Velocity Issue

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*Velocity Issue* I'm happy to say I'm off to Africa in August and am working up a load for my .416 Rigby. This will be a dangerous game hunt, and my PH specified 400 gr Swift A-Frames followed by 400 gr Barnes Banded Solids. I like Vihtavuori N560, but their official max load data only achieves 2100 fps. Looking at Barnes official data, they call for 109.5 gr for 2580 fps! Swift has no data for the .416 with N560. I know I'm dealing with max loads here, but pressure doesn't seem to be a problem, and I worked up. Does 2100 fps have enough thump? Any other load data out there for N560?
 
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Randal, I load for a 416 Rigby but I use a different powder H4350. I just did a QuickLoad work-up using VV560 in a 24 " barrel and got a higher velocity than you mentioned. The difference could be barrel length. What length barrel do you have?
 

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Welcome Randall. An congrats on the impending hunt. Nothing quite like hunting a buffalo.

I have had great luck with the A-Frame in it's 300 gr .375 guise. But it is leaving the barrel at 2500 - 2700 fps (depending on the load). In your case, with a tough bullet like an A-Frame, you are actually hitting the animal at what? 1900 - 2000 fps? That would seem to be pretty anemic to expect it to perform as advertised.
 

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Rand,

When all else fails just remember, bigger, better, faster,stronger.

I just happen to have a 416 Rigby that throws nothing out the barrel at 2100 fps. Maybe it might if I were loading with old cordite, but as I am not stuff goes a bit faster.

But your question is, "is 2100 fast enough" and the answer to that is sure! But why would you want to ?

A 458 Winchester Mag is a great round and it goes out with a 500 grain bullet at 2100+ with a heavier bullet and bigger diameter.

I am not a fan of filling the magazine with 2 different types of bullets at the same time. If the bullet that you shoot an animal with on the first shot doesn't have "the right stuff" then don't use it at all. If you don't have confidence in the caliber get a different one.

And if you don't have absolutely confidence in your ability with whatever you are packing you keep shoot at the range until you do.

There are quite a few guys here who drop capes with 375hh with 300 grain bullets at considerable faster speed.

MAYBE you might consider raising that velocity up to at least 2500 fps by doing some research and rounds custom tailored to your iron?

Good luck.
 
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I shoot a CZ 550 American Safari with a 25" barrel. Agreed, I need more FPS to take advantage of the A-Frame...but Barnes (on the Banded Solid) calls for 109.5 gr @ 2580 fps...that's off Vihtavuori's charts. Dare I bump up above the max recommended by Vihtavuori for the A-Frame? Seems risky, but that's just what Barnes did and they must have some data to back it up. I may have to change powders...I'm in uncharted waters with this powder and the A-Frame.
 

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And a monolithic like the TSX (which I also love) typically requires even more velocity than a SP. I am not much into reloading these days - the factory stuff is so good. I am certain you can find a factory load that meets your requirement set with plenty of accuracy for a buffalo. With what reloading I did do over the years, "uncharted" was a term I liked to stay away from. (y)
 

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Rand,

Does it have to be vihtavuori powder?

Not all bullet weights create the same pressure.

Do you have a instrument to measure bullet speed?
 

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Answer you question in a direct manner—2100 is [imo] marginal and would be better at least at 2300 to 2400 FPS. Faster then that in gives excessive penetration which depending on the beholder may be what is wanted.[not needed but wanted] 2100 FPS will work in many cases but is the bottom.
With all the powders out there [if you are in the USA] dont know why you are limiting to one powder.
With the volumne of the Rigby case obtaining the time tested 2400 fpm is easy, if you give up your one powder need.
Good luck.
 

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Yes, there are many factory loads that are excellent...just that they are $10.00+ a pop. I can reload for around $4.00/cartridge. I'm trying to shoot enough to get comfortable with the .416 Rigby. But, lets face it, this rifle is a real dragon slayer...ten rounds at the range is enough...comfort is not the first word that comes to mind. So, I'm looking for a balance here. A 400 gr A-Frame with 85 gr of N560 @ 2150 fps is lovely to shoot, but no wonder. I have to up my game just to where I'm still "comfortable", but get 2300 fps+. Back to work with a different powder.

On the issue of using two different loads in the same magazine, I've got a bit of a problem with that too. My PH tells me to use two different bullets and it takes a little work to get both bullets to hit the bull's-eye. The variable is the powder. THAT'S how I ended up with N560 as they (Vihtavuori) had stats on both bullets. Its just that their recipe makes for a slow bullet. Then I see the data from Barnes @ 105 gr., that's a big difference. I was hoping someone had a little more data in that respect. Anyway, back to reality. The last thing I need to worry about when I make that shot is fps...
 

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You probably should follow your PH’s recommendations on a first buff, but it is fairly dated. Most will now tell you that a magazine full of A-Frames, TSX, etc. are just fine. The old guidance is from the age of questionable SPs which most current PHs learned from their mentors. On my four buff, I have never done the mixed load drill and I have hunted them in the Caprivi, Moz, and the Limpopo.
 

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Randall

My advice is to shoot several hundred rounds at 2,150 until you feel completely comfortable with the rifle.

Then bump up a bit, to show you can get used to more.

Eventually you will be shooting the 2,300+ loads just fine.

It takes time and perseverance. You'll get there!

Tim
 

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Dont know what rifle make you are using—but you could take off the butt plate and add 12 to 16 oz of lead. It will help. Get the weight up to t least 10.5 to 11#. Carry that around for a piece and you may decide the recoil when shooting at an animal is a piece of cake versus carrying a 11# rifle. It is all a matter of what you convince yourself is acceptable.

And I support the TARBE approach also.
 

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I took a look at the vhit website, they have a 450gr load using N560 at a velocity well above the 400gr Swift load and the starting load is higher than the max 400gr load.

Me personally, I wouldn’t have a problem starting the 400 gr load with the 450gr min data and work up until you hit your desired velocity, you should reach 2300 - 2400 quite easily. I’m not an expert but there is no way the 450gr bullet is running less pressure with more powder than that 400 gr swift load. They are also under loading the 400gr Barnes.

Just work up slowly and be mindful of pressure signs.
 

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Norma African PH factory load is 2150 with 450g Woodleigh.

This would make for a great buffalo cartridge.

I would not recommend solids for the first time buffalo hunter, just use premium grade expanders.

2100 fps is a bit slow for the 400gr A frames you want to get that up by about 150 around 2250 would give you the best of both worlds, lower recoil but still have the performance on the front end.

Find and load some cheap bullets for practice and then finish off with the ones you decide to hunt with.

What rifle is it?
What is the barrel length?
What primers are you using?

Although enough velocity is needed it is not top end velocity that kills but rather good quality bullets and shot placement.

2580 Fps with a 400 gr Barnes solid out of a 416 Rigby, well...ouch....ain't gonna be pleasant...
 

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Randall, I think you are right in coming to the conclusion to try another powder. Different powders suit different case sizes. The Rigby is pretty large and so I suggest you search reloading manuals and some forums to see what info you can gather. Also keep in mind that you can get lower pressures at the same velocity from different powders. It is worth picking the right powder for the case, even if it isn’t what you are used to.
 
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I'm shooting a CZ 550, with a 25" barrel. I use Federal #215M primers. Humm, Vhit has a starting load for the 450 gr that is greater than the max load at 400 gr. I knew they were being too conservative with the 400 gr bullet mix! And Barnes lists the 400 gr max at 105.5 gr of n560; something's not right with the Vhit mix. One of the virtues of the .416 Rigby is the size of the case, and low pressures...so I should be able to use the n560 powder and slowly, safely, move up to 2300+. If it's too hot a load, I should see signs.
 

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I'm shooting a CZ 550, with a 25" barrel. I use Federal #215M primers. Humm, Vhit has a starting load for the 450 gr that is greater than the max load at 400 gr. I knew they were being too conservative with the 400 gr bullet mix! And Barnes lists the 400 gr max at 105.5 gr of n560; something's not right with the Vhit mix. One of the virtues of the .416 Rigby is the size of the case, and low pressures...so I should be able to use the n560 powder and slowly, safely, move up to 2300+. If it's too hot a load, I should see signs.

Yes, I don’t think you will have any issues getting to desired velocity.

N560 is a slower burning powder type of powder, H4831/RL22 range, and should work out just fine.
 
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Paul Homsy

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I shoot a CZ 550 American Safari with a 25" barrel. Agreed, I need more FPS to take advantage of the A-Frame...but Barnes (on the Banded Solid) calls for 109.5 gr @ 2580 fps...that's off Vihtavuori's charts. Dare I bump up above the max recommended by Vihtavuori for the A-Frame? Seems risky, but that's just what Barnes did and they must have some data to back it up. I may have to change powders...I'm in uncharted waters with this powder and the A-Frame.

You've already been given the right advice about speed. Just one thing to remember is that solids tend to go faster than conventional bullets. The Barnes manual shows a difference between their solids and their other offerings in identical weights and calibers. For regular bullets, reduce the load you may use for solids by a minimum of five or six grains to be safe and work up from there.
I agree with RedLeg that manufacturers make very good quality ammunition and that reloading isn't essential to get the best out of a particular cartridge. I've reloaded for decades but lately have used off the counter ammunition which hasn't disappointed in speed and accuracy. Good luck with your loads experimentation and your hunt. I would definitely stay away from the very hot loads, even if they are completely safe in your rifle, the last thing you need is a sticky extraction in the field.

You can get information for a variety of bullets in loaddata.com if you're unable to find it elsewhere. I would also look at the Norma loads, they are quite comprehensive albeit with their powders which are excellent.
 
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I'm shooting a CZ 550, with a 25" barrel. I use Federal #215M primers. Humm, Vhit has a starting load for the 450 gr that is greater than the max load at 400 gr. I knew they were being too conservative with the 400 gr bullet mix! And Barnes lists the 400 gr max at 105.5 gr of n560; something's not right with the Vhit mix. One of the virtues of the .416 Rigby is the size of the case, and low pressures...so I should be able to use the n560 powder and slowly, safely, move up to 2300+. If it's too hot a load, I should see signs.

I had a CZ in the same caliber. H4831 was superbly accurate. I loaded up to well north of 100gr of powder. I did not chrono the loads, but I'm sure the 400gr pills were running 2600fps or so. Way too much recoil. My point is with H4831 you should be able to attain 2300fps with a 400gr bullet with ease.
 
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