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I know a few on here shoot .400 Whelens. I am looking hard at the 400 Woodleigh as the projectile of choice.

For those that shoot it…I believe Woodleigh recommends a minimum impact velocity of 1800 fps. Starting at 2100-2150 or so it falls below that around 150 yards.

Do you feel the 1800 fps minimum is conservative, aggressive or about right?

Anyone taking game further with good results?

Not trying to make the .400 something it ain’t…just trying to get an idea of what is realistic should I move forward with the project (presently debating between a .375-06, .400 Whelen, .358 Norma and .416 Taylor…neither of which do I need, lol)

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considering that woodleigh no longer exists, and bullets are drying up fast, maybe think about a different bullet.

But, I believe Mart has used that bullet for caribou well past 150 yards.

If you can be patient with bullet selection currently, it's a fun project. I'm likely building a 2nd gun soon with a short barrel to shoot the 300-360 range, basically ending up with a bolt action 405 Win, not an elephant gun.

With bullet selection being what it is right now, the 375 or 416 Taylor would be better choices. Dies for anything on your list, are going to be expensive and a loooong wait. In the classifieds though, a guy was selling 2 sets of 416/350 rem mag dies. It would fit right in with what you're looking at, and you can go buy the dies right now, which is the hardest part

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Thanks for the heads up on Woodleighs being out of business. I figured it was just an import issue.

I saw those 416/350 dies. Would be fun for sure.

Hearing some good things about the 300 TSX in the .400.

gunner500 actually has a .416 Taylor available right now. Makes a guy think.

Thanks

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Mile High Shooter mentioned the .405 Winchester.
I happen to shoot bullets of 210, 300, and 400 grains with my 1895 .405 WCF. There are also excellent 300 and 360 grain North Fork bullets for the .405.

The 300 grain NF takes big game like water buff nicely - one shot and DRT for me. This Cape Buff was taken in RSA with 400 grain Woodies at 2100 fps :
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]

400 grain bullets have been driven with N133 to 2200 fps. With NF bullets of 300 and 360 grains, the 400 grain bullets may not be needed.

I also have a .405 DR and have so far taken Nilgai and red deer with it using 300 grain bullets at 2250 fps. It also regulates 400 grain bullets at 2100 fps, but I have not hunted with them yet.
[Linked Image from jpgbox.com]





Last edited by crshelton; 01/06/22.

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Very cool! Great looking rifles that are obviously effective on the big stuff!

I am thinking the smart way to go about this project is to get a supply of bullets and then go from there.

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Woodleigh says they are rebuilding, though how long until they are in production again, no one can say.

I dont have experience with that bullet but having known Geoff the owner for 20+ years and used woodleighs in 416, 375 and 585 I will go out on a limb and say it just might work at the lower velocity. The Australian philisophy for bullets is positive expansion. A lot of todays modern premium bullets are made very tough. If they cant pass through 6 phone books, 12" of wood and 4ft of ballistic gelatin on a youttube video without 99% weight retention they are seen as'' failing''. Woodleighs are known for penetrating well on the bigger stuff, yet also shooting big holes in medium game like hogs etc. Geoff wanted good reports from all sorts of hunters when developing his bullets, the guy shooting the water buff as well as the fella plugging pigs with a 470 nitro for fun.

That said my own personal choice of your list would be 416 taylor since its still a neat tidy little elephant gun, removes all doubt with the velocities you need and also I can say 340-350 grain bullets in this calibre are fine for heavy game. A 350 grain bullet in 416 has a sectional density of .29 versus .3 for the 300 grain in 375 H&H, aka they are still serious penetrating options. If woodleigh gets back in on its feet 340 grain protected point is worth a look.

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Thanks 158XTP. Hopefully they get running again soon!

Also, can’t argue with your sentiments on the .416 Taylor. Seems like a good one.

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I don't remember if I've shot the Woodleighs or not, but if you're looking at the heavies, I sure understand the sentiments. Never shot any game with them.

I've settled on the 300 TSX in the 400 and haven't found the need to really mess with anything else after nine critters.



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Originally Posted by HawkI
I don't remember if I've shot the Woodleighs or not, but if you're looking at the heavies, I sure understand the sentiments. Never shot any game with them.

I've settled on the 300 TSX in the 400 and haven't found the need to really mess with anything else after nine critters.


I have been exchanging PMs with another 300 TSX shooter and his sentiments are the same.

I have notifications setup on most of the major websites so if they ever come available again smile

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Barnes used to make a 350gr. X. I found some, but not anywhere near a "discontinued" price.

I think a 350 or thereabouts would be perfect, but I've never found the 300 lacking whatsoever.



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HawkI said " think a 350 or thereabouts would be perfect," Indeed.

I am experimenting with .458 North Fork 350 SS in my 45-70 and 45-90 handloads and they are accurate, but yet to be tried on Game.


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The Woodleigh 400 grain performed beautifully at 250 yards on a caribou. Started out right at 2150 fps. I’m pretty certain the 1800 mark is conservative.

The bullet left a fist size exit wound behind the left shoulder. I know one animal doesn’t make an empirical test, but others shooting the same bullet have reported similar results.

Hawks 400 grain did a wonderful job on a cow moose at 75 yards. And the Barnes 300 grain TSX worked as designed on a caribou at 200 yards.

I have a lot of 400 grain Woodleighs as well as a good supply of 400 grain Barnes originals. I’d like to get a Hawk 350 into a moose or caribou. I have some loaded. Just need to get me, the rifle and a critter in the same place at the same time.


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MR, we've spoke a bit about my 400 Whelen and 400gr woodleigh softs and solids, what i havent talked much about online and certainly didn't have videographer guy film was all the bullet testing after heavy African game was on the ground, can say the 400gr Woodleigh softs and solids are great, great bullets in the 400 Whelen at 2255 fps over CFE-223, the softs penetrated plenty deep on Cape Buffalo and Zebra testing, the solids went straight line length ways through both.

In the case of a 40 cal rifle with 400gr at 2400 fps would be my 400 H&H, tested .411" 400gr A-Frames and CEB #13 400gr solids on Cape Buffalo, Hippo and Zebra, penetration on the A-frames was plenty adequate, being perfect for herd shooting, all bullets were in the offside hide when taking out a shoulder on the way in, the BBW #13 solids were never recovered, a truly amazing penetrator, just something to think about should you ever find yourself booking an African hunt.

As Mart said, even at a comfortable 2150 fps, those 400gr Woodleigh weldcore softs will handily dispatch 'any' conus/Canadian/Alaskan game animal inside 250 yards.

Have fun, it's a great cartridge, and yes, when time, be sure to get the Petrov reamer for your Gunsmith.


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This is all great information guys. I really appreciate it! Fingers crossed Woodleigh comes back on line someday.

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Can you learned 400 whelen fellas advise me what its like from a gunsmithing point of view. Rebarrel of a 30-06 chamber gun with some extra work done? My only experience with it is what I oft read over the years about its headspace issues. Is this misquoted, real or easily dealt with?

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Do a search for Michael Petrov’s articles on the 400 Whelen. He does a good job of dispelling the headspace myth. In short there is no headspace issue.

It depends on the gun. You may need to do do some work on the rails for feeding. My model 70 feeds fine without any work. Except for the short Hornady flat points and the 300 grain Hawks.


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Mine will most likely be on a Montana Rifle Company 1999 Action that presently has a .35 Whelen barrel on it. Feeds great as a .35 Whelen so hoping the .400 will work equally well.

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Here is the proper reamer for the G&H/Michael Petrov version:

[Linked Image]

Use the reloading dies from

CH4D "400 Whelen JGS" 2 Die Set Grp. F

or

RCBS "P/N: 57060 400 Whelen" Group J Full Length Die Set

Here is an even better reamer that works with the same reloading dies,
yet gives 0.003" more positive shoulder step.
and 0.122" longer free-bore length:

[Linked Image]



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A Ruger M77 Hawkeye .35 Whelen was a simple re-barrel
with a Shilen No.5 Sporter, 1:14" twist barrel
23.6" long, muzzle diameter 0.725", slick barreled, no iron sights
7#14oz with no ammo and no scope&rings.
JGS reamer for Petrov/G&H version:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Results of .411/300-gr Hornady SP "405 WIN" bullet
R-P brass, COL 3.123", WLR primer, RL-10X powder charge = 57.0 grains,
gave 2324 fps MV (2308.3 fps for 10-shot average at 5 yards)
striking deer at 100 yards and 150 yards:

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Two heart shots, each deer staggered about 10 feet and fell.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

I was able to test a proof load of 400-gr Woodleigh at +2400 fps for at least one shot,
but do not recommend that load except as a proof load:

[Linked Image]









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Of course I could not leave well enough alone.
Playing with the 400 Whelen-B is what got me interested in the .458 WinMag again after all those years of neglect.
Turning a 3.4"-boxed .270 WCF into a 3.6"-boxed ".400 W+" was good practice for turning a .30-06 into a .458 WM+.

[Linked Image]

This rifle also weighs 7#14oz with no ammo, and no scope&rings, slick-barreled:

[Linked Image]

That is a Shilen stainless No.4 Sporter barrel that is 0.660" diameter at 25" length to muzzle.
Shilen refused to make one so light for me next time I tried them, IIRC ?
Back to No. 5 Sporter for the Shilen .404-bore/.411"-groove barrels !

Remember that you can size a .416" bullet down to .409" in two steps (or three steps if desired for ease),
and bullet will spring back to 0.411":

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]




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