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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Just read some threads on .50 caliber lever rifles and I am wondering what real advantage the .50 Alaskan has over the stout loaded 45-70. If you compare 45-70 loads from Garrett or Buffalo Bore, they are ballistically very similar to the 50 Alaskan. JB even sells 560 gr flat nose hard cast bullets for handloading the 45-70. So what is it about about the 50 that makes folks spend considerable dollars to convert your rifles to 50 Alaskan?

Neal
 

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50 Alaska Advantages?

Neal said:
Just read some threads on .50 caliber lever rifles and I am wondering what real advantage the .50 Alaskan has over the stout loaded 45-70. If you compare 45-70 loads from Garrett or Buffalo Bore, they are ballistically very similar to the 50 Alaskan. JB even sells 560 gr flat nose hard cast bullets for handloading the 45-70. So what is it about about the 50 that makes folks spend considerable dollars to convert your rifles to 50 Alaskan?

Neal
Neal, those massive 45cal bullets are hard to fit in the 45-70 case without loosing powder capacity - the 50s are bigger 'round and don't slide down into the case so far. Also, the really expensive versions of the 50 Alaskan Rifle Conversions are take-down models anyway. Still, Marlin or Winchester could make a 'consumer' lever action 50 cal at consumer pricing if they wished.

GOOD LUCK!
 

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In short, generally the .50 AK will drive the same size bullet as the .45-70 a bit faster at the same pressure, or the same speed at lower pressure. Plus, the .50 AK will drive heavier bullets than the .45-70 can at higher speeds, and still be within sane limits on pressure. Lastly, it punches a bigger hole, and that can be a very, very good thing. Expansion is not needed with the proper bullet in the .45-70, and that is even more true with the .50 AK. If shooting a single shot, like my Encore, there is just something incredibly heart-stopping about shooting a 750 gr. A-max out of a handgun. :D
 

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50 Alaskan & 450 Alaskan Kings Among Levers

As others have mentioned even in Garrett and Buffalo loads for the 45/70.The 50 Alaskan will send any same weight alittle faster,with much more energy,momentum and better KO.Buffalo Bore and Garrett aren't miracle workers.The 50 Alaskan is based on the mighty 348Win case.Which holds much more powder than the 45/70.The 45/70 will never match the 450 Alaskan or 50 Alaskan.It can not!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Gentlemen,

I don't argue the logic in what you say, however, the figures I have seen in articles and websites show very little advantage for the 50 Alaskan(50 to 100 fps with the same bullet weight). In theory, both cartidges launching the same weight bullet at the same pressure, the advantage should go to the 50. However, the 45-70 will have a better SD because the bullet is a little smaller in diameter, but longer. The 50 would have to launch a heavier bullet to match the SD of the 45-70, and that means either lower velocity or higher pressure. SD (sectional density) is relative to penitration, right ? BTW, I am taking into account only bullet weight and velocity when comparing the 2, not bullet construction and shape, which are important factors in actual performance. Also, after I made the first post, I went to the Starline site and found that 250 pieces of new brass were $195.00 ! That kinda changed my thoughts about owning a 50 Alaskan. But I still enjoy discussing the merits of both calibers with you folks.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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The popularity of the .50 is probably one of those 'gotta have the biggest and baddest' things. Same thing that fuels sales of cars that can go several times over the speed limit.

Most people could not stand to shoot either with full-power loads - at least not without a severe flinch on the second shot!

The lack of standardization regarding high-pressure .45-70 rounds and complete wildcats like the .50 AK will yield all sorts of contradictory ballistics information.

Still they are interesting to discuss.

For what it's worth - I download my .458 as much as possible!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
MikeG, you are probably correct. I could be comparing moderate .50 Alaskan loads with max or close to max(for leverguns) 45-70 loads. A friend of mine loads 50* some grains of 3031 behind a 500 gr cast bullet in his 45-70 Ruger #1. That's way over the max in my loading manual, but it gets the power up close to low end .458 Win ballistics. When I inquired about the recoil of that load, he said "it hurt's, but you get used to it". ha ha


* actual load not shown due to liablity reasons.
 

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50 Alaska Advantages?

Neal, at the range most would attempt to use the 50 Alaska, the main point is just to punch a big hole through an animal that can tear a lion apart with a single whack of the paw.

I think maybe the next MONSTER rifle we're likely to see will be built using a rifled shotgun slug barrel, somehow adapted to brass 12ga 3" cases in a single shot or bolt action design. Wrapping a relatively thin rifled shotgun barrel with carbon/graphite can add strength without much weight and IMHO, seems a logical step in the progression much larger calibers.

12ga = .730" bore
20ga = .615" bore


:)

Neal said:
MikeG, you are probably correct. I could be comparing moderate .50 Alaskan loads with max or close to max(for leverguns) 45-70 loads. A friend of mine loads 50* some grains of 3031 behind a 500 gr cast bullet in his 45-70 Ruger #1. That's way over the max in my loading manual, but it gets the power up close to low end .458 Win ballistics. When I inquired about the recoil of that load, he said "it hurt's, but you get used to it". ha ha


* actual load not shown due to liablity reasons.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Gowge,

The 700 Nitro Express is already way beyond practical recoil tolerance for may of us. ha ha If you want to see some funny stuff, look at some of the videos of these guys shooting the .577 T-Rex and others. It works far better with a high speed connection.

http://www.accuratereloading.com/videos.html


Regards,
Neal


Gowge said:
Neal, at the range most would attempt to use the 50 Alaska, the main point is just to punch a big hole through an animal that can tear a lion apart with a single whack of the paw.

I think maybe the next MONSTER rifle we're likely to see will be built using a rifled shotgun slug barrel, somehow adapted to brass 12ga 3" cases in a single shot or bolt action design. Wrapping a relatively thin rifled shotgun barrel with carbon/graphite can add strength without much weight and IMHO, seems a logical step in the progression much larger calibers.

12ga = .730" bore
20ga = .615" bore


:)
 

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45/70 - 50 Alaskan

Neal let me run some numbers for you.These are full house loads for the 45/70,and are hot but not max loads for the 50 Alaskan.Remember what ever the numbers say.The 50Alaskan is based on th 348win which holds alot more powder than the 45/70.No way around it.45/70 loads Hodgdon,50 Alaskan Quickload.

45/70 300gr 2424fps-3915,momentum:103,KO:47
50 Alaskan 300gr 2525fps-4246fpe,Mom:108,KO:55

45/70 350gr 2191fps-3732fpe,Mom:109,KO:50
50Alask 350gr 2400fps-4475fpe,Mom:120,KO:61

45/70 400gr 2100fps-3916fpe,Mom:120,KO:54
50Alask 400gr 2215fps-4465fpe,Mom:127,KO:65
 

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Well, unless deer is the only thing we are looking to hunt with the 45/70 or 50 AK, the 300 grain loads are a bit weakly constructed, similar to a 100 grain pill in a 270. Kinda like keeping MikeG's referenced speed car (like a Ferrari) in 2nd gear. Even when using the superb cast bullets, we probably still need quite a few more grains of lead to ensure adequate penetration on big moose, elk or bears.

To really get the 45/70 and larger bores into where they shine, ie use on large animals, we probably would need to step up to heavier, better constructed bullets. Then, at the distances where trajectory doesn't become an overriding factor, I don't know if any moose, elk, black bear or interior grizzly would ever react differently, all other variables being equal.

When comparing heavy weights of differing bullet diameter that are going to be used for large animals where penetration is a key factor, bullets of like construction and similar shape and sectional density should be compared instead of same weight bullets. After all, it is the penetration and bone breaking ability of the bullet we are looking for.

Until you get into the biggest of the coastal brown bears it isn't likely any other animal would know the difference. You just can't shock the bigger critters down.

From a purely practical standpoint, the 45/70 would provide enough power (energy, KO, momentum, whatever you wish to call killing ability) that most of us will ever need and then some with today's loads. It is cheaper to shoot all the way around from brass to bullets and has ammo on the shelf if yours gets misplaced while hunting in the boonies. You won't find 50 Alaskan loads in very many outposts.

Harold Johnson of Cooper Landing, Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula is the fella that designed both the 450 Alaskan and the 50 Alaskan. He had great success with both. If I remember correctly he got into a tussle with a brownie when using a 30/06 with 220 grain loads and didn't like the slim margin of the outcome, so he started looking to bigger bores. I'm not sure why he didn't try to hotrod the 45/70, but I think he had a Winchester 71 in 348 Win lying around and decided to use it as his base rifle.

Remember, fast is fine, but accuracy is final.
 

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50 Alaskan- 45/70

alyeska338 said:
Well, unless deer is the only thing we are looking to hunt with the 45/70 or 50 AK, the 300 grain loads are a bit weakly constructed, similar to a 100 grain pill in a 270. Kinda like keeping MikeG's referenced speed car (like a Ferrari) in 2nd gear. Even when using the superb cast bullets, we probably still need quite a few more grains of lead to ensure adequate penetration on big moose, elk or bears.

To really get the 45/70 and larger bores into where they shine, ie use on large animals, we probably would need to step up to heavier, better constructed bullets. Then, at the distances where trajectory doesn't become an overriding factor, I don't know if any moose, elk, black bear or interior grizzly would ever react differently, all other variables being equal.

When comparing heavy weights of differing bullet diameter that are going to be used for large animals where penetration is a key factor, bullets of like construction and similar shape and sectional density should be compared instead of same weight bullets. After all, it is the penetration and bone breaking ability of the bullet we are looking for.

Until you get into the biggest of the coastal brown bears it isn't likely any other animal would know the difference. You just can't shock the bigger critters down.

From a purely practical standpoint, the 45/70 would provide enough power (energy, KO, momentum, whatever you wish to call killing ability) that most of us will ever need and then some with today's loads. It is cheaper to shoot all the way around from brass to bullets and has ammo on the shelf if yours gets misplaced while hunting in the boonies. You won't find 50 Alaskan loads in very many outposts.

Harold Johnson of Cooper Landing, Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula is the fella that designed both the 450 Alaskan and the 50 Alaskan. He had great success with both. If I remember correctly he got into a tussle with a brownie when using a 30/06 with 220 grain loads and didn't like the slim margin of the outcome, so he started looking to bigger bores. I'm not sure why he didn't try to hotrod the 45/70, but I think he had a Winchester 71 in 348 Win lying around and decided to use it as his base rifle.

Remember, fast is fine, but accuracy is final.
Just for the sake of arguement lets say that no one knows what the bullet shape was or what was the construction of each bullet.As far as anyone knows they are the same.Because I did not list what bullet I was using in each,and they are in fact very similar bullets for each weight.As far as sectional density the edge would go to the 45/70 with same weight bullets.Thats OK.Because it ain't enough to overcome all the advantages the 50 Alaskan has.

As for the point does anyone need a 50 Alaskan,or can they handle the recoil of full house loads in the 50 Alaskan.I don't know.What i do know is based on the numbers the 50 Alaskan should be a superior stopper of large and dangerous game over the 45/70 or 450 Marlin hands down.

As far as why Mr.Johnson choose the 348Win over the 45/70.The reason was probably this.The 348Win holds quite abit more powder than the 45/70.When necked up,it gains even more of a powder advantage over the 45/70.

It just ain't about velocity,your right.Its about all the other factors that come along with it.

I choose to go with a Win M1886 in 510 Kodiak Express with 24in barrel and a 416/284 McPherson in Savage M99R with 26in pipe for my hunt in Africa in February.Thanks guys.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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One thing to consider, the old lever guns were not made for this sort of recoil. Even the big black powder rounds don't deliver the fast heavy recoil that you get with heavy smokeless rounds. Thin two-piece stocks might not last forever, even if the loads are fine for the action. Would be prudent to make sure your stock is in good shape and properly bedded. Not fun to have it split at the wrist when something mean is trying to bite you. Bolt guns for heavy rounds have cross-bolts in the stock, and often a block on the barrel to help transfer the recoil to the stock.

Have fun on your safari, and be sure to post results. No detail too trivial.
 

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Leverguns

The 416/284 McPherson I've had for a while and has over 500 full house rounds out of it(300gr,350gr and 400gr),without a hitch.The Win M1886 in 510KE.I only got back maybe a month ago.It probably has 50 full house loads thru it(400gr and 453gr),without fail.I'm sure the 416/284 McPherson is the one more at risk.As to get the velocity I'm getting,one is at 60,000psi,per Mic McPherson's out line.Thanks for advise and I look forward to posting details and pictures for all.Enforcer
 

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Hunting DANGEROUS Game - NOT For Everyone

I started to say it ain't for Sissies, but thought better of it... Have ta' be PC these days...

It's gotta' be said and understood, when you're hunting big, dangerous animals with firearms, it's simply not a push-button proposition. To actually KILL the animal, you gotta' hit'em hard and solid and if there's ONE thing I learned long ago about killing anything ~ you might have to hurt yourself a little bit to really put it on your target or opponent.

Pain associated with shooting a heavy caliber rifle is only momentary and goes away after a little while. If you're just wierd and wanta' go shootin' a super-magnum cartridge over & over again at a range, then that's your problem. They're really just for hunting and serious hunting at that - not for playing at the range and impressing others.

GOOD LUCK!
 

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Big Bore Blues

Pain and fear must be overcome(rifle and beast) to be a true hunter of large and dangerous game.I practice with my big bores,just like any other rifle.Just not as much.A rifle you are afraid to shoot at the range.You won't shoot well when the time comes .PRACTICE,PRACTICE ALWAYS,it may well save your life. :cool:
 

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mike said:
What is the advantage of the .510 Kodiak EX and .50 AK over the .50-110 WCF?
Thats easy none.In fact when hot loaded today in newer rifles the 50/110 exceeds both of them.The 510KE is a in between.It offers power in between the 50 Alaskan and the 50/110,when the 50/110 is loaded with todays hot handloads.

COL
50/110 2.75
510KE 2.68
50 Alaskan 2.55
 

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My main objection is cost:
http://www.owlnet.com/quality/50 Alaskan.htm
RCBS dies $215.
If Marlin would make a .50 then those costs would
come down as more factories mass-produced them.
Until then, I can't see the .50 over the .45-70. I
can assure you the .45-70 has taken most of the
dangerous game in this world, and that's good enough
for me...... Well, at least until Marlin or Winchester makes
a .50 and ammo comes down in price ;)

Neal said:
Just read some threads on .50 caliber lever rifles and I am wondering what real advantage the .50 Alaskan has over the stout loaded 45-70. If you compare 45-70 loads from Garrett or Buffalo Bore, they are ballistically very similar to the 50 Alaskan. JB even sells 560 gr flat nose hard cast bullets for handloading the 45-70. So what is it about about the 50 that makes folks spend considerable dollars to convert your rifles to 50 Alaskan?

Neal
 

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The 50 AK is a great round, but so is the .45-70. The way I think of them is this, anything the .45-70 can do, the .50 AK can do with just a bit more thump. I shoot both in handguns, the .45-70 in a Contender 15" and the .50 AK in an Encore 12". I'm no macho man, and if I can handle these two in handguns, anyone who really wants to can sure as heck handle them in rifles. Brass cost is a non concern. Sure, they are expensive, but they last forever. The neat thing about the .50 AK is its low operating pressure. Sort of like the .416 Rigby vs. the .416 Remington. All the data that I have seen for the .50 AK is not very high pressure. If you take the .50 AK up to the same pressures as the .45-70 hot loads are loaded, you will see the .50 AK jump way ahead of the .45-70, just like you see the .416 Rigby leave the .416 Remington in the dust when loaded to the same pressures.
In my two, I load both as hot as I can handle (me, not the pistol) and that means the .45-70 with a 300 gr. X at 1890 fps and 2380 ft-lbs, and the .50 AK with a 475 gr. at 1732 fps at 3166 ft-lbs. Neither load shows any indication what-so-ever of being maximum loads for the pistol, but they sure as heck are maximum for me! Just don't try to tell me that there is not much difference between these two rounds. Maybe almost 800 ft-lbs of energy doesn't mean anything to some, but I think it's a lot.
 
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