.700 Nitro Express

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The .700 Nitro Express is a big game rifle cartridge made by Holland and Holland, London, England. It was developed in 1988 by Jim Bell and William Feldstein and built by H and H. Feldstein had tried unsuccessfully to get H and H to build a .600 Nitro Express for him, but they had already ceased production. However, when Bell and Feldstein produced the entirely new .700 Nitro Express cartridge, they were able to attract the interest of H and H, who was looking for a new big-bore cartridge. After production began, the backlog of orders was so great that it continues to this time (2007) and H and H has even restarted the production of .600 Nitro Express guns. While the .700 Nitro Express is sometimes claimed to be the "most powerful commercial round in the world", by the manufacturer, this is not exactly true. The .700 Nitro Express double rifle is only available on a custom order basis, and has never seen regular production, while the .585 Nyati which is built under similar circumstances is significantly more powerful. Currently the most powerful rifle cartridge available on a commercial basis is the .50 BMG. It is also referred to as the most powerful sporting cartridge in the world. The largest caliber sporting cartridge is a wildcat 2 bore cartridge which fires a 3500 grain 1.326" diameter projectile generating 17500 ft-lbs of energy. The .700 Nitro Express develops an approximate average of 8,900 foot-pounds force of muzzle energy with a 1,000 gr (65 g) bullet at 2,000 ft/s (610 m/s). However handloaders can push the cartridge to generate as much as 15,000 foot-pounds force in a modern bolt action, by using a 1,000 gr (65 g) bullet fired at 2,600 ft/s (792 m/s). However, doing so necessitates a rifle so heavy it is almost inoperable for hunting purposes. Lathe turned cases as used in the Accurate Reloading rifle above will suffer blown primers at this level though a good source of drawn brass would allow velocities up to 2,700 ft/s (820 m/s). The typical average muzzle velocity of a factory-loaded cartridge is 2,000 ft/s (610 m/s). In the 18 pounds (8.2 kg) rifle used by Accurate Reloading this would result in recoil energy of approximately 160 ft·lbf. This is more than ten times the average recoil from a .308 Winchester which is a very common hunting calibre, and more than 4 times the recoil of a strong .45-70 Government round. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

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