Fuzzy Thinking

Oy, here we go again with an article written with no clear purpose in mind.  Entitled “8 Best Charge-Stopping Bear Cartridges “, it represents unclear thought and worse, unclear direction.  Really, it should be two articles:  best long gun cartridges and best handgun cartridges, but they’re lumped together, with hilarious results.  Here are his top 8:

  1. .45-70 Government
  2. .454 Casull
  3. .44 Remington Magnum
  4. .375 H&H Magnum
  5. .50 Alaskan
  6. 12-Gauge Slug
  7. .338 Winchester Magnum
  8. .357 S&W Magnum

Let me do the low-hanging fruit first:  as much as I love the thing, forget the .357 Mag as a bear-stopper.  Seriously.  Considering that the .454 Casull has been included, there’s no reason to ignore the .500 S&W or for that matter the .460 either.  And I may be out of touch — it’s been known to happen — but I’ve never heard of the .50 Alaskan.

I’ve never hunted bear, but having hunted in Africa I know a little about dangerous game.  Understand one thing:  there’s a difference between hunting dangerous game — where your shot hits a body which isn’t expecting it — and stopping dangerous game, where you have to stop something weighing at least half a ton running at you with a quart of adrenaline pumping through its veins and homicide in its heart.   If you want to stop that beast, there needs to be a “.4” in the cartridge nomenclature, and “.5” is better, but not many people can handle the recoil of the latter, me included.  Also, a quick follow-up shot is more difficult when your rifle barrel is pointing at 12 o’clock after the first one.  Don’t as me how I know this (hello, .505 Gibbs and .500 Nitro).  Bullet weight should be in the 400gr-500gr range.  Dave Petzal has the truth of it, here.)

Here are the cartridges I would consider as bear-stoppers, divided into rifle and handgun (and handgun only because you can’t always carry a rifle).  I’ve left off the Nitro Express and exotic cartridges from Dakota, STW and Lazzeroni simply because you’re less likely to find them at Bubba’s Bait ‘N Bullets out in Nowhere WY


  • .458 Win Mag
  • .460 Weatherby Mag
  • .416 Rem Mag
  • Honorable mentions for the .460 Dakota, .404 Jeffrey and .458 Lott, which are excellent, but not freely available.

And now the marginal stoppers:

  • .375 H&H Mag (see here, on a black bear)
  • .338 Win Mag (not many African PHs use this — “too much kick, too much noise, not enough stopping”, as one once said to me)
  • .45-70 Gov (Buffalo Bore loads only, none of that Cowboy Action stuff)
  • And an honorable mention for the 12ga slug, of suitable mass and velocity, at close ranges only.

Now for the handgun cartridges (the list is much shorter):

  • .500 S&W Mag
  • .454 Casull
  • .460 S&W Mag (XVR)
  • Honorable mention for the .480 Ruger.

…and the marginal choices:

  • .44 Rem Mag
  • .41 Rem Mag

Don’t even think about the Magnum Research BFR in .45-70 Govt, because shooting the heavy and fast Buffalo Bore loads will end in wrist reconstruction surgery.

Speaking of the XVR:

I would respectfully suggest that if you’re going to carry that beast around, you may as well carry a rifle.

Ummm No

It appears that there’s a new kid in town:

New Cartridge for 2021: 6.8 Western

Forgive me, but I thought that one of the teaching points we got from all the “short magnum” cartridges of a couple decades ago was that these squashed little cartridge cases can cause feeding problems?  Or have there been developments in feeding ramps which I missed and that take these problems away?

Regardless, I can confidently predict that this new thing is doomed to failure, because if serious shooters like me can’t get their hands on their favorite .260 Rem, 6.5x55mm, .270 Win or even 6.5mm Grendel and 7x57mm — actually, cartridges of any description — what makes the Brains Trust [sic]  at Winchester think that we’re going to run out and buy a new rifle for a new cartridge that has an uncertain heritage?

Pro tip for the ammo guys:  get more existing ammo types into the pipeline first — yeah, I’ve heard your excuses for the shortages, and I only half-buy them — before you start fucking around with exotic new ones.

And frankly, I fail to see how much better the 6.8 Western is going to be than any of the cartridges I listed above — and Chuck Hawks would probably agree with me.


Blogging has always been fun.  It’s fairly easy for me to write about, well, anything, and when all else fails, there’s always this:


…or this:

In these times, however — the times that try men’s souls (to coin a phrase) — there seems little incentive to pass comment about what just happened to us, and what is likely to happen to us.  All I feel is sullen rage, resentment and a burning desire to bite the head off a rattlesnake.

I wish sometimes that I could be a Lefty, and take to the streets, burn shit down and in general act like a 10-year-old child;  but I can’t do that.  The very thought of causing destruction to innocent people’s property, or beating people up in the streets, or doing any of that crap that the Left are so fond of doing when they feel aggrieved — well, I’m not going to do any of it.  Futile gestures are not my thing.

But at the same time, I feel like I’m living in some kind of hellish limbo.  I know, this is no doubt how the Left felt after Hillary Clinton lost;  but the difference is that while Trump was never going to put homosexuals into concentration camps, or overturn Roe v. Wade, or start deporting people en masse, there is every reason to suspect that the new crop of Lefties really are going to raise our taxes, try to confiscate our guns, muzzle our voices and fuck up our economy under the guise of “saving the planet” or some such bullshit.

So please forgive me if over the next few days or so the quality of this blog seems to head downhill, wherein I seem to be just mailing it in instead of giving it the gas.

Normal service will resume shortly, probably with even more invective and loathing than before.  Right now, however, I just feel like tying George Soros to a chair and beating him to death with a baseball bat.

And I may just reconfigure this blog somewhat, with a new, less self-pitying name.  Watch this space, and content yourself with this thought:

Simple Solution

Apparently, some woman has woken up to the world we live in:

A TIKTOK user has shared footage of a bizarre message she found written on the snow on top of her trash cans. The woman, named Jade and believed to live in the US, found the writing as she went to take her rubbish out one morning.

We all know (don’t we?) that criminals signal to each other about the prospective victims for their thuggery, in this case:

…which, as we all know, means “single woman lives here”.  Needless to say, when she went to the cops about it, she got a shrug of the shoulders and a “good luck” kiss-off — because, as any fule kno, the job of the cops is to clean up after a crime has been committed, not actually help prevent it.

Anyway, the women has got all sorts of advice from other online people, ranging from the ridiculous to the outright silly, when really all she needs to do is get a gun and learn how to use it.

Then she could create a couple signs like this:

…and stick them up in various windows around the place.  I don’t know if that would work, but it’s no worse than any of the other pieces of advice she’s received.

Of course, if Jade lives in a socialist location like California or New York, she’s just SOL, because their advice is pretty much of the “just give him what he wants” variety, which is fine unless he wants something like, I dunno, your life or your vagina or something, and not just the contents of your purse.

Marksmanship In Flip-Flops

There is an outstanding series on hunting in South Africa’s Eastern Cape:  a gentle, funny and very accurate portrayal of the conditions over there.   I’ve never hunted in that part of the world, and I wouldn’t care to do that now — heat, hills and thorn trees are not my idea of fun.  But it is for these kids, and they do it with consummate skill, in sandals.

Take an hour or so and follow the sidebar’s recommendations on the Oxwagon Diaries.

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.