View Full Version : Wildcat Speculations

10-01-2014, 03:33 PM
I like .45's. I like the .45ACP, I like the .45LC, there is even a place in my heart for the .45GAP ( I don't own one, but if someone wants to donate one to the "I Fund", it would be gratefully received). I shoot .451 230gr HP's in sabots out of my .54 smokepole. They kill cleanly, reliably, well beyond the 100yds or so my ageing eyes limit my use of peep sights these days. So will the .45LC and I have been keeping half an eye open for an older 10" or 24" Contender barrel in good condition for my collection for the last few years. A .440 round ball knocks a deer a$$ over bandbox when placed correctly.

But Clayt's and Mike's recent experiences with the .45-70 have got me to thinking. I have enjoyed several rifles over the years, but nothing would ever get me to own a Contender barrel of any length so chambered. .458 rifle bullets are double the weight of most .451 handgun bullets. They fly with softball-like trajectories and produce excessive recoil when pushed to hunting velocities. So, why are there no rifle cartridges built around .451 handgun bullets for hunting?

The .45ACP isn't much of a deer killer unless the ranges are close, but I got to thinking about its history. It is based on the same case head developed over a century ago by the Mauser brothers, along with the -06 and the .308 and all the hundreds (thousands) of wildcats and factory rounds developed from them over the years. While the case body is just a tad too small in diameter for the larger .458 rifle bullets, it is just the right size to hold a .451 handgun bullet. Hmmm.

What about necking up a .308 case to hold those same cast or jacketed 230gr .451HP's that drop deer so well? Someone out there MUST have done some research on such a round, but I can find nothing in any of my books, nor have I found anything in my online researches. The bullet wouldn't need a gas check, 2000-2200fps would be all you'd need under 200yds, the recoil would be manageable (compared to a full charge .458mag or a modern single shot .45-70), and you have millions of rifles out there with the correct size bolt face and needing only a new barrel to do their thing. It would be suitable even for the big bears as well as moose, deer, caribou, elk, bison, hogs, and a lot of the big African game, too. It would not be a long range round by any stretch of the imagination, but no .45 really is.

Besides as a large game hunting round it would also work well on Stoner's original larger AR platform and easily lend itself to subsonic suppressed loads for military and law enforcement two-legged problems, and with an AP bullet it would go right through an aluminum engine block at reasonable ranges.

What do you boys think? I'm going to post it on the FB RLB page to and get their opinions too.

10-01-2014, 08:27 PM
Hmm, the outside diameter of the .308 Win is .454" at the top of the shoulder. There can't be enough room in there for a .451" bullet or the case walls couldn't be any thicker than .0015" thick. So; we must blow out the case body or at the least resize it radically. What do we do with the neck and current shoulder? Resize out to the approximately .473" case body size or somewhere in between and use the case minus the current neck? (I believe the neck would be so attenuated (thinned) it would be unusable. Then we have a case a bit over 1.675". (That is the current length to beginning of the neck and it will lengthen a bit when we resize the case). If we do that then the new neck probably needs annealed to reduce the hardness to a level appropriate for a case neck. Maybe use a 30-06 case instead? Don't know how viable an idea that is and I don't know for SURE that blowing the case neck on the .308 Win out to .451" would make the neck too thin but I do believe it would. By my admittedly rough calculations the original neck was .0175" thick and blown out it would be .0089" thick. :idea:

10-01-2014, 09:30 PM
Yes, it would have to be blown out a tad bit. Neck diameter of a .45ACP is .4515", head is .4760". As is you are right, the neck would be way too thin and must be blown out a tiny bit, but there is enough brass there to do it. I agree it would be much better to start with a new -06 case, trim it back and fire form it.

Good ideas, that's why I asked. Thanks and keep it up. Others please jump in here. Dan, what do you think? This is actually looking doable.

No one on the FB group seems to get what I'm aiming at despite explaining it twice, they keep talking about fatter cases designed for .458 bullets with no real useful parallels. I'm still waiting for Sam to give me his opinion.

10-02-2014, 02:28 AM
need a tapered expander. may need to ream -06 case after trimming. its been done before. Frank C Barnes i believe made the 458 american x 2" that used .458 bullets so the.451 bullets will fit the case. running cutdown 06 brass into my 45 acp die sofar has just produced crushed cases. will try other ways this weekend.

my mistake the 458 was a shortened 458 win mag. .429 might be the practical limit without making the case to thin

10-02-2014, 02:37 AM
Vers, please take what I say with a grain of salt. I have never done this so you may find me wildly off at some point. You thinking of the '06 case now? I like the idea just curious what kind of case capacity the '06 would wind up with. I believe the powder capacity would be more than enough to go well over the 2200 fps you mentioned. In the unformed .30-06 you can stuff over 60 grains of powder under a smallish bullet. (65 grains compressed if you use SUPRFORM). In the unformed .308 Win you are lucky to get 53 grains so unless I am really off I think you are looking at a good bit more than 2200. The .460 S&W Magnum gets around 1900 fps with a 325 gr. cast bullet and compressed load of 39.0 grains of IMR 4227 in a 15" Contender. You'll have room for a LOT more powder.

10-02-2014, 02:41 AM
the 450 bushmaster loosly based on the 284 case has a water capacity of about 60gr ouyside neck dia .480 inside .453

10-02-2014, 05:01 AM
Kirbydoc, I want and value your input. I take everything with a grain of salt, especially my own speculations. I just figured if one started with the -06 case and trimmed it after opening the neck up it would be easier on the brass than starting with a .308 to end up at that length. I've never done it either. This is all unknown territory to me. I have a .45cal m/l barrel that I haven't slugged yet, assuming something close to .450 bore (groove?), and a single shot action I could fit it to, but before I mess with it I want to have at least a clue about what I'm doing. What seems viable to me may or may not be. The cumulative experience of all of you exceeds mine by centuries. Each of you holds a piece of the puzzle, working together we just might be able to put it all together into something workable.

Dan, the rebated rimmed case of the .284 is too fat. I am thinking of a simple .308 based wildcat, blown out a bit if necessary, but a straight walled rimless case. Think about it. You know more than I do about it. I am just speculating for now. I can't mess with the head diameter because I have no access to a milling machine, just my lathe. If the idea is viable I can maybe come up with the cash to have a reamer made. At this point it is an exercise in imagination, so speculate and we can think it through together.

10-02-2014, 10:08 PM
308 and 3006 would have to be reamed dangerously thin to properly fit a 451 dia bullet

10-02-2014, 10:19 PM
So we blow it out a few thou and remove some of the taper from the now straightwall case. Minimal reaming, good neck thickness, and it headspaces on the case mouth like a .45ACP. Wouldn't that work?

10-03-2014, 12:13 AM
Still playing with some cases need to find a tapered expander. My acp die just crushes the cut down case. Hopefully ill have some time sunday to try other ways.

10-03-2014, 12:52 AM
And don't forget the annealing to make the neck a version of something at about the right hardness. I wonder if Nosler, Speer, John Lee or someone like that would have a take on how this might work? Or do you not want to say anything to them?

10-03-2014, 01:04 AM
Your 6.5 swede brass may be a better choice. The case mouth
spec for the acp and win mag is .473 and the 06 and 308 are .470 at thier widest pointthe swede should measure .480 at its widest point

10-03-2014, 01:18 AM
Sierra makes a 300 gr. Sportsmaster soft flat point in .451 and a 240 gr. hollow cavity Sportsmaster, Nosler makes a 250 gr. Sporting bullet, Barnes makes a 325 gr. flat nose flat base with heavy jacket AND if you want a HEAVY bullet there is this mould: Lyman 1-Cavity Bullet Mold #451114 45 Caliber (451 Diameter) 450 Grain Volunteer!

10-03-2014, 02:05 AM
Good thinking Dan. I knew you would come up with a good idea. I will do some measuring and thinking and comparing.

Kirbydoc, ask whoever you want. The more input the better. Maybe something good will come of it. I don't want heavy bullets and the heavy recoil that goes with them. Or jacketed ones either. A nice light 230 cast will do the trick.