Breaking The Law

Question from Reader JockC, via email:

“Did you own any other rifles back in South Africa, or was the Israeli Mauser the only one?”

Getting one gun in those days was relatively easy.  As I recall, the license application for the Llama pistol took about a month to be granted, and the Mauser only a matter of weeks.  “Self-protection” for the handgun required a background check, but “hunting” and a bolt-action rifle was hardly even scrutinized, as far as I can tell.

Getting your second gun always took longer, as the “Why do you need another gun?” had to be justified, and “Because” wasn’t acceptable.  Once again, the hunting thing was much easier, especially if one was applying for a larger- or smaller-caliber chambering.  A second handgun, unless for a specific sporting purpose, like a target pistol?  Oy.  It could take as long as a year for the license to be granted.  So I only ever owned one handgun at a time, as did many of us.

Officially, that is.

The only other centerfire rifle I owned back in the old Racist Republic was an Oviedo Spanish Mauser in 7x57mm, similar to the one below except that I had the bolt altered so I could use a scope with the thing.

I have spoken many times before of my affection for the old, gently-recoiling cartridge, seen here alongside the other popular ones in use at the time:

The long bullet of the 7×57 allowed for astounding penetration, which often made a “quartering” shot as deadly as a side-on shot.

The Orviedo Mauser was the Model 1893 (similar to the “Boer” Mauser of later fame), and many was the approving nod I got from Oom (uncle) Sarel and his farmer friends whenever I uncased it.

This was the gun I used for almost all my hunting (a.k.a. poaching), and it was never registered to me under S.A. law because reasons.  (I did occasionally use borrowed rifles, but the Spanish Mauser was the main one.) I got it from the estate of an acquaintance who’d been killed in a car accident, and whose father just wanted to get rid of it.

Using the unregistered gun instead of the Izzy (which was registered to me), I had no compunction about tossing it into a ditch should the game rangers ever appear… but fortunately that never happened.  Just before I emigrated, I gave it to the farmer on whose farm I did all my hunting out in the Northern Cape.

As to the area where we hunted:  yikes.  I have no pictures of where I hunted, nor any trophy pictures, because under the conditions I hunted, those could be called “evidence” and used against me.  But I found some pictures of the terrain up in the northern Cape Province (as it was back then), and they should give you a glimpse of conditions along the fringes of the Kalahari Desert:

       

Dry as hell, hot as hell, no place for White men (as the saying goes) and only mad dogs and Englishmen etc. etc.

Despite the harsh conditions, game was relatively plentiful, although we usually only hunted for culling purposes — such as when a springbok herd started grazing on pastures meant for sheep or cattle, and had to be made to fear the area.  I myself grazed on springbok biltong for about six months after that occasion.  Then there were the lions, who just followed the game onto the farm, and had to be dealt with, in the words of the farmer, “so they don’t develop a taste for beef, sheep and humans.”

I would get an evening call from Oom Sarel the farmer:  “Neef (nephew) Kim, do you feel like a bit of shooting this weekend?” and if I was free, I’d load up the car and set off before midnight Friday for the six-hour drive out to Kuruman, the nearest town.

I enjoyed it immensely, as much as for the companionship of those weekend hunts as for the actual hunting.  What I learned from those outings was that I wasn’t as good a shot as the farmers — hell, the neighbor’s 17-year-old was death on wheels, and when he shot, he worked his rifle’s bolt so fast it sounded more like semi-auto fire.  (It was a Sauer .270 Win, I think, but I do remember that his one-shot kill ratio was well over 75%.  Astounding.)

Anyway, that’s the story of my hunting days.  There were a couple others, in different areas, but those weren’t as illicit, nor as enjoyable, as the ones out on Oom Sarel’s farm.


Side note:  In South Africa, younger people address their elders as “oom” (uncle) or “tannie” (auntie) out of respect, even when not related.  In return, the older folks will call the younger ones “neef” (nephew), “seun” (son) or “dogter” (daughter) and “niggie” (niece).  It is a very affectionate and respectful custom, and I have to admit that I miss it.

The Afrikaans “g” is pronounced the same as the Scottish “ch” as in “loch”.

Kill Them With Fire

Like most Africans (real ones born in Africa, not the phony Jesse Jackson kind), I have a fear and loathing of snakes.  I’ve heard all the calls that they keep the rodent population down and all that, and if the slithery little bastards kept on doing just that, I’d be fine with them.

But they don’t, do they?

It is said to feel like two sharp nails being hammered into your skin – and we can reveal that deadly snake bites are rising dramatically in a trend that is worrying experts.
An Austrian man was the latest victim when he “felt a pinch in the genital area” while sitting on his toilet at home in Graz on Monday, according to a local police report.

Wait:  Austrian?  At first I read “Australian” (which would be nothing out of the ordinary) but was stopped by “Graz” (which isn’t in Australia).  Sheesh, if the fucking things are in Austria, they could be anywhere.  And they are.

Read the rest of the article, and I hope your breakfast has settled, because otherwise you’ll be heading off to the can to puke.

Just check before you do, though:

Brrrr… I fucking hate them.

Whenever there’s a chance that I’m about to walk anywhere remotely bush-y, I carry my little NAA Mini-Revolver, and it’s loaded with .22 Mag shotshells.

I once saw a video of a snake being shot with one of these, and it was excellent:  in a split second, it went from being all hissy and strikey to totally limp — whereupon I bought about 500 rounds of the stuff.

Be careful out there.

Relaxing Shooting

As it’s Sunday, what better way to while away a little time than to watch the peerless Dave Carrie’s tours of various birdshooting estates?  So load up a large mug of coffee / brandy, and enjoy.

Trump Turnberry

Yorkshire Moors

Belvoir Castle (pronounced “beevah”)

Hunting With Beefy (Sir Ian Botham is one of the greatest cricketers England has ever produced)

Llechweddygarth

Videos made before the Chinkvirus screwed it all up, of course.

And as always, a lovely way to pass the time.

And just to show what UK hunters have to put up with, here’s Rachel Carrie (no relation to Dave) and the reaction to her activities.

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.

Range Report – UK Edition

Mr. FM was engaged in ritual slaughter at one of his estates (in Devon, I think) over the past weekend:

…which is all well and good, but I have two serious issues with this:

1) According to the Daily Mail, Britishland is supposed to be suffering near-Arctic conditions at the moment:

…but clearly they’ve been lying again, or else Teh Weather doesn’t have the necessary permits to wander onto Mr. FM’s properties.

2) I wasn’t there to join in the festivities.

[exit, eating his liver ]