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Discussion Starter #1
Well, I guess every clowd has it's silver lining. After getting stiffed on a Ruger #3 in 375 I got a call from a friend this weekend telling me of a Winchester 94 BB in 356 Win. Just got off the phone and am now the owner of said rifle, at least once all the paper exchanges hands. I can't believe how hard these are to find and esp in this condition.

Now the hard part. Loading data and components isn't very plentiful for this one. I see a thread here talking about the 210gr BTB. That's good information. Anyone got suggestions for loading the Speer 220gr FN? Also it doesn't seem that this cartridge has much to serve as a basis for forming cases should it come to that. The 307 comes to mind but it's about as obsolescent as the 356. Cases are available today but I think I'd better stock up!

Life is good...
 

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Lots of loading data available, try Hodgdon on-line. Also get a copy of M.L. McPhersons Hanloading for Metalic Cartridges 3 rd ed.

Cases are easy to form from .444 Marlin. Redding makes a form trim die that eases the process.

Accurate Arms Powder also has some information on the .356.
 

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Bart-

Congrats on the new .356 Winchester. If it shoots anything like mine does you'll be very happy with it. If you check at Loadswap I think that there is some data for the BTB 250g LFNGC posted by one of the members. In looking at the other forums it seems that the one jacketed bullet that really stands out is the Speer 220g F/N; a favorite of a couple of pig hunters I exchanged posts with in the past.

Are you gonna scope your .356, or use iron sights? Like I said before, mine is so accurate that I couldn't resist scoping it. Shoots the first 3 shots touching at 100 yards with factory fodder; after that the group starts to open up, but I'm not complaining.

Again, congrats on your new rifle and let us know how she shoots.
 

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Layne Simpson replied to a reader's question about brass availability (for the .307) by stating that he used regular .308 brass loaded for the .307 (with flatpoints). He used the .308 brass loads for target shooting and saved his .307 rimmed brass for hunting.
Said the .308 brass ran fine in his .307 BB.

It might be worth a try to see if .356 rounds handloaded using .358 Win. brass will feed and extract correctly in your .356 BB.
 

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Bart,

I have a .307 and so far Midway seems to have plenty of brass left, and I have seen it pop up on the auction sights as well.

Midway is also still listing .356 brass ($18 - 50)

It is definitely easier to find than .375 brass - although I know you can make that out of 30-30.

I have also been able to feed and extract .308 brass through my .307 - although I have not shot any through it yet so do not know if the extractor will work as well on fired cases.
 

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i also just picked up a mod 94 356win. i got my dies, brass, and bullets from midway. they were as cheap as anyone, and had everything in stock. i was also advised to get the lee factory crimp die. i have the 180gr and 220gr speer, 200gr sierra, and 200gr rem. i've read that the 200gr hornady doesn't expand well. i'm trying AA2015 powder first, then on to h4895. i scoped mine with a bushnell banner 1.5x4.5x32. nice! i'm just waiting for spring so i can go out and play. good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Wow! Where to start? A lot of good information here.

The rifle has a Williams peep installed. Since I have this on most of my lever guns I'll give it a try before scoping it. If accuracy is as good as your's maybe I won't be able to resist either.

I didn't know that you could make cases from 444. While the 444 isn't exactly 30-30, in terms of availability, it is a lot more common than the 307 and 356. I see that Midway carries it so wasn't too concerned about availability right now, just in a pinch or an emergency situation. I've got 30-30 brass coming out my ears and will be able to load for my 30-30 and 375 until I run out of other components.

The 358 (or necked up 308) case idea has my interest. These should give a little more case capacity. As long as it would extract reliably and headspacing could be maintained on the shoulder I might give this a try one day.

I'm a heavy bullet fan so probably will start with the Speer 220 FN. I saw some recipes last night that claimed to get about 2350fps with this bullet. Didn't notice the barrel length. This is about 150fps faster than my 375 will hurl the same weight bullet, and the 356 has better sectional density on top of that. This would be a perfect woods elk load.

Thanks for all the info guys. I'm really pumped up now. As soon as I can get the rifle, dies, and components together I'll post my results back here.
 

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The .35 200gr. Hornady RN has a reputation for not expanding, but this is in the .35 Rem. The fact that it's tougher may help with the higher velocities in the .356, depends on what you want to do with it.
 

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Bart,

Welcome to the club. Since I plan on using my 356 mostly on whitetails I have been working up loads with the Speer 180. Am up to 2600 fps so far and have not exceeded published data from accurate (using XMR2015). This rifle will push the 180 faster than a 308 can! I have also used 158 gr. 357 mag pistol bullets in it just for fun.

Paco Kelly over on Sixgunner.com is a big fan of the 356 as well and has a fair bit of load data for it. He also used 308 military brass fire formed by firing it in the 356. I have heard that 358 brass will work as well but haven't tried any. I have cycled 308 brass through the gun and it does work, but every now and then the cartridge stop will let one slip under the lifter.

Good luck with it!

Reb
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Reb,

Didn't see much at sixgunner about the 356 but could have been looking in the wrong place. In Back Issues Paco writes about the 375 and 356 GNR, et al. There is a little information in Favorite Load Part II. If nothing else Paco's writings show you a gross limit on how far you can push something!

Was looking at Accurate's load data and am surprised to see a load they have listed with their 2520 and the 220gr Speer clocking a little better than 2400fps, from a 24" barrel. Might have to try this one first. I have a tendancy to work up a top load with a new gun first and then back off to more moderate ones later. This one has potential.
 

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356 it ain't all that

Here some numbers for you:

308Win 180gr 2620fps-2743fpe,Winchester
303Brit 180gr 2540fps-2575fpe,Vihta Vuori
30/40Krag 180gr 2450fps-2400fpe,Nosler
356Win 180gr 2600fps-2703fpe,Speer
358Win 180gr 2802fps-3137fpe,Conley


308Win 200gr 2400fps-2559fpe,Sierra
356Win 200gr 2460fps-2688fpe, Conley
348Win 200gr 2560fps-2909fpe,Conley
358Win 200gr 2700fps-3236fpe,Conley
375Win 200gr 2512fps-2801fpe,Accurate


30/40Krag 220gr 2200fps-2360fpe,Peters
303Brit 215gr 2235fps-2363fpe,Vihta Vuori
356Win 220gr 2315fps-2617fpe,Accurate
348Win 220gr 2470fps-2979fpe,Conley
358Win 220gr 2500fps-3054fpe,Speer
358Win 225gr 2550fps-3248fpe,Conley
375Win 220gr 2372fps-2754fpe,Accurate

I love the 356Win and have 2 of them.One in Marlin M336ER and one in Win M94AE-XTR.I use it alontg the lines of my Sako Finnwolf in 308Win,Win M1895 in 303Brit,and Win M1895 in 30/40 Krag.It is not in the class of the 358win or 348Win.And when I use my Ruger #3 and Savage M99A in 375Win.I exceed what ever the 356win can do in velocity and energy and KO(with any same weight bullet),and with larger bullet diameter and spitzer bullets to boot.The 356win CANNOT keep up with the 375Win!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm not trying to paint a picture where the 356 is superior to the 375 Win...which happens to be one of my favorite rounds. My statements were based on a sample of one set of load data, not a more complete compilation as you did. I think it's splitting hairs to claim one superior to the other. It's hard to tell which of your loads are from what barrel length and sptizer bullets throw the whole thing into a tailspin. The #3 has a 22" barrel, the Savage probably a 24", at least a 22". The 356 is fired from a 20" barrel. My Marlin 375 has a 22" barrel. And differences in chambers and individual barrels can make a significant difference. Too many variables. If you wanted to argue in favor of the 356 you could say that, for a given bullet weight, penetration would be superior. The velocity differences aren't enough to make a big difference. Even if you Paco-ize both cartridges the relative performance levels remain about the same.

Now quit trying to pop my balloon :) ...

...and give us the rundown on which of these loads you've tried and what you actually chronied from your rifles. That's what's interesting anyway.
 

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Bastmasterson,I chronoed all those loads and handload every load I quoted.Here what i used for rifles.

Savage M99A Brush Gun in 375Win,22in
Ruger #3 in 375Win,22in
Marlin M-375 in 375Win,20in
Winchester M94XTR in 375Win,20in
MARLIN M336ER in 356Win,20in
Winchester M94AE-XTR in 356Win,20in
Winchester M1895 in 303 British,28in
Winchester M1895 in 30/40Krag,28in
Sako Finnwolf in 308Win,23in

Here is a set off my spread sheets chronoed loads for 375Win in Savage M99A,at 12ft with two different chronos.

200gr Sierra JFP 2480fps-2730fpe
210gr Barnes X 2425fps-2741fpe
225gr Hornady SP 2300fps-2642fpe
220gr Hornady JFP 2350fps-2745fpe
235gr Speer SP 2250fps-2641fpe
250gr Barnes X 2155fps-2565fpe
260gr Nosler SP 2115fps-2546fpe

I found most to meet or exceed the advertized velocities,except the Marlins and Winchesters with 20in barrels.As all ballistics are from 24in barrels and Marlins and winchesters in 375Win and 356Win ALWAYS COME WITH 20IN BARRELS!!!!Yours does not have a 22in barrel from factory.Check it again!
The 356 exceeds the 375 when loaded in the Marlin or Winchester M94.The 375Win exceeds the 356Win when it is loaded in the Ruger or Savage.Why?Easy the Ruger and Savage have longer barrels,can exceed the COL of 2.56,can be loaded to 60,000psi,and use better constructed spitzer bullets for better down range ballistics.
Don't hate because the 375Win has the benefit of being made in longer and stronger rifles than the 356Win.Thats what makes it shine.

And i thought it was bust my bubble,not pop my balloon.

Enforcer
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I stand corrected on the Marlin barrel length.

I don't HATE anything. My original statements on velocities derive from the fact that I don't have a Savage or Ruger in 375. So my performance comparisons will be without that benefit. In equal rifles I think telling the difference, especially on game, will be hard to do.

Got any experience with hardcast in the 356?
 

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Cast 356

bartmasterson said:
I stand corrected on the Marlin barrel length.

I don't HATE anything. My original statements on velocities derive from the fact that I don't have a Savage or Ruger in 375. So my performance comparisons will be without that benefit. In equal rifles I think telling the difference, especially on game, will be hard to do.

Got any experience with hardcast in the 356?
No i don't on the 356Win,but I do shoot some cast bullets in 375Win.And you are right game would never know the difference in the two.By the way I was born in Colorado Springs,CO. at the Air Force Academy.I lived there for about five years and go back to Colorado on hunting trips.I love it out there.Enforcer
 

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Bartmasterson,

Hello from a fellow 356 owner. My BB94 is currently my only big game rifle, and I truly love the quality and the basic 94 feel. Mine is accurate to boot! I don't have a whole lot of experience with this gun....it has been my first cast bullet/reloading project, so I am learning the basics of both at the same time. The Snow here in PA has really kept me off the range, and hopefully I will be toying with it again soon.. Here is a couple of things I've learned(you fellas sound like you have a bit of experience at this, so pardon the redundancy):

LBT/WFN designs are hard to load for in this caliber as there is very little throat on these guns. When loaded, the base of the bullet lies well down in the case body, and even then it is a pretty good press into the rifling. They also will not feed correctly. I have went to LFNGC designs exclusively and have not been dissappointed. RCBS 200 Gr. FNGC's group into a little over an inch with open sights(I have recently added a William's Peep but have not shot with it yet). Jacketed produces similar results. The RCBS 200 gr. bullet is pretty highly regarded among cast bullet shooters. I also just got some BTB 210 LFNGC's which, when there is a break in the snow/rain/mud, I am going to try. For hunting loads, I am going to try either some softer lead or perhaps annealing everything forward of the crimp groove.

As fellow 356 shooter Slim Iorg has suggested on this site.....a shooting pad is a good idea with these little beastie's. Recoil from the bench will nail you, but you should have little trouble from actual field positions. It is a sweetheart one you get attuned to the rifle. The creepy trigger will take a bit of getting used to, but again...just something to be overcome.

I took the front sight bead off of my rifle with a hacksaw, then filed it square(before I put the Williams on it). It seemed to improve accuracy alot, as the bead covers much of the target at my ranges(50-100 yrds). I think now I would have just filed the actual bead into a square shape, rather than cutting it off.

Have to jump off here, but if I can think of anything else will post here again. Good luck and congrats on your new toy. PS......see Cabela's offers Cast 250 gr. LFNGC's in .358 diameter from Western Bullets. Does anyone have any experience with these? What is their makeup?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Hey Chris,

Thanks for the encouragement. You point out lots of good things to be aware of and to watch for.

As for cast bullet availability, there doesn't seem to be a lot of choice without casting your own or finding a small time casting business.

I checked Western's website and according to the page for the bullet you mentioned, the nose-to-crimp (groove) length is 0.6" which would make it too long for the max OAL for the 356 according to Speer #13. They go on to say that if you crimp over the front band the nose-to-crimp length would be about 0.51". It appears that a bullet needs to have a nose-to-crimp length of no more than about 0.545" to not exceed max OAL. I would think that a compressed load or using a Lee factory crimp die might be a big help in preventing bullets being pushed back in the case if seated over the front band. Are you casting your own?
 

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Bart,

The articles on the Sixgunner.com on the 356 are included in the Favorite Cast Loads #2 and Punch 1 and Punch 2. Oddly enough Paco hasn't done an article just on the 356 of which I am aware.

When using cast bullets don't forget that 357 Mag bullets will "slug up" fine in most cases. Usually 180 to 200 gr. is the limit in these but I believe there is a mold for a 220 grain bullet offered commercially. I think the Lee factory crimp die is a must for this caliber.

Using 357 Mag JHPs make a fine varmit bullet at 356 velocities. I have yet to recover more than an empty jacket from any I have fired.

Paco had one HIGH velocity load using a 115 gr. JHP 9mm bullet. Something around 3000 or 3200 fps, if I recall. Haven't tried it yet but it might be neat to play with!


Reb
 

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Hey Fellas,

Sorry for the long time in replying. We have been riding the Vomit Comet for the past 4 days here. Ugggh. Bartmasterson...thanks so much for looking into those Western Bullet 250 grainers. That's a real bummer....have to keep looking. I know Bear Tooth makes one, so they will most likely get a little business there if the nose to crimp works....guess a Lee Factory Crimp die would make this less of an issue?.

I think there is a 356 Winchester/Colorado Springs connection going on here. The last guy on the list to ask about the 356 Winchester started talking about Fort Carson and Manitou Springs. I was at Fort Carson also, and bought my 356 not too long after getting released on good behavior. The location must breed a desire for this caliber.

I have everything to cast but have not had the opportunity as of yet. I bought the .358 RCBS 200 Gr. FNGC mould.....have up until this point been using that same bullet design cast by a kind fella that donated a bunch to me. They were relatively hard and measured .359. They shot really well, so I am hoping my mold drops them close to that.

I will keep you fellas posted on my next range trip......hopefully soon. Thanks a bunch again for looking into those bullets and good shooting.
 
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