Power down! Shooting pistol ammo in your rifle is an 'old but good' idea.

Author:Anderson, Dave

More than a half-century ago a pal showed me a neat little device his father used in a Savage 99 .303. It was a brass cartridge adapter, made by Marbles, I believe.

It resembled a fired .303 Savage case, except the base was wide open so a .32 ACP pistol cartridge could be inserted. Then the adapter was loaded in the Savage rifle, enabling the .32 ACP cartridge to be fired in the rifle.

Why would anyone want such a thing? Lots of reasons. Fired from the rifle, the .32 ACP cartridges were accurate, quiet, virtually recoilless. They were excellent for low-cost practice shooting, for introducing new shooters to centerfire rifles, for vermin control around the farm, for small-game hunting.

On a big-game hunt, the adapter and 50 of the small .32 ACP cartridges weigh little and take up little space. They could be used to take a rabbit or grouse for the pot without a lot of noise or meat damage.

Handloaders are no doubt thinking a handful of reduced-power loads just as useful. And they are quite right, except for a couple of issues: (1) not all shooters are handloaders, and (2) a box of reduced-power loads in say, .308 Win, take up as much space and almost as much weight as full-power loads.

Old timers (like me) may remember the name Harry Owen and his Sports Specialties, which began making chamber adapters some time in the 1950's. After Owen died the company was acquired by Bill Herrick who continued it under the name MCA Sports.

Recently Herrick decided to pursue other business activities and the company was acquired by Ace Dube of Anchorage, Alaska. Dube is an interesting character, a lifelong Alaskan resident, whitewater rafting guide, licensed hunting guide, competitive shooter and hunter.

A fan of vintage, classic rifles, Dube began casting bullets in order to get some of the old classics shooting again. The hobby became a business, Ace Bullets, specializing in bullets, cases, and loading dies for oddball and obsolete cartridges.

MCA chamber adapters in .22 LR and .22 WMR are made to fit rifles chambered to several popular centerfire .22 cartridges. A steel plug with an offset firing pin fits the adapter behind the rimfire cartridge. Adapters in .30 caliber are made to fit .308, .30-06, and .30-30 rifles. There are also barrel inserts for both rifles and shotguns which deserve to be covered in another column.

When the Tikka T3x was introduced, local dealers had their stock of the older T3 models substantially discounted. I took the opportunity to pick up...

To continue reading