Mr J Pople-Crump

Can anyone fill in any background on Mr J Pople-Crump. He was a regular contributor to “Cartridge Corner” in Guns Review magazine around 15 years ago.
His articles were informed and well researched. For me and I guess a number of other British members of this forum Cartridge Corner was absolutely compulsive reading for many years.

Let me answer in case J P-C does not see this!

John retired to live in Crete and is still an avid researcher and writer. I was staying with him in Crete only a week or so ago. He published a short book on the production records of the Royal Laboratory at Woolwich a couple of years ago and is working on a number of other projects. We went to SLICS together in 2008.

As you say, John was a regular contrbutor to Guns Review, but Cartridge Corner was actually written by Peter Labbett, who regretably died about four years ago.


PS Are you going to the ECRA meet tomorrow?

Thanks Tony

Thats a pretty good answer I have to say. I have just been reading his Cartridge Corner Sept 1994 dealing with the .600NE.

Let me give you a little snippet from the article which I think is more than a little thought provoking.

"Elephant hunters generally used smaller calibres. The famous African ivory hunter ‘Karamoja’ Bell killed 1,011 elephants using a 7x57mm. "

As they say here in Britain “Blimey!” Those would have been big bulls if he was after the ivory.

I won’t be at ECRA tomorrow, I am painting the outside of the house at the moment.
I take it Falcon will be there.

[quote=“Vince Green”]"Elephant hunters generally used smaller calibres. The famous African ivory hunter ‘Karamoja’ Bell killed 1,011 elephants using a 7x57mm. "

As they say here in Britain “Blimey!” Those would have been big bulls if he was after the ivory.[/quote]
Yes, the 7mm used fired long, heavy, round-nosed full-jacket bullets which penetrated deeply in a straight line (unlike pointed ones). Similar 6.5mm bullets were also found to be effective.

The use of such small calibre rifles required great precision from short range. I understand that elephants were less wary of man at that time, so the hunters could approach more closely.

Bell used the brain shot and his success with it changed the way people targeted the big pacs. Prior to that hunters used the huge, heavy rounds to break down animals, breaking the massive leg bones till the animal fell and a head shot at point blank range did the deed. Bell found the frontal brain zone and used the higher velocity, smaller round to drop animals with one, clean shot. Late in his life he was quoted as saying the .308 Winchester might be a perfect elephant caliber but he was long past his prime then and never tested it. (The above is drawn from written works from others, like O’Conner, Wooters and Capstick)

Eleanor O’Conner, a rather small little lady, considered the 30/06 her ‘heavy’ caliber and used it to brain her one elephant.

Speaking of John P-C, I miss his contributions here. I suppose he is busy. He is a remarkable man - a truly great historian and archivist in our beloved ammunition field.

It is interesting to read here that Bell had mentioned the .308 Winchester as an elephant killer. I saw a program about poaching on television some time ago. It carefully explained that the important but terrible to behold pictures were actually game rangers necessarily thinning an elephant herd, but that the pictures represented the method of the poachers. These Rangers all had the FN FAL rifle. They approached to within a very close range of the elephant, and it appeared from recoil that they double-tapped two rounds into the brain area. Each animal dropped stone dead, immediately, straight down. Of course, these game rangers know every nuance of the animal and have a respect for them, but no fear of them. They know exactly when one is likely to charge, run away, or do whatever else elephants do in defense of themselves and the herd. They were far closer than I would ever like to be to an African bull elephant. Perhaps ten meters away at the farthest, from each animal. Very sad to watch.

It is clear the huge calibers were never necessary, in the modern era anyway, to down these magnificent creatures for those who understood them and were good shooters.