The 400 H&H
I have been mulling over the idea of a big bore and came across a old read on this "wildcat". Has anyone shot one or owns this chambering? Wonder the availability of reamers and dies. It is still a H&H. Any info would open up this shooters mind of the realities.
I too have been interested in this caliber. Similar to the .416 Rem. Mag. except the bullet diameter is slightly less and it has a more .375 style sloping shoulder. From what I've read, it produces about 5000 ft./lbs. energy at the muzzle shooting a 400 gr. bullet about 2350 fps. or so. As far as I can tell, the only advantages it may have over the .416 RM would be lower pressure (relavant only in Africa, I suppose) and perhaps slightly smoother feeding.
What little I've read about it is pretty much summed up in this on-line article: http://www.african-hunter.com/new_h%26h_cartridges.htm
Holland's website used to have a little info on it but I can no longer find it. I'm wondering if they decided to keep it proprietary now. Oh well, it shouldn't be a big deal to form cases from .375 or Hornady basic magnum cases. Somebody's got to make dies and chamber reamers, wouldn't you think?
The .465 H&H looks pretty awesome too, at 6000 ft./lbs.!
Keep us posted on what you come up with.
If you want to shoot cast bullets, the long neck is definately friendly to that, and there is also the option of 40 cal pistol bullets for plinking/small game loads.
Asside from that, there is a much better selection and availability of .416" hunting bullets, and IMHO, the 416 rem mag is a more practical choice for a 40 cal hunting rifle.
400 H&H uses .411 bullets
I thought about the 400 H&H from the time I first heard about it, which was right after H&H announced it. I think Pac-Nor has a reamer for this cartridge, and makes a barrel of the correct bore. I have not been able to locate the dies.
First, the .411 bullet turned me off a little, since I simply prefer the .416. It makes little sense that there are so many slightly different diameters in the so-called 40 caliber, from .400 through .423.
Second, 5,000 ft lbs of energy is more than I think I can really use. I have a 375 H&H, which shoots pretty good for me. The 400 would make more sense for Africa.
The 400 H&H is a neat cartridge though, if you have the correct action for it. I think if I wanted to go with a 40 caliber, I would use the 416 Taylor. It's enough cartridge outside of Africa, and everything is readily available. For now, I choose to bypass the 40s and go with 458 caliber, specifically the 450 Marlin on a Ruger 77 MKII SS short action.
It is difficult to go astray from the norm and what is "practical and the most obvious" and if so it nags one due to popular opinion. I think it is far better in many cases to have what can readily be had in any parts of the world but I have hanged my hat here for so long in this State I don't think it would be a problem to reload. I considered the .416 Taylor but I believe the pressures are pretty stout considering, actually any big bore seemingly tends to be, I am not speaking from experience as the only big bore if you will is my .45-70 loaded up at the peak threshold. From what I have read though the velocities are up there @ around 2500fps and for reasons of all around performance they are going to download it some to 2350 roughly.
I know that the .416 bullet is more readily handy but opportunity knocks to be different once again but not so much because of that but how it is propositioned with lower pressures and good velocities.
PacNor has barreled an action for me this past winter and MRC has the actons so it would be just the dies-something to look for. I will look into bullet availability but assuredly Woodleigh offers them and possibly North Fork- 2 fine bullet manufacturers.
Mind you I am very curious about this H&H calibre and that at times(curiosity) lends itself to getting into trouble with the wife. I do not think this calibre will rank high in the market but for H&H reasons it will always be there an more than likely just to nag the die hards and the rationale.
Paul, I see the bullet selection as I have wandered thru NorthForks, Woodleighs site. Bullet makers are few and seem to be for the 405 cal.-oh well. Seemed liked a good thing. My 375 RUM works just fine thus far but...I am still going after a big bore afore too long, just to have one.
Various choices in 40 or 41 caliber
I'm not sure I understand everything you said, but that's OK too. For me the tendency to stay with something readily available is influenced by how much trouble and money I'm willing to throw at it, balanced by the notion of expected results and satisfaction. I have dealt with wildcats and unusual combinations before with mixed results, mostly good. This 450 Marlin on a bolt action is unusual enough for me right now. I also have in process a 9.3 wildcat based on the 338 WM brass.
The 416 Taylor I believe is still classed as a wildcat, so your reloads can be made to whatever pressure you think is appropriate, but the Montana action and the belted Mag brass should be OK with any reasonable pressure - low pressure not necessarily being the most desirable for consistant performance outside the tropics, and even that idea is questionable.
Whatever you decide, please keep us informed of your progress and results, because I am curious and interested. I think you can get 416 Taylor or 400 H&H brass correctly headstamped from Midway - at least I think someone makes it for them - find the source.
I've done plenty of gotta be different guns, and found most often they took alot more time and money to run than more common stuff that would have done exactly the same thing. It has been a great education and lots of fun, but I'm pretty much completely cured of the wildcat and obscure chamberings.
To me there are few practical choices beyond 375 H&H, 416 rem, 416 Rigby, 458 win mag and 458 lott.
kabluwy, I possibly have jumped fast thru this topic-excuse me. I came to the conclusion the bullet availabillity is about nil. Do not want to shoot pistol bullets or cast out of something that is gonna cost me some "chunk" of money in the end. Thanks for your help.
Paul, it all makes very good sense. Might just look for another FN 98 and get some metal work done and rebarrel into a .416-338, ahh! it is good to have some peice of mind
You can get brass, bullets, dies and everything you need for the 400 H&H Mag from Midway USA. midwayusa.com A box of 20 brass only runs about 38.00. RCBS makes the dies. The rifle shoots well. It's loud and goes boom over anything at the range. Of course it kicks like hell, but they all do with a last name of magnum. I don't have a bullet velocity meter to get actual stats, so I rely on other shooters results using various powders, bullet weights, etc. The 400 H&H I have is built on a BRNO 602 long action magnum with an ER shaw #4 contour 24" barrel in SS. It seemed like a good idea at the time I built it, but it sets in the rifle cabinet with all the other "cats." Personally, I think it is hard to beat a 458 Win Mag for all around performance and a 458 Lott for that big bang for the buck.
It is a splintered marketplace these days. Even H&H is getting into the mix. The 465 and 400 are there to keep H&H's name up front. The 465 (harkening back to the 500/465 is a rehash of the Weatherby. The 400 could be drowned by the 411's and 416's. It is just like the days after the 450 ban in England when the 465, 470, 475.... came out. Fortunately, the animals haven't changed on bit. The basic 375, 416, 450 (458), 500, 577 series will do it all. I omitted the 470 NE, just because it lives because the 450s were banned. Hair-splitting... I am guilty also. My IQ is still greater than the number of guns I own... but not for long! Enjoy what you have... "run what you've brung".
Marketing won't kill any quicker than time honored performance. The true justification for H&H is to bring out an over-400 caliber. They saw the 465 as too much gun for most and added the 400. The 416 Remington has that covered already. I think they are forgetting their roots, but that's just me.
It sure is nice when you're short on time to be able to get componet bullets in town, and there are lots of places that carry choices in 416, and you can buy factory fodder should the need arrise. I love handloading, but since I'm shorter on time as of late, I have a greater appreciation of the need to have factory fodder available.
I haven't looked for the 40 cal stuff, but have a feeling locally stocked stuff is very limited if there at all, and you'll have to run 375 H&H brass through the die vs being able to buy it anywhere. Only $38 for 20 cases, that's $180 for 100 cases vs $50 and change for common belted mag brass, though one can certainly run 375 H&H through the die easily enough.
There is also the question of availabilty of componets in the future. Unless you pick a mainstream chambering, odds are against you getting what you need in 5-10 years other than from premium priced collectors outfits.
I'd never really given any of the availability issues a consideration, until I finally got my 500 Jeffrey built. I got brass and a barrel which lead to the projcect, and then had to wait a few years to get the barreled action back. When it was finally time to shoot, and I started looking for componets, I was given the rude awakening that obscure stuff is hard to find, and what may not have been too obscure when you started the project, may become more obscure in the future.
The big bores have been fairly popular the past few years, but that will be waning in the future, and the stuff the suppliers thought they'd sell, but ended up in stock for some time, won't be replenished when they finally go off the shelf.
I agree totally about availability of factory ammo. As long as Department stores are selling big bores and bullets, chances are that caliber will stay in production. Wildcat loading and shooting is fun, but I find myself going to the range with calibers available at Wal-Mart because I just don't get the time to reload anymore. Reloading is not really a money-saver as it once used to be. Premium bullets, powder, primers and brass can add up very fast and compare prices to factory loads; in some cases, it breaks even or is cheaper to buy it off the shelf. It's a lot less time consuming when in a hurry to purchase a box of factory loads.
Even with factory loads, look at price: 416 Remington, 416 Rigby, 416 Weatherby ammo hover at and beyond the 100.00 per 20 price. 450 Marlin, 45/70 HOT loads, and 458 Win Mags retail from 40 to 60 dollars (higher for premium loads). 416's are hotter in performance, but the Price, Performance and Availability award goes to 45 cal rifles because one can afford to shoot them more than once a year.
40 bore rifles...
This is an interesting thread. I have been a fan of the forty bore rifle for a long while eversince I found a G&H 400 Whelen at a bargain basement price. There are a lot of good calibers that start with 40, though I'm not familiar with the 400 H&H. Just the H&H case necked up?
Back in the 19th century the 40 was a very popular caliber when the cartridge came about and just about every body who made guns made one or two. Sharps, Maynard, Ballard, Winchester, Marlin and Remington had very popular calibers of forty bore diameter. After the turn of the century the 40 seemed to loose a little steam but was still very popular for those who new how effective they could be for hunting.
The .410"-.412" bullet size is available but limited. Most are in the 300 grain weight. Hawk, North Fork, Hornady and I think Kodiak make at least one JSP, but I think they are made for the more modest velocity of the 405 Winchester, with the exception of the North Fork, and not made for the velocity of the 400 H&H. I guess that is changing with that caliber.
I am working up loads for the 405 in a new Ruger No.1 and have found a few bullets for this one. I think that is what the 400 Whelen was to be, a bolt action equivelant of the 405 Winchester. Bullets of 400 grains at 2200 fps is still a very good moose, elk, bison and of course lion medicine.
The practical side of it though is something else. The 400 H&H won't do anything the 416 Remington won't do, or the Rigby or any number of others not so well known, but that is not as important to us gun nuts as the experience. Another reason (excuse) to buy another rifle and set of dies to persue the hobby. Sometimes I think I only shoot so I'll have brass to reload! And, new stuff is more fun than the same old calibers.
Some years ago I was contacted to work up load data for a fella's 425 Magnum. Just the 458 Win necked to .423" This was back before the resurgance of interest in the 404 Jeffery and it was easy to duplicate the Jeffery load or throttle it up to the 5000 ME level. I still have the set of dies and drawings for that one and have thought about building a rifle in that caliber for myself. I have always liked the 423 bullet diameter for reasons I can't define really, but thought it the perfect hybrid of the 458 and 416.
Since then there has come about the 425 Express, based on the 300 Win case. There is a lot of interest in the 40's even by folks who know we have no real need for them. Just another caliber I have to own and shoot.
I've been shooting a 411 Hawk for a few years, and yes the bullet selection is very limited compared to the .416".
Barnes - 300 grain X bullet
Hornady - 300 grain
North Fork - 360 grain in limited runs
Woodleigh - 300 & 400 grain
Swift - 350 grain A-Frame on special runs, not enough to depend on
Hawk - wide variety of bullets weights and jacket thickness from 300 to 400 grains.
If anyone is interested, I still have some .411" Barnes X bullets I hoarded when I learned they would cease production of everything but the 300 grain. Bullet weights are 325, 350 and 400 grains. These are just too long to load to what velocities I wanted in the Hawk.