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6/18/2015

Mysteryofthe.358Winchester

TheMysteryofthe.358
Winchester
ByRickRyals

Ihavereadseveralarticlesaboutthe.358
Winchester,includingChuckHawks'articleonthe
RifleCartridgePageofGunsandShootingOnline.
BasedonwhatIhaveread,everyonewhohas
usedthecartridgehashadnothingbuthighpraise
forit.Fromallaccountsitskillingpoweris
outstanding,farinexcessofwhatwouldbe
expectedfromitsmodestcasesizeoritspaper
ballistics.Itsrecoilismodestforthelevelofpower
itprovides.Theexpansionratiofor.35caliber
cartridgesisidealforshorterbarreledrifles.This
meansthatthe.358canrealizeitsfullpotentialina
20to22inchbarrelratherthanthe26inchbarrel
neededformostmagnumcartridges.Thehuge
mysteryaboutthe.358Winchesterisitsincredible
lackofpopularity.
Ihaveconsideredthevariousreasonsgivenforits
unpopularityandforeachreasonofferedIcan
nameothercartridgesforwhichthesamecouldbe
said,yetthesearepopularcartridges.Iwouldlike
tolookateachofthereasonsIhavereadforits
failureinthemarketplace,anddiscusstheirmerit.
HEAVYRECOIL
Heavyrecoilhaslongbeencitedforthefailureof
suchcartridgesasthe.358Winchesterandthe
.350RemingtonMagnum.However,thereareother
cartridgesthatrecoiljustasmuchormoreand
whichsellextremelywell.Thevarious.300
magnumsareprimeexamples.Heavyrecoilis
sometimescitedasadisadvantageindiscussions
ofthe.300's,butitcertainlyhasnothinderedtheir
popularity.
The.300WinchesterMagnumwitha180grain
bulletat2960fpsdelivers25.9footpoundsof
recoilfroman8.5poundrifle.Asacomparison,the
.358Winchesterwitha250grainbulletat2300fps
delivers25.4footpoundsofrecoilfroma7.5pound
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rifle.Soweseethatevenwithaonepoundlighter
rifle,the.358recoilsslightlylessthana.300
magnum.
Let'salsocomparethe.358withtheotherendof
thespectrum.The.4570isanotherverypopular
cartridge.A300grainbulletlaunchedat1800fps
froman8poundriflegenerates22.5footpoundsof
recoil.The405grainbulletat1330fpsgenerates
around22.8footpounds.Thesearethestandard
lowpressureloads.Withhotterloadsformodern
highstrengthrifles,the.4570willpusha350grain
bulletat2100fps,providing36.4footpoundsof
recoilfroman8poundrifle.Eventhelight.4570
loadsareinthevicinityofthe.358recoil,whilethe
heavyloadsfarexceedit.
Weseethattherearepopularcartridgesthat
generaterecoilequaltoorexceedingthatofthe
.358Winchester.Recoilalonedoesnotkeepa
cartridgefrombecomingpopular.
LOWVELOCITY
Thisisanothercriticismofthe.358Winchester.
Let'sseehowitcomparesherewithotherpopular
cartridges.Withmaximumpowderchargesthe.358
canprovidethefollowingvelocitiesfromvarious
bulletweights:
.358Winchester,180grainbulletat27002800
fps
.358Winchester,200grainbulletat25002600
fps
.358Winchester,225grainbulletat24002500
fps
.358Winchester,250grainbulletat22002300
fps
Thesearetypicalvelocitiesforthevariousbullet
weightsandsuchloadsarelistedinseveral
reloadingmanualswithavarietyofpowders.The
.358WinchesterSuperXfactoryloaddrivesa200
grainSilvertipbulletataMVof2490fps.Howdoes
thiscomparewiththevelocitiesofothercartridges?
.308Winchester,150grainbulletat2820fps
.308Winchester,165grainbulletat2700fps
.308Winchester,180grainbulletat2620fps
.300WinchesterMagnum,150grainbulletat3290
fps
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.300WinchesterMagnum,180grainbulletat2960
fps
.338WinchesterMagnum,200grainbulletat2950
fps
.338WinchesterMagnum,250grainbulletat2660
fps
.4570Government,300grainbulletat1810fps
.4570Government,350grainbulletat2100fps
.4570Government,405grainbulletat1330fps
The.358runsanywherefrom100to300fps
behindthevelocitiesofthe.308Winchester,
approximately600fpsbehindthe.300Winchester
Magnumand250to350fpsbehindthe.338
WinchesterMagnum.Itisaround900fpsfaster
thanthelowpressure.4570loadsandabout200
fpsfasterthatthehighpressure350grainload.
Thesecomparisonsareforbulletsofcomparable
sectionaldensityand/orintendedusage.Whilethe
.358comesinsecondplacetothehighintensity
smallerboresandmagnums,itclearlyoutdistances
theincreasinglypopular.4570bigboreinthe
velocityrace.
WheneverIhaveconsideredthe.358's
unpopularityIhavelongbelieveditduetoits
moderatevelocity,butthenInoticedthe.4570and
itsincreasingpopularityinrecentyears.Howdowe
explainthis,consideringthatthevelocityofthatold
cartridgeisanemiccomparedtothe.358?Itisa
mysterytome.
Sincevelocityaffectsbothtrajectoryandenergy,
let'slookatthemnext.
TRAJECTORY
Shortrangetrajectoryisanotherreasonproposed
forthe.358'sunpopularity.Let'scompareits
trajectorywithotherpopularcartridgestoseeifthis
criticismisvalid.Tosimplifythings,wewill
comparethemaximumpointblankrangeofvarious
cartridgestoseehowthe.358stacksup.
.308Winchester,150grainat2820fpsMPBR
264yards
.308Winchester,165grainat2700fpsMPBR
260yards
.308Winchester,180grainat2620fpsMPBR
250yards
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.300WinchesterMagnum,150grainat3290fps
MPBR300yards
.300WinchesterMagnum,180grainat2960fps
MPBR284yards
.338WinchesterMagnum,200grainat2950fps
MPBR289yards
.338WinchesterMagnum,250grainat2660fps
MPBR265yards
.358Winchester,180grainat2700fpsMPBR
255yards
.358Winchester,200grainat2500fpsMPBR
237yards
.358Winchester,250grainat2300fpsMPBR
227yards
.4570Government,300grainat1810fpsMPBR
164yards
.4570Government,405grainat1330fpsMPBR
130yards
Withbulletweightsfordeersizedgame,the.358
doesn'tdonearlyasbadasitsreputationwould
leadyoutobelieve.Using180grainbullets,a
numberofreloadingmanualsshowloadsthatmeet
orexceed2700fps.ThiswillprovideaMPBRof
around255yards,whichiscomparabletothe.308
witha150or165grainbullet.The.308isnot
usuallyconsideredashortrangecartridge.Note
alsothatthisisonly30yardsshyoftheMPBRof
the.300WinchesterMagnumwith180grain
bullets.
Nextuparebulletweightssuitablefora
combinationofgame.Forthe.358thisincludes
200to225grainbullets.A200grainbulletcanbe
loadedinexcessof2500fps,foraMPBRof237
yards.Thisisabout23yardsbehindthe.308with
165grainbulletsand47yardsbehindthe.300
WinchesterMagnumwith180grainbullets.
Finally,let'slookatbulletweightsforthelargest
NorthAmericangame.The.358willpush250grain
bulletsaround2300fpsforaMPBRof227yards.
The.338WinchesterMagnumpushesa250grain
bulletat2660fpsforaMPBRof265yards.Wesee
thatthe.338hasa38yardadvantage.
Themagnumfanwillsay,"See,mymagnumhasa
muchflattertrajectory."Sowhatdoesthisbuyus?
Inotherwords,whatadvantagedowegainfrom
theextraweight,barrellength,recoil,andmuzzle
blastofamagnumoverourlittle.358?About50
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yardsadvantageinmaximumpointblankrange
withthe.300magnum.Witha.338magnumthe
advantagedropstoabout40yards.
Whatdoesthismeanintherealworld?Sincethe
vastmajorityofgameisharvestedat200yardsor
less,itmeansverylittle.Ifyoureallyplanon
huntingatrangesexceeding200to250yardsyou
shouldhavearangefinder.Youshouldalsoshoot
yourrifleattheselongerrangestodetermine
whereitactuallyhitsatvariousranges.Ifyoudo
thisyoucanaccuratelydeterminethedistanceto
thetarget(oranimal),andyouwillknowwhereto
holdforafirstshothit.Sincethismethodcanbe
usedwhetheryouusea.358ora.300magnum,
thesupposed40to50yardadvantagevirtually
disappears.Ifyouarenotwillingtodothis,you
havenobusinessshootingatliveanimalspast200
250yardsanyway.
Iwouldalsoliketolookatthetrajectoryissuefrom
anotherperspective.The.358hasamuchflatter
trajectorythanthevenerable.4570,butthat
cartridgeenjoysgreatpopularity.Infact,the.358
hasclosetoa100yardadvantageinMPBRover
theoldbigbore.Butapparentlythe.358doesnot
havethehistoricalromanceoftheoldbigbore.Itis
trulyoneoftheunsungbluecollarworkersinthe
worldofcartridges.Itsimplydoesthejobanddoes
itverywellwithaminimumoffuss.Meanwhile,
everyoneisoohingandaahingoverthesexy
magnumsorplayingOldWestBuffaloHunterwith
bigbores.
ENERGY
Hereisacomparisonoftheenergyfiguresfor
variouscartridges:
.308Winchester,150grainat2820fps2648foot
poundsmuzzleenergy
.308Winchester,165grainat2700fps2679foot
poundsmuzzleenergy
.308Winchester,180grainat2620fps2743foot
poundsmuzzleenergy
.300WinchesterMagnum,150grainat3290fps
3606footpoundsmuzzleenergy
.300WinchesterMagnum,180grainat2960fps
3503footpoundsmuzzleenergy
.338WinchesterMagnum,200grainat2950fps
3890footpoundsmuzzleenergy
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.338WinchesterMagnum,250grainat2660fps
3899footpoundsmuzzleenergy
.358Winchester,180grainat2700fps2914foot
poundsmuzzleenergy
.358Winchester,200grainat2500fps2776foot
poundsmuzzleenergy
.358Winchester,250grainat2300fps2936foot
poundsmuzzleenergy
.4570Government,300grainat1810fps2183
footpoundsmuzzleenergy
.4570Government,350grainat2100fps3428
footpoundsmuzzleenergy
.4570Government,405grainat1330fps1591
footpoundsmuzzleenergy
The.358hasa200300ft.lb.advantageoverthe
.308.Ithasa600700ft.lb.deficittothe.300
magnumand9001000ft.lb.deficittothe.338
magnum.Ithasa6001300ft.lb.advantageover
thelowpressure.4570loads,anda500ft.lb.
deficittothehighpressure.4570load.
The.358'senergylevelfallsamazinglyclosetothe
middleofthepackcomparedtotheseother
cartridges.Allofthesearefinehuntingcartridges,
eachcapableofprovidingaquickandhumanekill
withintheirrangelimitations.Comparethe.358's
energyandvelocitytothe405grain4570load.
Yetthis405grainloadwasusedtokillbisonbythe
thousandsby19thCenturyhunters.
Infact,the.358'senergylevelisveryclosetothe
3006,whileitthrowsmediumboreslugsat
moderatevelocities.2400fpshaslongbeen
advocatedasanidealvelocityforpenetrationwith
mediumtolargeboreAfricancartridges.Sowhile
theenergyproducedbythe.358fallsbelowthatof
thelargecasedmagnums,itsboresizeand
velocitywiththeheavierbulletsgivesitkilling
powerfarinexcessofitspaperballistics.
Keepinmindthattheenergyadvantageofthe
smallboremagnumsisduetotheirhighvelocity.
Whilethereareafewhighvelocitycartridges
intendedfordangerousgame,thegreatmajorityof
thesecartridgesfallintothemediumvelocity,
heavybulletcategory.Thefactthatthe.358also
combinesthesedesirabletraitsshouldmakeus
stopandthink.
RIFLEAVAILABILITY
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Thiscriticismofthe.358,unfortunately,istrue.At
thetimeofthiswriting,onlytheBrowningBLRlever
actionandtheRugerM77HawkeyeandFrontier
boltactionriflesarechamberedforthe.358.Ifyou
likeleveractionstheBLRisanexcellentchoice.It
isastrong,welldesignedaction.Itisalsolightand
compact,whichcapitalizesononeofthemajor
virtuesofthecartridge.Ithasbeenavailablefor
severalyearswithbluedmetalandwalnutstock,
andBrowninghasrecentlyintroducedastainless
steelversionwithagreylaminatestock.Thisgives
youthechoiceoftraditionalbeautyorgreater
weatherresistance.JonWolfehaswrittenan
excellentreviewofthisriflethatcanbefoundon
theProductReviewPageofGunsandShooting
Online.
Ifyouwantaboltaction,thenewRugerHawkeye
wouldseemtobethewaytogo,asitisamore
practicalgeneralpurposehuntingriflethanthe
"scout"styleFrontier.(Thelatterwouldbeagood
choiceasa"guiderifle"typearmcarriedfor
protection,though.)TheRugerM77actionisan
excellentone,offeringpushfeedandtheusual
commercialMauser98featuresthathavemade
thattypeofactionsowellregarded.
Ifyoudon'tliketheBLRortheRugerM77youwill
eitherneedtofindyour.358ontheusedmarket,
orderasemicustomriflefromacompanylikeNew
UltraLightArms,ororderabarreledactionfroma
companyliketheMontanaRifleCompanyandput
itinastock.Or,youcouldchoosetohavean
existingriflerebarreledto.358Win.
Itturnsoutthat.358Winchesterisararecaliberin
virtuallyalloftheriflesthatwereoncechambered
forit(Win.M70,Win.M88,SavageM99).Because
ofthis,inadditiontothedifficultyoffindingaused
.358rifle,theydemandpremiumpricesthat
typicallyexceed$1000.Asemicustomrifle,such
asNewUltraLightArmsbuilds,isgoingtosetyou
backmorethantwogrand.
AbarreledactionfromtheMontanaRifleCompany
runsaround$900.AfinishedstockfromBoyd'sis
around$150.Thesearenotbadbuttheydo
requiresomeminorinletting,andthewoodtometal
fitisnotperfect.Ahigherqualitystockisavailable
fromAccurateInnovations.Theycanprovide
finishedstocksinsemifancyclarowalnutfor$355,
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orabrownorgraylaminatefor$325.(SeeChuck
Hawks'reviewofAccurateInnovationsstockson
theRifleInformationPage.)Thisoptionwillgive
youacomplete,semicustomrifleforaround$1050
to$1250.
Ifyouhaveanexistingshortactionriflethatyou
canspare,arebarreljobisapossiblealternative.A
barrelmanufacturerlikeE.R.Shawcaninstalla
newbarrelonyourrifleforlessthan$300.Withthis
optionyouwilllikelyhavetoreinletthebarrel
channelofyourstocktofitthenewbarrel.
Thisseemstobeoneofthoseselfperpetuating
problems.Duetothe.358'sunpopularityitis
unlikelythatmostgunmakerswillchamberitin
theirrifles.However,itslackofavailabilityina
varietyofriflesinturncontributestoits
unpopularity.WecanonlyhopethattheBLRand
theRugerboltactionswillsellwellenoughin.358
forothermanufacturerstotakenotice.
CARTRIDGESELECTION
Thisisrelatedtotherifleavailabilityproblem.This
hasbeenanegativefactorforthe.358fromthe
beginning.AsfarasIamaware,Winchesterhas
beentheonlymajorammunitionfactorytoload
.358cartridges.Theavailabilityofavarietyof
loadingsfromsmallercompanieslikeStarsand
Stripesisapositivesign.However,such
companiesarenotwidelyknowntotheaverage
shooter.UntilIreadaboutStarsandStripeson
GunsandShootingOnline,Iwasunawareoftheir
existence.
Becauseofthelimitedselectionoffactory
ammunition,the.358haslongbeenahandloaders'
cartridge.Thehandloaderhasawideselectionof
bulletsavailablefrom180to250grains.Withthis
rangeofbulletweightsonecanloadforanything
frompronghorntoelkandmoose.
180grainbulletscanbeloadedto2700fpswitha
widevarietyofpowders,andthereareafew
powdersshowntoprovide2800fps.Thiswouldbe
arelativelyflatshootingloadforpronghornordeer
outto300yards.
220or225grainbulletscanbeloadedtobetween
2400and2500fpswithseveralpowders.These
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bulletswouldbesuitablefordeersizedgameonup
throughelkandmoose.
Witha250grainbulletloadedto2300fps,you
couldeventakeonthebigbearsofthenorth.The
newsuperbulletsliketheBarnesTSXprovide
anotheralternative.TheBarnes225grainTSX
loadedto24002500fpsmightmaketheultimate
allaroundlargegameloadforNorthAmerican
huntingwiththe.358.
WOODSCARTRIDGE
Ibelievethisperceptionhasdonemoretodamage
the.358'spotentialpopularitythananythingelse.
Manywritershavetriedtoburyitwiththeepitaph,
"It'safinelittlewoodscartridge."Whileitcan
certainlybeusedasawoodscartridge,the.358is
clearly,byanymeasure,morethanawoods
cartridge.The.338or.375magnumscouldalsobe
usedaswoodscartridges,butnoonewouldtryto
limittheirusetosuch.
Thisisnottosuggestthatthe.358isinthesame
classasthesecartridges.However,callingita
"woodscartridge"suggeststhatitisintheclassof
the.32Specialorthe.35Remington.Whilethese
arebothexcellentdeercartridges,attemptingto
includethe.358Winchesterintheirclassdoesita
greatinjustice.The.358isclearlyamuchmore
powerfulcartridge,capableoftakingamuchwider
varietyofgame,especiallylargergame,atlonger
ranges.Itiswithin100fpsofthe.35Whelenwith
allbulletweightsandIhaveneverseenthat
referredtoasa"woodscartridge."
Gunwritershavethepoweroflifeanddeathover
riflecartridges.Theyhaveoftenwieldedthispower
tocrippleenormouslyusefulcartridges,andthe
.358Winchesterhasbeenoneoftheirvictims.It
hasbeendepictedoverandover,bothin
magazinesandreloadingmanuals,asashort
rangewoodscartridge.Thisperception,morethan
anythingelse,mayexplainthemysteryofthe
.358'sunpopularity.
CONCLUSION
Thelargecasemagnumstypicallyhavethe
advantagesoffastervelocity,flattertrajectoryand
higherenergythanstandardcartridges.The
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magnumshavebeenusedbymanyfolktotakea
varietyofgame.Itwouldbeirrationaltoargue
againsttheireffectiveness.
Theirdownsideisthattheyrequirelongerbarreled,
heavierriflesandgenerateenormousrecoiland
muzzleblast.Sincemanyinstallmuzzlebrakesto
tametheirheavyrecoil,themuzzleblastcan
becomeliterallydeafening.Manyhuntersdonot
mindcarryinglong,heavyriflesandcanendure
heavyrecoilandmuzzleblast.Forthemthe
magnumsmaybeagreatchoice.However,for
manyofusashorter,lighterrifleisawelcome
thing.
The.358canbebuiltasashort,handyrifle,unlike
the.300and.338magnums.Yetthecartridgeis
powerfulenoughforthelargestanimalsonthis
continent,whilenotbeingtoomuchfordeer.In
fact,the.358fitsneatlybetweenthestandard.30
calibersandthegrandold.4570andoffersthe
bestofbothworlds.Itprovideskillingpowersimilar
totheclassicbigboreandatthesametimehasa
trajectorythatisclosetothe.308and.3006.Itwill
provideamaximumpointblankrangeof230to260
yards,whichwouldbealongshotforme(andthe
greatmajorityofhunters)underfieldconditions.
Ibelieveitisanoutstandingblendofboresize,
killingpower,reasonabletrajectoryandmoderate
recoilthatcanbehadinacompactallaroundrifle
forNorthAmericanhunting.Toquoteafamous
Alaskanguide,HalWaugh,the.358Winchesteris
oneofthe"finestlittlebigguns"evertocome
along.Thegreatmysterytomeiswhysofewseem
toagree.
Note:Anarticleaboutthe.358Win.aswellas
comparisonsinvolvingthe.358Win.canbe
foundontheRifleCartridgePage.

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