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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't want to put this in the other .358 wildcat thread but it is an extension of that thread. This one is focused on my rifle and version of the .358 WSSM. While others have been using more modified WSSM cases and bolt guns, I went with the .25 WSSM only opened up to .358 diameter and in the DPMS LR-308 semi-auto rifle. Simply expanding the neck puts the case length right at 1.620 inch when evened up, just shy of the maximum 1.625 inch Indiana legal length for deer hunting. Shoulder is in the same place and same angle and the body is not blown out and it uses standard .25 WSSM headspace gauges. Dave Manson made the reamer and supplied the HS gauges and Marty ter Weeme of Teppo Jutsu did the barrel work. Barrel is a Pac-Nor stainless super match and is 24 inches long, .800 under the handguards, .750 at the gas block, and .730 to the muzzle. The action is a DPMS LR-308 with LR-308 Lo-Pro upper, sans FA and dust cover with a RR NM two stage trigger tuned to 3.5 pounds by John Holliger of White Oaks Armament. Mags are modified LR-308 .308 mags and hold 5 rounds of the .358 HDH. After 5 rounds they do not stack properly and double feed so the mags still need some tweaking. Tapered expander for case forming and loading dies were supplied by Dave Davidson of CH-4D.
Stock is standard A2 hydro-dipped by, who else, Hydro-Dip, in OD Carbon Fiber. The black CF forend was hydro-dipped in OD CF as well so that they would match.

It's been a year in the works but the .358 HDH (Hoosier Deer Hunter) is finally 'almost' done. All that needs doing now is function testing, bonding on the forend, and load work up. The forend does not get bonded on the barrel nut until the gas port size is determined to be correct. Right now it is pretty small but who knows, we might just get lucky. The JP adjustable gas block is wide open so if it won't run now then the gas port will have to be enlarged.
According to QL it is going to send a 200 gr. TSX bullet downrange at 2550 fps, and a 220 gr. TSX should be sent on its way at 2450 fps. I sure hope so. These figures put this cartridge about 100 fps faster than the .358 Winchester. This round also operates at a higher pressure than the .358 Win does but not as high as the action will allow. The action is capable of 55K psi but I have limited the .358 HDH to 50K max psi with 5K psi muzzle pressure to increase case life.
More to follow...
 

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Now that is pretty neat! With a 20" barrel and a holo-sight or something similar, it would be just the ticket for "vehicle-based hog control" :D :D :D
 

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... my rifle and version of the .358 WSSM. While others have been using more modified WSSM cases and bolt guns, I went with the .25 WSSM only opened up to .358 diameter ... Simply expanding the neck puts the case length right at 1.620 inch when evened up, just shy of the maximum 1.625 inch Indiana legal length for deer hunting. Shoulder is in the same place and same angle and the body is not blown out and it uses standard .25 WSSM headspace gauges. ... This round also operates at a higher pressure than the .358 Win does but not as high as the action will allow. The action is capable of 55K psi but I have limited the .358 HDH to 50K max psi with 5K psi muzzle pressure to increase case life.
Maybe I'm missing it, but how does this cartridge differ from the .358 WSSM? Lower pressure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It doesn't differ at all from many of them. There are a million variants of the .358 WSSM, with a lot of people making their versions proprietary so nobody can use their reamers without permission, others have blown out the body, increased the shoulder angle, shortened the neck, all to increase case capacity and velocity... I kept mine simple and non-proprietary. Anyone can order the reamer from Manson and do not need to get permission from anyone to use it. It is simply necked up, that's all. Same shoulder angle to smooth out feeding in a semi, and same body taper and head space datum. Absolutely nothing fancy. There is no factory .358 WSSM so it seems everyone is doing their thing with this wildcat with different goals in mind.
I wanted mine to work in a semi so went the simple route. The sharper shoulder angle many use and the body with less taper and shorter necks all looked to lead to possible trouble when being used in an autoloader. Since the WSSM uses stronger brass you can push it a bit harder than the .358 Winchester. The .358 Win has an operating pressure of around 49K IIRC, so while I can push mine to 55K, why bother? 50K is good enough and if QL is correct, that is about 50-100 fps faster than the older .358 Win. Every last fps was not my goal, just a good reliable round that would feed through the semi platform and equal the.358 Winchester. The problem for us with the .358 Win is that its case is too long to be a legal deer hunting round in Indiana, hence the plethora of .358 WSSM wildcats that have sprung up.
 

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Very nice gun, Big Bore! If it shoots half as good as it looks, the local Hoosier deer are in trouble! :)

Matt, Indiana restricts rifles used for deer hunting to a case no longer than 1.625" and bullets no smaller than .357". Their goal is to limit effective range, with the idea that this makes rifles safer because the bullets won't carry as far. Several other places have similar restrictions. I think they're a crock, personally, but the law is the law.

What Big Bore put together is the most powerful, long-range option available to Indiana residents who want to deer hunt with a rifle. Now, if you want to shoot a 15" Encore pistol in 30-'06, THAT is perfectly legal...which makes no sense whatsoever, but there it is.
 

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Big Bore, that's good to know. I have been planning on having a .358 WSSM made, but aside from the .358 Grant, I wasn't aware of anyone making other alterations to the case dimensions. Like you, I would prefer a simple forming process, so I will watch out for these pit-falls.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
For a bolt gun there are a lot better (hotter) rounds than mine, such as the .358 Grant. When I was talking to Dave Manson about the reamers, I told him what I wanted and asked him if he had any that were similar. He said dozens. But so many people think they are going to achieve immortality by developing a 'new' cartridge, most people put restrictions on the reamer, making them proprietary and permission is required before he can sell them to someone else. Since the reamer costs the same no matter be it an existing design or a new design, it was a lot more simple to say screw it, here is what I want, make me a reamer. I am sure Dave had a dozen or more .358 WSSM designs, most of them very similar if not identical, but all with different names. Mine is probably the tamest of the bunch being a simple neck up, but also the least in performance. By taking the WSSM or WSM and blowing out the body, making the shoulder steeper, and shortening the neck, you can get case capacity larger than the longer .358 Win. My reinvention of the wheel comes in a couple grains less case capacity than the .358 Win, but since I can run it at higher pressures, I get to equal the performance of the .358 Win. which is all I wanted to do. If the .358 WSSM is done in a bolt gun without the special concerns an autoloader create, the blown out shortened neck rounds do give you several hundred fps more velocity than the version I did. But those near straight walled, steep shouldered and short necked versions are going to cause a heap lot of trouble in the autoloader, or so Marty thought and he forgets more in a day about building tricked out wild-calibered ARs than I will ever know. If Indiana ever lifts the case length restriction I will rechamber mine to .358 WSM in a heart-beat. That is my hope and one reason I went ahead and did it on the actually too large LR-308 platform. The .358 WSSM works just as well in the AR-15 length action with less weight but there is no room for growth. In the LR-308, if the length ban is lifted I can go full tilt to the .358 WSM with only a rechamber.

Broom_jm; I agree, IN game laws tend to make you go hum. I have been hunting for over two decades with the .45-70, .50 Alaskan, and .309 JDJ in Indiana but all in pistols with barrel lengths from 12 to 15 inches. But take my 16 inch 1895 Guide gun out in .45-70 and suddenly I am in violation. Say that again?
.308 in a rifle, illegal! .309 JDJ in a pistol, which gives rifle .308 performance in a pistol length barrel, perfectly legal. Huh? It's just better to follow the laws and not think about them. It only gives you a headache!
 

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For a bolt gun there are a lot better (hotter) rounds than mine, such as the .358 Grant. When I was talking to Dave Manson about the reamers, I told him what I wanted and asked him if he had any that were similar. He said dozens. But so many people think they are going to achieve immortality by developing a 'new' cartridge, most people put restrictions on the reamer, making them proprietary and permission is required before he can sell them to someone else. Since the reamer costs the same no matter be it an existing design or a new design, it was a lot more simple to say screw it, here is what I want, make me a reamer. I am sure Dave had a dozen or more .358 WSSM designs, most of them very similar if not identical, but all with different names. Mine is probably the tamest of the bunch being a simple neck up, but also the least in performance. By taking the WSSM or WSM and blowing out the body, making the shoulder steeper, and shortening the neck, you can get case capacity larger than the longer .358 Win. My reinvention of the wheel comes in a couple grains less case capacity than the .358 Win, but since I can run it at higher pressures, I get to equal the performance of the .358 Win. which is all I wanted to do. If the .358 WSSM is done in a bolt gun without the special concerns an autoloader create, the blown out shortened neck rounds do give you several hundred fps more velocity than the version I did. But those near straight walled, steep shouldered and short necked versions are going to cause a heap lot of trouble in the autoloader, or so Marty thought and he forgets more in a day about building tricked out wild-calibered ARs than I will ever know. If Indiana ever lifts the case length restriction I will rechamber mine to .358 WSM in a heart-beat. That is my hope and one reason I went ahead and did it on the actually too large LR-308 platform. The .358 WSSM works just as well in the AR-15 length action with less weight but there is no room for growth. In the LR-308, if the length ban is lifted I can go full tilt to the .358 WSM with only a rechamber.

Broom_jm; I agree, IN game laws tend to make you go hum. I have been hunting for over two decades with the .45-70, .50 Alaskan, and .309 JDJ in Indiana but all in pistols with barrel lengths from 12 to 15 inches. But take my 16 inch 1895 Guide gun out in .45-70 and suddenly I am in violation. Say that again?
.308 in a rifle, illegal! .309 JDJ in a pistol, which gives rifle .308 performance in a pistol length barrel, perfectly legal. Huh? It's just better to follow the laws and not think about them. It only gives you a headache!
Yeah, I have a 6.5JDJ that is quite capable on deer out to 200 yards or so, but if the barrel was 2" longer (50fps?) and I put a buttstock on it, I'm breaking the law and it's just "too dangerous". I didn't realize your iteration of the 358WSSM was much slower than any of the others. Is that because you are choosing to keep the pressures down? I can't imagine the blown-out versions are all THAT much faster, as fat as those little cases already are. How long is the neck on your version? Same as the 25 WSSM?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
It is not a whole lot slower, but it is a little. Some of the guys are reported to be getting 200-300 fps faster than the .358 Winchester, while I am supposedly able to better it by just a little, maybe 100 fps tops. And that is QL guestimates. I will throw some over a chrono if I can ever get to the range and find out if real life is close to QL on this round. The reason is mainly because I did not increase the case capacity. The reason I am able to supposedly better the .358 Win a bit is because I am running mine at a higher pressure. If I were going all the way to max, 55K, I may do a little better but not enough to be significant.
My case capacity comes in a couple of grains less than the .358 Win, while the guys who move the shoulder forward, steepen up the neck angle, and blow the case out are actually able to increase case capacity to a couple grains over the .358 Winchester, and the larger the case capacity, the lower the pressures per a given load. Therefore, their case holds more powder to achieve the same pressures I am getting with less powder. More powder means more gas and more gas means higher velocity.
You can look at it like this, and I am totally making up the numbers below as an example only.
My case holds 2 grains less than the .358 Win. 40 gr. powder might yield 2400 fps at 50,000 psi.

The same 40 gr. of powder in the .358 Win case might yield 2350 fps at 47,000 psi.
By the time you take the .358 Win case up to 50K you would use maybe 42 gr. powder and get 2500 fps but that is over the .358 Win. max allowable pressure. It tops out at about 49K.

The blown out .358 WSSM that hold +2 grs. more volume than the .358 Win, with 40 gr. of powder might give 2300 fps at 45,000 psi.
And when you take increased capacity case up to 50K, maybe using 44 gr. powder, you should be getting 2700 fps or so.

Larger case, same charge, less pressure, lower velocity.
Larger case, increased charge to same pressure, higher velocity.

The neck on mine is just a bit longer than the .25 WSSM since I am necking that case up to .35 caliber.
That has the result of lengthening the neck to .355 inch even with using the same shoulder angle. .355 inch is just short of what I consider the minimum neck length should be, which is 1 bullet diameter, or in this case .358 inch. I can live with .003 inch below "my" standard. The .25 WSSM neck length is .300 inch.

I hope I did not butcher the explanation too badly. If I did let me know and I will try to make it more clear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
FINALLY, some test data

None what so ever on the Redding dies. They would be your best bet for that info.

After weeks of bad weather, family obligations, and getting almost 168 trees planted I finally got to the range today for function testing and prelim load development.

QL put a max load of H335 for 55K psi at 45.0 gr. and 2550 fps.
Well, not exactly in the real world.
At suggested max load there was not even .0001 amount of case head expansion at max over start load and the velocity was only 2347.4 fps. Nowhere near the predicted max velocity and no indication of being anywhere near max pressure. Primers are nice and round and as I said, not even 1/10,000 inch case head expansion.
The gas port drilled in the barrel was intentionally small at a #52 (.0635) and not a single round ejected. They tried but even with the gas port wide open there was not enough gas to get the carrier back far enough to eject. First step was to open the gas port to .067 (#51) and see if that helps. If I go too large I can always crank down the adjustable gas block.
For the next set of loads I am taking them up to 46.0 gr H335 behind a Barnes TSX 200 gr. bullet.

The good news was that all loads tested cut a single ragged hole measuring just .4 inches at 50 yards. Remember, this outing was not for accuracy development but for function testing. And considering the winds were gusting to 35 mph and the velocity spread was from 2168.6 to 2347.4, for them all to cut the same hole even at 50 yards is nothing to be sneezed at, and the pollen count was high today so sneezing came easily.
With 4 more days of rain in the forecast it will be a while before more testing happens, so stay tuned...
 

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Do you think you might need a little faster powder, to get the action to cycle? I'm not second-guessing you, just asking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Marty ran dozens of powders through QL and the H335 looked to be one of the most promising for a combination of speed and high enough muzzle pressure to operate the action. And I have plenty of H335 on hand so I want to burn powders I have before buying any more. Marty intentionally drilled the gas port small since he had not done one of these before just as he did on my .500 Phantom done on a midlength LR-308, so we were expecting the need to enlarge the gas port. In fact, I was honestly surprised that it tried to eject the round as much as it did. I was getting about half distance carrier movement to the point the round would start to eject but get caught by the bolt/carrier as it returned forward, so I am getting more movement than we expected to start with. Since I was getting about the same amount of carrier movement at start load as I was at max, it indicates that not enough gas is getting into the tube at enough pressure. Opening up the hole .002-.003 inch at a time should increase the gas amount so that the action will function. At least that is the idea.
Some of the powders being used by other guys in bolt guns, such as N135, were horrible according to QL in getting the correct muzzle pressure and port pressure so that the action even had a chance of working. Marty felt we needed at least 4.5K psi muzzle pressure to get correct function and H335 should give about 5K psi at around 50K psi chamber pressure and that is well below maximum.
If I am on the right track I should at least get more travel at .067 inch gas port. And increasing the charge may help but I have to really watch the case head expansion and primers since I will be venturing above what QL suggests as max. If I have to settle for only 2350 fps I will be fairly disappointed since I wanted to equal the .358 Winchester, so if I cannot do that with H335 then I will have no choice but to try another powder. With three sheets of QL print outs I have more than a few from which to choose.
 

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Was H335 on the slow end of powders that QL suggested would work? I've done very little loading for semi-auto rifles, just pistols.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
From looking at the list and charts, I have to go slower in rate to balance enough pressure at the port to operate and not too much at the muzzle so that the pressure is too high when extraction happens, which rips the rim off the case. Too fast and the pressure falls off too quickly by the time the bullet reaches the muzzle and there will not be enough gas pressure at the port to cycle the action, too slow and there is too much pressure at the port and muzzle and the rim will be ripped off. N133 comes in at #87 (fastest of the lot) and gave much slower velocities and pressures than the slower burning powders. The ones Marty said would work best in the LR-308 platform would be H335 (#108), Win748 (#103), BL-C2 (#105), and AA2520 (#122), so it seems H335 was near the fast end of powders that should work if the range is from 103 to 122. Since I had H335 on hand, H335 it was.
Unlike bolt guns where if it goes off it functions, the gas driven semis are a balancing act and can be a bit tricky when working with wildcats. But it is the learning curve that is half the fun and why many of us wildcat in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Yes. If it won't feed from the mag it is not much use to me.
 

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Why I Ask -->

For the same reasons that others that shoot the AR system have FTF/FTE problems.

Carrier speed ---> do you feel that the bolt and carrier are moving at the proper speed ??
The "boom" should not be followed by a "clack" of the carrier slammin' into battery. This should be all one sound. Proper carrier speed is needed for a proper extract,eject,and feed. If you feel that this could be a problem smooth the underside of the mags feed lips. Check your brass. Does it have two distinct fairly deep scratches almost the full length of it's body ??

Is the front part of the mag sharp ?? I always file mine to a 45deg angle. This could help with the forward velocity of the bolt also.

Gas rings ---> is the gap in all three gas rings staggered ?? I use the one piece spiral ring to avoid worry.

Cam Pin --> I also use a very small dab of grease on the cam pin. To me this aids in the final speed of the bolt rotation/lockup.

Just thoughts. I have a couple of non .223 AR's and this seems to help them. -----pruhdlr
 
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