280 Halger High Velocity Magnum

  • This one's a real gem. Sure you've heard of and maybe even seen a 280 Ross rifle that was developed in Canada in the runup to The Great War. The British (and Americans) were keen to develop a flatter shooting, lighter alternative to their 30 caliber service rifles. Canada had the Ross, which basically foretold the 1962 introduction of the 7mm Remington Magnum. Following The Great War Halbe & Gerlich in Hamburg took up the 280 Ross cartridge and chambered Mauser 98 rifles for it. As frequently happens, the name was changed to avoid patent royalties but the actual cartridge was taken as is. Some sources claim that Halger changed the bullet and bore from .287 which was a common British bore for nominally 7mm to the .284 bore used by Mauser in their 7mm rifles. That would make sense, since under terms of the Treaty of Versailles Germans were forbidden to make firearms in any previously adopted military caliber but there remained a huge number of machines set up to produce 7 and 8mm bullets in Germany. Gerlich died of heart attack in 1930 which effectively ended the production of 280 Halger rifles and soon afterward, the ammo for them. Ross rifle production never resumed following the war but several large manufacturers sold ammo for the rifles sold to the civilian market until about 1935-6. Very few Halger rifles were ever made and of those few were sold outside Germany, which makes them very rare indeed in the US today. Yesterday, I was visiting with a local gunsmith who has an extensive collection of German militaria. Hanging on his wall was a beautiful sporterized commercial 98 Mauser rifle wearing a pre-WWII German scope. Turns out, it is a 100% condition 280 Halger H.V. Magnum and he has a small number of inter-war vintage Kynoch ammo headstamped Kynoch .280. The leading decimal was dropped post-WWII, so this ammo is contemporary to the rifle. Examination of a fired case revealed that the brass is Berdan primed but I have been lucky enough to have purchased a good supply of the required .217 Berdan primers about 10 years ago. Collet pulling the original bullets should not present a problem, and it appears that IMR-4895 is close enough to the original duPont #10 powder that we should be able to reload the cases with modern bullets that will withstand the velocities generated. Case volume is about 75 grains of water, so we should get pretty good case fill without exceeding the original MAP and peak pressure. Woodleigh markets the required .287 bullets for use in the only slightly more common 275 H&H and a beltless, flanged 275 found in a few Holland & Holland double guns. Provided I can remember to take some pictures of the rifle, ammo and targets, there should be a follow-up report on this rare find.

  • Very cool history. I like old guns.

  • Pretty cool I look forward to the pictures