The .416 Remington Magnum

By Chuck Hawks

The .416 Remington Magnum was introduced in 1988 in an attempt to duplicate the ballistics of the earlier .416 Rigby in a standard belted magnum case. The idea was to introduce a .416 cartridge that would work through the existing (.375 H&H size) magnum actions of rifles such as the Model 700. The case of the .416 Rem. is 2.85 inches long, and the overall cartridge length is 3.6 inches. It has a small shoulder with a 25 degree angle and a standard magnum rim diameter of .532". The .416 Rem. Magnum is based on the 8mm Rem. Mag. case necked-up to acccept .416" diameter bullets. It crams .416 Rigby performance into a smaller case by operating at the very high MAP of 65,000 psi.

This high pressure may be the undoing of the .416 as an African dangerous game cartridge. In the sometimes intense African heat there are reports of occasional high pressure spikes from factory loaded .416 Rem. Mag. cartridges. Difficult or impossible extraction can be a problem and even broken extractors, particularly in Remington Model 700 rifles. These are relatively rare problems, but even rare problems cannot be tolerated in a cartridge or rifle intended for use on dangerous game. I have not heard any reports of problems with .416 Rem. rifles used in Alaska or Canada.

As I write this the .416 Rem. is offered in the Remington 700, Winchester 70, Sako 75, and Blaser R93 bolt action rifles. Ruger chambers their No. 1 and Dakota their Model 10 single shot rifles for the .416 Rem. Mag.

A-Square offers three factory loads, while Federal and Remington each offer one factory load for the .416 Rem. Mag. The latter uses a Swift A-Frame PSP bullet at a MV of 2,400 fps and a ME of 5,115 ft. lbs. The 100 yard figures are 2,175 fps and 4,201 ft. lbs.

The pointed Swift A-Frame bullet loaded by Remington shoots flatter than the round nose bullets usually loaded in the .416 Rigby. Trajectory is as follows: +1.3" at 100 yards, 0" at 150 yards, -3.3" at 200 yards. This pointed bullet makes the .416 Rem. Mag. a 200+ yard big game cartridge. With a round nose bullet the .416 Remington, like the .416 Rigby, is about a 150 yard cartridge.

For reloaders, Any Shot You Want shows that 72.0 grains of H4895 powder can drive a 400 grain A-Square bullet to a MV of 2251 fps, and 76.0 grains of H4895 can drive the same bullet to a MV of 2403 fps. The MAP of the latter load was 56,600 psi. These loads used A-Square brass and CCI-250 primers, and were tested in a 26" barrel.

Like the other .416's, the recoil of the .416 Rem. Mag. is not for the faint hearted. A 10 pound rifle shooting a factory load with a 400 grain bullet jolts the shooter with some 53 ft. lbs. of recoil energy.

The .416 Rem. Mag. has proven entirely adequate for shooting thick-skinned dangerous game like elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo. It has also found considerable favor with professional hunters and guides in Northern Canada and Alaska. The .416 Remington Magnum offers a useful alternative to the .458 Magnum in Africa and elsewhere. Remington's .416 cartridge is widely available in North America and other parts of the world where large animals are hunted.

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Copyright 2001, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.