404 Jeffery traditional load?

Roy Wilmeth

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What is your opinion on loading the 404 Jeff to the traditional velocity of 2150 fps? I know that the modern load is 2300 +/- . The reason I ask is because I am getting really good groups with 76gr of H4350 with 400 gr Swift A Frame. I have not shot through chronograph yet but I expect should be getting around 2150 fps with this load. So far have tried 76, 78, and 80 gr. Below is a photo of best group (2 inch) at 100 yards using iron sights. This will be used for cape buffalo. I was thinking of putting a reflex scope on it but am now considering sticking with iron sights. I will also be taking a scoped 450/400 ruger no 1 which I plan on loading to a similar velocity. Any reason to load hotter? I can't imagine I will get better groups than 2 inch with iron sights. I am still experimenting but so far 80 gr was my worst group. Have not tried the 84 gr load yet that so many have adopted. I would love to hear some other opinions. I am fairly new to reloading and big bores. I must say this is very addictive.
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Ridge Runner

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To many speed freaks out here. Speed is needed to get a projectile to its target in a hurry, especially on DG.

But the 2 most important factors:

1. Bullet performance.
Bullet manufacturers are designing bullets to properly function at specific thresholds. THEORETICALLY as long as the bullet is within these thresholds the bullet will perform properly and do its job. It's of course the shooter does their job on placing that bullet in the kill zone.

2. PUNCH!!
If the bullet fails to penetrate or deliver enough energy to knock the target down the shooter needs to rethink and increase his/her choices.

There are 2 methods/ideas/concepts/ whatever ones choice in describing:

Velocity: by which shock can adequately or inadequately humanely kill.

Punch: energy to actually kill.

Personally I prefer punch to velocity. I follow the 1.5x rule. Providing the caliber/bullet I select has a knock down factor of 1.5 x the weight of the animal I intend to kill, all is is good, it's up to me to place the bullet in the zone.

Others believe the faster the bullet the better.

Dead is Dead!!
Does it really matter how close or how far the hunter was?
Does it matter how much or how little the weapon cost?
Does it matter how fast or how slow the projectile was traveling?
Does it matter how beautiful or ugly the weapon is that sent that projectile?

The answer is: NO!!

I frequently use the analogy between a Ferrari and a Mack truck hitting a concrete wall.

A Ferrari traveling at 160 mph hits a brick wall pretty much disintegrates the Ferrari yet the Ferrari does penetrate to some extent and past the wall.

A Mack truck hits the wall at 80 mph not only damages the truck, the mass and heavier weight of the truck allows the truck to travel further past the wall.

The sleek Farrari looses most of its energy on impact. The bulkier truck spreads its energy over a wider area allowing more of its energy to penetrate and push past the wall.

Apples to apples--Oranges to oranges

ONE CALIBER: and NOT comparing one caliber against another.

Also, not every firearm from the same manufacturer is as accurate with the same load, some may require a higher velocity with a lighter bullet, some may require a slower velocity with a heavier bullet.

Load your rifle with the combination that it likes and that you can shoot with consistent accuracy, you will be fine.

As for using a single shot hunting DG, check with your PH. Especially if other DG animals are in the area.

Just my 2 pennies.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Rem700stw

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Congratulations on a CZ 550 in 404 Jeffery! I killed a Cape Buffalo with one in 2018.

You can kill anything on the planet with that 400 grain A-Frame at 2150 fps and nothing on the planet will die knowing 2150 vs 2300 fps.

My preference is the Barnes TSX but there is no disputing the lethality of your A-Frame.

Good luck and good shooting.
 

RayAtkinson

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Ive shot my 404 Jefferys for years on buffalo with 93 grs of H4831 for 2400 FPS, the original load was pretty much a failure or so Ive read, thus the jump to 2300 FPS, a smart move by the factory brought on by the old buffalo cull hunters of yesteryear, and I suspect with a couple of thousand buffalo under their belt and having never read a gun rag, they knew from whence they came...BTSW the 404 case is as big as the 416 Rigby case for all practical puposes, but no belt and you can get 2600 fps with the 404 with reasonable pressures in a good Mauser, but bullet performance is much better at 2350 to 2400 fps..

If one wants to shoot the 404 at 2150 FPS then why not particularly if recoil is an issue and it usually is when this questions is asked..Its a killer of buff etc. I mean the famous 450-400 shoots a 400 gr. bullet at that same 2150 FPS and Ive never heard or had a complaint with my double rifle in that caliber..Its just that 2400 is so easy in my 404 why should I cheat it..
 

Nhoro

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Make sure you are in the recommended range from the manufacturer. Their engineers and bullet testers will know how close to bullet failure you are getting with high velocity. Low velocity gives less expansion as a general rule but very unlikely your bullet will fail. Personally I think you should aim for impact velocity in the middle of manufacturers recommendations at around 40/50 m but check impact velocity from about 10 m to 100 m. Most shots are taken in this range and impact velocity must be high enough for reliable expansion and lower than bullet failure velocity.
 

Shootist43

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Roy, I have two 404 Jeffery caliber rifles. One a CZ 550 from their Custom Shop and a converted 375 H&H Winchester Mod. 70. Both of my rifles shoot under an inch group with Von Guff's load of 84 Gn. of H4350 pushing a 400 Gn. bullet. The three shots I put over a chronograph were 2300, 2309 & 2306 FPS. He used Woodleigh(s) while I used Swift A Frames. In 2018 I dropped a large Eland Bull at 85 yds. in its tracks. Literally, the animal was unable to take a single step forward or backward, it simply collapsed. We found the perfectly mushroomed bullet just under the skin of the opposite side. While other loads may work, I know this one does. Give it a try, it sure as hell won't hurt. I'm looking for photos of the A Frames we recovered from the Eland, I'll post them when I do.

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Roy Wilmeth

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Thank you all for the responses. I will definitely work up to to the 84 gr of H4350 and see what kind of groups I get. I actually made a mistake. My best group was with 78gr which should be pushing 2200 fps. I will keep experimenting and see what works best. If 84 gr does better than that will be a bonus. If not, I am satisfied with the 78gr load.
 

Newboomer

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I kind of subscribe to the Elmer Keith philosophy--big, slow bullets that hit hard. I think they do a lot more damage than lighter, faster ones. The shock of such mass is what kills 'em ( no pun intended). Sort of like a punch from a heavyweight versus one from a lightweight.
 

sierraone

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Roy, I have hunted cape buffalo only once. My rifle is a Ruger RSM .404 Jeffery converted from an original .375 HH with a PacNor barrel. My son's hand load was an original load to my knowledge. Barnes 400 grain TSX, powder 72 gr IMR 4064, primer CCI 250, COL 3.50 with Hornady brass moving at 2150 FPS. One shot kill at 90 yards. Bullet enter low center chest and was recovered from the stomach full of fresh eaten grass.

Barnes TXS on Buffalo.jpg
 
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