.458 B&M

Discussion in '.375 & Up' started by PHOENIX PHIL, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Gents,

    Paul T has been after me to get this thread going for awhile now. I was holding off as this was quite a departure from normal for me, going into both "wildcat" and custom stock country. I wanted to have the gun in hand and do some load development and give this rifle at least some reasonable trigger time before writing up a report.

    As some of you may recall, Paul T started a thread a couple of years ago on his 500 MDM. That caliber is a wildcat caliber that is amongst a number of calibers developed by the guys at B&M Rifles and Cartridges.

    Here's the link to Paul's thread: http://www.africahunting.com/375-up/4832-ultimate-stopper.html

    And a link to B&M : B & M Rifles and Cartridges - Home

    Paul's thread was the start of my interest in these rifles, but I wasn't so sure about them. A short barreled DG rifle, that thing is going to kick hard and leave marks! I was also not so sure about going with the wildcat caliber, would brass be available with the proper headstamp? A number of other questions in my mind.

    At that time I already owned my M70 in .375H&H which I really came to love and still do. Then sometime about a year ago or so I picked a beautiful CZ 550 in .416 Rigby. That was my first CZ and I really like most things about the rifle, but came to not like the caliber so much. It was so easy developing loads for it, but that bugger kicked hard. I could shoot it accurately so I don't think I was flinching, but within 10 rounds or less on the bench I was done. I guess that's okay, but when I like to shoot. It's 40 plus miles round trip to the range for me, so when I go I don't like to just send a few rounds and then go home.

    So I had been keeping up with the B&M's and decided in the fall of last year to give Michael at B&M a call and chat with him about his rifles. And then in January I got to meet him at DSC and handle a few of his personal rifles. He had one that he was selling for a friend of his that had a few of the B&M's and I guess one more than he needed which he decided to sell.

    That rifle ended up in my possession, but that was just the start of the project. The next part of the story will be in my next post. But here are some pics to start on.
     

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  2. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    The Stock

    So Michael is a M70 guy, all of these B&M rifles are built off of a M70 WSM action. So the usual start is to get any of the M70's that are offered in I believe any of the WSM calibers. Mine was originally a Winchester black shadow which received a barrel chambered for the .458B&M. This fiberglass stock just isn't going to cut it for shooting the heavy bullets. One could probably shoot the lighter offerings with this stock, but I never tried.

    Michael has been working with the guys at Accurate Innovations for sometime now. AI makes stocks for various rifles and calibers, but have become kind of the go to guys for the B&M series of rifles. They've been doing these stocks long enough now they've got the tooling down and don't even need the rifle now to do the job.

    So once the rifle was purchased, it was time to choose a stock. I talked to Michael and Paul T extensively about this. The classic choice for a big bore always seems to be either Turkish or English walnut as they have the strength to handle the recoil. But with the way AI beds their stocks, I was told you can pretty much pick anything you want.

    When I first went over the choices that AI had on their website, there were a few that I liked, but there was one piece of myrtle that I kept coming back to. Myrtle would not normally be the first choice for a big bore, but again after talking it over numerous times, I decided to go with it. And so the pics above are of the finished stock.

    Now why did I choose it? Not because of the amount of figuring that you now see. What drew my eyes to the stock was that big dark splotch you see on the right side of the butt. After really looking over the raw piece on the top and bottom, I felt confident that it would not be lost as the stock was cut. Not only was it not lost, it kind of spread out. As for the rest of the figuring, only some of that did I see in the raw piece. The striping you see on the left side butt was nowhere near as evident, just a small amount. As the stock was cut it just kept appearing.

    In the end, the stock ended up showing much more character than I and I think the guys at AI ever thought it would. When figuring in raw stocks is evident, you end up paying a premium for it. While I did have to pay a bit extra, I'm fairly certain it would've been much higher had AI know it would show like this.

    As far as other details go. You have your choice as to how much you want to do. I opted for the ebony end cap, a steel grip cap, inleted sling studs. I didn't go with any fleur-de-lis on the checkering. To me that is pretty, but I think it would've taken away from the natural beauty of the stock. Also, where you have those pretty curves is an absence of checkering. On this big caliber I'd prefer to have as much of that checkering digging into my hands and fingers as possible. The one option on the checkering I did do was they offer to put it in the saddle where your shooting hand thumb goes. Again the idea being to maximize grip.

    Bedding is a bit different at AI and is what they say helps distribute the recoil forces through out the stock. The bedding is a full length aluminum block which also floats the barrel. I believe they have in fact put a patent on this bedding system.

    Accurate Innovations: Accurate Innovations Gunstocks
     
  3. arizona

    arizona SILVER SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    wow Phil, that rifle is awesome, the wood is very special. Looking forward to the shooting report.
     
  4. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    The Load

    Okay so this is a .458 caliber like any other, but the cartridge is much different. Basically it's a RUM cartridge cut down to 2.24-2.25" and then necked out to .458. So you end up with this short but fat cartridge. So far I've put about 50 rounds down the tube using a bullet from Cutting Edge Bullets, perhaps a new company to some here. More on that later. I've shot a mix of 420gr and 260gr bullets. Thus far these things feed like grease through a goose.

    Now to the bullets. The Cutting Edge Bullets are fully brass. I've been shooting there Raptor series of bullets. The Raptors have a hollow point which causes 6 petals of brass to peel off after penetrating several inches into the animal. After peeling off the shoot off to the side making a start pattern creating additional wounds to the organs they come into contact with. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing the weight of the petals to be 5-10% of the initial bullet weight. The rest of the bullet with a majority of it's mass intact continues penetrating now acting something like a solid.

    Have I used these to know the effect on animals? Nope, but Paul T has used them extensively on those Aussie buff and tells me there's nothing like the destruction you'll see. Michael has also used these extensively on Cape Buffalo as well as hunting with Paul for the buff down under.

    Load development.....what load development? Michael has tested his invention with numerous bullets and powders and has these listed on his website. I just followed his recipes and starting just a bit light and worked up to his full power load for the 420gr Raptor. Now out of an 18 inch barrel, not only were these accurate, they're clicking along right at 2300fps per my chrony.

    Sorry going to have to cut this off for now as I've gotta run, will follow up later.
     
  5. BnC 04

    BnC 04 TITANIUM SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Love that stock Phil! Can't wait to hear how she does on some DG. What's on her menu first?
     
  6. bellero

    bellero AH Veteran

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    Wow, now that's a rifle!
     
  7. PaulT

    PaulT AH Fanatic

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    True-er words have not been spoken !

    Phil, that little .458 was definitely worth the wait, no ?
    Very unique and attractive stock.

    When I first saw this cartridge, I think back in 2009 or '10, I was scepticle
    to say the least.
    One week, and a dozen or more buffalo, later all questions had been answered quite admirably.

    Not only are these guns accurate to shoot and effective on game but they are oh so easy for miles and miles of carry, day in day out.

    Looking forward to the next installment.

    Congrats Phil.
     
  8. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Phil, You have an absolutely beautiful rifle. I love the short barrel. If you can get good groupings from that short of a barrel it is a fantastic rifle as well. Congratulations!
     
  9. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Okay, so finally back home this evening to continue. So as mentioned I just used Michael's info to create a load using AA2520 powder. With powder being in short supply I chose this one just because that's what was available. First experience using a ball powder. It meters well, but is kind of a pain to work with. But it has proven accurate.

    In this post are a couple of pics. The tighter group is 4 shots at 50 yards, the latter is 100 yards. The 100 yard target was 4 shots on a warm morning fired as quickly as I could.

    IMG_0305.jpg IMG_0307.jpg
     
  10. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Absolutely stunning Phil, congrats!!
     
  11. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    So one of things that Michael has touted was using these big bores for PG as well as DG. To this end, CEB has made 250gr bullets designed more for lever guns. But recently they came out with a 260gr version which comes with a black plastic tip in the hollow point to increase BC. Now the BC will still probably not be that good. But with the MV it is easily a 200 yard gun and more likely beyond that.

    I used H4198 work up loads in this bullet. Michael is off in Zim right now and I couldn't contact him to get load data which he does not yet have on his website. Long story short using some starting data from CEB I worked up to 77gr but starting all the way down at 66gr and got to the range this morning.

    The results were quite interesting. I only loaded 2 shots each at each level. No matter what the powder weight each of the two shots was within 1" or less with many one holers. By the time I got to 77gr, the chrony was registering at 2896fps.....again out of an 18 inch barrel. This is comparable to the 250gr North Fork bonded cores I used this year, but that was out of a 24 inch barrel.

    The one thing I did notice was that when I got to 76gr, the recoil did seem to noticeably increase. I'm not sure why, the velocity increase wasn't jumping excessively. My initial thoughts on this is the pressure is now building a bit more quicker resulting in a sharper recoil rather than the big push type recoil we get with the bigger bores.

    Speaking of pressure, there is virtually no pressure signs with these bullets at these velocities or the 420gr load mentioned previously. With my thumb in the saddle, I can lift the bolt just using my index finger they extract just as easily as when they were fed.

    I didn't get any pics of this morning's shoot as I was punching a lot of holes and truly working this load up to be careful of pressure. But trust me when I tell you, I've never seen anything like this. I'm so used to finding that sweet spot of accuracy and accepting whatever the velocity is at this point. These loads just didn't seem to care. Load them hotter or load them lighter, they're going to be accurate.

    CEB's Website: Cutting Edge Bullets Welcome
     
  12. Wheels

    Wheels GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Great rifle.......Great shooting.
     
  13. Stan-Elephant Trail

    Stan-Elephant Trail AH Veteran

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    Phil,

    Very impressive groups you have there. I am very certain you will like the gun. I have gotten my .500MDM in February, took it to Zim in March for some elephants. The performance of the gun coupled with BBW#13 500 grains solid were outstanding on jumbos. I love the gun so much as it was very light to carry and very accurate while the recoil was mild. In fact, I am in the process of having a master gunsmith in Ferlach, Austria making me a 500MDM for my Mauser M03.
     
  14. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Recoil

    So again, recoil of the .416 Rigby I owned is what drove this to begin with. I can tell you that with the 420gr projectiles running at 2300fps in this light short barreled rifle, you will definitely know you're shooting a big bore. Pulling that stock in and having a strong grip on the forearm is definitely called for.

    But on the other hand, the first go around with the 420's, I think I shot 18 rounds total. And while when I got to the end I was ready to quit, it was far far better than shooting the .416 Rigby.

    Today's shoot with the 260gr versions was just flat out fun. Yes, it still kicks a bit. But I put I think 28 rounds total down the tube and easily could have continued with more.
     
  15. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Thanks Stan. I don't doubt that 500MDM put a big hurt on the elephants!
     
  16. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Thanks for all the complements gents. If any of you are at DSC this year, the plan is to have the rifle at the B&M booth. I'm sure that Michael will have a number of his personal rifles there too.

    These rifles as well as the CEB brass bullets are quite non-conventional. They definitely go against the traditional long action heavy rifles in similar caliber sizes. But once you handle these light rifles, you'll see how easy they are to get on target. With the types of velocities that are capable with this cartridge design, you'll also realize you're not giving anything up to the traditional loadings.

    And finally the recoil is quite manageable. I don't consider myself as terribly recoil sensitive, but that doesn't mean I enjoy being abused by a rifle either. A couple of years ago I touched off a .505 Gibbs, have no intention or any need to do that again.

    And finally one last note. Michael at B&M doesn't actually sell these rifles per se. He doesn't make money off this, he is simply into it because big bore shooting and hunting DG is his passion. If you get interested in doing one of these rifles he will tell you how to get it done, but essentially you'll be the manager of your project. But I'm sure as he did with me, he'll answer any questions you may have.

    Is it pricy? It is a bit. It's definitely more than what you'd pay for a M70 out of the box in say .458 Win. But it will not be near as expensive as doing a full up custom rifle.
     
  17. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Thanks so much for all the communications in this project Paul! Someday I really do hope to get down to your remote piece of Oz for some buffalo fun.

    I'm going to have to order more of the 260gr SOCOM's from CEB this week and start doing some longer range shooting to see how they group. I'll post those results in this thread.
     
  18. DOC-404

    DOC-404 AH Elite

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    Beautiful, Phil.. :wow:
     
  19. Heym 88

    Heym 88 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Phil, that is one awesome rifle. You done good my man!
     
  20. Buff-Buster

    Buff-Buster GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Beautiful rifle Phil! Don't ya just love it when a rifle turns out to be a "shooter"!!!
     

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