The .416 Rigby and .416 Remington Magnum

By Chuck Hawks

In 1911 the British Rigby company introduced the first .416 caliber cartridge, and a bolt action rifle to shoot it based on the magnum Mauser action. Until fairly recently .416 cartridges were largely confined to Africa, where they were used primarily on dangerous thick-skinned game.

.416 Rigby

North American shooters became interested in the .416 Rigby, inspired by the famous gun writer Jack O'Connor, who pioneered modern reloads for the caliber. A-Square, Ruger and Federal Cartridge stepped up to the plate to provide rifles and cartridges and the .416 Rigby was revived.

Federal Cartridge Company loads 4 different 400 grain bullets in the .416 Rigby case. All of them have a MV of 2,370 fps and a ME of 5,115 ft. lbs. At 100 yards the solid bullet is traveling at 2,110 fps and has 4,050 ft. lbs. of energy.

Here are some .416 Rigby specifications of interest to the reloader: bullet diameter .416", maximum COL 3.750", maximum case length 2.900", trim to 2.890".

According to the A-Square Handloading Manual Any Shot You Want loads similar in performance to those O'Connor developed can be achived by the modern reloader using H4831 powder and 400 grain A-Square bullets. 97.0 grains of H4831 gives a MV of 2328 fps, and 101.0 grains of the same powder gives a MV of 2448 fps. The latter load had a maximum average pressure of 47,000 psi. These loads used A-Square brass and CCI-250 primers, and were developed in a 26" test barrel.

.416 Remington Magnum

Remington became interested in a .416 cartridge with a standard magnum rim diameter that could equal the performance of the outsized .416 Rigby for use in their Model 700 rifle. The .416 Remington Magnum was the result.

Because it is based on a smaller case than the .416 Rigby, the .416 Remington has to operate at higher pressure to deliver the same performance. This high pressure has caused trouble in the severe heat often encountered in Africa. For this reason it is probably wise to load to lower pressure if an African safari is planned with a .416 Rem. Mag. rifle. Maximum loads should be reserved for use in cool climates.

A-Square offers three factory loads for the .416 Rem. Mag., while Federal and Remington each offer one factory load. 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.

Here are some .416 Remington Magnum specifications of interest to reloaders: bullet diameter .416", maxmum COL 3.600", maximum case length 2.850", trim to 2.840".

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.

Note: A full length article about the .416 Rigby and .416 Remington Mag. can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2005, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.