Reloading 1

Lee M Withey- Past Experiences with Contender, Encore and Ruger # 1

7mm Super Bower- 356 Win>7mm

Photo of a 7mm Super Bower Contender pistol

7mm Super Bower. I made the rest for the 6.5mm SS Ruger #1 and the 6.5mm Encore with a 26" barrel. With the 14" barrels I usually use a Don Bower rest. It's the best way to go and it has been proven over and over.

Some of my custom formed rounds

Photo of my custom made rounds in various calibers

Custom made rounds. The cases are not what they were. Example- The three on the right are now 6.5 MM. from 44 Cal. 444 Marlin. They used to be strait cases like the second from left. The second one from the left is 44 Cal from 35 cal 356 Win. The third from the left is 356 Winchester although the bullet is seated out farther than factory. The forth from the left is 30 cal from a 307 Win case. This is basically a semi rimmed 308. This is a fireform load meaning that the case shoulder will move forward and conform to the gun chamber when I shoot it. It will look more like the cases on the right that have a 40 degree shoulder. I modify the cases by necking up to a larger diameter bullet or necking down to a smaller diameter. The large one on the left is 416 Rigby although the shoulder is slightly farther up than factory. The gun barrels are custom chambered and I load specifically for each one. I do this stuff in order to get extreme accuracy at long distances.

Bullet seating depth must be exact

Photo of RCBS press and tools for measuring bullet seating depth

That's an RCBS Rock Chucker press. This is for 223 in a
contender pistol which is much smaller than my other custom loads. I'm seating the bullets to complete these rounds. Since it's a hotter load than the larger Bower
rounds I'm not seating the bullets into the rifling "lands" of the barrel. I'm using Stoney Point tools to measure the gun chamber so I can seat the bullets with a tiny bit of jump. A couple thousandths of an inch. The tool clamped onto the dial indicator is measuring from the bullet ogive to the base
of the case. The ogive is the exact place on the curve of the bullet that touches the rifling "lands". The red tool above the dial indicator has a fired case from the gun threaded onto it. This goes into the gun chamber with a loose but snug bullet. I can push the bullet back and forth until it just
touches the rifling "lands" then lock the measuring tool. At this point I have the exact chamber dimensions to the rifling "lands" for that type of bullet in that gun. This is crazy stuff although it's part if the process to achieve the best accuracy possible.

Seating bullet for contact to lands

Photo of 7mm Super Bower Contender and loading tools

Loading 7mm Super Bower. Perfect bullet seating depth- Close the finished round into the gun and then open the gun and remove the round. There will be 6 very small etches on the bullet from the lands of the rifling. This is when the bullet seating die is adjusted perfectly.

416 Rigby, 3 different loads

These are some of my custom made 416 Rigby loads. Speer 350 grain Mag Tip with 100 grains Hodgdon- 4350. Hornady 400 grain Round Nose with 93 grains Accurate Arms 3100. Barnes 300 grain XFB with 105.5 grains Hodgdon- 4350. All of these loads produce over 5000 foot pounds of muzzle energy using a 26” barrel. As you can see, the 416 Rigby is a very large cartridge.

Loading 416 Rigby

Loading 416 Rigby. The tools are for various custom rounds including 6mm PPC. The lathe type device by the yellow case is for case length trimming. You can see the 416 Rigby case installed on the device. The dial indicator is used for various case measurements.

416 Rigby 1” x 18.25”

416 Rigby Encore. With my handloaded rounds this gun is extremely accurate. For benchrest shooting I use a pistol grip and a Burris 3x9 IER scope. As a rifle, the scope is a Simmons 2X20 intermediate eye relief "designed for extreme recoil" and it works well. Using this gun with a close eye relief rifle scope is asking for trouble unless you have some super strong safety glasses.

416 Rigby over 1911 45 ACP

416 Rigby Encore with a 1" Diameter custom made bull barrel. You can see the muzzle break holes in the barrel. It has a Burris 3 x 9 scope designed extreme recoil. While sighting in this gun at close range I accidentally shot a cow at 300 yards. The private range had some roaming animals including African game. I felt bad although I was happy to know that the shot was well placed and the cow didn't feel a thing. They used a front-end loader to remove the large animal from downrange and took him straight to the onsite butcher shop. Black Angus. The bullet was a Hornady 400 grain round nose.

6.5mm Bower Encore 444>6.5

6.5mm Bower Encore. I neck down 444 Marlin brass to make this round. It has a 26" x 1" Dia. custom made bull barrel. Due to the high recoil of all these guns, most of them have Burris 10x fine plex intermediate eye relief scopes as shown on the gun above. These scopes are the best of the best for benchrest shooting with these large pistols. I understand that Don Bower and his shooting fraternity requested that Burris make this type of scope. These guys were the first to do this type of shooting. Extreme long distance using Contenders.

7mm Super Bower 356>7mm

For 7mm Super Bower I start out with a Win 356 cartridge a size it down to 30 Cal with a 308 small base die. The next step is sizing it down to 7mm with a 7mm-08 die. At this point the case shoulder is slightly rounded. Then I Load the round and shoot it. This is called fire forming and the case takes the shape of the gun chamber. These rounds end up with a 40 degree shoulder. Also, these fire form loads are extremely accurate. Many people use lighter loads just to fire form the case without using them for target practice.

Tools for the advanced reloader

Special tools. The cartridges inside the plastic cases are for different guns. The cartridge is fired in the gun and then it's threaded on the end so it can screw onto the red tool. This is for measuring the gun chamber and bullet seating depth. A dial indicator is also used in this process. The blue and
green tool is for shaving the neck wall to adjust the thickness. This is for the 6mm PPC bench rest gun.

The perfect loading room

I've had a few loading rooms and this one was perfect. Note the loading dies on the desk. These are custom made for the individule gun chambers. It takes several different dies to form cases for the custom chambers.

7mm Super Bower 307>7mm

7mm Super Bower with a Burris 10x fine plex intermediate eye relief scope. Note the scope is mounted with 4 Burris Posi Align rings. The scope protector covers flip up and are designed to remain on the scope. Not on this gun. They will fly off if they aren't removed before shooting. These large pistols shoot high powered rife rounds. The guns are much lighter than a rifle so the recoil is extreme.

Bower 6.5mm CV 18” 307>6.5

I'm glad I still have some of this shooting memorabilia. 3 Shots at 300 yards- .570 using a 6.5mm CV Bower Contender pistol with an 18" barrel.  You can see two shots were almost in same hole. This is one of my favorite loads-  107 Gr Sierra HPBT  M,  44 Gr.  H-4831 S.C. "Fireform load"  Fireform loads are very accurate and my favorite.

7mm Super Bower Hornady AMAX

7mm Super Bower. 162 gr Hornady AMAX Boattail. The rounds in each compartment are the same exact weight. I shoot 3 shot groups and prefer 300+ yards. Of course my favorite has been 500 meters and also 700+ yards for 6.5mm, 7mm and 30 Cal contender pistols.

Case length trimming

Case trimming so they are exactly the same length.

416 Rigby next to 223 Rem

The top 3 rounds are 416 Rigby with different bullets. 300, 350 and 400 grain. The bottom three are Remington 223. For those that don't know. The M-16 rifle uses 223. This gives you a reference for the large size of the 416 Rigby. I loaded these 223's also. The 416 Rigby is one of the most well known African game cartridges ever designed. Also, the super high powered 338 Lapua round is based on this cartridge. The case is slightly shorter and, of course, it shoots a smaller diameter bullet. .338 vs .416. There're a few custom rifles made to shoot 416 Rigby cases necked down to 338 and they out perform the famous 338 Lapua.

416 Rigby next to 45 Auto

That's a model 1911 45 Auto. The big cartridge is a 416 Rigby. Above the 416 Rigby is a 400 grain Hornady round nose bullet. This is the same type of bullet that I loaded in the 416 Rigby cartridge. Below the 416 Rigby cartridge is a complete 45 cal. round with a 300 grain bullet.

Right to Left- 416, 45, 358, 30, 429

Top down- 416 Rigby Encore, M1911 45 Auto, 358 Super Bower, 7mm Super Bower, 429 Ultra Kodiak. This gun was called the Hippy Killer by Don Bower.

My Navy Days

Terrier. What an awesome sight watching these take off.  218 pounds controlled-fragmentation or 1kT W45 nuclear warhead. Flight ceiling 80,000 feet (24,000 m) Speed Mach 3.0. Details from wikipedia.