This week we finish with “More about the 9.3 X 62”. In doing so, we’ll make comparisons with three more long-time favorites of mine: the .300 Winchester Magnum, the .340 Weatherby Magnum and the .45-70. The rational for doing so is that, in addition to being favorites, they also represent three classes of powerful cartridges and firearms that are quite popular with hunters who are looking for something with more clout than the typical .270 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield — which are possibly the two most popular big-game cartridges.
The .300 Winchester Magnum could basically represent that class as it is by far the most popular. The .340 Weatherby is a veritable powerhouse, by any measurement, and while it is slightly outclassed in kinetic energy by three others, it still produces 5000 ft-lbs of smash at the muzzle and shoots a 250gr as flat as a 130gr from a .270 Winchester. The ancient, but excellent, .45-70 has experienced a revival over the past 40 years, and is better than ever. And neither of those other two calibers can begin to approach it in momentum or the size hole that it makes. It’s been my favorite for the past two decades, and I fully expect it will continue to be until I’m too feeble to shoulder one.
The .300 Winchester has to be one of my all-time favorites if we go by the sheer number I’ve owned. As a one-cartridge do-it-all in North America, it’s hard to beat. There are lots of available rifles chambered for it at reasonable cost… and that also goes for ammo and handloading products. It will do for anything in North America… and 90% of African game as well. It’s renowned for accuracy, and a good one, ready to go, should not weigh in excess of 8.5 lbs. Recoil is more than a .30-06, but less than the .338 magnums. And, it’s VERY flat shooting. With the right bullet, like a 180 or 200gr Nosler Partition, it will do all jobs efficiently and effectively, from coyote at 450 yards to moose at the same range. But it is just as effective on that variety of game at 50 yards! That’s it’s beauty and why it’s the number two magnum in popularity.
BUT!! Anything it can do at those ranges on 25 lb game to 2500 lb, the 9.3 X 62 can also do, and then some. It can’t match the 9.3 Mauser in momentum at any range when best loads are used in each! And, the 9.3’s bullets have a 42% larger cross-sectional area… they’re bigger! And that applies also to the .300 RUM or .30-378 Weatherby!!
Check this out: a 220gr .30-cal at 3100 fps from a .30-378 Weatherby has 97.4 ft-sec. momentum at the muzzle. A 286gr .366-cal at 2500 fps has 102.1 ft-sec momentum! And that .30-cal bullet has a poor ballistic coefficient of .351 compared to the 286gr Nosler with a B.C. of .482! Which means? The 220gr slows much faster than the 286gr! Even the 200gr Accubond in .30-cal at 3200 fps, with a terrific B.C. of .588, STILL lags behind the 286gr Nosler to 400 yards! Add to all that the fact of burning 105grs of powder in the .30-378 compared to less than 70 in the 9.3… Well, I’m sure you get the picture.
That’s why, if I want a super-thirty, I choose the .300 Win Mag over the others. The WSM is attractive but falls short of the original .300 by Winchester by about 100 fps, all else equal.
The .340 Weatherby and .338 RUM are the equals of the .375 H&H, and surpass it in reach and flatness of trajectory. I’ve owned a .340… and liked it. Sure, they do surpass the 9.3 X 62 in muzzle energy, momentum and reach. But also in costs! And weight! And length!
When I purchased my TIKKA in 9.3 X 62, I had the option between it and a Remington 700 in .338 RUM at about the same price. It had a grey/black laminate stock. The TIKKA was new and the Remington had some slight usage but looked new. I debated the issue in my mind for a week before deciding on the TIKKA in 9.3 X 62.
The deciding points in favor of the 9.3 X 62 for me were: 1)I had already owned a .340 WBY with a stainless 26″ barrel/action in a synthetic stock, and knew pretty much what to expect from that genre of rifle-cartridge combo. 2)When I handled the TIKKA and Remington side-by-side, one in each hand, it was no contest. The Remington felt like a piece of 46″ lead drain-pipe, while the TIKKA seemed like a 42″ feather!
I’ve lauded the TIKKA in blogs passed… so go there to read my impressions!
NOW, as regards my favorite: the .45-70, or .45-70 IMP, or .458 Winchester. It’s all a matter of degree… but anything, within reason, in .458″ is beyond any question whatsoever my all-time FAVORITE BORE SIZE!
Get this: a lowly 400gr/.458″ at 1875 fps has the momentum of a .375″, 300gr at 2500 fps! THEN, it makes a hole in anything that’s 50% larger! That’s modest velocity from a modern .45-70. Increase the speed of a good 400gr bullet in .458″ to 2000 fps (doable in an 1895 Marlin) and the .375 H&H couldn’t keep pace in momentum or size of wound channel. That’s why I’ve always preferred .458″ over .375″.
But!! If velocity is 2000 fps from a 500gr in a Ruger #1 in .45-70, the only cartridges that can keep pace in momentum are the true Big Bores! Even a .416 Remington can’t keep up! But my Ruger #1 in .45-70 IMP will send a 500gr on its way at an easy 2200 fps! That’s Lott territory with an equal length barrel!
So, the way I look at it is this: all bases are covered! Currently, my two favorite cartridges are ancient! One dating from 1872 as a black powder military cartridge which has experienced many updates to the level of modern magnum Big Bores! The other, not nearly as old, but certainly older than I am by thirty years. At 107 years it’s as modern as any new rifles, powders and bullets could make it, and it’s the equal of, or surpasses, many with belts!
‘Til next time,