Yes, I am neglecting a number of other projects so I can play with… I mean work with, the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express rifle and the 416 Remington Mag cartridge combination. There are bullets to fly, recoil to absorb and paper targets to stop in mid charge. It has been a choice between enjoying myself or dutifully posting one more poly framed, 9mm autoloader on Facebook.
The six bullets selected were to underscore the diversity in bullet types available in 0.416″, however, there are many more. Twenty-seven bullets in general production, ranging in weight from 350 grains to 450 grain, expanding and solids, lead cores and monoliths. As a general rule, if the bullet it a spitzer or protected point type, it is made to be shot at a distance. If the bullet is solid or fully jacketed and it has a rounded or flat nose, it is made to penetrate. If there is exposed lead or it is a hollow nose monolith, it will expand in a controlled fashion. The lighter the bullet, the more fragile the jacket, the lighter and thin skinned the game.
The Speer bullet is recommended for use on North American game and typically in a moderate load. The Barnes Banded Solid is intended for big and dangerous game, cape buffalo and elephant. The Hawk bullets feature a tough but malleable copper jacket that will expand without fragmenting. The Barnes X is the precursor to the Triple Shock and rated for cape buffalo. The copper clad steel over lead Hornady solid is strictly an African big and dangerous game bullet, however, they also have 400 grain soft points that Hornady recommends for Alaskan Moose and big bear.
The 416 Remington is like most other big bore cartridges. For someone who does not mind carrying the weight of the firearm and bearing the cost of handloaded ammunition, the round is very flexible. It can be loaded very lightly for deer and elk and then pushed up the scale for the largest and most dangerous game. For a big round and heavy bullet weight, the 416 Remington is also a flat shooting cartridge.
The journey to improvement is a long ride on a pantomime horse…
I had big plans for the 416 Remington Magnum and its sidekick the Winchester Model 70 Safari Express. I noodled through more recently released powder, worked up charges carefully and, basically got nowhere. My initial inclination was to load Re 17 and Winchester 760. Case full loads, some compressed, powders that have recently worked very well for me… but not this time. Both powders generated low velocity with max full cases and really erratic velocity.
Some of the factory manual loads ran hot, to the extent I deemed them unsafe. Some mainstream manuals listed charges that actually would not fit in a once fired and unsized case, With handloading, everything is reference and needs to be sorted and validated. Big bore bullets do not fit every cartridge application. A bullet with a cannelure that is intended to fit a 416 Rigby may not line up for the Ruger or Remington 0.416″ version and cartridges intended for the 416 Remington Magnum need to be tightly crimped. Below, RCBS FL Sizer, Seater and Lee Precision Factory Crimp die.
Based on the 375 H&H case, reloading does for the 416 Remington Magnum cost no more than any other belted magnum set. For a few bucks, the Lee Precision crimp die does an excellent job, even where no cannelure is present, as was the case of the Hawk Bullets. That said, for folks who want a factory bullet with a cannelure, they can be specified when orders are placed with Hawk Precision.
RCBS dies are supplied with two seater plugs, one for round nose bullets, the other for spire tips. using the correct plug will prevent the handloader from looking like a rookie with cut rings on bullet ogives.
The Barnes bullet cannelure did not fall correctly to make the spec overall cartridge length. Seated out an additional 0.020″ there was still adequate magazine well clearance and leade clearance for proper function so they were left as manufactured.
Cannelures were added to Hawk bullets, but the Lee factory crimp seemed to do the job in the unaltered soft copper jackets so they were also left as received.
New Hornady, made in U.S. brass was used for all handloads. As is the case with virtually all new brass, case mouths were a bit deformed and the case mouths a little ragged, but it only took a few minutes to size and clean up all of the brass. Below, L-R in table appearance order.
The Winchester Model 70 Safari Express Rifle was shot in two ways; from a bench sled with 40 lbs of shot containing most of the rifle’s recoil and from a standing position with the old guy behind the recoil pad. The Winchester in 416 Rem Mag shoots with… conviction. Considerably more than the same rifle chambered in 375 H&H. It is an accurate big bore, even at a distance. The Trail Boss loads had virtually no recoil, so they were a lot of fun to shoot. Shot with both metallic sights and a scope, it was a good shooting rifle.
The safety and floorplate release were positive control, smooth in actuation and positive in position. The bolt movement was slick; no big bump when the bolt picks up a cartridges as is the case with the big CZ 550 action. There were no problems chambering a round or ejecting. The Winchester Model 70 Safari Express Rifle is an excellent big magnum and at a very competitive price.