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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, its been a long road, but finally got to actually fire the 411 today.

It took a great long while to get the cartridges loaded and sized right. I started with cylinder '06 brass made by Quality Cartridge for Z-Hat with the proper cartridge designation. When setting up for loading, I couldn't find where Fred had given me a chamber drawing OR a cartridge drawing. I didn't know where to set the shoulder. Fred's policy is that since these are proprietary rounds developed by him, those drawings aren't available. I disagree, but found that we could work around that easily enough by trial and error. Actually a Beartooth member (cgdavid) was an incredible amount of help and much gratitude goes out to him. Also had tons of help (and actually the final forming of the brass) from Homer Strickland of Accuracy Arms in Anchorage. Homer did a grand job and was there every step of the way to answer all my stupid questions and to help in every capacity. On cgdavid's recommendation, we set the neck length to where we would have a slight "crush-fit" when the brass was chambered. After that was found, it went pretty quick, though I ended up messing up 5 or 6 cases before that was found.

Zeglin recommends fireforming loads for the 411 Hawk to be near 60,000 psi to crisp up the shoulder. This made me quite nervous as the rifle is a rear locking lever action. Zeglin has quite a few pressure tested loads using various bullets and manufacture, but unfortunately, I didn't have any of those bullets, I had Barnes X and Zeglin didn't have pressure data for the X. A call to Randy Brooks at Barnes got a recommended seating depth and reduction in powder charge to attain the 60,000 psi load for the 3 different weight X bullets.

After loading up quite a few of each, the 325, 350 and 400 grain X bullets, we found that the 350 and 400 grain X's can't be seated deep enough to work in the bottom of the magazine. They work fine in the chamber and can be seated deep enough for the first round in the magazine, but that is it. The 1895 magazine is tapered just enough that they can be loaded into the mag, but get pinched enough that they won't cycle. I think we can overcome this problem using a lead core bullet such as the Woodleigh for the 400 grain and North Fork's 360 grain for the midweight.

Today I fired the first 10 rounds through the 411 Hawk. 325 grain X bullets, over 63.0 grains of H4895 with Fed 210 primers.

After the 3rd shot, I noticed some terrible copper fouling in the barrel. After a cleaning session, fired 5 more, then more cleaning. Then the final 2. Primers looked great, no sticky extraction and there doesn't appear to be any case stretch. The shoulders crisped right up and look great.

I didn't make arrangements for a chronograph as I shot between the rain showers and didn't know if I would get to at all.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Sounds interesting.... if you have a cut-rifled barrel on that gun, they can take a few rounds to smooth out.

I'd run a handful of lapping rounds down it, myself. At least you can use cast .41 mag pistol bullets for that.

Keep us posted.....
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #3
Mike,
The barrel is a Douglas Premium XX, so I'm assuming it was button rifled. Zeglin handlapped the bore. I ran a patch of Powder solvent down the barrel and patched dry. Then swabbed it down with Sweets with a few strokes of a nylon brush and it was clean. Because of the ease of cleaning, I think the bore is in real good shape. The X bullets are kinda infamous for copper fouling. Those that I've shot in the past in my Rugers took a terrible long time to clean.

There is no doubting the X performance on game though. I've had great experiences with them hunting. I actually wanted the X and the Swift A Frame as the primary bullets to use, but both Barnes and Swift dropped their heavyweights in the 411 line. Actually Swift dropped their entire 411 line. So I guess it is kind of a blessing in disguise that the 350 and 400 grain Barnes won't work in the magazine. I have some 350 grain (.035" jacket) Hawk bullets loaded over 59 grains of H-322 that I will try tomorrow.

Guess I'll have to try some of the 400 grain Woodleigh's for the heavyweight bullets. North Fork is working on a 360 grain mid weight, but I'm not sure what the length will be.
 

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Yahlza! Good luck with her! That's some sophisticated handloading going on there and it sounds like the perfect Alaska woods rifle -- a nice old-fashioned 'Express' rifle. Save some bore for lead loads -- I'd like to see what'll-she-do with 300 gr of lead and 2000-2200 fps.

I'm definitely a novice handloader, but I test first shots over a chrono now after having raised the hair on the back of my neck a couple of times (different bullets with the same load varied 100+fps...).

Can you post some pix of your prize?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Charlie,
From the best data I can drag up (because I didn't shoot over a chrony) the 325 grain load I shot yesterday was somewhere around 2400 fps. I was terribly nervous when I touched off the first shot. I actually waited till there were only a couple of other shooters (a fair distance away) before I shot. I did a extensive case inspection of that first fired round and of the rifle before sending the second one down range. Those that were left all huddled around the rifle and I sure felt like the proud owner of something special (one older gentleman actually took pictures of the rifle).

kciH,
Recoil wasn't bad at all. More than my 338's, but nothing like what I was suspecting. There was a fellow there sighting in a new scope on a 45/70 with some Garrett-type loads and his rifle "kicked" a whole lot worse than mine. Not something I would want to sit down and shoot 100 rounds per day from, but not bad at all. It does get your attention, though. It'll take some practice to become proficient staying on target while working for the second shot, but think that will come in time.

I did not check for accuracy yesterday and looks like if I shoot today it'll be in the rain. I did take a shot a gallon orange jug that someone had put downrange at around 75-80 yards. I walked it back to around the 100 yard line shooting without a rest standing. That was using the fixed blade of the express sight.

I'm not real comfortable with the hood on the front sight. Yesterday was one of those days that was overcast and the clouds had that leaden gray color and light was "dim". It made it difficult to acquire the front sight with any speed at all.
 

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Alyeska,
now you're making me jealous! That looks too pretty to be dragging around in the wet bush of Alaska.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
kciH,
Nah, that rifle belongs in the alder and devils club thickets! The wood is very nice (came from Brownchester that way), but not "over the top" for a working rifle.

I do tend to take pretty good care of my rifles, though they do get used hard. Here's an image of my "go-to" rifle over the last 15 years or so. Other than a little faded bluing and some light dings and scratches, its in good shape. I haven't refinished the stock or reblued it yet. Its a No.1 S in 338 Win Mag.
 

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Alyeska,
Did you get the 1895 for a quick follow up shot? Since you're a #1 fanatic, from what I can tell, you could have just gotten the .416 Rigby.:)

I've got the order in for my .416 Rigby in a CZ550, I'm waiting anxiously. I'm anxious to see if I can shorten the barrel back to 22" and keep the express sight regulated with a good degree of accuracy.

Good luck with the new rifle.
 

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Beartooth Regular
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Discussion Starter #10
Well, believe it or not, there was a method to all the madness. I am a No.1 fanatic and did own a 416 Rigby in a No.1 right after Ruger introduced it. I just never took it hunting for one reason or another, so I sold it.

Basically the idea behind the 411 was that, since selling my 338 bolt actions, I didn't have a rifle I felt 100% comfortable with in the dense alder and devils club jungles of Cape Suckling, Hinchinbrook or Montague Islands where I've been hunting moose and deer. There seem to be as many big brown bears as there are ungulates, some of which are very ill tempered. So I started looking for something that was a quick repeater, short, fairly light, well balanced and fast handling. Some bolts would fill the bill, but not without a tremendous amount of muzzleblast or extremely painful recoil. So I looked at the lever guns. I wanted to be able to use this rifle in the muskeg meadows and graminoid patches that occur frequently in the areas I've talked about. Some of these get fairly large and the "far side" can stretch to 250 yards or so. That is pretty much my limits with open sights anyway. I didn't want to use a scope because of the limits of the alder and devils club thickets. This rifle was going to have to "Africanized" to do what I wanted. I considered the 45/70, 444, 450 Marlin, etc. but wanted to use spitzer bullets. That left me with just a couple of lever rifles that would fit the bill. The BLR, the M88 Winchester, or the Winchester 1895. The BLR's just don't fit me quite right and the M88's are really hard to come by these days up here. The 1895 worked well, but wasn't chambered for what I felt was necessary at the time. They've since introduced the 405 Winchester and I'm sure it would fit the bill, but wasn't offered when I bought my project rifle. I wanted a minimum 40 caliber that would shoot a bullet of premium construction and had a sectional density of .300 or better, all while achieving the velocity for good penetration and staying within the bullets working parameters for expansion at the yardage I felt necessary. I felt this would deal with brownies at my shoelaces and moose at 250 yards admirably.

The 400 Brown-Whelen and 411 Hawk where the only thing I could come up with that fit that description and work in the rifles I felt gave me the handling qualities I sought. This would be my "fighting rifle" that Ross Seyfried describes every now and then. Harry McGowen's shop was familiar with the Brown Whelen version, but not chambering it in the Winchester and there wasn't much load data except for that published by John Kronfeld. Fred Zeglin had come up with an "improved" version of the 400 BW and was very familiar with chambering it for the Winchester and spec'd so it would do what I was looking for. He has quite a bit of load data (including pressure data) for Swift, Hawk, Barnes (originals), and cast bullets.

So I didn't really get the 411 just to have the chambering. There was a void I felt needed filling in my hunting rifles. I then sought out a rifle that had the handling qualities I needed and would accept a cartridge that would fill the performance on game. Then found the cartridge.
 

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That looks Great! Perhaps, we should say, "Bully!"

(I guess you can slip the front sight cover off if necessary?)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey Charlie,
You know you were a huge instigator in the outcome of this project, don't you? Guess that means you'll have to come up here and shoot it!!!

Yeah the hood on the front sight can be removed. It's one of the NECG banded sights and the hood is held on by both tension (as with most hooded sights) and a small set screw. The sight itself is pretty dang herky, I don't think its going to bend unless the rifle has serious other problems to go along with it. I'm tempted to remove the sight right now (never had luck with the hoods getting caught in brush, etc.), but will leave it alone for now to see if I can get used to it.

Wasn't able to shoot today, its been raining since about 5 this morning. I'll make a go at it tomorrow evening.
 

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I'm dying to get up there. Got the right bird for it; all the guys in the skywagon forum are up there or trying. Mother-in-law homestead up toward Tok, which may account for me taking so long...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'll be flying out of Tok for sheep in just about 3 weeks from now. I love that part of the state. Shoot, I like all parts of this state!

The area we are heading to is recovering from a bad die off in the winter of '92-'93, but the past few have been really mild. Tons of big grizzlies around, too. Hoping the sheep have had enough time and enough good browse to meet the full curl minimums.

Here's an image of the front sight and forearm of the Brownchester.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks Joel. Once I get all my cases formed, I'll be working up a good 350 grain load. I'm hoping to be able to push the 350's 2300 fps, or something similar. Looks like at this time I'll be working with Hawk's heavy jacketed 350's for the bears. When North Fork makes their 360 available, I'll try some of those. This should give us a bullet of good enough construction, with a sectional density of just over .300 at a velocity quick enough for adequate penetration and trajectory for the conditions I described, while keeping pressures down for long gun/case life. That's the new plan, anyway.
 
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