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Shooting & Reloading - Mausers, Big Bores and others >> Rifles

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CarlsenHighway
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Loc: Port Chalmers, New Zealand
One Day WDM Bell went to London
      #313968 - 14/03/18 02:17 PM

From the J. Rigby & Sons Ledgers

Wednesday March 31 1937

Capt WDM Bell
Brought in .275 H.V. (high velocity) T.D (take–down) rifle with scope in case,
.220 Swift Winchester in card box and .22 Rigby Mauser in cover.
Fit a new barrel to the 275 for H.V cartridge
Fit a gold bead to foresight a shade smaller than the bead on his Winchester
Refit scope ¼ inch forward nearer muzzle
Also if possible fit the scope to the Winchester rifle to interchange with the .275
Regulate scope for the Swift cartridge with 48 grain sp bullet and 150 yards only
Fit a metal collar to forward lenses of scope to prevent rain from getting on lenses
Will call for rifles on Sept 1 or 2
He wants to sell the .22 Mauser. Put on second hand rack
Will accept 10 pounds near.


(Context – WDM Bell was an active deer stalker in Scotland once he returned from Africa and settled down with his wife at Corriemollie in Garve, Rossshire, after he returned from his last African safari trip, in 1924. To the end of his days he was a gun aficionado.
The .275 rifle mentioned is the take down rifle he purchased from Rigby in 1923 for the overland road trip with the Forbes in that year. This rifle was most famously later purchased from his estate by Ruark and gifted to Mark Selby. The rifle was scoped, using a side mount.
The Winchester is the .220 Swift Model 70 that he used on red deer in Scotland. It seems that he had been previously using the rifle with iron sights (peep sight almost certainly, as other of his rifles had been fitted with aperture sights by this period also) Here is having it fitted for the same scope that was on the .275, and has asked for a rain collar or shade to be fitted also. Scotland is very wet.
The .22 Rigby Mauser is a .22 Hipower on a Mauser action (a most beautiful little rifle, I have seen photographs of it) that he purchased from Rigby in 1929, (and was fitted with a cocking piece peep sight.) Again this was a deer stalking rifle. The .22 Hipower he was very fond of even having used on earlier rifle chambered in this cartridge on buffalo in West Africa, but here he is selling the rifle.
My interpretation of this rifle shuffle is that the Winchester .220 Swift is now to be his main deerstalking rifle. )



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paradox_
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Reged: 12/05/07
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: CarlsenHighway]
      #313969 - 14/03/18 02:52 PM

He certainly did like the the small calibre's...no doubt

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Rule303
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: CarlsenHighway]
      #313973 - 14/03/18 06:51 PM

CarlsenHighway thanks for posting. That is a very interesting bit of history.

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Waidmannsheil
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: Rule303]
      #313978 - 14/03/18 10:01 PM

That .22 Rigby Mauser (22 High Power) would be a very interesting rifle to see. I wonder whether they used a Kurtz action or a standard action.

Waidmannsheil.

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mckinney
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: Waidmannsheil]
      #313985 - 15/03/18 01:18 AM

Thanks for this, very interesting and a great photo of Bell that I hadn't seen before.

I thought Bell's .220 swift was a Winchester 54, not a 70 but this seems to clear that up. He wrote a piece about the cartridge for the American Rifleman or one of the British sporting publications but I have not read it and don't know the date or publication. Would love to read it.


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CarlsenHighway
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Reged: 19/03/09
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: mckinney]
      #314001 - 15/03/18 09:16 AM

McKinney, sorry all I have done is muddy the waters on that point - I typed "model 70" out of habit - I too think it would probably be most likely a Winchester 54 - Bell was a progressive and it would be just like him to get a .220 Swift straight away once it came out.

I have no proof however either way that his Winchester was a 54 or a 70 at this stage, although he does refer once to the superiority of the 'speed lock' on the Winchester, (faster lock time) which I believe was a selling point of the Model 54 in early advertising.

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If you carry a cat home by the tail you will receive information valuable to you for the rest of your life.
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eagle27
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: paradox_]
      #314012 - 15/03/18 04:34 PM

Quote:

He certainly did like the the small calibre's...no doubt




Not only did he like them, he certainly knew how to use them. Would have been an interesting man to spend time with but then so would many of those early hunters. More than anything else would love to share a machan with Jim Corbett looking down on a maneater tiger as it crunched it way through a bait animal before Jim turned it's lights out.
Shoulder to shoulder with Bell as he pulled down on elephant after elephant with his little 7mm Rigby, I would just watch, too frightened to disgrace myself against such a shot as he was.


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mckinney
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: CarlsenHighway]
      #314024 - 16/03/18 02:40 AM

Carlsen

If it was a 54 I'd love to know the serial number. I have 2 54's in .220 Swift with British proofs, both from UK auctions over the years and both pretty well worn on the exterior. I doubt anything belonging to the great man would have found its way to a UK auction house without being attributed to him, but would be good to know. More likely my 2 guns were bought by British sportsmen after reading Bell's writings. I'll try to make an effort to find that article.


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Sportingbookworm
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: mckinney]
      #314040 - 17/03/18 02:03 AM

In a 1954 postumous article in American Rifleman ("Big bores vs Small bores") Bell wrote that he used nothing but a .220 for deer stalking.

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HeymSR20
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: Sportingbookworm]
      #314192 - 20/03/18 08:59 AM

Quote:

In a 1954 postumous article in American Rifleman ("Big bores vs Small bores") Bell wrote that he used nothing but a .220 for deer stalking.




Our red deer must have got a lot tougher - to think that 100gn 243 is the min allowed by law. And reading the UK forums - 270win absolute minimum and 300 win mag preferred option.


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: HeymSR20]
      #314218 - 20/03/18 04:56 PM

Quote:

Quote:

In a 1954 postumous article in American Rifleman ("Big bores vs Small bores") Bell wrote that he used nothing but a .220 for deer stalking.




Our red deer must have got a lot tougher - to think that 100gn 243 is the min allowed by law. And reading the UK forums - 270win absolute minimum and 300 win mag preferred option.




A .224 high powered bullet of a fragile nature into the lungs of a deer will kill it quickly. Also of course a brain or spine shot.

Bell appears to have been an expert and cool marksman when hunting. Most hunters are not. What he did, others usually can not do.

I DO use my .222 on fallow deer a lot. But in my farm paddocks. Where if shot incorrectly they can't run away too far. For field hunting, ie real hunting, not shooting farm deer, I use a 6.5 or .30.

But NZ hunters often did and probably still do, use .22 centrefires for deer. I remember an article about a Kiwi flying over to Sydney to buy a .22 Hornet as his next wonderful red deer venison rifle.

Legal minimums are often decided upon because of dickheads using lesser calibres, and not the marksmen who can use them.

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John aka NitroX

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Rothhammer1
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: Sportingbookworm]
      #314225 - 20/03/18 08:54 PM

Quote:

In a 1954 postumous article in American Rifleman ("Big bores vs Small bores") Bell wrote that he used nothing but a .220 for deer stalking.




He had a known fondness for using the 6.5 Mannlicher Schoenauer on elephant.




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Rule303
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Reged: 05/07/09
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: Rothhammer1]
      #314283 - 21/03/18 07:28 PM

Quote:

Quote:

In a 1954 postumous article in American Rifleman ("Big bores vs Small bores") Bell wrote that he used nothing but a .220 for deer stalking.




He had a known fondness for using the 6.5 Mannlicher Schoenauer on elephant.







He ended up not liking it. Bell said the bullets would bend and hence not penetrate deep and true. He put it down to the bullet being to long and the nose decelerating to quick for the base so the base would try and catch the front. If the jacket was thicker this would not happen.


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CarlsenHighway
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: Rule303]
      #314359 - 23/03/18 08:38 AM

(That photo of the chap sitting on the elephant is not Bell.)

As written above, Bell liked the small fast calibers for deer. .22 Hipower was a favourite, but the .220 Swift was his primary one after he got his Winchester. But he also had used the 7x57 and 6.5x54 on red deer as well.

I have not used the .220 Swift on deer, although I know people who use the .22-250 and they say it does indeed kill like lightening. I have used the .222 on red deer (at bush hunting ranges) and frankly they all died. I do not understand the UK energy minimums, they sound like something a bureaucrat who knew nothing about the subject would dream up to measure "killing power". You might as well measure how much smoke comes out of the barrel. (I have killed red deer with the .44-40 and black powder loads. An energy value of about 400ftpnds I think. Every bullet passed completely though and they all died within twenty feet.)
For example the .222 and .223 have been used in New Zealand on red deer both big and small by both recreational shooters and professional for decades. They would not be used if they were not effective.

And a .222 will kill in the right place as well as a .243 or a .270, whereas a bullet from any of them in the wrong place will not work at all.
I think I just paraphrased Bell

Bell initially gave up on his Fraser 6.5 Mannlicher Schoenauer carbine because the ammunition was unreliable. This was common with most British sporting ammunition of the day. Misfires were common, Cases rupturing and blowing gas into the face of the shooter were a constant hazard. The most reliable cartridges of the time were military - the British .303 and the Mauser 7mm as made by DMW, and this is what he used for elephant.
I think cartridge reliability has a lot to do with his choices in the early days, and he says as much in one of his books - he is quite scathing about British sporting ammunition.

But what many people don't realise nowadays since he is such a legend for using the 7x57 on elephant, is the fact that by the outbreak of WW1, and then his safaris after the war, he had settled on the .318 Westley Richards with the 250 grain bullet as the best cartridge for his style of elephant hunting. He used several .318's also.
From about 1912 onwards he was a .318 Express shooter, as far as African game go. This puts him in line with many other hunters in the British empire.


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Rule303
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Re: One Day WDM Bell went to London [Re: CarlsenHighway]
      #314377 - 23/03/18 06:10 PM

Victoria has minimum cartridges for Deer. They have in the last couple of years stuffed up a fairly good system. Yes there are those who are skilled enough to shoot and kill deer with minor calibres. Most are not and the idea is to prevent as much as possible the wounding of deer that could then die a slow death. Also the larger calibre allows for shots from non ideal angles. Yes there are those who will not pass up a shot when they should and it provides more penetration if a follow up shot is required.

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