Herters .401

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By John Grove

Ah, nostalgia. It's good to look back sometimes. Only problem is I'm
trying to "rebuild" something that no one has a lot of info on and the
only real reference I have is very suspect, even though written by "The
horses mouth".

What the heck am I talking about? A venerable Herters .401 Powermag
for which the factory loads are EXTREMELY dangerous and no reloading
data exists (that I know of) outside the manual written by George
Leonard Herter himself. Now, this loveable gentlemen was given to
prose so deeply its nigh on to impossible to know just when the real
info stops and the braggadocio starts. I'm not too sure it ever was
real info for that matter. If one is to believe him, the factory
ammunition will stop any man-eater in its tracks and probably most
tracked man-eaters as well.

Be that as it may, the second (and LAST) factory round I fired took
thirty minutes and a lathe to remove from the cylinder's bore. It
would not extract with any manner of persuasion from a wooden dowel and
mallet. As a matter of fact, the case separated from the rim very
neatly, just where the split from firing occurred. I have since pulled
all 98 remaining rounds and reloaded with an greatly reduced (from what
the manual called optimum) charge of good old Bullseye. This happened,
as close as I can remember, over thirty five years ago. I have not
fired the animal since.

Now I'm getting ready to.

Fortunately a supply of .401 cases is available from several locations
as well as projectiles (hard cast, thank you very much) in the proper
diameter, .403 as stated in the Herters "yellow book" and as actually
slugged with low temp alloy. I think I have found a mold that will cast
at the required diameter as well. I'll not give you any powder weights
until I get this puppy settled down but, once finished, the full story
along with chrony and accuracy results will appear right where you
found this little article.

Until then, if any of you should happen to have info with regard to the
care and feeding of this beast, I can be found at jgrove@strato.net or
P.O.Box 1758, Lake Placid, FL 33852.

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Last Modified: January 3, 2012