Effectiveness of the 450/400 NE

matt85

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so as many of you know from my other posts, im currently looking at a double rifle in 450/400 NE. however looking at the numbers now has be a bit concerned. the 450/400 out of a 25" barrel only delivers around 2050 fps which yields around 3700 pounds of muzzle energy. this is by far the weakest DG cartridge available and I admit im a bit concerned about the performance. with a speed this low I can easily say this restricts the gun to 100 yards max since the Woodleigh soft point is not rated to expand well under 1800 fps.

the rifle would be used for large bear, buffalo, hippo, and elephant (if I can ever swing the money).

is the 450/400 suitable or should I hold out for a 450 NE or 470 NE?

(edit: I tried using the search function but 450/400 and 450-400 come up with nothing)

thanks
-matt
 
According to John Taylor..."I have used it extensively on all kinds of African game from Elephant on down with the greatest possible satisfaction." "I have never heard any African hunter complain about the .400." "For some reason that I find difficult to to explain, I derived greater pleasure from using the .400 than any other caliber; and no weapon behaved more successfully in my hands."
Pretty high praise.
 
Matt,
I have a 450/400 double rifle. Took a tuskless at 13 yards (frontal brain) and got roughly 40" penetration (took her low in trunk and bullet found at back of neck/head just under skin). Took impala and baboon at over 100 yards each. Plenty enough power even though it is slow. Recoil is not a concern - bullet placement and construction are key. I think it's a great round.
 
When it comes to dangerous game, momentum and sectional density are more important than energy. The 450/400 has better momentum figures than a .375 H&H, and the sectional density is great. Mild recoil, great penetration - hard to beat. If you were going to hunt multiple elephant it may make sense to move up to a .450 or .470; but if you "might" hunt "an" elephant - go with the 450/400. Your shoulder will thank you ....
 
I think it's a dreamy caliber, especially for a double barrel rifle. I think it would be fun at the range, making it more practical to get really good at shooting it.
 
thanks for your responses, I will go ahead and buy the rifle.

ive read that it can be hand loaded to 4100-4150 pretty easily. if I can get close to 4000 ft/lb of muzzle energy (2125 fps = roughly 4000 ft/lb) ill be plenty happy. the hornady manual does list a powder (viht 165) which should reach 2150 at max which means I should be able to get 2125 safely. I look forward to playing with loads!

-matt
 
matt85,

Go to The best in double rifles and African hunting then select "Ask Cal".

He is a personal friend of mine for over 20 something+ years and I promise you he will tell you the truth about this cartridge.

Cal has taken many species with his Harrison & Hussey, vintage side by side 450/400 - 3" (it only has 24" barrels), including multiple trips to Zimbabwe, South Africa, plus buffalo & boar in Northern Australia and also much hunting where we live here in Alaska..

He is a vintage double and English single shot collector and a world authority on double rifles as well as cartridges for same.

He has shot more game with double rifles than most country boys will ever shoot squirrels with a .22, in their lifetimes.

Also, he has authored several books, including more than one on the subject of double rifles.

His latest is on the subject of the .600 Nitro doubles, it is a hard bound, large / "coffee table style" book.

Send Cal your questions about that cartridge, his answers will be from quite a lot of personal experience with it.

Regards,
Velo Dog.
 
I know this issue has already been solved..but..I have a Heym in 450/400..Ivan Carter has told me personally that this cartridge will kill anything on the planet. It's not the best Elephant cartridge out there, but will do perfectly with proper shot placement. Recoil is very mild compared to others. Go get it.
 
Wasn't the 458WM designed to dupicate the 450/400 in a cheap bolt action ?
 
Wasn't the 458WM designed to dupicate the 450/400 in a cheap bolt action ?


Not really. It was meant to compete with all of the big 40 plus cal NE rounds of the British, and in particular the .470 NE. Win wanted to have a domestic round to compete since so many Americans were discovering Africa in the post war years.

Now that was in fact the idea behind the .404 Jeffery, a bolt action giving the same ballistics as the .450-400NE. If you put those two rounds side by side, you can really see the similarity.
 
Depending on the strength of the individual rifle, the .450-400 can easily be loaded up to exceed 2200fps. Its a huge case meant like many of the old NE cases to operate in the tropics at safe pressures with good ballistics. I had this round in a Ruger No.1 and while I dont remember for certain my top loads, I know I exceeded the Hornady factory load which didnt even muster 2000fps in my rifle. Its the same basic case as the .404 Jeffery with a slighlty smaller diameter bullet, the .404 shoots a .423 bullet. In my CZ .404 I can go over 2400 if I want to. I dont want to but I could. I load mine at around 2200fps. No reason the .450-400 cant do the same. But again, the rifle itself is the limiting factor.
 
first, the 458 Win is a ballistic clone of the 470 NE with a 500gr bullet at 2150fps. if any thing the 458 Win has a slight edge over the 470 NE in that the .458 500gr bullet has a better BC/SD. this is all on paper of course as I have no field experience with either cartridge (yet).

second, its not a good idea to compare a double rifle to the Ruger #1. the Ruger has a heavier chamber/barrel which can handle much higher pressures. the 404 Jeffery is also not a good comparison to the 450/400 for the same reason. from my understanding double rifles cannot handle the high pressures that bolt action or single shot rifles can take.

-matt
 
Well sort of. Its not really a clone because the .458 will be at red faced maximum trying to catch the .470 which is a much larger case that like most most NE case's operate at lower pressure because of their large size. Case capacity of the .458 is about 94 grs of water, the .470.....156grs. No comparison.
And yes I know the Ruger is a strong rifle, owned lots of them, and I made the caveat of rifle strength the determing factor. Perhaps I should have said it thus; given rifles of equal strength, the .450-400 is the equal of the .404 Jeffery.
 
Well sort of. Its not really a clone because the .458 will be at red faced maximum trying to catch the .470 which is a much larger case that like most most NE case's operate at lower pressure because of their large size. Case capacity of the .458 is about 94 grs of water, the .470.....156grs. No comparison.
And yes I know the Ruger is a strong rifle, owned lots of them, and I made the caveat of rifle strength the determing factor. Perhaps I should have said it thus; given rifles of equal strength, the .450-400 is the equal of the .404 Jeffery.

im not sure about saying a 500gr bullet at 2150fps is the max for the 458 Win. according to my hornady book you can actually stretch it to 2200fps which is the max in the book. the 458 Win at factory velocity is 2050-2140fps and the 470 NE at factory velocity is 2100-2150fps. however if your a hand loader you can push the envelope and both cartridges can reach 2200fps without exceeding the max load in the books I have. (Hornady 9th and Speer 14th)

no matter how I look at it, the 458 Win and the 470 NE are ballistic twins as long as your not hot rodding the loads. I even tried a number of different bullets in a ballistic calculator and the results are near identical. according the the recent Speer manual the 470 NE could be pushed to 2250 fps which would give it an edge over the 458 Win. of course the 458 Win makes up for it by offering bullets with higher BC not to mention the selection of .458 bullets is huge!

in the end though... id still take the 470 NE over the 458 Win. why, because the 470 NE would likely be in a double rifle and double rifles will always trump bolt guns when it comes to history and general cool factor! if numbers were the only factor for me then I would just take my CZ 550 in 375 H&H to Africa instead of buying a 450/400 NE. while the 375 H&H would be more practical and cheaper it lacks the prestige and "cool factor" of the 450/400 double.

-matt
 
im not sure about saying a 500gr bullet at 2150fps is the max for the 458 Win. according to my hornady book you can actually stretch it to 2200fps which is the max in the book. the 458 Win at factory velocity is 2050-2140fps and the 470 NE at factory velocity is 2100-2150fps. however if your a hand loader you can push the envelope and both cartridges can reach 2200fps without exceeding the max load in the books I have. (Hornady 9th and Speer 14th)

no matter how I look at it, the 458 Win and the 470 NE are ballistic twins as long as your not hot rodding the loads. I even tried a number of different bullets in a ballistic calculator and the results are near identical. according the the recent Speer manual the 470 NE could be pushed to 2250 fps which would give it an edge over the 458 Win. of course the 458 Win makes up for it by offering bullets with higher BC not to mention the selection of .458 bullets is huge!

in the end though... id still take the 470 NE over the 458 Win. why, because the 470 NE would likely be in a double rifle and double rifles will always trump bolt guns when it comes to history and general cool factor! if numbers were the only factor for me then I would just take my CZ 550 in 375 H&H to Africa instead of buying a 450/400 NE. while the 375 H&H would be more practical and cheaper it lacks the prestige and "cool factor" of the 450/400 double.

-matt

Good luck getting 2200fps/500 in the .458, gonna be tough. Its easy in the .470NE. Its apples and oranges really. The .470 is a much larger case with lots more powder room. Given equal operating pressures and equal strength rifles, its not close. Put a .470 in a bolt rifle and load to max and compare to the max .458, no comparison.
Remember loading manuals base their info on pressure standards for each round and they are not always equal. These two rounds are only twins if you accept the limitations placed on the .470 per pressure limits and double rifle strength limits. Big beats little, simple as that.
 
It is not impossible to improve upon traditional Nitro Express ballistics..... as well as comply with obligations provided by your gun's regulation with factory ammo.

It can be loosely/roughly referred to as a 80%/20% rule.

Roughly 80% of the original bullet weight at an improvement of roughly 20% velocity, which then in turn generates an increase in energy as well.

I can only speak of the .500 N.E in particular, as that is all I load for, but friends of mine have tested, and built up loads, for several N.E calibers, unfortunately the 450/400 is not one of them.

I load a 475gn C.E.B Safari Raptor (roughly 80% of the original 570gn .500 N.E load) and my gun, (a V.C), regulates this bullet quite nicely at 50yds and registers an average velocity of just over 2400fps, with relatively (measured) mild pressure.

I have yet to chronograph any factory load with the 570gn that exceeded 2000fps.

This specific load gives me 6300 ft lbs of energy, another increase over the original, with a quality projectile that will guarantees penetration and a very "user-friendly" load in my gun.

Mono bullets with pressure relief bands coming into their own !!!!
 
PaulT, thanks for the food fer thought! i did order some 350gr .410 Swift A-frames that i can experiment with.

-matt
 
An old thread but not once above has anyone mentioned regulation in a double. Sure, the old NE rounds have case capacity to spare but, doubtless, regulation will go out the window when pressed to above the original factory load (stressing the action, aside).

In a falling block single, this is obviously not an issue. As someone did mention above, though, when it comes to heavy African game penetration and shot placement is really where it's at. You're never going to overwhelm the heavies with energy. It's just not going to happen. So, as long as the penetration is there (which it is with all original NE loads), use what you can shoot well, and what the rifle can group well, and call it good.
 

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