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Winchester Model 71 450 and 50 Alaskan History....

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Brian in Oregon, Sep 22, 2008.

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  1. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    In another thread, a trapshooter here said that "....Model 71 Winchester rifles were only chambered for 348 W.C.F..Except for a handfull of experimental guns which were not sold to the public....."<br>
    <br>
    In 1952, Harold Johnson of Cooper Landing, Alaska, wildcatted the 348 Winchester by necking it up to 458, then straightening the case walls by fireforming. He called his wildcat the 450 Alaskan, and chambered Winchester Model 71 rifles for it.<br>
    <br>
    His initial rifle was a Winchester 1886 in 45-70. Harold cut the barrel to 20" and loaded a 400 grain bullet over a stiff powder charge. He corresponded with Elmer Keith about necking up the 348 to 458 and blowing out the case to increase powder capacity. Keith said it sounded like a good idea.<br>
    <br>
    Bill Fuller made the reamers. John Buhmiller made the barrel. Frankl Barnes made the bullets, which were .032" jackets for Alaska and .049" jackets for Africa. These 400 grainers were loaded to 2100 fps at 3937 ft-lbs.<br>
    <br>
    Johnson sold these converted Model 71 rifles through his gunshop, and they were stamped JKR, which stood for Johnson Kenai Rifle.<br>
    <br>
    There are many Model 71's that are chambered for the 450 Alaskan, as well as the less common .450-348 Ackley Improved, and the 450 Fuller, based on the 450 Alaskan.<br>
    <br>
    Now, as if that weren't enough, Harold Johnson wanted more power in a lever gun. Harld took an old 50 BMG barrel and fit it to a Winchester Model formerly in 50-110 Winchester. This makes a natural conversion, since the rim and initial body of the 348 and 50-110 are the same. The 348 was necked up to 50 cal, and the case was fireformed with a slight taper.<br>
    <br>
    As I mentioned in the other thread, Harold took 720 grain 50 BMG bullets, machined the nose off, and loaded them backwards in the case. The base was not the nose, which was now a truncated cone. They weighed 450 grains. No animal on the planet could stop the steel core, or even deform it.<br>
    <br>
    I do not have the velocity data on the original 50 Alaskan load, though assuredly it was in excess of the 50-110's 300 grainer at 2225 fps and 3298 ft-lbs. But modern loads are doing just shy of 2000 fps with 450 grainers, and a 600 grainer is shown at 1739 fps.<br>
    <br>
    Note that the 50 Alaskan is very similar to the 50-110 Winchester. Except that the case is stouter, and its length is the same as the 45-70, which is 2.10". The 50-110 has a 2.40" case, same length as the old 45-90. The reason for the shorter case was to seat bullets up to 600 grains.<br>
    <br>
    450 and 50 Alaskan rifles are still being made. These days the conversion rifle is a Browning Model 71. A friend of mine in Alaska had a Browning Model 71 converted to 50 Alaskan a couple of years ago. He loads it with 600 grainers.
     
  2. KS-OKIE

    KS-OKIE TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Brian:Thanks for the info.I knew the guns you were talking about had to be after market modifications,not Winchester factory guns.I do own a factory prototype that is chambered for a soft flat nosed 30cal.govt.The gun was never put into production ,and the special ammo was not produced either.I would think this 50 Alaskan would have been better suited for the bigger framed 1886.Is there any chance you could get me 1 or 2 rounds of the 50 cal.Alaskan ammo in the 348 cases.I would gladly make it worth your time and expense..KS-OKIE..John Wiegand.
     
  3. old tex

    old tex TS Member

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    I have a #71 I had re-bbl'd to 450/348 25 years ago.
    It was done by Malmborg who took over Mr. Ackley's shop.
    Has Malmborg's "HTG" muzzle porting (HTG = Honest to God)--- it works!
    Scoped and Williams rec. sight too.
    Brass and dies.
    What's it worth?? I'm to old to put it to use for intended purpose.
    Also have the .348 Ackley improved bbl.(dies for it too)
    Dick Lindsay
     
  4. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting Brian, thanks for sharing it. Kind of makes a guy dream about going to AK.....
     
  5. otnot

    otnot Active Member

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    Brian when I was a kid I used to shoot trap with Bill Fuller of Cooper Landing. What a nice old man that could really shoot from the 27.
     
  6. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Northeastern MD @ the top o the Bay
    Man O man I love those big leverguns....especially when you can fit your little finger down the muzzle...Just the medicine for Yogi and Booboo
     
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