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What good is the .458 WinMag in the US?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Kestrel, Nov 28, 2003.

  1. Kestrel

    Kestrel Well-Known Member

    I have a chance to pick up a CZ 550 Magnum in .458 WinMag. I've passed on it, for several reasons. One, I live in the south and can't imagine what I would use it on. Two, if I were going to get a big-bore (bigger than .375 H&H, that is), I would probably go with something like a .416 RemMag.

    (Now, if I lived in Alaska or the NW, I'm sure .458 WM would be fine on Grizzly/Brown bear.)

    Can commercial loads for the .458 WinMag be found that are "loaded down", to basically .45-70 level?

    By the way, what are the differences in the .458 winmag and the .416 Rem Mag? What are their bullet weights and velocities? What about .416 Rigby. Is that even used much, anymore? What are the ballistics for the Rigby?

    (Guess I'm just thinking about that nice-looking rifle too much...)

  2. James Bondrock

    James Bondrock Well-Known Member

    As an armchair expert ;) I think I would prefer this particular rifle in .338 Winchester or .375 H&H to a .458 for hunting the largest North American game. (Probably never happen, but it is fun to speculate and write about.) These have flatter trajectories for longer shots than the .458 Winchester. The latter cartridge will certainly deliver a massive wallop at short range (100 yards or less), but much farther than that and you will have to hold too far over the target. As for a mid-range loading for the .458, you will likely have to handload. That is a nice-looking rifle, isn't it? :cool:
  3. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Makes a heck of a bolt action .45-70..... :D
  4. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Well, in a nutshell - - -

    - - It's just a heckuva lot of FUN.

    If you must have practicality, then, no, not a lot of that.

    But a great many shooters enjoy the idea of having a rifle/pistol/shotgun of a certain type - - The sort that the cowboys carried on the trail drive, the buffalo hunters used, the professional hunters used, the soldiers of various nations used - - -

    Most of us could get along with, what, two or three rifles? Four or five? A .22 and a deer rifle. Maybe a varmint rifle and a dedicated match rifle. Many of us have a few others just because we like to have 'em to shoot. I think of a big bore rifle as its own justification. You have something that not every guy at the range has. You can make loud noises and punch big holes in the target. Explode milk jugs fulla colored water for the camera and the delight of your firends. Heck, just because you CAN!

    You might be hard-put to find lighter FACTORY loads for the .458, but there's probably at least one person at every good-sized gun club who loads for this rifle. You might well work something out with him/her.

    There are a lot more .458s out there than .416s - - Perhaps more than .375 H&Hs. Used dies can be found at a lot of gun shows. New ones can be bought for a decent price - -Less than the cost of those for some of the big black powder cartridges used in BPCR matches.

    For that matter, used .45-70 dies are frequently available, and you CAN use them to neck size .458 brass, expand slightly, and seat bullets. Oh, yeah - -Bullets. The .458" bullets are plentiful, both cast and jacketed, and in an assortment of weights: 300, 350, 400, 405, 500, and 510, I think of right off hand You can load the .458 for pretty much whatever level you wish.

    Unless you get into casting, .416 bullets and especially, loaded ammo, are quite expensive. I revently passed on a GREAT bargain in a Remington Safari .416, just because I'd end up spending nearly the price of the rifle for dies, cases, and 300 bullets.

    Asto the .416 - -The Remington round is by far the most populer in the USA - -Standard belted case and all - -Far easier to find brass than for the Rigby round. Bullets avilable are 350 and 400 gr. jacketed, and RCBS sells a mould for a 350 gr. FP gas check bullet. Full power loads at (I think) 2400 fps develop more recoil than the 500 and 510 .458 loads.

    Clearly, I have no stake in talking anyone out of a .416, or into a .458. Either one is adequate for anything that walks. I just think there is more FUN to be had with the .458, for a more reasonable price, especially since that CZ550 (NEAT rifle, BTW) is available.

    And, just think - - - if a local circus elephant ever goes rogue in your area . . . .


  5. russlate

    russlate Well-Known Member

    You can hunt jackrabbits with it ( it helps to be young and stupid ), I did once.

    No ammo loaded to lower levels that I've heard of. Even the Buffalo Bore 350gr., 400 gr., and 450 gr. ammo is loaded to 5,000 ft. lbs.

    There was a wildcat 458 X 2" American developed by Frank C. Barnes which led to a twin called the 450 Marlin. Like the double thickness rim of the 45 auto -rim, the Marlin has a double length magnum belt to prevent it being loaded in another rifle's chamber with a smaller bore.

    PS: James Bondrock, I'd think people in Henderson would still be skittish of the really loud BOOMS the 458 makes after the rocket fuel plant explosion there.
  6. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Lets say your deer hides behind a 1953 Buick...

    You'll get your deer.

    I think I've seen down loaded 458 info.. I'll look around.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2003
  7. 308win

    308win Well-Known Member

    Mutant, glowing, groundhogs down at the nuclear plant - but only pick on the verwy werwy slow ones.
  8. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    While we're dreaming...

    take a lookie..see over at the Accurate Arms website. Article there about a guy thats manufacturing the original Mauser actions with modern updates and materials. Guy has a LOT of African experience. He has NO use whatsoever for the Rem .416 and/or push feed rifles. IIRC the CZ is claw extractor, the preferred set-up when the animal wants to kill you just as much as you want to kill it.

    .416 Rem runs at high pressures....bad news when the ambient temp goes over 100. I have 3 Model 700's but I'd get a Mauser type for Africa. He's real big on the Rigby chamberings and, to a lesser degree on the .458

    Point is, you're prolly not gonna use a .458 for Bambi. If you ever did "really" use it, it'd be Alaska or Africa. Might as well get somthing that would "fit in"

    I have a .45-70 Marlin. I use about 50 grains of Varget under a 405 Speer flat point. Actually fun to shoot. You could probably use the same load.

    9th Edition of "Cartridges of the World" sez...."With 300, 350, or 405 grain bullets, it can be loaded to duplicate the 45-70 at any level" If you don't handload, it'd be a real good reason to start.

    If it's a screaming deal and you got the moola, that's all the reason I'd need to buy it:D
  9. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    The more I think of this - - -

    - - -The more I regret letting go my Win M70 African .458, some years ago. Oh, well, I had my fun with it.

    As to use on deer and other game on our continent, just think of all the old timers , exploring, settling, opening up undeveloped areas of the US and Canadian west, whose sole rifle was a .45-70 or other big bore. They were really ready for anything that they came across, and used 'em for everything from small game to deer to moose and bear..

    Granted, a .458 CZ would be a bit, uh, more hefty than a lightweight .243, 7mm-08, or .308. But, with a low powered scope to simplify hold over, and a fair amount of economical practice with handloads,one might easily make sporting shots at 200 yards . . . . All depends on your personal preference. ;) You'd sure be ready, if ever you won an African hunt or something.


    PS Yes, I'm ejoying this topic vicariously. I recently bought a .375 H&H, just because it's a neat rifle, and was offered at a good price. And my days of dreaming about the Dark Continent are pretty well past. All about fun, huh?
  10. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

    In 1976 I left my .458 M70 African with my PH in Rhodesia as a party favor after a 30 day stint. I've not had one since., but then I've never been back :( If I was to go now and wanted another (which I won't since I've a .470, which I don't shoot) I'd definitly get a .458 Lott, which shoots .458 Win also . And yes the CZ 550 looks pretty good!;)
  11. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Guy came into the store I worked in long ago who was going to Africa and just had to have his own .458. Rifle and 20 round 1 box came in on a Friday. Guy collects it and heads off. Next day he's back with the rifle, two empty cases and 18 loaded rounds. Asked us to sell it for him.
    There's no game in North America, including big bears, you need a .458 for. However, that's no reason not to have one. I doubt there are any .45-70 equivalent factory loads, but you can always load 'em yourself.
  12. vanfunk

    vanfunk Well-Known Member

    When I was in Kruger National Park (South Africa) in '94 and '01, the Park rangers employed the CZ 550 in either .375 H&H or .458 WM. They used to mount them horizontally on top of the dash board of their Land Rovers for easy access:D . Very neat.

    I have a .460 Weatherby which I inherited from my Granddad, and it's a real thumper. I've been on the lookout for a nice used example of the CZ in .458, just to have a "light" big bore in the battery:what: .

  13. BigG

    BigG Well-Known Member

    Big bores are fun! Had a M70 Win and sold it, like Johnny. :( Now got a CZ 550. :) They're a lot of gun for the money.
  14. Smoke

    Smoke Well-Known Member

    What good is the .458 WinMag in the US?

    Can take Large Grizzlys, moose, Elk.
    Blowing big holes in 100# whitetails.
    Vaporizing sod poodles.

  15. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    I don't own a .458 and never have, but I don't see the problem. I own a lot of guns that I dont' "need". I just liked them, and enjoy shooting them as well as the ownership. The .458 is certainly something that not every Tom, Dick, and Harry own making it all the more desireable.
    As far as practical use for hunting, I again don't see the problem. I have hunted varmints on a number of occasions with my .338 Win Mag and my .444 Marlin. I wasn't going to eat them, wasn't going to skin them, so what difference does it make what you shoot them with. That being said, as a handloader, you can tailor make your ammo to achieve any goal you want. I am quite sure you could load ammo from a wax bullet powered by a primer, to loads that duplicate .45 Colt handgun loads on up to max .458 Win Mag loads.
    That rifle would be a specialty item, but certainly a lot cheaper than other specialty items we own that have no practical use; my Sten gun comes to mind. $3500 for a 9mm. With that in mind the .458 makes a lot of sense.
  16. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Well-Known Member

    I bought a Winchester Model 70 in .458 some 25 years back. I don't shoot it much, but when I do take it hunting for wild boar, it sure does the job. I handload for it, and have always enjoyed this rifle.

    Could another gun do as well on Florida wild pigs? yeah, but I like this one.
  17. Kestrel

    Kestrel Well-Known Member


    Wild boar with a .458... hmm... that sounds interesting. What happens to them when you hit them with your .458?


  18. Grampa

    Grampa Well-Known Member

    Way back when I was a teenager, my dad got a Ruger Model 1 in .458 WM in a trade. It was a beautiful rifle! Kinda short and light. Dad offered to let me take it out, and had a box of ammo ready to go. I declined. Back then he had "gotten" me on a couple of big boomers, and I was really cautious about his offer. I wish I had tried it, now.

    But, over the years I dwelt on the wisdom of that rifle. What would be the kind of animal you would hunt with a .458 WM? BIG, and DANGEROUS. One you wanted to be sure went down. Why then, might you carry a single shot rifle?

    Just didn't seem right to me. :)
  19. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Actually, the big bores don't tear up as much meat as the faster cartridges. The tougher bullets simply expand slower in order to penetrate more.

    I loaded some 400 gr X bullets to 2350 fps and found them OK on the shoulder. That 350 Speer should be pleasant at 2300 fps as well as excellent results on smaller game.
  20. Slingster

    Slingster Well-Known Member

    I've handloaded .450 Marlin-equivalent loads in my .458 WM and it's a whole lot more comfortable to shoot in a big bore bolt action than in a lever action. An 18"-20" .458 WM so loaded would be just as handy as a Guide Gun.

    So, if you think you have a reason to shoot hot .45-70 loads and are more of a bolt gun shooter, you might consider getting a .458 WM instead. That way if you ever get a chance on dangerous game, you can just load up or buy factory ammo and you're ready to go (after some practice with the heavier loads, of course).

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