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  #1  
Old 09-08-2009, 04:11 AM
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500 S&W necked down?


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I'm new to this forum, so please forgive me if I am not posting this in the right place.

I have been reading a lot about various cartridges that are legal for deer hunting in Indiana. The DNR in my state changed the law 2 years ago to allow PCRs (pistol chambered rifles) to be used to hunt deer. Prior to that, you could hunt with a muzzle-loader or a shotgun with slugs. Neither appealed to me, for various reasons, so I have been hunting deer with a TC Contender in either 6.5JDJ or 7-30 Waters. I have hunted with a .44Mag rifle before, but the ballistics leave something to be desired at shots approaching 100 yards.

The two cartridges I am currently considering are the .357 Maximum and one of the .358 wildcat loads built on a shortened WSSM case. Both show the ballistics and accuracy to be effective at 200 yards, and beyond. The WSSM option appeals most to me, since it creates 300-400 fps more velocity, but the case prep work is rather extensive. I was wondering if necking down a 500 or a 460 S&W would be easier and if anyone is aware of that being tried? Both of these rounds are at, or just over, the 1.625 maximum case length, so it seems to me you could run them through a sizing die, trim to length and turn the neck to create a high-pressure case at just the right length.

Maybe it's not as easy as it seems to make a bottle-necked cartridge from one that starts out straight-walled, and that's why I haven't seen many examples of folks doing that?

Thoughts?

Jason
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  #2  
Old 09-08-2009, 05:18 AM
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We have a bunch of threads on Indiana deer hunting wildcats, FYI, but I'm not sure what topics they got put in.

.44 mag out of a rifle "leaving something to be desired at 100 yards?" Please explain..... I seriously doubt there is anything walking in the state of Indiana, probably including most of the zoos, that cannot be killed with a .44 mag in a rifle with good bullets.
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  #3  
Old 09-08-2009, 05:51 AM
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Well, in his defense, he specifically said it was the ballistics that left something to be desired, not necessarily the terminal performance.

Post #6 at this thread (http://shootersforum.com/showthread.htm?t=14660) shows the curves for .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum being nearly identical when zeroed for 100 yards. I would imagine the .357 Maximum would be a bit flatter, but I don't see it making THAT much of a difference, as these ballistics are not really that difficult to work with. A 150-yard zero would be more than acceptable for an easy hold-over for 200-yard shots.

I would first ask the OP what group sizes he was getting at 100 yards with his .44 rifle.
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  #4  
Old 09-08-2009, 10:29 AM
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44 Mag at 100 yards

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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
We have a bunch of threads on Indiana deer hunting wildcats, FYI, but I'm not sure what topics they got put in.

.44 mag out of a rifle "leaving something to be desired at 100 yards?" Please explain..... I seriously doubt there is anything walking in the state of Indiana, probably including most of the zoos, that cannot be killed with a .44 mag in a rifle with good bullets.
I'm shooting the 44Mag out of a 14" Super barrel, from a Contender. With the load of W296 I'm using, it consistently chronographs close to 1625 and the groups at both 50 and 100 yards are more than adequate. However, the Hornady XTP bullets I'm using shed velocity like a black-haired dog on a freshly vacuumed carpet! At 100 yards, the bullet is down to 1300fps, or so, and the remaining energy is below 900 ft/lbs. I zero my gun for 75 yards because the trajectory is flat enough to make killing shots out to 100 yards. That's as far as I am willing to shoot with this chambering because I don't feel confident with any less energy. I would like a round that delivers this kind of performance (trajectory and energy) out to 200 yards, hence my questions about the .357 Maximum.

I understand that "killing power" is not always easily measured in foot pounds: I have a 6.5JDJ that pushes 120 grain bullets to 2400fps, but at 200 yards it has less than that magical 1,000 ft/lbs of energy left, yet it is still effective, when using the right bullets. The difference, of course, is the shape of the bullet and the trajectory. Also, groups from this rig are downright frightening...5 shots into less than 1" at 100 yards are commonplace. Even the fire-forming loads for this gun are typically near-MOA.

I am not one of those who seems to be convinced that deer have gotten way tougher in the last 50 years or that we need much more powerful guns to harvest them. I took two deer last fall, both at less than 75 yards. One was harvested with a muzzle-loader and the other with a Winchester Model '94 in 44-40, with open sights. Neither deer seemed unimpressed with the velocity, energy, or trajectory of the round they were laid flat with. However, if either had been at 150 yards, I simply would not have taken a shot.

So, we're all gun nuts and we all want something "better" than what we have, right? Maybe I'm not a purist, or a traditionalist; I grew up hunting out West with a .270 Win., taking shots at 200 yards was a very common thing. Truth be told, if I could use a real, centerfire RIFLE, I wouldn't be contemplating a decision to spend a fair amount of money to build something considerably less effective. If the powers-that-be in Indiana ever figure out that short to medium-range weapons provide no substantive improvement in hunter safety, I'll be using a true rifle caliber again and wanting to improve on THAT!
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  #5  
Old 09-08-2009, 11:34 AM
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Your Super 14 .44 Mag with the loads you've quoted will be fine for anything you'd care to shoot. Just try not to think about remaining energy and velocity. Trajectory and group size are the limitations you need to worry about.

By the numbers, your bullet started at 1625fps can be zeroed so that it will be no more than 3" +/- out to 150yds. That should be flat enough to hit whatever it is you want to shoot at and I know the Contender is capable of holding well within a 6 inch group at that range. I mean, the remaining velocity and energy of the .44 Mag at 150yds is likely equal to or greater than the .44/40 load you used at 75 yds. I bet you find it will work better than either of the smaller bores you are using, great as they are on medium game. Recoil will be greater but it still isn't bad compared to truly heavy loads in some of the big bore chamberings like .45-70.
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  #6  
Old 09-08-2009, 11:55 AM
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The .500 S&W is right at the 1.625" case limit, but the .460 S&W is way over at 1.80". What you want is a .357 Magnum barrel rechambered to a .357-44 Bain & Davis made on a .445 SuperMag or shortened .30-40 Krag case.. You'll have ballistics nearly identical to the .357 Herrett or .35 Remington and you can use existing dies and reamers. These two calibers are proven "game effective", despite not being the .300 Win Mag.
Simply extending the chamber of your .44 Mag barrel for the .445 and trying the 265gr Hornady FTX loaded to 1650 fps might also be an option if you prefer the larger caliber.

Last edited by crossfire; 09-08-2009 at 12:37 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-08-2009, 01:23 PM
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I can't comment on use of XTPs for deer as I have never used them. However, I have put 300gr. (or thereabout) bullets from .44 and .45 caliber revolvers through deer, pigs, and a bison.

The rifle barrel extends the effective range of the revolver rounds at least a hundred yards, in my opinion. After all if you can put the muzzle of a .357/.41mag/.44 mag/.45 Colt/etc. revolver against the side of a deer and let one go, will that be fatal to the deer? I would expect so, and by that measure anything you can reasonably control is fatal to at least 100 yards.

My advice is to go with cast bullets in the 250-300 grain range and just let the bullet do it's work. Shoot to break a shoulder, and you'll get the deer. Sight in 2" high at 100 yards, you are dead on in the range of 125 or so, and only a few inches low to 150. That's at a minimum and you may find a combination which is flatter yet. But as a rule the pistol-cartridge carbines will easily do that.

All of the heavy-for-caliber bullets in the .357 through .45 bore will have a B.C. of at least .2, and give very similar trajectories at similar velocities.

Good luck. If you have the urge to wildcat, scratch it, but if you just want to get out and shoot at deer your .44 mag will be just fine.
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  #8  
Old 09-08-2009, 02:32 PM
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Thank you all for the replies. I agree with each of you, in turn, but MikeG is right when he suggests I have "the urge to wildcat". I suppose the truth of the matter is that the performance of rifle or pistol rounds has not radically improved in the last 50 years, or so. Sure, you can burn a lot more powder and get an increase in performance, but always with a cost. I will probably build something with a 22" barrel for my Contender or Handi-rifle that is based on the .357 Max, .357 Herrett, or 445 Super Mag, not because these rounds are much more potent than the more common factory offerings, but because I find them interesting, as well as effective. I will choose a projectile with a higher ballistic coefficient than the standard "pistol" bullets so it will retain velocity and still expand well at 200 yards. The Hornady 180gr SSP jumps to mind, but there are options available in most calibers. For me, what I hunt with has as much to do with how well I enjoy loading for and shooting a particular firearm/cartridge as the cold, hard, physics of what the round is capable of producing.

Again, thank you all for your responses.
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  #9  
Old 09-08-2009, 04:11 PM
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Some ballistic coefficients of the bullets mentioned....
265gr Hornady .429" FTX-------------.225
300gr Hornady .429" XTP-------------.245
200gr Hornady .358" FTX-------------.300
180gr Hornady .358" SSP-------------.248
200gr Hornady .358" Interlock SP----.282

Note that only the 200gr FTX meant for the .35 Remington has any definitive "advantage" over the 300gr .429" XTP.
(Numbers taken from MidwayUSA)
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  #10  
Old 09-08-2009, 07:00 PM
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.357 Max in a rifle barrel should be quite a deer round.
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  #11  
Old 09-10-2009, 06:26 PM
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357/44 on steroids??

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Originally Posted by crossfire View Post
The .500 S&W is right at the 1.625" case limit, but the .460 S&W is way over at 1.80". What you want is a .357 Magnum barrel rechambered to a .357-44 Bain & Davis made on a .445 SuperMag or shortened .30-40 Krag case.. You'll have ballistics nearly identical to the .357 Herrett or .35 Remington and you can use existing dies and reamers. These two calibers are proven "game effective", despite not being the .300 Win Mag.
Simply extending the chamber of your .44 Mag barrel for the .445 and trying the 265gr Hornady FTX loaded to 1650 fps might also be an option if you prefer the larger caliber.
Crossfire,

This sounds very appealing to me! There wouldn't be any case-forming nightmares, but it would result in a firearm with something more than 100 to 125-yard effectiveness. Perhaps more to the point, it would really capture my interest and definitely scratch that "wildcat itch" I have! From the way you describe it, a competent gunsmith should be able to take a .357 barrel and ream it out with a 357/44 B&D, but make it long enough to house the 445-length brass? I'm almost giddy thinking about it, if it's as easy as that!

Truth be told, I don't plan to live in Indiana when I retire and would really like a gun that I think of as highly effective, when I take it in the woods, OR to the edge of a big cornfield. With the standard 44Mag and 357, they are what I will always consider to be short-range guns, even in rifle barrels. I know they kill very well at 100 yards and maybe a little more, but when you grow up shooting grounds squirrels at 300 plus, with a 25/06, and your first wild hog was taken cross-canyon at 250 yards, it's not easy to be enthusiastic about the ballistics of most of the cartridges legal to shoot in a rifle, in this state.

I will follow up with a local gunsmith on the B&D and see if he thinks that is something he can tackle. Thanks again!

Jason
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  #12  
Old 09-10-2009, 06:29 PM
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One of my friends at work is quite an enthusiast of the .357 Max as a deer round. He recently took a .357 Magnum Ruger #1 and extended the chamber to handle the .357 Maximum (his earlier work was done with a Contender carbine). Take a look at his web site dedicated to the cartridge (http://357maximum.com/ ).

Last edited by Red Pepper; 09-10-2009 at 06:32 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-11-2009, 02:44 AM
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Great website!

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Originally Posted by Red Pepper View Post
One of my friends at work is quite an enthusiast of the .357 Max as a deer round. He recently took a .357 Magnum Ruger #1 and extended the chamber to handle the .357 Maximum (his earlier work was done with a Contender carbine). Take a look at his web site dedicated to the cartridge (http://357maximum.com/ ).
Pepper,

The 357maximum.com website is what got me started on this mini-crusade! He did an exceptional job of putting that entire site together and I can't imagine a more resounding endorsement for the .357Max.
If a guy was in a hurry to build a very good rifle for hunting deer in Indiana, he could simply follow that blueprint and not go far wrong.

I am inspired by the velocity he's getting from the Hornady SSP bullet and have done enough reading to know it is designed for excellent terminal performance out of a pistol round. However, if the physics of case capacity, operating pressure and barrel length hold true, a .357/445 B&D conversion should improve on his work with the Max, but only a little. Still, isn't that what us gun crazy wildcatters are always looking for...a little improvement?!

Maybe I'll spend some time this winter putting together the 357/445SuperMag website?

Jason
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  #14  
Old 09-17-2009, 04:40 AM
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I have been playing with the 357 max in a contender and am getting 1800 fps at the muzzle with a 158 gr. projectile which should be about 1400 (real close to mag. @ Muzzle) at 100 yds. Sighted in at 4" high at 100 should give me minute of deer (8" point blank)to 185 yards. Another thing I like about it is that it don't wake my friend Arther (arthritis) who don't like the 44 much anymore.
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Old 09-17-2009, 05:11 AM
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just a thought

i've been playing around with a 45 colt bbl. on my encore,(15'', strictly colt, no .410)... last year i used 250gr xtps over a heavy dose of 2400 with great results, i shot a running doe at about 180-200 yards... held on her nose and took her through the shoulders. this year i'm gonna use the 250gr flextip which has a much better b.c.
obviously the 357 bullets have the better b.c. of the pistol bullets but this ftx tops them. have you thought about a 45 caliber? i've been thinking about picking up another colt bbl and having the local gunsmith ream it to make a "455" super mag, the 460 appeals to me but there really is a lot more case there than necessary, the casull is great but why not stretch it a bit and run at lower pressures?
these ftx bullets are readily available and are the same as used in the 20ga slug and the saboted muzzleloading offerings so we know that they're tuff enough, i think with an approrpiately sized case they could be cranked out at a good velocity and be reasonably comfortable to shoot.
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Old 09-17-2009, 03:43 PM
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Lots of options

Big Dan,

Check out the website, www.357maximum.com and you'll see why that round, in a long-barreled gun, appeals to me. I have a 7-30 Waters, a 6.5JDJ, a 30 Herrett and a 44Mag, all for the Contender and with barrels ranging from 10" to 16.5". I enjoy hunting with them, but I grew up with a rifle in my hands...a gun with a long, one-piece stock and the "feel" of a rifle. I really miss hunting with my .270Win. and would like to build a gun that carries like a good bolt-action rifle and has an effective range between 150 and 200 yards. Maybe that isn't realistic for Indiana, and it certainly is not what the DNR wants to allow us, but it is how I grew up hunting.

There are a lot of options to achieve that goal but most of them either fall short, in one way or another, or are prohibitively expensive. The simplest way to get close to that kind of performance, without breaking the bank and going full custom, is to build a .357Max with a 22" to 24" barrel. As the author of the website listed above shows, the Max is a different beast altogether, than the standard 44Magnum and other PCRs defined as legal in Indiana. However, there are very few bullets of good ballistic shape that are suitable for the velocities the Max develops, even in that longer barrel. You can get better ballistics, flatter trajectory and be able to use a wider selection of bullets by building a custom bot-action gun on one of the short-fat magnum cases, trimmed down to 1.625".

I haven't decided which route I will take, but by next summer I hope to be preparing for deer season by working up a 35 caliber load that will make a 200 yard shot a realistic proposition.

Jason
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  #17  
Old 04-18-2011, 10:04 PM
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500 S&W Knecked Down

I used the 44 Mag at one time in my Contender, but it left much to be desired at distances beyond 200 yards. So I got a 45/70 Super 16 and rechambered it for 45/90. It has been my mainstay since 1987, but I like the idea of necking down the 500 Smith to 41 caliber or even less. But I also like the idea of a 358 Shortmag in an Encore. Just a thouht
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  #18  
Old 04-19-2011, 06:59 AM
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pistola to carbine

A few years ago, when I was brainstorming one of my wildcats, I talked to an Omark, now ATK, engineer named Neil Guy. He had developed the 50AE. He told me that they got an extra 400fps, when they went out to a twenty inch test barrel. So, in my 20 inch barreled M94, I do come close to that, at reasonable pressures. I don't think you are going to get up to the 1800fps working range of those 444M Hornady flex tips, without having a 2 inch long case. But since the old 351SLR is still reloadable, why not just go with either one of those, or the big brother, 401SLR. My grandfather, hunted from before WWI, into the late sixties, with one of these little carbines. He was extremely deadly with it, too. The last deer he killed, was taken with one shot at a paced 260 yds., as it crossed a logging road in front of my uncle and him. It was over, before my uncle could even get his scoped 300 mag. off his shoulder. As long as you shoot right handed, it is super quick. They are blow back auto loaders, set to function at about 45-48 KCUP. This is a little longer case than the 44 mags, and it cycles at higher pressures. But as grand dad warned me, be sure it's a 351, not the earlier, and weaker 35 SLR.
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