.458 Lott - Pistolsmith
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Old 06-24-2003, 05:47 PM   #1
 
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.458 Lott

Thinking about putting up a .458 Lott. Anyone have any experience good or bad with that cartridge. From what I have read, it is what the .458 Win wanted to be. A 500gr at 2250fps+
 
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Old 06-24-2003, 08:39 PM   #2
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I have had several and would be happy to sell you one for less than you can build it. For $1000 this is one done by Jim Cloward of Seattle on a Whitworth 458. New bolt, safety, trigger, barrel band sling and pad.





 
Old 06-25-2003, 04:49 AM   #3
 
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Thanks Dane, I am sure it is a great rifle. But, as you know, half the fun of having one is building it just like you want it.

The picture you posted shows the rifle and I like some of the attributes shown: the express sights, barrel band sling, but I want to put mine up in a Kevlar stock, want a 20 inch Kreiger bbl, and if I build it I can have the sights adjusted for my individual focal point (glasses), and I just happen to have a spare 700 Remington receiver with a mag bolt face, so I am miles ahead.

You state that you have had several, and I know that you now shoot your own 505Burns, but did you like the Lott rifles you owned and did they do what you thought a stopping rifle should do.

Thanks again
David
 
 
Old 06-25-2003, 10:16 AM   #4
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My rambling 2 cents on a couple of the big bores since you asked

Like many of the big bores that were developed in the '50/60s there were cartridges available earlier in the century that solved the same problems nicely. When Jack Lott got tossed by the buff and decided to solve the 458 Win mag "problem" there wasn't many other answers easily available.

I shoot (or use too) a bunch of the 416 Rem and before that a bigger bunch...of 458 win mag. I used the same custom kevlar stock on both rifles and finally put the 458 back in the wood and sold it. But I shot a whole bunch from that gun and basically learned to shoot big bores with it. I have several custom 416 Rigbys and prefer the Remington...because I built it for me. And I think it recoils less than the Rigby loaded at the same power. Those are 400 grain bullets in the 416s. Steping up to 450s and better yet 500s of a 458 add to the recoil.

So here is what I came up with from building big bores. The belted cartridge isn't needed and is a pain in the ass to get to feed from a drop box mag. (Rob says I am wrong because he owns a extremely nice, Drumblin 450 Weatherby and may well be right) Darcy sure has it down right but he builds his own +1 boxes too. He is the guy you should really ask about the Lott. And he'll supply the custom ammo. I use to be a ammo manufacture so don't take that suggestion lightly with the Lott. Darcy has built more of them than any one else I suspect. When I build a big bore, a drop box that adds one round is mandatory...or why bother.

A stock Winchester or most anything made in the USA holds 3+1, not enough IMO of the mediums (375 to 458). So while the 458 does indeed add some to the 458 I don't think it goes in the right direction today. 450 G&A is a better answer IMO. I have a bunch of brass and the better Woodleighs bullets, which are 450 grs, for the caliber. You really do want to get to 2300fps to really use the cartridge for its intended purpose.

The gun shown has all the metal work done. It was built to shoot in the interim till I had time to add a drop box and a MPI Kevlar stock.

I basically decided the the 416s were a better answer on feeding (even with the belt a 416 feeds easier than the Lott IMO) and energy and if that won't do it then I want something bigger than a 45. When the Lott bacame a bigger hassle to load for and to get to function than the 505 the demished return was enough to get me to stop my Lott projects as well as the 450 G&A. If the 505 Woodleighs had been available 10 years ago I wouldn't have started a couple of these projects.

I actually shoot a 416. I own a 505 is how I look at it. Similar to a jframe. I shoot 45s but I own a jframe. Make sense?

The 458 Lott is a good caliber but like the 38 Super I think today there are better answers. Hope that helps.



 
Old 06-25-2003, 10:52 AM   #5
 
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OK, I got all that. You think that the 416's are preferable to the belted .450 rounds due to feeding. You think the energy is similar and not a big deal unless you are hunting a TRex.

If that is the train of thought here, why not make up a 416 Taylor, instead of the Remington. The shorter case should make the burn more efficient and there are plenty of 338 or 458 brass to neck to size. Could run a 400 gr at 2300 in a 24" bbl. Brass is one pass through the die...

Looks like it has a lot going for it.

What do you think of the 416 Taylor
 
Old 06-25-2003, 12:01 PM   #6
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Had a 416 Taylor, one of my first customs. Not enough IMO.

Got to make 2400 with a 400gr bullet to be a stopping caliber.
I ended up using 350 Barnes in mine. Nice gun packed it in Alaska. AF&G employee owns my Taylor now. I built a 416 Rem and I bet he wishes he had too or just rechambered the Taylor and added a longer box. You'll find yourself hard pressed to get 2300 from a 400gr bullet in the Taylor no mater what the gun writers say. BTDT. The burn is efficient though so a 21/22" guns gets you just about the same as a 24". Which I did like. But you can't jam enough bullet or powder into the case in the end. Close but no cigar on the Taylor. With 300 or 325grs. It would make a nice hog gun though

I just kept looking into that mag box and thinking what a waste of space with the Taylor. Since most modern guns are made to take a 375-length cartridge might as well stoke it up. I was using the new Winchester actions at the time for building. The 416 Rem. has more energy than a 458 Win mag and shoots as flat as a 30/06 with a 400. No comparison and why the pros have always looked at the Rigby with such envy. The Rem 416 is a better package for all the reasons you thought you would like the Taylor. The Remington actually backs up the hype. Brass and bullets are easy in all forms.

All the mentioned belted rounds are similar cases obviously but the ojive and case neck define some/much of the feeding. The full sized 458 Lott has pretty big up front and the belt doesn't help. 375s feed better than either and 416s better than the 458s IMO, everything else being equal.

Like they say in the race car business, nothing replaces displacement.....You want a big bore ? Design from the bottom up not the top down. A Gibbs case is too big for modern powders and a 458 case is just a tiny bit too small. The 404 Jeffrey’s case dia. used on the Winchester short mags and the 458 G&A is a good in between.

A shoulder is always preferable to a belt for headspace and more importantly feeding. Think rimmed cartridge because the belt was an answer to headspace a cartridge with no shoulder....turn of the century technology. There are better ways to do it today.

Taylors and Lotts are cheap to build which was the first intention, cheap 416 Rigby or a 450 Nitro. Cheap is not the way to design. No insult intended to Chatfield-Taylor or Mr. Lott...may they rest in good hunting grounds

The 416 Rem was the factory answer to Hoffman's "cheap" 416 Rigby.
Better round than either, as Seyfried will tell you, is a 416 Dakota....a 375 length 416 based again on the 404 Jeffery's case. The Rigby case like the Gibbs is too big for modern power, stack and burn, except in a 45 or 505 caliber....450 Dakota or 505 Burns come to mind. Both use the 416 Rigby case as the basic brass.

Good design works looks are all the particulars. Stopping rifle, job one? Reliability. Gun has to be big enough. On a man 45 seems to be it. On big game 416 seems to be it.

Use those to start and then have a cartridge that is again designed to be what? Job 1...reliable. You see where this goes building a 1911 or a stopping rifle. You look at the powder, bullets and velocity you need to do the job, how many rounds do you require to get the job done safely?

The three things that make a gun reliable mechanically, ammo, magazine, gun in that order.......semi or bolt doesn't matter, same list.

Is the weapons system then reliable on the intended target?

A 1911 in 45 is a 2 person max gun...a 1911 in 9x23 a 3 person max gun but will the 9x23 be as effective as a 45? Tough questions and I am not into hedged bets. Be nice to have a .50 cal. 1911, but I do have a .50 rifle I am less impressed by man than I am by 1800# Brown bear.

If I have to give up ammo load I want bigger bullets...My 505 holds 5 total. My 45 9. My 338/06 holds 6 my 9x23 11.



 
Old 10-23-2003, 07:33 PM   #7
 
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I just read this. What an education I just got, for free. Thanks.
 
Old 05-22-2004, 06:19 AM   #8
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Dane and I have talked this over a bit over the years (though we mostly talk pistols and crusty old gunfighters).

I pretty much agree with him on these matters (and he has more experience with big rifles so I pay attention). So the other day when the bug bit hard I found myself buying into the .458 Lott and was sort of surprised at myself. But here is what finally set the hook:

1. Now there is a real chance I might actually get to go to Africa. Knowing a couple of folks who got to the other side of the world and somehow got seperated from their ammo (I am not sure how that happened...one of them did finally get his about 6 days into the safari), I decided the ability to shoot a readily available factory round might be good "insurance".

2. I wanted a 5 shooter at least. I love the big Rigby case, but getting it to hold 4 rounds down, while not too difficult, is not standard.

3. Availability of components (OK, I am cheap)

4. Well, you see there was this CZ right there in the rack and it had a magazine able to take the Lott + 1/4" of even more room. It had a bolt I could take apart. It was "square bridge" controlled feed and...well...it was there!

When I got home I found out it holds 5 rounds down with enough play to load the 6th! It also has a single set trigger - which I find a bit supurflous on a "thumper".

The reamer is on order and it should be a .458 Lott before the month is out...or maybe next month as I am really busy.

BTW, no big surprise but the .458 Win. soft point stinks - it only gets 2061 out of my gun and comes unglued in only 6" of pine (though it will get through 24" if shot along the grain of a railroad tie). Way too soft. But then a buffalo gun needs solids anyway.

Bought a buch of 350 Speer and Barnes X bullets for the "light plains" load.

Anyway, lots of good choices. I never thought much of the Lott ballistically (there was always something slightly better) but logistically, it made some sense. Not that one day I won't have a 505 Burns!

Tally ho!
Bwana Jim

PS - anybody have experience with powders that don't change much with wide variances in tempereture suitable for this thing?
 
Old 05-25-2004, 07:43 AM   #9
 
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Nice to see the Forum returning to the topic of BIG BORE RIFLES.

Dane has, as usual, some sound comments based on experience rather than from reading.

By the way, the 458 is really just what it is. Another example of marketing decisions adversely affecting optimal performance. Given that the old Model 70 could handle the 375 H&H case length, there was no real reason why it couldn't have been made up on the full length blown out 375 case instead of cutting it down---except it was part of Winchester's hype folk's family of short magnums. They touted modernity and efficiency of the short cases and the speed of the bolt throw over the longer cases. Rather typically, the lemming-termite folks bought the concept--and are still doing so today with the new shorter and fatter flavours. The 458 Win undoubtedly would have been a more efficient cartridge with more powder capacity---in fact, that's all the Lott round is--the parent case not cut back so far.

That being said, the old 458 was and still is, an inexpensive, readily available alternative for a stopping rifle that was and is heavily used. It was designed to match the basic ballistics of the 470/450 Express rounds and it may well have in similar barrel lengths given the blue sky in older published estimates of velocity. The current insistence on it's failure is a bit tardy since the problems which Lott and others experienced have long since been resolved by changes in components.

Not that it applies to you guys on this forum, but it should be remembered that the 458 Win is still more gun than most folks can shoot well without burning holes in their barrel, adding crew served weapons-like appendages on the barrel, or buying various mechanical devices to substitute for learning to shoot it.

One of our finest contemporary gunwriters and one who never drew the longbow with his anecdotes or created his own experience to support his prejudices was the late Finn Aagaard. Finn always wrote from a solid base of experience and didn't make statements that he hadn't validated. Though he came fairly late to the African PWH scene, he was, unlike many of the hunters, interested and knowledgeable about weapons and their capabilities. He strongly felt that the 458 Win was an effective tool. He also believed, based on a fair number of years shepherding sport hunters in the old BEA, that it was too heavy for most tourist hunters to use well on a short hunt and recommended the 375 H&H for their use instead of a heavy rifle.

I used a 458 initially, by the way, in a Ruger 77 for my first years hunting in West Africa. Chose it because I wasn't sure how long I'd be in place or where I was going next and wanted something I could leave behind if I had to without a great sense of loss. Chose the calibre because of ammo availability and because I thought I'd be doing more hunting in the rain forest than in the Savanna. As it turned out, I hunted more in the savannas. I used it for everthing from duiker to buffalo. Matter of fact, I think my 458 began getting a complex about being a plains rifle, but it's amazing what one can do with it at longer ranges with a low powered scope and an 1.5 to 2 inch high zero at 100 meters. As a bonus, all the 458's I've owned have also been quite accurate when fired on paper from a bench and that's pretty much a concensus among the older folks who used it.

Unfortunately, I did not get the penetration I wanted with my stock of WW soft points which were a bit too soft to my taste. They were also '70's & 80's vintage rounds. Plus I didn't really care for the Ruger 77 though it's a strong, serviceable rifle and as soon as my licenses were approved I brought over the 416 and a bit later, backed it up with a Dumoulin 460 as my stopping rifle. The 416 became my everything gun and with it's 180-grain 30/06-like trajectory, did most excellently in the savannas. But then, so did the 458... Still I was happier with the greater penetration and flatter trajectory of the 416 with Federal Woodleigh SP and Solids.

Now with so many better bullets available for the 458 in factory loads, I'd have no qualms about using a 458. I would opt for the shortest 500-grain projectile and the fastest of the loads as chronographed in MY rifle rather than based on ballistic charts. Since I've had to work in the region to afford to hunt there and the nature of my life has involved a fair amount of overseas life, I've always opted for factory ammo that could be purchased conveniently if expensively in the area. For a sport hunter, no problem, of course, in handloading with the optimal combination of bullet and components. In any event, I certainly wouldn't be without a good old 458 Win in the battery. I do only have one, now, a foreshortened Browning that is a lively and quick handling rifle.

By the by, ALL HEAVY BORES, require some relieving of the tang and reinforcing of the bedding to prevent stocks from cracking...not just the BRNOS. I'm so paranoid, I do so even with light 338's.

Not attacking anyone's position or preferences, but just some additional thoughts in defense of the old 458 Mag which suffers from a bad reputation only widespread after the basic problems were resolved. It's a good round that could have been better by leaving the case longer. It is what it is. When it was released in 1956, it was considered a viciously recoiling round--and still is by folks who think of 30 calibre as big bore. Had Winchester produced a full length case load a half century ago, I doubt that many could have handled it. Now, apparently shooters are tougher folk and delight in featherweight Lotts and 44 Mags that weigh less than the average linen handkerchief to cope with the tougher breed of critters and two legged predators that walk about in the 21st century.
 
Old 06-05-2004, 09:10 AM   #10
 
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Great Post...
 
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