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Freedom Arms 353 Casull, just thought I'd share..

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by cpirtle, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. cpirtle

    cpirtle Well-Known Member

    Well, I always thought it would be cool to play around with the 353 Casull and today just by pure dumb luck I got the chance.

    Today my wife and I drove 2 hours away to a gun shop to pick up a gun I bought on Gunbroker. Of course I had to check out everything they had and low and behold there was a used Freedom Arms sitting in the case.

    I call the guy over to see it and as he's pulling it out he says this is a consigment and the guy has already reduced it a couple of times, so I can't go any lower. I've never seen an FA under $1000 and this was under that..

    The gun had a vintage Aimpoint 3000 and the first thing I asked is if it had the original sight, yep - it's in the bag..

    Next I notice it's a Premier Grade... good sign, flip the gun over and low and behold it's a 353 Casull.. woohoo.. I looked at my wife and she knew what that meant.

    Did I mention is has a 2 digit serial number? (005x) I need to call FA monday for one of the sight screws and plan to get more details on the serial then, would like to know when this pup was made.

    Needless to say I drove home happy as a pig in poo.

    Tonight I swapped out the sight and cleaned the gun up a little (oil still on it in pic's), after closer inspection I'd say it's in 95%+ condition. I'm planning to go shoot her tomorrow with regular 357's and plan to start on some 353 loads this week.

    More pic's to come..

    Attached Files:

  2. critter

    critter Well-Known Member

  3. farscott

    farscott Well-Known Member

    Sweet find. Those are relatively rare as most people get the larger calibers in the FA 83 frame.

    I have always wondered how heavy a .357 bullet would fit in that cylinder. I would love to fiddle with some of the bullets from the .35 Remington in that gun. .250-grain .35 Whelen bullets are also intriguing but might be too heavily constructed for the velocities obtainable in the FA revolver. I would trade some powder space in the case for a heavier bullet as the gun is proofed to the same pressures as the .454 Casull.
  4. firearmnut

    firearmnut Well-Known Member

    nice gun.
  5. wad

    wad Well-Known Member

  6. cpirtle

    cpirtle Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys, I too am looking forward to experimenting with the potential this gun has.

    For starters I will be using the reccomended loads then plan to venture into some heavier bullet weights.

    I have a call into FA to find out when mine was made.

    Currently I see no mention of the 383 Casull on their page and not a whole lot written about them other than by Taffin and a handful of others. Mostly web posts from Ruger Owners wanting to try 353 loads in their GP-100's..

    I had read Taffin's write-up many moons ago and since then had the 353 in the back of my mind.

    There appears to be a shortage of fresh 357 brass so I'm going to shoot it tomorrow night with some heavy 357's I keep loaded up while I wait.
  7. Action_Can_Do

    Action_Can_Do Well-Known Member

    According to that article by Taffin, the 353 casull is nothing more than a hot loaded 357 magnum. It uses the exact same brass and bullets.
  8. cpirtle

    cpirtle Well-Known Member

    I wonder if Dick Casull realized that when he developed it.?. ;)

    Actually, it's a bullet identical to the 357 other than the fact that it will blow every 357 firearm ever manufactured to pieces.
  9. Buck Snort

    Buck Snort Well-Known Member

    cpirtle, a gun that old probably is not any good, you'd best ship it to me for proper disposal!
  10. tuckerdog1

    tuckerdog1 Well-Known Member

    Under a grand! Talk about right place at the right time. I already have one, but would have jumped on that anyway. Congrats.

    Let me share mine as well.


  11. Action_Can_Do

    Action_Can_Do Well-Known Member

    Does this mean that any Model 83 FA chambered in 357 magnum could also be considered a 353 casull?
  12. wad

    wad Well-Known Member

    In the early days, Freedom Arms had model numbers 252, 353, 454, 555, 757, etc. Later they were all renamed to model 83. The only difference between a 353 and a model 83 that's chambered for .357 Magnum is the model name/number. I would not, under any condition, attempt to run Taffin's loads in a Freedom Arms model 97 - .357 Mag.
  13. cpirtle

    cpirtle Well-Known Member

    No worries, I wrapped the cylinder in duct tape to hold everything together ;)

    Tuckerdog, do FA do your porting or did you send it off to have done? It's nice to see some other FA enthusiasts around here.

    Wad, glad you answered that. I see no reason why it wouldn't work since they appear to be identical, but I'm curious why they didn't stick with the 353 label.
  14. tuckerdog1

    tuckerdog1 Well-Known Member


    I'm the 2nd owner. FA did the work on the gun for the 1st owner. Like you, I contacted them for some history. It was originally a standard Premier Grade 353. The 1st owner sent it back to FA for the jeweling, a trigger job & the porting.

    I also have a Field Grade 454. The 353 is a lot more fun to shoot.

  15. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Well-Known Member

    How does a .353 compare to a .357 Maximum? I know little about these loadings. Are they the same thing?
  16. tuckerdog1

    tuckerdog1 Well-Known Member


    If you visit the link WAD has listed in post #5, it will show 357/357 MAXIMUM & 353 Casull compared side by side. The Maximum uses longer brass, but falls short of the 353 Casull loading.

  17. bluetopper

    bluetopper Well-Known Member

    I would get a Freedom Arms if it weren't for the plowhandle grip of a single action frame. I hate the large bottom and narrow top of the grip. I really like the Ruger Bisley grip however. How does the Freedom Arms grip compare to the two?
  18. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    I would say the F/A grip is closer to the Ruger Bisely grip than it is to the Ruger Blackhawk grip.
    The model 97's cylinder is actually a little smaller than a Colt SAA's cylinder IIRC.
    Standard .357 loads only, plus cartridge length is limited in the 97, so you can't load long to get more powder in like you can with the 353/83.
    See? (gratuitous pic opportunity)
  19. sig220mw

    sig220mw Well-Known Member

    The casull grip was designed to be a cross between the SAA grip and the bisley grip. So you should like it a little better than other single action western style grips. I read that some where in a Freedom Arms ad or article.
  20. cpirtle

    cpirtle Well-Known Member

    Good info everyone, and showing off FA 97's is not fair.. I'm scheming to upgrade my Blackhawks or Birdshead Vaquero's to a pair of FA 97's, unfortunately it would nearly take all 4 of them to buy one Freedom Arms and I have a match next week ;)

    I finally was able to find some fresh brass so I'll be ready to start making 353 loads.

    How long has it been hard to get new 357 brass? I've got about 10,000 pieces I've been rotting through for years so it seems like it's been forever since I bought any new..

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