Rolling your own ammunition is for some a chore and for some an integral part of the enjoyment of shooting. I'm in the latter group. I love to shoot, but I love to make ammo. It has been a driving passion of mine for a very long time, more than four decades now.
I load for all kinds of metallic cartridge guns and all calibers. I actively solicite the opportunity to load ammo for my friends just to try something new. Well it's pretty hard to find something new now but I get a chance once in a while. I have bought guns in odd calibers just to have an excuse to buy another set of dies and load for a new one. I have lots of sets of dies!
I have just finished a session, over the past two weeks, of loading for the 405 Winchester or WCF, as it is often called. I had loaded for it before but just a short session and didn't get all the data I wanted. This time, I bought a Ruger No. 1, and borrowed a late model 1895 Winchester (Miroku) light weight, take-down model. I loaded mostly the Hornady 300 grain but also used the Kodiak Bonded and a few cast bullets plus some 41 Mag revolver bullets both cast and JSP versions.
Not to give away all my secrets but to let you know the general outcomes, I will say this is a fine caliber. 300 grain Hornady FP's or Kodiak bondeds with RL-7 and Rem 91/2 primers make for a great combination. I was able to achieve the mystical 2400 fps from the extremely strong Ruger and actually up to 2500 fps from it's 24" barrel. Of course the 1895 did not get those loads. I did easily get 2300 fps with no high pressure signs and I think that is a mild load for the 1895 but recoil is stiff. I did talk the owner into removing the steel but plate and installing a Pachmayer pad since he intends to hunt with this one. That helped a lot. RL-7 outshines all other powders and can be used with heavy or light, jacketed or cast bullets with equal aplumb. And, for some reason I cannot explain, the Remington primers work so well for me with rimmed cases. Maybe it is a psycological thing, I don't know. Another note, the 300 Hornady FP's were more accurate than the Spitzer (if that's what they call them) by a good margin. I was able to get 1 1/2" groups from the scoped Ruger with the FP's but only 3" with the SP's. THE load seemed to be 52.5 grains of RL-7 and the300 Hornady FP, which clocked 2387 fps from the 24" Ruger. In the 1895, 48.0 grains of RL-7 and the 300 FP was 2220 fps and shot nice round 3-4" groups with the iron sights, certainly all I could do. All in all, not a bad go round with this "new" old caliber.
The Hornady brass is good but it is annealled and very soft at the mouth and care must be taken not to deform the case mouth when sizing or expanding cases. I assume the annealed case is to allow easier necking down to other calibers such as 35 WCF. I also had some leftover HDS brass which is very tough.
I share this because it might be of some interest to folks since the 405 has a new following and a resurgence of popularity here lately, and Ruger and Winchester/Browning/Miroku are making new rifles. Good shootin'.