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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I'm not a wildcatter or even (I hate to admit it) a handloader, but it seems to me that the .450 Marlin has a lot of possibilities as a parent case. With the belt to control headspace, it would be ideal for a neck down to .400-.416 (it is my understanding that headspace is a concern on the .400 Whelen). Also it seems to me the case would be ideal for a short bolt rifle for those who don't care for lever rifles. I think about the Gibbs Enfield in 45-70 and wonder if it would handle the .450, advantage would be not worrying about someone stuffing your hot 45-70 handloads in a Trapdoor Springfield or original black powder lever rifle. Besides, wouldn't a short woods rifle on the Model Seven or a Featherweight or Ruger Ultra light be cool?
 

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Winchester's Custom Shop offers a neat .450 in its short action. Neat. Pricey. Probably would hold its value, though, since it's an odd, but desireable duck.

http://www.winchester-guns.com/prodinfo/catalog/cstmguns/short_action.htm

The .400 Whelen is based on the 30-06 bumped up to where there isn't much shoulder to headspace on.

There would probably be enough shoulder to headspace .450 sized case necked to .40 w/o the belt, though the belt might help boltguns feed.

The Gibbs would be my choice, except it seems that they do not want you shooting full zoot 45-70 loads, which are equivalent to .450 Marlin. So, the enfield's strength at the high end (.450 level) might be in question. Someone may supply additional facts on that.
 

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The .450 Marlin is a commercialised, safety version of the .458X2" wildcat. The short action bolt gun was the original vehicle for this round, and either it or the Marlin round can be chambered in them to good effect.

The Enfield is not as strong as most other bolt actions, and loads would have to be assembled with this in mind.

Future case availability is a good reason to look to the standard magnum case rather than the special Marlin case for wildcats of this type.

Beartooth has developed at least one round, the .416 Beartooth, much like what you are asking about.

Fireplug
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree the .416 Beartooth is very close, but to me the reason for building the .416 on the .450 case would be the same as the reason Marlin did it, the belt longer than a conventional magnum. With any wildcat built on a shortened .458 case (or .375 H&H to be proper) there is a very real risk someone will load that round into a small caliber magnum and fire it. With the belt providing headspace the round will fire and you can imagine the pressure that pushing a .416 bullet thru say a 7mm bore would produce.
 

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I would rather have a 450 wildcat that could be called the 450/45, which is simply .458 necked down to .451. This opens the door to all of the 45 ACP, 45 Colt and 454 Casull bullets to the handloader, as well as 45/40 and 45 358 sabots currently used in black powder rifles.

Without the sabots, we are talking 155 to 400 grain bullets right off the shelf, and 90 to 200 in the .355 and .400 caliber application with sabots.

I have done all this with my 454 Casull, and it works fine. With the 450 case capacity in an 18 to 22 inch bbl, we could hunt varmints to bear, and have some great plinking rounds.
 

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Loader,

That sounds like a great idea. Can you elaborate on two parts of the idea though, specifically the sabot loads and the very heavy .45 bullets you mention? Neat Idea.

Andy,

Please, do not take this as in any way derogatory toward you; but Marlin's need to protect itself from the tort Bar aside the cartridge mistake argument here is silly. The little fat stubby .450 and any like cartridge (.458X2 or .416 Beartooth) is so different from the other belted magnums that anyone making this mistake is such a ripe candidate for natural selection that going that way might be a mercy. You state from the start that you are a begining handloader and as such your caution and concern for others is both wise and admirable, but that caution is better aimed at careful loading procedures when you begin loading rather than any concern about mistaking rounds this vastly different.

Fireplug
 

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Fireplug -

The 450/45 I have in mind is simply the 450 Marlin necked or tapered to accept .451/.452 caliber bullets, so the very heavy bullets could be lead. For lever guns, we should hold it to the 450 pressure and length specs, but move up to a 1 in 16 inch twist rate to stabilize the heavy bullets and sabot loads.

This simple change allows the 450 to shoot all .451/.452 pistol bullets, similar to the 444 and .429/.430, but 2 currently available sabots as well. Both the 45/.40 and 45/.357 black powder sabots are .451 caliber, and no one makes .458s.

We would need to do a little research to modify the feed ramp to handle the sabots smoothly, and the chamber should be smooth all the way to the lands - no case mouth groove.

The sabot capability is important, as it allows the rifle to shoot all 9MM, .357, .358, and .40 caliber bullets. My very trusty computer says we can shoot Hornady 200 gr .358 PSPs at 2700 fps at under 38,000 CUP from an 18 inch bbl with 5 different powders. That's a whole new ball game for a Guide Gun. We can also shoot Beartooth 45 cal 365s at 2100 fps - need I say more. Basically, its the 358 Win and 450 Marlin rolled into one rifle.

As for fun shooting, all of the neat 45 Long Colt loads could be easily duplicated, or one could pop groundhogs with 115 gr 9MM XTPs at 3000 fps at 34,000 CUP.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Fireplug,

You are absolutley correct that the long belt is a result of concern over idiotic lawsuits (and absolutely correct that it is unbelievable that someone would make such a dumb mistake.) My thinking was simply that you could use the .450 as a readily available round to avoid this possibility

You would be suprised what people believe or will try tho, just ask 20 soldiers about the AK-47 and ten will tell you with a straight face that the AK will fire M-16 ammunition but the M-16 will not fire the Russian round, so the AK is "better"

I read in the National Rifleman that Barnes dropped the idea of the .458x2" because of the possiblility of accidents, perhaps I should learn to take things with a grain of salt.

andy
 

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andy,
There have been a lot of potentially great cartridges and guns that have fell into obscurity because of the lawsuits you mentioned. Ken Waters and others believe this was the biggest blow to the 1895 Winchester. Apparently quite a few of these rifles were loaded with 8mm Mauser cartridges our soldiers brought back from the first World War. Stuffing a 8mm round into a 30 caliber rifle resulted in very detrimental effects to the rifle and shooter. Winchester proclaimed the action was not as safe as the bolt guns of the times and, this as much as anything, helped lead to the demise of a wonderful and accurate lever action rifle.
 
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