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Discussion Starter #1
Went out to our local range here in PA and fired my first cast bullets through my Winchester Big Bore 94.  It is in 356 Win. Cal. and made ca. 1991-2(tang safety and rebounding hammer).  Had a few problems right off the bat.   The bullet I wanted to try, the BTB 200 grain WFNGC had to be REALLY deep seated(some were seated to 2.30 OAL so they didn't keep the action from having to be closed hard).  I think the problem is my rifles short throat not being compatible with the bullet profile.   They are also too short to feed through the rifle when deep seated, as they had to be.  The rounds just jump right out of the reciever or catch on the breech face on the upstroke....had to single load.   I was using 42 grains of IMR 4350 to start...should be somewhere in the 1700-1800 fps range if I recall.  Loaded up a few of those BTB 200 gr. .359 WFNGC's and about 30 RCBS 200 grain .359 FNGC's.  There was no problem with the seating depth of the RCBS bullets.  Hit the range and fired up a few rounds.  The bullets struck 12-15 inches low at 50 yards for both bullets!  I wasn't expecting that, as I had never fired reduced cast loads before..  Fixing the low point of impact posed a problem as I was maxed out on the elevation for the rear site.  So, couldn't do much work as the rounds were off or nearly off the board.  The ones that did hit were about 2" at 50 yards.  This may sound like an excuse, but I absolutely hate the bead front sight of my winchester.  I feel I can't do any precise work with it and that my shot placement would have been much better without it.  I went home to regroup and scratch my head.  I decided to raise my point of impact by hacking off the front bead with a hack saw and in the spirit of the great gunsmiths darkened it in with a black magic marker.  With a little file work it looks factory except for the marker.   So, I will be heading back out soon with what I hope is a more precise sight and a raised point of impact.  

Another problem I had was the forend coming loose from the reciever in my hands(not sure if I just forgot to put the barrel band screw in right or the screw jumped the threads when I pulled the trigger).  The recoil of the reduced rounds was pretty stout...suprised me.  I will take your advice Slim and get a pad.  The greatest pleasure I had out of the whole day was when I went to clean the gun.  I ran a patch through of Hoppes and it was as clean as the day it was made.  I don't see a trace of lead.  That's enough to get me hooked on Cast right there.  It's like cleaning a 22!  So, will report on my next shooting session withing the week.  Thank you William Iorg, Lobo Lohr, Marshall Stanton and many of you who have been kind enough to help me get started in this reloading/cast bullet game.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Before you fella's catch it, meant to say it has a cross bolt safety.  I think it was the first year(1992) that they started putting them on there...could be wrong on that.  I have never been happy with that addition, but the rifle's perfect design/balance tend to outweigh the few dumb things they did to it in the recent past(thank you John Browning).  At least that is how I feel and I realize there are alot of heated emotions out there on the subject of the cross-bolt. The trigger is a bit rough, but I can shoot it well with practice(at least I have in the past with factory rounds).  These Cast bullets look promising.
 

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Chris
Good start.
The Winchester front beads "stink-on-ice" thats for sure. The round front bead reflects light in all directions.
Does your rear sight have the adjustable notch plate?
You have done about the best temporary fix by cutting off the bead and dressing up the post.
Try using a longer target paper. This will help determine your front sight height requirements.
If your target backer is not tall enough use a cardboard overlay with the target stapled to that.
I really want some more information on the forend problem. You say the cross screw jumped the slots in the barrel and magazine tube?
I will load some more short (2.30" OAL) cartridges this weekend and look at their feeding. Mine feed at 2.45". They are a press fit in the rifling.
Did your RCBS bullets feed through the action properly?
Do not let a 2" group at 50 yds discourage you. Your load didnt lead your barrel, and the forend and sight had to be a distraction.
You mentioned recoil. Are you holding your forend? What part of the rifle are you resting on the bags? With someone else watching is the forend rising two to three inches above the bags? Are you using an auxilliary pad?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi Slim and all,

Thanks for info amigo.  Yep, I'm maxed out on the sliding plate on the rear sight(all the way to the top).  I say good riddence to that front site post. You are so right...relects light and does something weird when you are trying focus on the target.  If this works, I will lop off my 10/22's bead also.  They seem to work a little better with a good peep sight but with the barrel sights suck big time.  You picked up on one of my mistakes at the range.  At first, I was holding the foreend with my hand while I rested it on the sandbags.  That is when the forend seperated from the reciever and I found the barrel band screw hanging halfway out.  I am not sure if I didn't tighten it properly the last time I dissassembled it or if that puppy failed under recoil.  After I properly began placing the forend directly on the sandbags w/o holding it, my groups shrank and the forend screw seemed to be no problem.  I will let you know how it does at the range this time.  Should be shooting this weekend if we don't get rained out again.   God Bless and will file a new report soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Slim,

Forgot, RCBS 200 grainer fed fine and chambered fine...no hitches at all.  Maybe a BTB of that profile would be ideal also.  For game perhaps anneal the tips.  Talk soon.
 

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CD Cash,
Sounds like you have a project ahead of you.  May I suggest checking with Brownells about the Ashley Outdoors post type front sights.  They are a flat top sight and come in a variety of hights.  I have this type on both my center fire 94's and am going to install them on my 9422 sometime in the future.  It will make holding your sight picture much easier and more precise.
Williams makes a reciever apperture sight that works on the 94 AE's.  Adding one of these along with the AO front sight will do wonders for your shooting.
 I have never fired one of the BB's in 356 caliber, but it sounds interesting.

Oh, you mentioned John Browning's name in the same sentence with the cross bolt safety and rebounding hammer.  He had nothing to do with these.  USRAC's lawyers designed them many decades after John Browning passed on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
J Miller,

Thank you sir for your insight....or is that in "sight"...haha. I bought a Williams 5D sight and found it didn't fit my BB....am looking into ordering one from them for my Big Bore that fits.  I think you are right, that it will improve my groups dramatically.  I do well with a slender front sight(sans bead) and your standard buckhorn type rear so will see what happens.  Oh yeah...I know old John Browning would have had nothing to do with the recent changes, I was saying "thank you for designing this rifle to such perfection that we can somewhat overlook these new additions".  I grew up with a standard M94 in 30/30 and loved the old rifle as it was originally.  I gave it to my brother before entering the Army and now wish I had it back.   This newer one that I bought in 1992(my Big Bore) does seem to be more finely fitted and finished though.  Well, thank you very much again for your input and reply.  Will post a follow up soon.  I am thinking of going to the BTB 210 grain LFNGC...looks to have the same profile as the RCBS 200 and perhaps will avoid the feed/chambering problems.
 

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CD CASH-

Here are the receiver sites from Williams Gunsite that according to the current catalog will fit your 94 Big Bore:

Fool Proof or "F/P":  Stock #FP-94BBSE

I don't see a listing in their catalog for any other Williams receiver sites that will fit the '94 Big Bore Angle Eject in 356 Winchester.

One other thing to keep in mind is that Williams is currently trying to fill orders to distributors for their receiver sights.  Their stock on hand is severely limited.  One of their clerks recently told me that they had just shipped out a huge order to Midway-USA and that Brownell's was next.  You might want to check with Midway for an F/P receiver site first.

-Good Luck
 

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CD Cash,

You're right about the 250g LFN and the 200g FN bullets in .35 caliber and your .356 Win.  They both are ill suited to your purposes due to ogive and overall length.  The .359"-210g LFNGC is a great bullet for this application, and the .359"-180g WLNGC is a super whitetail bullet.  These both feed well, and allow the bullet base to remain in the neck when loaded to clear the lands of the throat.

Keep us posted on your load development!

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Dutch, Marshall and all,

Thank you for the sight/bullet info and your kind reply's.  I just got William's catalogue in the mail and will most probably order one up...see how well I do with the open sights for now, but probably won't be satisfied until I go with one.  I have heard nothing but good about going to the William's.  Also, definitely will try those 210 grainers LFNGC's.  I should have a little room to play around with seating depth there and no doubt will cycle through fine.  So, will be back with you fella's soon and thanks again.
 

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CD,
I too have issues with the Winchester front bead sight on my 356 BB.  Took a file to it today and cut the face of it flat to the radius of the bead.  (Thanks for that idea Slim&#33<!--emo&;)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=';)'><!--endemo-->  It does help my eyes some but my 356 is so wildly inaccurate that it is hard to tell the difference.  I have not tried cast loads in it as of yet and will monitor your progress with much interest.  Factory loads in both 200 and 250 grains have been unsatisfactory and so have all handloads tried to date.  Best groups so far at 50 yards have been about 3" using the 180 grain Speer and that is using a williams receiver sight.  My groups today were worse than that!

Hope your luck getting it to shoot will be better than mine!  If you get a cast load that shoots well, post it here, so that poor desperate 356 owners can give it a try!

Reb
 

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Reb,
Glad the flat bead helped.
Tell us about your bench and how you support your rifle.
Do your groups string lateraly or verticly or both?
Canting is the biggest problem with a lever gun at the bench.
Try useing big - at least 6" square black aiming points. Notch them on the bottom and snuggle your bead up into the notch.
Are you using a recoil shield? even if you are not really bothered by the recoil a shield helps.
Try to push the reciever into your front bag. If this does not help try resting your hand on the bag and holding the forend that way.
For the heavy kickers a pad for both elbows helps also.
Try to get the light behind you. make sure your bench is stable.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi Reb,

Well, great to hear I have another "Brother of the Big Bore" and thank you for your info.  My first attempts at shooting my gun were really wild also.  Started w/ Win. 200 grain factory's and my groups were really wide.  During my first shooting session, a guy was next to me on the range banging away with a 22 mag...shooting dime sized groups.  When we both went to check our targets he took one look, slapped me on the back and said "at least you know you could still shoot someone if they were coming through your door"and walked away.  Then, I took alot of time....shot about 40-60 factory rounds through it and it seemed to me like BOTH I and gun started to settle down.  I really had to get used to the whole setup...the recoil(to me, a recoil wimp...it was pretty stout in this light rifle), the trigger...etc.  I started to really loosen up to the recoil.   Groups shrank to about 1 1/2 inches at 50 yards....some smaller.  I wonder also if a rifle just has to be shot for a bit with jacketed before it begins to be accurate...might have just been me getting better with the gun but I suspect the former.  Now, I am pretty sure that cast is the way I want to go.  I wish I could offer some more practical experience to offer at this point.  All I can say is what I've heard.  I have heard the best things about the slow burners with cast bullets...not everyone but many. That is where I am starting...w/ IMR 4350 and it is a somewhat reduced velocity load, which I have also heard good things about.   The powder showed some promise w/ both the RCBS and BTB's at 200 grains.  I've decided to forget the profile of the WFN and go to the LFN.  The RCBS 200 gr. LFNGC design(looks same as BTB 210) is highly touted by 35 caliber shooters as being an accurate bullet in cast.  Also, Like you I decided to get rid of that bead before I could do any serious work.  It rained here all weekend, no shooting here but will give her another go here in a few days.  I will keep you posted on all my results.  Thanks so much again for the reply and your info and will get back soon.
 

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CD Cash,

While the RCBS 200g FNGC bullet is a great bullet in its own right, it isn't the same as the BTB 210g LFNGC!

The RCBS bullet is a modified type bore-ride configuration with the nose portion ahead of the crimp groove roughly at bore diameter, whereas the BTB 210g LFNGC is full groove diameter ahead of the crimp groove, the ogive ending in a full diameter front driving band.  This generally provides better support for the nose, a strong front driving band to engage the lands and overall better accuracy at higher velocities than a traditional bore-ride configuration.

Hope this helps you in your bullet selection.

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Chris
This might help a little, if I can present it clearly. I have a sinus infection - my first!

Winchester front sights:
20" round tapered barrel from 1930 to 1964 .310" high

Post 1964 20" barrel with ramp, .360" high.

The same rear sight and elevator was used for both heights.

For the first Big Bore rifles .310" was the factory sight height.

In the mid 1990's the front sight  changes to .360" high. The same as on the .30-30.

In 1998 Winchester changed the front sight for both the .30-30 and the Big Bore rifles to .290".

You may have had a .360" front sight. Cutting the bead off and squaring the sight post may still have left the sight over .290"
Try trimming your sight to .290" and see if you can get on paper with your 1800 to 1900 fps loads.
This information is from my notebook, I think it came from Brownells.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Howdy Slim,

Great to hear and thanks for that bit on the sight measurements.  Most interesting.  Measured my front site post after trimming it and it is only .200 so I must have started with a .310 or a .290 front sight.  Mine was made 1991-2, I believe..bought it in early 92.  Hope I'm not too far off on paper, but an easy fix if not...buy another post.   Hope to get out tommorow to see how I do with this new setup.  Ordered up a batch of BTB 210 grainers. I got my 200 grain BTB real fast so I am hoping to get these soon.  In the meantime will fire up my remaining RCBS's.  This time, I'm taking my file and screwdriver with me!  All my best to you amigo and thank you again.
 

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Chris,

Fire a couple of shots at 100 yards. Your bullet is probably still rising. See how low you are at 100 yards as compared to 50 yards.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks Slim for that info.  It is much appreciated amigo!  Went out today and fired about 7 shot strings using the RCBS 200 Grainers.  Had a good day, which might be interesting to you Reb.  Best groups with 42 grains of IMR 4350 and the RCBS bullet ran 1 1/4" at 50 yards using the new front sight(sans bead).  My groups dropped right on target.....before I cut the bead off they were 12-15 inches low.  Worst groups were 2" at 50 yards, but that was only one group...most were 1 1/4 to 1 and 1/2 inches.  But, on nearly all the shots, the first two shots nearly were on top of each other...and the third would bring it out to the group sizes mentioned above.
Couple other things I noticed......the RCBS's leaded the gun pretty good.  Previously, I was using BTB 200 Gr. WFNGC's and I didn't seem to have any lead.
 

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Whoops...posted too soon there.  The RCBS's were a little bigger and a little softer than the BTB's...maybe my lead problem is there.  Thankfully, I have the foul out system  so will give that a go.  Will post my results with the new batch of BTB 210 grain LFNGC's which are ordered up as soon as I get going with them.  Does anyone have a load for the BTB 210 using IMR 4350 or any other pet loads using this bulllet?  Thanks to all of you fella's for your kindness and advice.
 
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