Barnes 600gr. .458?

CoElkHunter

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I didn’t know Barnes ever made these?

27517A93-0602-48F3-819E-F784E1FF477E.jpeg
 
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Professor Mawla

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Why yes , they did .
063866AC-3801-4543-B1BD-3DA6B9827EA2.jpeg


I still own two boxes . A friend of mine gifted them to me over three decades ago . However , I never quite found a use for them . They intrude too much into the .458 Winchester Magnum’s already marginal case capacity . I much prefer 500 grain bullets for my .458 Winchester Magnum . These would be quite lovely for the .450 Rigby or the .450 Dakota or the .460 A Square Short or the .458 Lott , however .

A word about the soft nosed copper jacketed Barnes bullets is requisite , however . Back in those days , Barnes used to offer their copper jacketed bullets with two different jacket thicknesses - a 0.32 inch and a 0.49 inch . When hunting Asiatic leopards or Royal Bengal tigers , the 0.32 inch copper jacketed Barnes soft nosed bullets always performed better than the 0.49 inch copper jacketed Barnes soft nosed bullets . The expansion was noticeably superior . However , the 0.49 copper jacketed Barnes soft nosed bullets were far superior for hunting Asian sloth bears ( due to the slower expansion rate ) .

The round nosed copper jacketed Barnes solids were abysmal performers on Asiatic jungle elephants and Gaur bulls ( even the ones with the 0.49 inch jackets ) . The bullets distorted frequently ( especially when used for frontal brain shots on Asiatic jungle elephant bulls or shoulder shots on Gaur bulls ) . Steel jackets and slightly flattened ( meplat ) noses make for the best straight line penetration in full metal jacket bullets .
 
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CoElkHunter

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Why yes , they did .
View attachment 392302

I still own two boxes . A friend of mine gifted them to me over three decades ago . However , I never quite found a use for them . They intrude too much into the .458 Winchester Magnum’s already marginal case capacity . I much prefer 500 grain bullets for my .458 Winchester Magnum . These would be quite lovely for the .450 Rigby or the .450 Dakota or the .460 A Square Short or the .458 Lott , however .

A word about the soft nosed copper jacketed Barnes bullets is requisite , however . Back in those days , Barnes used to offer their copper jacketed bullets with two different jacket thicknesses - a 0.32 inch and a 0.49 inch . When hunting Asiatic leopards or Royal Bengal tigers , the 0.32 inch copper jacketed Barnes soft nosed bullets always performed better than the 0.49 inch copper jacketed Barnes soft nosed bullets . The expansion was noticeably superior . However , the 0.49 copper jacketed Barnes soft nosed bullets were far superior for hunting Asian sloth bears ( due to the slower expansion rate ) .

The round nosed copper jacketed Barnes solids were abysmal performers on Asiatic jungle elephants and Gaur bulls ( even the ones with the 0.49 inch jackets ) . The bullets distorted frequently ( especially when used for frontal brain shots on Asiatic jungle elephant bulls or shoulder shots on Gaur bulls ) . Steel jackets and slightly flattened ( meplat ) noses make for the best straight line penetration in full metal jacket bullets .
Professor Mawla,
Thanks so much for this information. I have reloaded some 400gr. Barnes Original bullets (0.49) in my .416 Taylor. They don't have a cannelure, but even with a mild taper crimp, the bullets don't move upon recoil with a moderate load. I just had never seen the 600gr. Barnes before. It looks as though they have a hole in the base for some purpose unknown to me?
CEH
 

Professor Mawla

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Professor Mawla,
Thanks so much for this information. I have reloaded some 400gr. Barnes Original bullets (0.49) in my .416 Taylor. They don't have a cannelure, but even with a mild taper crimp, the bullets don't move upon recoil with a moderate load. I just had never seen the 600gr. Barnes before. It looks as though they have a hole in the base for some purpose unknown to me?
CEH
@CoElkHunter
You are most welcome . The hole in the base which you see , was actually a design flaw . When striking Gaur shoulder bones or the skulls of Asiatic jungle elephant bulls , the lead core would get completely squished out of the hole in the back of the bullet base ( thus , badly distorting the bullet and jeopardizing penetration ) . These bullets were constructed by putting copper tubing over a lead core and then pinching off the ends of the copper tubing , at the base of the bullet ( hence the presence of the hole ) . Mr. Richard Harland ( author of “ Ndlovu : The Art Of Hunting The African Elephant “ ) actually was given a box of custom made .505 calibre Barnes 600 grain round nosed copper jacketed solid bullets by an American client in 1979 . These had a completely closed off bullet base . Mr. Harland used these hand loaded bullets in his .505 Gibbs with excellent results against African elephants , until he expended his supply in 2005 . After that , he shifted to hand loaded Dzombo 550 grain monolithic solid brass bullets for his .505 Gibbs .

For the .458 calibre , Barnes offered their copper jacketed bullets in three weights :
- 400 grain ( only soft nose )
- 500 grain ( soft nose & full metal jacket )
- 600 grain ( soft nose & full metal jacket )

The 600 grain variant was originally designed for use in the .460 Weatherby Magnum . Back in those days , Barnes used to be called “ Colorado Custom Bullets “ .
 

CoElkHunter

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@CoElkHunter
You are most welcome . The hole in the base which you see , was actually a design flaw . When striking Gaur shoulder bones or the skulls of Asiatic jungle elephant bulls , the lead core would get completely squished out of the hole in the back of the bullet base ( thus , badly distorting the bullet and jeopardizing penetration ) . These bullets were constructed by putting copper tubing over a lead core and then pinching off the ends of the copper tubing , at the base of the bullet ( hence the presence of the hole ) . Mr. Richard Harland ( author of “ Ndlovu : The Art Of Hunting The African Elephant “ ) actually was given a box of custom made .505 calibre Barnes 600 grain round nosed copper jacketed solid bullets by an American client in 1979 . These had a completely closed off bullet base . Mr. Harland used these hand loaded bullets in his .505 Gibbs with excellent results against African elephants , until he expended his supply in 2005 . After that , he shifted to hand loaded Dzombo 550 grain monolithic solid brass bullets for his .505 Gibbs .

For the .458 calibre , Barnes offered their copper jacketed bullets in three weights :
- 400 grain ( only soft nose )
- 500 grain ( soft nose & full metal jacket )
- 600 grain ( soft nose & full metal jacket )

The 600 grain variant was originally designed for use in the .460 Weatherby Magnum . Back in those days , Barnes used to be called “ Colorado Custom Bullets “ .
Professor Mawla,
Thanks for the history lesson regarding these bullets. I know we have many and better bullet choices today, but I'm fascinated by the rifles and ammo used back in the day and the game they were used for. An accomplished American gun writer and hunter John Wooters, took his custom .416 Taylor to Africa in the early seventies, and used 400gr. Colorado Custom Bullets to take a variety of game including a lion and buffalo. I'm not sure back then, there were many choices of bullets in the .416 caliber?
CEH
 

bruce moulds

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that might be 0.049 rather than 0.49 and also 0.032 rather than 0.32.
0.32x2 = 0.64, which is bigger than 0.458.
while those 600 gn bullets might have been meant for the 460 wby, it says "458 magnum cal" on the box.
bruce.
 

Professor Mawla

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that might be 0.049 rather than 0.49 and also 0.032 rather than 0.32.
0.32x2 = 0.64, which is bigger than 0.458.
while those 600 gn bullets might have been meant for the 460 wby, it says "458 magnum cal" on the box.
bruce.
@bruce moulds
Yes , you are correct about the measurements . Thank you very much for correcting me . In regards to the 600 grain bullets , it is true that the boxes which I possess ( blue Barnes boxes ) are marked “ .458 Magnum Cal “ . However , I do very vividly recall seeing several boxes of 600 grain copper jacketed soft nosed and solid bullets during the 1970s ; which were clearly marked “ Colorado Custom Bullets “ and “ For .460 Wby Magnum Cal “ . They predate the blue Barnes boxes by at least ten years .
 

Professor Mawla

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Professor Mawla,
Thanks for the history lesson regarding these bullets. I know we have many and better bullet choices today, but I'm fascinated by the rifles and ammo used back in the day and the game they were used for. An accomplished American gun writer and hunter John Wooters, took his custom .416 Taylor to Africa in the early seventies, and used 400gr. Colorado Custom Bullets to take a variety of game including a lion and buffalo. I'm not sure back then, there were many choices of bullets in the .416 caliber?
CEH
@CoElkHunter
I remember that era quite vividly , because I began hunting in 1972 . Between 1972 and 1981 , I was extensively involved in Problem Animal Control work for for the three main forest departments in Bangladesh ( Sundarban forest department in the Southwest , Bandarban forest department in the Southeast and Maulvi Bazaar forest department in the Northeast ) . It is my dangerous game hunting experiences from that era , which I relate in my book “ Jokhon Shikari Chilam “ ( When I Hunted Dangerous Game ) .

It must be remembered that ICI Kynoch ceases manufacture of all their venture fire ammunition in 1972 . This effectively killed off all of the British sporting calibres ( such as the .318 Westley Richards , .416 Rigby , .470 Nitro Express and .577 Nitro Express to name a few ) . The only large bore calibres for which factory loaded ammunition was available back in those days , was the .375 Holland & Holland Magnum and .458 Winchester Magnum and .460 Weatherby Magnum . Sporting bullets ( for hand loading ) could be acquired from Nosler , Hornady and Barnes . Nosler would not offer any bullets larger than .338 calibre . Hornady only used to offer bullets for the .375 calibre and the .458 calibre ( they began to offer .416 calibre bullets from 1982 ) . But you could get an entire range of bullets from Colorado Custom Bullets ( later known as Barnes ) in all of the odd British calibres :
- .244
- .318
- .411
- .416
- .423
- .470
- .475
- .505
. 510
- .577

To answer your question in short , yes . Between 1972 and 1982 , Barnes used to be your only source for .416 calibre bullets . You could make .416 Rigby cases from .378 Weatherby Magnum and .460 Weatherby Magnum brass cases ( by turning off the belts on a lathe and fire forming them to size ) .
 

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