I spent a couple hours at the local range using cast loads in a 458 win & 45/70

Discussion in 'reloading/bullet casting' started by Grumpy, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. Grumpy

    Grumpy The Grumpy Grease Monkey mechanical engineer. Staff Member

    have you ever purchased a rifle to use for cast bullets, I guess we all have a different goal and way we select rifles we use, but in the last 45 plus years Ive hunted elk I tend to hunt the steep canyons and heavy timber, and shots over about 200 yards have been extremely rare, in fact 100 yard and under,range, shots are more like the average range Ive killed elk,thus Ive tended to prefer the 33-45 caliber rifles as extreme long range has never been a major factor.
    about 37 years ago
    I was standing in a local gun-shop when a guy walked in wanting to sell the owner several rifles , one of them was a remington 458 win mag,
    the owner saw me looking it over and I think knew he had a potential instant sale,
    on at least one rifle, and said too the guy that he would give the guy (X) amount for the four rifles,
    he had brought in to sell, and when the guy agreed, too the offer, he wrote him a check, for that amount, and after the guy left.
    I ask the gun-shop owner what he wanted for the 458 win mag,
    BOB the gun shop owner, was a good friend , he could have easily gotten $800 even back then, so he smiled and stated he had just paid $400 for that rifle, and knowing that I liked big bore rifles he would let me walk out with it for $450,
    (he knew in the long run it was good business sense)
    which was at that time still a very decent deal ,as a used remington custom 700 bdl easily cost several hundred more than that even back in the early 1980s, so I wrote him a check....knowing ID catch hell from the wife..... but I simply could not pass on a deal ID be very unlikely to see repeated. ( I figured if I showed her what they cost vs what ID paid it would at least minimize the fight intensity... she was not thrilled but we worked out a few personal compromises, favoring her future requests , and she was willing to accept the transaction. )
    BOB later told me one reason he purchased the group of rifles was he felt sure he could make a small profit on the transaction almost instantly, as he saw a twinkle in my eye looking at the rifle in question, and he was sure that he would make out on the others at the price he paid.
    you certainly not going too need a 458 lott or 458 win to hunt elk, but both rifles hand-loaded
    to hot 45/70 power levels, with cast bullets , in the 350grain-450 grain,range, make excellent thick timber elk rifles where range under 200 yards are the rule and a 400 grain bullet at perhaps 1800 fps-2200 fps make a very effective elk hunting rifle

    http://handloads.com/loaddata/default.asp?Caliber=458 Winchester Magnum&Weight=All&type=rifle&Order=Powder&Source=

    well this picture I found posted could be its twin!
    I quickly purchased reloading dies and found that the rifle was exceptionally accurate with reduced velocity hand loads.
    the nei, 355 grain bullet with a gas check sized to .459 over a load of 50 grains of RL7 and a 215 fed primer became my standard reduced load that has been used frequently on deer and hogs.
    I doubt the load hits 1500 fps but its deadly on deer and hogs out past 100 yards and its recoil is rather mild, its effectively a mid power 45/70 class load.
    off a good bench rest on a day I shoot well, a 2" 5 shot group at 100 yards, is very common with those gas check cast bullet reduced loads
    most of my groups were in the 2"-3" range,
    but I was just relaxing , not really concentrating and several guys saw me shooting and asked what caliber I had..
    when I showed them a 458 win, cartridge they seem amazed ,
    especially when the rifle obviously was not kicking the crap out of me ,
    off the bench rest.... BTW if your not into casting projectiles the 458 caliber is one of the potentially most common and frequently more accurate bore size available.
    I've always been one of the guys that can,t understand why ,
    if your seriously into shooting that you don,t see hand-loading as almost mandatory.
    after all with hand-loads you can custom tailor the bullet type, weight and velocity and in many cases increase accuracy and drastically reduce the cost of ammo.
    I can hand load ammo for the 458 win with hard cast gas check ammo for under 35 cents a shot,
    factory ammo costs a bit more,like $5 a cartridge,
    obviously the factory ammo's using full power loads with jacketed bullets, which is un-necessary for hunting deer/hogs or even elk
    the 45/70 marlin I used with both 405 remington jacketed bullets
    and 405 grain, gas check, hard cast gas check bullets both worked fine

    both 45 gains of RL7 and a load of 45 grains of IMR3031 with a 215 federal primer work great


    looking at the wounds ,the hard cast , cast from 95% WW alloy and 5% pure tin, punch deeper and so far always exit
    Ive used those on elk, the remington 405 soft point is devastating on deer and hogs
    , the remington soft point jacketed, expand a bit faster,

    my remington 700 458 win bolt action, looks very similar to this picture I found posted
    Ive generally used the same bullets but changed te powder charge to 50 grains IMR 3031, or varget with a 215 federal primer, all those are accurate but not near peak pressure












    with mild hand loads you get more than 10-12 loads out of a brass case before to wears out (more if you learn to anneal brass)





    how can you even think its not worth reloading for the 458 win?




    at $6-$12 dollars PER cartridge for factory 458 win ammo
    lets say you want to stock up just 300 factory loaded cartridges at the minimum cost of $6 each, thats $1800

    DIES $48


    $367 for brass

    roughly $8 for 300 primers

    theres dozens of options in bullet molds for under $100
    figure on gas checks costing you under $20 for 300
    figure powder costing under $100, at $31 a pound , theres several well matched powders
    WW748, RL7, IMR3031

    rough cost $600 or 1 third the cost, up front, and less than 1/5th the cost for the next 1800 shots, obviously we all make judgement calls on how to spend our own, spare time and income, but Id bet I'm not alone in thinking that saving $1200-$1500 dollars casting bullets and reloading ammo over a few years time, on just that single rifle alone is worth their time and effort, especially when the same powder, cast bullets,gas checks, primers, also work well in a 45/70, 458 LOTT, or 450 marlin
    the absurdity in owning a 458 win or 458 LOTT, here in the lower 48 states, would be related to shooting dozens of full power loads that cost $6-$12 each, once you that the effort to reload too a much more comfortable recoil level and find a very accurate load matching your rifle, and reduce the cost to well under 70 cents a shot (easily done) using cast bullets that can be every bit as accurate as the factory ammo,many people see the ownership of a big bore rifle differently, it puts owning and using a 458 win or 458 LOTT, rifle in a whole lot more user and wallet friendly role, in your list of rifles, you grab going to the range or out hunting. yes the rifles do tend to be a bit heavy , but two of my friends have used 458 win rifles with reduced cast bullet loads successfully on Elk and one guy prefers a mild load with a 355 grain cast bullet at about 1400 fps for hogs and deer here in Florida.
    while I'd agree that few people would want to use full power factory ammo all that often, the 458 win and 458 Lott can rather easily be used at reduced power levels


    it should not take a genius too understand that in a repeater like a marlin or BLR the over all cartridge length must be close to a standard designed length to function reliably regardless of the projectile weight, selected, thus longer projectiles will extend a great deal deeper into the case taking up valuable propellant space, the trade-off tends to make it very difficult in the limited case capacity of the 45/70 and 450 marlin. too efficiently push bullets much over about 430 grains to velocities, at the safe limits in pressure, that provide both reasonably flat trajectory and high retained energy
    I own a 458 lott cz, once I lapped in the bolt lugs it was glass smooth and very accurate, I use mostly hard cast gas check bullets sized .459
    keep in mind shorter and lighter weight gas check bullets can be very accurate at low and medium velocities, longer bullets tend to need to be pushed faster before they become as accurate from my experience.
    buy several different height,front site blades (EASILY SWAPPED) as different weights tend to require different blade height if you use the iron sights at 100 yard targets,
    the 405 remington jacketed bullet expands well at 1800 fps-1900 fps easily reached with reduced velocity lower pressure level, loads in the 458 win and 458 lott. and hotter handloads in the 450 marlin blr
    obviously no deer or elk will walk from a well placed hit from any of the three in that power range and certainly the case head stamp is not critical, it its lethality.
    the two larger cases handle the 450-500 grain hard cast gas check bullets well if pushed to the 1900 fps-2000 fps range,
    powders like imr 3031, rl7, h 4895 and ww748 can all be effective
    but after using these rifles for decades I have to point out any of the three are devastatingly effective on any game at under 200 yards in heavy timber and even a 45/70 loaded with a hard cast bullet at 1700 fps zips through and exits an elks shoulder in most case's.

    yes I have,shot hundreds of cartridges while at the range and dozens hunting hogs and deer and even elk, and in my personal experience, in my personal CZ 458 lott, the shorter 458 win case feeds and functions fine but its not as accurate , now the difference in my case might be a 2" 100 yard 458 lott group vs a 458 win shooting 3.3" 100 yard groups off a bench rest, certainly no effective difference in minute off elephant or charging lion at typical hunting ranges. from what I read, but I have spent a good deal of time in thick timber hunting elk, with 458 caliber rifles,, that being stated I use my remington 458 rifle if I want to shoot the 458 win ammo.
    to be fair almost all the ammo I load and shoot is loaded to velocity levels lower than max potential like 540 hard cast, bullets, at about 1900 fps and 350 hard cast loaded to about 2200 fps in the 458 lott, or remington 405 jacketed at about 2200 fps in the 458 lott.
    I have developed a real respect for the rifles accuracy but you need to use a decent sling and a vest with a past recoil shield to feel reasonably comfortable shooting either rifle off hand or from a bench rest and theres no way Id suggest you shoot either rifle shooting prone.



    In fact one of the big benefits of the 45 caliber rifles is that the 45/70, 450 marlin,458 win, and 458 LOTT, can all be loaded from mild almost hand-gun levels duplicating a 45 acp-454 cassul up to the max pressure and velocity levels the cartridges are capable of handling
    heres a REMINGTON CUSTOM SHOP 458 WIN rifle pictured I found posted, very similar to mine


    this versatility, (if your a skilled hand loader) will allow you to hunt rabbits to anything in north America with a 45/70,450 marlin,458 win, and 458 LOTT, and while it may not be everyone's idea of the ideal compromise, in selecting a rifle caliber it has a great deal of potential as a 45/70, 450 marlin , or 458 win etc can be hand loaded to provide very good performance as a deer or elk hunting tool yet be down loaded to a pleasant plinker and in all cases dirt cheap cast projectiles can be used with very satisfactory results.

    Ive tied adding a sparse clump of cosmetic cotton ball fuzz over the powder to keep it in place in the case near the primer and compared the result to use of the same power charge without the space filler, the result depends on the power charge you use, if its something like blue dot pistol powder under a 350 grain bullet for a 1000 fps plinking load
    yeah it helps a bit,
    if its a significant charge of something like imr 3031 or rl7 under a similar bullet at lets say a 1800 fps-2200 fps load
    I can,t say I saw any advantage or improved accuracy
    if you use something like WW760 under a 540 grain hard cast bullet in the 458 lot for a 2000 fps load, theres no need.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2018

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