We’ve had an abbreviated look at the 9.3 X 62mm Mauser. But we haven’t considered sources of ammo. Factory cartridges are loaded by a couple of German enterprises and NORMA of Sweden. All of it is decent stuff according to reports, but quite expensive. You will have to check with your local gun shop or one of the importers. Otherwise it’s a handloading proposition.
Bullets are available from the usual sources, like Hornady, Speer, Nosler, Barnes and Woodleigh. If your local gun shop majors in reloading supplies, they should be able to locate dies and brass for you. And, of course, bullets and powder as well.
As to rifles: a number of used rifles are being imported into North America from Sweden. These are Husqvarna, built on small ring commercial Mauser actions. Some are WELL used! Otherwise, you could have one built or buy a CZ 550.
Next up is the 9.3 X 74Rmm. “R” stands for “rimmed”. So it’s a rimmed cartridge 74mm long. It’s designed for doubles, combination guns and single shots, and holds 82 grains of water to the rim versus the 9.3 X 62 which holds 77. So it is capable of slightly higher velocity than the 9.3 Mauser, all else being equal. Yet, it was intended to work at lower pressure than the 9.3 Mauser, giving nearly identical velocities with any given bullet weight.
It too has been used effectively on all African big game for the same reasons as the 9.3 X 62 Mauser. Recently, Ruger has chambered it in their Ruger No.1-H allowing this old timer to really strut it’s stuff in a modern rifle that will allow upwards of around 60,000 psi. Safely. With heavy-weight bullets of 286-grains to 320-grains, including solids, it will surely work on anything up to Cape buffalo. There are excellent powders and bullets available today allowing this nostalgic cartridge-rifle combo to realize its full potential.
It was created about 100 years ago as a smokeless powder replacement for the 9.3 X 72R, a black powder cartridge. Being too long for most bolt actions it has been chambered in more recent times by Valmet in an over-under, and other European makers in combination rifles.
Hornady is perhaps the best source for brass and they also manufacture one load: a 286gr SP at a modest 2360 fps. Both the brass and the single bullet are available to handloaders through dealers. As with the 9.3 Mauser, more than enough component bullets are now available from Nosler, Woodleigh, Barnes, Speer and a few others.
Now, on to the 9.3 X 64 Brenneke. This is the most powerful of the 9.3′s, and more or less equals the famed .375 H&H. Unfortunately for the handloader, brass is hard to come by unless you are lucky enough to locate some ready-made European stuff, which is sickeningly costly. Like the 9.3 X 74R, cases cannot be formed from existing brass. Yet, being about the same COL as the .30-06, it will fit into standard length actions. Frankly, I cannot think of any good reason to own one, considering the inconveniences, when a .375 Ruger will do the same thing in a domestic rifle and with domestic ammo.
The same could be said for the nouveau .370 SAKO which is another 9.3 that fits somewhere in a narrow niche between the 9.3 X 62 and the 9.3 X 64. Unless you are longing for something really different, for the sake of drawing attention, there appears to be little to nil reason to own a .370 (.366) SAKO. Practically, it offers nothing over the others and ammo will be hard to come by and likely very expensive. Of course, if you are a collector of Sako rifles, and believe that Sakos are “la creme de la creme”, then endulge your fantasy!
For myself, I’ll take a .35 Whelen or .375 Ruger. On the other hand, I believe both the 9.3 X 62 Mauser and 9.3 X 74R have merit, now that Hornady is loading for the 9.3 X 74R and Ruger has chambered their No.1 for it. The No.1′s have always had an appeal for me because of their inherent strength, beauty, balance and handling.
Of the .35′s, my choice is the Whelen, and from the 9.3′s the Mauser or 74R would satisfy. I’ve a friend who is purchasing a Ruger No.1 in the 74R, and, apparently, Ruger is now chambering it in the shorter “S” version, same as the .45-70 which is one of my all-time favorites. More about that when we get to the .458′s.
Hummmm… I think I could dig another Ruger No.1-S in that 74R…
See ya next time when we start to discuss the MEDIUM BIG BORES, the .375′s.