The .400 Series Cartridge Which No One Seems to Talk About At All

Major Khan

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Greetings dear site members ,
About 5 days ago , l had conducted a rough survey of sorts on this site , where members all listed their favorite calibres for plains game and dangerous game.
Half the voters opted for their dangerous game cartridge to be a .375 Holland & Holland magnum .
Half the voters opted for something in the .400 series.
1 voter ( a White Hunter ) opted for a .500 Nitro Express .

Those who opted for something in the .400 series invariably chose a .400 Holland & Holland , .450/ 400 Nitro Express, .404 Jeffery , .416 Rigby , .416 Remington magnum , .416 Taylor , .416 Ruger or .470 Nitro Express .
( In the .400 series , l myself opted for a .450/ 400 Nitro Express , based on personal experience with the cartridge in 1961).
Now , with so many proponents of the .400 series , l noticed that 1 cartridge did not get any mention at all :
The .425 Westley Richards
I myself never had a client bring 1 to India during my career as a professional shikaree in Nagpur , India from 1961 to 1970. The only reason l even know that this cartridge exists , is because of a book l own , which was written by a gentleman named Pierre Van Der Walt .
Is there any reason why this cartridge never quite caught on , with all you .400 series loving gentlemen ? Based on what l have read I that book , it uses a 410 grain bullet , which is about 10 grains heavier than a .450 / 400 Nitro Express and it has a good velocity of 2350 feet per second.
Let the discussion begin.
Yours sincerely,
Major Poton Khan ( Retired )
Bangladesh Mukti Bahini
Rajshahi Cantonment Division
 

tarbe

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You will commonly hear about the rebated rim and some feeding issues with the rifles.

I have also heard that these issues have been overplayed and are easily worked around.

Certainly today, a lack of good bullets with high sectional density has to be a knock. That 410 grain bullet you mentioned has nowhere near the sectional density of the .410 diameter bullet
 

Major Khan

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You will commonly hear about the rebated rim and some feeding issues with the rifles.

I have also heard that these issues have been overplayed and are easily worked around.

Certainly today, a lack of good bullets with high sectional density has to be a knock. That 410 grain bullet you mentioned has nowhere near the sectional density of the .410 diameter bullet
Ah , a 1st poster. Thank you for explaining. I was a little confused because the .416 Rigby cartridge also used a 410 grain bullet , yet it is very popular.
 

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Please Sir, never stop writing I enjoy your stories and questions too much. As for the questions asked I hope more experienced hunters can answer them.
 

Major Khan

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Please Sir, never stop writing I enjoy your stories and questions too much. As for the questions asked I hope more experienced hunters can answer them.
Thank you so much for enjoying my writing. I will naturally continue. I am actually writing an article about plains game rifle cartridges which should be completed by tomorrow . I hope that you will enjoy it , my German friend .
 

bruce moulds

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part of this cartridge's success was the l.t capped bullet.
used as a soft, it was light years ahead of std soft points in terms of controlled expansion.
bruce.
 

Major Khan

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part of this cartridge's success was the l.t capped bullet.
used as a soft, it was light years ahead of std soft points in terms of controlled expansion.
bruce.
Thank you , Mr. Moulds . On paper , it's characteristics look fairly impressive . On par ( somewhat ) with the much loved .404 Jeffery cartridge .
 

bruce moulds

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but the Jeffery did not have the leslie taylor (l.t.) capped bullet.
in those days controlled expansion was little understood, and the bullet design was ahead of its time.
bruce.
 

bruce moulds

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there are some, who do not understand, who equate the l.t. capped bullet to the Winchester silvertip.
nothing could be further from the truth.
the leslie taylor designed westley Richards bullet was an expanding bullet that offered serious penetration in it expanded form.
the silvertip was a very frangible bullet, quite capable of exploding under certain circumstances.
bruce.
 

Major Khan

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there are some, who do not understand, who equate the l.t. capped bullet to the Winchester silvertip.
nothing could be further from the truth.
the leslie taylor designed westley Richards bullet was an expanding bullet that offered serious penetration in it expanded form.
the silvertip was a very frangible bullet, quite capable of exploding under certain circumstances.
bruce.
Oh , yes . You brought back so many memories . My clients used to use Winchester Silvertip soft point 300 grain cartridges for their .375 Holland & Holland magnum calibre rifles to perform the double lung shot on gaur. If the gaur was absolutely broadside , it would work marvellously and open up very well inside the lungs of the gaur. It would go 80 yards , coughing blood from it's nose and mouth before dropping dead.
However , if the angle was even slightly incorrect , it was Hell for the entire shikar party . I actually saw 2 Winchester Silvertip soft point bullets fragment upon hitting a gaur's rib bone.
 

Wyatt Smith

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I have heard (just heard, so don’t quote me) that there were a lot of cheap rifles built on military surplus Mauser actions that fed poorly. This supposedly gave the cartridge a bad reputation.
 

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I have a 425 Westley Richards - it feeds flawlessly with the magazine “fingers”. I took a Cape buffalo in July with it, with one shot, with open sights, at about 80 yards. Having taken a few buffalo with a 416 Rigby as well, it lacks nothing in comparison. I believe the difference in sectional density is academic. The Woodleigh Bullets available work very well. It’s a viable and effective cartridge today for the handloader.
 

Major Khan

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I have heard (just heard, so don’t quote me) that there were a lot of cheap rifles built on military surplus Mauser actions that fed poorly. This supposedly gave the cartridge a bad reputation.
And once reputation is ruined , it is very difficult to recover. I am beginning to understand now , Master Smith.
During my time , many clients used to come to India with .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt rifles , built on military surplus mauser actions .
They were notorious for having feeding problems .
 

Major Khan

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I have a 425 Westley Richards - it feeds flawlessly with the magazine “fingers”. I took a Cape buffalo in July with it, with one shot, with open sights, at about 80 yards. Having taken a few buffalo with a 416 Rigby as well, it lacks nothing in comparison. I believe the difference in sectional density is academic. The Woodleigh Bullets available work very well. It’s a viable and effective cartridge today for the handloader.
Thank you so much for your insight. Was your rifle built by the company , Westley Richards ?
 

kurpfalzjäger

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I think there are many reasons why the cartridge 425 Westley Richards is not so common.

In advance , it is better to use an original designed rifle for these cartridge with rebated rim. I own a rifle caliber 11,2x72 Schüler , also a cartridge with an rebated rim , and that's why I know the problem. In addition, the ammunition and the components for reloading the cartridge 425WR are difficult to get , at least in Europe.

The cartridge 425WR is certainly a good cartridge , comparable to the 404 Jeffery , but latter has an advantage in all the points discussed what concern availability of suitable rifles , factory ammunition and reloading components.
 

Major Khan

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I think there are many reasons why the cartridge 425 Westley Richards is not so common.

In advance , it is better to use an original designed rifle for these cartridge with rebated rim. I own a rifle caliber 11,2x72 Schüler , also a cartridge with an rebated rim , and that's why I know the problem. In addition, the ammunition and the components for reloading the cartridge 425WR are difficult to get , at least in Europe.

The cartridge 425WR is certainly a good cartridge , comparable to the 404 Jeffery , but latter has an advantage in all the points discussed what concern availability of suitable rifles , factory ammunition and reloading components.
I wholeheartedly understand your logic , Kurpfalzjager . The book l read also mentions something about the rebated rim , presenting a problem .
But l must ask something ( genuinely out of a desire to learn from you ) .
Why is it that the .500 Jeffery which also has a rebated rim ( according to the book which l read ) is such a popular cartridge for custom rifles in various brands , while the .425 Westley Richards is virtually forgotten ?
 

kurpfalzjäger

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The rebated rim of the cartridge 500 Jeffery is not so rebated as for the cartridges 425WR and 11,2x72 Schüler. There are hardly any problems with the cartridge 500 Jeffery in an Mauser Magnum system. I don't know what it looks like in a standard M98 system without special devices.

Not for nothing Westley Richards sat clips on the magazine of his rifles to hold the cartridges. May be Auguste Schüler should have done that too for his cartridges 11,2x72. He did it for the cartridge 12,7x70 Schüler.
 
 

 

 

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