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  #1  
Old 10-16-2011, 07:32 AM
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358MX - almost


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For the 2012 deer hunting season, the state of Indiana has changed their deer-hunting regulations to allow a longer cartridge length, for rifles. Roughly ten years ago, you could not use anything except shotguns, muzzle-loaders and pistols. Then, they added rifles to the list, but only "pistol chambered rifles". To clarify this, they required a minimum bullet diameter of .357 and maximum case length of 1.625 inches. This was meant to include the 357 and 44 magnum carbines, along with more ambitious cartridges like the 357MAX. 454 Casull and 500S&W. However, it lead to great confusing because a 35 was legal, a 44 was legal, a 45 was legal and a 500 was legal...but a 460 was NOT legal! The 460S&W case is 1.800" long, so it exceeded the maximum length limit.

Well, guys were using it anyway, and who can blame 'em? It adhered to the letter of the law, which is short to medium range effectiveness. One of the biggest bucks I've ever seen in person was killed with a 460S&W...and it was killed illegally, if you want to get technical about it.

Fast forward to next season and Indiana has wisely increased the legal limit to 1.8" so all the 460 guys are happy as clams! Us wildcatters, who spent a few years working on various 1.625" creations, are back to the drawing board for something better. I spent a few evenings flipping through COTW and browsing websites with tons of cartridge drawings. I discovered rounds like the 35 IHMSA, which is a 300 Savage case with the shoulder pushed back a touch, to give a longer neck, and the mouth opened up to 35. This case is roughly .070" too long, but that could be trimmed. I also contemplated the 35WSM - 1.8" that will inevitably be the follow-on to the 35WSSM - 1.625". Without question, this is going to be the hottest option available, with speeds approaching 35 Whelen numbers. That ought to kill a deer!

Another obvious solution is to simply push the shoulder back on a 356 or 358 Winchester, trim to 1.8" and load 'em up. In fact, that may be the most sensible solution of all. The 357 Herrett would be another fine choice, since it is now length-legal. I am many things, but you would be hard-pressed to find someone who lists "sensible" as one of my traits!

The 338MX is a brand-new cartridge, as these things go. It is 1.890" long, has a rimmed design, loosely based on the 376 Steyr, shoots .338" diameter bullets and runs at ~45,000psi. The pressure limit has more to do with the action it is fired from (Marlin 336) than the brass itself, as the 376 Steyr runs at ~62,000psi. In other words, the case is .090" too long and shoots bullets that are .020" too small around...to meet Indiana's new regulations. So, with a generous gift of a handful of fired 338MX cases, from one of our good members, I set to work making the prescribed modifications.

I had to buy a shell-holder because the rim size on the 338MX is an odd one, although it's not TOO different from the 500S&W. I then installed a 35 Whelen expander pin into a 338MX resizing die and was able to easily open the case mouth up to .358". This was no real trick, since it's such a small step. With that done, I chucked it up in my Forster case-trimming lathe and carefully took off about .080", so that the case measures 1.795", which will be my trim-to length.

The only concern I have is the .220" neck is quite short, but since I will likely be shooting this from a break-action or falling block action, it is not a big deal. (The 300 Savage factory case has a .221" neck and the neck on my other wildcat, the 358GNR, barely measures .250") A lot of wildcats push the shoulder forward and result in necks that are much shorter than what we consider "normal". This optimizes case capacity, and if done right, does not compromise accuracy or safety.

I weighed an empty 338MX case and then I weighed my modified case after filling it to the mouth with water. The difference is exactly 60 grains. That is identical to the parent case, but considering how little was trimmed off, and the expanded neck diameter, this isn't exactly a surprising result. Using QuickLoad, I found the 358Win to have a capacity of 58gr and the 356Win, 55 grains. So, after all of my deliberations and case modifications, I have reinvented a 30 year-old wheel...the 356 Winchester.

However, my version is short enough to be legal for hunting deer with, from a rifle, in Indiana! An important distinction, if only to us Hoosiers.

Now, what rifle to use?
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Last edited by broom_jm; 10-16-2011 at 07:38 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2011, 08:49 AM
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If I ever move back to Indiana, then I could use my .458 X 2" American rifle by trimming the cases to 1.8", since it's stright-cased, inorder for it to be legal. The .460 S&W SHOULD have been made legal for rifles back in 2007!!
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  #3  
Old 10-16-2011, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Davers View Post
If I ever move back to Indiana, then I could use my .458 X 2" American rifle by trimming the cases to 1.8", since it's stright-cased, inorder for it to be legal. The .460 S&W SHOULD have been made legal for rifles back in 2007!!
Ya know, Dave...if they had done that, I could have avoided all this silliness!

I wouldn't have bought the 358GNR and wouldn't have contemplated any of the other wildcats that came about. My good buddy Brian just sent me a sub-MOA group out of his 460-Short (meets current regs) that is running a 300gr SST at 2175fps. That makes it a slam-dunk 200 yard round, and with appropriate hold-over (top of the back), it has the energy for 250. He's set for this year and can go with his full-length loads next season. Those add another 25 yards to the game, easily.

I don't know what possesses me to try and get more out of a rifle while not breaking any rules, but I'm pretty sure it is mostly because I'm frustrated that I can't just use a 270 or 308 or another modern rifle cartridge. I guess I'm doing what I can to stick it to 'em, despite their silly regulations, but when you consider how little I'm gaining over the simpler and less expensive options out there, it really makes me wonder.

I'll be honest with ya, though...part of me has always wanted to do a TRUE wildcat. Something NOBODY else has done, yet. The cost is absurd, for the end result, but then you have a one-of-a-kind. At the very least, you have something unique that means a lot, personally. What that is worth, I don't know? Probably nowhere near what I would have to spend to make it happen, yet it's still there, egging me on. Wildcatting truly is a special kind of illness.

Last edited by broom_jm; 10-16-2011 at 02:06 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-16-2011, 03:11 PM
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Actually all you needed to do is just trim the 444M, 450M, 45-70, 458 A, 356/358 etc, case to 1.8",(possibly the 460 S&W to 1.625 and try it) or any other of those smaller length cases that fit the caliber restriction...load to the longer COAL and go shooting...at least that's what I'm understanding...it's the case length not the overall length...Right? Wrong?

You might loose a bit of neck length but the internal volume is still the same as long as you don't change the original cartridge overall length.

I've taken 308 and 30'06 cases down to about 0.100" neck length, loaded to the "standard" COL and had no trouble getting the same velocities as with a full length neck.

You might have to carry a micrometer along with you to show "The MAN" if he just looks at the case then his reference book.

Can't figure out what Indiana is all about when it comes to their gun laws...but EVERY state I've ever lived in has their gun law quirks.

Lots of ways to skin the varmint if you think outside the envelope.


Luck
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  #5  
Old 10-16-2011, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by NFG View Post
Actually all you needed to do is just trim the 444M, 450M, 45-70, 458 A, 356/358 etc, case to 1.8",(possibly the 460 S&W to 1.625 and try it) or any other of those smaller length cases that fit the caliber restriction...load to the longer COAL and go shooting...at least that's what I'm understanding...it's the case length not the overall length...Right? Wrong?

You might loose a bit of neck length but the internal volume is still the same as long as you don't change the original cartridge overall length.

I've taken 308 and 30'06 cases down to about 0.100" neck length, loaded to the "standard" COL and had no trouble getting the same velocities as with a full length neck.

You might have to carry a micrometer along with you to show "The MAN" if he just looks at the case then his reference book.

Can't figure out what Indiana is all about when it comes to their gun laws...but EVERY state I've ever lived in has their gun law quirks.

Lots of ways to skin the varmint if you think outside the envelope.


Luck

You've got it right: It is the case length and bullet diameter that matter, not the OAL. The 460S&W loads I mentioned are being done exactly as you described. The case is trimmed from 1.800 to 1.625" and then the bullet only seated about .100", so the OAL is basically the same. Very little velocity is lost, if any.

The 356/358 cases have to push the shoulder back, so you do see a net loss in capacity, but it's pretty minimal. The only reason I'm leaning toward the 338MX parent case is the larger body diameter and the fact that it's nearly perfect in overall dimensions means you don't lose ANY case capacity in the transition. If pushed to the same pressures, it has ~15% more case capacity than the standard 356Win, so it should net at least 4-5% more velocity. Is it worth it? Nah, probably not. But, that's wild-catting for ya!
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  #6  
Old 10-24-2011, 05:24 AM
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I understand that some are now lobbying that the case length be increased even further to 1.95" to allow using the .35 Remington. Of course, it makes perfect sense because there's a mad scientist at the old Crane Naval Station breeding blood-thristy, zombie deer that are virtually bullet-proof. Reports are that cartridges like the .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh and even .500 S&W are all but useless. Hunters using the lowly and nearly impotent .357 Magnum in lever-action carbines are said to be taking their lives in their hands by even going into the woods.
Let the deer cross the border to the west and they weaken considerably and can be taken with a .300 Whisper.

Last edited by crossfire; 10-24-2011 at 05:30 AM. Reason: written in jest
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  #7  
Old 10-24-2011, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by crossfire View Post
I understand that some are now lobbying that the case length be increased even further to 1.95" to allow using the .35 Remington. Of course, it makes perfect sense because there's a mad scientist at the old Crane Naval Station breeding blood-thristy, zombie deer that are virtually bullet-proof. Reports are that cartridges like the .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh and even .500 S&W are all but useless. Hunters using the lowly and nearly impotent .357 Magnum in lever-action carbines are said to be taking their lives in their hands by even going into the woods.
Let the deer cross the border to the west and they weaken considerably and can be taken with a .300 Whisper.
Crossfire,

That was actually a misprint. The NRC is considering increasing the legal length to 2.95", so we can start using effective cartridges like the 30-378, which just barely meets the guidelines!

Dr. Frankendeer's work aside, Indiana deer are no tougher to kill than they ever was, but then again, they don't seem inclined to get any closer to the hunters, either! This quest for madness that Hoosier wildcatters are pursuing is not about massively powerful cartridges to kill a li'l ol' deer, it's about the desire to shoot past 100 yards w/o dealing with multi-colored trajectories. Ya know, the ones that look like a rainbow?

My current 'cat is a 358GNR which is virtually identical in performance to that beloved woods cartridge; the 35 Remington. I'm glad to have that kind of (ahem) "range", but would dearly love to have something closer to my trusty 270! It doesn't take 45, 47 or 50 caliber bullets to kill a deer, so why would I want to use a truly MAGNUM handgun cartridge at shorter ranges? Heck, if I wanted shotgun slug power and range...I'd just shoot a slug gun.

The thing is, I don't want the recoil of a slug gun, the hassle and mess of a ML or the limited range of a 357. What I "want" is 300-yard killing range with relatively flat trajectory and tolerable kick. Is that so much to ask? Indiana makes it very challenging to meet those goals because the minimum diameter bullet you can use (in a rifle) is .357", so you're automatically shooting heavier rounds with a lower BC than most guys choose for deer hunting. Does your most commonly used deer rifle shoot 35 caliber, or larger, bullet?

The 358MX (should it come to pass) is my attempt at a round powerful enough to humanely harvest deer at almost 300 yards while not dislocating my shoulder to get there. There are milder choices, to be sure, and there are going to be more powerful rounds with greater range and kick. But for me, staying within the new 1.8" rules, the 358MX seems like the right compromise, especially in a break-action or lever-action rifle, where a rimmed case is of some benefit.

What cartridge would you choose, Crossfire?
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Last edited by broom_jm; 10-24-2011 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
Crossfire,

This quest for madness that Hoosier wildcatters are pursuing is not about massively powerful cartridges to kill a li'l ol' deer, it's about the desire to shoot past 100 yards w/o dealing with multi-colored trajectories.
^This^

Sounds like you'll do well with this trimmed .358 MX. Do you plan on seating bullets to the cannelure (if there is one) or using all of the available powderspace?

Last edited by kludge; 10-24-2011 at 09:10 AM.
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  #9  
Old 10-24-2011, 02:12 PM
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I would probably use the 200gr FTX or 180gr Barnes TTSX, but in neither case would I seat to the cannelure. I would seat to the base of the 220" neck, or maybe a bit lower, and the chamber would have a throat cut to the appropriate length.
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:47 PM
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I moved from Indiana in 1974. Hunted there from 1963 and still do every now and then when I visit relatives. In all that time, I have never had a shot of over 125 yards (using a .357 Maximum) and prefer being much closer than that. There is something to be said about pitting ones skills against an animal equipped with better senses, reactions and speed than I have. I am a handgun hunter and ground stalker so I'm the last person to ask about which caliber rifle to use, but here goes....
Personally, I'd let a hunter use whatever he was proficient with providing it had sufficient power to make a clean kill. I know it sounds like a cop-out answer but the best weapon to use is the one you can use best.
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:47 AM
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So, in 11 years of hunting, you never once saw a deer across a cut corn or bean field? C'mon now...I didn't fall off the turnip truck YESTERDAY! There I go, mixing my metaphors again.

I have had more shots under 100 yards than over, for sure...but this is ag country and there are big ol' fields just about everywhere ya go. Three years ago I saw a modest 8-pt buck with a pronounced limp about 250 yards out into a standing bean field. He'd lost a fight with another buck or a broadhead arrow but either way, he'd seen better days. If I had been equipped with a modern rifle in a flat-shooting caliber I would have put that buck out of his misery instead of leaving him to his likely fate as coyote food that winter. With my 44 carbine, there was just no way. If I'd been legally allowed to carry my 270 it would have been a different story.

With that said, I spend at least 3 days bowhunting for every day gun hunting, and my last 3 deer have been with archery equipment, so I don't mind getting close. I just want the "option" of reaching out there at ~250, w/o risking a shoulder dislocation to get there!
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:05 PM
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Maybe if I'd said I never have had the need to take a shot of over 125 yards I would have been better understood. The problem with that is that it sounds like I regularly shoot at that distance, and I don't; which is why I included the "and prefer being much closer than that" phrase. Yes, I have often seen deer outside my "comfort" range, and didn't say otherwise. In fact, I don't even use the maximum effective range I know my revolver is capable of because I don't want to risk leaving an animal in the condition you describe (or worse). I can't say for fact because I wasn't there, but I can see myself stalking the animal you described until I was close enough to end his misery.

Last edited by crossfire; 10-25-2011 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:59 AM
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He was hobbling across the field as best he could and would have been gone before I could get closer. If I'd had the right gun for it, I could have stopped him and ended the suffering.

Growing up out West, where 125 yards was a chip-shot, I got used to shooting at 200 yards or more. Indiana's regulations intentionally shorten the playing field, but I like having the freedom to shoot at longer range, should the opportunity arise. When I'm using my Contender pistols, I intentionally keep it short, like you do. No need for that with a modern, scoped, center-fire rifle.
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by broom_jm View Post
He was hobbling across the field as best he could and would have been gone before I could get closer. If I'd had the right gun for it, I could have stopped him and ended the suffering.

Growing up out West, where 125 yards was a chip-shot, I got used to shooting at 200 yards or more. Indiana's regulations intentionally shorten the playing field, but I like having the freedom to shoot at longer range, should the opportunity arise. When I'm using my Contender pistols, I intentionally keep it short, like you do. No need for that with a modern, scoped, center-fire rifle.
I can't imagine rifle hunting deer and not being able to use a .30-30 or .30-06. It seems UN-AMERICAN!
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:21 AM
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I can't imagine rifle hunting deer and not being able to use a .30-30 or .30-06. It seems UN-AMERICAN!
Even after a dozen years living and hunting in the Hoosier state, it's still depressing to leave my 270 in the closet and have no choice but to use something that is roughly HALF as effective.

I guess if I didn't feel that way, I'd forget all this wildcat nonsense and take up quilting, or something, but daggone it, deer are supposed to be hunted with RIFLES! I do hope the day comes when the powers that be in Indiana realize just how asburd the regulations have become and throw the doors open wide for anything this side of a 50 caliber, for deer. There isn't a sensible reason to restrict deer hunters the way they do, but as long as they make the rules, I'll play by them...barely!

A 250-yard "pistol-chambered rifle". Not exactly what they had in mind, but then again if they were really using their brains on this topic, we'd be able to shoot regular old rifles, anyway. It's what it is, I guess.
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Old 10-27-2011, 06:51 AM
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Even after a dozen years living and hunting in the Hoosier state, it's still depressing to leave my 270 in the closet and have no choice but to use something that is roughly HALF as effective.

I guess if I didn't feel that way, I'd forget all this wildcat nonsense and take up quilting, or something, but daggone it, deer are supposed to be hunted with RIFLES! I do hope the day comes when the powers that be in Indiana realize just how asburd the regulations have become and throw the doors open wide for anything this side of a 50 caliber, for deer. There isn't a sensible reason to restrict deer hunters the way they do, but as long as they make the rules, I'll play by them...barely!

A 250-yard "pistol-chambered rifle". Not exactly what they had in mind, but then again if they were really using their brains on this topic, we'd be able to shoot regular old rifles, anyway. It's what it is, I guess.
Of course, you could shoot what my Buddy shoots in Indiana; a single shot MOA pistol in .350 RM. Yes, that .350 RM.

Here's what the pistol looks like. His wears a fixed 4X Leupold scope:
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358MX - almost-moa7wsmrupe.jpg  
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:13 AM
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Of course, you could shoot what my Buddy shoots in Indiana; a single shot MOA pistol in .350 RM. Yes, that .350 RM.
I'm guessing he uses ear plugs?

Good heavens! Why???

That reminds me of the .458 WM I saw for sale last year.

No thanks!
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:44 AM
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Yes, he keeps his earplugs hanging around his neck, when he hunts. When he purchased the gun, he was warned by the builder to never shoot it with the brake not installed. I believe the quote went something like this.... "it will break every bone in your wrist"

Nope, I've not shot it, although he shares some reloading data, me for my 673.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:06 AM
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Of course, you could shoot what my Buddy shoots in Indiana; a single shot MOA pistol in .350 RM. Yes, that .350 RM.

Here's what the pistol looks like. His wears a fixed 4X Leupold scope:
Hey, as long as it's HIS wrists and not mine, more power to him!

Wait...did I just say he needs more power than a 350 Rem Mag pistol??

Seriously, I think it's cool, but since he's using a pistol, why go to 35 caliber? You can use ANY caliber bigger than 22 from a pistol, when deer hunting in Indiana. I use a 6.5JDJ and 7-30 Waters because they given enough range and energy, w/o orthopedic-therapy-inducing recoil.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:58 AM
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Hey, as long as it's HIS wrists and not mine, more power to him!

Wait...did I just say he needs more power than a 350 Rem Mag pistol??

Seriously, I think it's cool, but since he's using a pistol, why go to 35 caliber? You can use ANY caliber bigger than 22 from a pistol, when deer hunting in Indiana. I use a 6.5JDJ and 7-30 Waters because they given enough range and energy, w/o orthopedic-therapy-inducing recoil.
He originally used a S/A .44 mag. But he was also hunting some areas with long-range possibilities. So he bought this pistol and feels comfortable out to 300 yards with it. He normally sets up a ground blind and uses a tripod with it. He shoots the Remington 200gr C/L in it at about 2500 FPS.
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