P1 was a brief overview of the .458 Winchester Magnum – its history and my relationship with three of them: a Ruger 77, CZ550, and my current Ruger No.1H.
P2 will pit the .416s against the Ruger No.1H – each in handloads. Mostly, this will involve ballistics and versatility. As stated in P1, we’ll compare a 400gr in .416 with a 500gr in .458 because those are the “normal” heavyweights for each caliber. Then a 350gr vs a 400gr for the likes of Cape Buffalo, big bears, lion and moose size game. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a current production 300gr .416 to compare with a 350gr in .458″.
SPECIAL NOTE: For the ill informed or unaware, the ballistics for the .458 Win Mag are based on COLs permitted by the long SAAMI throat of all .458 Winchester Magnums at up to 3.78″ in the Ruger No.1H and long action Mausers such as the CZ 550 that I previously owned, allowing the power space of a .458 Lott, at the Lott’s PSI of 62,500.
Let the games begin…. As previously suggested, there are these four common .416s: .416 Rigby, Taylor, Remington and Ruger. That is, more or less, the order of their appearance in time, though the Taylor was a “wildcat” till sometime after the .416 Remington came to market. And I’m aware of several other .416s that were “cats” or even “legit” at SAAMI but have since dropped out of sight. Even the .416 Chatfield-Taylor is no longer offered in most handloading journals though one is owned by hundreds of sportsmen, if not thousands. Being a .458 Win fan, I’ve been tempted to own its closest decendant in ballistics, the .416 Taylor. That was a favorite of the late author and African hunter, John Wootters – he liked it for lion and Cape Buffalo. And as an addendum, I’ll even pit the.416 Wby Mag against my Ruger No.1H in .458 for the likes of elephant, Cape Buff and lion.
FIRST up: the .416 – 400gr
Bullet: 400gr Hornady DGS
Sectional Density = .330
B.C. = .319
MV = 2500 fps/ 5553 ft-lbs/ 163 TE/ -1.6″ (some will give more, others less – this is average) Zero at 100 yds. Elevation = 1200 ft. Temp = 70 F
50 yds = 2374 fps/ 5006 ft-lbs/ 155 TE/ +.030″
100 yds = 2253 fps/ 4506 ft-lbs/ 147 TE/ +0.0″
150 yds = 2134 fps/ 4036 ft-lbs/ 139.5 TE/ -1.7″
200 yds = 2020 fps/ 3623 ft-lbs/ 132 TE/ – 5.3″
250 yds = 1909 fps/ 3236 ft-lbs/ 125 TE/ -11″ (TE is a product of momentum, sectional density and caliber)
NEXT the .458 Win Mag
Bullet: 500gr Hornady DGS
Sectional Density = .341
B.C. = .295
MV = 2300 fps/ 5875 ft-lbs/ 214 TE/ -1.6″
50 yds = 2170 fps/ 5229 ft-lbs/ 202 TE/ +0.13″
100 yds = 2045 fps/ 4644 ft-lbs/ 190 TE/ +0.0″
150 yds = 1925 fps/ 4112 ft-lbs/ 179 TE/ -2.2″
200 yds = 1809 fps/ 3631 ft-lbs/ 168 TE/ -6.8″
250 yds = 1698 fps/ 3200 ft-lbs/ 158 TE/ -14″
Quick analysis: In elephant and hippo hunting, solids would likely be used. Therefore the comparison above is fair, I think.
- For Cape Buff and lion, either a 450gr soft of 400gr expanding bullet would be near ideal in the .458 and a corresponding 350gr or 300gr would suffice in the .416’s. These could also be used for PG. To be as equitable as possible, I’ll choose the 404gr Shock Hammer in .458 (Thanks to the good work of Dr Ron Berry in convincing Hammer Bullets that such a bullet for the renowned .458 Win Mag would be a great idea.) for said soft skinned DG. In .416 the choice will be another great creation by Barnes: the 350gr TTSX.
FIRST up the 350gr TTSX in .416 caliber
Bullet: 350gr TTSX
Sectional Density = .289
B.C. = .444
MV = 2600 fps/ 5255 ft-lbs/ 130 TE/ -1.6″
100 yds = 2415 fps/ 4532 ft-lbs/ 121 TE/ +2.2″
200 yds= 2238 fps/3891 ft-lbs/ 112 TE/ 0.0″
300 yds= 2068 fps/ 3323 ft-lbs/ 103.5 TE/ -9.1″
400 yds = 1906 fps/ 2822 ft-lbs/ 95.5 TE/ -26.4″
< Since we don’t have many lions in our back yard, how about one of these?
NEXT the 404gr SH in .458″.
Bullet: 404gr Shock Hammer
Sectional Density = . 275
B.C. = .419
MV = 2550 fps/ 5832 ft-lbs/ 154 TE/ -1.6″
100 yds= 2356 fps/ 4982 ft-lbs/ 143 TE/ +2.35″
200 yds = 2171 fps/ 4228 ft-lbs/ 131.5 TE/ +0.0″
300 yds = 1995 fps/ 3569 ft-lbs/ 121 TE/ -9.7″
400 yds = 1827 fps/ 2994 ft-lbs/ 111 TE/ – 28.2″
Quick analysis: The .350gr/ .416′ shoots a bit flatter, but lags behind the 404gr SH in both energy and TE.
- The rifles should be similar in weight but the .416s will burn more powder to achieve their ballistics than the .458 Win.
- Recoil will also be similar with the .416s averaging about 51 ft-lbs and the .458 Win about 54 ft-lbs with each weighing around 10.5 lbs ready to hunt if a scope is used.
LASTLY, a bullet for each in general hunting of PG and North American big game.
- Unfortunately, Barnes has dropped their 300gr and 325gr in .416″ which means if a .416 owner wants to shoot “deer size” game and hogs he’s stuck with Barnes’ 350gr TTSX which is really a buffalo and brown bear bullet on this side of the pond!
- Fortunately, the .458 Win Mag owner is never poor in choices for smaller big game like whitetails or coyote! There are too many to count, depending on what and where, but I often load mine like .45-70 factory loads: a 300gr FT at 1800 fps, or a 300gr TSX like a .375 Weatherby or .378 Weatherby. Right now my deer and bear load is the 250gr Hornady MonoFlex at 2680 fps. That’s a tough bullet and retained 94% weight when shot into very tough media at ~2700 fps. The versatility of a .458 Win Mag has few peers due to the scores of bullets available off the shelf – most of which were made with the .45-70 in mind. Of course, there are also myriads of moulds on the market for making your own, and you can even custom order moulds.
- So on that basis, I declare it a NO CONTEST in our comparison of .416s with the UNIQUE .458 Winchester Magnum.
The Addendum: Compared to the .416 Weatherby:
- The Weatherby can shoot a 400gr at up to 2700 fps/ 6476 ft-lbs. As intended, those are intoxicating numbers!
- But there are other ways and means of evaluating such a concoction! For example:
- By momentum:
- By caliber:
- By S.D.:
- By TE:
- Let’s do that in comparing apples to apples – the 400gr DGX in .416″ at 2700 fps with the 500gr DGX at 2300 fps… OK?
- <In a late fall test in tough media (November, 2022) these four .458″ bullets from my Ruger No.1H in .458 Win Mag were retrieved : L to R: 250gr Hornady MonoFlex, 450gr Swift AF, 500gr DGX and 550gr Woodleigh Weldcore. (The two separate pieces belong to the Woodleigh). The Hornady 500gr DGX out-penetrated all others by a significant margin.
At the muzzle:
Momentum: 154 M for the .416 Weatherby, and 214 M for the .458 Win Mag!
Caliber: 0.1358 sq-in for the .416, and 0.1647 sq-in for the .458.
S.D.: .330 for the 400gr and .341 for the 500gr.
TE: 176.5 for the .416, and 213.8 for the .458.
At 300 yds:
Momentum: 112 M for the .416 Weatherby, and 132 M for the .458 Winchester Magnum.
TE: 128 TE for the .416 Weatherby, and 147 TE for the .458 Winchester Magnum.
A long time ago, I did these anaysis and came to the conclusion that the .458 Winchester Magnum was the best choice of a BIG BORE when all that mattered was accounted for!
AND, by the way: Recoil from the .416 Weatherby when shooting a 400gr at 2700 fps = 80 ft-lbs vs 66 ft-lbs for the .458 Win. That’s at 10.5 lbs weight each and sans muzzle brakes.
A bit late this week as on Saturday morning our clan (or a part of it) was at STACKS celebrating a birthday for our daughter, Colleen. That included her husband, my wife and I, a son with wife and two kids, and a son-in-law with their daughter (Colleen’s daughter was sick with a flu so she was missing). It was a hoot! We enjoyed our time together – as we always do, with our great-grandkids present (we’ve many others elsewhere) they had a good time enjoying their cousins.
Just though you might enjoy knowing something about us!
Till the next…