The Original .44 Remington Magnum
Double Boar Saturday by Swift Bullets
"The new Peters "High Velocity" 44 Remington Magnum".....
Winchester Dual Bond 454 Casull
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The 45-70 Government
Perhaps I watched too many cowboy movies in my youth but shooting a silver bullet in a single action revolver makes me smile. There isn't much call for real cowboys anymore but not to be denied, I began hunting with handguns more than 25 years ago and have lost count of how many big-game animals I've taken with pistols and revolvers. When it comes to big-bore, straight-walled cartridges, I have come to prefer a jacketed, expanding bullet when hunting all but the very largest game. One reason for this is that jacketed bullet technology has come such a long way in the last decade.
The .17 Ackley Bee
My good friend, John, knows about my extreme weakness for Contender goodies and he exploits it every chance he gets. This time a friend of John’s was transitioning his collection from a few Thompson/ Center Contender barrels over to an Encore based assortment. One of the barrels he was parting with was a Super 16 Contender barrel chambered in 45-70 Government. John heard me talking of getting a 45-70 barrel for some time, but I never really looked into it seriously. John is also very good at tempting me into getting additional barrels. While talking on the phone he mentioned that the 45-70 barrel was sitting in his gun safe waiting for a new home. Before the phone call ended, I was making plans to visit him a few days later to get my new barrel. Along with the barrel, I got a forearm, grip, several boxes of Remington factory ammo, and Bushnell scope.
I bought my first .172 caliber rifle in June of 1999. It was a Remington Classic Model 700 chambered for the only factory .172" caliber available, the .17 Remington. Ever since that time, I have been a true small bore fanatic! As any true varmint does, as soon as (or even before in my case) having one project finished another one is already in the works. As this is being written, I'm having a .17 Ackley Hornet built on a Martini Cadet action. But while waiting on this one I needed something else to do. Also being a fan of the T/C Encore line up I figured this would be a good platform to base my next small caliber from.
Adaylight began to creep through the barren treetops I hoped the temperature would soon begin to climb. When I left my house one hour earlier to begin the hike to my favorite deer stand the thermometer read a mere 5 degrees above zero. Once the woods became fully illuminated I heard a sound much like that of frozen leaves being stepped on. Turning slowly toward the direction of the sound and looked down the hollow trying to spy what made the noise. If the deer travel this area as they had for the past four years the crunching sound would be from a deer or two making its way out of the nearby mountain laurel thicket. Because the oak trees that boarded the laurels had a bountiful crop that year I knew the deer would be here digging for any leftovers that the turkey and fox squirrels hadn't devoured. Looking through my binoculars in an attempt to locate any movement that might be a deer I could see nothing.
Winchester Supreme Ammo for Handgun Hunters
Developed in 1978 to increase the effectiveness of America's favorite lever guns, the .375 is another cartridge based on the .30-30 case size. Because it is chambered only in firearms of today's metallurgy, the .375 is loaded to a much higher working pressure than the similar but weaker .38-55, for which century-old rifles are still to be found. Al though some of its exterior dimensions match those of the .30-30 and .38-55, the .375 does in fact use a much stronger c ase, with a thicker web and walls. My samples of .375 empties weighed an average of 12 grains more than .30-30 cases. Reloaders should therefore NOT use .30-30 brass to form .375 cases, except possibly for low-pressure practice loads.
K-Hornet is Old and Improved
Ask any self respecting handgun hunter about using factory ammunition and you’ll probably get one of those raised eyebrow "you’re not exactly right are you" sort of looks, and for good reason. Three aspects we handgun hunters must have in our hunting ammunition are power, consistency, and a reliably performing bullet. Factory ammunition has earned the reputation of being a sub-par performer in these areas, the main reasons we tend to turn our noses’ up at the mention of using factory ammunition. Some companies "hunting" ammunition is nothing more than their existing personal-protection ammo packaged with a new label marketed towards hunting. Fortunately this in not always the case, many companies have made an effort to produce ammunition worthy of meeting a serious handgun hunters standards.
Ammunition from Grizzly Cartridge Co.
Here to keep these pests thinned for a rancher friend, I reached for another diminutive .22 K-Hornet round as two more 'dogs popped up. As the sun arced upwards, more than 200 doses of 45-grain jacketed medicine followed that first one down the T/C Contender's 10-inch barrel. The cartridge that ushered in the modern concept of varminting nearly a century ago is still thumping them as well as ever. In fact, it's even better.
Pick-up a box of Grizzly Cartridge Co. ammunition and you’ll appreciate right away the attention to detail. The cartridges are packed individually in styrofoam trays housed in attractive cardboard boxes bearing the Grizzly Cartridge Co. design. Inside, you’ll find highly polished and consistent ammunition, each loaded by Mike himself with the precision you’d expect from an engineer.
6.5X50 Japanese in a T/C Contender
I evaluated my requirements and decided on a few things that the caliber must have. Whatever I choose must be chambered in .22 caliber to take advantage of the wide variety of varmint bullets. It should also be a Super 14 to milk every last bit of velocity available from whatever round I decided upon. From a quick look into the Contender Reloading manual and caliber listings of several custom barrel makers I found several rounds that would do what I wished for; .22 K-Hornet, .218 Bee, .22 Jet, .221 Fireball, .222 Remington, .223 Remington, .222 Remington Magnums, and .219 Zipper.
The 338 JDJ #2
I had an idea that the 6.5 Japanese in a T/C Contender would be equal to or better than the 6.5 JDJ. I also thought that it would cost less than going the JDJ route. It was something that was in theory only. So I started doing some research on the subject. I found that it had indeed been done in the past, but the info was almost non-existent on the subject. So I wondered if this would be a worthwhile project to undertake from scratch. I wasn’t sure if it was worth doing & possibly ending up with a barrel that would on be good only as a tomato stake afterwards.
The 6mm TCU
The .338JDJ#2 is yet another round in the long list of wildcats designed case by J.D. Jones of SSK Industries. Even though it is a very powerful and effective round, the .338JDJ#2 seems to be one of the lesser-known designs. But this is understandable when considering that it keeps company with cartridges like the .309JDJ and .375JDJ, both of which are also formed from .444 Marlin cases, and its smaller cousin the .300 Whisper, formed from .221 Fireball.
The 32-20 Winchester
Developed by a Nevada gunsmith named Wes Ugalde, the "T/CU" line of cartridges were designed using the very common (and cheap) .223 Remington as the parent cartridge. The four rounds that were developed consisted of one that shoots a 6mm (.243") bullet, a slightly larger round using a .257" bullet, one shooting a 6.5mm (.264") bullet, and the biggest using a 7mm (.284") bullet. Opening the .223 Remington case up to any of the previously mentioned calibers provides an advantage by reducing wind drift and providing more energy down range. The rounds he created were to be chambered in the T/C Contender. Warren Center of Thompson/Center Arms talked Wes into naming the rounds "Thompson/Center Ugalde," or "T/CU" for short.
376 Steyr - Handcannon Heaven
The 32-20 Winchester is a simple caliber that survived the smokeless powder revolution in the late 1800's. The case is short, its shoulder is bearly noticeable, and powder capacity is miniscule, which are all reasons it would not be noticed at all in todays high capacity, sharp shouldered cartridge world. The 32-20 has been chambered in revolvers as well as lever action rifle. Thompson/Center chambered the caliber in the Contender line to the pleasure of metallic silhouette target shooters. The 32-20 Winchester is often used for the mid-size target class and does quite well.
Since its introduction in 1912, the 375 H&H Magnum has endured almost a full century and remains a worldwide hunting favorite as an all-around gun where large and dangerous game may be encountered. It's of little wonder other manufacturers have sought to match the performance and popularity of the 90 year old cartridge. It's also of little wonder that serious handgun hunters desired cartridges in the same caliber for hunting the same large and dangerous game. While the newer breed of 375 rifles include the 375 Dakota, and Remington's 375 Ultra Mag, which seems to be the current frenzy, there has been relatively little for the handgun hunter to get excited about in terms of new factory cartridges until the 376 Steyr was introduced.
I'll show exactly what it can do when handloaded for each task listed above. The 30-30 has to be one of my favorite rounds to load for; it digests lots of different powders and is not finicky in the least. In fact, for the first year I had my Super 14 30-30 Winchester I only fired one load; 35 grains of Hodgdons Varget and a 130gr Hornady Spire Point. This was the first load I tried and it grouped great. After a few rounds to sight in, the next five piled into a groups measuring less than one inch at 100 yards. With this kind of performance I never bothered to pursue the matter of load development with 130-grain bullets anymore. This makes for an ideal deer-hunting load.