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Thread: Wildcattin'..........

  1. #1
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    Default Wildcattin'..........

    The old Wildcatting fever has got me again....or still. I found some 356 Winchester brass while unpacking some stuff the other day. (lots of unpacking to do) I stopped and began to run this case through expanders until it was straight (mostly) It can be made to hold a .429" bullet or a .411" bullet with some slight taper. This last one intrigued me some. This 356 round was made for the AE Winchester M94 and Marlin made the 336 for it back in the early eighties. This cartridge was loaded to about 43,000 cup pressure (along with the 307 Winchester) on what is essentially a 308 case with a 30-30 rim. A stronger case, a stronger rifle and a cartridge loaded to about half way between the 30-30 and the 308 in pressure. It would exceed the 405 Winchester in performance and in a shorter case that will fit the lever guns. I'm thinking a Marlin 336 re-barreled to this wild kitty. Would this be a bear gun for the lever gun shooters?
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  2. #2

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    If you could get the bullet you wanted for the job, I'd say heck yeah. But based on my experience with a .429 wilcat based on a blown out 45-70 case, pistol bullets get a little sketchy when you push the velocities to their potential on the larger case. I've settled on the 300 grain Hawk bullet with .050 jacket, and I bet you'd be happy with the same in .411. But that's a pretty short list of suitable bullets. And I haven't proven my own is a "bear" gun. Sure whacked the snot out of anything else I've tapped with it.

    On the plus side, I've had a whole bunch of fun shooting cheap .429 pistol bullets for practice.

  3. #3
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    A 444 short?

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    A 444 short?
    That's what I was thinking also.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    A 444 short?
    If you're talking about my .429 wildcat, it's better to think of it as a 444 "super" or something. Actually the parent 45-70 case about the same length as the 444, but with the larger case head of the 45-70 and the body taper blown out to a sharp shoulder, it comes in more powder capacity than the 45-70, and quite a bit more than the 444. Haven't measured the water capacity,and I'm not going to guesstimate how much in either case, but it's there.

    I built it with the thought of pushing heavy bullets quite a bit faster than normal 444 loading, and it does that in spades. It's pretty easy to beat "book" Marlin velocities for 300 grain bullets in the 45-70, using a bullet with a lot more sectional density. I'm on the road right now and away from my logs so I can't pop numbers at you. But I had to go to the Hawk .050 jacketed bullets to keep them together. Never a problem like that with Speer or Hornady 300's in the 444, but they are pretty frangible out of the wildcat.

  6. #6

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    I was working on another photo project and decided it would be worthwhile to post a photo of my 429 wildcat on the 45-70 case. Too lazy to go dig in the barn for 444 and 45-70 cases for comparison, so what you get on the left is a 44 mag and on the right a 450 Alaskan. The 444 is just a stretch version of the 44 mag with no taper. Blowing the taper out of the 45-70 case resulted in a round that reminds me a lot of a "little brother" of the 450 Alaskan. That suits me fine, because I was looking for a replacement I could scuff up with a clear conscience, while also shooting cheaper and more readily available .429 bullets.

    Works for me, but as I said, finding 300 grain .429 bullets that are tough enough to match it's velocity potential was the chore. It's pretty easy to hit the 2200-2300fps mark with the round, compared to the 2000 fps book max for the 444, but bullets get tender. I'd expect the same for your proposed .411 wildcat, Murphy.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 44kodiak.jpg  

  7. #7

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    My mistake in previous posts citing a .050 jacket. Standard is .025 and I'm shooting the thickest they make in .429 at .035. I was at the site checking on .411 bullets, Murphy, and they make .411 flat nose in 235, 270 and 300 grain weights, but all .025 jackets. Judgment call, but unless you're really smoking them, they're likely to be okay.

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