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Thread: 358 Winchester and cast boolits - what gives???

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    358 Winchester and cast boolits - what gives???

    Good afternoon all,
    I have been tinkering with a .358 Win barrel on my T/C Encore and I just can't seem to get any consistency or good reliable accuracy from this cartridge/bullet. This is a 23" MGM stainless barrel 1:14 twt. 3 groove. The first mold I tried out of this barrel was a 36-240K from Accurate Molds. This bullet made buckshot patterns at 100 yards. I talked with Tom and asked about his design .358 mold he uses in his Browning BLR, the 36-235A. He sent me a few already lubed and gas checked, and I loaded them ahead of the most accurate powder charge I had found and they shot pretty damn good!!! About 1 3/8" at 100 yards!!! I ordered the mold, asked Tom his lube and alloy and waited on my mold to arrive. . . 10 days and it was here!!! I had been using Ben's Red for my boolit lube on everything, and I tried that - it was alight, but not what I was looking for in the accuracy department. Carnauba Red 2700fps is what Tom recommends and I ordered that, went to the range this morning with a box of loaded recipe boolits and nothing tickled my fancy. What gives. . .what am I over looking? By the way. . .this is my first high velocity rifle cartridge using cast boolits - I'm a newbie in this rodeo!!!

    - I have checked/swapped scopes - good to go on both!

    - My most accurate load has been with 42.3 gr. IMR4064, Winchester LRP, CAOL 2.500". I have bounced around in .03 increments from 40.3 gr. to 44.0 gr.

    - The current bullet is the 36-235A from Accurate Molds, COWW/Pewter at 30:1 and have used Ben's Red and White Label Carnauba Red. I have also tried other bullets from forum members and had decent accuracy with the RCBS 200 gr. GC bullet.

    Let me know what avenues I can travel to make this work. Powder, alloy, primer, lube. . .throw it at me because rifle season is not far away and I want to use this set-up very bad!!! I appreciate any and all advice and constructive criticism, thank you.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Here's what works for me. I can't say it'll work for you but may give you something to try. Size the drive bands of the bullet to be a slip fit into the chamber throat. Don't crimp. Seat the bullet out as far as you can that will still chamber. I keep velocity in the neighborhood of 2000fps and I use RE7 powder. This is with the RCBS 200 bullet. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    What are you sizing to and what GC's?
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
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    I am sizing to .360 and my bore is a solid .3575 outside lands. The GC's I use are Hornady. My 2.500 put these boolits about 5 to 7 thousandths off the lands. This has given me the best accuracy with the various cast bullets I've tried.

    I have a 3/4 lb. of RL7 and I will give it a try. . .this is not too fast???

    Thank you, gentlemen.

  5. #5
    Boolit Man
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    Sounds like you are pushing them too hard.In my AR-10 358 I use a NOE 245 gr. powder coated plain based , and gas checked " no difference in accuracy" 26 gr. of reloader 10x with a Win LRP . I would not call this load high velocity but with many harvested animals deer and hogs mainly I have only recovered one bullet and it was a hog 35 yards straight on bullet hit between the eyes and stoped just before exiting the nut sack. In my bolt action I use the NOE 310 gr. paper patched over 29 gr. of 8208 XBR and have yet to recover a bullet , Both rifles will shoot 1in. MOA on a good bench rest.
    Last edited by Fitz; 09-26-2022 at 05:17 PM. Reason: mistake

  6. #6
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    Interesting that the gun had decent accuracy with bullets someone else cast and lubed but not with a similar mold when you're doing it. It seemed to not work either with the first mold that you used. It is also your first high velocity rifle cartridge. Sorry to say it but the commonality seems to be your casting.
    Go back to basics verifying temperatures, pouring a large sprue and making sure it draws down, weighing bullets and gentle sizing. I suspect voids may be causing problems.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    Interesting that the gun had decent accuracy with bullets someone else cast and lubed but not with a similar mold when you're doing it. It seemed to not work either with the first mold that you used. It is also your first high velocity rifle cartridge. Sorry to say it but the commonality seems to be your casting.
    Go back to basics verifying temperatures, pouring a large sprue and making sure it draws down, weighing bullets and gentle sizing. I suspect voids may be causing problems.
    This is my first "rifle" high velocity cartridge, but I have been casting for big bore handgun cartridges for sometime now. . .not saying they interchange, but I have some background in casting. At 750 degrees I get my best mold performance, meaning fill-out, drop-out freely and presentation. I do weight each and every bullet after sizing (sizing only, no gas check yet) and I keep boolits +/- half grain of my target average weight of 233 grains - 80+% fall in this category, nice mold. I ladle cast, so my sprues are overflowing and I size .002/.0025 thousandth over bore diameter.

    I'm wondering if it is a combination of my alloy (too hard/soft) or my lube or just maybe my powder. I see A LOT of 358 shooters like 3031 and TAC powders. This is the aggravating part of all this, but in my own sick little world, I enjoy this type of tinkering. But I do ask for guidance from the knowledge base of this forum to keep me pointed in the right direction at times - LOL. I appreciate the pointers, fellas.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Air Cooled or Water dropped ???

    What are you using for lead ?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OFFSHORE View Post
    T I do weight each and every bullet after sizing (sizing only, no gas check yet)

    I'm wondering if it is a combination of my alloy (too hard/soft) or my lube or just maybe my powder. I see A LOT of 358 shooters like 3031 and TAC powders. This is the aggravating part of all this, but in my own sick little world, I enjoy this type of tinkering. But I do ask for guidance from the knowledge base of this forum to keep me pointed in the right direction at times - LOL. I appreciate the pointers, fellas.
    I have to assume that you're shooting these with gas checks, just not weighing them?
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ford SD View Post
    Air Cooled or Water dropped ???

    What are you using for lead ?
    I am using air cooled 30:1 COWW and pewter for my alloy.

    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I have to assume that you're shooting these with gas checks, just not weighing them?
    Yes, these are gas checked with Hornady gas checks and I am weight sorting my bullets.

    My bullet info, except the air cooled portion, is listed in my above posts. I have some Reloder 10X and a shooting friend has some Ramshot TAC. . .I may dabble with some of those powder loads and keep the IMR4064 for my 308 WIN loads.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by OFFSHORE View Post
    I am using air cooled 30:1 COWW and pewter for my alloy.



    Yes, these are gas checked with Hornady gas checks and I am weight sorting my bullets.

    My bullet info, except the air cooled portion, is listed in my above posts. I have some Reloder 10X and a shooting friend has some Ramshot TAC. . .I may dabble with some of those powder loads and keep the IMR4064 for my 308 WIN loads.
    This is a 23" MGM stainless barrel 1:14 twt. 3 groove
    All i can think is bullet too small or too soft for your barrel

    14 twist should be Good .... so it has to be something else

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Ask the friend who gave youthe bullets that shot well what alloy he used. A 30-1 tin mix is not very hard and at the velocities you want you need to add some antimony to your alloy.

  13. #13
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    RL7 is not too fast a powder and 7383 is not too slow a powder. Maybe your velocity is too fast for your alloy. Got a chronograph?
    I had good results (1-2 MOA at 200 yds) with an alloy of 1 part Lino + 3 parts WW water quenched at 1800 -1900 fps out of a 16 inch 1 in 14 barrel.
    If you want more velocity paper patching can be very rewarding and is cheaper $ wise than linotype.
    Yeah, a longer barrel would be less of a blast and would shoot further and maybe faster as well. A 20" barrel will shoot at least 4 inches further than my 16".
    Just because change doesn't make a difference doesn't mean that change is bad.

  14. #14
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    [I] have been using the GT 35 cal 215 gr gc hp... that is what mine weigh... I am using 43 gr of 4064 --3 shot groups are 1.6 + or minus . To get here I tried .359 with their lube, then CR. no joy at all. so i went to PC with black and copper penny... sized .360 and that is when I started to get the above results. have not chrono'd them yet but goal was 200 yards hunting..and accuracy on Tn deer. ..so far looking ok will try them at 200 yards today

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    suspect the rate of twist may too slow for that heavy of a boolit. I've seen that in my Marlin 336 in 35 rem, shoots the 200 grain boolits fine, but won't spin the 250 grainers.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by GLynn41 View Post
    [I] have been using the GT 35 cal 215 gr gc hp... that is what mine weigh... I am using 43 gr of 4064 --3 shot groups are 1.6 + or minus . To get here I tried .359 with their lube, then CR. no joy at all. so i went to PC with black and copper penny... sized .360 and that is when I started to get the above results. have not chrono'd them yet but goal was 200 yards hunting..and accuracy on Tn deer. ..so far looking ok will try them at 200 yards today
    I am not familiar with "GT" what manufacture is that? I would really like to stay with IMR4064 because that is what I shoot in my 308 Winny and 223 Rem, and that would make for less powder to buy elsewhere.

    Today because I have been on "hurricane-lockdown" I have casted 150 boolits that are water dropped. I will give them about two weeks before I shoot them to see if the added BHN improves my grouping. I also made up a batch of other boolits with various powders to see if that has any sway in accuracy for me. . .also 4 lbs. of TAC awaiting from the Brown Santa Clause. I must also include that I made a mistake in my twist rate, (had the 357 Max on the brain - 1:14 tw) my .358 Win barrel is a 1:12 twist. I'm hoping that a change in powders/loads or alloy improves the accuracy of this barrel. . .rifle season is just around the corner!!! Thank you all for your input, I have taken much into consideration and I'm going to experiment through this.

  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master


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    That bullet has a .95 +/-" length so stability out of a 14" twist should not be an issue. However, the bearing surface length is 50% or less. That leaves a lot of unsupported bullet hanging out from. You might try HTing or WQing the bullets to harden them. You might also slow them down a tudge. Also, with a single shot I'd seat the bullet so the bullet was just slightly engraved with the closing of the action. I would not crimp the case into a groove either. That should keep at least the top of the GC at or inside the case neck.
    Larry Gibson

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  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    GT is the folks name who make this 215 gr .35 Hp gc. 4064 has done just fine so no reason not to use it. With JSP I will use TAC. Not tried that with cast . Will also try some higher 4064 loads just to see what I get as drop with 3" high at 100 is about 5" with a 5" group at 200 yard. So still a work in progress. But i am good to 150yds so getting close opens first weekend in Nov. Also will chrono. Wonder what i might get. This a .358 win Vanguard with a well used 22" barrel. Any guess?

  19. #19
    Boolit Man
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    Have you tried pulling a couple bullets to verify that the case neck isn't sizing them down? I had to do that with some rifle cast loads just to convince myself that my carefully thought out bullet diameters vs. barrel groove diameter wasn't being sabotaged in the bullet seating operation. If you are using a standard die set with neck expander intended for jacketed bullets this is more of a possibility.

  20. #20
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    I chased a little data in the one I had , and A&B 1-14 24" on a Santa Barbara 98 action. I shot a little Unique and assorted pistol bullets. Of course that all shot fine . I wanted something useful for game . I shot H322 and 4198 and scattered bullets all over . Well I mean what have you got to lose when nothing shoots by going to something too slow to get hurt with a full case ? IMR 4350 basically to the bottom of the shoulder and just like that the RCBS 35-250 was shooting a .900 group as long as it kept the checks on and delivered 2100 fps . Recoil wasn't even bad .
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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