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Big Bore Lever Guns.............

Discussion in 'Big Bore Rifles' started by Michael458, Mar 25, 2019.

  1. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    I have always loved lever guns. And especially Big Bore ones............ Now, in my opinion, big bore can run anything from .400 caliber up, regardless of cartridge. In my mind, 45 Colt lever guns, are big bore, and have a place of course considering big bore. Normally we think, 45/70, or in some cases, 50 Alaskan--.510 version. For the purposes of this thread, we will consider all cartridge and rifles above .400 caliber, this way lots of others can join in........ No, I do not consider anything under .400 to be big bore.........

    I used a Marlin Guide gun 45/70 quite a bit back in the day. In many ways I was a little disappointed in its performance, especially compared with some other big bores I had been using, namely 458 Winchester. In those days, there were no real bullets for these things. If you wanted deeper penetration, you had to use a cast bullet. Such as from Cast Performance. These also came up short in many ways. Of course I was pushing them hard as well. Another favorite of the time was the 350 Hornady FN. This was a superb bullet in the day, and probably about the best expanding bullet we had for 45/70. I ran it at 1900-1950 fps and they would not break up. In fact, at 1500 fps they didn't expand either, which in some ways suited me making sure the bullet would not break up.

    I had some failures then. I also loved the Remington 405. But 1800 fps was too much for that bullet, it would break up on bone. I remember chasing a young kudu we shot for bait one day. At 30 yards hit him on the shoulder with the 405 at 1800 fps, he took off running, and limping along. I did not have another shot. Finally after hours of chasing caught up to him and put him down. The 405 had broken up on the shoulder, not getting to the vitals. Lesson learned. Back to the test box. Of course, the test work showed this before hand, I just didn't pay attention!

    I had to be careful with the 405s. Later I made it a rule just to not start them off any faster than 1600 fps and they worked pretty good. Extremely accurate bullets too by the way. And a good cheap shooting bullet for plinking and such, even in larger .458s.

    I shot quite a few things with the 45/70 back then, Kudu, wildebeest, warthogs and such.......

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    It was always good fun, and the gun was short, easy to carry, very fast, But in the end, it came up short when it come to bullet design. It could be better, but at that time there were few choices.

    I was in Zimbabwe one year hunting elephant. The elephant rifle was 458 Lott. But I had the Guide Gun along with as a camp gun, and various other smaller things. I had not planned on anything serious with it at all. I believe I was shooting a 420 Cast Performance, and pushing it hard, too hard actually. My PH on this trip was fascinated with the little gun, had never seen one, and decided we had to try it on Cape Buffalo. OK.... No worries. We got up on a herd of buffalo, and had one decent bull in the crowd. It was a bit of a glancing shot on the shoulder at 60 yards, buffalo jumped and ran like he had not been hit at all. Out of sight with the herd. Only a drop or two of blood, and not good blood, just meat!

    I was feeling like crap! We sit for it seemed like hours (probably only a few minutes in reality-but time slows down) and I pondered what I had done wrong? Shot looked good? I knew I did not have enough gun, and I was wishing for the 458 Lott loaded with 500 Solids! But it was not available and way too far back at the vehicle to consider, we were in the thick of things, and it was Guide Gun or throw rocks!

    Finally the herd started moving, probably 50 or more animals in the herd, we watched them stroll by and go down a ridge, near single file. At the back of the herd, our bull was following. The PH recognized him, pointed him out and we got into position. At around a 40 yards I hit him just behind the shoulder as he turned, he bucked up, took off and disappeared behind some brush. Before we could get to the bottom of the hill, we heard the "death Bellow" that buffalo give sometimes, and knew we had him then.

    When it was all said and done, that first shot had glanced off the shoulder, and drove up into the meat of the neck, not penetrating any vitals at all. Bullet had deformed on the heavy bone and not penetrated, like I had hoped for. Another lesson learned...........

    [​IMG]

    Sometime later I was using another 45/70, a hi grade Winchester 1886. Had it in California hunting bears with the Rob Boys out of Utah. Fortunately the dogs treed this bear close to the truck, this gun was heavy, and I dreaded having to run after dogs dragging it along. We got the bear in a big ponderosa tree, and I had to carry it exactly TWO STEPS from the truck! HEH HEH.... I was thankful for that.....

    The bear was way up in a tree. High enough that all I could make out was a ball of black, couldn't see head from ass. I backed up the hill from the tree for a better angle, and finally decided just to shoot in the middle of the black ball and hope for the best. I was shooting again a 405 Remington, and in the 1886 it was well over 1900 fps, way above it's operating range........... At the shot, the bear came tumbling down out of the tree and hit the ground with a big thump. It was struggling to get back up, I was running to it, and down hill at the time. I got tangled up with a damn dog, and went skidding face first straight into the bear! I held on the gun, it was RTG--Ready to go, hammer back! I kept it safe, and out of the dirt, but not my face and chest area! I came skidding to within about 6-7 feet of the bear, jumped up and put a quick one in before it could get back up, and that was it, end of story.........

    That bullet did some crazy stuff, it actually hit on the rear right ham, it broke up, a piece of it exited the bears hind leg, entered back into the hear, and fortunately going through the lungs. It was a ball of bear in that tree. Lesson learned again, maybe....................

    [​IMG]

    Well, thats all I have time for right now. This should be just a beginning of this thread and more to come. Please feel free to jump in, don't wait on me. I am sure there are lots of big bore lever guns out there in the Carolinas, so lets see them....... I will continue on maybe later today with some more stuff..........
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
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  2. cold1

    cold1 Member Supporting Member

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    Michael, you keep mentioning that hard cast dosent perform well. Would you elaborate on that? How do you define performance? What game gets which bullets? Have you been happy with cast or run of the mill factory bullets with non wildcat calibers?

    For what I hunt (deer mostly) my goto bullet was the 300gr HP from Sierra running anywhere from 1900fps down to 1200fps. I never recovered one, it was always complete penetration. Then I started to cast my own. No fancy mixes of alloy just plain COWW. I tried a few different molds and settled on a NOE Ranch Dawg 350gr design. It has about a 70% meplate. It is not a long range design. Under a hundred yards, it groups out of my marlin less than 2 inches (3 shots). On game the exit hole is always larger than the entrance. I don't think I would have any issue hunting anything in NA with this bullet. The speed would be adjusted per game being hunted.
     
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  3. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Nothing wrong with Cast Bullets, I was asking them to do more than what they are capable of doing. As much my fault, as the bullet. Back in those days, I did not have what was required to accomplish the mission with a lever gun, and that is drive deep, straight, and true.... no deforming, and busting through heavy bone. In addition, I ran them too fast, they would have performed better at lower velocity in the penetration department.

    My Mind set is that a big cast bullet is considered a SOLID. I love solids. But I also expect a hell of a lot from a Solid as well. As part of Solid Construction, the Material that a Solid is made of is a Major Factor in how that bullet penetrates. I expect a Solid to drive extremely deep, crunching anything it encounters during its terminal penetration, and continuing to drive straight. No matter how hard the lead is, Copper is harder and less malleable. No matter how hard Copper is, Brass is harder and less malleable. In our simple thought process, you have Solid Lead, Solid Copper, and Solid Brass. On extremely heavy bone, buffalo, elephant, hippo, even brass can start to flow. What you need is to drive deep, and straight and remain on course, regardless of angle. A cast bullet is lead, it cannot physically do this under all circumstances, and will flow depending on how hard the lead is, and what it encounters during terminals.......

    Below is the actual bullet discussed on the Cape Buffalo, as you see, it did not maintain its profile on the shoulder of the buffalo, without maintaining that meplat, it was not able to penetrate at the angle I was trying to get it to do.

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    This cast bullet was fired behind the shoulder of a giraffe. It did not contact heavy bone. But even then, it deformed and distorted, which in this case was fine, and was a plus factor, but when trying to make it a SOLID, it is not.

    [​IMG]

    This bullet was the other bullet recovered from the same buffalo, shot behind the shoulders, and not hitting heavy bone. As you see, it deformed as well. Also note, I was running it way above its capabilities. Had I been running 1400-1500 fps, there would have been LESS Deformation, deeper penetration, and probably would not have recovered this. I was as much at fault, as I was asking, demanding that the bullet do far more than it was capable of doing.

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    I had a big body elephant down, Scott, My PH at that time, and I decided to do a test. Once the head was removed, I stood back at 10 yards and did a "Side Brain Shot" on the elephant head. This bullet was able to make it to the brain, and just through to the other side, barely. Had it been at any sort of angle, or frontal, this bullet would have never ever made it to the brain......... Elephant skulls can be pure hell on bullets, and only proper designed bullets should be used on elephant period!

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    The bullet below was fired up the ass of a Cape Buffalo in my 458 Lott. A rear shot, and the bullet found in the chest cavity of the buffalo. A cast bullet could never do this, nor would or should I ask it to. It is of the wrong material and not capable of such performance.

    This is one of the better solids back in the day...... Flat Nose Barnes............ BTW...... ROUND NOSE SOLIDS, Throw all of them in the TRASH, they are not worth putting in your gun, unless the biggest thing you need to penetrate is a squirrel! Something we can talk about somewhere else within the Big Bore section here........ That is a complete book worth of material...........

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    These are our Perfect Solids, we designed these here, this is the Cutting Edge Safari Lever Solids...... Back in the beginning they were called BBW#13s, the 13 Being the degree of the angle off the nose...... These were recovered from a hippo I shot with the 50 B&M Alaskan... .500 caliber version..........

    If you look at the bullet on the far left, you will see it distorted, and these are BRASS, so what would a "Cast" look like after taking the same beating?

    [​IMG]

    So, you see Cold1, I ask a lot and sometimes more than something is capable of. I try not to do that anymore, but hell, I was learning too. And I was asking a lot more of a Cast Bullet than deer or smaller body/boned critters.


    Probably so. I can't argue that. But I do believe there are far better choices, especially if you got to Moose/Bear.........
     
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  4. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Actually NO. Being wildcat B&Ms, or standard big bores makes zero difference when choosing the right bullet for the mission at hand. Some bullets like Swift and Barnes, I have been happy with, but even then, there are bullets
    that perform differently, and better............ There are people all over the world using the bullets we designed here in Non Wildcats..... 500 NE, 458 Winchester, 458 Lott, 470 NE, lever guns and on and on..... and even the rat guns from 223 all the way to 375 HH........... Every cartridge and caliber has benefited from some new, Non Conventional designs........ Not just solids either..........
     
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  5. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Back in the late 90s, early 2000s I would have loved to have this for 45/70, it would have solved many issues with that cartridge.................

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    I can't remember exactly the year, but this fellow was determined to use his Marlin 45/70 for Cape Buffalo and asked for my assistance. After much thought, and to keep things simple, and knowing the many situations he might encounter, I decided the proper bullet would need to be simply the 400 gr #13, Or Lever Safari Solid you see posted above...... We can run that bullet at 1850 fps or so, depending on the gun, and stay under 45000 PSI. He used this in Zimbabwe for Buffalo with incredible success.... One round, 35 yards as I recall, through the heart, buffalo bucked and ran as normal about 15-20 yards and fell over stone cold. Bullet completely penetrated and exited, which is something we like a lot, and much prefer........ Two holes, one bullet, very very desirable..............

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Crazy Carl

    Crazy Carl seriously? Life Member

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    Woof. Cape Buffalo are such massive beasts. As Michael can attest, you can't truly appreciate the sheer size of buffalo, elephants, rhinos & the like until yer on the same side of the fence.

    I'd love to hunt Africa, but Rhodesia, Kenya & SA aren't what I'd consider exactly safe right now & that continent's a bad place to have stuff go sideways on you. I might consider Namibia, especially since I speak German, but I'd hafta hit the lottery to make that happen.

    My .45-70 Guide Gun-

    4570.jpg

    .41Mag Henry with its 3 amigos-

    quatro amigos.jpg
     
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  7. JakeH

    JakeH Active Member

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    A Marlin 1895 is on my shortlist but just has not been practical up to this point. One day, though. One day...
     
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  8. cold1

    cold1 Member Supporting Member

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    Michael, thank for such a thorough response to my questions. The pic of the cast that went though the elephant skull was very eye opening. The erosion of the nose of that bullet was amazing and put a lot into perspective.

    I will reread your post some more and I'm sure I will have more questions.
     
  9. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Cold1........Yes, we have done a lot of cast bullet tests, and looked at cast from many different angles....... From my point, in some cases, they just are not capable of doing what I needed. But at that time, its what we had. Today, different story, we have some extremely excellent choices at hand.

    As good as many of us like the 45/70, including me, never make the mistake that you can turn it into a 458 Winchester. You simply cannot, it has its limitations like many cartridges. One is the Platform, or rifle. Lever guns are funny, you have some lever guns that will handle a lot of pressure. More than most of you know. You have seen the guy that talks about running 400s at 2000 fps and so forth, or just extreme velocities. Well, it may be true, but it is also way way over pressure of what a Marlin 45/70 can handle, and at some point will fail. You can safely take most Marlins to 45000 PSI. This comes to 1800-1850 fps with most 400s. Those loads I used above are way over pressure, at 52000 PSI. I was over pressure, and running bullet faster than I should have for terminal performance. Some levers will take it for a short time, and show no physical signs of pressures, in the case, primer, and gun. Others will lock up tight at anything over 45000 PSI. I feel like 1886s can be pushed a little harder, maybe to or around 50000 PSI.

    January 2005 was the last time I took a 45/70 to the field. We had a Bison "Shoot", not hunt, but shoot, in South Dakota. I took two rifles, a Uberti 1885 in 45/70 that I was partial to, and had taken to Alaska some years before and took moose and wolf. I always preferred the 1885 to the Sharps, and taking a Single Shot for Bison just seemed appropriate. But I also took along one of the Hi Grade 1886 Winchesters. And, again at this time, I was using a Cast Bullet from a place called North Star. These bullets were perfect expanding bullets, I had no expectations of them in this case as a "Solid", like we spoke about above, these expanded nicely, like a premium trauma inflicting bullet. I had slowed things down a bit, these were doing a bit over 1800 fps.

    It was cold, I mean, real cold. The Air Temp was -33 F. The Wind Chill was -50. It was cold. I am not going to lie and say this was some big hunt, walked for miles nor any of that crap, this was a shoot. Pull up in the truck, herd of bison 50 yards or so away, get out the truck, and go to work. I had two that I was going to shoot, both big bulls. I decided to use the 1886 Lever gun first. Loaded the tube full, and stepped out. The big bull stood off broadside maybe 30 yards or so, and then took off running, I shot, the bullet hit a bit too far back, he turned, I shot again, this one caught him just behind the shoulder and off we go. It was a decent running gun battle there for a few shots, but I did not let him get far. That lever gun was fast, and was having big fun unloading it on him! He goes down. Big fun. These guys were not used to someone shooting so much. Normal, 1 shot, wait and see. Not me, I shoot until the problem is solved, and that bison was still moving, so I shoot. I don't exactly recall, but I unloaded the gun on him and I might have even reloaded and hit him a time or two more. Hell, I came to shoot, not save ammo!

    Photo time! So we roll this one up for the photos, Did I mention it was COLD. Fingers could not operate the camera. Jaun, my wife, she was trying to get photos, and the guide as well. But it was a chore. Now Jaun and I are behind the bison, guide taking photos, rifle in the front leaning against the bison. Now photos had been taken already, rolled around messing with this thing, so he was DEAD. For a long time DEAD. Now we are behind the animal, rifle in front, and the damn thing starts breathing...... AGAIN.... Cold air blowing out the nose, chest heaving. We jump back, I race around grab the rifle, when everyone is clear I hit him again, point blank in the heart, he rolls over DEAD now, for the SECOND TIME.... HEH HEH..... Little excitement there for a second or two......... We finish up the photos, and start looking for the second one........

    [​IMG]

    The second one was even more fun. I shot him as well on the run, and then again, and he took a nose dive...... They got a couple of photos of that....... In the end he only took 3 rounds, and he seemed to stay dead after that...........

    [​IMG]

    These cast bullets did exactly what I wanted them to do....... Worked great, for this application.............

    This was TEST WORK, done before the hunt here on the range..............

    [​IMG]


    And here is three of the bullets recovered from the bisons.......

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Oh, and I totally FORGOT about my Single Shot Uberti, It never came out of the case nor fired a round. The 1886 did all the work here. I was having way too much fun with the lever gun...............
     
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  11. OldNascar

    OldNascar Active Member

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    Mike, what bullet were you shooting the bison's with?
     
  12. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    A small cast company way back in 2004-2005 North Star. Made a decent cast bullet. Not sure if they are still around or not......Don't remember where they were from?
     
  13. BBD280

    BBD280 God, Guns, and Guts

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    Only big bore I've ever had was a Marlin .444 but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about your adventures. Picked up the .444 for a song and let it go when someone had to have it. Only shot one deer with it.....no tracking needed.
     
  14. OldNascar

    OldNascar Active Member

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    The bullets in the picture show what a cast bullet can do when all goes well. I dare say the alloy was in the wheel weight range and at the speeds you were running they held together admirably. Glad to see you're using the 1886, one heck of a well designed rifle.
     
  15. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Yes, I imagine you are correct Dale on your assessment of the cast bullets. That would have been the last time I ever took cast to the field. Most likely still have many of those bullets left here somewhere.......

    I took that same carbine 1886, and whacked that barrel down to proper length of 18 inches. Added a NECG Barrel band front sight to it and I believe NECG rear adjustable. It is now Guide Gun length, and says Winchester on it, looks rather classy. I can't find a photo of that gun? I also have one of those hi grade silver receiver guns as well, but I have not messed with it much at all............

    Most of my 45/70 days are over now.
     
  16. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Thank you.
     
  17. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    You got a gun, nothing to worry about. Just leave immediately if you have to use it. I miss the days, before 2005, when you left the airport at J'Burg, got to your vehicle, strap on your handgun, concealed, and go about your business.....
    I carried a few times a 2 inch Taurus in 45 Colt. Most of the rest of the time I had a Kimber Ultra 45 ACP. The laws changed in RSA and after that I carried a 16 inch Win M94 in 45 Colt........ That was pretty handy too.......
     
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  18. Pbj ak

    Pbj ak B Supporting Member

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    Nothing really anything to add except that I’d like to pick up a 4570 in the near future. If I could have half as much fun as you I do believe it’d be well worth it. Really enjoy hearing your stories 458.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  19. Crazy Carl

    Crazy Carl seriously? Life Member

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    I hate I missed South Africa before things started rapidly accelerating downhill. Spent a lot of time in west, central & east Africa between '02 & '08 in the Army, working out of Embassies & dealing with host nation government officials & various NGOs, carrying out "military information support operations favorable to US national interests". The rapidity with which those countries can go completely sideways is just frightening & I don't like the idea of having to fight/survive my way to the Embassy & hope it's not overrun before the NEO troops arrive. And, the official corruption is as disgusting as the DoS incompetence is frightening.

    I've had co-workers who watched a .gov vs. rebels tank battle from the roof of their hotel in N'Djamena, Tchad & another who had E&E his way across Nouakchott, Mauritania in the middle of a coup. 2 weeks after I pulled my team out of Tchad, the rebels overran N'Djamena & breached the Embassy. IF there hadn't been some Navy snake-eatin' types still in town & IF there hadn't been a French Foreign Legion base nearby, it could've gotten very ugly for the AmCits in the area. The Belgians I worked with in Kenya had horrifying stories about the treatment of their countrymen in Rwanda & everywhere I went, if you were white, you had a bullseye painted on you. In Tchad, we had intel that Americans were being actively targeted & had pretty severe movement & security measures in place. Just not a place I wanna be when things get janky.

    Shame, really. Such natural beauty there, so rich in resources & so many tasty, tasty critters to eat & their corrupt governments hell bent on bleeding their countries dry, while filling their Swiss bank accounts.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2019
  20. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    South Africa has its ups and downs, but even today I don't think it has degenerated to the point of some of the places you mention. My Wife is South African. So we get news of there every week. While in some areas its not great, mostly crime and such. Be concerned everywhere you go, but I would jump on and go if need to be several various Southern African countries without too much worry. They are more concerned about fighting each other. Being retired from the hunting now, we have not been a couple of years, and today I hate, absolutely despise travel to anywhere.

    I mentioned carrying a little lever gun, for many things, one to have around in the truck when we were traveling across country. It was comforting to have with 8 rounds down the tube. Handy, short, and fast. But also in addition I used it as a camp gun as well. Once again, short, handy and fast. I had it in Tanzania in 2005 and used it a few times on various species. I had the caliber, but I did not have the velocity needed to be much of a slammer. I had basically two loads, a 250 gr Gold Dot at a bit over 1400 fps.... this was for Zombies and such. Worked great at that velocity, but for game animals I wanted a little more penetration. Using a 335 Cast Performance,,,, these were the solids of the day for 45 Colt, at 1530 fps, and 48000 PSI (Pressure tests done 2014)..... I was running HOT for sure. I shot a few things with that Cast load, hartebeest being the largest, animal that comes in at maybe close to 250 lbs. Not a tremendous amount of reaction, hole in, hole out, run for 50+ yards and pile up. I was way more used to larger caliber being slam dunk. Not so........ 1500 fps did not cut it for that duty. Even baboon were not that impressed with it.....

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Still it was handy to have around..... But trips after this I was carrying a little more gun, little more bullet, for that double duty use, Camp gun, and a little more effective in the field. Today, we also have a new generation of bullets, and these I am sure would have made the 45 Colt far more effective than it was back then............Both in depth of penetration for special requirements, and trauma infliction without sacrifice of too much penetration.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And for Zombies and such, this would have been devastating.............

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Bullets make all the difference in the world, especially with a cartridge that comes up short in some areas...................... These tests are done in Wet Print.......... Penetration is deeper in animal tissue.
    For Solids you can add 30-35% deeper penetration in animal tissue, for conventional expanding bullets 60-70% deeper penetration and for NonConventional from 80-100% deeper penetration. As a
    rule of thumb mind you, bone changes those values, except with the Solids in most cases.
     
  21. MacEntyre

    MacEntyre Shoot on Sight! Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I need some of those 45 Colt bullets!
     
  22. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    In early 2006 we received the first 50 B&M bolt gun. I had already moved forward with a .500 caliber version for the lever guns, by simply taking a regular 50 Alaskan case down from .510 caliber to .500 caliber, we have the 50 B&M Alaskan. The B&M version being true .500 caliber. First rifle was a Marlin Guide Gun followed closely by one of the Hi Grade Browning M71s in 348 Winchester. Both platforms were suitable for the conversions. There are many advantages to .500 over .510, even back then. A great many good choices of bullets were available for 500 S&W and at the velocities the lever guns could work at, these bullets were very suitable for the rifle as well. .510 caliber choices for lever guns were limited, and still somewhat limited today. The first rifle was shooting in March 2007. Data was collected on a few bullets, namely the 500 Hornady FN and the Sierra 400 FN.... Perfect choices for expanding bullets. Not for buffalo mind you, but good enough for most any thin skinned game. Once I more or less got some data with a few of these type bullets, I put the lever guns on the back burner for some time............ I put tremendous amounts of effort into the bolt guns for a couple of years or more. It was only around 2011 when Layne Simpson got interested in the 50 B&M AK before I got back to serious work on the lever guns, actually doing pressures and new bullets and what have you............

    A couple of Marlins done in 50 B&M AK..............

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    Here is one of the M71s at the top, Marlin Guide in the Middle, and my favorite Marlin, the pistol grip version on the bottom..... BTW, that 500 gr Hornady at 2000 is stretching the Pressure limits of the Marlins a good bit, you can approach that with the M71, but even then its going a little high. This was some early work, without pressure data. That load worked in the M71s and the Guide Gun in the middle, no issues. Same load in that pistol grip version would lock it up tight. So pressures were dropped for the Marlins to 45000 PSI, which is at or around 1850 fps with the 500s.................

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    This pistol grip version turned out to be a favorite rifle of mine. It was used in the first article Layne did on the guns. It was also the BenchMark Rifle for pressure data. Pressures at 45000 PSI and this rifle were spot on the money, you knew you were approaching max pressure, as the gun would talk to you.........

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  23. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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  24. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Layne Simpson become a huge fan of the 50 B&M AK after he did that first article. So much so, he had his own rifle built. He and I differed a bit on barrel length, he wanted a musket at 22 inches as I recall, and of course all mine
    are 18 inches. Over the years and doing some load data together, we found only a few powders that would work some better in 22 inches and give a little ballistic advantage, but to my mind, not enough to justify the MUSKET...... I will take the short and fast handling over the tiny bit of velocity gained, and that is not with just any powder, only a few......

    Here is Laynes Rifle.........

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  25. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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  26. MacEntyre

    MacEntyre Shoot on Sight! Charter Member Supporting Member

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  27. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    HEH HEH........... Hey, no one is getting my bulllets, and they ain't for sell! LOL...................
     
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  28. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Dan listed me as a Dealer in the beginning........But I have never stocked or sold bullets.... I buy more and shoot more than most dealers however.... And because of the development work, I actually buy at 10% or so under Dealer, but all of that is for my own personal use....... I load a lot.......and do a lot of research..........

    If you want the bullets, just call up Nikki at CEB, or send an email..... I always just send an email. Recently I bought 2500 of the 100 Flat Base 308 Raptors..... they are incredible bullets, designed for 300 BLK and 308 Win, but they are absolutely wicked in anything .308 caliber. Including 30/30..... 300 Winchester....... I ran out of the first order of 4000........ That is how good they are........
     
  29. degenerateJEFF

    degenerateJEFF World's Okayest Shooter Life Member

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    20190109_160747.jpg
    Hoping to take both of these on a bear hunt soon! Maybe one a few years before the other. 500 S&W with a new revolver to pair with it on the way!

    Edit: P.S. awesome hunting stories!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
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  30. degenerateJEFF

    degenerateJEFF World's Okayest Shooter Life Member

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  31. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Jeff...... Is that one of the Big Horn Armory guns?
     
  32. degenerateJEFF

    degenerateJEFF World's Okayest Shooter Life Member

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    Yes it is
     
  33. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    The fellow at Big Horn contacted me about 18 months to two years before he got his receiver ready. He was naturally interested in the 50 B&M Alaskan and Liked it, nearly to the point of having one done. Hornady had just made some 400 gr Flat Nose Softs for him, in anticipation of getting the lever gun receiver ready. He asked if I would test a few for him at rifle velocity to which I said sure send a few. He sent over a 100 bullets! I still have most of them. I forgot his name, but he was a damn nice fellow, and from talking to him I could tell the gun was going to be "RIGHT" before he put it out. From what I have heard about them they are very nice, and they are RIGHT. They were delayed a good bit, and I thin that was him making sure things were like they were supposed to be.
     
  34. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Jeff....... What are you shooting in that thing? Loading?
     
  35. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Between the years 2006 and up to 2013 my 50 B&M Alaskans had taken a back seat to the bolt guns when it comes to field work. Along with the bolt guns, we had designed some awesome bullets for the lever guns however. Both from
    Cutting Edge and from North Fork. From North Fork John and I had worked on a Soft Premium. The first one at 450 grains, and right expensive to get all the tooling made to make it. Definitely the most expensive bullet we did. A great thing however, John told me that we could take the same tooling, and make the same bullet, but at 400 Grains, and we did a batch of those too, which is probably more versatile than the 450s. Both of these can be used in the other .500 rifles too, namely the other bolt guns........ I already had a couple of Lever Solids from CEB, so John and I did not mess with North Fork Solids, the nose projection has to be shortened on the solids so that they can be seated deep enough to work in the actions........

    From Cutting Edge we had a Matching set, 405 Solid and 365 Raptor, and 375 Solid and 335 Raptor. In 2013 I decided it was time to take the Lever Gun out to play....... We had a big agenda planned that year, first we hit South Africa and some plains game, and in a couple of weeks we were going up to Gache Gache in Zimbabwe. I had two rifles, the Hi Grade M71 in 50 B&M Alaskan with plenty of 405 #13 Solids at 2120 fps, and matching 365 Raptors at close to 2200 fps. I was pushing these pretty hard, well over 45000 PSI. Never tested them, but the M71 handled a little more than the Marlins, and handled the loads easy. I also had my favorite Win M70 18 inch 458 B&M along for the ride too. The main goal for the Lever gun was Cape Buffalo in Zimbabwe.......

    But while messing around in South Africa I had it out a few times as well..........While out doing some walking one day, I had the 50 B&M AK when this warthog made a wrong turn and got too close…… At least I think it was a warthog, with that Ivory it might have been a baby elephant??? HEH……

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    I hated that damn sight that was on the rifle, but a M71 is hard to outfit with sights. This thing was some sort of Dot thing, with a circle, and some crosshairs as well...... I was having a hell of a time with sights that year and seeing things. I had not yet discovered GREEN, and RED was giving me fits. In thick brush, I could not see crap with this thing....... In the open and close, it worked good, like it should. I tried forward mount scopes, and of course they worked great, but those scopes have NO FIELD OF VIEW worth a damn. So in close quarters with DG, they are not good...... I could not see open sights good enough to use, and smaller Red Dots were not working for me........ Not only all that, but that thing was UGLY on my damn gun............

    The brush was so thick in most the areas we were hunting the Lever gun did not see a lot of use there, but the 458 B&M got a workout, because I was testing the new 250 gr Cutting Edge Bullets that Dan and I had worked on for 458, but that is another story...........

    When we got up to Zimbabwe, the Lever Gun went to work........... I think either the day we arrived in Camp, or the next day at the most, we got a report of a group of hippo taking a nap on the shore of the lake..... Lake Kariba. We were on the far western end of the Kariba at Gache Gache. We decided to check them out to see if a good bull was in the mix. I took the Lever gun full of 405 solids.............Andrew, my long time friend and PH, and I did a crawling sneak up to where the hippo were napping. Watched for a bit and decided there was a good bull there. But I was not into shooting sleeping critters, so we decided to stand up and see what happened. They come up and all hell broke loose at 15 yards, I started working the lever gun on the bull until it was empty. That thing is fast! The bull made it to the edge of the water but that was it........The 405 Solid had done a wonderful job giving deep penetration and crunching through everything in its path. I was running it at 2120 fps. In the neighborhood of 5 feet of penetration or better……

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    The hippo was a great experience for the 50 B&M Alaskan, but I really had not planned on that. The Primary Mission that I had for the 50 B&M AK was the mighty “Cape Buffalo”………… No better challenge exists for any rifle, cartridge or bullet, than buffalo! Buffalo is the ULTIMATE TEST SUBJECT……… It takes a hell of a lot to impress ole buff!

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    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
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  36. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    [​IMG]

    After the above photo I thinned those blades down, the NonCon as it was called then, went to 365 grains, and become the Lever Raptor..................
     
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  37. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Hunting and working around Lake Kariba one always had to be on the lookout for other distractions..........

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  38. degenerateJEFF

    degenerateJEFF World's Okayest Shooter Life Member

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    Right now I load 500 grain Hornady in it. That was getting expensive so my next batch will be the 440 grain gas checked flat nose from Matt's bullets, already have 250 on standby once the Hornady is used up. They've got a very wide selection of different bullets for the 500.

    The way I see it, you can't shoot .500 without learning to load!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2019
  39. degenerateJEFF

    degenerateJEFF World's Okayest Shooter Life Member

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    It is truly a quality gun. They absolutely got it right.
     
  40. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    The 500 Hornady is one of my favorite Conventional off the shelf .500 caliber bullets. I have tested it at several different velocities, up to and a tad over 2000 fps down to 1200 fps and it works, and holds together. In 2006 I took it on a trail run in South Africa with the first 50 B&M prototype, using only conventional bullets. The 500 Hornady really showed off at a mere 1850 fps. I took giraffe, and it hammered him, far far better than giraffe that I had taken with 45/70 and big cast bullets. He quivered and could not take a step before falling over. I took several zebra, wildebeest and even eland with it, and it hammered them in the dirt. Another good one is the 400 Sierra at or around 2000 fps, it does very well......... There are many good conventional bullets in .500 to work with.

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    These are great thin skinned game bullets when kept to proper velocities.... If you exceed the above velocities you may run into the bullets coming apart. Somewhat less velocity both will penetrate deeper, but less trauma inflicted.

    This was tested in wet print, you can add as a rule of thumb 70% more penetration in animal tissue....... with conventional expanding bullets............