View Full Version : .357 Herrett Revisited:

04-13-2005, 02:22 PM
First, I wish to thank all that gave suggestions/insights toward getting my 10 " barreled Contender in .357 Herrett to shoot cast bullets.


I did som more lookin', and here's what I came up with:(see attachment)

This Chamber does have a throat/leade, albeit a Looong one of about 1/2 INCH, and .360" diameter. The case neck area measures .383". The bore is right at .353".
As in the attached pic, if I try to seat the Lee 6-cav 180gr bullets anywhere near the beginning of the rifling, I'll only have about .150" of the bullet seated in the case neck. This leaves the lube grooves exposed, and isn't a very sturdy arrangement for hunting. That and the lube is left open to all kinds of foreign matter. So, I guess I'm pretty well reconciled to deeper seating.
I have increased my boolit diameter to .360" (courtesy of Waksupi) to fit the freebore. It helped, but groups are still much larger than FLGC bullets.
I ran the same powders, and stayed b/t 1800-2000fps.
I could also use some more neck thickness, as loaded necks run about .375, leaving .o13 slop, but that's a moot point too. I have what there is, and no more!
If you would, look at this thing again, and see if you can think of anything else I can do to get my 100 yd groups down to around the 2" mark. Right now they run around 4-5" with cast. The Hornady XTPs make the grade, but I've got my heart set on using cast in this barrel. And thanks, guys. I really do apreciate your help & expertise....................Bug.

04-13-2005, 05:54 PM
How about a longer, fatter boolit???? A gent here was kind and sent a sample of a 250 grain bullet from a Mountian Mold he uses in a 35 Whelen. I fired them through my 357 Maximum, used a light charge of a surplus powder for a velocity around 1200 fps or so. Shot quite well, I was surprised. The Lee 180 runs about .73, and the 250 I refer to runs .99 Could be a solution, but it will eat into your velocity.

My 357 Maximum started out life as a 357 Magnum with a surper long throat. The gun is an NEF Handi Rifle. With the Lee 158-RF, I had a full .250" between the case mouth and the bullet base when the bullet was against the lands. This thing wouldn't keep 5 shots on a paper plate at 50 yards. My solution was to ream it to 357 Maximum. The new chamber completely changed the character of the rifle. It now will make 10 shot groups of 1 1/4" at 50 yards with the 158-RF, perfect for the plinking I do.

There are several wildcats based on the 30-30 case, things could be as simple as having the existing chamber itself lengthened a bit, or changing to a full length version of what you already have, i.e., a 35/30-30, several versions exist.

Not sure how radical you want to be getting to a solution.

04-14-2005, 08:59 AM
I think you gonna have to make two loads: (1) seated out for targets and (2) seated in for hunting.

04-14-2005, 09:20 AM
Looking at those pictures gave me an idea, it would involve buying a reamer from Dave Kiff at pacific precision, which would cost 135.00 ish as I recall. actually for what you want to do he could just make a cheaper reamer to just do the neck area, smaller dia reamers do not cost as much.

Make another wildcat with the same shoulder location BUT a longer case neck...you could use the same dies to load it, it might take some fiddling to trim them if you are now using a file trim die.

Then you could use a nice LBT type boolit with no bore ride and seat it out to both contact the lands AND have all the grease grooves inside the case neck, it would give you plenty of neck tension as well.


04-14-2005, 01:10 PM
Don't know if I posted on your last thread, couldn't access it, so I'll post what I know.
Frank Marshall, Jr. has an article in the last Fouling Shot where he says SAAMI specs for case length may be considerably shorter than actual chamber dimensions. He points out that optimum case length for cast bullets will be about .005 less than actual chamber length. The chamber cast you have will be good for this measurement.
With out fail, I will polish my barrels with some kind of polishing compound to remove everything sharp inside the barrel and also to help out with tooling marks. I use commercial polishing compound for laquer finish on cars. Just one pass thru the barrel and the patch comes out black from a clean barrel.
If you can find a cone shaped grinding wheel of appropriate size, I use one by hand to clean up the muzzle crown. If you used a magnifying glass to look at the crown, that would show the burrs thrown up by the last lathe pass to form the recess for the crown.
After the above treatment a 25-35 went from shooting a " my gosh, which target did I shoot at " group, to 3/8 inch groups @ fifty yards using cast bullets, of course. However, I have a 35 Rem. barrel that refuses to shoot anything but the Lyman 158 gr. semi wadcutter bullet. I bought the RCBS 200gr. flat nose especially for the that barrel, and it won't shoot it at all.
Willbird's suggestion of a rechamber is very good. You can rent reamers to do it yourself, or have someone do it. If can't make this barrel shoot, I can recommend On Target Technologies barrels from Dover, NH. They guarantee accuracy from their barrels using cast bullets.

04-14-2005, 08:33 PM
I have noticed that TC's centerfire bbls are not the smoothest, from a phone conversation with them I learned that they purchase 22 centerfire bbl blanks and rimfire blanks but they make most other cfire blanks.

might be a bit of lapping fire or otherwise might help


04-14-2005, 10:41 PM
I don't have any problem accessing the other thread. Right-click on the link, then left-click on "open in new window".
Allow me to clarify the situation a bit:
First, this barrel IS very smooth. It is a 70s vintage 6-groove barrel. I bought it used, so have no idea of the round count. I ran a couple-hundred jacketed bullets through it, and maybe 150 cast so far. I have also cleaned it thoroughly several times, using various cleaners, copper solvents, and JB paste. Believe me, it is CLEAN, and slick! It shoots Hornady 158 and 180 XTPs just fine - 1 1/2" @ 100.
I really think the problem lies in the long throat, though the jump doesn't seem to bother the 158 XTPs (I can seat the 180's out farther). I'm not ready to rechamber yet, but Willbird gave me an interesting idea... If I were to extend the neck of the chamber out to about 2.050(it's now @ 1.765-ish), I could eliminate all that trimming when forming cases! That would leave a neck about .600" long - sure would LOOK funny! But it would shorten the throat, for sure.
Sorry Junior, but two loads just ain't an option. I'm a hunter first, paper-punching is secondary. I bought this barrel hoping to extend my effective range over what I have now, out to maybe 175yds. I want to use 180s, to keep the velocity up, and the trajectory down. I thought about the 200gr mold Singletree mentions, (wouldn't want to part with it would ya?) but figgered it would slow things down too much.
I shot 20 rounds today, that weren't too bad. I increased bullet diameter from .358 to .360, as John suggested. Gave me about 2-3" at 50, but I need to get about 4" at a hundred, to meet my personal goal. I might be a grain or so high, at 28gr 4227. The primers are just beginning to flatten a bit, and 3-4 were just the tiniest bit sticky on extraction. Not bad now, but might get that way when temps hang around 100!
I'll keep dinkin' with it, til I decide it is as good as it can be, or decide I've got to use jacketed bullets to do what I want (can't believe I said that!).
Anyway, thanks guys. I apreciate the help you've given, so far. I just need to keep tryin' stuff til it jells. Y'all put your thinking caps on!

04-14-2005, 11:22 PM
Sorry Bug, my son uses the RCBS bullet in his Marlin 35 Rem. It makes little bitty groups out of his rifle useing Win. 748 powder, but won't shoot worth sic 'em out of my T/C. That brings me to another suggestion. I sometimes use the slowest burning powder I can and still keep the velocity up. Perhaps it eases the bullet down that long throat for a more gentle launch. Just a guess on my part but sometimes it works, sometimes it don't.

04-15-2005, 02:11 PM
SSK can rechamber your barrel for $75
Then you could get a 358 JDJ or maybe a 35-30 to get rid of the long freebore.
I had them do a 30-30 to 309JDJ

Sky C.
04-15-2005, 06:44 PM

Sent you a PM on the site here. Might be the bullet. A buddy has had MM cut a mould for him for his .357 Herret Contender and it is shooting 1.25" to 1.5" with AA-2200 running about 1700fps range (consistantly - I witness the groups) - gun wearing a 2X scope shot of sandbags. I can send you his dwg. if it would be of interest.

Best regards-

Sky C.

Dan in Wa
04-15-2005, 11:32 PM

Try IMR 4198 with the bullet you are useing. That old data always used the faster powders like 4227 and 296. They didn't work that great for me or several freinds back in the old siilywet days. Might want to try IMR 4198 or AA 2015. Fills the case better and accuracy and case life was better for us. Not so hard on your ears either.
BTW sure wished I would have bought a 30/30 and a .35 Rem instead of the Herrett's. Not because of the accuracy but the case forming chores and with the newer powders we really don't need the shorter cases. BTW again my barrels are 14 inchers.