.416 Taylor
.416 Taylor brass and ammunition by Norma

Building a custom dangerous-game rifle in .416 Taylor

Q: After reading an old article about your .416 Taylor I decided to have a custom rifle built in that calibre. I plan to use a Zastava Mauser action, a Walther stainless barrel and a laminate stock.

You mentioned the effectiveness of the muzzle brake on your rifle. Which brake did you use?

I will handload for my new dangerous game rifle, but I’m wondering if unprimed brass is available for this wildcat? If not, can they be formed from .458 Win Mag cases?

What powders and primers do you prefer when handloading this cartridge?

Are there any .416 calibre bullets other than the ones you mentioned in your article?

What rifling twist would you recommend?

— James R Coombes

A: My custom .416 Taylor was built on a Zastava action and had a Sprinter Arms barrel with 1:12” rifling twist. Today, I’d recommend a Walther SS barrel with a 1:12” twist rather than the slower 1:16” twist that was standard for the .416 Rigby, a cartridge with similar ballistics.

I believe the faster twist better stabilises 400gn solids of monolithic construction like the Barnes, which is considerably longer than other solids of the same weight but different construction.

Norma unprimed brass is available from Winchester Australia, when they have it in stock. It ain’t cheap, but if you intend taking the rifle to Africa, it is necessary to have the correct head stamp on your ammunition.

Otherwise, cases can be formed by simply running .458 cases through a .416 Taylor full-length sizing die.

The muzzle brake I had on my rifle was the best I’ve ever seen but is no longer made. Williams Gunsight in the US makes a close copy, but you’ll have trouble importing one.

My rifle preferred rifle powders with a burning rate like AR2206 (discontinued but AR2206H should work) and AR2208. I also used powders that are no longer available: W-748 (compressed charges with mild pressures) and Dupont’s IMR3031, IMR4064 and IMR4320.

Bullets weighed from 300 to 400 grains, but I got the 450gn Woodleigh out at 2200fps ahead of 72gn of W-748.

Hornady offers two bullets weighing 400gn, a soft point and a solid, the latter having an extremely thick steel jacket coated with a softer alloy.

Woodleigh’s excellent bullets for the .416 Rem Mag include RN SN and FMJ, each in both 400gn and 450gn, and are unparalleled for African dangerous game.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.