By Maurice H. Decker.
Adapting The High-Power Rifle To Small Game Shooting. Ever since the advent of the sporting rifle, makers and users of firearms have been working toward the production of that ideal of all shooters—a weapon which can be used successfully upon both small and large game. Many interesting solutions of this problem have been offered the shooting fraternity, but not until lately have any attained universal popularity. The three-barrel gun, which in form consists of a double-barrel shotgun with a rifle barrel placed underneath, comes very close to meeting the demand for an all-round weapon; but unfortunately is too expensive a proposition for the most of us to consider. The Marble "Game Getter" gun is likewise a very ingenious and useful little arm, embracing both the desirable features of light weight and a diversity of loads; but because of its natural limitations is hardly the gun one would select for regular use in hunting any one class of game, a condition the all-round weapon should be capable of meeting. Many shooters, by the use of special loadings, have transformed such rifles as the .32-40 into weapons capable of performing a great variety of work. By loading with the sharp-pointed hard alloy bullets very small animals can be killed without excessive mangling, the regular loads are well adapted to medium-size game and the high velocity loads will drop deer, small bear and even moose. But there are many riflemen who have not the time or do not care to go to the trouble of reloading and to such can the supplementary or auxiliary chamber be earnestly recommended. The chambers are designed with the express view of making practical the use of certain small pistol and revolver cartridges in high-power rifles. When loaded with one of these shells the combination resembles in size and form the regular high-power cartridge and may be worked through the magazines of repeaters, being loaded and ejected by the breech bolt in the same manner. Thus with a few of these chambers ready loaded the shooter is in a position to ably cope with most anything along his path.
Their use gives three important advantages to the owner of a high-power rifle. First, they are a cheap medium through which one may obtain proficiency in the use of his regular hunting weapon, enabling him to become thoroughly accustomed to its manipulation, balance and trigger pull without shooting up the full-power, expensive ammunition. Second, they allow frequent target practice about home and in settled districts, where such loads would possess too much power and range for safety; and third, most important of all, they afford the hunter and trapper who has room for but one weapon in his outfit many opportunities to bag the smaller animals and birds usually plentiful in big game country in a satisfactory manner and without frightening away such large animals as may be in the neighborhood.
A glance at the list of the calibers to which these chambers are adapted will readily convince one of their usefulness and practicability. Considering that the rifles in which they are used are originally sighted for the regular service loads, the small shells will be found surprisingly accurate. It requires only a little practice in holding before one will be able to do very good work upon small animals. A number of years ago before the neighboring marshes began to go dry I obtained a great deal of pleasure, and profit, too, from the use of an auxiliary chamber in a .30-30 Savage rifle. Using a flat bottom boat that drew but a few inches of water, I would push about among the bushes, cat-tails and muskrat houses with a gun across my knees and would get quite a few rats, mud hens and occasionally a duck with the .32 short Colt cartridges.
At present there are two different makes of these chambers upon the market, the Winchester and the Marble. I prefer the latter for the reason that the bullet of the small shell is placed in the forward end so it takes the rifling immediately without stripping or deformation and there is little danger of the barrel becoming leaded. The Winchester chamber is, however, a little cheaper and comes in some sizes not obtainable in the other. It is made in the following sizes and calibers: .30-30, for use with .32 S. & W.; .30-40, for use with .32 S. & W.; .30 Government, for use with .32 S. &. W.; .303 Savage, for use with .32 S. & W.; .303 British, for use with .32 S. & W.; .32 Special, for use with .32 short Colt; .32-40, for use with .32 short Colt; .35 Winchester, for use with .38 S. & W.; .405 Winchester, for use with .41 short Colt.
The Marble auxiliary chamber is made as follows : .35 Remington, for use with .25 Colt "Auto;" .30-30 Remington, for use with .32 short Colt; .32 Remington, for use with .32 Colt "Auto;" .35 Remington, for use with .380 Colt "Auto;" .25-35 Remington, for use with .25 Colt "Auto;" .30-30, for use with .32 short Colt; .32 Special, for use with .32 Colt 'Auto;" .303 Savage, for use with .32 Colt "Auto;" .303 Savage, for use with .32 S. & W.; .30-40, for use with .32 S. & W.; .30-40, for use with .32 Colt "New Police;" .30 Government, '03 and '06, for use with .32 Colt "Auto;" .30 Government. '03 and '06, for use with .32 S. & W.; .303 British, for use with .32 S. & W.; .303 British, for use with .32 Colt "Auto;" .8 m-m, for use with .32 Colt "Auto;" .35 Winchester, for use with .380 Colt
"Auto;" .30-40, for use with .32 Colt "Auto;" .22 high-power Savage, for use with .22 long rifle: .25-3000 Savage, for use with .25 Stevens R. F.
In all cases should the smokeless powder shells be used for black powder will quickly foul the barrels of high-power rifles, which generally have quick twists in their rifling. For use in the 02 and .25 high-power Savage semi-smokeless or smokeless are suitable. The Marble company art to be congratulated upon the variety of calibers of their chambers. They are rendering a special service by adapting them to rifles harder to reload than such old standbys as the .32-40 and .38-55, and their chambers for the new Savage high-power rifles, using the inexpensive rim-fire shells, are going to prove of special value to users of these guns. As examples of the power generated by these cartridges when used in the long barrel, high-power rifles, I give below the average muzzle velocity of some of the different sizes.
Velocity of .22 L. R. in high-power Savage, 1003 foot seconds; .25 rim-fire in .250-3000 Savage, 866 foot seconds; .25 Colt "Auto" in .25 Remington auto-loader, 776 foot seconds. Anyone desiring the velocity of any shell in any of the rifles to which they are adapted will be gladly answered through the questions and answers department.
Fur, News. Fur News, January 1916.
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