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Old 07-23-2007, 06:58 PM
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Default Military rifle calibers 1888-1945: An overview



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Because we talk so much about surplus rifles/ammo I thought I would post an overview of popular ammunition listed by bullet diameter and including the bullet weight, muzzel veloicty(MV) and muzzel energy (ME) of the original loadings. I'll include a bit of history as well.

6.5X55 Swede (1894): Originally chambered in the 1894 Swedish Mauser and the Krag-Jorganson rifles. These rifles were peace time manufacture made at the turn of the century and very high quality, they were designed to handle 48,000 PSI. the original loading was a 139 grn bullet @ 2625MV & 2126 ME. The Norma loading was 2790MV & 2395ME a heavy 160 grn load gives 2430MV & 2100ME Though not wildly popular in the USA this is a very good hunting round indeed, it's long bullet has excelent sectional density and penitration. In europe it is noted for it's high accuracy and mild recoil. In the heavy loading this caliber will handle moose at reasonable distances. Sporting rifles are still chambered in this caliber surplus ammo is rare in the USA and so handloading is the only way to go.

6.5X50 Jap Arisaka (1897)
Chambered in the M-38 Ariska rifle this cartridge is almost identicle to the 6.5 Swede. Manufature of ammunition ended in 1945 though Norma offered this caliber for decades. The M-38 rifle was peace time production so quality is good. Though an ugly rifle the M-38 is very strong and makes a fine 308 Win sporter.

Misc. 6.5 munitions/rifles: These are all very similar ballisticaly speaking, quality of the rifles varies greatly. Surplus ammo is extremely rare.

7X57 Mauser (1893):
There have been 10's of thousands of these rifles imported as surplus and new mfg. M-98's arrive from europe every day. The original loading was a 173grn bullet @ 2296MV & 2025ME. Quality of these rifles varies greatly. Surplus ammo is still available but the loading varies greatly depending on country of origin! The 7X57 has mild recoil and properly used will handle deer and black bear.

Misc. 7.3-7.5mm munitions/rifles: There were many varieties developed in europe between the world wars. You will often see the rifles that arrived in the USA as curios and relics. The ammunition for these pieces was consumed during the war and is a rarity today.

30 M1 carbine (1941):
Originally intended to replace the M-1911 45 ACP this light weapon platform was exceedenly underpowered. Military loading is a 110 grn bullet @ 1975MV & 955ME. The cartridge is not leagl for deer hunting in many states and should be classed as a small game caliber only. Surplus ammo is available, it is sometimes corrosive and the price is quite dear.

30-40 Krag (1892): This was once a very popular big game rifle and the last american black powder service rifle. The action of the Krag is VERY smooth and fast but designed to handle pressures below 40,000PSI. The basic loading was a 180 grn bullet @ 2470MV & 2440ME a max load with a 220 grn bullet is 2310MV & 2323 ME. Recoil is comfortable. Though an old design this round will take moose. I have not seen any surplus ammo for the Krag.

30-06 Springfield (1906):
Developed as an answer to the 7mm Mauser following the Spanish American War the 30-06 has become the most versitile caliber available to american hunters. The '30 cal' is suitable for any american game, including polar bear and bison. A common loading is a 180 grn Bullet @ 2700MV & 2910ME recoil is noticable but not sever in this loading. There are so many loads available that listing a single load is almost unfair. There are millions of rifles of many types in this caliber, surplus ammo is available.

303 Enfield (1888): Greatly overlooked in the USA as a sporter due to surplus M-98 Mausers the 303 Enfield has many good points. Many do not know that the 303 cartridge was invented by the american James Paris Lee. The standard MkVII military loading is a 174 grn bullet @ 2440MV & 2310ME. The MkVII bullet has a fiber or aluminum plug in the foward section and a lead filler in the rear causing the bullet to wobble in flight and tumble when it strikes an object. The power is simular to the 30-40 Krag but because the Enfield No.4 Mk 1 rifle action is stronger (near 50,000PSI) ammo can be hand loaded to much higher velocities. Many No.1 Mk 4's were converted to 7.62 NATO (308 Win.) by the United Kingdom. The rifle itself has a detachable 10 round magazine and the action is quite fast. Recoil is a bit stout with the Enfield carbines but comfortable in the rifle and sporters. This round will take moose and bear. Bullet diameter is .311, but cast bullets to .313 can be used. Quality is generaly good. Surplus ammo is available.

7.62X54 Rimmed Russian (1891): The 150 grn bullet was adopted in 1909 with a 2800MV & 2620ME comparable to the 30-06 but with heavier bullets the 7.62X54 shows it's weakness, a smaller case capacity. This hardly counts as a draw back as a hunting round for deer and black bear. Standard working pressure is 45,000PSI. Bullet dia. is .310. There are lots of rifles and carbines available in this caliber, some are american made for WW1. Surplus ammo is available.

7.7X58 Jap Arisaka (1939): The loading for this round is almost identical to the 303 Enfield and uses the same .311 bullet. the standard rifle for this round was the M99 adopted in 1939. Towards the end of WW2 the quality of these rifles suffered badly. Ammunition Mfg. halted in 1945 though Norma loaded it for decades. Many M-99s were re-chambered to 30-06 as sporters after the war. Unless the barrel was changed-out this was a poor performing rifle. The action is strong but there are many better choices for a hunting rifle.

7.9X57 Mauser (1905): Also known as the 8mm Mauser this is a great sporting cartridge on the same level as the 30-06. Old Model 1888 8mm Mausers have a smaller bore diameter (.312) compared to the 'new' M-1898
8mm Mausers (.323) do not fire the larger bullets through the M-1888s! The basic military loading is a 154 grn bullet @ 2880MV & 2835ME. Recoil is the same as a 30-06. This caliber will handle any game a 30-06 will with the proper load. Surplus rifles and ammo are still available, quality varies greatly.

This concludes my overview (1888-1945). if you have any recomendations for additions please let me know.

Last edited by Kenno; 07-25-2007 at 05:26 PM..
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:01 PM
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Thanks Kenno.
Good rundown on the old soldiers.
For some reason, I had it in my mind, that the 30-40 Krag, was our first smokeless service rifle.
What ever..they sure have a slick action.
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:13 PM
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The 30-40 Krag was the first small bore caliber offered with smokeless powder by Winchester in thier High-Wall single shot in 1893. I do not know if military ammo in the US was loaded with smokeless powders.
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Old 07-23-2007, 11:20 PM
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Kenno, this post is so good I made it a sticky. While I was at it, I bolded each caliber.

Thank you for posting this excellent thread.



Last edited by kev; 07-23-2007 at 11:24 PM..
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:32 AM
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i have a mosin nagant old russian rifle i love it with all my heart my first rifle
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:23 PM
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Lots of great information. Thank you Keeno.

However any one else may want to take some of this information Into account if they are thinking about an M1 carbine.
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Old 02-10-2009, 09:10 AM
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An 1898 version or post ww1 adopted carabine?
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Old 02-10-2009, 05:01 PM
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30-40 Krag was never a black powder round.. it was the first smokeless powder round adopted by the military. Since it was the first they still kept with the tradition of naming the round with a black powder designation.
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:29 PM
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Left off the 7.92 x 33 used in the Stg 44 and 45
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:14 PM
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dont forget the old springfield trap door in 45-70
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:14 PM
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I own two 91/30 - 1928 from Tula Amory and 1944 model as well as one of the Nagant pistols. They are all very good weapons.
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Old 04-03-2009, 01:24 PM
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Thanks for the info! good thread...

Although I'd feel undergunned against polar bear with anything less than a 20mm Lahti. lol
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenno View Post
Because we talk so much about surplus rifles/ammo I thought I would post an overview of popular ammunition listed by bullet diameter and including the bullet weight, muzzel veloicty(MV) and muzzel energy (ME) of the original loadings. I'll include a bit of history as well.

6.5X55 Swede (1894): Originally chambered in the 1894 Swedish Mauser and the Krag-Jorganson rifles. These rifles were peace time manufacture made at the turn of the century and very high quality, they were designed to handle 48,000 PSI. the original loading was a 139 grn bullet @ 2625MV & 2126 ME. The Norma loading was 2790MV & 2395ME a heavy 160 grn load gives 2430MV & 2100ME Though not wildly popular in the USA this is a very good hunting round indeed, it's long bullet has excelent sectional density and penitration. In europe it is noted for it's high accuracy and mild recoil. In the heavy loading this caliber will handle moose at reasonable distances. Sporting rifles are still chambered in this caliber surplus ammo is rare in the USA and so handloading is the only way to go.

6.5X50 Jap Arisaka (1897)
Chambered in the M-38 Ariska rifle this cartridge is almost identicle to the 6.5 Swede. Manufature of ammunition ended in 1945 though Norma offered this caliber for decades. The M-38 rifle was peace time production so quality is good. Though an ugly rifle the M-38 is very strong and makes a fine 308 Win sporter.

Misc. 6.5 munitions/rifles: These are all very similar ballisticaly speaking, quality of the rifles varies greatly. Surplus ammo is extremely rare.

7X57 Mauser (1893):
There have been 10's of thousands of these rifles imported as surplus and new mfg. M-98's arrive from europe every day. The original loading was a 173grn bullet @ 2296MV & 2025ME. Quality of these rifles varies greatly. Surplus ammo is still available but the loading varies greatly depending on country of origin! The 7X57 has mild recoil and properly used will handle deer and black bear.

Misc. 7.3-7.5mm munitions/rifles: There were many varieties developed in europe between the world wars. You will often see the rifles that arrived in the USA as curios and relics. The ammunition for these pieces was consumed during the war and is a rarity today.

30 M1 carbine (1941):
Originally intended to replace the M-1911 45 ACP this light weapon platform was exceedenly underpowered. Military loading is a 110 grn bullet @ 1975MV & 955ME. The cartridge is not leagl for deer hunting in many states and should be classed as a small game caliber only. Surplus ammo is available, it is sometimes corrosive and the price is quite dear.

30-40 Krag (1892): This was once a very popular big game rifle and the last american black powder service rifle. The action of the Krag is VERY smooth and fast but designed to handle pressures below 40,000PSI. The basic loading was a 180 grn bullet @ 2470MV & 2440ME a max load with a 220 grn bullet is 2310MV & 2323 ME. Recoil is comfortable. Though an old design this round will take moose. I have not seen any surplus ammo for the Krag.

30-06 Springfield (1906):
Developed as an answer to the 7mm Mauser following the Spanish American War the 30-06 has become the most versitile caliber available to american hunters. The '30 cal' is suitable for any american game, including polar bear and bison. A common loading is a 180 grn Bullet @ 2700MV & 2910ME recoil is noticable but not sever in this loading. There are so many loads available that listing a single load is almost unfair. There are millions of rifles of many types in this caliber, surplus ammo is available.

303 Enfield (1888): Greatly overlooked in the USA as a sporter due to surplus M-98 Mausers the 303 Enfield has many good points. Many do not know that the 303 cartridge was invented by the american James Paris Lee. The standard MkVII military loading is a 174 grn bullet @ 2440MV & 2310ME. The MkVII bullet has a fiber or aluminum plug in the foward section and a lead filler in the rear causing the bullet to wobble in flight and tumble when it strikes an object. The power is simular to the 30-40 Krag but because the Enfield No.4 Mk 1 rifle action is stronger (near 50,000PSI) ammo can be hand loaded to much higher velocities. Many No.1 Mk 4's were converted to 7.62 NATO (308 Win.) by the United Kingdom. The rifle itself has a detachable 10 round magazine and the action is quite fast. Recoil is a bit stout with the Enfield carbines but comfortable in the rifle and sporters. This round will take moose and bear. Bullet diameter is .311, but cast bullets to .313 can be used. Quality is generaly good. Surplus ammo is available.

7.62X54 Rimmed Russian (1891): The 150 grn bullet was adopted in 1909 with a 2800MV & 2620ME comparable to the 30-06 but with heavier bullets the 7.62X54 shows it's weakness, a smaller case capacity. This hardly counts as a draw back as a hunting round for deer and black bear. Standard working pressure is 45,000PSI. Bullet dia. is .310. There are lots of rifles and carbines available in this caliber, some are american made for WW1. Surplus ammo is available.

7.7X58 Jap Arisaka (1939): The loading for this round is almost identical to the 303 Enfield and uses the same .311 bullet. the standard rifle for this round was the M99 adopted in 1939. Towards the end of WW2 the quality of these rifles suffered badly. Ammunition Mfg. halted in 1945 though Norma loaded it for decades. Many M-99s were re-chambered to 30-06 as sporters after the war. Unless the barrel was changed-out this was a poor performing rifle. The action is strong but there are many better choices for a hunting rifle.

7.9X57 Mauser (1905): Also known as the 8mm Mauser this is a great sporting cartridge on the same level as the 30-06. Old Model 1888 8mm Mausers have a smaller bore diameter (.312) compared to the 'new' M-1898
8mm Mausers (.323) do not fire the larger bullets through the M-1888s! The basic military loading is a 154 grn bullet @ 2880MV & 2835ME. Recoil is the same as a 30-06. This caliber will handle any game a 30-06 will with the proper load. Surplus rifles and ammo are still available, quality varies greatly.

This concludes my overview (1888-1945). if you have any recomendations for additions please let me know.
U.S. Rifle Springfield Model 1903 30-06 Springfield w/Simmons Presidential Series glass....I have one...was my fathers....my favorite bolt action rifle of the others that I have...1000 yard shots all day long if you want to
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Old 05-21-2009, 05:36 AM
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The Japanese Arisaka round is the .303 British (7.7x57R) with the rim removed and you also left out the .280 Ross of WW1 Canadian fame which made such an impression of the military minds of the time that the American Ordnance department went with the .276 Petersen round to replace the .30/06 after thousands of complaints came in from the soldiers saying the round was too powerful, too much recoil, too much muzzle flash, too loud and the rifle wasn't designed for anything but standing up firing because of the stock shape...Had it not been for the stock market crash and the Great Depression which made retooling difficult to justify and for Gen MacArthur wanting to retain the cartridge --only because they had over a billion or so rounds stockpiled that the army didn't go with the Petersen otherwise the .30/06 would have gone into the history books along with the 6mm (.244) Lee Remington Navy (1895) of China fame and the .30/03 (before the .30/06) as a short lived caliber...

FYI the Garand was originally designed for the Petersen cartridge and only the Depression forced then to go with the .30/06 version...
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Old 08-02-2009, 01:14 AM
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I shot a 30-40 Krag for many years deer hunting. Great rifle but the side loading door would be a pain in battle. Cant mount a top mounted scope on them. The mounts have to machined into the side of the weapon. Expensive. I went with a Remminton 7400 in 30-06 when my eyes got too bad to shoot open sights. I like the 740,7400 and 750 semiautomatic . 10 round magazines are available for them and work real well. I was surprised at how well mine shoots in combat type drill. Lots of power and fear factor. Fmj 150 grain are close to 3000 feet per second. I am sold on the 30-06. Kingfish
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:46 PM
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dont forget the 7.92x33mm kurz for the mp44 or STURMGEWHER. one of the best guns ever...... where kalishnikov got the ak deign from.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenno View Post
Because we talk so much about surplus rifles/ammo I thought I would post an overview of popular ammunition listed by bullet diameter and including the bullet weight, muzzel veloicty(MV) and muzzel energy (ME) of the original loadings. I'll include a bit of history as well.

6.5X55 Swede (1894): Originally chambered in the 1894 Swedish Mauser and the Krag-Jorganson rifles. These rifles were peace time manufacture made at the turn of the century and very high quality, they were designed to handle 48,000 PSI. the original loading was a 139 grn bullet @ 2625MV & 2126 ME. The Norma loading was 2790MV & 2395ME a heavy 160 grn load gives 2430MV & 2100ME Though not wildly popular in the USA this is a very good hunting round indeed, it's long bullet has excelent sectional density and penitration. In europe it is noted for it's high accuracy and mild recoil. In the heavy loading this caliber will handle moose at reasonable distances. Sporting rifles are still chambered in this caliber surplus ammo is rare in the USA and so handloading is the only way to go.

6.5X50 Jap Arisaka (1897)
Chambered in the M-38 Ariska rifle this cartridge is almost identicle to the 6.5 Swede. Manufature of ammunition ended in 1945 though Norma offered this caliber for decades. The M-38 rifle was peace time production so quality is good. Though an ugly rifle the M-38 is very strong and makes a fine 308 Win sporter.

Misc. 6.5 munitions/rifles: These are all very similar ballisticaly speaking, quality of the rifles varies greatly. Surplus ammo is extremely rare.

7X57 Mauser (1893):
There have been 10's of thousands of these rifles imported as surplus and new mfg. M-98's arrive from europe every day. The original loading was a 173grn bullet @ 2296MV & 2025ME. Quality of these rifles varies greatly. Surplus ammo is still available but the loading varies greatly depending on country of origin! The 7X57 has mild recoil and properly used will handle deer and black bear.

Misc. 7.3-7.5mm munitions/rifles: There were many varieties developed in europe between the world wars. You will often see the rifles that arrived in the USA as curios and relics. The ammunition for these pieces was consumed during the war and is a rarity today.

30 M1 carbine (1941):
Originally intended to replace the M-1911 45 ACP this light weapon platform was exceedenly underpowered. Military loading is a 110 grn bullet @ 1975MV & 955ME. The cartridge is not leagl for deer hunting in many states and should be classed as a small game caliber only. Surplus ammo is available, it is sometimes corrosive and the price is quite dear.

30-40 Krag (1892): This was once a very popular big game rifle and the last american black powder service rifle. The action of the Krag is VERY smooth and fast but designed to handle pressures below 40,000PSI. The basic loading was a 180 grn bullet @ 2470MV & 2440ME a max load with a 220 grn bullet is 2310MV & 2323 ME. Recoil is comfortable. Though an old design this round will take moose. I have not seen any surplus ammo for the Krag.

30-06 Springfield (1906):
Developed as an answer to the 7mm Mauser following the Spanish American War the 30-06 has become the most versitile caliber available to american hunters. The '30 cal' is suitable for any american game, including polar bear and bison. A common loading is a 180 grn Bullet @ 2700MV & 2910ME recoil is noticable but not sever in this loading. There are so many loads available that listing a single load is almost unfair. There are millions of rifles of many types in this caliber, surplus ammo is available.

303 Enfield (1888): Greatly overlooked in the USA as a sporter due to surplus M-98 Mausers the 303 Enfield has many good points. Many do not know that the 303 cartridge was invented by the american James Paris Lee. The standard MkVII military loading is a 174 grn bullet @ 2440MV & 2310ME. The MkVII bullet has a fiber or aluminum plug in the foward section and a lead filler in the rear causing the bullet to wobble in flight and tumble when it strikes an object. The power is simular to the 30-40 Krag but because the Enfield No.4 Mk 1 rifle action is stronger (near 50,000PSI) ammo can be hand loaded to much higher velocities. Many No.1 Mk 4's were converted to 7.62 NATO (308 Win.) by the United Kingdom. The rifle itself has a detachable 10 round magazine and the action is quite fast. Recoil is a bit stout with the Enfield carbines but comfortable in the rifle and sporters. This round will take moose and bear. Bullet diameter is .311, but cast bullets to .313 can be used. Quality is generaly good. Surplus ammo is available.

7.62X54 Rimmed Russian (1891): The 150 grn bullet was adopted in 1909 with a 2800MV & 2620ME comparable to the 30-06 but with heavier bullets the 7.62X54 shows it's weakness, a smaller case capacity. This hardly counts as a draw back as a hunting round for deer and black bear. Standard working pressure is 45,000PSI. Bullet dia. is .310. There are lots of rifles and carbines available in this caliber, some are american made for WW1. Surplus ammo is available.

7.7X58 Jap Arisaka (1939): The loading for this round is almost identical to the 303 Enfield and uses the same .311 bullet. the standard rifle for this round was the M99 adopted in 1939. Towards the end of WW2 the quality of these rifles suffered badly. Ammunition Mfg. halted in 1945 though Norma loaded it for decades. Many M-99s were re-chambered to 30-06 as sporters after the war. Unless the barrel was changed-out this was a poor performing rifle. The action is strong but there are many better choices for a hunting rifle.

7.9X57 Mauser (1905): Also known as the 8mm Mauser this is a great sporting cartridge on the same level as the 30-06. Old Model 1888 8mm Mausers have a smaller bore diameter (.312) compared to the 'new' M-1898
8mm Mausers (.323) do not fire the larger bullets through the M-1888s! The basic military loading is a 154 grn bullet @ 2880MV & 2835ME. Recoil is the same as a 30-06. This caliber will handle any game a 30-06 will with the proper load. Surplus rifles and ammo are still available, quality varies greatly.

This concludes my overview (1888-1945). if you have any recomendations for additions please let me know.
The Springfield Model 1903 30-06 is IMO, the best of all the above! Long range.....flat shooting.....hard hitting!
BOOM! BOOM LONG TIME!
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Old 10-24-2009, 11:51 AM
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Regarding the 6.5x55 Swede... Factory ammunition is readily available from all the major ammo manufactures. There are fine new rifles chambered in this caliber from TIKKA and CZ to name a couple.
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Old 08-26-2010, 12:38 AM
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thanks man this was really informative, i acctualy learned somthing
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Old 11-01-2010, 09:41 PM
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Excelent thread . Very Interesting. Thanks
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