Boers, Beans, Bullets, and Bear Soup – Part 1 and 2

1 year, 7 months ago

At SurvivalBlog, this is an excellent two-part post. A very brief history of the Boer Wars is offered then it’s almost exclusively weapons, ammo, purposes in use, and personal firearms considerations. Great stuff, tons of data, with much to consider and debate.

Part One

Part Two

Excerpt from Part Two:

Around here, .30-06 is more common than .308 Win.  The second most popular in my neighborhood is 6.5 Creedmoor (6.5CM), then 6.5×55, and lastly a wildcat for the AR platform, the 6.5 Timberwolf. Ideally, we would be best off to standardized on .308 Winchester. Yet .30-06 is still king in these woods. It is time tested and found to be the best all around cartridge CONUS, good for mouse to moose, and the occasional Griz, because it can shoot the heaviest .308 caliber bullets with a 1:10 twist rate barrel.

The .30-06 can also punch out a flat shooting 175 grain bullet at 2,800fps with H4831sc, H4350 powder, or other similar powders. It is appreciable flatter shooting than .308 Winchester, and far flatter than .308 Winchester’s military version, 7.62×51 NATO.  Yet we do pay the price in terms of a punishing level of recoil. Therefore, my ideal long range rifle would be the 6.5×55 cartridge in a modern action capable of 60,000psi with 29 inch bull barrel attached, however that rifle is only a dream rifle.

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  1. On October 11, 2022 at 8:55 pm, Quietus said:

    I have never shot a rifle in 6.5×55 but have great respect for the round. That said, I have a problem with the thinking of the author, especially in part 2, where he mentions several times his flinch problem.

    Rather than staying with a caliber which offers tracers, blue tips, AP, and the M118 loading, his flinch causes him to prefer another fine round with less bullet options.

    He’d be better off training out of his tendency to flinch, rather than wasting time calculating what’s felt at the buttplate. Anti-flinch training options abound, I won’t get into the topic. He ought to fix his problem instead of building his preferred choice around a big weakness in his marksmanship skills.

    I’d wager that with his lesser-recoiling choice of caliber, he’s still going to flinch under pressure.

  2. On October 11, 2022 at 9:24 pm, PGF said:

    @quietus, I was thinking just the opposite of you, until your last sentence. Excellent point, thanks.

  3. On October 11, 2022 at 10:29 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I had never heard of the 6.5 Timberwolf. But I wouldn’t even start down that road.

    The 6mm ARC is an absolutely fine rifle cartridge, slinging a 108 grain bullet 2800 FPS in an AR size chamber with no more felt recoil than an 5.56mm.

    Anything larger, I suspect the 300 PRC is the way to go. Killing an Elk shooting from one ridge to the next is a challenge, and the 300 Win Mag has a free bore problem (missing the lands by too much to avoid bullet deformation).

    Recall the Hornady video I linked.

  4. On October 12, 2022 at 1:31 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    The author makes some salient points, and reminds us of the history of the Boer Wars against the British Empire.

    The articles do not delve into the specifics, but if you dig into the minutiae of how the British ultimately gained the upper hand, they eventually resorted to what amount to scorched earth tactics.

    They depopulated entire areas suspected of harboring Boer irregulars, and interned many civilians in concentration camps. Homesteads and farms were put to the torch, livestock confiscated or killed, and crops destroyed to prevent their being used to feed the irregulars. Starvation, disease and privation were endemic, in particular outbreaks of contagious diseases such dysentery, typhoid and measles due to poor sanitation, malnutrition, and overcrowding.

    Another conflict often mentioned in the same vein as the Boer Wars is the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the subsequent insurgencies in the Philippines, which lasted off-and-on right up to the Great War. The U.S. Army fought the Moros as late as 1913 in the Battle of Bagsak Mountain.

    The Spanish-American War is germane to the discussion because the U.S. forces attempting to take the San Juan Heights outside Santiago, Cuba, on 1 July 1898, received a rude surprise in the form of accurate long-range rifle fire from M1893 7x57mm Mausers in the hands of Spanish regulars atop the heights, who rained down accurate and lethal fire on the advancing Americans from hundreds of yards away. The 7×57 round was nicknamed the “Spanish Hornet” due to the snapping sound it made passing overhead at supersonic velocities.

    The Battle of the San Juan Heights was to be, in many respects, analagous to the Battle of Spion Kop fought less than two years later, 23-24 January 1900, roughly 25 miles W-SW of Ladysmith, Natal, in what is today South Africa.

    Although the Americans eventually triumphed at San Juan and the British were defeated at Spion Kop, both engagements showed how effective trained riflemen using modern smokeless powder weapons and loads for them, could be against even highly-professionalized military forces.

  5. On October 12, 2022 at 1:55 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    There is no such thing as a free lunch where physics is concerned. As Ken Royce says in his books, “If you want to give it, you’ve got to be willing to take it”… meaning that if you want power downrange and suitable terminal effects, you’re going to have to pay for it in terms of weight of the cartridge, the rifle shooting it, and recoil energy.

    Cartridges such as the “Swedish Mauser” 6.5×55 have been popular in Europe – particularly Scandinavia – for well over a century, and for good reason. 6.5mm (.264-cal.) projectiles are extremely efficient, offering excellent ballistic coefficients and section densities. Using 160-grain round-nose bonded solids, the venerable 6.5x55mm has been used over there to hunt medium and large game for a very long time, and very successfully, too. Some African professional hunters recommend it for plains game on that continent.

    The “Swede” is also a stellar performer in competition, and has been used in that manner for a very long time. Although the Swedish military finally adopted 7.62x51mm NATO some years back, which ended the military career of the 6.5×55, the “Swedish Mauser” had a long and well-honored career in that way as well. At one time, the Swedes even had Browning Automatic Rifles chambered in 6.5×55, and to this day, service rifle competitors at Camp Perry shooting M-1 rifles often re-barrel their Garands in 6.5×55.

    Loaded to its full-potential and fired from a modern, high-strength action, the Swedish Mauser is capable of performance in excess of that attained by the 6.5 Creedmoor and .260 Remington. It holds somewhat more propellant than either of these competitors since they re short-action cartridges, and the 6.5×55 is a long-action round.

    The downfall, if it is one, of the 6.5x55mm is that its projectiles top out at about 160-grains, which limits the throw weight of the cartridge in terms of retained momentum. This may make it unsuited to certain applications.

    If so, readers may wish to investigate 7mm (.284-cal) offerings, since 7mm projectiles enjoy many of the same benefits as do the 6.5s, but offer projectile weights up to 175-180-grains in hunting loads, and there are a few 190-grain loads out there for long-range use.

    If the reader wishes to stay with the tried and true .308-caliber offerings, there are a lot of choices there, as well. This class of projectiles can also attain quite high BC numbers, but the catch is that the aerodynamic efficiency of .30-caliber projectiles does not really begin to shine until one is in the 200-grain or more range.

    Service rifle competitors using .308s for 1,000 yard competitions have handloaded 190-grain Sierra Match Kings for years as a means of gaining better performance in the 900-1100 yard envelope. The short-action .308 is not necessarily ideal for such a heavy bullet, but it works well-enough.

    Advances in propellant chemistry and projectile design have really given the venerable 30-06 a new lease on life. Using something like a Hornady 208-grain ELD-Match loaded to 2550-2600 fps turns the old girl into a bona-fide 1500 yard cartridge, which is firmly in what used to be 300 Win-Mag territory.

    And cartridges like 300 Win-Mag, 300 PRC and 300 Norma Magnum are extending the performance envelope of .308-caliber projectiles even further. Indeed, the rumor is that many special ops personnel in JSOC are now favoring 300 Norma Magnum over 338 Lapua Magnum for certain kinds of missions.

    Choose whatever appeals to you, what you can shoot well, but remember that logistics mean a lot and certain cartridges are always going to be easier to find – and often cheaper to purchase – due to their ubiquity and wide-spread use by the military. Which means 5.56x45mm NATO/.223 Remington, 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Winchester, and so forth.

  6. On October 12, 2022 at 4:46 am, jrg said:

    An old school, extremely well made bolt rifle – the Swiss K31 straight pull. Its downfall is the chambering 7.5 Swiss, though I understand there were a limited run of 7.62 NATO models around. Also, straight up top eject does force a Scout scope or offset scope.

    Superbly manufactured and smoooooth. Back in early 2000’s, they were sold for close to a C-Note. Well over 4 times the cost now.

    I also agree with article’s author – the .308 Winchester is a great USA all-around cartridge choice. My go-to deer rifle is a Remington 600 bolt rifle, a nice lightweight woods carbine.

    Very good article – thanks for linking to it.

  7. On October 12, 2022 at 6:02 am, Russell G. said:

    Last sentence…You’re basically talking about a M96 Swede without a 5 lb aftermarket barrel. My ’98 pristine early-German-made C&R Swede actually resides in a sport’ized later-issue Husky stock while the real dark walnut wood is in a protected box. It will definitely get the job done downrange. And, it does that at a much lower pressure than that shown in the text—That’s an incorrect SAAMI number for the original 2 lug bolt ’96. Read that very carefully…he says “modern action”.

    That modern action would be a Savage Axis or M11x receiver (so you can headspace the damn thing correctly–piss on the 700s) and put in an EABCO Swede accuracy barrel (like I also have on the rack). That is a heavy rifle (uncomfortable and tiring), as he mentions. And, don’t push it to 60K…it’s not necessary. The 4350 and 4831 family also will not get that velocity with a 140 grain slug. 4064 will. That is the preferred velocity powder for both the Swede and ’06SPR.

  8. On October 12, 2022 at 6:57 am, Matt Bracken said:

    If we are talking about commonly available rifle ammunition, where availability is a virtue, don’t overlook .243.

    It’s not far behind 6mm Creedmor in external ballistics, but you will find .243 on the shelf in stores everywhere, as well as rifles chambered for it going back more than 50 years. That is a lot of rifles.

    It also has the virtue of milder recoil than .308, much less 30-06, meaning that you can turn a youth or a woman into an effective shooter without having to overcome flinch etc.

    And in extremis, .308 can be necked down to use in an existing .243, if all you have is .308 brass and a .243 rifle.

    Here’s a good article on .243 vs 6mm CM

  9. On October 12, 2022 at 8:47 am, Shadling said:

    7mm-08 is the modern equivalent to 7×57. There’s plenty of surplus 7×57 rifles floating around but you need to be careful loading them to 21st century pressures. IMHO keep those old-timer 7x57s in the safe and get yourself a soft shooting flat shooting 7mm-08.

  10. On October 12, 2022 at 9:26 am, Ambiguousfrog said:

    Great share. Thanks

  11. On October 13, 2022 at 1:34 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Matt Bracken

    Re: “If we are talking about commonly available rifle ammunition, where availability is a virtue, don’t overlook .243.”

    Good call, thanks for the reminder. The venerable .243 Winchester has been around a long time, and for good reason. It gets the job done for a lot of people as a hunting cartridge, and it performs well at long range, too.

    T. Rex of “Rex Reviews” (You Tube) owns a traditional wood-and-steel bolt-action hunting rifle – I can’t recall whether it is a Winchester, Remington or what – chambered in .243, which he raves about in one of his videos as being one of the most-accurate rifles he owns. His LR medicine of choice was Hornady 105-grain A-Maxes, if memory serves.

    There is a lot of attention being paid right now in the competition and tactical communities to 6mm cartridges such as 6mm ARC and 6mm CM, which of course utilize the same caliber of projectile as the good old .243.

    The main advantage offered by the newer 6mm cartridges and the rifles that shoot them is that many are especially configured to take advantage of long-heavy-for-caliber high BC/high SD loads by virtue of having a faster twist rate than is typical for a hunting rifle, and chamber and magazine long-enough to accommodate these new projectiles.

    So, if using these heavy and long bullets is on your agenda, look for a rifle which has a favorable twist rate for the load you wish to use. If you don’t feel up to making that determination, by all means call the ammunition manufacturer and/or the firearm manufacturer as well, and their tech support folks will set you straight.

    Matt, you are indeed correct that the ability to neck-down .308 Winchester to .243-caliber is fairly simple to do and quite useful if .243 brass gets hard to find for some reason. It is a very common cartridge, much more-common than any of the new kids on the block and cheaper besides, so I don’t see it being tough to get… but if it is for some reason, reforming .308 Win. brass is definitely doable.

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You are currently reading "Boers, Beans, Bullets, and Bear Soup – Part 1 and 2", entry #32377 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Ammunition,Firearms,Survival,War & Warfare and was published October 11th, 2022 by PGF.

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