Ted Williams Rifle?
Q: Several years ago I purchased a .30-06 rifle. Stamped on one side of the barrel is the following: "Sears 'Ted Williams' Model 53 Cal. 30.06 Springfield, model No. 27331010, Sears Roebuck and Co., Made in USA." Farther up the barrel it has the letters "OL" stamped on it. I haven't been able to find much information on this gun and was hoping you could provide some insight on it. Specifically, does it have any value with collectors?
-Pat Talley, Benton City, Missouri
A: The Sears Model 53 is a sturdy, no-fluff rifle built on a commercial Mauser action and marketed under the Ted Williams label. The baseball legend lent his name to Sears outdoor products of all kinds during the 1960s. The Model 53 is a good hunting rifle. It has a low-swing wing safety that could be used with a scope. Its sporting-style stock features good lines and is reasonably well fitted and finished. Any rifle can be a collectible, but scarcity and condition are what make a big difference in value. Unfortunately, Model 53s in .30-06 aren't scarce, meaning they aren't in high demand among gun collectors. -Wayne van Zwoll
Muzzleloader Measuring 101
Q: I haven't been able to purchase a volume measurer for my muzzleloader. I have grain measures and am wondering if you can provide me with a conversion chart, or give me information on where I can order a volume measurer?
-Michael Bowers, Elkins, West Virginia
A: All muzzleloader powder measures are volume measures. While they're marked in "grains," these are actually a volume measure. They don't weigh the charge as with a scale, but provide a specific volume for the powder to fill. Muzzleloader powder measures are designed to hold a volume of blackpowder that will equal the grain weight marked on the powder measure. Blackpowder substitutes are engineered to give performance equal to blackpowder based on the same volume. A powder measure marked 100 grains should hold 100 grains by weight of FFg blackpowder. Filling the same measure with the same volume of substitutes like Pyrodex will actually produce a charge that will weigh something different than 100 grains, but will give performance equal to 100 grains of blackpowder.
-Bryce M. Towsley
.35 Whelen Enough For Nilgai?
Q: Do you think a .35 Whelen is "enough gun" for Nilgai? I'm considering a Nilgai hunt but don't want to invest in a heavy magnum rifle. I've worked up two fairly accurate loads using IMR-4064, one using Nosler 225-grain Ballistic Tips and one using Hornady 200-grain Spire points. Would either of these bullets suffice for this tough animal, or should I use another bullet like a Nosler Partition or a Speer Grand-Slam?
-Life Member Robert Sims, Brownsville, Texas
A: Nilgai are considered one of the toughest free-ranging critters in North America. Imported from India during the 1920s and released in South Texas, about 1,500 are now roaming free in the Lone Star State.
The largest of the Asian antelope, mature bulls can weigh more than 600 pounds. Most South Texas guides insist that their clients tout stout calibers pushing equally stout bullets- .300 Mags. or better.
The .35 Whelen is a .30-06 necked up to .35 caliber and ballistically it's nearly as potent as a .300 Mag., which makes it powerful and flexible enough for all North American big game. I love Ballistic Tip bullets, but I'd shy away from using them on Nilgai. These animals are big-boned and have an extremely thick hide. Chances are good the characteristic that makes this bullet a good choice for thin-skinned animals (quick, explosive expansion) would work against you here, with the bullet expanding too quickly or blowing apart on contact. I'd go with the Nosler Partition you mentioned, or the 225-grain Barnes X-Bullet for these powerhouses. -Gordy Krahn