358 Rifle Practice with 357 handgun rounds


December 5, 2008, 09:31 PM
I'm pretty new to reloading/handloading, having been more or less forced into it by way of purchasing a BLR 358 W rifle and subsequently learning afterwards just how hard it can be to find factory ammo for it AND whatta b*tch it is to get stuff shipped to Alaska (despite all of the advice on what's theoretically "allowed," it still comes down to clerk, um, lack-of-knowledge and/or lack of willingness).

I've loaded lots of Barnes' 3x bullets (200 and 225gr) into new Lapua and Winchester brass using 748 and 4895 powder with very nice results. I've also branched out into loading my own 308 ammo for my other BLR.

But...given the cost of "plinking" and practicing with the good-quality stuff that I've learned how to do, I'd like to maybe switch over to something that I've read/heard is also do-able for 358's to cut down on said-costs; namely, start practicing quick target acquisition and weapon-handling/shooting using 357 pistol bullets instead of the costlier premium stuff.

I've read that when handloading for 357 wheelgun loads different powders are used.

My question though, is this: If I'm loading 357 bullets (I'm thinking 140 to 200 gr sizes) into 358 W rifle cases, do I use the wheelgun-load-powders, or do I use the rifle-load-powders?

And, as a related follow up question...are there any issues that I need to consider if I were to put even lighter 357 handgun bullets than what I'm planning to use?

I've gone through my Nosler and Speer reloading manuals and can't seem to find the answers.

I use the 358 W as a "brush gun" up here in Alaska with a non-magnifying/non-nightvision EoTech Holosight, and I LOVE it. I took a 9 foot brown bear with it several weeks ago stalk/walk/still hunting--that's just how I prefer to hunt: in the brush, no bait, airplanes, airboats, etc--and I'd like to stay "sharp" with the gun over the winter while I'm waiting for my next "allowed harvest" season. Staying "sharp" with this gun for this kind of hunting means practicing for quick shots at relatively close distances, thus the nature of my quest for keeping costs reasonable.

I suppose that I could just get cheaper 358 rifle bullets and be "done with it," but as silly as it may sound, I'd prefer to "keep it simple stupid:" IE, just open my stash and grab either from the practice boxes or the hunting boxes, rather than have 5 different ultra-tailored types of ammo in the same caliber floating around.

As an aside, I'm also a 357 wheelgun fan, so if there's any way to also keep from having a million (colloquially speaking) different 357 bullets around the place, too, since I'm going to start handloading my own 357 rounds for handgun use as well. I'm thinking that Hornady XTPs would do nicely as an all-around bullet supply to dip into.

And, don't worry--when I'm out in the field, I carry a 44 mag Taurus Tracker...but since 80 percent of shooting skill comes with practicing trigger pull and sight-picturing, I prefer to practice with my 357s (a pair of S&W 686+'s) than the 44 mag...due to cost and comfort (though I'm also going to probably start handloading 44 mags, too, now that I've invested in the hardware)...

Any help and/or suggestions would be appreciated.

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Jim Watson
December 5, 2008, 11:36 PM
There are pistol bullet loads for .358 Winchester in the old Speer #10. Bullet weights 125, 140, 158 grains; powders Re7, 3031 (125-140 only), 4064 (158 only), and H322. Pick ONE combination and I will post it, but I do not have scan capability or time to keypunch the whole manual page.

December 6, 2008, 02:39 AM
Are bullets for the 358 Winchester. sized at .358"

December 6, 2008, 03:01 AM
Are bullets for the 358 Winchester. sized at .358"

Yeah, but at close range, cheap jacketed handgun bullets for practice. One thou of an inch under barrel groove size ain't gonna make a big difference.

BTW. BLR's are a nice accurate rifle, I got one in .243win, it's had a hard life, been knocked about a bit, and it still shoots great. :)

December 6, 2008, 03:02 AM
Are bullets for the 358 Winchester. sized at .358"

YUP! Same as the 35 remington. I had one in a marlin, I used .357 pistol bullet in it a lot. More than the standard rifle bullets.

I also, at one time, had a 35 remington contender barrel. I used it for handgun silhouette. I practiced with .357 bullets, then used rifle bullets for the matches.

AK guy, let me do some digging tomorrow, I'll see if I still have my speer #10. If so, I can scan it for those loads JW mentioned, then e-mail them to you.

December 6, 2008, 03:19 AM
thanks for such quick help...and of course i'll keep checking back...

...as far as BLR's are concerned, they are incredible working-works-of-art, and perfect for left eye dominant but otherwise entirely right handed folks like me who balk at paying extra for lefty bolt guns and who don't care for autoshooters...

...plus, in their own right, they truly are amazing rifles...light, short, quick to present, fabulously accurate, reliable, and good lookin', too...can you tell that I LOVE BLRs?...

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