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Old December 20, 2002, 04:10 PM   #1
Dave R
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Join Date: January 7, 2000
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,073
Old .17 Cal Rifle

I lost one of my best friends on Thanksgiving day. To cancer. He had been fighting a long time, with some success, but went downhill fast and was gone before any of us was ready for it. I spoke at his funeral.

We were shooting buddies. I learned a lot from him. He did not own a rifle in a commercial caliber. He had seven children, and all are shooters to one extent or another.

To make a long story short, his widow just brought me over one of his pet rifles. I can't believe none of his kids wanted it. But the wife says they were unanimous that I should have it. I'm touched.

Now what is it? It shoots a .357mag (pistol) case necked down to .17. A REAL short & fat magnum. I know there's a name for that cartridge. Anyone know what it is?

It was re-barreled and re-chambered, obviously. The action is, I believe, a Martini-Henry or a clone thereof.

Markings are as follows.

Left side of receiver:
-Trade [illustration] Marks
-The illustration is 3 rifles arranges like a teepee.
-Below that, either B.S.A or P.S.A with bar above and below.

Right Side of receiver, by buttstock:
-W.A.Co. or W.4.Co
-Ri?? N.J. (Ridge, N.J.?)

Top of receiver:
-A tiny cartouche that looks lik a stylized W with a crown above it. By barrel on right side. Another identical one on top left by buttstock.

I could not find a serial number


-Any idea who made the receiver and when? Blueing is good but metal is worn.

-Any idea where I could get a ballistics table and load data for the cartridge?

-If I can't locate dies in his reloading stuff, any idea where I could get a set? I assume the set that necks the .357mag brass goes through quite a few steps...

I'll have to get into reloading now. I guess that's part of the gift. Now if I can only shoot the thing without tearing up...
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Old December 20, 2002, 09:28 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 16,055
You have a B.S.A. (Birmingham Small Arms) Martini; probably the Cadet, originally in .310 Cadet caliber; similar to .32-20. BSA made 80,000 between 1910 and 1913 and may have resumed after WW I. Certainly they made other small Martinis and there were other makers of the type in England and even Australia.

The .17 x .357 may, MAY be the round listed by Huntington and CH/4D as the .17 Super Jet or .17 Saunders, but it might be somebody else's design on the same brass. The best thing to do would be to make a chamber cast and send it to one of those outfits. Huntington is about the only source for custom RCBS dies now. CH/4D says they will make loading and forming dies for anything you can send them a chamber cast or fired case for. Redding might, I could not call up their caliber chart.

I found this site.
and the section
lists Mr Saunders book and other information.

It's a start, hope I have been of some help in keeping an heirloom up and shooting.

Loading die companies
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Old December 20, 2002, 10:59 PM   #3
Dave R
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Posts: 6,073
Wonderful. Thank you.
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Old December 21, 2002, 11:42 AM   #4
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Dave, sorry you lost a friend.
Obvious he also considered you a special friend or his kids wouldn't have done that.

I have a suspicion there were dies with that gun. You might ask the widow or one of the sons.

Jim's post, above, also applicable.

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Old December 21, 2002, 11:47 PM   #5
Dave R
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Join Date: January 7, 2000
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,073
Yes, I will check with the widow and kids. Finding dies is half the problem. I also need to find load recipes! Looking for alternate sources in case one or 'tother is not to be found.

I posted at Saubier's forum. Will let you know what I get, if I get before the End of Time...
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