stats, but 30 years ago nobody had cases or loaded ammo. My first centerfire rifle was a full length stock Interarms Mk X in .30-06. And I’ve loved Mausers ever since. Thanks for the post.

  3. If there’s another rifle raffle, I’d be happy buying tickets for any of those bolties in left hand.

  4. Maybe 9.3 x 74R?

    Big bullets, moving slow, just work. So do small ones moving fast, but where would the fun be if there was only one answer?

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