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It is, and will remain, the rarest occasion when you read about something in this column that I haven't personally tested and that I absolutely believe in. However, in this case I thought it beneficial to make an exception. Woodleigh Gunsmithing of Australia is manufacturing big-game bullets that aren't available anywhere else in the world, and when I say big-game bullets I mean it. These are the correct bullets for almost all of the big British nitro express calibers, from .450/400 up to and including the .600 Nitro. As I said I haven't tested them, but I have held them in my hands, and heard testimonial of other initial tests that make them look like the real McCoy. The reason i am jumping the gun a bit, is that any realistic test for me will be in Africa. i won't be able to report on that until early in 1985, and if you are interested enough in them to have read this far, you, like me, will know I am talking about a golden commodity as scarce as hen's teeth, and you will want to begin your own experiments as soon as possible.

The man behind these bullets is Geoff McDonald from Victoria, Australia. He, like almost all of us who shoot the big British calibers, was out of original Kynoch bullets. Geoff started to make bullets for his rifles, and then expanded into a full commercial line. He paid a lot of attention to what he should make, and as a reward to himself and all of us who need them, ended up with bullets of the correct size, weight and shape. The big doubles are often finicky about their diet, and a bullet that is almost right won't do. The external shape is important to regulation, that is, the bearing surface must be right; too much surface and the rifles won't regulate. The Woodleigh bullets are external copies of the original Kynoch bullets (the rifles were literally built around the bullets.) The other thing about the bullets is that Woodleigh has made them in the right weights and diameters for the rifles. The British had some very odd ideas about the relationship between the name of the cartridge and its bore size. For instance, the .577 is actually a .585-inch bore, or the exotic ones like the .475 No. 2 came in two guises, the general Kynoch size with a .483-inch bore and 480-grain weight, and good old Mr. Jeffery, who just had to be different, made a .488-inch bore with a 500-grain bullet weight .... they both used the same cartridge case mind you, but the ammunition ws not interchangeable. Rather than bore you with a full list of details I will list the diameters that Woodleigh makes, and tell you that they make the right weights for the variations, as well as the black powder, or nitro for black weights in .500 and .577 cartridges. The available diameters are: .411, .416, .423, .458, .468, .475, .476, .483, .488, .505, .585, and .620-inches for the real sure-'nuff elephant rifle. One thing about it, that list just made a lot of people happy.

Okay, anybody can make bullets for these guns, but the bullets have to be special, horse high, hog tight and bull strong, steel jacket solids. Woodleigh's are just that, and even counting the special Rigby bullets that John Taylor thought made the sun rise and set, the Woodleigh appears to be the toughest ever. A solid bullet has one job, which is to hold its original shape, not deform or rivet in any way. A good solid should be reloadable even after hammering an elephant at point blank range.

The Woodleigh bullets are drawn from copper-clad sheet steel, with a thickness over the nose of .065 inches. The base of the bullets is important, because should they fold or collapse they begin to act as a rudder, sending the bullet off its original course, and in critters where there may be several feet, or even yards, of bone and muscle between the impact point and final destination, they myst not deviate from your intended path. Such deviation has a habit of producing very long, narrow, messy, deceased hunters. The Woodleigh bullets appear to have the finest bases history has ever produced. The jacket is fully turned over--180 degrees--and curled back into the lead at the base. This effectively offers a double strength heel on the bullets.

The Australians have a good crop of water buffalo. They are as big and hard on bullets as their much meaner cousin, the African Cape buffalo. The Woodleigh bullets have been extensively used on the water buffalo, and by all indications their performance approaches perfection. The Woodleigh brochure shows a picture of a .470 solid that passed through skull, neck vertebrae and was found in the body cavity of a buff, and, short of the engraving of the lands, the bullet could be loaded again.

Woodleigh also makes a full line of soft nose bullets, but i will be a lot more cautious about recommending them. They appear to be the finest, just like the solids. The jackets are 90/10 percent gilding metal, heavily tapered from mouth to base. I just haven't had good success with any big bore soft nose, although Woodleigh looks the most apt to succeed yet, but I want to shoot some meat with them before giving them my seal of approval. As with all of the Woodleigh bullets it will take many of us time and a great deal of shooting to reach a final conclusion. By all means get some and try them, and please share what you learn with me.

Right now Jim Bell of Brass Extrusion Laboratories, Ltd. (B.E.L.L.), the maker of the nitro express brass cases, is the only agent I know of for the Woodleigh bullets in the USA. His address is 800 Maple Lane, Dept GA, Bensenville, IL 60106.

So far its all good news--now some bad. The people who will distribute the bullets will have to import them from Australia which is both time consuming and expensive. There will be delays in availability and supply at first, so check with both of these companies to see what they have on hand. Also be prepared for sticker shock. The bullets will retail from $1.75 to about $3.00 each in solid persuasion, somewhat less in soft nose. Quality has never been cheap, but what's the cost of bullets, no matter how high, when weighed against the total cost of a hunt ... or your hide! RICE GUN PRODUCTS

The Rice line of cleaning and gun care products has been on the market for many years, and even though they have been reported on by several writers, they still are virtually unknown to most shooters. Why their products are used so seldom is a bit of a mystery to me, but I think the main cause is that the Rice company is small and they do very little advertising. Whatever the reason for their lack of popularity, it is unfortunate, because the Rice line is one of the best cleaning product in existence.

There are three basic fluid products, a cleaner, a general lube and a bore coating. The cleaner is a solvent that is used before either one of the other products. It is extremely volatile and without any oil base.

The cleaner itself has properties that will render a metal surface squeaky clean. In its normal use on any firearm the bore is cleaned with a special cotton swab supplied by Rice. These swabs are ver oversized and give a super tight fit in the bore size for which they are intended. This tight fit is an essential part of the Rice cleaning process. With a swab saturated with the cleaner the bore is slowly swabbed in the normal manner. With a few passes the normal powder and lube fouling will be removed, but when first using Rice on your gun a bit more diligence is required. The whole idea of this cleaner is to get totally clean metal, free of contamination so that the lube or bore coating will adhere properly.

If you swab the bore for several passes with the cotton and solvent, and then let the barrel stand for a few minutes before brushing it with a new bronze brush, you will find lead dust falling out. The solvent has a way of breaking the bond between the lead and the steel, making it much easier to get out.

It is also a very effective solvent to use in the ported compensating devices on pistols. If you use almost any of the variety of these compensators with lead bullets you will find the expansion chambers on the compensator filling up with the lead. This lead is part of the bullet base and bearing surface that is melted (or vaporized) as the bullet leaves the muzzle. This soon cakes to a considerable thickness and begins to adversely effect the function of the device. Generally the only way to get it out is mechanical scraping with a small screwdriver, etc. Even then it is difficult and tricky work around the muzzle crown, but if the part is soaked in Rice solvent for a few minutes you will find that a lot of the lead will let go to the extent that it can be peeled of with a brush or wood scraper.

With the bore clean you can then wipe the rest of the arm down with the solvent on a soft patch to get the outer surfaces ready for coating. The bore is then treated with Rice Bore Coating. This is a very black spray product, that, with an extension tube, is introduced into the bore from an aerosol can. This coating is nearly magic ... not quite, but close. In most pistol barrels that have a good internal finish, leading will be a thing of the past. My old pet S&W .44 Magnum was the first barrel I coated with Rice nearly ten years ago. Now I will admit it is very good barrel, but since that first coating I clean an d recoat that bore once a year, whether it needs it or not, and anytime you want to drop by and look at it, it will be shiny and black inside, without even a frosting of lead. Now that wouldn't be very remarkable if it rested in its presentation case, but it is the one handgun I wear and shoot nearly every day!

The Rice lube is a big help with many of the Bar-Sto stainless .45 barrels. These grand barrels are generally designed for shooting jacketed and even cast bullets with extreme accuracy, and part of the technology in getting them to do that is not to get them super-slick inside. The end result is often a very accurate barrel that leads badly, but with a couple of sessions with Rice they very often give up their sinful ways and stay nearly lead free. At any rate any lead that does accumulate is much easier to remove.

The use of solvent and then the bore coating is also a super treatment for bullet moulds. The oil-free cleaning gets rid of the oil in the mould that will spoil the first several bullets.

This bore coating is really a very useful item to have around the shop. I find myself using it on anything that I want to be slick and dry. It is especially useful on draw files and rasps that might be used on materials that fill the teeth. On a file, metal particles don't stick nearly as often, and a clogged rasp is much easier to brush clean.

The last potion is the Rice Gun Lube, which in appearance is a suspension within an extremely light oil base. This lube can be used on all surfaces of the arm including the action and bolt. It is unaffected by heat or cold and provides quite good rust protection along with its super lubricating qualities.

The Rice line is just too handy to remain unknown. It is good with lead, cordite corrosive primers, .17 calibers, .45 match pistols and elephant rifles from the arctic to the topics and I think you should try it.

Rice now supplies a "Maintenance System" with solvent, lube, coating and swabs, all for about $30. This isn't a tiny lot, there is enough lube and coating to keep a lot of guns going for a long time. The entire line is available separately as well, with swabs from .17 to .45 with shotgun bores of 12, 16, 20 and .410.

For more information contact Rice Gun Products, Inc., Dept GA, 235 30th Street, West Palm Beach, FL, 33407.
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Title Annotation:big-game bullets, Rice Gun products
Author:Seyfried, Ross
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Article Type:column
Date:Jul 1, 1984
Previous Article:Gun-e-sack.
Next Article:The second amendment means what it says!

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