458 B&M, My Favorite 458 Caliber..........

Discussion in 'Big Bore Rifles' started by Michael458, May 21, 2019.

  1. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    The 458 B&M was just behind the first 50 B&M in design and having the first of the rifles built. First rifle was done in 2006. That first rifle had a fairly heavy barrel, and 20 inches long. Load data started in June/July of that year. By early 2007 I had a second rifle, still 20 inches, but the barrel taper way down and rifle was much lighter and easier to handle.

    I also got serious about the load data, and was shooting 500 gr bullets at 2150 fps and 450s at 2250 fps. This was dead equal to a 458 Winchester, except the 458 Win had to have a 24 inch barrel to achieve those velocities, and a longer action. The 458 B&M is built on a Winchester M70 WSM action, and uses a 2.240 inch RUM case. Same basic case capacity as the longer 2.5 inch Winchester. This is where shorter and fatter actually starts to show some real potential for efficiency.

    In 2008 I had a Winchester 1885 done in 458 B&M with a 24 inch barrel. The single shot action being so short, that a 24 inch version was the same overall length as a 20 inch bolt gun. The 24 inch barrel was able to produce 500s at over 2200 fps and 450s to 2350 fps, basically getting seriously into 458 Lott velocities.

    But long barrels is not what I am about. Short, light, handy and fast to get on target, this is what makes a Dangerous Game Rifle. Today, my main two 458 B&Ms both sport 18 inch barrels and for serious work, we shoot serious bullets that were designed here, and turned over to Cutting Edge Bullets and North Fork for production. This would be the BBW#13 Solid Series, now called the Safari Solid, and its matching Hollow Point Safari Raptors.

    For Elephant, hippo, buffalo, the heavies, the 450 Safari Solid and 420 Safari Raptors are the bullets of choice.

    One of my favorite rifles of all time is a Winchester M70 458 B&M with a Bastogne Stock from Accurate Innovations. This rifle sports a 18 inch barrel, black matte GunKote Finish (like teflon--Only much better). This gun without scope weighs in at 7.5 lbs. Perfect for carrying all day long in the bush. It runs the 450 Solids at 2220 fps and the 420 Raptors at 2280 fps, both same POI at 50 yards. I have shot numerous buffalo with this gun, elephant, and hippo with incredible success. This gun went on a long and hard Safari in 2013 that spanned both South Africa and Zimbabwe. In South Africa it took numerous plains game, with a then experimental bullet that we now call the 250 Socom from Cutting Edge. Running this bullet at 2900 fps in the 18 inch gun, it also had the same POI as the 450/420 heavier combination at 50 yards. This was very handy, no resighting in for different loads/bullets, just pick and choose for the mission at hand.

    I don't have many photos of this rifle, will have to get some more, but I do have this one....................

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    Using the 250 Socom extensively on several species the gun was absolutely deadly. Zebra, wildebeest, and many others were DRT on the spot. Anyone ever shot a zebra knows just how tough zebra are, they can go forever with lesser caliber vital hits. Not with this, they drop where they stand.

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    Pigs don't stand a chance............

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    Nor anything else with this combination...........

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    We did a tremendous amount of shooting in South Africa testing these bullets........ they were so successful that today lots of guys are using them all over the world, and in particular in Alaska for bear and moose.

    To be Continued;
     
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  2. BatteryOaksBilly

    BatteryOaksBilly A SHOOTER Benefactor Life Member Supporting Member

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    Murdering God's creatures. You rotten Heathern.




    Killem all I don't give a damn. Only ones I've ever seen were on your wall anyway.
     
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  3. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    If he didn't want me to do what I do, he would not have sent me these rifles to do it with!
     
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  4. dman24

    dman24 Active Member

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    Beautiful rifle and nice write up, looking forward to more. What happens to the meat from these animals?
     
  5. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Every morsel of meat is utilized, not a bite goes to waste on anything............... When in camp we eat well also. There is nothing on the planet as good as Kudu/Oryx/Eland steaks and fillets............ Except for BUFFALO Fillets.
     
  6. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    On this trip we had finished in South Africa and now headed to Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe the last years I was hunting was on the Gache Gache Concession located on the far East side of Lake Kariba. The area has all the big stuff, and the best area for hippo on land and crocodile that I have ever been to. Lots of buffalo, elephant and occasional lions roam through the area too. One of my main missions here was with the 50 B&M Alaskan lever gun. Buffalo at the top of the list. When that was accomplished we started working mostly with the 458 B&M.

    One day we ran across a good herd of elephants in the area, and we took up their tracks to see if there was a good bull among them, and there was. As I recall is was mid day, and a small group of bulls were lounging in a thicket under some shade. Wind was in our favor and Andrew, my long time friend and PH, and I left the rest of our entourage behind and stalked up to within 12 yards of a really good old bull. We were on hands and knees once again, hunting elephant. This approach nearly got me crunched a couple of years earlier when I had to finish a bull standing above me at 6 feet, while laying on my back. So yes, I had some memory of this going on, once again. But, on my knees presented the only shot I had for a frontal brain. Just as I raised the rifle and started to line up for the frontal shot, he must have caught the movement, and busted out across my left to right, I immediately dropped the sights on the heart and fired the first shot. I fired a second, but it was far back as he had already hit another thicket in front and disappeared crashing through the bush. We followed quickly through the thicket and just ahead we heard him go down. He had only gone 40-50 yards. The first shot, a 450 gr Safari Solid at 2200 fps, had driven straight through the heart on his right side, and exited straight out the left. It had done its job. And once again the little 458 B&M had performed extremely well and could not ask for better performance from the rifle, cartridge and the bullet.

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    After this we decided we would spend some time looking for a good size croc. I had taken a decent one here in 2011 with another 458 B&M, or it might have been this one? I will have to look. Regardless, I wanted to see if we could get up on a bigger one. So starts the next little 458 B&M Adventure.............
     
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  7. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Lake Kariba was totally loaded with big, really big, lizards......... I know there had been several 16 footers taken in the area. 14 footers are big, broad across the back, and fully capable of doing as they please. Hard to hunt, very very wary. About the only way to get close is to do some baiting, and let them come in.

    Below is a 12 foot crocodile I took in 2011. This is either the same 458 B&M in another stock, or a different one. Honest, I forget. I believe its the same 458 B&M, but in a different stock in 2011.....

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    And this is what a 458 caliber 420 Raptor at 2250 fps does to the top of a croc head.............

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    We saw this one, but did not get a shot at it.

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    One day we are walking along the lake shore, about 40-50 yards inside the bush. Hoping to spot a big croc laying out somewhere. I have the 458 B&M loaded with the 250 Socom's at 2900 fps. Not expecting anything big and not looking for any of the heavies. However, I have several 450 Solids on my belt for just in case...............

    Well, just in case, just happened to occur. As we were walking along, off to our right a very big hippo bull was taking a serious nap inside the bush. We were now between the lake and the hippo, never a good thing.
     
  8. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    Hippo jumped up, everyone froze expecting him to make a dash for the water, but he stood his ground. He was 15 steps out and facing us. I don't believe that he could make out exactly what we were, but something disturbed his slumber. We stood still not moving. At this point, since we were looking for crocodile, I had the 250 Socom loaded, backed by 450 Solids under that. I did not dare work the action to get a Solid in the chamber, too much noise and movement. Andrew whispered that he was a huge bull. We made one small step to our right to clear a bush, raised the rifle and put it right between his eyes and let go.......... Direct brain hit, he dropped like a stone, I paid the insurance with a Solid through the point of the shoulder, bullet was found in the rear of the animal, after crunching bone in between. Not required, but you pay the insurance regardless..............

    It was a giant of a bull, biggest teeth I had ever seen on a hippo. The 250 Socom at 2900 fps hit him so hard it actually cracked and broke up the skull somewhat. It also sent brain matter out of his ear holes for over 6 feet in both directions...... It was a mess...............

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  9. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    The last few years I hunted Zimbabwe was at Gache Gache, to me it is a incredible area, rich in wildlife and diversity and beauty.

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  10. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    After the hippo, we decided to set up a crocodile bait near camp. Less than a 5 minute stroll we had a nice hippo bait out, and a blind built about 20 yards from the bait. Bait was on a tiny little island not far from the skinning shed. Put out that morning, and by early afternoon there was already a good size croc on it. We very carefully approached the blind, and got in, settled down for the wait. Our croc looked huge, broad across the back, but with his tail to us, and could not see his head.

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    As it turned out, we did not have to wait long. He slithered out of the water, and turned to his right side presenting the perfect neck shot. You have to anchor a lizard where he is, or your chances of recovery are almost zero. There are no heart/lung shots, its central nervous system or forget it.

    I had a 250 Socom loaded, backed by 450 Solids. Aimed for the neck, and turned the 250 loose, it was perfect, broke the neck, exited into the water far side. Tail was thrashing, but he could not move. Regardless I paid the insurance with a 450 Solid in the neck again...........He was anchored and going no where. The thrashing stopped.

    We had a small row boat, Andrew, myself and a tracker got in the boat, with a 22 lr. Approaching from the rear, the animal was not dead, eyes moving around, but could not move the head, lucky for us. I put the 22 lr in his brain, and that was the end of that...............The guys struggled to get the big animal over to our side of the water, but managed to do so. We had to be watchful, as the surrounding area was full of crocs, as was the water..............

    The 458 B&M had once again been successful.....................

    My lovely wife and I with a good size lizard, measured 13.5 feet tip to tip, with a good foot of tail missing, chopped off from another lizard I assume................

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  11. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    I have a few more 458 B&M rifles, one is a 20 inch stainless version that is on the range now, and has been for years, as a test gun, set up to do pressures and test loads......... Another one is the first one built, 20 inch HEAVY barrel, before we got the right contour down on the barrel to reduce weight and make it more manageable.........

    Another one is this 18 inch stainless gun. I have it set up with the Ultimate stock, that has been dipped by VA Hydro with a snow pattern camo. I liked it so good, had a scope done years ago, but slightly different pattern than this recent stock.... This gun is set up to shoot only the 250 Socom from CEB at 2900 fps. Anything under the heavies, this bullet is a hammer..................

    This gun is a pleasure to work with. Without the Nikon Scope it comes in at 6.5 lbs total weight.......

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  12. Michael458

    Michael458 Active Member

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    When it comes to the B&M rifles, Bolt guns, there are more 458 B&Ms out there than any other B&M. I have a lot of guys using these in Africa on a regular basis.................. The gun, platform, cartridge and the bullets have proven themselves over and over again on anything that walks................... From Deer to Elephant..................... and everything in between.

    I have a friend over in TN that took this big moose with his 18 inch 458 B&M and the 250 Gr Socom bullet at just under 300 yards......... The moose never moved, it stood on the first shot, down on the second shot where it stood.......

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    Another friend down in TX took this big lion a couple of years ago. He also took his rifle to the Annual Safari Big Bore shoot in TX, and won the event with it................

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    And there are many more, I have a couple of good pals in California, they retired their 458 Lotts several years ago in favor of the 458 B&M. They have hunted all over Africa taking all the dangerous game with theirs.......

    I am sending one to Louisiana this coming week, the fellow is going to hunt pigs with it. He does not want them to run off.............. But we are watching that storm right now and deciding whether to ship or not?
     
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