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Thread: .404 BJ Express

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    Default .404 BJ Express

    I picked up a very nice custom 98 Manuser at the gun show today that is marked on the barrel ".404 Express". RCBS made dies for it from the chamber cast and called them "404 B.J. Express".

    I've found only a few references to it - it appears to use a .411 diam. bullet in front of a .375 H&H case blown out and necked up to .404. As such it should have more punch than the .416 Taylor and approach a .416 Remington powerwise.

    Anybody ever hear of this caliber before or have any experience with it? I've got to slug the bore and find some bullets for it.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    I've loaded ammo for a couple of 404 B-J rifles and I think it is .423" bullet diameter, like the Jefffery. It has been a while, I still have the dies but not here to measure the expander, that would tell. It is also more easily made from new basic brass, has very little taper and sslightly more case capacity than the Remington. In any case it is the ballistic equal of the 416 Remington with 400 grain bullets be they .411", ,416" or .423". We would be splitting hairs to claim one an advantage over another. 400 grains of bullet at 2400fps plus is 5,000 ft. lbs. of energy. You probably have a nice rifle there and capable of serious work, nice find.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Default More rifle info

    Thanks for info Murphy

    I checked the gun some more and the .404 BJ dies don't match the gun - the guy I got it from and the RCBS die box said they were made from a chamber cast which the guy still had and showed me - I don't know if RCBS made an assumption it was a B-J or ?? In any event I probably got it cheap because the guy couldn't make ammo with the custom B-J dies he had paid $125 for! The B-J dies have a base to shoulder length like the .300 Win Mag so the formed cases won't chamber.

    I need to make another chamber cast but the gun appears to chambered for a .416 Taylor with a .404 / .410 bore (I slugged it to make sure). A 7mm Rem Mag chamber correctly - that case has the same base to should length as the .416. The neck appears to be longer than the Taylor so it may be a .458 Lott / .300 Win Mag length case rather than the shorter .458 length. Since the action is only .30-06 length the Taylor length case is more suitable than the longer B-J anyway.

    So I'm off to order some .416 Taylor dies and some .410 bullets. .405 Win or .450/400 bullets should work fine as will .41 mag bullets for case forming. Ability to use .41 mag pistol bullets is a slight advantage plus I have a .40 rifle mold somewhere to dig out.

    I'll do a follow up when I get it shooting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post
    I've loaded ammo for a couple of 404 B-J rifles and I think it is .423" bullet diameter, like the Jefffery. It has been a while, I still have the dies but not here to measure the expander, that would tell. It is also more easily made from new basic brass, has very little taper and sslightly more case capacity than the Remington. In any case it is the ballistic equal of the 416 Remington with 400 grain bullets be they .411", ,416" or .423". We would be splitting hairs to claim one an advantage over another. 400 grains of bullet at 2400fps plus is 5,000 ft. lbs. of energy. You probably have a nice rifle there and capable of serious work, nice find.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    I love projects like that, I mean I really do. I've bought lots of rifles with dies that were stamped the same as the barrel and not even close in dimensions. I think the BJ is a full length H&H case and you may well have a 338 mag length something-or-other. The first clue was that RCBS made the dies from a chamber cast, they don't do that, they make from fired cases. If the 7mm fits the 338 will fit but the Taylor is slightly longer to the shoulder so headspace wouldn't be the same. I'd use a 300 Win mag case and push the shoulder back in a 338 die until it will just chamber, that will be the headspace (base to shoulder) dimension. I made a cartridge from the 338 WM necked to hold .411" bullets, very close to the 416 Taylor. It was sold to an individual with the RCBS dies. I don't recall what was stamped on the barrel/dies. The reamer was loaned to a gunsmith and never returned. You may have something like that. YOu could also have a Cameron Hopkins design the 425 Express which is the 300 Win Mag necked to hold .411". I have all my reference books packed up now so I'm pretty stupid with failing memory.

    If you get a 300 Win mag case to chamber, then fire form with inert filler, trim and load a load with correct bullet diameter (slugged) and you'll be there. When you have a cerrosafe cast, fired cases and correct groove diameter, you'll have it. If it is .411" shoot the cheap 300 grain Hornady 405 Winchester bullets to get formed brass and send three good clean cases to RCBS, Redding or CH-4D with $250 and they will make your dies.
    If it is .411" and you want shed of it, let me know.
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    Default .404 something

    The barrel is marked ".404 Express".

    The printed label on the RCBS dies actually state that it was made from a chamber cast - I guess if you don't have any fired cases they will do the best they can.

    The bore is actually .410 - 411 - I slugged it to check.

    The drawing I found on a .416 Taylor showed it to have the same dimensions to start of shoulder as a 7mm Rem Mag.- perhaps the dwgs. vary a bit. I tried a fired 7mm RM in the gun but I couldn't close the bolt - it came out easily so it wasn't an expanded case diameter issue. After I sized the 7mm RM case it would chamber so apparently it was hitting on the shoulder. I then sized a .300 WIn mag case in the 7mm RM die to set the should back and then necked it back up to .40 and it chambered O.K. so I think I'm very close. I've got to make a few and fireform them next.

    Next on order is a set of .416 Taylor dies - I need a set anyway - and a die to expand necks from .35 to .40. I'll probably need some .458 Lott cases to neck down also as I think my OA length is loger that the Taylor. I've got to make a chamber cast next but I should be able to get it shooting.

    It is a fun project. A friend gave me a set of folding leaf sites for it and I may order a set of NEA claw mounts to fit my Zeiss 1.5- 6X scope with the Zeiss rail.

    I'll send you a picture.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Default

    While I'm not a huge fan of the quality of CH4D dies, they are fairly reasonable for a set of custom dies. http://www.ch4d.com/

    A good resource for big bore rifles is Wolf Publishing's Big Bore Rifles. http://www.amazon.com/Bore-Rifles-Ca...9665044&sr=8-1

    The thing is there have been so many wildcats over the years, and even wildcats with the same name being made with chambers of different dimensions that you really need to do a chamber cast to see what you have.

    If the chamber is in fact for the full length H&H case, one way to make some fired cases is to take .410" cast bullets, turn down the base to .375", and seat the bullets in a 375 H&H case. The cast bullet will center the case in the chamber, and the case will fire form in the chamber. This was how early cases were made for the 458 lott when belted basic cases couldn't be found. You'll be on your own finding a fireform load, but it is an option.

    The rifle actually sounds like a 411 KDF http://www.accuratepowder.com/data/P...page%20325.pdf

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    Default Next step

    It appears that the neck is longer than the the .458 case necked down - I can chamber a .300 WinMag case with the shouder set back and then necked up with no probem.

    I'm going to make a few cases that way and load them with some .41 mag pistol bullets and see what they look like this weekend. Since we are headspacing on the belt I won't worry about the shoulder too much. I have a .40 cal 300 gr mold if I ever get around to casting some bullets - those should work fine for practice and plinking.

    I think .416 Taylor dies should work fine if I remove the expander bell or turn it down. Neck length shouldn't be an issue with the dies and if the bullets are loose I'll run the necks into a .41 mag sizer die.

    I'm obviously on the cheap on this until I decide if I like the rifle. I'll try C-H for some custom dies - thanks for the info.


    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    While I'm not a huge fan of the quality of CH4D dies, they are fairly reasonable for a set of custom dies. http://www.ch4d.com/

    A good resource for big bore rifles is Wolf Publishing's Big Bore Rifles. http://www.amazon.com/Bore-Rifles-Ca...9665044&sr=8-1

    The thing is there have been so many wildcats over the years, and even wildcats with the same name being made with chambers of different dimensions that you really need to do a chamber cast to see what you have.

    If the chamber is in fact for the full length H&H case, one way to make some fired cases is to take .410" cast bullets, turn down the base to .375", and seat the bullets in a 375 H&H case. The cast bullet will center the case in the chamber, and the case will fire form in the chamber. This was how early cases were made for the 458 lott when belted basic cases couldn't be found. You'll be on your own finding a fireform load, but it is an option.

    The rifle actually sounds like a 411 KDF http://www.accuratepowder.com/data/P...page%20325.pdf
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Default Finally shot it!

    I finally got down to the range today and fired the thing.

    Fire formed cases are basically a .300 Win Mag with a .338 Win mag shoulder - giving the cartridge a longer neck - and blown out fatter i.e. less taper.

    I picked up box of 300 gr. bullets and used loading data for the .416 Taylor - it sppears to be about right as the case capacities should be very similar.

    I ended up making cases by running .300 Win Mag cases into a .338 Win Mag die with the expander removed then necking them from .30 cal to .35 cal in the expander die for I use for making .35 Whelen cases. I then finally sizing them in the .416 Taylor sizing die to get close to the final case dimensions. Last, I sized the neck in a .41 Mag sizing die to reduce the diam. to hold the .411 bullets.

    Lot of work to get it firing but it gave me some fired cases so I can eventually order some custom dies.

    Recoil was stout but not painfull. The trigger guard rapping my trigger finger was the worse than the recoil.

    Looks like it may be a keeper. It should be a bit overkill for moose or bear but better too much power than too little. Besides at the moment is is my only .40 cal rifle and it is a nice piece.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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  9. #9

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    "Since we are headspacing on the belt I won't worry about the shoulder too much. "

    I'd rethink that a bit if you're generating fired cases to be used for making dies. I've not had consistent results head spacing off the belt. In too many cases the dies set back the shoulder a little too much when full length sizing.

    My standard for case forming in this situation is to use a moderate load and seat the bullet out just far enough to kiss the rifling. Fire forming pushes the shoulder forward to fill the chamber and set the head space off the shoulder rather than the belt. Resulting dies are much easier on cases, extending case life while often giving a very slight nudge in accuracy.

    Food for thought, and maybe I'm out of date. But I just don't trust head spacing on belts.

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    Default headspacing etc.

    BB-

    You are correct of course about the headspace thing for normal cartridges or if I am going to use the fired cases for getting dies made up.

    For the time being I'm just going to go cheap and shoot it enough to see if want to go to the trouble and expense of having dies make up. The base .300 Win Mag brass is cheap (free range pick-ups) so I don't worry too much about case life esp/ since I won't be shooting it that much.

    I've also got to do a chamber cast. It appears to have a long neck and throat - I'm not certain I can seat a bullet out far enough to tough the rifling.

    Lots of small issues I'm finding with a .40 cal like my outside neck turner only goes to .375 diam and my .40 cal. necks are too thick. For the time being I'm necking the .300 Win mag cases to .375 and turning them at that point before I neck them up to .400.

    In the end it may be cheaper to just re-barrel it to .416 Taylor esp. since I already have a threaded barrel.

    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    "Since we are headspacing on the belt I won't worry about the shoulder too much. "

    I'd rethink that a bit if you're generating fired cases to be used for making dies. I've not had consistent results head spacing off the belt. In too many cases the dies set back the shoulder a little too much when full length sizing.

    My standard for case forming in this situation is to use a moderate load and seat the bullet out just far enough to kiss the rifling. Fire forming pushes the shoulder forward to fill the chamber and set the head space off the shoulder rather than the belt. Resulting dies are much easier on cases, extending case life while often giving a very slight nudge in accuracy.

    Food for thought, and maybe I'm out of date. But I just don't trust head spacing on belts.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    I have the exact same rifle on a mauser 98 action as well...along with the original rcbs 1967 imp. sp. dies!

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    I fire form my cases with .375 h & h loads.

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    I'd be curious to compare case dimensions with yours. I have fire formed a number of cases but I haven't determined the length of the neck yet. The parent case appears to be about the length of the 7mm Rem Mag but not as long as the .375 H&H. I need to check my action again but I think it has not been lenghten to the .375 dimension.

    Quote Originally Posted by jimdstarr View Post
    I have the exact same rifle on a mauser 98 action as well...along with the original rcbs 1967 imp. sp. dies!
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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