It’s been over a month since my last blog… Time does go by, doesn’t it? Well, the reason is simple enough to explain in a few words but the reality is… it proved to be complicated, and I’ll not go into that here, except to say that I needed to make some changes and improvements to my computer system, and change networks.
Last time, I gave a general overview of my TIKKA T3 in 9.3 X 62. In brief, it’s a delightful little gun that delivers a healthy “thump”! It’s appearance belies it’s obvious capabilities.
A short review of rifles and ammo now manufactured in the U.S. was also mentioned. To extend that, I’ll mention (again) that TIKKA rifles are a division of SAKO of Finnland, which is renowned as a maker of fine firearms. SAKO, in turn, is owned by Beretta.
There’s little doubt in my mind that if the economic situation in the US and Europe holds, or improves, that other makers of firearms will jump into the market for 9.3 X 62 ammo and rifles. Of course, right now that niche is limited, but as writers and bloggers (like myself) speak praise of that cartridge, it’s bound to attract more hunters and riflemen.
My first commentaries on the 9.3 X 62 began on June 1, 2011. That was the first of a series of four entitled: “Something Old & Something New — The 9.3 X 62 Mauser”. You can go back there to read all four throughout the month of June if you want to.
As previously mentioned, the cartridge that is considered its equal in several ways is the .35 Whelen. The Whelen is, of course, a necked-up .30-06 case. I’ll not go into its history, as that’s been amply covered many times elsewhere, as well as by yours truly several months ago. But the ballistics and bullet diameter are close with the edge going to the 9.3 X 62. The Whelen case holds 72grs water while the 9.3 X 62 holds 77. Bore diameters are .358″ for the Whelen and .366″ for the 9.3 X 62, a difference of only 0.008″.
From my experience with a 22″ Remington chambered for the Whelen, the following ballistics were quite easily achieved: 2600 fps from 250gr Hornady’s and Speers, while 2550 fps was max from the 250 Nosler Partition. 2700+ fps from 225s, and 2800 fps from 200s. Those muzzle velocities were from the use of Reloader 15 and were accurate from the barrel of my 7400 (semi-auto). And, by the way, that rifle proved to be super strong, as strong as any bolt-action and it ejected the empties without a hitch, even the hottest loads! Plus it was plenty accurate. I slew a nice black bear with it using the 200gr Barnes-X at an MV of 2800 fps.
Now, let’s try to compare apples to apples here, though things will not match precisely as bullets for the 9.3 X 62 are heavier, with higher sectional densities, and I’ve only used a selection of two for that cartridge to date. First up:
The .35 Whelen, 22″ barrel:
COL = 3.35″ (In my rifle)
Bullet: 250gr Hornady SP
B.C. = .375
MV = 2600+/3750 ft-lbs+/93+ momentum
Bullet: 225gr Nosler BT
S.D. = .251
B.C. = .421
M.V.= 2750+/3778 ft-lbs+/88+ momentum
Those are a couple of examples only, but represent an average using those two bullets. Slightly higher velocities were attainable under certain conditions but case life was dramatically shortened. Nonetheless, I feel that these are representative of the potential from a .35 Whelen using the two most common bullet weights from a 22″ barrel and it’s best powder, RL-15. The 225gr Nosler Partition may be a better option than the current 225gr AccuBond (which replaced the Ballistic Tip). That’s a current subject of debate. Either will get the job done on most anything in North America. For the biggest bears I would likely choose the 250gr Partition. But I couldn’t safely get 2600 fps from them in my rifle.
The 9.3 X 62, 22.4″ barrel
COL = 3.291″ (Factory specs; in my rifle:3.295) for the Hornady.
Bullet: 286gr Hornady
S.D. = .305
B.C. = .410
MV = 2480+ fps/3905 ft-lbs+/101+ momentum
The 286 Hornady is very accurate in my rifle with the 270 Speer coming in at a little less precision but certainly adequate for anything I hunt. And, by the way, that 270gr is the same construction as the 250gr in .358″, which has been successfully used on griz. A lot of pseudo knowledge is often spouted on the Net, like: “You need a TSX or a Swift A-Frame or a Nosler Partition to cleanly kill a brown or grizzly bear”.
Bullet: 270gr Speer
S.D. = .288
B.C. = .361
MV = 2550+ fps/3898+ ft-lbs/98+ momentum
Those are a few reasons why the 9.3 X 62 is slightly better by about 5% to 8%, depending on rifles used, bullets, powders and psi. Some, who may want to prove their point, can juggle the numbers to do just that. All it proves is that such an individual will also lie to their wives and to the Tax Man!
Keep in mind that there are 280gr Swifts and 310gr Woodleighs available for the .35 Whelen, and 250gr AccuBond and 250gr Swift A-Frames available for the 9.3 X 62. In addition, for the latter there is a 232gr Norma, a 300gr Hornady DGS, a 320gr Woodleigh and a 325gr Norma. 285-grainers are also made for the 9.3 X 62 by S&B and another Euro company. Barnes, of course, makes a 250gr and a 286gr TXS for the 9.3 as well as the same numbers in their Banded Solids.
I know from experience that the Whelen I had would drive the 300gr Barnes Original at 2300+ fps, and I’m expecting my TIKKA T3 Lite would shoot any 300-grain at 2400 fps. The 320s and 325s should leave at 2350 fps, though I’m not planning (just yet)to try these real heavies in my rifle as that would serve no real hunting purpose other than to give them a test drive. Some time in the future I may purchase a box of the 300gr Hornady’s so I could report on ‘em… we’ll see…
See ya next time when we compare the 9.3 X 62 with the .338 Winchester Magnum. Did I really say that? Yes I did! There are more bullets for the .338 W.M. But how many is enough?