Which BIG bore?

Jimbob

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So I have a dilemma, I'm going to build a big rifle which will be used on the range here in the UK and on game abroad.
Although I may hunt elephant in the future it's a relatively small chance, thus the likelihood of having to stop a charge is practically zero.

Here are the options and some points on them:
600 Nitro- barrel available off the shelf in the UK, easy availability of components, can be built lighter, best of the three for penetration.
700 Nitro- custom barrel needed, good availability of components but expensive and brass can be tricky at times, largest of the Nitro Express line, heavier rifle than 600, less penetration than 600 but more than 4-bore.
4 bore- custom barrel needed, would use modified 20mm Vulcan brass so cheap but lots of work, cast or custom turned bullets, heaviest rifle of the 3, would use smokeless but at normal 4-bore velocity, biggest of the 3.

Head says 600,700,4-bore in order of appeal.
Heart says 4-bore,700,600 in order of appeal.
Wife says 700 as it's the best compromise.

What's the consensus on here?
 

petrusg

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Before reading the post i thought this might be another .375 to .458 forum but it sure seems like you picked the upper end of the scale for you calibre's.
Personally i would choose the one that you would be able to handle the easiest and that you would be able to shoot accurately with, all 3 these calibre's are high up in the recoil chart. The cost of shooting the rifle always plays a big role, doesn't help having a big rifle that costs you a arm and a leg to practice with.
And lets be honest, do you really need so much gun?

from your options ill go for the 600
 

Jimbob

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I definitely do not need so much gun, very much a want thing.

I'm a firm believer that you can learn to shoot anything with the right practice plus at the ranges I'd be using it (50 yards) and the size of the animals I would be using it on (pretty much everything) I don't think that achieving the required accuracy would be a problem. It would just take a while; time I have.

600 is very much the sensible choice. Now that's a rare statement!

700 makes sense but if I'm getting a custom barrel made up I'd always feel like I should have got the 4-bore for the same price.
 

matt85

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ill start with saying ive personally never had any interest in the 700 NE. I would suggest adding an 8 bore in its place, the 8 bore would be lighter then a 4 bore but still give that absolutely massive feel the old black powder cannons had.

my personal order (adding the 8 bore) would be:

1. 8 bore
2. 600 NE
3. 4 bore

now if you seriously plan to hunt game with this rifle then I would strongly suggest the 600 NE out of the options. the 600 NE would be the lightest gun and the best penetrator. ive handled and fired all of these except the 700 NE and I can tell you a 23 pound 4 bore double is not a gun I would want to carry for any real length of time.

@cal pappas chime in here and help this gentleman out with his choice.

-matt
 

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I definitely do not need so much gun, very much a want thing.

I'm a firm believer that you can learn to shoot anything with the right practice plus at the ranges I'd be using it (50 yards) and the size of the animals I would be using it on (pretty much everything) I don't think that achieving the required accuracy would be a problem. It would just take a while; time I have.

600 is very much the sensible choice. Now that's a rare statement!

700 makes sense but if I'm getting a custom barrel made up I'd always feel like I should have got the 4-bore for the same price.

You settled it yourself in the first sentence! It's not a need it's a want......so go with your heart!
 

Jimbob

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@CAustin you're not helping!

@matt85 funny you should mention the 8-bore. I've actually been talking to @cal pappas about something similar, a 20mm (roughly 9.5 bore), specifically a rimmed 20mm Vulcan case filled with black powder. It would negate the advantage of lower weight though since it holds a lot of black powder! The smoke nuisance is annoying also.

That been said, it has the potential to have high penetration with solids whilst offering phenomenal traumatic effect with cast lead.

The short neck concerns me though.
 

CTDolan

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For goodness sakes, go with the 600!

The 700 hasn't near the same history, and the 4 bore is downright ridiculous (not that the others aren't, as well).

If, however, you want something REALLY special, go with the 577 NE. Now that is a good one!!!
 

Fr8liner

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For goodness sakes, go with the 600!

The 700 hasn't near the same history, and the 4 bore is downright ridiculous (not that the others aren't, as well).

If, however, you want something REALLY special, go with the 577 NE. Now that is a good one!!!

What he said.......
TWICE!
 

Jimbob

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The 700's lack of history does annoy me somewhat.
4-bore isn't ridiculous...its just pleasantly large :)

577 NE is appealing but I would just rather the 600 for zero practical reason
 

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not for me thanks , I will stick with my 416's , but best of luck to you sir .
 

ChrisG

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I'd personally go with a .577 just because, even though it isn't by any means "common" I would say it is the MORE common of the reounds you have mentioned. .600 and .700 can be had but they are a rare occurence. Anything 4 through 8 bore is going to be a custom only proposition, requiring you to pay $100-$150 a casing to have them machined for you, unless someone knows of a brass company that is making these now. Then you need to either buy bullets from a custom maker, or have a mold cut from someone like http://www.mountainmolds.com/. Also, for the most part, a 4 bore is going to be black powder only, which, should you choose to hunt in other countries with, would mean that you likely would need to bring the brass and bullets and buy the components there as I don't believe black powder is approved for any sort of import. Unless of course you can convince them that your shells that you already have loaded are smokeless... who knows, maybe they won't check.

In either case I would still say .577. It is such a classic and by ANYONE'S standard is an ultra large bore. As always though, I am much better at spending other peoples money...
 

Jimbob

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@ChrisG 4-bore would be a custom only proposition for brass and bullets, and black powder does indeed cause a problem when flying. However, as stated in the original post, IF I went down that route it would be modified 20mm Vulcan brass and would run smokeless to achieve black powder velocities with cast or custom turned bullets.
I feel this addresses those points.

577 is a fantastic cartridge, of that I have no doubt. Despite this, 600 Nitro is the smallest I wish to go.
The amount of time and money that would go in to this build really dictates it be a cartridge that I want and, although i want a 577, I want a 600 more.
 

CTDolan

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If you're dead set on one of the three (.600, .700, or 4-bore), definitely go with the .600.

I once had .600 ammo (Westley Richards), brass (Horneber), bullets (Woodleigh 900 grain solids), and a barrel from which to do a falling block of my own design. In time, though, the project morphed into a .577 NE. The .600 is an impressive beast, no doubt, but the .577 is SO much better!!!
 

Jimbob

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So did you built the falling block you designed, if so may I see some phots?

Lots of people saying the 577 despite it not being one of the options, what makes it so much better than the 600?
It (the 577) has a higher sectional density and velocity so should penetrate further but the 600 still penetrates more than enough from all I've read. First hand experience on why the 577 is so much better would be appreciated.
As I said, I'll likely never have to stop a charge from Tembo so the frontal brain shot is not too much of a concern. If however I did have to ask that of a 600 I don't doubt it'd answer that question with aplomb.
 
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CTDolan

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It's been built, and sold. If I can find out who has it, I'll ask for photos. The guy I made it for is now deceased.
 

Jimbob

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That is a shame, at least he owned such a rifle before he passed.

My design is a swinging block but I obviously can't finish the design till I know what cartridge I plan on using in it.
 

CTDolan

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My design borrowed from Daniel Fraser, Farquharson, and Holland & Holland. Mostly, though, it was an amalgam of the Fraser and Farquharson (a later and very little known Fraser, with regard to which I have only ever seen one example).
 

Jimbob

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That sounds extremely interesting. So was it in essence a side lever farquharson?

I find falling blocks to be the most attractive of actions, the Dan'l Fraser side lever and the Alexander Henry external hammer being my favourite.
I once had the pleasure of holding and shouldering the Giles Whittome 2-bore 'Millenium Rifle' which is based on a whaling gun which itself was based on a Alexander Henry. I've never known 26lb to balance so well.
My swinging block will not be pretty, it is currently on the drawing board as 'Ngiri'; Swahili for warthog.
 

CTDolan

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No, it was an under-lever (although, the side-hammer Fraser rifles are a thing of beauty).

What I borrowed from Fraser was the cocking mechanism (and from Farquharson, the marvelous extractor/ejector). With regard to Holland & Holland, I mostly sought the aesthetic quality of their falling block.
 

matt85

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Lots of people saying the 577 despite it not being one of the options, what makes it so much better than the 600?

in terms of ballistics and performance (when it comes to numbers) the 577 NE and the 600 NE are pretty much equal. the .620" 900gr bullet actually has better SD then the .585" 750gr bullet but the larger diameter bullet is going to resist penetration more so im betting they are pretty much equal in terms of penetration.

the major difference between the two cartridges is the weight of the rifle they can be fired from. the lightest 577 NE ive seen has been 12 pounds while the lightest 600 NE ive seen has been 14 pounds.

however, if your not planning on hunting with this rifle then there is no reason to have a light rifle which means the 600 NE is a fine option for you.

-matt
 

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