I ate my wafer...

8/26/2006

So is .315" Indian equivalent to .303 British or 8x57mm?

So, Jinx Magazine has an article about Phoolan Devi that mentions her weapon as a .315" Mauser. Now, being curious about such things, I sort of assumed that .315" must be the Indian designation for 8x57mm. A couple of minutes on google churned up some fascinating links with information on civilian firearms in India, and interestingly, showed what appeared to be a new manufacture, sporterized No.1 SMLE in the .315" caliber. Now at first glance, the picture seems to show a regular looking SMLE magazine for .303 tapered cartidges as opposed the squared profile type on .308 (7.62x51mm) SMLE's. But then, reading the text, it clearly indicates that the magazine capacity is only 5 rounds.

Since I happen to have a .303 No.4 rifle magazine to play with, I checked and it appears that it would be possible to feed 5 rounds of 8x57mm from one. I've dug up a couple of references to conversions to 8x57mm, so it certainly is possible that the Indan .315" SMLE is actually chambered in 8x57mm.

Additionally, I know that it is possible to feed tapered rounds in a modified 98 Mauser action, like the Siamese 8x52Rmm which have been rechambered in everything from 45-70 to 7.62x54Rmm so it isn't beyond reason that there would be .303 chambered mausers floating around in India.

So...does anyone have any ideas?

7 Comments:

  • It would make sense that there are .303 Mausers in India just based on the fact taht for a good deal of time India was a Brittish Colony and treated as an exotic get away by wealthy aristocrats. So it is a safe bet that more than one rich playboy bought a mauser 98k and had it rechambered for the .303 Brittish round. Or possibly the Brittish or even the Indian Government purchased a large number of Mausers and converted them to shoot the .303 because they had huge stockpiles of the ammo

    By Anonymous Chris, at 1:30 PM  

  • I wonder if it's because .303 ammo is difficult to come by? They built SMLE Mk III*'s at Ishapore and later converted them to ten-round magazine NATO .308's - it was their standard battle-rifle. But India also traded a lot with Russia during the Nehru and later Indra Ghandi era. Things change very-very slowly there, if at all, and regular people need a permit to buy ammo and each bullet is accounted-for, gun-laws are very strict - including pellet guns and ammo. That's not something to which a dacoit like Phoolan Devi would ever acquiesce, but in India only the wealthiest hunt or own firearms.

    By Blogger DirtCrashr, at 5:38 PM  

  • I think indian gun control is still a hold over from the sepoy rebellion, in the aftermath of which the British really cracked down on weapon ownership.

    One of the reasons that I wondered if .315" is NOT .303 and either 8x57mm or some completely different round is a suspicion that indian law may restrict ownership of military caliber(s) weapons.

    I don't know if India does it or not, but I know Mexico is big on restricting military caliber ownership, so Colt makes AR15's in .222 Remington rather than the normal 5.56x45mm for that sort of market.


    I've come to the conclusion that the .315" is probably .303 since the IOF advertisement says
    "S.A. Ball 8 mm/.315" Sporting available with 244 grain soft nose bullet"

    SA ball is part of the british nomeclature for .303. On the other hand, 244 grain is an EXTREMELY heavy .303 bullet, way heavier than avalible from any american manufacture.

    By Blogger Bob, at 7:29 PM  

  • Maybe they're measuring the grooves and not the lands? I wouldn't be surprised if British gun-control hadn't been introduced as a result of "The Mutiny" either!
    One thought might be that the .303 wasn't considered sufficient for Nilagai and other dangerous game, so they stepped it up to a heavy bullet in .323 and re-barrelled - but that seems like an insufficient step unless Indian dangerous game is considered less dangerous than African dangerous game - tigers are fairly thin-skinned and Jim Corbett took them with a...I don't know what for sure. I'm going to have to re-read Maneaters of Kumaon.

    By Blogger DirtCrashr, at 1:49 PM  

  • The .315 is actually the 8x50 Rimmed Steyr round.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:09 AM  

  • Yes, in India civilians are prohibited from owning service caliber firearms, i.e .303, 7.62, 9mm, 45acp and .38spl. But you can own a .357 magnum (funny).

    India has manufactured millions of Enfiedl .303 and I would assume taht it was cheaper for the factor to stick to something which did not include much change in machining infrastructure. High powered rifle shooting (as a sport) is a luxury in India.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:26 PM  

  • The .315 is the 8X50R Austrian Mannlicher

    http://vintage-gunlore.com/8x50r.htm

    http://indiansforguns.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=760

    By Blogger Locksley, at 6:56 AM  

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