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Thread: More 35 Caliber Testing

  1. #1
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    More 35 Caliber Testing

    In preparation of Hunting Season I keep working with this old 35 Whelen and cast boolits, trying to settle on a projectile and load to be confident when pulling the trigger. Figger I would run this range session along to you fine folk to gain your feedback. Today's offering was using the NOE 360-182WFNGC PC's over 26 grains of H2400 and a tuff of Dacron. This isn't the first time for this loading, as it showed promise prior but sized .360". Today they are sized to .359" but actually measure .3595" I estimate these are traveling between 1,900 to 2,000 fps, but that is an educated guess based off what the books say.
    Whether sized at .360" or .3595" they are extremely tight to close the bolt on. Barrel slugged out at .3585". Today was no different. I tried taking one out of the chamber and it left the boolit stuck right in there:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Though too tight for fast follow up shots this is the first target of the day with those oversized projectiles and a clean barrel at 100 yards:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    That warmed the inner recesses of my heart.

    Because I know how hard it is to chamber and bolt this sized boolit in to the chamber I had the opportunity to take these .3595" boolits and carefully resize the front driving band only with a .358" die by turning the slug upside down in the Lyman 450 and swapping out the nose pin to a flat pin. Either the PC springs back or that die actually is .3585" in diameter, but this is what they came out as. Yet, they chamber beautifully with no resistance. Would they be accurate with the front portion that is exposed to the leade sized 0.001" less? The results:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Not terrible. They cycle through the action cleanly and lock into place much like a jacketed bullet does. That is a better outcome, but can I tighten this group up is the question. At 100 yards a deer would be dead, but I rather would have a better group to show for my efforts if at all possible.

    I can get better group out of my 1895 CB 45/70 with the boolits I cast and Skinner sights, if I take my time and really focus. What do you fine hunters expect when hunting with cast boolits, far better than the second target shown? In my mind this group rules out 150 to 200 yard shots. OK, I know, if I use these .3585 / .3595 sized boolits they have to cluster closer together. (not willing to enlarge my chamber for a cast only rifle project)

    For additional experimenting I loaded up a few of the .3595" boolits over IMR3031 (37 grains). Nothing to get excited about
    Click image for larger version. 

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    A few water jugs were executed when the paper target shooting was complete. I have no doubt that a Midwest whitetail smacked in the plumbing with one of these boolits will fill the freezer nicely. This has been a thought provoking endeavor that has dragged on for a couple years, testing, trials, testing, with this cast combination giving the most satisfaction to date. It makes a trip to the range a fun experience. Hopefully I'll have the chance to report back with satisfying results.
    Last edited by ChristopherO; 10-10-2021 at 09:45 PM. Reason: Punctuation

  2. #2
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    Try seating the bullet a little deeper. It really shouldn't matter much with a well attached check & PC'd boolit. Just a thought.

  3. #3
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    I tried that on my last range trip, but then the rounds wouldn't feed from the magazine. This old converted Mauser makes working with cast a royal project, yet I like it too much to put down.

  4. #4
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    May want to consider the RCBS 35-200 mold or the Lee copy of it. Looks like you may have to sacrifice a bit of meplat for good feeding. I have the RCBS mold & have taken several deer with it, works great for me. But I did have to give 1 deer a 2nd dose after a Texas heart shot running away.

  5. #5
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    You may be a bit soft on the alloy. I had issues with my whelen shooting patterns. Water dropping the boolits hardened them enough to tighten the patterns into groups. It's still not up to jacketed accuracy, but definitely whacks pigs well enough.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    ive been shooting the RCBS 35-200 lube sized to .360 in my classic 700, never had any problems, ive gotten them up to about 2100 fps using 4198.
    one of these days I'm going to cast some 35-250's and try them out, another plan is to work up loads with 2520 powder and try getting velocity up to maybe 2400 or 2500. but the RCBS design just plain works, it doesn't have the super wide nose and that's probably why it chambers without a problem

  7. #7
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    as already stated try a different profile bullet. The RCBS or LEE are both good choices.

  8. #8
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    I am using the Lee 200 gr with 20 gr of 2400 / NO FILLER
    this is a consistently accurate load.
    Last time out a week ago, I got 4 shots at 100yds MOA....pulled the 5th shot so the total of 5 shots was greater than MOA
    the round feeds well from my Mauser 98 action, no hang-ups.

    good luck with your hunt
    atr
    Death to every foe and traitor and hurrah, my boys, for freedom !

  9. #9
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    Easier to match a bullet designed for a rifle to a rifle and in .35 it's hard to beat the RCBS-200 FN or the Lee equivalent. I use the RCBS for .35Rem and 356Win and also shooting it out of my Marlin 1894C.

  10. #10
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    The Lyman 358315 and 358318 work well in my Whelens.
    NRA Benefactor Member NRA Golden Eagle

  11. #11
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    Thank you, Gentlemen, for all your responses. I appreciate the feed back.

    Quote Originally Posted by pworley1 View Post
    The Lyman 358315 and 358318 work well in my Whelens.
    pworley1, you hit the nail on the head with this particular rifle. In its former life the action served as a military Mauser. Many years before I obtained it, nigh on 20 years ago, it was morphed into the sporter it is now. The magazine carrier was never revamped, and therein lies the rub. 250 grain Jacketed Spitzers slide in effortlessly. Jacketed RN's of the same weight feed well, also. Then I got the bright idea to shoot cast in this rifle and found out very quick that long FN lead slugs will not, I repeat, will not feed into the chamber for getting caught on the edge of it every time. 2 or 3 years ago I purchased the Lyman 358318 RN mold from a fellow CB member. They drop pretty boolits, and they will feed into the chamber. Not stellar, but adequately if I do my part right. That is with the grease grooves lubed only. Using Alox or Ben's Liquid Lube, or Powder Coat is another story. With the slightest coating on the nose they can jamb on that sharp chamber edge without much provocation. These shoot ok. Kinda finicky depending on powder and fps. Some folks love them, some hate the 358318, and some, like myself, am ambivalent toward it.

    I have on my loading bench a menagerie of the 358318 boolits that have been redesigned by my tools into various nose lengths, meplat widths, weights and configurations to find out what can and will not load smoothly into this particular chamber from the magazine. If the RCBS 200 would have worked I would gladly have purchased that mold two years ago, but it will not feed. If the Lee 200 would feed as desired, I would have that mold in my kit, as well. With a smaller FN nose that extrudes from the case as far as .40" it will chamber from the magazine. But those that are .50" long noses will not. What this rifle has confirmed is, with a wide flat nose a length of .30" from the case mouth is optimum. This isn't a factory sporting rifle but a converted military action. That is the difference. But I've grown fond of this rifle and the challenge keeps me coming back for more.

    Along came an offer at the beginning of this year from an extremely generous CB member of multiple FN boolits from 175 grains up to 190 grains, and a few RN's thrown in to boot. He saw me talking about creating some 350 Legend type loads in the 35 Whelen to see if I would appreciate what it has to offer, and in the mail were various styles as his response. These were great, and I became partial to the NOE 182 WFN U2 bullet he sent that was already Powder Coated. They feed from the chamber perfectly and shot well, fast becoming a favorite. Yet, they were .360" in diameter, as this is the sizing die I had on hand, and were tight to bolt down, but I thought that could be remedied with a tighter sizing die. After many months NOE restocked these molds and I recently ordered the 2 cavity, one PB for plinkers and the other GC for the upper end velocities. I was also recently able to procure .359" and .358" sizing dies to try out, thus my original post. All these were powder coated and then sized. I need to experiment with WLL 2500+ lube and the .359 die to see if they will be as tight to bolt in as the PC makes them. Though, at .3585" they not only feed from the magazine but also locked into the chamber with no undue resistance. Now I need to see if I can get the .3585" boolits, or at least the front driving band at .3585" to print nice patterns that build enough confidence to use these deer hunting.

    geezer56's reply: "You may be a bit soft on the alloy. I had issues with my whelen shooting patterns. Water dropping the boolits hardened them enough to tighten the patterns into groups. It's still not up to jacketed accuracy, but definitely whacks pigs well enough." has much merit. I've not water dropped too many castings, but certainly can add this component into the mix. Thank you, sir, for sharing that bit of wisdom. I'm all for it. From what I've read water dropping will stiffen the exterior but still allow expansion to occur once hide and meat are met. It that is correct it may allow me to achieve what I am looking for. Should success win out I'll share the hero pictures. Such fun, this hobby: The road goes on forever and the party never ends.

  12. #12
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    --- Just a little more of my 2 cents. I had a BLR 358 that was tight in the neck & couldn't shoot .360 dia. boolits, too tight to allow expansion & bullet release. So I sent it to JES reboring. & He found the neck area of the chamber was slightly too small & ran a finish reamer through it & brought it up to specs. Now .360 is no problem & no case neck reaming.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=ChristopherO;5277671]Thank you, Gentlemen, for all your responses. I appreciate the feed back.



    pworley1, you hit the nail on the head with this particular rifle. In its former life the action served as a military Mauser. Many years before I obtained it, nigh on 20 years ago, it was morphed into the sporter it is now. The magazine carrier was never revamped, and therein lies the rub. 250 grain Jacketed Spitzers slide in effortlessly. Jacketed RN's of the same weight feed well, also. Then I got the bright idea to shoot cast in this rifle and found out very quick that long FN lead slugs will not, I repeat, will not feed into the chamber for getting caught on the edge of it every time. 2 or 3 years ago I purchased the Lyman 358318 RN mold from a fellow CB member. They drop pretty boolits, and they will feed into the chamber. Not stellar, but adequately if I do my part right. That is with the grease grooves lubed only. Using Alox or Ben's Liquid Lube, or Powder Coat is another story. With the slightest coating on the nose they can jamb on that sharp chamber edge without much provocation. These shoot ok. Kinda finicky depending on powder and fps. Some folks love them, some hate the 358318, and some, like myself, am ambivalent toward it.

    I have on my loading bench a menagerie of the 358318 boolits that have been redesigned by my tools into various nose lengths, meplat widths, weights and configurations to find out what can and will not load smoothly into this particular chamber from the magazine. If the RCBS 200 would have worked I would gladly have purchased that mold two years ago, but it will not feed. If the Lee 200 would feed as desired, I would have that mold in my kit, as well. With a smaller FN nose that extrudes from the case as far as .40" it will chamber from the magazine. But those that are .50" long noses will not. What this rifle has confirmed is, with a wide flat nose a length of .30" from the case mouth is optimum. This isn't a factory sporting rifle but a converted military action. That is the difference. But I've grown fond of this rifle and the challenge keeps me coming back for more. [quote]


    Chambering a Mauser into a .308 based cartridge can be a real can of worms. The easiest thing to start with is changing followers, and hopefully find one that will feed correctly. The Spanish Mauser followers are good candidates, that had been chambered in .308.
    When I built my .358 Win. rifles, I relieved the chamber mouth slightly to help with feeding. Just don't over do it, you don't want to go so far you are into thin brass area.
    You probably know this already, but you can't gently chamber a cartridge in a controlled feed like the Mauser. They have to be slammed home to feed correctly. That's how they were designed to work, and one reason I like a cock on closing bolt. It forces this type of chambering.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  14. #14
    Boolit Master 444ttd's Avatar
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    i use a 35/30-30 with 200gr rcbs fn gc and it functions great.
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  15. #15
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    Try some of the .360" slugs with the front band sized down and see what happens. Also, adjust your 450 to try and only size about half the front band and see how the bolt closes and if the boolit stays stuck in the leade, and if that works, try the .360" boolits again.

  16. #16
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    " He found the neck area of the chamber was slightly too small & ran a finish reamer through it & brought it up to specs. Now .360 is no problem & no case neck reaming." Good point. If it is only a slight out of round or similar in the chamber neck area then cleaning it up wouldn't harm the rifle in shooting jacketed or cast projectiles. The rub seems to be only in a certain area, not all the way around. Thanks for the insight.

    Chambering a Mauser into a .308 based cartridge can be a real can of worms. Ain't it the truth. I suppose searching in Numrich or Brownells might yield some results. Something to look into.

    Try some of the .360" slugs with the front band sized down and see what happens. Good idea. I'll need to cast more as I got productive the other evening an sized all the GC boolits to .3595" already. Will keep your suggestion in mind next time I heat up the pot.

  17. #17
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    I didn’t rad all the way through your post but I didn’t see what type of a crimp your using. When changed over to the lee collet style factory crimp die my 4 MOA plus groups shank down under 2moa with a few groups SUB MOA in my 35 Rem and 44 mag. I can’t get my 35 whelen pump to to shoot MOA with jacketed ammo so I’m not even going to attempt to try cast in it. My whelen slugs at .358 if I remember and both my 35 rems at .357. I size my boolits .at .3595” in my 35 Rems with great accuracy.

  18. #18
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    Yes, I am using the Lee FCD, too, but very lightly to take the M Die bell out mainly.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I use it pretty aggressively. Maybe try a heavy crimp next time out and see if it affects your groups.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tripplebeards View Post
    I use it pretty aggressively. Maybe try a heavy crimp next time out and see if it affects your groups.
    Does that tear off the powder coat? Not used it enough to know the parameters on crimping with it baked on.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check