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African Rifles and Cartridges
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I finished African Rifles and Cartridges first edition last week.

Some impressions. I enjoy his conversationalist style. I enjoyed the diagrams of the Cartridges and bullets.

Some impressions:

Poor Blaney Percival. I do not know how John Taylor knew Blaney Percival, but John Taylor sure does use him a lot as an example of what not to do.

John Taylor speaks glowingly on the soft nose, soft point with a decent amount of lead exposed for Buffalo! These have to be cup and core bullets. The same bullets that Elmer Keith had such trouble with on Gymsbok with 300 grains and 333 Jeffery. Of course, the rule due to bullets like these John Taylor speaks so well of for Buffalo caused generations of clients and professional hunters to use only solids on Buffalo. I find this very curious.

John Taylor is not hot for the 470 N.E. from Joseph Lang. He does not hate it. He does not damn it. He does make the observation that the bullet profile of the 470 N.E. was more keen, less blunt than the other large bore Nitro Expresses. John Taylor opines that this more keen shaped bullet may have limited the penetration of on elephant. He does note that due to being a poaching mode, he did not have the opportunity to section the skulls of these bulls to see if penetration failed or if he was off on the brain shot.

The interesting thing is the 500 N.E. 3 inch had a similar, if not, more, keen shaped nose profile than the 470 N.E. solid loads of the day. Yet, John Taylor does not make this criticism of the 500 N.E. 3 inch focusing on the weight issue (A hunter carrying a 500 N.E. just carried a 577 due to weight being so similar) as to why the 500 N.E. 3 inch was not more popular. By John Taylor's reckoning my 500 Heym is 2 pounds to heavy.

Speaking of the 500 N.E. 3 inch, John Taylor concludes the caliber and bullet is just too large for lion, but opines the 577 in both BPE 3 inch and 577 3 inch were great for turning a lion inside out. The 577 is a good deal larger than the 500. Therefore, the 577 in either BPE or N.E. should be to large to be effective lion medicine.

I am surprised that John Taylor is not concerned about the S.D. of the 505 Gibbs 525 grain bullet. He speaks highly of the 350 Rigby Rimless Magnum. However, he openly wishes that cartridges would have used the 310 grain bullet of the Rigby 350 No.2. Of course, he does not have any use for the 10.75X68 Mauser, rifles chambered for it, the bullet weight, or the construction of bullets. It seems the 505 Gibbs should have received the same, "This is great, but we need a 570 or 600 grain bullet" comment other similar SD bullet based cartridges got.

He really hates German or Continental Mauser Rifles. I have found Mauser 98's from Europe to be mighty fine rifles, but I am not an everyday elephant hunter.

John Taylor was not found of and advocated against magazine rifles for sport hunting. He stated he believed they should be banned from sport hunting, because the cartridges held in the magazine caused folks to have too much false confidence that resulted in folks blasting away and wounded animals in mass in one setting. He opined that magazine rifles should be plugged for only 2 cartridges comparing and rationalizing the situation to the treaty requirements for migratory birds and shotguns.

John Taylor gives a great description of the Rigby Solid with images as to why it is superior to all competitors. He does not identify who made Rigby's solids. I inferred Rigby made their bullets. Can anyone confirm this? All other makers bullet source were identified as being outside the Rifle builder's firm.

This book historical and cultural importance cannot be overstated. We still talk in terms of S.D., KO factors, his suggested sight in ranges, rifle selection, as gospel. Does any know who taught John Taylor about S.D.? Did his observations on S.D. form as an original expression of thought from his experience or was the knowledge on S.D. something understood from some other source that his experiences confirmed?

This book came out of some high school library from somewhere. I am saddened that our world has become so removed from the world that gave us John Taylor and African Rifles and Cartridges that would be found in school libraries.

Please share any thoughts or observations you have on this material.
 
Posts: 3919 | Location: Somewhere above Tennessee and below Kentucky  | Registered: 31 July 2016Reply With Quote
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Your last paragraph says it all in the unfortunate phrase "a sign of the times." It is a great book + quite easily readable. For me, it made me a believer in the 450-400.


Never mistake motion for action.
 
Posts: 13765 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With Quote
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Just brought it out again to peruse after reading man eaters and marauders. He does have a good writing style and makes interesting observations especially human behavior. He does love his doubles...But seemed to enjoy the .505 as well
 
Posts: 2485 | Registered: 31 December 2005Reply With Quote
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One of my favorites. Many years ago, the NRA offered it in their book club( had to be in the eighties I believe). Hatcher’s notes sits beside it on the shelf.
 
Posts: 206 | Location: Lake Linden Mi | Registered: 18 January 2010Reply With Quote
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It's not just packed full of knowledge but is great reading too.


Never mistake motion for action.
 
Posts: 13765 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With Quote
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Haven't read it in years, guess I'll have to pull it off the bookshelf and read it again. Thanks to corvid I'm reading a lot.

Dave
 
Posts: 2053 | Location: Seattle Washington, USA | Registered: 19 January 2004Reply With Quote
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What I like about Taylor is he never becomes argumentative, which I find rare in writings about rifles/ammo/bullet performance. He just states his opinions, sometimes gives examples, and moves on.
 
Posts: 448 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 03 February 2013Reply With Quote
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True. Not like the friction between Elmer Keith + Jack O'Conner.


Never mistake motion for action.
 
Posts: 13765 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With Quote
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NC, it is O'Connor. That mistake supposedly haunted Al Biesen for most of his life!
 
Posts: 448 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: 03 February 2013Reply With Quote
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I do tend to type too fast, so my apologies. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall when those 2 old curmudgeons (Jack + Al) got together. Smiler


Never mistake motion for action.
 
Posts: 13765 | Location: Austin, Texas | Registered: 11 March 2013Reply With Quote
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I have read his books. A unique and very strange person. That being said, many of the others that lived that life are a bit "different" as well. Ian Nychens comes to mind as does Fred Everett and a many others.

Taylor was observant and wrote to the era he lived in. I like his thoughts are guns and calibers.

At the end of the entire discussion on guns and calibers - I have devolved to - shoot what you have, shoot it well. Anything from a .243 to .300 win mag will kill plains game. Anything from .375 HH and up is fine for others. Avoid the very slow cartridges such as the 45-70 and the old west guns, even though they will kill. Do not fall to the thinking ' "buy a .30-06 so I can get ammo anywhere". That is bunk and people are rarely rarely ever not with their ammo. If you are, use the PH's gun or borrow one.

A gun is a tool, nothing more. Use the tool you like. I killed my one and only lion with a borrowed 9.3x62 Parker and Hale using a bent Bauch and Lomb scope. The bullets (unknown type, but softs) killed the lion.

We over think our guns too much.

Use a tool and bullet that you know how to use, put it in the right spot and life is good.
 
Posts: 9153 | Location: Back in the Republic of Texas... time to secede!! | Registered: 12 February 2004Reply With Quote
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