BIG GAME CARTRIDGES

 

Bigbores for the big stuff: Despite its smaller powder capacity, the .458 Winchester Magnum (center) can hold its own as a dangerous-game cartridge against the .470 Nitro Express (left) and .458 Lott (right).

 

 .416 REMINGTON, .416 DAKOTA, .416 RIGBY, .416 WEATHERBY: The Remington, Dakota, and Rigby cartridges all employ 400-grain bullets at around 2400 fps and are the standout choices for someone who is looking for a big rifle but doesnít want to get killed by recoil. The Weatherby is in a different category with 300 fps more muzzle velocity, and itís a real handful. However, there is no argument about its effectiveness.

.458 WINCHESTER, .458 DAKOTA, .458 LOTT, .460 WEATHERBY: By far the most popular big bore around is the .458 Winchester, even though it is often knocked for being underloadedóa 510-grain bullet at a real-world velocity of 1900 fps or so. However, Iíve shot critters ranging from zebra to hippo to buffalo with it, and none of them seemed to have any complaints.

The .458 Dakota and .458 Lott are a distinct step up, shooting the same bullets but at 2300 to 2400 fps. They kick harder and from what I have seen are distinctly more effective than the .458 Win. The buffalo I shot with my Lott was literally slammed to the ground, with all the fight knocked out of him. I found this very encouraging.

Like the other three cartridges, the .460 Weatherby has a .458 bore, but itís in a class by itself because it shoots 510-grain bullets at 2700 fps. Itís a brutal rifle, manageable by only the most experienced shooters, and Iíve been told by more than one professional hunter that itís what you carry when you want something to go down right now. John Knowles, a PH with whom I hunted in Zambia in 1981, once had to shoot a buffalo from the hip with his .460 because there was no time to bring the rifle to his shoulder. The beast died drooling blood on his shoes.

The standard big game cartridges L - R .500 Nitro Express, .470 Nitro Express, .458 Lott, .458 Winchester.

 

(Currently available big game cartridges are highlighted in Red)           (Available through Dakota Arms highlighted in Purple)

CARTRIDGE

CAL

COMMENTS

Length

Diam

Lym/RCBS/Lee /VALUE

9.3 x 62mm Mauser

366

Non Dangerous Big Game. Intro 1905

3.291

473

 

9.3 x 74R 366 Non Dangerous Big Game. Intro 1900 3.720 526  
43 Mauser -11.15 x 60R 446 Intro 1871 3.070 590  
9.3 x 64 Brenneke 366 Big Game. Factory Ammo available from RWS. Intro 1930 3.370 496  

 

 

 

 

 

 

375 Winchester

375

Low power, not really for big game. Smaller than H&H. Intro 1978

2.560

506

6/2/3   £1

376 Styre 375        
9.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer   Introduced 1903. One of the great big game cartridges.      
400/375 H&H   Introduced 1905 in competition with the 9.5 Man Schoenauer. First belted cartridge.     13/4/5
9.3x62 Mauser in 1905   Introduced in 1905 and virtually buried the .400/375. Higher bullet velocity.     £3
375 H&H Magnum 375 Big Game Ė Introduced 1912. Suitable for all African game. Still the most commonly available big game cartridge  3.600 532 13/4/5   £2
375 JRS 375        
           
375 Weatherby Mag 375 Reintroduced in 2001 by Weatherby. 200fps faster than the 375 H&H      
375 Asquare 375        
375 Dakota Mag 375 Based on 404 Jeffery      
375 Rem Ultra Mag 375 25% more capacity than 375 H&H & 300 fps increase 3.600 532 £3
378 Weatherby Mag 375 Most powerful & largest of the 375. Necked down Rigby 416. Heavy recoil. 34% more energy than the 375 H&H. Introduced 1953 3.655 579  
404 Jeffery   Historic old timer     £6
404 Dakota Mag   Based on 404 Jeffery      
450/400 Nitro Express   3.00 inch Ė Popular up until the 2nd WW with double barrel guns      
450/400 Nitro Express   3.25 inch      
400 Pondoro 10mm        
405 Winchester          
416 Taylor   Introduced 1976 3.325 532  
416 Rigby   Big Game. Introduced 1911. Still very popular 3.750 590 17/37/-   £5
416 Rimmed          
416 Hoffman          
416 Remington Mag 416 Big Game.  Descendant of the 375 H&H. Made to compete with the 416 Rigby using smaller cartridge. Same power as Rigby but overheating problems. Introduced 1988 3.600 532 13/-/-   £2
416 Dakota Mag   Big Game. Descendent of the 404 Jeffery      
416 Weatherby Mag   Uses 416 Rigby case with belt and higher chamber pressure. Adds 300 fps to Rigby 416. Intro 1989 3.750 579 17/-/-
416 Gerlach          
404 Jeffery     3.530   £5
425 Express          
450 Ackley 458        
450 Assegai          
450 Watts 458 Big Game. Necked up 375 H&H.      
450 Nitro Express   One of the greatest big game cartridges. Introduced 1897.      
450 Dakota   Based on 416 Rigby      
458 Lott   Big Game. Similar to 450 Watt. Sold by Dakota, Ruger, CZ      
458 Winchester Mag   Big Game. Descendant of the 375 H&H. Intro 1956. Popular for the largest game. 3.340 532 13/4/5   £2
460 Short Asquare          
460 Weatherby Mag 458 Intro 1958. Similar case capacity to the 416 Rigby. The most powerful. Necked up 378 Weatherby. Heavy recoil. 50% more power than 458 Win 3.750 603 17/14/-
500/465 Nitro Express          
470 Rigby   Introduced 1907.      
470 Nitro Express 474 Sold by Federal. Old style. Usually for double barrel guns 3.980   £5
470 Capstick          
475 #2 Nitro Express          
475 # Jeffery          
505 Gibbs          
500 Nitro Express   Big Game Ė 3 inch & 3.25 inch      
500 Jeffery          
495 A-Square          
500 A-Square          
577 Nitro Express          
577 Tyrannosaur 585        
585 Nyati 585 The most powerful after the 50 BMG (modified 577 NE) 3.525    
600 Nitro Express     3.680    
50 BMG 510 Intro 1918 Ė The most powerful commercially available. 5.450 804 £2
700 Nitro Express 700 Intro 1988 for H&H Doubles. Very rare. 4.200   £50

 

 

 

Plywood Penetration Test Results

Cartridge

Plywood Penetration

Bullet Weight

Velocity
in Ft. per sec.

Sectional Density

Momentum

Energy

470 Nitro Express

57

500 grains

2150

.317

153.6

5133

505 Gibbs

60

525 grains

2300

.288

172.5

6168

500 Jeffery

62

525 grains

2400

.288

180

6716

500 Nitro Express

62

600 grains

2150

.330

184.3

6160

458 Winchester/
450 Nitro Express

66

500 grains

2150

.341

153.6

5133

416 Rigby

71.5

400 grains

2400

.330

137.1

5117

470 Mbogo

72

500 grains

2500

.317

178.6

6941

500 A-Square

73

600 grains

2400

.330

205.7

7676

470 Mbogo (Woodleigh Solid)

90

500 grains

2500

.317

178.6

6941

450 Ackley (Hornady)

92

500 grains

2400

.341

171.4

6397

Developed in 1988 for a limited number of Holland and Holland double rifles, but the production run of both rifle and cartridge was tiny. It has now made this one an exceptionally scarce round.  The size is awesome (see against .303 round which is pictured for scale only) and the round produced a staggering 8,900 foot pounds of muzzle energy when fired. Compare that against, say, a .303 which produces 2,500!