400/350 Nitro 2¾” and 350 No. 2 Rigby


#1

On p.50-51 of BRITISH SPORTING RIFLE CARTRIDGES by Bill Fleming, he makes a distinction between the 400/350 Nitro Express 2¾” and the 350 No. 2 Rigby. The case dimensions are given on p. 212, but for all practical purposes, the dimensions are the same. The differences between the two are too small to qualify this as two different calibers. The biggest variation between the two is .009” in the rim diameter on the maximum dimensions. Interesting however, is on p. 251 which shows the box codes. On all the specimens under the 350 No. 2, the only bullet weight is given as 225gr. This is also the same distinguishing feature on the loadings on p.50, whereas the 400/350 NE. is listed with a 310gr. loading except for one with a 288gr. loading by Roth.

Below is a list of headstamps and bullet variations with the heavier bullet as listed in Fleming.

What makes this more interesting is if one looks at the 3rd cartridge in the list with the CN RN bullet, which has a distinctive lower shoulder than all the others. The headstamp in the ELEY .400 - 350 NITRO (the first one with the convex copper primer). Out of 29 different variations, it is the only one with a lower shoulder.

Fleming lists only this 225gr. loading for the 350 No. 2, in RN GMCS, GMCS SP and a semi-pointed GMCS Softnose. In issue #488 of the IAA Journal however there is a Cupro-nickel Copper Cap bullet listed, which is described as a “pointed expanding bullet.” Interestingly enough it is also listed with the 225gr. bullet. The box picture on p.129 of Hoyem’s 3rd volume lists an expanding bullet and although no weight is given it can be assumed that it is the CN Copper cap.

These 2 specimens above are the 225gr. loadings as listed by Fleming with the headstamps, although his lists did not mention a Soft Nickel Jacket bullet.

Does this mean that the 350 No.2 is just a proprietary loading of the 400/350 Nitro Express 2¾” or is this a different caliber. Does anyone have a box picture that states 350 No. 2 with any other loading than 225g?

Below are listed two other cartridges, namely the 7mm Holland Flanged on top and the 275 No. 2 Rigby on the bottom. The dimensions in Fleming is such that these two are essentially the same cartridge, with only the rim thickness distinguishing them.

Excluding 2 Stewart loadings and one by Bertrams, I have 29 variations in the 400/350 or 350 No. 2 and I have measured the rim thickness on everyone. The difference is too small as opposed these 2 7mm versions above.

Thanks in advance
Daan
cartridgecollector.net


#2

Daan, there are no dimensional differences specified for any of these cartridges. Drawings made by Eley, Kynoch and ICI between 1905 and 1950 show exactly the same dimensions, including rim thickness and bullet diameter.

Some confusion may have been caused from the fact that Fleming’s stated that the .350 No. 2 Rigby was introduced in 1899, which is not correct. The cartridge introduced by Rigby in 1899 was the original .350 Flanged cartridge -also called .400/.350 Nitro Express- loaded with a 310 gr. bullet, while the no. 2 cartridge was an improved loading using the same case loaded with a lighter 225 gr. bullet originally designed for the .350 Magnum rimless cartridge. The earliest reference that I’m aware mentioning this no. 2 cartridge is dated 1910.

New rifles made for the .350 Flanged case were specially sighted to use the no. 2 high velocity cartridge, so is up to you if you consider this fact a reason enough to classify this cartridge as a different “caliber” or a just a different loading.

Regards,

Fede


#3

Thanks Fede.
I had this discussion with another collector as well. Makes much more sense as a different loading and not a different caliber. Thanks for your excellent info as usual.
Daan
www.cartridgecollector.net


#4

Rigby were “rather inclined” to clone existing calibers and put their own name on them. Search back Rigby on here and you should find some previous discussions.

Most notable was .275 Rigby which was a straight rip of the 7x57. But they weren’t the only ones doing it. As ammo development got more sophisticated a small ‘one shop’ gunmaker couldn’t afford the time to do all the R+D but they had to maintain their bespoke image.