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Thread: .458 Express

  1. #31

    Default Re: .458 Express

    Hello MyLani,
    I also reckon, that the conversion from 458 WinMag to Lott will not be very difficult. Some peripheral thoughts I mentioned above.
    I would prefer the ZKK 602, since I had one client with a CZ 550 in .416 Rigby (and the guy had bought the rifle after my advice) where a little pin at the safety lever got loose and blocked this very safety lever in the safe position. We found out about this strange occurrence while just handling the rifles in camp on empty chambers, just trying to practice a smooth bringing the rifle to the shoulder - safety off - the click we tried to avoid. And then the safety got stuck.

    I cannot remember what exactly I did to get this thing going again, but it took some dismantling of the stock or something ...

    So there is the reason for my ZKK preference.
    I cannot spend the money for a new Heym, a Harmann & weiss action or similar extravanza.

    Cheers, BW

  2. #32
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    Default Re: .458 Express

    The Mag capacity on the 602 on 458 Win mag, Lott and Express are all 5 rnds.

    The guys are getting 2200-2250 with my 450gr out of the win mag.
    If you’re looking for 500gr, that would leave it to the Lott and Express.

    Once you have 100-200 cases of either, you’ll be sorted for the rest of your life. S&O sells Lott and Express brass.

    There is only 2 458 Express reamers I know of so that limits the gunsmith that can do the job for you.

  3. #33
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    Default Re: .458 Express

    Quote Originally Posted by Desperatezulu View Post
    I haven't seen an answer/reply to this yet, so here goes... Yes, the 450 Rigby is the same parent case as the 416 Rigby. Just necked up and obviously different shoulder dimensions. But the brass can be resized and used interchangeably.

    If you want a pretty thorough overview of the Express, look up the chapter on it in Pierre Vd Walts 'Dangerous Game Cartridges' book.

    My 2c on the topic - I am struggling to decipher what you're really after?
    1. Is it a 458 calibre or just a big bore?
    2. If 458 cal, is it a minimum velocity you're seeking? (after all the only difference at the business end of a 458 WM/Lott/Express/ 450 Rigby/460 weatherby et al is the muzzle velocity)
    3. Do you want a minimum mag capacity?
    4. Is it component availability (in essence brass because bullets, powders and primers are going to be much of a muchness across the different 458 flavours)
    5. Do you have a donor gun/action that you're intending to use, which adds certain constraints?

    I get that reliable feeding is a non-negotiable, as it should be, but all of these calibres are proven in Mauser/CRF actions, so it's a case of gunsmith fine-tuning - not a debate over which calibre will or won't feed.

    As best I can tell from this thread, the 458 Express tickles some curiosity but in reality ain't helluva practical because it's a wildcat and donor brass availability is becoming increasingly scarce.
    A 450 Rigby would appear to make way more sense as it is a factory round, with dies and brass readily available - plus you have donor brass stocks in hand already. The Rigby has the slight downside of probably lower mag capacity because of the fat case but the Brno/CZ magnum action will hold 4 rounds and possibly 5 with some gunsmith tweaking so I don't know that the Express is much different. The other differences (powder capacity, MV etc) are all rather negligible when it comes to choosing between the two.
    +1

  4. #34
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    Default Re: .458 Express

    Quote Originally Posted by bwana wali View Post
    If anybody has experience in importing a second hand rifle, please let me know.
    Yes, although not a rifle but shotguns - long story short, don't go there unless it's a collector's item with huge sentimental value and there's huge financial incentive.
    Otherwise life/money/patience are all too short.

    For a Brno donor action, buy one locally - it will be cheaper, easier and quicker than importing.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: .458 Express

    Quote Originally Posted by bwana wali View Post
    Hello MyLani,
    I also reckon, that the conversion from 458 WinMag to Lott will not be very difficult. Some peripheral thoughts I mentioned above.
    I would prefer the ZKK 602, since I had one client with a CZ 550 in .416 Rigby (and the guy had bought the rifle after my advice) where a little pin at the safety lever got loose and blocked this very safety lever in the safe position. We found out about this strange occurrence while just handling the rifles in camp on empty chambers, just trying to practice a smooth bringing the rifle to the shoulder - safety off - the click we tried to avoid. And then the safety got stuck.

    I cannot remember what exactly I did to get this thing going again, but it took some dismantling of the stock or something ...

    So there is the reason for my ZKK preference.
    I cannot spend the money for a new Heym, a Harmann & weiss action or similar extravanza.

    Cheers, BW
    Ok ,thanks for clearing up why you are going for the ZKK602. Must just comment that one swallow doesn't make a summer.

    Of the 4 CZ 550 actions I own, only the one with the .300Win Mag barrel has an occasional hiccup with feeding but this was a custom build. The other 3 are stock standard factory rifles and they all work flawlessly regardless of how hard or fast you cycle them. My dad owned a Brno ZKK601 in .243 that had head spacing issues from the factory when he bought it in 1978. Guess what I am saying is every manufacturer have occasional issues.

  6. #36

    Default Re: .458 Express

    Thanks Desperatezulu,

    I fear you are right.

    That would put a bit of a brake on my plans, Because the donor rifle is a ready 602 incl Swarovski scope. It needs only shortening of the Barrel to get rid of the magna-porting ans some corrections to the stock. And of course the change from Win Mag to Lott.

    But the paper work seems gruelling. I had heard that also from other sources.

    Cheers, BW

  7. #37

    Default Re: .458 Express

    Jaaa Koebelwagen,

    you are right. I know. But: I had ONE missfire on an downed buffalo that tried to get up when I approached it from behind. Click!. I worked that bolt so fast, that I checked later if nothing was bent.
    What stuck in my mind though was the "click".
    But I did get over it, by shooting that same brand of ammo on all sorts of things that didn't need it. And there was an explanation, with too much Q20 in the action (that was a very wet area we hunted in)..... maar daai "click" kleef in you kop soos hondek@k op 'n wolkombers.

    I will look around locally for a suitable action.

    Cheers, BW

  8. #38

    Default Re: .458 Express

    Quote Originally Posted by Rigby View Post
    +1
    Kindly read post 30.

    bw

  9. #39

    Default Re: .458 Express

    It is unfortunate that so much good info is so well hidden that it dies with us. I had nothing to do with the development of the 458 Express. I got Prof Badenhorst's article from another member of the then SATalkguns forum in 2003, so others have it, some of whom got it from me. But it seems to be generally unknown. Following receipt of the article I had some personal correspondence with Prof Badenhorst because it was one of the calibres I was contemplating building for a customer.

    The 458 Lott was developed by Jack Lott after he was nearly killed by a Cape Buffalo after it had taken two solid hits from a 458 Win. It could in ideal conditions deliver 2250FPS with 500 grain bullet and 80 grains of S321 chamber pressure 61500. That's just a shade more than the safe minimum ballistics for dangerous game, according to Prof Badenhorst. But S321 is temperature temperemental to the extent that max loads are risky in hot locations. It also clumps which is itself a risk factor. Study of the matter indicated that S335 is more stable and much more suitable, but not enough could fit in the 458 Lott case to produce more than 2150FPS. Experiments showed that a 500 grain bullet could be fired at 2400FPS in front of S335 if the brass is lengthened to 3 inches (76mm). But not from 22" barrel, needs 24". Otto Planyavsky of OPM Ammunition produced the experimental cases by lengthening 375 brass. Later PMP and Bertram produced brass. The chamber is simply deepened by hand reaming. The first rifle and several others were done by Danie Joubert who said it was simple. Reamer was made by Clymer. CZ rifles are favoured because they are quality at a reasonable price and one of the few actions long enough. The whole combo provides the required ballistic performance at a rifle cost and ammo cost a lot cheaper than anything comparable. Prof Badenhorst called it the poor man's rigby. I have no idea whether brass is still available. One final point - somebody posted pics of monolithic bullets. 500 grain monolithic is too high pressure for the 458 Express - 450 is max.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: .458 Express

    Quote Originally Posted by bwana wali View Post
    Hello fellow hunters,

    I would like to get a .458 Express, preferably on a ZKK 602 action.
    I would also buy a .458 win mag and have it converted to Express.

    So far the plan.

    Can somebody possibly mail me the reasoning of Prof Badenhorst, why he developped this calibre and what the shortcomings of the 458 Lott are.

    Any advice, opinions, experiences are welcome.

    Cheers, B.W.
    Good evening Bwana

    I have had the privilege of meeting Prof Koos, discussing his ideas with him and shooting his personal 458 3" Expresss rifle.



    Here is a pic of him sitting on the tailgate of his trusty Isuzu, on our local range. (Do check out his shirt!)

    Prof Koos developed the cartridge primarily to duplicate 458 Lott ballistics, but at a lower peak pressure level. This was done by loading the 3" with S365 powder, and not the faster powders usually loaded in the Win Mag and Lott. The slower S365 developed a flatter pressure curve, with lower peak pressure. This resulted in a softer recoil impulse, as the acceleration of the bullet (and rifle) was spread out over a longer period of time, resulting in significantly reduced perceived recoil to the shooter. I have shot Prof Koos's personal rifle, a Ruger No 1, from a bench and can say it was a pleasure to shoot. So, while the Win Mag, Lott and 3" can all push a 500gn bullet at 2100-2150 fps (barrel length dependent) from the muzzle, the 3" does it with less pain to the shooter and lower peak chamber pressures. The chamber pressure can become an issue in very hot conditions, such as are sometimes experienced on a buffalo hunt in for example the Zambezi valley, where cases can get stuck in the chamber and cause the rifle to be useless. Another design criteria was the ability of the relatively affordable (back then) Brno ZKK602 in 458 Win Mag to be re-chambered to the 3" with not much more than running a chamber reamer through it. The mag was already the right size. The availability of the basic brass cases from PMP, at very decent prices, also was a plus.

    Another of the advantages of the 458 3" Express over the 45 cartridges with fatter cases like the 450 Rigby, 458 African and 460 Wby, is the ability of the standard ZKK602 mag to hold 5 cartridges. All the fat cartridge rifles hold less ammo.

    The one disadvantage of the cartridge is that you need proper 3" dies to load it. Adjusted Win Mag or Lott dies caused issues, so custom dies were called for.

    While he is correctly recognised as the father of the 458 3" Express cartridge, it is not widely known that the concept was already tested in the 60's by American gunsmith and big game hunter John Buhmiller. He had already shot a lot of elephant and buffalo with the same cartridge in Kenya, long before Prof Koos re-invented the idea. I supplied Prof Koos with an article from Gun Digest that covered the exploits of John Buhmiller. Well worth reading. John also lathe turned mono-metal bullets way back then and hunted with them. He was decades ahead with his ideas. Sadly, he kept most of his innovations to himself. John also necked a 378 Weatherby up to .458" and shot big game with it, 2 years before Weatherby introduced the 460Wby cartridge. While Prof Koos did not copy anything from Buhmiller, he thought along the same lines and went further and commercialised the 3" cartridge, and thus made it available to all of us. We must thank him for that.

    Another great cartridge with very similar performance is the 458 African, developed by Pierre van der Walt. It also gives the lower peak pressures and more bearable recoil impulse due to it's ability to run on S365.

    Prof Koos also had other interests. His carry gun was a customised 5" Ruger Redhawk 44 Mag revolver, and he handled it very proficiently. He also owned a Freedom Arms Premier Grade 454 Casull revolver. From this toy he shot a 300gn cast lead flat nosed bullet (obtained from Frontier), pushed to 1600 fps from the 7.5" barrel. Despite the very decent performance, it was a pleasure to shoot. The design of that revolver helps to absorb all the recoil without being painful to the shooter.

    I hope this answers some of your questions.

    Prof Koos left our area and moved to Ellisras several years ago, and I lost contact with him. Does anyone know what happened to him since then?

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