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Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska #12455147 12/09/17
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This subject could have been put in the wildcat column, but most of those lads just stare at anything involving
a lever action vintage rifle or cartridge. So it belongs here:

I try to research my topics, as its more enjoyable to speak from knowledge and experience.
The .348 WCF cartridge is a balanced and powerful cartridge. For most-it is enough gun-as Robert Ruark used to say in Africa.

But for some applications, bigger may be better. I own a 348 Ackley Improved and two (2) of the 450's: a 450 Alaskan and 450 Fuller in original early pre-war long tang Model 71
Winchester rifles.
The 348 Ackley Imp is akin to the 35 Whelen in ballistics. PO Ackley considered it a favorite, as it DELIVERED on velocity. As much as 200 FPS with 250 gr bullets
over factory WW silvertips.John Kronfeld did more research and articles on the 348 wildcats then most any published Wolfe Pub writer. Some of his data is
in old Rifle-Handloader magazines. His load development with 4350 powder is good but other powders work.

The real utility of the wildcat 450s and even the 348 AI begins and ends in the inter-mountain states, Alaska and Canada. I think Elmer Keith may have carried
his 450 Alaskan to Africa.
The real practicality of the 450s and 50 Alaskan is bear stopping when in bear country. The 450 Fuller is a rare chambering, developed by Bill Fuller in Cooper Landing,
Alaska by Bill Fuller. Fuller was Harold Johnson's riflesmith. Mine came from Alaska and was made by JKR. After Johnson developed the 450 Alaskan, it was Bill Fuller who cut the reamers for all of the JKR-Johnson-Kenai Rifles at Cooper Landing. PO Ackley followed with the 458-348 chambering. This wild cat eliminates all of the slope angle
in the case and requires some modification of the action and anchoring the magazine tube due to tremendous recoil.
The 50 Alaskan was developed by Johnson and known originally in the 1950s as "the 50".The barrel came from a surplus 50 BMG. For those requiring maximum power for bears from the 348 WCF case-this is the way to go with 50 caliber bullets. Recoil limits repeat shots somewhat.

Interestingly, my 450 Fuller cartridges may be fired in the 450 Alaskan but not conversely. This is due to the 16 degree shoulder angle in the Fuller compared to the Alaskan
shoulder of 30-40 degrees. Both are capable of driving a 400 gr FP bonded core bullet to 1900-2000 FPS. This is plenty enough
energy and velocity for any brown or grizzly. The heavy wildcats were developed to STOP bears generally close or charging the hunter or bear guide.
Finishing shots may be needed with any caliber, but a heavy wildcat will stop the bear before he starts clawing or biting you or yours. Johnson killed
a few grizzly and Alaskan coastal brown bears during his lifetime with the Alaskans in 1886 and Winchester Model 71 rifles. He developed these cartridges
due to questionable performance of a 30-06 rifle and cartridge performance on a grizzly.

My 348 Ackley Imp has stopped a large Alaskan moose in the interior in 2007. This rifle was also around when smaller black bears visited the gut pile.
With today's bullets such as the Woodleigh, Swift, Hawk and Alaska Bullet Works-- and rare grizzly encounters, one may not need a 348 wildcat all the time when fly fishing Canadian or Alaskan streams. But in salmon streams infested with brown bear and-grizzlies, its nice to pack a heavier rifle for insurance-and know its there if needed.

300 BP

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12455937 12/09/17
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Interesting write-up.

I had a Model 71 Browning some years back, and always thought the heavily-tapered .348 case would gain quite a bit of performance if given the "A.I." treatment. Of course, there is enough case capacity to push those .458 slugs at a reasonable velocity.

I really wouldn't care for the recoil generated, those stocks can't be the best design for recoil management, but the rifles themselves handle and point very good. I would feel well-armed in bear country with either of the two wildcats you mention.

Thanks again.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12456817 12/10/17
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The Johnson kenai rifle shop building and sign were still standing seven years ago. I went to the museum in Cooper Landing but it was closed. Called the phone number and a very nice lady came and opened it. Ended up at her house going through pictures, found some of Johnson in the bush hunting. Her husband has a muzzler loader made by Bill fuller in 58 caliber. He loaded two balls in it for hunting.
She called Johnson's son in Anchorage and I talked with him a bit. Said he had one of dads rifles but didn't hunt with it or sell it. Very interesting day on the Kenai. Maude Fuller owned the shop but wasn't allowing anyone to go into it. Probably a rusty mess now.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12456819 12/10/17
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The Johnson kenai rifle shop building and sign were still standing seven years ago. I went to the museum in Cooper Landing but it was closed. Called the phone number and a very nice lady came and opened it. Ended up at her house going through pictures, found some of Johnson in the bush hunting. Her husband has a muzzler loader made by Bill fuller in 58 caliber. He loaded two balls in it for hunting.
She called Johnson's son in Anchorage and I talked with him a bit. Said he had one of dads rifles but didn't hunt with it or sell it. Very interesting day on the Kenai. Maude Fuller owned the shop but wasn't allowing anyone to go into it. Probably a rusty mess now.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12456857 12/10/17
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I've used my 35/348 imp and 450 Alaskan a lot in the field. Tremendous killer that 450. The 35 is as well once I got some Kodiak 250 flat nose. Shot a lot Hornady 250 round nose which is a great bullet. These two rifles were built by the same gunsmith, nicely stocked and with full length magazine tubes. Bought the 35 at a gun show on my birthday and the 450 it not long after from the same gentleman. Can't find who built them but he did well.
The buttstock on the 450 began crumbling or something. Took it to Fred Wenig and they restocked it the same day to fit me. I took it home and finished it.
I have two sets of RCBS dies for the 450, they're about identical in dimension. I only need one if anyone's is interested

Last edited by moose444; 12/10/17.
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Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12457221 12/10/17
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That is interesting. I have been meaning to drift down to the Southeast like the ABC Islands and Kodiak for the salmon runs on the creeks.
If one gets there early, the fish are OK Sharing with the bears requires a heavy rifle. You can smoke salmon right by the creeks.

Allen Haselborg was a well known hermit on Admiralty Island as was Gambier Bay Jim. Haselborg kept two 1895 Winchesters in 405. I have owned a few of these
and they will work on heavy game. The repair record and 300 gr bullet does not measure up to the 1886/Model 71 IMHO. There was a US Forest Service LE officer killed very close to the West Glacier entrance. He hit a 6 yr old grizzly with his mtn bike as he rounded the gravel trail.
Its the surprise encounters that call for the 450s as a not so solid fast shot will keep them busy until you can finish them. A mad or adrenalin-stoked grizzly will even the score.
For me personally-I won't go timber hunting in Alaska with anything less than a 348 Ackley with heavy bullets. The Alaska Bullet Works and Woodleighs are hard to beat.
The Swifts are well made and expensive. Alaska Bullet Works probably make the best FP 400 gr for the money. Hawl Bullets also make a dependable FP 400 grain.

I have an extra stock for the 450 Fuller. The original that came with the rifle was highly figured walnut with Super Grade sling swivels as on the Deluxe Model 71.
It has a heavy barrel. The 450 Alaskan utilizes the re-bored original Winchester barrel-rechambered. I like the rapid taper M71 barrel and its balance
is great for stalk hunting. No need to shoot it a lot-it has one purpose and the sights are set. The 35-348 IMP was probably a good idea before good bullets came to be. There was always Noslers and they are hard to beat for penetration. I'll keep your dies in mind, Moose. I have a complete set of RCBS re-form dies for 450-50AK. They come in handy

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12457518 12/10/17
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I've been packing a 500 Smith and Wesson carbine of late. Lighter and a bit handier than the 71s. Plenty of power plus a bigger hole. Friend of mine shot a mule deer buck sneaking away from him in a little canyon. The shot was somewhat downhill, knocked the buck into a forward somersault. That was a 400 grain Hornady at 2k. Pretty impressive, took us a while to climb down out of there with full packs

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12458132 12/10/17
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450, a great read... I lost my book on Haselborg.. Will replace soon.. I knew of the 405, but didn’t pickup on the fact he had two...

Elmer did take a 450 to Africa.. He gave it to his WH as I understand.. Sure enjoyed the info.. Keep it coming...


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Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12458424 12/10/17
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Yes. Thank you.
I only have one 71....2nd owner. I’d look for another to modify.
I’m a 475 fan. Was there a 475/348? I don’t remember off hand.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12458928 12/11/17
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Yes there is a 475 Turnbull.

Bravo

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12459299 12/11/17
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Yup....did looking last night. Thank you.
Somebody did a 475 Alaskan.
Years ago. Then somebody does the same thing. Just a little different.
Or as JDJ and GNR 475.......same thing.
We did a 500 Linebaugh Maximum on a 71 when I was working with him. Much lower pressure than the 500 S&W.
I’d like to do the 475.......I guess it would feed both lengths.....I could do it on an 1895 but I so love the way the 71 ratchets.......

Don’t know about the pressure........

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Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12459372 12/11/17
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Allen Hasselborg homesteaded in Mole Harbor-Admiralty Island for 50-60 years starting around 1900. He started bear hunting for the valuable
brown bear hides about the same time. He was badly mauled by a very large bear on Chichagof Island, part of the Admiralty-Baronoff-Chichagof ABC group.
The rifle he had initially was an 1876 or 73 Winchester. It was not quite enough gun for the bear that crippled his left shoulder, but he eventually killed it.
Almost got him. He might have been better off with an 1886 in 50-110. In those days, hunters and backwoods trappers found and bought what was available
through dry goods and hardware stores. I think he probably bought it in Ketchikan. People generally did'nt wait for special orders or even placed them.
Years later he settled on an 1895 or two in 405 WCF. May have had a bit more range but not stopping power unless very close.
Frank Hibben's "Hunting American Bears", copyright through Lippincott-1945 gives the details. Hibben was a professor at the U. of New Mexico. Hunted with Hasselborg.

For a real Canadian-Yukon read try the history and stories of the "Mad Trapper" Albert Johnson near Rat River, NWT-Yukon. Chased by the Mounties
and probably killed with a 94 or 1876 45-75 caliber. He shot and killed Edgar Millen, RCMP Constable. This occurred in the early thirties and it still remains
a mystery as to who Johnson really was. Whomever, he was- he was in fact a tough hombre. Carried a Savage 1899 in 30 WCF I believe. Almost got away into the
bush of Northern Yukon-may have been trying for Alaska. Very strange character.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12459630 12/11/17
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I love local history.......the characters.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12459651 12/11/17
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There is a second book written about the mad trapper. I'll look when I get home, can't remember the title

Last edited by moose444; 12/11/17.
Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12459705 12/11/17
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I’ve always had a great respect for the 348 Win and wildcats formed from it. The 450 Alaskan was a great add to bear stopping power in a a tube feed lever. However with today’s bullet technology (Hawk, Barnes, Speer, Swift and quality gas check hard cast) and twist rates you can do things with the 444 Marlin, which is totally underrated (355 grain cast loads at 2,200 FPS) and 45-70 (450 grain loads at 1,850 FPS) in firearms that cost considerably less that will suffice. None will produce the power of the 458 Alaskan, but both will penetrate and kill quite satisfactorily. The 50 Alaskan on a Marlin 95 action offers a sensible cost alternative to the Win 86/71 action, which is a great action that will take greater pressures thus higher velocity than the Marlin, but the bear won’t no the difference after being shot by either. Today powder and bullet technology have paved the way to accomplishing things that were never meant to be 75 years ago, especially in tube feed rifles.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12478781 12/19/17
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Someone did a 2013-14 thorough bit of work on the 348 Ackley in the Alaska Outdoor Forum.
It was a beautiful pre-war Deluxe Model 71 and it shot really well. I believe the article stated that he preferred Woodleigh 250 gr bullets to either North Fork or Hawk.
I have used Barnes, Hornady; Hawk-all weights; and Silvertips (not recommended). Also have used Alaska Bullet works in bonded 250 gr bullets.

North Fork bullets does get the bullet weight right. They offer a 230 gr bullet which is about right for the 348 WCF as it is designed. The Ackley can push the 250s the way they
need to be moved and mine would gain 200 fps over the standard 348 velocity in 250 grain bullets of any make. That is right at 35 Whelen velocity-and will
stop anything in North America.

As to charging bears-you still may need a 450 Alaskan.

We now are having brass costs and availability problems with the 348 WW brass. ****** I have some extra 348 Ackley primed brass FS-if anyone gets in a bind**************

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #12479040 12/19/17
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Thanks to good son, we have lots of 348 brass. Sportsman's warehouse was closing it out and he bought a lot. Maybe starline will make some as it's the same head size as the 50/110 and shorter.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14128563 09/15/19
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[Linked Image]Here's a blast from the past! I got some cartridges today that I need help identifying.

W-W 348 Brass - rim turned down to same diameter as the body. Extractor groove cut
Bullet diameter - .332"
The shoulder is blown forward and the neck is shorter
Case length - 2.250"

Thanks, Dinny

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Last edited by Dinny; 09/15/19.

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Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14129587 09/16/19
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glad you pulled this back up. I really enjoyed reading this. I need a 71 real bad but always seems like when I find one I don't have the spare funds and when I do have the $ they are nowhere to be found. Id love to take one on my first bear hunt next month, but the old guide gun will get the nod I reckon. I don't know if I want to lug the old sharps up and down the mountain

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14130552 09/16/19
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The 348 case was wildcatted in rimmed form for lever gun use and the 348 case was also used as a basis for rimless wildcats for use in bolt actions. The Ackley books refer to several of the bolt action variants. Typically the rim was turned down and an extractor groove cut. The body taper reduced, neck shortened and the cases were necked up and down in a variety of calibres.

There was a resurgence in interest in such wildcats back in the 90’s and I recall reading about two versions, one was based on the full length 348 case and another version shortened somewhat. They were called Heavy Express or something like that and came in a range of calibres. Anyhow there was sufficient interest in those cartridges that it spurred Winchester into developing the WSM and WSSM range of cartridges and later Remington to develop the RUM and SAUM cartridges. All of these cartridges are loosely based on the 348 case dimensions.

Regarding the bullet diameter of the wildcat you have, Elmer Keith used bullets from the 333 Jeffries to develop several wildcats under the OKH banner (O’Neil, Keith & Hopkins). This was all done prior to the introduction of the 338 Win Mag. The popularity of the 333 based wildcats was what convinced Winchester into developing and releasing the 338 Win Mag, a calibre not used since Winchester introduced it in the 33 Winchester.

Last edited by JFE; 09/16/19.
Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14132131 09/17/19
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JFE,
You're all over it! The seller made a mistake and sent his 333 Jeffrey Rimless Nitro Express ammo. That looks to be a potent cartridge!

Thanks, Dinny


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Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14133506 09/17/19
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The 348 is best left to wildcats like Harold Johnson's 450 Alaskan, the 50 Alaskan, and PO Ackley's 348 Ackley Improved. They are pretty much based on the 1886 and Model 71
Winchester lever action rifles. These Winchesters are fast-action lever guns that put repeat shots on game like lower 48 grizzlies or Alaskan brown bear.
These animals require fast repeat shots, in many cases.

Most efforts to wild cat the 348 out of its original rim for bolt action rifles have not met with much success, though the Siamese Mausers
have been wildcatted to 450 and 50 Alaskan.

The Alaskan consensus is that most of this ground has been well covered for bolt guns by the 338-06, the 35 Whelen, and 375 Whelen or even the 400 Whelen Improved.
The 35 Whelen Improved will also run circles around most cartridges for moose and bear, especially with today's bonded core bullets. Brass is easily formed
as is the 338-06. Right from 30-06 with a single pass.

Last edited by 450Fuller; 09/17/19.
Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14140705 09/20/19
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If any of you like big bores then I suggest you find a book called James "450" Watts. He was a school teacher from Seward long ago. Him and his wife led an adventurous out door life. Mr. Watts was a gun guy, as is evidenced by the material in his book. After reading his book I was left with the opinion he had more influence with the 450 Alaskan then he is given credit for.

Form your own opinion on that, but most of the book is a good read.

I remember stopping in Cooper Landing and visiting with Mr. Fuller. Interesting old Alaskan for sure.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14142447 09/21/19
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The plain jane Winchester 348 is pretty great the way it is. Really well balanced ballistics, and feeds slick as poo from a goose with that tapered case. It also has very little recoil from a heavy 71 and that makes repeat shots very fast. I can see some sense in the 35-348 Ackley improved. Better than Whelen ballistics and some interesting 35 caliber bullets to use like the great 220 Speer.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14153889 09/25/19
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I tend to agree that the 348 WCF is an excellent cartridge as it stands, particularly as it has received added impetus from the newer bonded core bullets. Repeat shots are very fast, indeed.
My best 8-pt 280 pound white tail came by a fast M-71 shot. But when it comes to the improved .348 Ackley, it is in a world of its own. John Kronfeld did a review and research some 15
years ago for Handloader Magazine and I think he was correct. A simple re-chambering and the M-71 in 348 ACK Imp becomes a powerful lever action 35 Whelen w/o using .358 diam. bullets.
It is already 348-that is close enough with AK Bullet Works, Woodleigh, Swift and Hawk bullets.

My largest Alaska moose was taken with a 348 Ack Improved at 90 yards. He barely moved after one solid hit with a 270 gr Hawk bullet. Recoil is close to a standard
348 cartridge with a 250 gr bullet. But-with the new bonded bullets -a 200 gr FP or 225-will do the business in a as-issued Model 71 348- on most North American game-except for possibly
grizzlies or brown bear. Then I prefer a bit more in the displacement area -hitting the engine room.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14164237 09/29/19
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What lever gun rifles can the 35-348 Win. be chambered in? I like my 45-70 and .356 Win. But, a tough 220 to 250 grain .35 caliber bullet from a old school lever gun like a Marlin 1895 or a Win. 94 , or 71 with .35 Whelen ballistics sounds perfect for my Alaskan hunting. It would easily handle 300 yard shots on moose and caribou and 200 yard shots on bears.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14165420 09/30/19
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Steve, the easiest most economical conversion would be a 348 ackly imp on a mod 71 Win.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14165714 09/30/19
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Fuller: Do you know the case capacity of your 348 cases and the case capacity of your 348 AI cases (same make of case)? Thanks.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14167847 09/30/19
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Hey markak, Sent you a PM to see if number I have for you is good so I can send you a pic of my moose and my handsome mug! Unfortunately I was carrying my scoped .338 and not the .356 Win. A broad side shot at about 150 yards on a standing moose. Can't hardly miss.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14169679 10/01/19
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The most useful thing one can do to a model 71 is make it into a 50-110. The second most useful is a .348AI.

Woodleigh bullets are where it's at for softs for either. Cutting Edge makes a suitable solid for the .50--110.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14181747 10/06/19
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The real reason why Johnson developed the 450 Alaskan and later the 50 Alaskan was that Winchester had stopped producing brass in 45/90 and 50/110. These days with strong brass available for the old cartridges it does beg the question why you would want to build a 450 Ak or 50 Ak, other than nostalgia of course.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14200287 10/13/19
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The 348 Ack holds about 10-12% more powder than the 348 WCF. It is very close to the 35 Whelen in velocity and energy. JFE, you are partially correct, but Johnson was a WWll
Marine not satisfied with the 45-70 or 30-06 he had hunted with. In looking at my 450s, its easy to see that while the 348 and 45-90 have similar cartridge case head base diameter-
they are different by a couple thousanths....Thus it is easier to use the existing 348 case dimensions to open it up to either 458 or 510 chambering. The 50-110 may require barrel set back and re-headspacing. The 50-110 is actually the
case that the 348 is based on. For brown /grizzly stopping at close range, the big fifty in either caliber gets it done. But, the 450s in my own experience are more accurate and there are more bullets to choose from. Johnson also developed the "Fifty" as he called it by using a modified 50 BMG machine gun barrel-turned down and re-chambered. Starline also
produces readily available 50 AK new brass-ready to hand load.

Re: Model 71 Wildcats- hunting in Canada- Alaska [Re: 450Fuller] #14200473 10/13/19
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Interesting read.. We were just in Coopers Landing this summer..


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