First Lesson: Don’t Get Rid Of Reloading Dies—Ever.
Once in a while we run into rifles that require extra effort in reloading. A perfect example is the “between the wars” German combination gun my wife Eileen found at the gun show in Wisdom, Mont., a few years ago. If you’ve never heard of Wisdom, you’re not alone. It’s a tiny crossroads town in the big ranch country of the upper Big Hole River, but the gun shows attracts some real rifle enthusiasts, both sellers and searchers. We ventured there during a hot August, because Wisdom is one of the coolest towns in the state, both literally and figuratively, and found tables set up not just in several buildings but out in the streets.
One table had several nice German guns, including the drillings I like. Eileen finds drillings a little too heavy, though she’s always liked the idea of owning a versatile hunting gun. The combo gun was nice and light, with a 16-gauge barrel over what the price tag said was a 9.3x72R rifle barrel. Very nice engraving of game scenes covered the receiver, and the buttstock had a cartridge trap for extra rifle rounds. I explained to her that the 9.3x72R was a mild-recoiling woods round, which sealed the deal. Eileen isn’t fond of hard-kicking guns, and loves to sit on a cottonwood riverbottom in autumn, waiting for wild turkeys and whitetails to wander by. The gun even came with a half-fired box of RWS ammo.
Back home we ordered a set of RCBS dies and tracked down some Norma brass. The big problem was bullets. The 9.3x72R was originally a black-powder round, and the standard bullet is a cast .366″ flatnose of about 200 grains. Some were finally purchased from Huntington’s, one of the great sources for hard-to-find components.
Story By: John Barsness
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