Monday, June 05, 2006

Boomsticks: My first big bore rifle.

Well, that's not strictly true; I have a couple of rifles with 11mm bores, a 10.4mm, and a .577-450, but those are all black powder cartridge guns. The .405 Winchester T/C Encore is, however, my first big-bore smokeless cartridge rifle.

First released in 1904, the .405 Winchester was designed for, and remains romantically tied to, the Winchester Model 1895 lever-action rifle. Despite a moment of glory in Teddy Roosevelt's African adventures, the cartridge never really caught on with American shooters. Punishing recoil in the old-fashioned '95 with its crescent butt plate, plus a rainbow trajectory, meant that it just wasn't the gun for North American big game hunting.

With the re-introduction of the 1895, the .405 Win came back in a wave of nostalgia, currently being loaded by Hornady in both a 300gr softpoint and a 300gr Interlock spire-point (shown at right with a .223, a .308, and a .30-'06 for scale.) The Hornady load throws the 300gr .411" bullet at 2200 feet per second, which gives a satifying 3,220 ft-lb thump. Though a little short on sectional density for elephants, rhinos, and Cape Buff, it's still an ideal stopper on hogs and black bear, which I'm far more likely to have the chance to actually get to hunt here in Tennessee. If Jumbo escapes from the zoo, I'll just need to get a .416 Rigby barrel for the Encore. :)


phlegmfatale said...

Your writing is so masterful and informative that some major publication should be paying for your services and sharing same with the masses.

Anonymous said...

If Jumbo escapes in my area, I'll probably get splattered whilst happily contemplating whether to use a cast 405 grainer at 1900 fps in my .45/70, or a cast 280 grain roundnose at 2500 in my .35 Whelen M98 (a la Paco Kelly).


Pawpaw said...

WDM Bell was asked on his deathbed, if he had it to do all over again, which caliber he would pick for elephant. He picked the .308 Win.

Anonymous said...

Tam, IIRC the 405 Win in an Encore or Ruger No. 1 can be loaded safely to same approx ballistics as the 450/400 NE.

Steve Bodio said...

Synchronicity-- I have a "new" M95 in .405 coming in-- today?-- and will doubtless blog it.

John Barsness did a good article on loads in Handloader for Dec- Jan 2005.

Steve Skubinna said...

I like .45-70. Just bought a hundred rounds of Buffalo Bore 430 grain, 1900 FPS. Pretty good for a bullet one and a quarter centuries old, that made the transition from black powder. Any grizzlies come round here trying to start something, they're going to regret it.

Anyway, I have a Marlin 1895G and am looking for a Ruger No. 1 in .45-70 as well. That one will be for when the bears are over a hundred yards away.

Anonymous said...

I just bought a 416 Rigby barrel for my Thompson Center Encore. I have several big bore barrels to include the 50 Alaskan, 375 H&H, 405 Winchester, 500 S&W and 454 Casull. I recently shot some 700 grain WFNGC cast bullets from the 500 S&W and some 725 grain WFNGC bullets from the 50 Alaskan.

KDM Custom Bullets

Anonymous said...

Hi Tamara K:

Here is very recent video of a 1905 405 Winchester, making noise for first time in at least 65 years ...

Used for Moose hunting in 30's & 40's by my great uncle, and (I'm pretty sure) for big horn sheep in Alberta, Canada by HIS uncle prior.

mucho fun to shoot (and just the thing for aerating pond water).

Thank you Hornady for bringing back this cartridge!

Unknown said...

I own a ruger no. 1 in 405 Win and have come to love this rife. Initially, I found the recoil made me howl like a little girl (more significant than my 375 H & H) but I adjusted. Fun, Fun, Fun to shoot and hunt with. Reloading with cast bullets makes it cheap enough to carry on the trap line. Just the ticket for elk, moose, bear and deer in the brush. I feel comfortable with it to 300 yards regardless of bullet drop. To mirror another ocmment, Thank you Hornady for bringing this cartridge back.

Anonymous said...

.405 Win is the real big game medicine.
read:"Nine man eaters and on rogue"by Kenneth Anderson.
It is a real proof for the potential of .405