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kludge
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Posted: April 28 2010 at 1:41pm | IP Logged Quote kludge

This wildcat is being done by many Hoosiers for Indiana deer hunting. For background see this thread:

http://forums.handloads.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=26109&PN=1

I now have dies (Redding) and my reamer in hand (Dave Manson -stellar service BTW), and the barrels have been ordered (McGowen). By this time in June I might be able to report on my first handloads, but for now here is the recipe...

The parent case: .25 WSSM
Gauges: Standard .25 WSSM gauges
The donor rifle: Savage 11 FCNS 7mm WSM
Dies: Redding .358/.25 WSSM "Custom" FL die set
Bullets: Hornady 180gr SSP, Hornady 200gr FTX
The barrel: 1:14" twist, 22" long

Brass forming: neck up to 30 cal, anneal, neck to 35 cal, trim to 1.615" - 1.620" (max length = 1.625"), turn necks to 0.014", and possibly another annealing. the tapered expanders come with the Redding die set.

I have expanded a few cases without annealing, and it seems to work fine, but the annealing in between 30 and 35 cal might save me a few necks when I start in on my full bag of new brass.

Out of the dozens of version of the 358 WSSM out there, why this one?

Redding had dies available without waiting 16 weeks for dies - meaning I can be loading and testing before the end of summer. My reamer is the "Standard Compatible with Redding - .35 WSSM IDH (Indiana Deer Hunter)". When I asked Redding for their reamer print that the dies were based on they sent me a Manson drawing. I had already been working with him, so that's what I ordered.

Redding tech support and Dave Manson have been great. I will keep everyone posted on the barrels. McGowen will be making them (one for me and one for my buddy/co-worker).

Reported performance from this wildcat approaches .358 Winchester, some report matching performance w/200gr bullets. 2600 fps from a 180gr and 2500 fps from a 200gr bullet would be a fine thing.



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Boomer
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Posted: April 29 2010 at 5:46am | IP Logged Quote Boomer

Couild you clarify this:

(Indiana deer hunting law calls for a minimum bullet diameter of 0.357", and a min/max case length of 1.16/1.625".)


I understand the minimum case length part, but it's the first time I've ever seen a minimum caliber that large, and I dont think I've ever seen a rule limiting the max case length. As your popsting this in the long gun section, I'm assuming were talking a rifle here.

Based on your post, most common centerfire big game rifles would be illegal (maybe that's the idea)

Anyway, it would help me understand why you chose the WSSM over the WSM case.

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kludge
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Posted: April 29 2010 at 8:20am | IP Logged Quote kludge

Boomer wrote:

Based on your post, most common centerfire big game rifles would be illegal (maybe that's the idea)

Anyway, it would help me understand why you chose the WSSM over the WSM case.


Correct. Indiana has been a "shotgun" state for a very long time for firearms deer season, but a couple years ago they rewrote the law to allow some rifles.

Handgun huting has been legal in cenerfire rifle calibers .243 and up, as long as the case length is 1.16" minimum (allows .44 Special, but prohibits .38 Special). So if you want to hunt deer with a .45-70 revolver you can. Or a T/C chambered in .30-06. Or a .458 Win Mag for that matter

The new rifle rule has spawned dozens of rifle widcats within the 1.16" to 1.625", bullet .357" or larger limits. One is in fact based on the WSM case, shoulder pushed back and blown out to 40 degrees, and trimmed to legal length. It's the .358 Grant and is exceeding the .358 Winchester ballistics. It is probably the most you can expect to get within legal limits. .35x39 (7.62x39 or 6.5 Grednel brass necked up) is another popular one. Others are .358 GNR (.445 Super Mag necked down to .358 - .445 Super Mag is also be legal BTW, as is .45 Win Mag, and 10mm Mag), .357 Herret Short (simply trim the neck), etc.

I toyed with using the .308 Win or .284 Win case as the parent and made prototypes (due to wanting a "switch barrel" Savage in 7mm-08, .284, or .308), but decided that "hot rodding" a case with ~35 gr of effective H20 capacity wasn't going to be my bag. The .284 parent only gave an increase of 4% and MUCH harder time and expense (forming dies) to get there. We looked at necking up the .30 Remington AR but the bone heads at Remington didn't want people to rebarrel AR's with a 55-60kpsi round, and they changed the case head to an obscure diameter, rather than keeping the parent .284 case head, forcing you to use the proprietary upper design.

The .358 GNR makes a ton of sense, cuz you can ream out a H&R .357 Mag single shot to the new chamber.

.458 SOCOM is also very popular - more of a bison gun IMO, but whatever. I'm going to keep the 7mm WSM barrel, just in case I eve get the chance (dreaming) to hunt long range for elk or caribou or something.

Edited by kludge on April 29 2010 at 8:21am
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Boomer
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Posted: May 04 2010 at 5:42am | IP Logged Quote Boomer

I see,, Thanks for the clarification. Should be an interesting project.

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kludge
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Posted: July 13 2010 at 8:56am | IP Logged Quote kludge

The rifle is now on it's way back to me!
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Boomer
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Posted: July 13 2010 at 9:04am | IP Logged Quote Boomer

Now the unbearable wait for the UPS guy to get there starts..... Dont wear a hole in the better half's carpet!!



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wolfdog
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Posted: July 13 2010 at 9:37am | IP Logged Quote wolfdog

So would a .35 rem be legal in Indiana under these laws?

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Leftoverdj
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Posted: July 13 2010 at 11:57am | IP Logged Quote Leftoverdj

Wolf, if I am reading this right, .35 Remington would be legal in a pistol, but the case is too long for a rifle in Indiana.

Were you after 35 Remington performance, you could come very close to getting it with the easily available .357 Max. You could further improve performance by using the Hornady gummy tipped spitzer.
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wolfdog
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Posted: July 13 2010 at 1:44pm | IP Logged Quote wolfdog

True, already have a 35rem and was just curious, oh well, when in doubt use the bow right?

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kludge
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Posted: July 13 2010 at 2:06pm | IP Logged Quote kludge

Correct. Just about any .243 or larger rifle cartridge is legal in a handgun. Some anemic rifle cartridges are prohibited, like .25-20, .30 Carbine, etc.

And since .35 Rem is limited in pressure the .357 Max, with it's slightly higher max pressure, with 180gr and 200gr bullets is equalling the .35 Rem in performace. the best powder appears to be A-1680.

As I've mentioned, the "cheap" route to an Indiana deer rifle seems to be a H&R/Rossi single shot in .357 Mag reamed out to .357 Max. The next step up is to ream it to .358 GNR instead (based on .445 Super Mag). My friend wanted a 300 yard gun. I would be content with a 200 yard gun. But since he paid for the tooling, he got to pick.

I should be able to get "close" to .358 Win performance. Some people are exceeding it (2700fps with a 200gr bullet reported). Case capacity lies between the .35 Rem and the .358 Win. I have to double check when I get some "real" (not prototype) brass formed, but I should get ~54gr of H2O, and I'm not limited to the low pressure of the .35 Remington.

I have been e-mailing some of the bullet makers, and it seems the bullets I mentioned in my first post probably aren't going to be the best choice. Hornady said the 200gr FTX is suited for 1600 to 2000fps, but that the 180 SSP should be fine... I'm now looking at 200gr Interlock, the 225gr Game King and Accubond.

I wish I had a copy of QuickLoad.
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beerd
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Posted: July 14 2010 at 10:54am | IP Logged Quote beerd

kludge,
have you considered using cast bullets?
..

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kludge
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Posted: July 14 2010 at 1:33pm | IP Logged Quote kludge

Honestly, no.

I've not ever loaded cast bullets in a rifle, and this probably wouldn't be the best place for me to start, however, downloading to to .35 Rem levels is possible in the future my 10 year old wants to hunt during the youth season. My first choice in bullets at that power level would probably be the FTX or the SSP.
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kludge
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Posted: July 19 2010 at 2:27pm | IP Logged Quote kludge

Well, here it is! I had to do some inletting of the stock to fit the thicker barrel.





and for some scale, a family photo... top to bottom...

.358 WSSM, Model 11 FNCS, 22"
.308 Win, Model 110FP, 24"
.22LR Model Mark II BV, 21"

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L.F.Combs
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Posted: July 22 2010 at 12:53pm | IP Logged Quote L.F.Combs

Hey how about a picture of the cartridge??

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kludge
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Posted: July 22 2010 at 2:51pm | IP Logged Quote kludge

Getting there! Probably tonight I can snap a picture.

I've been prepping brass this week after the kids are in bed. My measurements tell me I should turn another 0.001" off the neck thickness. I'm borrowing some pin gauges from work tonight to measure the exact chamber neck diameter before I make a final determination. I'm going about this very methodically.

Then I'll load a few dummys to get the seating length right on a few different bullets, since this is a hunting gun I'm just going to go with a generic 0.015" to 0.020" off the lands and see where that gets me on seating depth.

From the reamer print I suspect I'll have enough freebore to seat spitzer bullets out further than would be a good idea. What it also means is that I have enough room for 225gr bullets if I want (and I do).
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kludge
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Posted: July 22 2010 at 9:09pm | IP Logged Quote kludge

Picture number one shows three dummy rounds next to a .357 Magnum case.

Left to right: 180gr Hornady Interlock SSP (Single Shot Pistol), 200gr Hornady FTX, 225gr Sierra GameKing SPBT.



The GameKing is seated more or less to the base of the neck. I did not adjust the seating plug for each bullet, instead I set the FTX into the lands, and then adjusted the seater plug 1/8 of a turn at a time until I was between 0.015" to 0.020" off the lands, and then seated the other bullets without any adjustment.

All of the rounds feed and chamber fine from the factory two round box magazine without any modification. I can't tell you how relieved I am that no modifications are needed for efficient feeding. FWIW, the WSM action is a center feed action instead of the typical Savage push feed.

Based on a visual comparison the the bullet ogives, I should really re-do the seating depth of the 225gr GameKing as it's ogive appears to have a slightly larger radius.

Picture number two is a small batch of brass for my first range outing.



With the pin gauges from work I determined that my chamber neck is 0.390" just like the bullet seating die. so I went ahead a turned a bit more off the neck thickness. The three dummy rounds average 0.386" at the neck.

A while back, before I had dies, I made a couple prototype rounds to get an idea of case capacity. Now that I have actual cases from the actual dies I have redone the measurements. Before I mention the case capacity, I will mention that the once fired, factory loaded brass I had, had very thick necks, 0.020" thick. Necking up to .35 caliber from the .25 WSSM parent didn't reduce the thickness much, to around 0.018". I'm happy to report that this bag of Winchester component brass started with thinner necks, and I assume thinner case walls as well because my case capacity went up a small amount. Filled with water, the finished case holds 56.8 grains of H2O. To the bottom of the neck, the capacity is 48.6 grains of H2O.

The good news is that this is exactly the same measurement, 56.8gr that I get from a .358 Winchester case (actually I necked up a .308 case). I'm not saying that I should use the same load data as the .358 Win, only that there will be fewer assumptions.

The other good news about the wall/neck thickness is that less material needs to be removed to get the neck thickness to 0.013" to 0.014".



Edited by kludge on July 22 2010 at 9:12pm
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Ham Gunner
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Posted: July 23 2010 at 8:24am | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

You have an interesting cartridge there for sure. I would think it should have lots of accuracy potential.

Must be an optical illusion, the .357 mag. brass length looks a lot longer standing next to the rifle brass than it should to me. Are you sure it is not .357 Maximum?

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kludge
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Posted: July 23 2010 at 12:32pm | IP Logged Quote kludge

Hmmm. Maybe that's why my .357 loads won't chamber?

Just kidding. .357 Mag is 1.290" My case is just really that short, 1.620".

After necking up the .25 WSSM case I have to trim about 0.015" off the end.
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Posted: July 23 2010 at 4:44pm | IP Logged Quote Ham Gunner

I can not wait to hear/see? how it performs.

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Posted: July 24 2010 at 8:26pm | IP Logged Quote John P.

Very interesting concept; please keep us posted on performance. I have been on the lookout for a reasonably price Remington model 7 to convert to .358 Winchester.   
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