Friday, February 17, 2006

.600 Nitro

This video (requires Windows Media) , sent to me by an outdoor writer friend, is pretty funny but may need a little explanation.

The .600 Nitro cartridge was the last and biggest of what might be thought of as the Edwardian elephant cartridges. It was exceeded in size only by the shotgun "Bore" rifles-- ten and eight-- and these were obsolete by its time. It held its position until the '70's or '80's, when London gunmaker Holland and Holland decided to make a .700 with the sole motive of making something bigger-- to do it as a stunt so to speak, as the market was not exactly calling for such a cartridge by then. The .600 and its "little" brother, the .577, were primarily the guns used by professional elephant hunters (and a few ivory poachers) rather than, even, guides. Their primary purpose was to deliver stunning blows to elephants at close quarters or in cover. While the power of their recoil has been exaggerated-- they would not be likely to "break your collarbone or shoulder" as one commentator has suggested, because they weighed up to 16 pounds in a double rifle-- they were specialist's weapons to say the least. A hunter who used one had best have a reliable gunbearer to spare him the weight of the rifle until the "moment of truth". And the recoil is formidable, about 9.4 times that of a garden- variety .30- 06.

That's the back story; here is the story. A gunsmith apparently built a PISTOL on a common single- shot break- action frame, the Thompson Center, in .600 nitro. (A pistol in the common .30-30 Winchester rifle cartridge, shown with the .600 and a chapstick below for scale-- ignore the octopus-- recoils hard in a similar pistol, more than the "powerful" .44 Magnum does) .

The pistol was built , I think, on the same principle as was Holland's .700 mentioned above-- as a display piece for the gunsmith's talents. I'm not sure he ever intended for anyone to shoot it. Here is what happened when someone did. Further comment would be superfuous...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ignore the octopus? Never! He is wonderful and I want him.