.458 American Express:


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Maverick223
July 28, 2012, 12:58 AM
I've been talking about it for a while now, and finally, It has begun...

The rifle, a Browning/Miroku clone of the Winchester 1885 Highwall, is at the smith; the reloading dies, brass, and bullets have arrived. I'm getting ready to start handloading in preparation for the day the smith calls for pick up (which may very well take a while, it's a fairly simple task, but he has a backlog just like anyone else worth taking something to).

The chambering is more appropriately described as a .45-120Sharps (which, in itself is inaccurate, as it's origins post-date the close of the Sharps Firearms Company), but the load I'll be working up exceeds the performance of said cartridge by a vast margin (~400% or so), so I thought it deserved a new name. It shoots a .458 caliber projectile, it's an American design, and I believe the performance entitles it to the prestigious express designation. I'm shooting for .450NE specs. at fairly low pressure levels (sub-40kPSI), so as to drive a 480gr. solid at 2150fps.

Here are a few photos of the rifle and a dummy round I made up for the smith (to ensure that the throat is sufficient for the somewhat long bullet):

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu141/Maverick223_album/IMG_5962.jpg
1885 Highwall with 28in. heavy octagon.

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu141/Maverick223_album/IMG_6314.jpg
.458AmEx in calipers, pictured with mainstream cartridges (.30-06Spd., 7.62x39mm, .223Rem., .45ACP, 9mmPara, .44RemMag., .357S&W, .17HMR, & .22LR).

http://i642.photobucket.com/albums/uu141/Maverick223_album/IMG_6313.jpg
.458AmEx pictured in center alongside other large cartridges (4Bore, .700NE, .577T-Rex, .50BMG; .458WM, .45-70Govt., .375H&H, & .30-06Spd.).


Please kindly refrain from asking what I'm building this for or how unsafe the load is...I'm building it cause I want it and I've crunched the numbers and the load is just as safe as [actually safer than] my current .45-70Govt. load.

If anyone has any recommendations for smokeless powder types and/or charges I'm all ears. I'm looking to create two distinct loads. The aforementioned stopper (which I have been working on for a while now) and a lighter, very low pressure load that mimics the performance of a moderate .45-70Govt. (300gr. HP @ 2000fps or thereabouts). My plans for the former is ~97.0gr. of RL-15 (which I already stock and like, it works nicely in my .375H&H), and the latter will likely involve something like a light load of IMR SR-4759, Accurate XMP-5744, or perhaps even a case full of TrailBoss (though I think this might fall well short of the desired velocity).

Anyway, what do you folks think?

:)

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meanmrmustard
July 28, 2012, 01:06 AM
Buffalo slayer if I've ever seen one. It's beautiful.

Maverick223
July 28, 2012, 01:11 AM
Thank you sir; I don't think there is a safe Buff. on this continent or any other...just as long as they come one at a time. ;)

firesky101
July 28, 2012, 01:16 AM
So... Mav, you gonna shoot this in one of your contests when you get it?

Maverick223
July 28, 2012, 01:24 AM
Doubt it, not with the heavy load anyway. I think I'll limit this one to short strings; not because of the recoil, per say, but to prevent damage to my eyes. When I get a light load perfected we'll have to see how she does.

:)

x_wrench
July 28, 2012, 01:02 PM
GOOD GOD MAN, HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT YOUR POOR SHOULDER! LOLOL!!! it looks great. i have thought about the same idea a few times, but i was not sure if anyone made a rifle that would take the abuse. nice to see i am not as strange as i thought i was. good luck with the BEAST! and the beasts will need a LOT of luck once that thing is pointed at them. as far as powders, IMR 4198 came immediately to my mind. but i have to admit, i like that powder for a lot of loads.

Maverick223
July 28, 2012, 01:41 PM
My shoulder loves a good workout from time to time! :evil:

As far as the rifle strength goes, any .45-70Govt. single shot (good luck fitting that cigar case in a repeater) that can withstand "Ruger No. 1 loads" is perfectly capable of the chambering as long as there is enough meat on the bbl to accept the longer chamber (being a straight-taper cartridge, this is an unlikely problem, but deserves mention nonetheless). It can be considered the poor-man's .450NE 3.25in. as it is nearly identical in dimensions and case strength (and brass is cheaper).

I'll look into IMR-4198, that may work nicely for the light load. Thank you for the recommendation.

:)

Sam1911
July 28, 2012, 01:50 PM
That one screams for a Trail Boss load to plink with. That would be a lot of fun, though still a pretty serious thumper. I'd imagine it would be about like a .454 Casull out of a rifle.

Walkalong
July 28, 2012, 02:38 PM
Sounds about right. I get .44 Mag from a pistol performance with Trail Boss in .458 Win Mag brass.

fireman 9731
July 28, 2012, 02:45 PM
Trailboss is a favorite of mine for light 45-70 loads. I think it would perform very well in this case.

Are you just using 45-120 brass?

If you are, I would call it the 458 Quigly Express.... Just because I love the movie.

Maverick223
July 28, 2012, 03:26 PM
Trailboss is certainly still on the table, and will almost certainly be tried at some point. It's a good *safe* choice (whereas the lighter loads using a partially filled case, may not be). It has the side benefit of making costly brass (about $2/ea) last just about forever too.

Ordered some standard Norma .45-120 a few days ago, arrived yesterday. It's fairly thin at the neck, but I'm still hoping to get several hot loads out of it (will be neck sizing only).

I'm sure it comes at no surprise that Quigley is part of the inspiration, but I think I'll reserve that name for the Sharps '74 that I hope to acquire some day. Just doesn't seem right to use that name on a Winny falling block.

:)

browningguy
July 28, 2012, 09:54 PM
Looks good, and should put a butt whuppin on your shoulder shooting off the bench. I have one of the Taditional Hunter models with octagon barrel, peep sights and a curved metal butt plate. I'm running 45-70's in Starline brass, 350 gr. SP at almost 2400 fps, and you feel it shooting off a bench. It's not bad at all standing though.

weeniewawa
July 28, 2012, 10:16 PM
I am wondering how long until the credit card company sends a cease and desist order
looks like fun tho

Maverick223
July 28, 2012, 11:19 PM
browningguy, that is pretty near my current load (though I shoot either 300s or 405s). Powder compression is such that I have to use the Lee Factory Crimp die or it'll pop the bullet out, but I've had no signs of excessive pressure.

weeniewawa, lol. I'm hoping that they're too afraid to confront me with the idea once they see the size of the cartridge. :D

Jim Watson
July 29, 2012, 12:08 AM
A friend has a .450 BPE. I'll see what he uses for his Nitro For Black loads. That would be about right for your "light" load; lighter than .450 Nitro at least.

Maverick223
July 29, 2012, 12:25 AM
I'd appreciate that, Jim. IIRC the BPE is the same case as the NE (rifle just isn't nitro-proved, so pressures need to be kept lower) so that sounds like it may be just about right.

:)

ShadowsEye
July 29, 2012, 12:41 AM
Just checking to see if someone made a "Don't leave home without it" joke yet. Carry on.

Maverick223
July 29, 2012, 01:07 AM
Just checking to see if someone made a "Don't leave home without it" joke yet.I would take it grocery shopping...but I'd need a bigger wallet. :p

Hizzie
July 29, 2012, 05:00 PM
Looks like a nice rifle. With a case that large don't see a problem. Looks very similar to the 458 3" Rimmed Express from South Africa, although that runs a little hotter. The idea was the same - use a larger case to lower pressures.

http://www.458express.com/

Jim Watson
July 29, 2012, 05:05 PM
My contact says:

"I used 50 gr. of 3031 with a 300 gr. cast bullet for 1650-1700 fps. I don't know if this will help with a heavier bullet. I have to use the lighter ones due to the slow twist."

Maverick223
July 29, 2012, 05:27 PM
Hizzie, that .458Express is about the same case capacity (despite being a bit shorter), but it operates at far greater pressures than I am looking to reproduce (it's 61kPSI, I want to maintain maximum pressures below 40kPSI to increase case life and consume less powder).

Jim, that's a great help, the light load (both in terms of power level and bullet weight) is the one I was mainly looking for advice on. I'm pretty sure of my heavy load, as I like the results that I have gotten from RL-15 in my .375H&H (and it's one less powder to stock).

*As a side-note, I wonder what it would take to make this cartridge legal for lg./dangerous game use in Africa (which isn't in the cards right now, and even if it was I doubt I'd be brave enough to use a single-shot, but it's an interesting concept nonetheless)?

:)

gp911
July 30, 2012, 12:06 AM
Nice work putting it next to a 4 BORE, a .700NE, and a .577T-REX! Suddenly it seems so tame and misunderstood... That should be a wicked round, thanks for sharing it with us!

Robtattoo
July 30, 2012, 12:22 AM
It kills me that the 4-bore round is a soft-point. Like it'd make a bit of difference!

I have no experienced advice or help to offer, but as a big proponent of 'bigger is better' I really have to take my hat off to you!

I really don't imagine that you'd have any trouble getting the round approved for the Big 5 in Africa. 99% of the fellas I know that've hunted them have used either .375 H&H or .416 Rigbys. One Particularly good friend of mine, now guiding Buffalo hunters in Australia, has taken Leopard, Cape Buff & Giraffe with a .50 roundball. Nooooot forseeing many issues with ANY centerfire starting with a 4!

Maverick223
July 30, 2012, 12:24 AM
Nice work putting it next to a 4 BORE, a .700NE, and a .577T-REX! Suddenly it seems so tame and misunderstood...Hehehe, it is tame

compared to the ones on the left. ;)

Robtattoo
July 30, 2012, 12:26 AM
One quick question: Other than it not being a rimless, belted casing, how h=far does it deviate from the dimensions of a .458 LOTT?

Would loadings for this cartridge possibly work for you? I know the LOTT produces around 62K psi in full loadings, but would reduced load info be any use?

Maverick223
July 30, 2012, 12:39 AM
It kills me that the 4-bore round is a soft-point. Like it'd make a bit of difference!I think it looks pretty funny, but that's the way it came (it should come as no big surprise that I haven't the rifle to go with the cartridge), but at the modest velocity it travels at and with the awe inspiring momentum, I think it'll keep going just fine, even if it sheds a few ounces en route.

I have no experienced advice or help to offer, but as a big proponent of 'bigger is better' I really have to take my hat off to you!Doubt that I'll be going much bigger than this...unless I get a chance to pick up a .470NE or .500NE double at some point, but I, too, like the big ones...what little bit they may lack in velocity, they more than make up for with confidence boosting thump.

I really don't imagine that you'd have any trouble getting the round approved for the Big 5 in Africa. 99% of the fellas I know that've hunted them have used either .375 H&H or .416 Rigbys. One Particularly good friend of mine, now guiding Buffalo hunters in Australia, has taken Leopard, Cape Buff & Giraffe with a .50 roundball. Nooooot forseeing many issues with ANY centerfire starting with a 4!Despite the more than adequate performance, I have heard that it is very difficult to get most cartridges approved. Unless I'm afforded the opportunity to hunt something larger than Cape Buff. (in which case, I should be able to afford a more appropriate stopper), I'll probably just stick with my little 'ole .375H&H, as I shoot it well...and it holds more than one.

One quick question: Other than it not being a rimless, belted casing, how h=far does it deviate from the dimensions of a .458 LOTT?

Would loadings for this cartridge possibly work for you? I know the LOTT produces around 62K psi in full loadings, but would reduced load info be any use?It's .45in. longer, and 8 thousands smaller at the base (so still quite a bit larger). The loads might be suitable, do to the larger capacity, but with the dimensional and pressure differences I don't want to take the chance. BTW, A-Square's "Any Shot You Want" manual is a valuable resource for most of these large cartridges (including the Lott & .450NE, amongst others).

:)

Walkalong
July 30, 2012, 01:32 PM
AA 5744 is another good option for downloading your .458 to mid range levels. It is very bulky, fills the case reasonably well, and isn't real position sensitive. Powder position makes a difference in velocity, but not a real big one.

philuk44
July 30, 2012, 02:31 PM
Exceeds the performance of a 45-120 by quite a margin? :what:
Having fired a 45-120 in a Shiloh Sharps I doff my cap to you sir.............. :)

Phil

Maverick223
July 30, 2012, 03:48 PM
AA 5744 is another good option for downloading your .458 to mid range levels. It is very bulky, fills the case reasonably well, and isn't real position sensitive. Powder position makes a difference in velocity, but not a real big one.

That was my first thought. It's more our less a BP substitute, so it should be just about right.

As a side-note, I did a little more research on Trail-boss loads and found one report (from one of the developers @ Accurate IIRC) that suggested it was unsuitable for use in large, low-pressure cases, and could result in pressure spikes. This counters everything that I know and have heard about the powder, so I'd like to hear any first hand accounts from anyone using it in similar cartridges, or any documentation that proves or refutes the claim. My goals for the light load, in order of preference is as follows: to have as low of pressure as practicable to better case life, to use as little powder as possible (while maintaining safety, accuracy, & decent velocity using inexpensive light bullets), and reduce recoil to roughly moderate-heavy .45-70Govt. levels.

:)

Maverick223
July 30, 2012, 04:00 PM
Phil, in my limited experience, (I don't shoot much black...too much clean-up for my taste) BP loads tend to have more recoil than comparable nitro loads. I imagine this is due to the greater powder weight. At any rate, it'll still be a fair bit more, but having shot a Rigby, amongst others, I think it'll be manageable with good technique. Needless to say, I don't think I'll be firing it from the prone.

:)

Walkalong
July 30, 2012, 10:04 PM
As a side-note, I did a little more research on Trail-boss loads and found one report (from one of the developers @ Accurate IIRC) that suggested it was unsuitable for use in large, low-pressure cases, and could result in pressure spikes. This counters everything that I know and have heard about the powder, so I'd like to hear any first hand accounts from anyone using it in similar cartridgesI have not read that. I have shot 101% load density rounds with Trail Boss under a Hornady 350 Gr jacketed bullet in .458 Win Mag. It gives around 1175 FPS. No signs of a problem so far. It is like a little poot from a heavy rifle, but still has some pop.

I would like to see any articles as well. Surely IMR would include it in their Trail Boss data for rifles if there was a problem.

Maverick223
July 30, 2012, 10:46 PM
I have serious doubts as well...I'll see if I can find the source.

EDIT: Found it (http://www.levergunscommunity.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=25524&sid=23fbb9d064873af7446472101c85c355&start=20), see the top post on the second page. Keep in mind that this was [purportedly] a message from a fmr. ballistician for Accurate Arms powder company (which is, of course, a competing nitrocellulose gunpowder manufacturer).

:)

Hizzie
August 13, 2012, 09:13 PM
Any forward progress?

Maverick223
August 13, 2012, 09:42 PM
Not yet, I've been too busy to call the gunsmith, but I'm hoping that he's pretty close to completion as it's been some time now and it's a fairly simple task (but like any smith worth taking something to I'm certain that his backlog is lengthy).
:)

Hizzie
September 15, 2012, 06:40 PM
Well?

Maverick223
September 15, 2012, 06:55 PM
Nothing to report yet, need to give the smith a call and find out if there's a problem. I'll be sure to update as soon as I know something concrete.

:)

Hizzie
November 17, 2012, 06:57 PM
Are we there yet?

Maverick223
November 17, 2012, 07:01 PM
Nope, I wish...my gunsmith is "behind due to a BATF audit". :banghead:

C-grunt
November 17, 2012, 07:40 PM
That sucks. We want all to see this beast. Good luck dude.

Maverick223
November 17, 2012, 10:14 PM
Thank you for the kind words, C-grunt. I'll let you folks know as soon as I have it in hand and be sure to give performance updates after working up loads (both hot and "mild").

:)

Hizzie
February 10, 2013, 04:36 PM
Is it done YET? Or is your gunsmith in prison?

browningguy
February 10, 2013, 11:08 PM
My 45-70 plinking load in an 1885 Browning is 50 gr. of RL7 with a 300 gr. JSP on top. This gives me around 2100 fps and is a pleasant load in this gun. With RL7 you can go well over 2400 FPS with a compressed charge of 65 grains, but that doesn't feel good with the curved metal buttplate on mine.

Maverick223
February 11, 2013, 01:39 AM
Is it done YET? Or is your gunsmith in prison?I wish I could say yes, and I just haven't had the time to update, but that's not the case. Last we spoke I was told that my 'smith had been encumbered by a few unfortunate and unexpected events (in addition to the ATF audit) that pushed back the project (as well as another rifle that I'm having him re-blue for me) even farther, but I'm hoping that it'll come soon...otherwise I think I'll have to hunt for a new one for any future project that should arise (not because this one is too slow, but because he told me it would be done month's ago and I value honesty and punctuality as much as quality work and favorable attitude).

browningguy, my maximum .45-70Govt. charge with a 300gr. SP was 65.0gr. of No. 7 (highly compressed 66-67.0gr. proof load did just fine with no signs of excessive pressure...but I was afraid to push it any higher; I believe that to be a prudent and wise decision, finding the absolute maximum pressure is a foolhardy venture best left to others IMO). It actually wasn't that bad with my version (which has a pretty decent butt-pad) and surprisingly isn't that hard on brass despite the pressure. Unfortunately I have misplaced my chrono data, so I don't recall precisely what my average velocity was, but IIRC it was in the 2450fps neighborhood out of my 28in. heavy octagon (which I imagine is the same bbl fitted to your copy). My standard load (with the same bullet) was 62.0gr of the same powder...it was a powder-puff by comparison (it's amazing how much of a change a sub-5% increase in powder can make when you dial it up that hot).

:)

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