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Thread: Is 404 Big Enough?

  1. #1
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    Default Is 404 Big Enough?

    I have a question that takes a little less brain power than we've been using today.

    What are your thoughts on the 404 Dakota caliber? I have a chance to buy one at a good price and would like the opinions of the learned and experienced about this caliber. The rifle is 8.45# in a nice french walnut stock, 24" barrel and 4 round drop box. It would only be used for smaller varmints and an ocasional lion. Factory loads are 400 grain Woodleigh soft at 2150 fps or 2400 fps, and equivalent solids, also. Of course handloading will be the way to go. We have the Swift A-frame at 400 grains, the A Square DT's and the North Forks as well as the Woodleigh.

    Just wondered what the panel would think.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Murph, if you keep it to rabbits and the rare lynx, the 404 would be perfect. Since I cant really afford the ammo for a 404, I need to use a 338 for the little guys. lol

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    Default

    I have thought several times over the years about building a .423 caliber cartridge. Just never materialized. I had thought about the 425 Express by Cammeron Hopkins. Savage was going to chamber it at one time but I don't think that ever came about. John Taylor thought very highly of the 404.

  4. #4

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    I had the pleasure of loading and shooting a 404 Jeffries for two years, hunting with it some and taking one elk and a couple of deer. It is a friend's, and is a gorgeous older G&H w/ claw mounts, express sights, the works, and no he won't sell it. He handed it to me with dies, brass and bullets, and asked me to work the kinks out, hunt with it, and give it back to him with a good supply of the "right" loads for his use. It simply took him a couple of years to get around to asking me to give it back.

    I'm not acquainted with the Dakota, but the ballistics don't sound all that different. I wouldn't doubt the Jeffries for any use in NA, but could only speculate about Africa. Intuition tells me you would enjoy the Dakota a lot if you like the rifle. My only beef with the G&H was the really slender butt. Not much surface area and the comb was a little low for scopes and my physique. The rifle is a beauty to behold, but surprisingly the recoil seems less with open sights than with a scope.

  5. #5
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I personally have been turned off by proprietary, wildcat and obscure chamberings. Hence, if I wanted a 404, I'd get a 404 Jeffrey, not a 404 Dakota.

    Asside from that, any of the 40 calibers that drive a 400 gr 2400 fps will do the job. From a semi practical point, the only three 40's that I'd opt for would be the 416 rem, 416 Rigby or 404 Jeffrey. I'd also lean towards the 416's based on bullet selection/availability.

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    Default Not Dakota?

    Paul,

    What would be the practical side of the Jeffery over the Dakota? Is the proprietary thing just the way you lean or are there more practical reasons.

    It's true that most of these proprietary calibers have no SAAMI standard but are controlled only by the company, but certainly when dealing with an older cartridge like the 404 Jeff or the Rigby, there was no standard for them either. Older original guns may or may not conform to modern brass dimensions. And as for cost and availability of ammo, all are expensive and scarce still. Well over a hundred bucks for a box of Jeffery or Rigby ammo and until here lately brass was hard to find.

    The 416 bore is more popular due to the Remington entrant and more bullets available but the 404 isn't belt fed and a good supply of ammo can be made for no more effort than making ought six ammo.

    .423" diameter bullets can be found in the 350 and 400 grain Woodleigh, 400 grain Swift A-frame, 400 grain A Square and the 380 grain Northfork. Several good soft points and solids, but no cheap practice bullets. I like the 350 Speer Mag Tip in the 416 for warm-up and practice sessions.

    I just wondered about your reasoning.
    Thanks,
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  7. #7
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    Just in terms of brass availability in the future. Sure there will be ways to make brass for the Dakota, but there is something to be said for having a chambering that uses brass that one has a reasonable expectation of finding in the future. The two chamberings that taught me that lesson are the 350 Rigby and 500 Jeffrey. Yes, I can get brass, but it isn't easy or cheap.

    I've never had any problems with the belted mag cases, so a belt or no belt is no deterent in the chamberings I choose.

    And while there certainly are good .423" bullets out there, if you go to a gunshop, you're going to have much better odds finding .416" pills.

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    Default 404s and such

    It also depends on where one is going and how sure one is that the ammo will make it there along with the rifle, and if more is needed, if it will be available.

    Once one is out in the field, wildcat, proprietary or major commercial makes no difference. However, up until that point what is one willing to risk?

    Going half way round the world changes things somewhat. The Lott gives one a back up of 458 Win. Mag. The 375 H&H, 404 Jeff, 416 Rigby and 470 NE should be accessable to buy.... although at a higher price in Africa.

    404s can be upped in power with newer powders anyway.

    All of the above and their wildcat/propietary kin will kill anything out there.... as long as one has the ammo.

  9. #9
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    Default My 2 Lincolns...

    Both my father and I shoot Dakotas. *Born and raised in Sturgis SD* His is the 300 Dakota and I carry the 330 Dakota. (404 Jeffery case necked down to a 338 bullet. My dad has dropped a massive 6x6 elk and a bison with is 300...I have yet to connect on a live animal with my 330. *waiting for the right bull/boar*

    I have shot enough rounds to know that the 330 is a sweet lady to dance with. My 300 Win Mag in Ruger M77 kicks much harder then the 330. The ammo is expensive, and I will reload after I have purchased enough brass to make the purchase of the dies worth it.

    I know plenty of people who own them, swear by them...and I also know the people personally who make them. Top notch, and worth every cent.


    Good luck.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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    Default Dakotas

    Travis,

    I just reread this post. Are you in SD or AK? You said born and raised but where do you reside now? I can send pics if you're in SD.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  11. #11
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    Default Fairbanks...

    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    Travis,

    I just reread this post. Are you in SD or AK? You said born and raised but where do you reside now? I can send pics if you're in SD.
    Haven't lived in SD since 97 when I joined the service.
    When all else fails...ask your old-man.


    AKArcher

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