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Discussion Starter #1
First time posting here.

I am gearing up for my first lever action rifle, most likely based on Winchester 94 AE or Marlin 336. Never handled lever action until recently, and after playing bit with few short Marlins, I was impressed how handy little rifles are. Since my intention is to shoot this rifle quite bit, the cast bullets would be much more economical than jacketed one, and the barrel should last several times longer. Here is my wish list:

-Enough power to kill cleanly 400 lb wild boar on 200 yards
-Cast bullets with gas check to prevent leading
-Accuracy 8" or better at 200 yards
-Weight 6 lb, 6.5 max
-Barrel length 18.5", 20" max.
-Recoil in 30-06 range

Since friend has 38-40 barrel, my first idea was to go with one kind of .400 cal., GC, 260-265 grains, meplat dia. .300", 1800 fps or just bit more to keep recoil on moderate side. However, this afternoon I went through my selection of cast bullets (not very large one) and Lyman 429421 caught my eye. I grabbed calliper and measured it, it's just prior to front driving band .375" dia and meplat is .280" dia. Well, that is the bullet that Keith was using on big game. Now, if there is .375 bullet LBT GC with .280" meplat dia., 260 grains, it could be lunched from 375 Winchester, 20" barrel at 1900 fps and shouldn't lose more than 500 fps on 200 yards. Looks like that my ideal rifle with cast bullets could be 375 Winchester. The only question is; how effective would be this bullet at 1400 fps on big hogs? Thanks.
 

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260gr bullet at 1400fps. Sounds like a factory level 44 magnum at the muzzle, with better penetration as a result of the smaller diameter projectile. I've never shot a hog, with a .375 or otherwise, but if you would be comfortable shooting one at 10 yards with a .44 mag revolver with factory ammo, you would probably be comfortable shooting one at range with this .375 combo. I realize the wound channel would not be as large with the smaller diameter projectile, but the extra penetration might actually be a good thing at extended ranges.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Should great, I would think. I would recommend busting one shoulder instead of shooting behind it, for hogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
"260gr bullet at 1400fps. Sounds like a factory level 44 magnum at the muzzle."

That's whole idea. As a min. requirement I used old Keith load for 250 SWC-Lyman 429421 at min. 1200 fps (1400 fps even better) at 200 yards. This bullet has meplat dia. .280". 375 LBT 250-260 grains with .280" meplat dia. could look as a step backward comparing to 429421, but in term of bullet effectiveness, wound channel size, the most important factors is MEPLAT DIA., not bullet nominal diameter. The tests were done by painting front side of SWC bullet and after firing it, the only bullet area where paint was gone was meplat.

Now, I have bullet with established parameters regarding weight and meplat size, with benefit of reduced drag because the main diameter is reduced on .375".

"Should great, I would think. I would recommend busting one shoulder instead of shooting behind it, for hogs."

I agree with this one. The only problem is that at 200 yards wouldn't be easy to hit the shoulder, even with scope. That's the reason why I think that 400 cal., 260-265 grains, GC, meplat dia. .300", would be better choice. Velocity will drop on about 1300 fps, but larger meplat dia. would be much more effective, even in lung area, without hitting the shoulder.

Any input is welcome, thanks.
 

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Onty,

Your logic is absolutely right. I wouldn't worry about the 1400 fps 200 yard velocities on hogs. I've used the .375 Winchester extensively over the years it's been available, and with LFN style bullets driven to the velocity thresholds you describe, it's been a very reliable harvester of game. If worried about needing more wound channel at the 200 yard ranges expected, just anneal the nose on those few bullets that you'll use for hunting ammo. They'll reliably expand down to about 800 fps, and with the sectional density of the bullet, you don't have to worry about penetration.

As an interesting side note, when the .375 Winchester was introduced, there was also a .400 Winchester on the drawing board to release shortly after the .375 Win was announced. It's reported that the cartridge was also designed for the then-new 94BB action, and to launch a 250 grain bullet as well as a 300 grain from factory ammo. However, after the gunwriters of this country got finished maligning the .375 Winchester as being "obsolete", and "good for nothing" thereby effectively killing the new introduction as a cartridge, the folks at Winchester apparently scrapped the .400 Win plan altogether as well.

God Bless,
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Might not break the shoulder every time at 200 yards, but if you're aiming for it, you should hit the lungs. Not much of the lungs behind the shoulder like a deer. I always advise people to go for the shoulder on a pig, because shooting behind the shoulder like you would on a deer, it's pretty easy to get the bullet back in the guts.

Also a pig's spine runs pretty low in the shoulder and I've broken their backs several times aiming for the shoulder. That's a pretty good result too and drops them on the spot.

With a scope my S.O.P. is to just line up the front leg with the vertical crosshair. That's a dead pig if you do your part.

Good luck and be sure to post if you get one with this combination.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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MikeG -

I've taken several feral hogs with the .44 Mag (headshots) and the .243 Win (spine shot), but never the wild European boars.

It's been written in the gun rags that wild boars have a thick plate of gristle like an armored coat protecting the shoulder area that can turn a low velocity bullet. Is this true? Supposedly, the plate is there for battle damage control with other boars.
Always wondered about that statement, as I didn't see it on the feral's I shot.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Hogs are hogs. All hogs are the same species. Of course you have different breeds, like dogs. Some bigger, some smaller, some tougher, etc. All domestic pigs descend from Eurasian wild pigs which were domesticated several thousand years ago.

Yes they are pretty tough through the shoulders. But not armor-plated. Bullets that are thin/light may have penetration problems. Often these same bullets are marginal even on deer.

Shoot good bullets, you won't have problems. Even a Ballistic Tip will go through a hog shoulder, although hardly ever exit. I don't care for BTs for pigs, though. Head shots would be fine with anything.

Gun rags.... don't get me started. I have to wonder if they don't make up half the stuff they print, just to seem smart. On the other hand maybe it's because so many writers promote soft, fast-expanding hollowpoints & plastic tipped bullets. Then, when those bullets fail on a little tougher game like pigs, they have to make up an excuse for that.

Perfect application for hard cast, anyway. A boar's "shield" won't stop a WFN, I can assure you of that.

Heck even plain off-the-shelf cheap Remington Cor-Lokts have worked fine for me in several calibers.

Since you've shot them with the .243, you know any reasonable gun works with correct shot placement.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. Marshall, concerning 375 Winchester, yesterday I flipped through the Lyman #48 reloading manual. There is one load, 255 grains (jacketed) at about 2200 fps from 24” Universal Receiver, if I remembered correctly. If this is "good for nothing", especially with good quality bullets like bonded ones, solid copper or modified Partition, I am afraid that “next logical step” should be nothing less than 600 Nitro.

It’s too bad that Winchester didn’t go ahead with that 400. It would have been an excellent medium bore cartridge for both jacketed and potentially very effective cast bullets, and would have served as a sort of smaller brother to 405 that could fit in those wonderful lever guns used for 30-30. My “dream lever gun” would be some type of .400” dia. on Marlin 336SS receiver. I would like to stick to .400” dia. groove. Pistol bullets in .400 cal. could be used for plinking, and these days .400” groove dia. barrels are quite common. Some might suggest a .416” barrel, which makes sense for powerful cartridge with 416 jacketed bullets. However, .416” is just .013” less than .429”, so it isn’t worth going this way if bullets are primarily going to be cast ones.

Recently in the “Wildcat” section, somebody mentioned that there is a RCBS tool to swage 224 Weatherby from 30-06 brass. I did design and make stretching tools for 50-110 from 348 and 45-90 from 45-70, but never did swaging. (Actually, I did, more than 35 years ago, making 8 mm Roth-Gasser from 7.62 Tokarev, using shotgun primers. I am living proof that God is watching us, especially unruly kids, without a scratch and both eyes and all ten fingers intact, just ears ringing a few times).

This .400 case could be made from 30-06 or 270 brass, .430 dia. at the top, .440 dia. at the head, and rim should remain .470 dia. The pushing rod should have extension to fit primer pocket to prevent its collapse. I don’t have any doubts that it could be done, the only question is, how good will be this case for 40-45 000 psi., and is .030” rim enough for head spacing? Would it be better to leave a “belted magnum” ring?

Of course, Marlin 336SS bolt should be replaced with smaller one, modified from 35 Remington, to fit new rim dia. Please, let me know what your opinion is!

Thanks and God Bless
 

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Don't shoot a .375, but do shoot a modern made 38-55. Normally load to two levels, all with a 255gr. Lead FN bullet: 1100fps and 1850fps. The first is for general goofing off, indoor off hand practice (at a 25 yard range) while the last is for deer hunting. Works fine inside of 150yards (perhaps farther..that's just as far as I've ever shot game).

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Mentioned forming .401WSL cases in other posts...no problem getting positive headspace with a semi-rim only .025" larger than the head on a straight case. That expample is only 1.5" in length, but no good reason it couldn't work at a much longer length.

The hard way to make .401's is from .35rem....but if the case was kept full length (after blowing out) would make a nice lever action round...can avoid the .406" bullet in favor of a .410" standard in order to use more readily avaialble .41mag. bullets, but are several nice BP style cast bullets in the .406-.408" range.
 

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Onty said:
This .400 case could be made from 30-06 or 270 brass, .430 dia. at the top, .440 dia. at the head, and rim should remain .470 dia. The pushing rod should have extension to fit primer pocket to prevent its collapse. I don’t have any doubts that it could be done, the only question is, how good will be this case for 40-45 000 psi., and is .030” rim enough for head spacing? Would it be better to leave a “belted magnum” ring?

Of course, Marlin 336SS bolt should be replaced with smaller one, modified from 35 Remington, to fit new rim dia. Please, let me know what your opinion is!

Thanks and God Bless
True enough as pointed out, the .030" rim is adequate for headspacing, however, being the "over-build & over-engineer" type of person that I am, I would be inclined to employ the belt-creating type die as mentioned by you earlier that RCBS manufactures to form 240 Wby. brass. Overkill, perhaps, but if this is a serious hunting rifle, which is the only plausable reason for building this project, then ultimate reliability in form and function must be the first criteriea in your cartridge design. My intuition tells me that employing the belted concept on this cartridge/rifle combo would provide a positive effect on the overall functionality of your design.

However, it's only my opinion.... nothing more.

A neat project idea!

God Bless,
 

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What would you end up with if you blew a .356 Winchester out straight, more or less? Would this be a easier route, or would powder capacity be insufficient for what you're trying to do? Many of the moulds I've seen for .40 rifles have a lot of the bullet outside the case to start with, but many of those are of a pointed design.
 

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Kind of working our way in a circle....if you blow out a .356 case, you end up with a close aproximation of the .444 case (may be handy to know if you ever need to form .356 cases).
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The belt may be a good idea...not sure it's a better headspacer, but at least it adds some metal and makes for a larger chamber opening for the straight part of the case to get started into the chamber.
 

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Beartooth .375 Wildcat?

bartmasterson said:
Good question in the last thread above: Has anyone actually built one of these? If so we'd love to hear the results.
I think Marshall is working on it - sorting out the molds & bullets and maybe a custom rifle to shoot'em.

Results should be interesting!
 

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bartmasterson said:
Good question in the last thread above: Has anyone actually built one of these? If so we'd love to hear the results.
All good things take time! Hopefully we'll get one of these puy together this winter. Still need to get chamber reamers cut. A great winter project to be sure. Hopefully I'll get around to it during our long winter nights.

Building a new house right now, so any non-bullet hours are spent on construction :D Not much time for anything. My Idaho moose season opened yesterday, and I've only been scouting once all summer, doubt I'll get out to hunt until about the third week of September.

I'll give a full account once I get underway with the actual project.

Thanks for asking.

God Bless,
 
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