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GUNS Magazine June 2012 Digital Edition - Page 52
D o w n T h e M i D D l e THe .33" TO .375" MedIUM-bORe, bIg-gaMe caRTRIdgeS Have SeRved US Well fOR MORe THan a cenTURy and aRe even beTTeR TOday. John Barsness ne of my regular hunting partners, coincidentally named John, is in his mid-30s, and like many younger guys fascinated with powerful cartridges. When we first started hunting together he favored the .300 Remington Ultra Magnum, though in recent years he’s often hunted with magnums that don’t kick quite as hard, such as the .300 and .325 WSMs. O In 2011, John and I hunted together in Tanzania for game from deer-sized impala to Cape buffalo, both bringing a pair of rifles. Somewhat surprisingly, given his tendency toward 21stcentury beltless magnums, John brought a .300 Winchester Magnum and a .458 Lott, cartridges originating in the 1960s, though the Lott didn’t become a factory round until Many American medium bores have appeared in lever-action rifles, including the .348 Winchester in the Winchester Model 71 (left), and the .35 Remington in the Marlin 336 (facing page). A-Square legitimized it in 1989. I brought a 9.3x62 “Mauser” and .416 Rigby, both century-old rounds. All four rifles did a good job when the Johns shot well, and we mostly did. As the safari went on, however, young John became more and more impressed with the 9.3x62. Midway through the 16-day hunt I put a 286-grain Nosler Partition into the shoulder of a big blue wildebeest at about 200 yards. The bull whirled at the shot, turning to run after his herd of homely cows, but only went a few yards before crumpling. Blue wildebeest have the reputation of being the hardest to kill of Africa’s non-dangerous animals, and John said, “Wow, I’m going to have to get a 9.3!”—quite a statement from a fan of modern high-velocity cartridges. Pedestrian? Other than the way it whomps big game, the 9.3x62 is extremely pedestrian in every way imaginable. Designed around 1905 by a German gunmaker named Otto Bock to work in the unaltered 1898 Mauser action, the original load was a .366" 52 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • J U N E 2 0 1 2