Awesome 9.3 mm calibres

The Powder Keg ammunition boxes

The Powder Keg ammunition boxes

I started off this blog with the title “my favorite caliber” but recognized the ridiculousness of the definition being an owner of many calibers which I enjoy; and the different application needs. I was immediately in “no man’s land”. But this introduction does give flavor to how much I enjoy the 9.3 x 62 in bolt action and the 9.3 x 74R in double guns. I should add that my favorite SA hunting caliber is a 375 H&H.

Having lived in Europe for the past 11 years I have developed an affiliation for European calibers. The 9.3mm calibers are suitable for all European large game, including pigs and bear. Europeans shoot primarily for meat hence meat damage is a critical decision factor that hunters evaluate.  Wild boar or brown bear are dangerous animals when wounded and most hunters prefer to err on the side of a heavier caliber.

Shooting range Ljubljana Slovenia

Shooting range Ljubljana Slovenia

Let me start off with a “like” that is less relevant to production rifles; the ability to custom make a 9.3 x 74R double in a sleek, slim, elegant light design because of the smaller action and lower recoil than say the 375 H&H. I don’t like big heavy guns and with the 9.3 x74R you can custom build a slim light design gun with normal recoil and proven killing effectiveness. For the same reasons I like a 20 gauge shotgun. The short action of the “equivalent” 9.3 x 62 cartridge in bolt action is particularly useful also.

Spendal 9.3x74R double - elegance takes on a different meaning. Likely owners would part with their spouses before parting with this double:)

Spendal 9.3x74R double – elegance takes on a different meaning. Likely owners would part with their spouses before parting with this double:)

More relevant to aspiring owners of a standard gun in 9.3mm caliber is the inherent accuracy. I am yet to find one that cannot shoot 1 cm groups. Ales Spendal told me yesterday that he would be pig hunting with a Merkel Helix rifle and a Delta scope for press reviews. We did not have time to develop loads but I suggested we try 2 loads using Peregrine bullets and see how it does. Without changing the dies which were set-up for my guns, I loaded Peregrine VGR3 bush masters 250 grain using 57 grains of Vihtavouri N150.

Ales Spendal shooting the 9.3x62, using a Delta scope - Delta optics fast becoming the GoTo choice in the value segment of optics.

Ales Spendal shooting the 9.3×62, using a Delta scope – Delta optics fast becoming the GoTo choice in the value segment of optics.

We just back from the range, the results prompted me to write a blog that I had long threatened to write. The group was 1/2 cm (photo included).

3 shot group - 9.3x62 - Peregrine VGR3 250GR

3 shot group – 9.3×62 – Peregrine VGR3 250GR

Another 3 shot group loaded with 58 grains of VV N150 was almost as good, but not being sure of velocities we will stay on 57 grains (we forgot to delete previous readings on the MagnetoSpeed V3 ballistic chronograph).  Having spare factory ammunition and realizing our mistake we then tested the speed of a premium brand and found much lower speeds than advertised and speed variations of 15%. Readers probably don’t get excited with such results but I do because these facts collaborate opinions. I have strong opinions but I always adapt to facts.  My observations:

  • Load for a 9.3mm calibre if you want to maximize effectiveness. Generally I have found factory loads tested to be substantially below their published velocities,
  • Peregrine VGR3 bullets are proven reliability in the field. Add to this the exceptional accuracy I have achieved with first load attempts in every instance! This could be luck or that the bullets are “load friendly”, either way I just get more hooked on Peregrine VGR3,
  • Peregrine recommend a seating depth on the first “ring” but because I have loaded with existing die set-ups the bullet seating was always further out. With the flat nose I have never had an issue with magazine capacity or compressed loads.

Ales Spendal and I have a few things in common, we are both perfectionists, principle based, disciplined and we only sell what we believe in and shoot.  This is the reason that I can represent The Powder Keg brands with passion. What Ales and I do not share in common is technical skills.  He is an artist, a technical and machining wizard whereas there is no choice of words of how useless I am in this sphere 🙂