Q: I’ve heard mention of a new .450 Rigby cartridge for dangerous game. What can you tell me about this cartridge? Could a M-17 Enfield action be rebarreled and modified to handle it? I have one of these actions together with a new Lothar-Walther barrel blank.
A: The .450 Rigby is based on the .416 Rigby case, necked up to accept a .458 calibre bullet with very little body taper and sharp shoulder. It’s obviously a brother to the .416 and is not dissimilar to the equally sharp-shouldered .350 Rigby Magnum, a very fine but obsolete cartridge. Ammo loaded by RWS features a 480gn bullet at 2378fps, a velocity that not only duplicates the performance of the .458 Lott, but which is almost the same as the 2370fps that propelled the .416 Rigby to fame and fortune in the early 1900s. The .450 Rigby is a sound design, generating 6,288 ft/lb of energy at the muzzle and at 150yds. energy is very close to what the .458 Win. Mag. delivers at the muzzle. Woodleigh makes a pair of 480gn bullets for the.450 Rigby – a RN SN that retains an average 80 percent of its weight, and a steel-jacketed FMJ that doesn’t deform. These bullets have become popular with African hunters.
Ed note: As for the M-17 conversion suitability, it has plenty of strength for the standard pressure round but would require substantial modification to the magazine operation to feed reliably. You may be better off buying a new or used Zastava in .458 Win. and doing a rechambering job.