450/400 NE and Chamber Length

GoodNeighborSam

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Good afternoon everyone,

This is a pretty naive question, as I have no experience with big bore cartridges, let alone the 450/400 NE. However, I have come across it in literature, and in my research, I have learned that there are 3 different chamber lengths, but it appears that 2 of the 3 were for black powder. The 2 7/8" inch, 3" inch and 3 1/4" inch, with the 3" inch appearing to be the more modern loading with smokeless powder, and the others being more or less black powder. First of all, I was wondering if those assumptions are true, or if there are loads for all 3 that can utilize smokeless powder? Secondly, when I was reading into the cartridge, having multiple lengths for the same cartridge left me with the 3 1/2" 12 gauge as my only reference, where a shotgun with a 3 1/2" chamber can shoot any 12 gauge shell 3 1/2" inches or shorter in length. Obviously that's with something that is a straight walled cartridge, unlike the 450/400 NE, but I was wondering if the different cartridge lengths are interchangeable within a rifle? As in, could I shoot a 2 7/8" cartridge in a rifle built for 3 1/4"? If not, would it be possible for a gun smith to cut a chamber to be able to accept all 3?

Thank you for dealing with my naivety,
GoodNeighborSam
 

Pheroze

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Interesting question.
 

lwaters

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I am not sure but I don't think you can. I would get the 3in. version. I also think the 3in. version has a little stronger rim. It also has more ammo available. I have the Ruger No.1 in the 3in. version and really like it.
 

IvW

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They are not interchangeable. The case dimensions differ too much.

Some of the older rifles where only designed and proofed for use with BP and using modern powders and loads in them could be disastrous.

Furthermore the 3 1/4" version was mainly loaded with .408 bullets and the 3" version with .411 bullets. There are more variations in 450/400 barrels than in any other NE. They range from .405" to .412".

Before firing anything in a old 450/400 (irrespective of the case length), you need to slug the barrel to ensure what the actual size is and then use the appropriate bullet for it.

The 3" version also known as the .400 Jeffery is the preferred one and was not adapted from a BP cartridge but specifically designed for use with NE or smokeless propellant.
 

Dewald

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As IvW states. The rim on the 3" is thicker and does not fit in a 3&1/4". You can however trim 3&1/4" cases down to form 3".

There were plenty British doubles built in 3&1/4" and luckily Hornady manufactures brass. Slugging the barrels is imperative, not so much that for eg. a .411 Woodleigh will blow op your .410 barrels, but it does play a big role with pressure and hence regulation of the barrels.

The rib on your rifle and the flats of the barrels usually indicates what it's intended diet was, ie something like "60gr of cordite, 400gr"

If you rechamber a double to a longer cartridge, you also venture into cutting some steel away where you dont want to.

A common vonversion was to rechamber the 3&1/4" to the marginally fatter 3", leaving a longer throught. The objective here was to remove rust and pitting from chambers and to a lesser degree ammunition availability.
 

spike.t

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Good afternoon everyone,

This is a pretty naive question, as I have no experience with big bore cartridges, let alone the 450/400 NE. However, I have come across it in literature, and in my research, I have learned that there are 3 different chamber lengths, but it appears that 2 of the 3 were for black powder. The 2 7/8" inch, 3" inch and 3 1/4" inch, with the 3" inch appearing to be the more modern loading with smokeless powder, and the others being more or less black powder. First of all, I was wondering if those assumptions are true, or if there are loads for all 3 that can utilize smokeless powder? Secondly, when I was reading into the cartridge, having multiple lengths for the same cartridge left me with the 3 1/2" 12 gauge as my only reference, where a shotgun with a 3 1/2" chamber can shoot any 12 gauge shell 3 1/2" inches or shorter in length. Obviously that's with something that is a straight walled cartridge, unlike the 450/400 NE, but I was wondering if the different cartridge lengths are interchangeable within a rifle? As in, could I shoot a 2 7/8" cartridge in a rifle built for 3 1/4"? If not, would it be possible for a gun smith to cut a chamber to be able to accept all 3?

Thank you for dealing with my naivety,
GoodNeighborSam


hi try and buy a copy of this book it will give you all the info you want and is interesting with all the old obscure calibres

Cartridges of the World
Book by Frank Barnes and Stan Skinner
upload_2018-5-2_8-51-11.jpeg

4.4/5 · Goodreads
Did you like this book?
Cartridges of the World is a comprehensive guide to firearm cartridges. The reference series is a very popular work used by firearms and cartridge enthusiasts. The book is in the 14th edition, publisher in 2014, edited by W. Todd Woodard. Wikipedia

Originally published: 1965
Authors: Frank Barnes, Stan Skinner
Page count: 686
ISBN: 978-1-4402-4265-6
 

crs

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hi try and buy a copy of this book it will give you all the info you want and is interesting with all the old obscure calibres"

Good advice from spike.t
 

Mlibizi 8182

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I had a George Gibbs .450 -400 for years agree with find out bore size and buy or wedge accordingly. I loading according to the 1.19 formula for Reloader 15 Federal .215 mag rifle primer, no fil. Mine was originally loaded 60 grain cordite as all that I have ever seen were so marked. Wonderful caliber very accurate rifle with that load. Read Wrights "Shooting the British double rifle" you will learn a lot! Good luck
 

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