I've Applied For Membership Into the 404J Club

baxterb

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Does anyone know if Darcy Echols makes and sells .404 mag boxes for CZ 550?


Not that I have ever seen. Duane Wiebe used to make full bottom metal for the CZ - Wayne at AHR used to use them. Those are no longer being made (Duane sold the metal part of the business and the guy has not been producing), and I'm not sure what Wayne is doing for bottom metal on the full custom rifles at the moment.

I don't think I have ever seen a CZ worked on by DArcy. Doesn't mean he hasn't, just never seen one. I hope to see him at the end of the month, I'll have to ask.
 

Bonk

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Thanks for all the input gentlemen. Collectively you've made me pause and possibly even reconsider. The information about magazine boxes was informative. I still don't think it's a serious issue but it does warrant consideration by the gunsmith.

The bigger issue is whether or not to make the 300H&H the donor rifle. Maybe my RSM might be a more practical choice even though it will have the exact same concerns to contend with. I really hate to lose that integrated quarter rib though. Yeah, I know there are several shops that manufacture their own, including Matrix. I guess it's better than screwing up a $5000+ custom built rifle.

I'll keep you posted. The only thing I know for certain is I WILL have a 404J before the end of 2022. Whether it's a conversion or a custom build is yet to be determined. The one thing that keeps floating to the top is there have been a lot of rifles converted to 404J and I haven't heard of many horror stories. Quite the opposite. Most people seem very happy with the outcome. I don't know why I wouldn't be either if I use a reputable gunsmith.
 

Flipper Dude

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Not the best pics, but a throwaway action and a block of wood that Dennis Olsen turned into a sweet 404J

C170EA21-4F54-4C0B-B7CF-1765808CD0E0.jpeg
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CJW

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Depending on the day I'm a recoil weenie so a 9.5 lb 300 H&H sounds great recoil wise and really not that bad weight wise. I vote to leave that beauty alone and use a different rifle/action, but it's you're gun and money so good luck with the decision.
 

Bonk

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Depending on the day I'm a recoil weenie so a 9.5 lb 300 H&H sounds great recoil wise and really not that bad weight wise. I vote to leave that beauty alone and use a different rifle/action, but it's you're gun and money so good luck with the decision.
It is a pussycat to shoot even with 200gr ammo.
 
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SCLawyer

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Can I convert my RSM 416 rigby to 404j? If so, can someone recommend a competent gunsmith?

TIA.
 

AZDAVE

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Yes you can, I did one several years ago. I had Pacnor barrels do the rebarrel for me. I sent them the action and they took care of the rebarrel, chambering, and I did the sight work, bluing, and stock work.
The two gunsmiths that I would recommend have both retired. So hopefully I have answered one part of your question, and someone can chime in with a gunsmith recommendation.
 

DB404

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Yes you can, I did one several years ago. I had Pacnor barrels do the rebarrel for me. I sent them the action and they took care of the rebarrel, chambering, and I did the sight work, bluing, and stock work.
The two gunsmiths that I would recommend have both retired. So hopefully I have answered one part of your question, and someone can chime in with a gunsmith recommendation.
Thanks for all the input gentlemen. Collectively you've made me pause and possibly even reconsider. The information about magazine boxes was informative. I still don't think it's a serious issue but it does warrant consideration by the gunsmith.

The bigger issue is whether or not to make the 300H&H the donor rifle. Maybe my RSM might be a more practical choice even though it will have the exact same concerns to contend with. I really hate to lose that integrated quarter rib though. Yeah, I know there are several shops that manufacture their own, including Matrix. I guess it's better than screwing up a $5000+ custom built rifle.

I'll keep you posted. The only thing I know for certain is I WILL have a 404J before the end of 2022. Whether it's a conversion or a custom build is yet to be determined. The one thing that keeps floating to the top is there have been a lot of rifles converted to 404J and I haven't heard of many horror stories. Quite the opposite. Most people seem very happy with the outcome. I don't know why I wouldn't be either if I use a reputable gunsmith.
Ah, the siren lure of the .404 Jeffery on a Mauser 98 action. I succumbed to that illness twenty years ago and after five or six years ended up with a gorgeous rifle. It was built on a post war FN commercial action with a 23” Krieger cut rifled barrel, then stocked in a piece of “broken fiddleback” Bastogne walnut. I sent the action, a bit of starter money and instructions to a gunsmith in ‘97 or ‘98. I had Krieger ship the barrel to him; he fit it and then opened up the action, all to the rear, so the locking lugs have plenty of metal to snug up against. He also milled the follower to accept the first round. Due to illness he was unable to finish the project, but told me he had it feeding well. I sent the metal over to Dennis Olson. The walnut blank was turned by Shane Thompson, who then sent it to Dennis. Turns out the first smith reamed the chamber short, but it was sorted out.

The opening up of suitable 98 Mausers seems to be sort of like witchcraft. The formula cited by VonG is an important part of the magic and it makes the job possible to start. Milling the follower correctly is another part to the puzzle, as is the extractor underside being opened (if needed) and the bolt face being opened.
I can’t help but think there is another formula lurking out there that would tell us how much to widen feed rails and open the underside of the rails. IIRC, FN and others made 404s after WW II for a bit, and I doubt they were opened up by Dremel tools. I’m guessing, but I would assume a production engineer or master smith did the math and told the machine operators the dimensions to mill to. For each different cartridge they were chambering. Oops - looks like my pics may have landed with FlipperDude’s. Damned if I know how that happened.


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DB404

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Nice rifle, Dave!
Thanks, Mike! It’s even fun just to have it in my lap and appreciate it. People at the range want to shoot it until they see the cartridges. Holds 3 down and one up. I stocked up on brass back when I started the project, so I have close to 100 pieces of new Norma brass waiting for primers and what seems like gobs of powder. Have a few of the original Barnes monometal spitzers (pre TSX) and had Tom over at Accurate Molds cut a 300 gr gas checked spitzer shaped mold for it. I was living in Alaska at the time and was curious if the .404 could be made into an all around rifle for the northlands. 400 gr at 2300+ in the brush (aka brown bear country) with 300 gr spitzers at 2700+ for more distant critters. Life happened and didn’t get a chance to put the theory to the test.
 

Von Gruff

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Thanks, Mike! It’s even fun just to have it in my lap and appreciate it. People at the range want to shoot it until they see the cartridges. Holds 3 down and one up. I stocked up on brass back when I started the project, so I have close to 100 pieces of new Norma brass waiting for primers and what seems like gobs of powder. Have a few of the original Barnes monometal spitzers (pre TSX) and had Tom over at Accurate Molds cut a 300 gr gas checked spitzer shaped mold for it. I was living in Alaska at the time and was curious if the .404 could be made into an all around rifle for the northlands. 400 gr at 2300+ in the brush (aka brown bear country) with 300 gr spitzers at 2700+ for more distant critters. Life happened and didn’t get a chance to put the theory to the test.
I did quite a bit with a 350 to 380 grain (depending on alloy) cast bullet from design data I sent for a Hock mold to be made. Ran it to 2400fps with great accuracy. A lot of fun but had an accuracy load at 1885fps that would have been a very good non DG load. I shot goats with this one but would have had no qualms about anything elk sized.
002.JPG
 

DB404

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VonGruff, I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the pictures of your .404 and the postings you’ve done about it. A well thought out and very good looking rifle!

Re the 300 gr spitzer mold I had made; my first goal was to use the cast bullets to put together some dummy rounds to check for any feeding issues with the sharper nose profile and do any work necessary to get any problems sorted out before looking for a source of jacketed bullets of 300 to 325 gr weight to throttle up. The other goal was to develop an economical familiarization and practice load just for fun at the range.

Your cast load with a 350 gr .423 slug at nearly 1900 fps isn’t anything to make light of. It sure isn’t going to bounce off of anything less than a dump truck!
All the best - Dave
 

Shootist43

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Bonk, I think you made the right choice in keeping the 300 H&H AHR rifle as is and converting the Ruger. Have you decided which Gunsmith to use for the conversion work? Dennis Olsen's name has come up several times on this thread. Another smith that has successfully converted 375(s) to 404 Jeffrey is Randy Selby @ https://randyscustomrifles.com/therealgunsmith/
I have a Win Mod 70 that Randy converted to a 404. It feeds like a rifle ought to and holds sub MOA groups with Von Gruff's Accuracy Load.
 

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1dirthawker

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hey 404 dudes,

in the classified i put up a post for 404 brass if interested. (not my brass)
 

DB404

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A Short .404:
I’m not sure if this is going to be considered a continuation of this thread or need to be moved, but this thread is definitely what inspired it. Reading through the contributions here on whether or not to build a .404, and if so, on what action, took me a long ways down memory lane to a conversation I’d had with an Oregon gunsmith, Pete Grissel, on Mauser conversions. At the time I was thinking about a .257 Ackley on a 1910 Mexican action. Somehow we got to talking about the .404 Jeffery and how it was a good cartridge that could successfully be fit into a suitably modified standard length model 98. After listening to what it took to get there, I asked Pete why folks didn’t shorten the neck of the .404 to provide a 2.5” case length so that action modification would be simpler and less expensive; it could be called the .404 #2 (the 404 Dakota wasn’t out yet). Unfortunately, I no longer recall Pete’s answer. (Sorry!) So I want to ask the folks here who’ve built a .404 Jeffery on a standard 98 what they think of a shorter .404 project. Modifying the brass doesn’t seem like a huge endeavor. I’m not a gunsmith so I can’t judge if it would really be easier to do or not. I think so, but I can’t be more definitive. Let us know your 2 bits.
 

Shootist43

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DB404, I can't answer your question, but I have two thoughts on the matter
1. If it "ain't" broke dont fix it.
2. Why mess with success?

The 404 Jeffery has been doing the job for well over a hundred years, to me there is comfort in that.
 

DB404

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In terms of cartridge performance, you’re absolutely right. And I obviously went for the original cartridge in a modified standard length 98; the original prescription one might say. When one looks over at the world of .416 cartridges, I suspect a lot more Ruger .416s are heading out the door these days as compared with the Rigby or Remington version. So I got to pondering that old discussion with Pete Grissel and wondering if more would-be .404 buyers would hold out for the full length case and go the custom route to get one. Or would they buy or build a “404 Ruger”. I don’t think I would have opted for a shorter case, but others might. Hence the post.
 

cknwax

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I second Shootest 143 on Randy Selby. He converted a 375 CZ 550 into a 404J for me. Works like a dream.
 

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