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History of the IOF .315

Discuss about Rifles, Double Rifles & Big Bore Rifles.

History of the IOF .315

PostAuthor: shahid » Sat Jul 28, 2007 6:25 pm

The most common rifle found in India today. Perhaps seconded closely by the 30-06 Springfield, and at present the only Centrefire rifle manufactured in India for civilian use.

I am sure many shooting sports lovers would like to know more on the subject, so here I am listing down the research what I have gathered on this subject so far, and would request other members of this forum to contribute with their own knowledge / research /opinion / findings on the subject.

The origins of the Rifle itself are more or less clear, but how this 8 mm, .315 , 244 grain cartridge came into being and what are its exact ballistics, what is the powder used by IOF needs to be found out.

I have seen a .315 rifle made by BSA of Birmingham, England. It was an exact replica ( the original in fact ) in design compared to the IOF .315.

I am sure if the rifle was made by BSA, a .315, 8 mm cartridge would have been made by a cartridge manufacturer in England or would have been made available by importing them from Europe in all probability through BSA's dealer network.

THE RIFLE

It all began in 1960s. After the infamous Sino-India war, the Indian defense ministry decided to upgrade the weaponry in the Indian infantry.

The IOF was always there in its previous avatar even under the British rule, to manufacture military rifles in .303 based on the Lee Enfield action.

With these upgrade program adapted to update the infantry, Large quantities of 7.62 NATO barrels were imported into India.

When the Indian military began adopting the FN FAL/ SLR 7.62 NATO rifle (in the mid-sixties or so), the IOF was first tasked with transitioning the large quantities of SMLE's in current use to the 7.62 NATO cartridge, so that while the military waited for all units to be equipped with the SLR, they could at least standardise on the ammunition.

Hence for a period India had SMLE's in 7.62 along with SLR's in the same calibre in use with the military. Once all units were equipped with SLRs, the SMLE's we now "surplus". Many of these (in both .303 as well as 7.62) were issued to the para-military and police forces. This still left a HUGE store of surplus military rifles as well as now useless machinery and tooling to manufacture these rifles.

This surplus stock of .303 and 7.62 are both military chamberings and therefore classified as Prohibited Bore. This could not be sold in India.

IOF also had in it's inventory huge quantities of actions, parts and machinery to produce SMLE's, which the government no longer wanted to buy from them.

So when they decided to use their surplus capacity to make products for the civilian market, So what do they do? They begin by adapting the standard service SMLE rifles to hunting / sporting rifles for the civilian market.

With a wooden stock in sporter configration and overbored the original imported surplus 7.62 mm barrels so that they are now chambered for this .315 cartridge, which incidentally also uses a case which is almost identical to the .303 case (more existing equipment being put to use again).

THE CARTRIDGE


As mentioned earlier, the .315 rifle made by BSA existed. SO obviously a .315 cartridge existed in Britain.

BSA also made ( as did other British gun makers ) .303 rifles for sporting purposes based on the same Lee Enfield action for the ,303 was also a rimmed cartridge.

BSA made .30-06 rifles as well for flanged cartridges with the same Lee Enfield action.

The derivation of this .315 / 8 mm, 244 grain centrefire cartridge can be said to be derived from the following chamberings, calibres, but none of them are an exact replica either in case or bullet shape / type.

8 mm Lebel
8 MM Hungarian Mannlicker
8 mm Danish Krag-Jorgenson
8 mm Siamese from UK ( which may be the proginator )

Obviously more research is required on our part to trace the origin and design / ballastics of this cartridge.
Last edited by shahid on Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PostAuthor: shutzen » Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:49 pm

HI! I had done some research on this topic too on the british 303 forum. From what transpired in the discussion was that the fact that the brits did not want the Indian native population to have acess to a high power rifle so that the gora sahibs could feel comfy that no one would take potshots at em ;) so they introduced the .315 -which has short range and its very heavy bullet gives it a ballistic path which is highly parabolic in nature so unless a range is well know and the shooter has a fair idea of the hold over he finds it hard to take long range shots. The brits were forced to consider a rifle for the natives bcoz in those days the danger from wild animals was a every day peril. In fact the 8mm siamese comes closest to this round. I will dig up some of the old stuff if I still have it on my comp and also post some pics of the various cartridges in contention of being the originator of this caliber
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PostAuthor: shahid » Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:35 pm

I thought .315 came after independence and has nothing to do with the brits.

During the brit era for that matter natives did have .30-06, 7 x 57 and 6.5 x 57 besides 240 Apex.

Each one of these calibres was good enough to lift a Gora Sahib to pearly gates, with a careful sniped shot from 500 yards.
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PostAuthor: shutzen » Mon Jul 30, 2007 3:41 pm

HI! can u ask ur friend from the OFB to clarify on this pl. he shud have info abt when the 315 was first mfg.
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PostAuthor: shahid » Tue Jul 31, 2007 5:05 pm

I would guess so, I have never heard any mention of the .315 in memoirs of old shooters even upto 1960s.

First instances of Indian .315 appeared in very late 1960s and most hunters acquired it in early 70s till the hunting ban in 1974.
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Re: History of the IOF .315

PostAuthor: kuduae » Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:12 am

:idea: The history of the .315 cartridge is quite clear to me: In colonial India the private sale of the official British military calibers was banned since the early 1900s, see also the development of the .465, .470 and .475 nitro express cartridges to replace the banned .450s. So for instance Manton & Co., then of 13 Old Court House Street, Calcutta, in their 1925 catalog, page 77, offered a ".315 BSA Lee Enfield Magazine sporting rifle". The also 1925 Kynoch ammunition catalog, p.50, lists the "8mm (.315) Mannlicher for Austrian, Bulgarian and Greek sevice rifles". The ballistics given on page 89: 41grs smokeless powder, 244 grs metal covered bullet, muzzle velocity 2034 fps! So your .315" sporting rifle cartridge is nothing else then the old Austro-Hungarian service cartridge of WWI, long forgotten in Europe, called 8x50R Mannlicher M95. I also know a British made boxlock double rifle by T.Bland, London, chambered for this round. After 1930 most of the 95 Mannlicher military rifles were reworked to use the improved 8x56R Hungarian cartridge, which gave improved ballistics: 206grs @ 2300fps
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PostAuthor: shahid » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:05 pm

kuduae, welcome to this forum, TGG.

Hope you enjoy your time here.

WHy not write a short introduction about yourself please.

You seem to have pehnomenal knowledge on shooting sports and I am sure this forum will greatly benefit with you here.

You have added very valuable inputs to this subject of .315 origin. In fact the missing link has been found.

So this Austro Hungarian 8 mm x 50 cartridge is the proginator of this IOF 8 mm ( .315 ) cartridge.

By any chance would you have a pic of the cartridge or the page extract from the 1925 Manton & Co. Catalouge.

Given a chance I would simply love to thumb through this volume, plenty of trivia and old shooting sports history would lay in there.
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PostAuthor: kuduae » Thu Jan 03, 2008 10:15 pm

Hi Shahid,
The reprint of the Manton 1925 catalog is available from www.kynochammunition.co.uk . The cut shows an earlier type of the Lee-Speed action, the name of the civilian versions of the Lee-Enfield, but new cuts were expensive to make and so were used in catalogs over and over again. When BSA was stopped from selling .303 rifles in India, they had to look for another rimmed cartridge with reasonably low pressure, but similar ballistics that fitted in the comparatively weak Lee action. The most popular hunting load for the .303 at that time was the .303 Mk VI loaded with a soft point bullet, essentially the .303 Mk II*C , the world-infamous Dum-Dum load. These loads gave a 215 grs bullet a mv of 2060 fps, so the 244grs at 2034fps of the 8x50R Mannlicher/.315 was definitely not inferior! I quoted the Kynoch ballistics,as Manton´s appear to be rounded off a little bit.
The maximum case dimensions of the old 8x50R were still listed in the 1991 German proof tables. For sure someone over there has got a .315 case and a caliper to compare them, but consider the generous manufacturing tolerances:
Total length of case: 50.2 mm= 1.976"
length to start of shoulder: 38.29mm= 1.51"
" " " " Neck: 44.17mm= 1.74"
rim thickness: 1.4mm= .055"
rim diameter: 14.2mm = .56"
base diam.: 12.6mm= .496"
shoulder diam.: 12.09mm = .476"
neck diam.: 9.04mm = .355"
Bullet diam.: 8.22 mm =.324
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PostAuthor: shahid » Mon Jan 07, 2008 1:37 am

Thanks for sending me the Manton catalouge by Fax Kuduae.

It is established beyond doubt that the .315 cartridge is adapted from 8 mm ( .315 ) Mannlicher - For Austrian, Bulgarian and Greek service rifles.

Both the loads shown in 244 grain and 154 grain bullet would chamber in the BSA made or IOF .315 rifles.

The origin is quite clear, obsolete tools were purchased in the 1960s when the manufacture of IOF rifles and ammunition was started. As expected Kynoch was the maker of this ammunition. I had mentioned earlier and wandered if BSA made rifles there had to be an English producer of cartridges for this calibre, but I guess it never found favour on UK soil, and was mostly exported to the old colonies.

By the way - where do you live ? Your fax has a 055 area code on it ?
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PostAuthor: shahid » Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:07 pm

Thanks once again for the 2nd fax where a picture of the .315 in the 1925 Manton catalouge appeared.

For Rs. 260 it was quite a buy.

Will post a detailed analysis on the origin and what is deduced from manton's advertisement.
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PostAuthor: shahid » Sun May 25, 2008 2:33 pm

Came acros a Holland and Holland 1910 Catalouge which was reproduced in 1976 as a collectors item.

That Item lists H & H Lee Enfield Bolt action rifles.

Available for 30 Guineas ( Pounds Sterling I assume ) Lee Enfield Action rifles in .303 and 8 mm / .315.

It also talks of a great double caliber in those days called .465 India. This is not the topic to discuss this, will start another string later, as this is the .315 topic thread.

This discovery goes on to prove that the LE Action .315 was a fairly popular cartridge / caliber in British residencies / colonies overseas.

For hunting Deer sized game a lot of other calibers were also recommended which I will list in another topic. Plenty of trivia in there.
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PostAuthor: shahid » Tue Mar 10, 2009 2:14 am

Is there any source in the world who manufacture a 8 mm x 50 R cartridge ?

41 grains of Powder for this .315 cartridge drives a 244 grain bullet at 2034 fps.

How much Powder is there in a S & B 180 grain 30-06 cartridge that drives the bullet at a Mv of 2700 fps ?
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PostAuthor: BB » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:25 pm

There is a Lee Enfield .315 in Mumbai I saw, it is light weight can say the weight of a .22 iof the owner wanted to sell it along with 90 imported rounds and 500 iof rounds the price he wanted was 85k for the whole lot this though was 6 month back.
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PostAuthor: shahid » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:31 pm

What kind of ammo was this imported .315 ( make, year, type of bullet etc. ? ) any pics of the rifle or the ammo by any chance ?
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PostAuthor: BB » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:42 pm

PM sent to you name and mob no of owner give him a cal...l
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