In P2 I finished with a quote from CTF, a contributor to the Express Rifles and BIG BORES Only section of the 24 hr Campfire Forum. I’ll discuss more on that shortly…
Another contributor, Badboy Melvin has as his sig line: “You’ll probably never NEED a gun. In fact I hope you never do. BUT IF you do, you will probably need it worse than anything you’ve ever needed before in your life…” and he too is very familiar with and a user of the .458 Winchester Magnum.
And then there is Dr Ron Berry (“Riflecrank”) who has pretty much made that thread on the .458 Win Mag very productive and influential.
Plus, there are several others who have contributed insights and experiences. All together, it is without doubt encyclopedic in nature and volume for anyone who wants a full and complete understanding of both why and how the .458 Winchester Magnum has attained it’s well-deserved status of ” greatness”.
In this case “greatness” has both history and naked truth in support of such an audacious claim!
< Three new mock-ups of recently acquired .458-cal bullets for my Ruger No.1 in .458 Win Mag. From left to right: a 600g Barnes, 550g Woodleigh Weldcore, and a 500g Hornady DGX
It’s not my intent here to defend the above statement – that can quite easily be reviewed in the 24hr campfire forum – but rather to show the relationship between “greatness” and altered thinking about perceived obstacles.
Depending on financial status, some would, and do, spend thousands of dollars on a piece of furniture or art because of it’s perceived “greatness” in a universal sense, whereas some others of equal economic ability might pass it by without a second glance. Therefore, “greatness” might only be a personal perception of one, few or many. Value is determined by the buyer: How “great” something is worth to the purchaser.
In a personal application, you might be willing to pay more for a particular rifle than I would because of your interest in it. Or even more than the “book” MSRP IF it were “the chance of a lifetime” where someone else might not give it a second thought.
As an application of that principle, this past week I went shopping for some heavy bullets in .458″ and came across a “gold mine” – in my view – at my favorite emporium about an hour’s drive from home. So I came home with five boxes of bullets – four in .458-caliber: 2 boxes of Barnes 600g (which I hadn’t seen anywhere for nearly thirty years); a box of 500g Hornady DGX (I had hoped for a box of 480g DGX, but none available); and a box of fifty in 550g Woodleigh Weldcore RN. I’ll make more comments about results from those sometime next spring, God willing. The plan is to develop mild loads that will still be accurate and effective on anything within 300 yards. That would be the Barnes 600s at ~1650 fps, the Woodleigh 550s at ~1700 fps, and the 500 DGX’s at ~1750 fps. I’ve already done the computer ballistic work and that looks about right for my purposes including recoil.
But the point is: Such bullets are not cheap! It turned out that the 600g Barnes were the cheapest @ $1.75 per , the others were about $2.00 each, plus tax of course. But let’s put some perspective on this from “up here” in Canada, and current international trends: It has become increasingly difficult, due to politics on both sides of the border, to timely get firearm related products out of the USA and into Canada. Companies that have a licence to do such imports can only afford to do so about once per year, so that means a lot of planning (and guessing) well in advance (in addition to cutting a lot of “red tape”).
For example, if a customer wants a particular American product that’s not in stock north of the border, or in poor demand, the importer must be informed by the potential buyer about a year prior to inclusion in an order to Hornady – for instance – that for the full order by the importer might be worth many thousands of US dollars. That may mean full payment up front or an agreed on partial-payment to guarantee intention of purchase by the importer. Then too by the buyer of his “special” order from the importer, who will make a non-refundable deposit assuring his good intentions.
So the fact that I happened upon such a find was near miraculous! I didn’t have to go through all those “hoops” to finally get those bullets. Such a thing happened to me about a dozen years ago at the same dealership where I waited over a full year for a single 1-lb can of AA 2230!
Then, it was recently reported on “The GREAT .458 Winchester Magnum…” thread on the 24hr campfire forum, that the Woodleigh factory in Australia had burned down, and there’s apparently no intention for a rebuild. That’s very bad news for hunters and shooters, not only in Australia but also in North America and other continents like Africa! On that trip to my “emporium” I also purchased a 50 count box of Woodleigh 320g for my 9.3 x 62 at a very reasonable price of $1.00 per! That was near miraculous also because the first purchase of the same product from Trade EX Canada about eight years ago was $1.60 per.
I share this only to point out again that “times are changing” in regard to most things we’ve taken for granted in the past. Factory ammo in stock at our local Canadian Tire Store (Not just tires, but most things you’d find in any hardware store, including guns and ammo.) is locked behind glass doors on shelves. They are readily visible as to cartridges and costs, and you must press a button for service. I sometimes pass by there when in the store to check ammo prices. Those available are typically the most common in field use: .223, .243, .270 Won, .308, .30-06, 7mm Rem Mag, .300 WM and a few in .338 WM. Anything from .243 to .30-06 is generally over $60 + tax for a box of 20. Personally, I couldn’t afford much shooting at the range of even a .30-06 at those costs if limited to factory ammo.
So economical stability is no.1 in reshaping the world. And financial institutions react to various pressures: Fear and expectations of the general public, which in turn is caused by politics, natural disasters, plagues, threat of war, poverty and general uncertainty. From a biblical standpoint, I know that will only increase until the end. But I’ve no intention to “fold my tent” and crawl into a dark hole to live out the rest of my days on Earth. While I can: financially, mentally, physically and in harmony with God’s will, I’ll purchase Woodleighs, and/or some others while available.
Why? Because my Ruger No.1 in .458 Winchester Magnum tells me I should if I intend to keep it and explore its full potential.
And to talk about rifle weight once more: On the day of my trip to “My Emporium” I wanted to see, handle and evaluate a new rifle being offered on their website.
This is a top of the line Savage hunting rifle with all “the bells and whistles”. I was permitted to handle it with bolt in, and it was both beautiful and well built… but muzzle heavy! The barrel is a very heavy-contour fluted one with adjustable muzzle brake, chambered in .375 Ruger. Weight naked – as seen – was 8.4 lbs on their shipping scales. Add ammo and a scope (It doesn’t have irons), plus sling and you’ll be toting 9.5 lbs ready. They had neither cases nor dies for handloading. What? Waiting a year for those? I didn’t inquire about factory loads which I assumed they would have at over $100 per 20. But the cost of the rifle would be about 1/2 of Ruger’s own of a similar makeup. I’d personally take a pass on it if only because it’s weight was very biased toward the muzzle.
For a review of how I deal with a rifle’s weight: My former CZ 550 in .458 Win Mag was about 11.5 lbs ready to shoot some legal game, but the balance was perfect when held in my right hand at the magazine. The same thing with my Ruger No.1 in .458 Win. It too balances perfectly when grasped just forward of the trigger guard. When a BIG BORE is too imbalanced toward the muzzle end or buttstock end when ready to fire, we too will be off-balance, fighting to correctly aim it.
Here’s the point: That Savage rifle might be tempting to someone because of the initial cost, and they were looking for a powerful “medium”. But add a scope and rings, plus bases, factory ammo for twenty cases to reload, and .375″ bullets, and what would one be looking at financially? Then, it wouldn’t do anything my 9.3 x 62 is already capable of. I have experience with that one, know what I can do with it, having more bullets than I could ever use in the next few years, and it’s accuracy is unequalled in any other mediums I’ve tried. As to weight: 7.7 lbs ready to hunt, and it’s now in the “hospital for surgery” in adding a slim-line muzzle-brake. My temperament at work again in looking squarely at all matters concerned.
I wanted a light-weight powerful mid-bore and found it in the 9.3 x 62, TIKKA T3 Lite. That was a decade ago when I wasn’t troubled by arterial disease or arthritis. Having experienced both in more recent times, I wanted (“want” again) the same potential ballistics from a Big Bore and Medium Bore with less recoil. That’s been achieved in the .458 Win with a muzzle brake and two extra pounds over the weight of my former #1 Ruger in .45-70 LT – and in using heavier bullets at less MV. So we can, in a sense, have our cake and eat it too!
CTF has killed both deer and brown bear in using a single load of the old Winchester factory 510g RN soft point for the .458 Winchester Magnum. Now that’s versatility! And the rifle weighs less than 9 lbs ready to hunt. While deer was the primary target, the area was in big brown bear habitat where they made their living in hunting those same deer! (You can read his views and experience at the end of P2)
“Want” isn’t a bad word in particular circumstances, like “I want a drink of cold water” when working all day under a hot sun with no shade! Nor is “wanting” something a bad thing if it adds legitimate pleasure, or the meeting of a particular temperament bias that needs expression in a well-rounded life experience. Of course, none of that is intended as an excuse for over-indulgence in self-centered living or abusive actions toward others or self-destructive living. And all within “reasonable” living habits depending on relationships, financial status, health and for the benefit of self or others. Let’s be honest in all that! “The Law and the Prophets”, Jesus said, is fulfilled in this: “Do for others what you would want them to do for you”. Some hard-hearted cynics have twisted Holy Scripture to their own judgment, in sayin’, “Do it to others before they do it to you”. They don’t yet know it, but will give an account one day for such distortions of God’s word !
That God himself gifted me with a new stock for my Ruger #1 in .458 Win Mag at the hand of Dr Ron Berry is a prime example of the teaching above. Does God care about such “small things”? You betcha! And we’d better too! But if God concerns himself over such relatively “small matters”, then how much more over the the redemption of humankind that seems bent on self destruction! (Gospel of John ch 3: 16). And humankind in it’s arrogance and blindness will not, on its own, repent and turn to God through the One he has sent (Christ) apart from his intervention! (Isaiah ch 55, vs 6 – 13).
A heavier rifle with Mag-na-ports suited my need for less recoil – due to ageing and health concerns – and my Father Above showed compassion and care through a human servant. I thanked God and I thanked Ron — and I’m still thankful to both. It was a great lesson — not the first and not the last! But wanting something that’s for our ultimate earthly good may be asked for from “Our Heavenly Father”, if we’re not cynical or arrogant but honestly trusting Him. God – the Only One – isn’t mean spirited, though some apparently think that way.
Here are some practical issues to be considered in deciding on a rifle’s worth and weigh:
1) How much do I want that rifle? And why? What are the sacrifices I might have to make in some other matters of living?
2) My current physical status? (Age is not the main limiting factor.)
3) Finances – can I really afford it without going into debt?
And some steps to be taken:
1) Handle it. And calculate the ready to fire weight. Scope and ammo will add at least one pound.
2) Will the overall weight ready to use with ammo and scope be well balanced? Also, by adding weight (with lead in the stock, for example) it might upset the balance. That’s why I decided against adding weight to my 9.3 x 62 in the TIKKA T3 Lite, but chose a muzzle brake instead, which will add a couple of ounces to the muzzle but not enough to upset its balance. If it did, I can add a couple of cartridges to a buttstock cartridge holder. And, yes, I’ll be wearing electronic ear muffs when hunting or at the range.
3) Get permission to shoulder it, aim it and work the bolt – if it’s a bolt-action. If a break-action, do the same. I did all that with the Savage in .375 Ruger mentioned above, and that convinced me (along with the other matters mentioned) that despite its good features, it was not a rifle I would want enough to warrant a purchase. The bolt was very smooth in operation, however, and I’m partial to a tang safety.
Yet, the main problem as I see it, is a .375 caliber becoming a competitor for time, interest and financial commitment that I yet want and need to give to both the .458 and 9.3 x 62 in exploring their best in full measure. I find intellectual and emotional fulfilment in certain scientific pursuits… seriously! That’s why I was into astronomy and telescope building for so many years. As a “spokesman” for God and his Son (Jesus the Messiah), he knew that I would need a break now and then from such a demanding calling… so, yes, he inclined my spirit toward the “outdoors” and discovering adventure therein.
< Some bullets in perspective, from left to right: 320g Woodleigh/9.3mm; 286g Nosler Partition/9.3mm; 250g Nosler AccuBond/ 9.3mm; 250g Sierra BT/ .375″; 550g Woodleigh/ .458″
Therefore, being “at ease” with a rifle’s weight has more involvement than simply its pounds. Health concerns, the balance of the rifle when ready to fire, financial issues and how much it’s needed or wanted are all associated in the decision making process.
And plans for its use should precede any choice we make. In my view, it should NOT be purchased without an intention for its use.
Much more could be said or written… but that’s all for this time.