404 jeffery vs 416 Rigby

Rick Hill

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Both calibres are popular over here, with the 404 seeming to be on the up for use on big stuff at the moment.
Personally i would steer clear of a hot loads in the Rigby. A 6000 foot pound thing kicks like a mule and there is a high risk of bullet failure on heavy game at close range. Better to load the Rigby at around its original operating levels (400gr at say 2400fps) and use another, lighter weapon for longer range applications (The .338WM is a good choice for that).
That having been said there are not a lot of places over here where one would need to take shots in excess of 200m, and even that would be considered a long shot except in the desert regions.

Yes and the 404 J is loaded up from historical levels. Also look at the rifle in terms of quality and how well you shoot it. This morning I took apart a "classic" Model 70 to float the barrel and I am a bit disappointed with worksmanship and the blob of epoxy material that acts as pillar bedding, stamped metal parts and an "alloy" trigger guard.

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Shootist43

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The .404 J is the only one I can think of at the moment is not quite 100 just yet. Needs about 6 or 7 more years to reach that age.

According to Wikipedia, the 404 Jeffery was "born" in 1905. That puts it at 113 years young.
 
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Gert Odendaal

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Interessting tread.
A question a little bit of the topic but I ask it.
I have a rifle with a standard Mauser M98 Magazin, this is in caliber 404.
These cartridge are 5mm shorter than the original 404 Jeffery, I ahve cut the caselenght from 73 to 68mm.
That means that the volume of the case are lesser, even if just the troat is shorter.
I load these with 79,0 grs Vihtavuori N-140 powder and a 400 grs Woodleigh RNSP, in my Chronograph I get 2370 f/sec. with a very good classic stock kick like a donkey.
This load in my rifle
I get the same performance with the shorter case with less powder, I don`t know how pressure is, but when I see the case after shooting it`s normal space around the primerseating, the boltaction is not heavy, absolut normal and the case are the same lenght as before shooting.
I think i can get even more out of these, but it isn`t any point doing so.
Halgeir, according to Pierre van der Walt`s book, African Dangerous cartridges you are way over the maximum load at 79 gn Vithavuori VN -140. ..and you have shortened your cartridge as well? This I think will explain why this rifle is a kicker..(y)(y):LOL::LOL::LOL: The maksimum load for a 400 gn bullet with Vithavuori VN -140 is suppose to be 76 gn at 2,295 f/s
I suggest you slug your rifle barrel as well to see if it is a ".423 or a .419 inch diameter. Barrels from Walther company seems to measure .419 inch and not .423 " , the barrels made in England seems to hold the .423 " diameter...
 
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Gert that is interesting to know about the Walther barrels.
 

Rule 303

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Both calibres are popular over here, with the 404 seeming to be on the up for use on big stuff at the moment.
Personally i would steer clear of a hot loads in the Rigby. A 6000 foot pound thing kicks like a mule and there is a high risk of bullet failure on heavy game at close range. Better to load the Rigby at around its original operating levels (400gr at say 2400fps) and use another, lighter weapon for longer range applications (The .338WM is a good choice for that).
That having been said there are not a lot of places over here where one would need to take shots in excess of 200m, and even that would be considered a long shot except in the desert regions.

Daga In this case I would use a lighter say 340 grain bullet in the 416 for lighter game if I thought I was likely to need a long shot. Save carting a second rifle around. I do agree that above the quoted original velocities of 2400 are more than good enough.(y)
 

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Gert that is interesting to know about the Walther barrels.
Yes, we had this phenomenon regarding the diameter of a Lothar barrel in the gunsmith shop. We only took note of it when a client who bought a 404 Jeffery from JS Gunsmithing complained that he get pressure signs long before he reach a maximum load....we slug the barrel and find it slugged at .419" so did all the other Walther barrels we build a 404 Jeffery with. I did send an enquiry to Lothar , the respond by saying they did not make any .419 " barrel at any time through production. From another source I got info regarding this phenomenon, according to this source the first barrels made for a 404 caliber in Germany was actually a .419" ...while barrels made in England was .423" . Not that it matters a great deal...I have a 404 Jeffery with a .419 " barrel..it really shoots great....I will reload with a 450 gn bullet this year to hunt bush veld game ..(y)(y)(y)
 

Rule 303

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Yes, we had this phenomenon regarding the diameter of a Lothar barrel in the gunsmith shop. We only took note of it when a client who bought a 404 Jeffery from JS Gunsmithing complained that he get pressure signs long before he reach a maximum load....we slug the barrel and find it slugged at .419" so did all the other Walther barrels we build a 404 Jeffery with. I did send an enquiry to Lothar , the respond by saying they did not make any .419 " barrel at any time through production. From another source I got info regarding this phenomenon, according to this source the first barrels made for a 404 caliber in Germany was actually a .419" ...while barrels made in England was .423" . Not that it matters a great deal...I have a 404 Jeffery with a .419 " barrel..it really shoots great....I will reload with a 450 gn bullet this year to hunt bush veld game ..(y)(y)(y)

Well with the squeeze bore effect you should get great penetration, not to mention needing less powder to reach the required velocity. :LOL::LOL:
 

Gert Odendaal

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Yes, I think it is some thing like a 404/.416 Rigby combined...with the 4oo gn bullet it is giving great penetration on plains game..my difficulty is to retrieve a Stewarts core bonded bullet up to date..it seems impossible all shots last hunting was full penetration..I will try to shoot a frontal shot on a blue wildebeest bull this year(y)(y)(y),,,, these bullets are great , I am only using Stewart Core bonded bullets when hunting...in my .458 Win Mag Mannlicher Schoenaer as well...
 

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Both calibres are popular over here, with the 404 seeming to be on the up for use on big stuff at the moment.
Personally i would steer clear of a hot loads in the Rigby. A 6000 foot pound thing kicks like a mule and there is a high risk of bullet failure on heavy game at close range. Better to load the Rigby at around its original operating levels (400gr at say 2400fps) and use another, lighter weapon for longer range applications (The .338WM is a good choice for that).
That having been said there are not a lot of places over here where one would need to take shots in excess of 200m, and even that would be considered a long shot except in the desert regions.

As mentioned above, for only 2400fps and a 400gn bullet a person can use a 416Ruger. And I agree that heavier loads in a Rigby need some learning. See below.

In my opinion, the main purpose in this century for getting a 416Rigby is to use the capacity for handloads. And handloads can avoid the problem of bullet failure.
Here is a picture of a 350gn TSX shot into the face of a buffalo (70 yard) and recovered in the shoulder:
nHPfZ4M.jpg

The monometal bullets do not fragment even if they lose the petals. Why in the face? I had waited several minutes for the buffalo to step out from behind some bushes. When it did it was face on.

Below is a load of 350gn TTSX in 416Rigby, getting ready for Africa. Their muzzle velocity in my 416Rigby's is 2825fps. That is like a 416Weatherby and provides for flat shooting from 0 to 400 yards.
Wwmsf57.jpg

A person needs to shoot these heavier loads with a fairly square presentation and securely inside the shoulder joint. An important point, different from lighter caliber, is to hold the forearm tightly. This is for two reasons. (1) a person wants the rifle in hand for a follow-up shot. Equally pleasing, (2) the weight of the tight forearm adds to the overall resistance to recoil and lowers the recoil. A reliable scope is also a must. I like the Nikon Inline with 5-inch eye-relief. They are the toughest scope I have found. A friend who busted about 20 Leupolds shooting thousands of heavy rounds (5000 ft-pounds and up) has not been able to bust a Nikon in several more thousand rounds. Someday one will break, no doubt. But Nikon are proven to be tough. Why a scope? For the buffalo above, and oribi below.

A flat shooting rifle is nice on little oribi-sized animals. Here is a 202-yard shot with the 416Rigby on a 35-pound oribi:
7Gvwu0N.jpg


However, I agree that a person needs to learn to shoot it until it is just 'another rifle', like a 308 or 270. And when I reach my 70's I expect that I'll probably downsize to a 416Ruger, maybe shooting 330gnGSC at about 2600fps muzzle velocity. That is down to 4950 ft-pounds muzzle energy. If I were starting out, I would recommend a 416 Ruger.

While I have a 338 WM, I tend to walk the forest with one rifle at a time. If a buffalo is included in the menu, then a heavier caliber is better. A couple of Christmases ago we were looking for an impala and the 416 just had to do.

The splatter on the skin is around the entry wound.
 

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cmk

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Yes, we had this phenomenon regarding the diameter of a Lothar barrel in the gunsmith shop. We only took note of it when a client who bought a 404 Jeffery from JS Gunsmithing complained that he get pressure signs long before he reach a maximum load....we slug the barrel and find it slugged at .419" so did all the other Walther barrels we build a 404 Jeffery with. I did send an enquiry to Lothar , the respond by saying they did not make any .419 " barrel at any time through production. From another source I got info regarding this phenomenon, according to this source the first barrels made for a 404 caliber in Germany was actually a .419" ...while barrels made in England was .423" . Not that it matters a great deal...I have a 404 Jeffery with a .419 " barrel..it really shoots great....I will reload with a 450 gn bullet this year to hunt bush veld game ..(y)(y)(y)

Gert, this really interesting. I had also heard this rumour about LW 404-barrels actually being 418/419, so I decided to slug my own.

Melted some lead out of a few 30 cal FMJ's and poured into a sawn off 9.3x62 case - which gave the slug a nearly perfect diameter. After running it through the barrel it came out at .4245 in (grooves), .414 in (lands) if I remeber correctly.

So I'm wondering a bit, as I also measured some bullets (woodleighs and DGX) - all of which are .423 or even .4225. Are they too small for my bore?

When you mention shooting 450's out of your .419 barrel - are those Woodleighs? (Don't know of others making 450gr bullets). And is that really safe?

Sorry for going off-topic a bit. Just recently got the 404, and have not yet fired it. Shooting ranges where I live open in a week around where I live...
 

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@cmk You have to clean the barrel first and then lubricate with something like Hoppe's No. 9 or something else that is neither too heavy nor so light that the slug will simply push it out of the way. If you have done that, your measurements should be good. If not, a second slug might come out slightly larger. Also, it needs to be nice soft lead. When I slugged my 30.06 I used a soft cast lead projectile intended for a .310 Cadet load.
 

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@cmk You have to clean the barrel first and then lubricate with something like Hoppe's No. 9 or something else that is neither too heavy nor so light that the slug will simply push it out of the way. If you have done that, your measurements should be good. If not, a second slug might come out slightly larger. Also, it needs to be nice soft lead. When I slugged my 30.06 I used a soft cast lead projectile intended for a .310 Cadet load.

Sorry for staying off topic.

Cleaned and oiled the barrel. Lubricated the slug with RCBS case lube. Slugged it twice. Difference in measurements could easily be down to caliper tolerances (less than 0.001").

Back to the topic: is there really any valid reason for the 300gr (or less) bullets for "longer range plains game"? I checked the ballistics for the 404J, and if zeroed on 150m (~165yd), a 300gr 0.4 B.C. bullet at 2800fps is not really that much better than the 450gr at 2150fps.

At 220yd the 300gr is 3" below, and the 450gr is 5.5" below. Ok, 220yd is perhaps not really long range, but I'd like to keep my shots at less than that.
 

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Fair enough. Not a big bore shooter myself but I wonder if those 300gr bullets were originally intended to provide an express-load equivalent for shooting smaller (meat?) animals at distances of 150 yards or less. The answer may be written in one of the older classic hunting books but I suspect that one of the PHs here will know the true story.
 

Gert Odendaal

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Gert, this really interesting. I had also heard this rumour about LW 404-barrels actually being 418/419, so I decided to slug my own.

Melted some lead out of a few 30 cal FMJ's and poured into a sawn off 9.3x62 case - which gave the slug a nearly perfect diameter. After running it through the barrel it came out at .4245 in (grooves), .414 in (lands) if I remeber correctly.

So I'm wondering a bit, as I also measured some bullets (woodleighs and DGX) - all of which are .423 or even .4225. Are they too small for my bore?

When you mention shooting 450's out of your .419 barrel - are those Woodleighs? (Don't know of others making 450gr bullets). And is that really safe?

Sorry for going off-topic a bit. Just recently got the 404, and have not yet fired it. Shooting ranges where I live open in a week around where I live...
cmk, good to hear from you . It is Stewart core bonded bullets Hansie Minnaar ( owner of this brand) make for me. He draw any brass for any caliber. even obsolete calibers as well, any diameter bullet core bonded as well..at this stage I only hunt with Stewarts core bonded bullets..it served me well the last hunting season, I still need to retrieve one of these bullets , they all pass through ....I will make a frontal shot on a blue wildebees bull this coming hunting season to be able to retrieve a bullet....Dr. Kevin Robertson believe the ultimate buffalo killer combination is a 404 Jeffery shooting a 450gn bullet ...according to him it beats even larger bore calibers when comparing penetration tests......I am reloading 400 gn Stewart core bonded bullets currently..if I get a chance to hunt a buffalo I will use a 450 gn bullet from my 404 Jeffery...(y)(y)(y) Keep in mind it is only the Walter barrels we noticed this phenomenon of the .419 " bore diameter on the 404 Jeffery barrels...
 

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I do not believe in using lighter bullets in a big bore hunting rifle...it does not make sense to use a 300 gn bullet in a 404 Jeffery rifle to hunt plains game( kudu, eland, blue wildebees, impala and warthog..it is much better to shoot a heavy for caliber bullet when doing bush veld hunting..close up hunting this ensures a great impact and penetration with less meat damage and it is nice to hear the thunder from a big bore rifle in the hunting veld....:LOL::LOL:(y)(y)
 

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Both calibres are popular over here, with the 404 seeming to be on the up for use on big stuff at the moment.
Personally i would steer clear of a hot loads in the Rigby. A 6000 foot pound thing kicks like a mule and there is a high risk of bullet failure on heavy game at close range. Better to load the Rigby at around its original operating levels (400gr at say 2400fps) and use another, lighter weapon for longer range applications (The .338WM is a good choice for that).
That having been said there are not a lot of places over here where one would need to take shots in excess of 200m, and even that would be considered a long shot except in the desert regions.

If you are referring to 6000 foot pounds in only the Rigby, yes that is too much.

If referring to 6000 foot pounds in general that is not true and it also does not affect bullet performance if using good quality bullets in larger calibers.

The rifle I use is loaded to about 7200 foot pounds without excess recoil.
 

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If you are referring to 6000 foot pounds in only the Rigby, yes that is too much.

If referring to 6000 foot pounds in general that is not true and it also does not affect bullet performance if using good quality bullets in larger calibers.

The rifle I use is loaded to about 7200 foot pounds without excess recoil.

Yes, quality bullets are fine in big bores these days.

Of course, 6000 foot-pounds is easy for a 416Rigby. The impala shown in my post above was that way.
Here is a shot of sighting-in a rifle in the bush, over the bonnet/hood of a vehicle. Before my son and I went out walking and looking for an impala we sighted-in the rifle. I took one shot. Then my son took one shot with the same rifle.
w0ktICN.jpg


We walked down a hundred yards to inspect the shots.
KgQ8aqV.jpg

Well, that is good to go for a hunt. The bullet holes were kissing, though the rough edges don't show that. I dropped the Nikon two clicks for a lower trajectory. The scope tracks well. I don't like bullets rising over 3".

But more to the point, the Rigby handles those loads smooth as silk. The bullet in the same post with the impala picture shows the case with a nice primer and no brass marks on the case head. When cases slide right out they don't have pressure marks. Here is a another supporting picture for this post. It is a bullet from a buffalo, taken with the 416 Rigby at 110 yards. We had already bumped them twice and were able to find the bull grazing in the shadows. The Rigby did the job. An accurate rifle made that shot reliable. the picture shows all the cases used. The first shot, 416, made the buffalo sick, but we found him on his feet standing in a grass patch watching his back trail. I put a second into him from the side, parallelizing much of his body but leaving his head and neck thrashing. My son jumped forward with a 338 and put a bullet behind the head for lights out.

Look carefully at the primers of the Rigby cases on the left. Nice. The 338 may be a tad hotter, a 225TTSX at 2835fps, but still smooth easy bolt lift and reasonable primers. We load to the old book levels of 4000ft#. The 338WM is a light Tikka and is probably as heavy a load as that action should have.
YOHpxZ9.jpg

In a modern rifle like a CZ, with modern cases like Hornady, and stable powders like R-17, and a great bullet like the 350gn TTSX, there is no reason not to load up to about 6000ft# (probably just under 60k psi.) Our last three Rigbys have all handled these loads like nobody's business.
 
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cmk

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cmk, good to hear from you . It is Stewart core bonded bullets Hansie Minnaar ( owner of this brand) make for me. He draw any brass for any caliber. even obsolete calibers as well, any diameter bullet core bonded as well..
... <snip>...
Keep in mind it is only the Walter barrels we noticed this phenomenon of the .419 " bore diameter on the 404 Jeffery barrels...

Thanks for your reply. It must be good to have a friend in the bullet-making business Does he make custom .419 bullets for you?

I could perhaps been a little clearer regrding my own barrel. It is a Lothar Walther and it is .424-ish, not .419-ish. Or did I miss something, and there is also some other manufacturer called Walter?
 

Gert Odendaal

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cmk, yes it is a Walter barrel, ..
Here is an email I send to Walter company,
Hallo Andreas

Andreas, we used a Walter barrel purchased from your company to build a 404 Jeffery for a client. Shortly after completing the build the client started to shoot the rifle. He then phoned us and said he gets a lot of pressure even when he reload a medium load. We asked him to slug the barrel , it measured .418" diameter...I always thought Walter barrels for the 404 Jeffery measure .423"? Please let me know if this is possible..since then we measured two more Walter barrels in the 404 Jeffery caliber in the shop by slugging them and they measured .418 " as well???


I would like to hear from you regarding this scenario.


Regards


Gert Odendaal

South Africa

Reply from Andreas:
Good morning Gert,

our .404 Jeffery barrels should have bore-/groove-Ø 10,46mm/10,77mm or 10,45/10,75.

We do not have any barrels with 10,61mm (.418). Could you check what caliber has been ordered back then?
Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Sincerely Yours

LOTHAR WALTHER
Feinwerkzeugbau GmbH
Andreas Missler
At the end of the day I really do not care if it is a .419 " barrel I have, it shoots incredibly accurate and hit like Thor`s hammer on game...(y)(y)(y) It was just a phenomenon we encounter in the gun smith shop...(y)(y)

 

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Yes and the 404 J is loaded up from historical levels. Also look at the rifle in terms of quality and how well you shoot it. This morning I took apart a "classic" Model 70 to float the barrel and I am a bit disappointed with worksmanship and the blob of epoxy material that acts as pillar bedding, stamped metal parts and an "alloy" trigger guard.

Rick
Must of been an older model Classic. The new ones all have steel, one piece bottom metal.
 

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