Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Odd Ball Calibers

Odd ball calibers. Back in the old days we used to call foreign, out of production, and obsolete cartridges, “odd ball calibers”. Usually these were old military numbers like 9mm Glisenti, 7.65 French Long, 8mm Nambu, 7.63 Mauser, 30 Luger, and the list goes on for both handguns and rifles. Old rifle cartridges like the 7.65Argintine, 7.35 Carcano, 50-70 Government, and 577-450 Martini-Henry were hard or impossible to get as loaded ammunition or as components. Now the new term is “exotic” calibers. That’s fine; I never like the term oddball anyway. Looking over my list of “exotic calibers” I own I came up with these, 30 Luger, 303 Brit, 30-40 Krag, 577-450 MH, 7mm Mauser, 7.65 Argentine, 7.5 French, 6.5x55 Swede Mauser, 7.35 Carcano, 32-20 Win, 32 Win Spl, 38 S&W, 380 Auto, 25 ACP, 38 Long Colt, 44 Special, 50 AE, 38 Super, 7.63 Mauser, 7.62x25, 8mm Nagant, 45 Auto Rim. Some of these calibers threw in the towel on because I just don’t shoot them enough to make hand loading economical; examples are 25 ACP, 8mm Nagant, 7.5 French, 7.35 Carcano.
I usually get pulled into exotic calibers because of the gun chambered for them. Watch the movie”Zulu” with Michael Cain and Stanley Baker and you’ll want a 577-450 Martini Henry. Then have a heart attack because of the price of ammo (if you can find any) or hand loading components. Another prize was a good deal I got on a 30 Luger. I made a great deal but when I saw the price of loaded ammo, I realized I’d been had. But since I love these guns and I am very interested in their historical periods, I just take the challenge and enjoy it.
One caliber that defies this model is 38-40 Winchester
Center Fire. The guns available for it are the standard fair for classic revolvers, Colts, Smith & Wesson and the like. I found a Ruger Blackhawk 38-40/10mm convertible, and I just had to experiment with the caliber. I like it very much and I find it useful, but did I need another six gun caliber? No but I wanted to be a member of the 38-40 WCF club. It’s a great caliber and a nice gun.
I also had the opportunity to buy an original Winchester 1873rifle, made in 1889, a number of years ago. I came from a family I knew as boy in the very rural area where I grew up. The only problem was its chambering, 32-20 WCF, another exotic ! Well, its yet another project, and I’m still working on it.

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