British/Australian hunting rifles of the 1930s


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Gildas
February 25, 2009, 12:32 AM
I'm in the process of planning a novel - not sure what will ever come of it - and needing to find some information out about the sort of hunting rifle someone in the 1930s British Far East would be likely to use. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

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Poprivit
February 25, 2009, 12:57 PM
Lee-Enfield No.1 SMLE Mk. III .303. Back then almost all bullets were military ball. A lot of hunters in the Raj or Malaysia found that .303 holes in both sides of a tiger did little to slow the animal down. A lot of hunters ended up as tiger droppings. This caused many hunters to cut off the tips of the bullets, or cross-hatch the point for expansion. Some of this was done at the Dum Dum arsenal in India. Hence "dumdum bullets". The reason the bullets were hated and feared wasn't the expanding tip, but rumor that the bullets were dipped in pig fat, anathema to Moslems. Almost 7,000,000 rifles produced. Some of these rifles are still in use in areas of the old British Commonwealth. Any thing else?

Kleanbore
February 25, 2009, 01:03 PM
Look into falling blocks, double rifles, and Mauser based rifles made for the various British proprietary cartridges.

I don't know why a hunter in the Far East would choose anything much different from one in Africa, except to the extent that the game may vary.

skeet king
February 25, 2009, 04:48 PM
I read in a book about british soliders using african hunting rifles to defeat armour plating. I think they were in .416, .577, and even a .600 but they say the first guy to fire a .600 tried it laying down and wound up breaking his shoulder.

Dr.Rob
February 25, 2009, 05:57 PM
Westly Richards commercial rifles on a Mauser action, or an honest Mauser sporter would be correct.

MatthewVanitas
February 25, 2009, 10:28 PM
The reason the bullets were hated and feared wasn't the expanding tip, but rumor that the bullets were dipped in pig fat, anathema to Moslems.

Do you have any sources for that? It almost sounds like you're mixing it up with the Sepoy Mutiny, where one of the final breaking points for Indian troops complaints were rumors that the new rifle cartridge (which had to be bitten with the teeth to tear it open) was greased with both beef tallow and pork fat, so offensive to both Hindus and Muslims.

Check out this page (from an actual published book) for an example. (http://books.google.com/books?id=mitiTQZ1qu4C&pg=PA72&lpg=PA72&dq=dum+dum+bullet+pig+fat&source=bl&ots=GnKE02lo56&sig=d9Y5DUONaRzsz4J5cUxpYqmHssw&hl=en&ei=qwumSaG6NZiLmQfsm_zkDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result)

Nothing personal, but there are all kinds of kooky urban legends about pork products in wartime being passed around these days, and many of them are debunked, or had no historical foundation to begin with.

sturmgewehr667
February 25, 2009, 10:29 PM
doubles, holland and holland specifically comes to mind

JWHardin
February 26, 2009, 12:02 AM
Depends on who the character is you are attempting to arm:
For example your typical average joe in the colonies ca: 1930 would not have been carrying Anything remotely high end by a top English gun maker. Its as well unlikely that he would have owned anything Lee Enfield based as even the #1 Long Lees were still in service with the reserves well into the Second World War. For "Joe" think in terms of either a Martini, a Martini Enfield, a Snider or even a Cap and Ball. Also common were lower end Shotguns.
Now lets say your character was a well funded "Remittance Man". Then the ante gets upped considerably. Double rifles were NEVER cheap however if your character was hunting in the sub continent of India the choice would likely be a Tiger Gun, generaly a Double rifle anywhere from .450 to .577 bore and often BPE {black powder express} as the new Nitro guns were as noted terribly expensive. Most English gunmakers were well represented and there were 100s of gunmakers in the late 19th century making fine arms on the island other than Westley Richards...there was Army Navy, Midland Arms, Hollis, Jefferies are just a few off the top of the noggin' Understand these were relativly short barreled affairs in the 24 to 26" range with external hammers. Another possibility is a Lee Speed commercial Lee Enfield in either .303 or .375. Mausers were mentioned earlier and are another possibility as are 1903 Styers, even commercial Canadian .280 Ross rifles were somewhat popular were range mattered.
Back in the day I scoured Canada, Australia and New Zealand for Brit sporters and outside of Canada and South Africa the high end makers were rather poorly represented. Australia actually received more US manufactured guns in the 19th century the Brit weapons, particularly Winchester lever guns which were highly popular thruout the colonies. New Zealand was primarily English shotguns with a great deal of cut down ex military rifles such as Remington Lees in .43 spainish and long tom #1 Lee Enfields as well as NZ .303 martini Enfield carbines.
India under the Raj was always a hodge podge tho
people tend to get way to romantic with regards to the reality of what was actually out there.

Gordon
February 26, 2009, 12:32 AM
"Westly Richards commercial rifles on a Mauser action, or an honest Mauser sporter would be correct."
In .318 Westley Richards was Immensely popular for the serious rifleman with a heavy double if one could afford it and was in Africa or India.
.318 Westley-Richards = .333 " - go figure!

(a.k.a. .318 Nitro Express, .318 Rimless Nitro Express, .318 Express, .318 Accelerated Express)
In Australia or NZ the .303 was "it" and the quality gunmakers from England or Germany less seen. I have a NZ .303 Martini Carbine which fit's the 'stalking rifle' profile. I also have a commercial model Ross straight pull hunting rifle in .303 which I bought out og Australia.

Gildas
February 27, 2009, 12:36 AM
Thanks for all the responses. That has given me a whole lot of leads to follow up. I really appreciate it.

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