The 9.3x74R

By Chuck Hawks

This long European medium bore cartridge was designed for use in drillings, single shot and double barreled rifles. European hunters use it on black bear, polar bear, wild boar, red stag and Scandinavian moose. It became popular with Continental sportsmen hunting in Africa in the early years of the 20th Century and remains popular for that purpose today. It is, in fact, one of the classic safari cartridges on the order of the .375 H&H Flanged Magnum.

European single shot, double rifles and drillings are still turned out in 9.3x74R, the most familiar to North American hunters probably being the various Merkel and Beretta models. Ruger offers their excellent No. 1-S falling block rifle in the caliber. For this reason, the 9.3x74R is increasing in popularity in North America.

The actual bullet diameter of the 9.3x74R is .366". The case is 74mm (2.941") long, and the "R" stands for "rimmed." The maximum COL is 3.665". In shape the 9.3x74R case is long and tapered with a small and very gently tapered shoulder of approximately 5.5 degrees. It is a large capacity case that will hold approximately 84.3 grains of water. This unique case cannot be formed from any other, but Norma, Nosler, Hornady and RWS brass is available to reloaders.

The performance of the 9.3x74R is identical to that of the shorter 9.3x62mm (designed for use in bolt action rifles) and similar to the .350 Rem. Mag. In North America, Hornady, A-Square, Nosler and Norma offer factory loads for the 9.3x74R. The four loads offered by Norma are typical of European offerings. Two of these use 232 grain bullets, and two use 286 grain bullets.

The Norma 232 grain Vulkan bullet is loaded to a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2625 fps with muzzle energy (ME) of 3551 ft. lbs. Norma's factory loads with 286 grain bullets show a MV of 2362 fps and a ME of 3544 ft. lbs. At 100 yards the figures are 2135 fps and 2894 ft. lbs.

I believe that Norma and RWS bullets are available to reloaders in Europe. In North America Speer, Hornady, Nosler and Barnes offer bullets of 9.3mm/.366" diameter for the European 9.3mm cartridges. Speer has their 270 grain Hot-Cor Semi-Spitzer, and Barnes has a 250 grain X-Bullet and a 286 grain X-Bullet (both spitzers) plus a 286 grain round nose solid.

The Speer Reloading Manual No. 13 shows that their 270 grain Hot-Cor bullet can be driven to a MV of 2113 fps with 61.0 grains of IMR 4350 powder, and a MV of 2306 fps with 65.0 grains of IMR 4350. These Speer loads used CCI 200 primers and RWS brass and were tested in a 24" rifle barrel.

The Nosler Reloading Guide shows that their 286 grain Partition or Solid bullets can be driven to a MV of 2398 fps with 64.5 grains of IMR 4350 powder. This is a maximum load and fully exploits the potential of the 9.3x74R. This Nosler load uses a Federal 210 primer and a Norma case and was tested in a 24" Lilja barrel.

Note: A full length article about the 9.3x74R can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2005, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.