So, I'm trying to line up a new project for this winter.
Thankfully, I have a lot of time to decide, and prepare.
I want something substantially bigger than I have now, but that fits into one of my other reloading hobbies : casting, very well.
I know- 45/70, 45/70, 45/70- Thing is, its been done to death, and then some. Besides, 45/70 does have its own limitations- and a trajectory that resembles that of a trebuchet is one of them.
So, I've been digging around in the reloading guides, looking at rifles and what is available trying to wrap my mind around what might fit.
Then I saw it :D
My, Ruger does make a pretty african rifle. If its as well made as my Mark II in .308- I'm sure I'd be all kinds of happy on this one. The fact that 416 Ruger actions have a shorter stroke than any of the "African" cartridges only further excites me. Followup shots on 14 + inches of pull don't sound like any kind of fun.
The cartridge itself has a commanding look to it. Not overbearingly large like the 416 Rigby, more punch than .375 H/H- and without a belt. "This has promise" I say to myself, as I dig up the ballistics, sure to be disappointed in the velocity requirements of 400gr bullets to be effective....
And there it was......... Devastating ballistic performance and trajectory from a 400 grain bullet between 1950 and 2150 FPS. Sure, you can go higher- bout 2250 with a jacketed DGS or DGX, but that sweet spot is right below where my hardcast rifle bullets started to fail, and the functional profile is well within what a quality caster could turn out- no pointy tips, just all thump !
So, lay it on... lets address all of the possible pros and cons before I get too far ahead of myself.
Custom mould will be a tad spendy- and I need someone who will turn out "one", not ten, of them. I'll probably need a custom sizer die, as well.
Gas checks actually won't be too hard- lyman 45 checks seem to conform to anything from 40 to 48 caliber without too much fuss.
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April 17, 2013, 07:57 AM
Well, looks like a 417 sizer would work. Just needed to check the length, and it'll fit.
Hornady lists their DGX loads at 2400 fps from a 24" barrel.
The Rugers have been criticized for using a very high pressure to reach the velocities they list. Never seen problems first hand, mind you, but reports are out there of sticky bolt-handles when the temperature rises. With the loads you are talking, this shouldn't be a problem though. This is one reason I'm taking a Holland and Holland to Namibia instead of something like the 375 Ruger.
As a project, loading cast bullets into the 416 would be very do-able. Would be a fun project. I say go for it.
Also, I have seen used Ruger rifles that are in the regular 77 Mk. II configuration, without all the trappings of the African at much lower prices. My LGS had one for months that kept getting lower, and lower, until it sold for less that $500 bucks. Of course, they are nowhere as nice looking as the African, but if you wanted to go cheaply, you can probably find one around that hasn't been shot much.
April 17, 2013, 04:05 PM
Thats a nice tip !
I would happily take one configured like my Mk II- but I don't see them offering any in 416... Ever seen that particular critter ?
2400 FPS seems like a stretch to me- especially considering they don't even currently chamber it in a 24" gun :D Hornadys current load manual even shows load workups only to about 2300 FPS from a 20" Hawkeye.
April 17, 2013, 04:47 PM
Well, it's bee a while ago. The store had two used rifles, in 416 and 375 ruger. Now that I think about it, the 416 may have been a No. !, with the 375 being the usual iron-sighted 24" barreled rifle (with a tiny little recoil pad) similar to my 338. So, there may not be the 416 Ruger in the Mk II M77.
Maybe someone else knows?
April 18, 2013, 03:15 PM
My, Ruger does make a pretty african rifleI am not sure what model exactly my Ruger .458 Win Mag is, but I really like the look as well. (Looks a lot like this (http://www.ruger.com/products/m77HawkeyeAfrican/models.html), but with nothing hanging off the barrel in front of the sight.) I need to get a good pic of it.
Sounds like a good project. You'll have fun reloading for it.
April 18, 2013, 05:52 PM
I would happily take one configured like my Mk II- but I don't see them offering any in 416
On on gunbroker, but it ain't cheap.
April 18, 2013, 06:50 PM
Thanks, but that one is a 416 rigby, not a 416 ruger.
April 18, 2013, 08:46 PM
I should have bought a Ruger Alaskan in .416 when I had the chance.
April 18, 2013, 09:49 PM
Thanks, but that one is a 416 rigby, not a 416 ruger.
Teach me to forget my glasses.
April 19, 2013, 10:16 AM
I have a 77mkII "Hawkeye" "African". It's not the same as the XL action "African".
It's in .375Ruger and has a 23" bbl (NOT 24") as the Long Action rifle in belted calibers does.
It too had the thin recoil pad. I cut it down and installed a Pachmayer Old English Decellerator pad. It now handles like a double barrel shotgun.
I got it used as no one wanted it due to percieved notions of recoil and expense of shooting. I got the rifle for a trifling price (under $500). According to dealer that had it, the previous owner took it to Africa and took a Cape Buffalo and several other plains game. After getting the dies and brass I set about scounging bullets. I found some 270gr Hornady RN (pre-interlok) for about $12/50. Also, a plastic bag with 130 Sierra 250gr BtSpt's for $15 !!!.
I also bought some 235gr Speers and 225gr Hornadys.
I've taken a deer with it (~170lb buck), and it performed about like a .30/06 w/180gr bullets (used 235gr Speer @ 2,700fps). However, it left a 6" wide and 3' long divet in the ground behind the deer !!! Deer was shot through heart and ran ~75yds and dropped.
I haven't seen particularily high pressures, and my rifle with the 2 boxes of ammo I got (270gr PtSpt Interloks) gets 2,740fps or 100fps slower than advertised. However, it is no problem to get them over 2,800fps using either H4350, IMR4350, or RL15. Best accuracy with 235 and 225gr bullets has been with RL15 and at 5% or less below maximum. (Needs the pressure to burn efficiently).
Recoil isnt that bad. Everyone who shoots the rifle is pleasantly supprised a how modest the recoil is. It's about like a 12ga shotgun with a Highvelocity 1.25oz "duck and pheasant" load, Not quite like a heavy turkey load...
I think you'll like the .416. Definitely more "horsepower" than you need for anything south of Alaska, but will probably suprise you as to how "refined" a cartride that the big Ruger case is.
If these two (.375 and .416) had been available 50yrs ago, the .375H&H wouldn't have lasted like it has. But, now that it's 100+yrs old, won't likely go away and the Ruger's won't likely get enough traction to be around 50yrs from now.
p.s. You can expand the necks of .300winmag brass by running them through the sizer die, and then fire-form them with 10gr of Unique and filler. After the first full pressure firing, they fill out with only a small reduced circumference just ahead of the belt, where the case is really thick in the head area. The resulting cases work really well. (see above referenced deer taken. I used a re-formed .300winmag case to hunt with as I didn't want to lose a $1.00 piece of brass when I could use a "free" one....
April 19, 2013, 10:26 PM
.416 ruger is not belted- not sure how I could make a 300 winmag case work- but I love the story of your rifle !
Do you just size over the belt completely ?
The .416 ruger max at the head is .530, and the 300WM at the belt is .532.
April 20, 2013, 04:16 AM
I considered one when I was planning a rifle for a buff hunt in Africa and decided on a NH Win M70 416 Rem that I tweaked a bit. I wanted the long term ease of brass acquisition and the longer bolt throw meant nothing to me in the field as I have proven to myself over the years. I got the weight down to where I wanted via the McM stock and aluminum PTG bottom metal. So, no, the 416 Ruger is not for me.