March 21, 2005
Bought some Fiocchi .401 Winchester berdan cases from Grafs and have been trying my hand at boxer primer conversion. Drilled new flashholes using a center tool and a 9mm case as a guide. Removed the remains of the anvil with a Lee primer pocket cleaner tool, swaged the primer pocket to the correct diameter with a press-mounted C&H primer pocket swaging die. Primers seat well and seem tight enough, at least for this moderate-pressure cartridge. Some of the primer pockets turned out a little too thin, some flashholes off-center, thus a better method might be in order for the next batch.
I have 10 cases prepped- will load with some .406" cast 240 gr. Lyman 410426 from Western Bullet Co. and try them out. I also have some cases converted from 7.62x39 to compare these to. Much quicker work to convert from berdan to boxer than the lathe and fireform work required to convert from 7.62x39 to .401.
June 11, 2014
September 7, 2010
March 21, 2005
Thanks for the tip on the Gunbroker-listed cartridges. Most any factory-loaded .401 Win sells for premium prices. Commercially-made reformed brass and reloads are available but also command a premium price due to the case-forming work required. I consider this intolerable for a non-collectable Winchester which will likely eject the brass into oblivion without the use of a shell-catcher. Thus my endeavor to convert cases and reload for this cartridge- good cases and bullets are available and very cost-effective (from certain suppliers). Would be even easier if Grafs or Powder Valley had the Tula berdan primers in stock...
May 1, 2005
RMH....don't know if they would be considered cost effective, but here is a source:
March 21, 2005
Thanks, Buffalo Arms sells brass formed from 7.62x39 and is indeed one of the least expensive suppliers out there. I know of most all the custom reloaders out there who make .401 WSL and none can beat the $0.31 per piece of newly made Fiocchi brass from Grafs. Of course they are berdan-primed, but my time spent converting to boxer is cheap.
I have a special interest in the Winchester self loading rifles and have helped put together some great resources for my fellow owners at the Vintage Semiautomatic Sporting Rifle forum:
December 22, 2012
My experience with the .401 WSL is about like the other reports. You have to run something very close to maximum loads to make the rifle function properly. When loaded with #2400 powder, I get incomplete combustion with unburned powder scattered all through the action and around the ejection port. With IMR 4227, the rifle functions as intended. The converted 7.62 x 39 cases from Buffalo work pretty well, but a brass catcher is needed.
At about 35 yards, I shot at some old bricks. They were vaporized!
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