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353 Casull (Freedom Arms md 83 in 357 magnum)

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Peter M. Eick, Apr 7, 2013.

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  1. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    In my quest to see what the 357 magnum could do, I learned of the Ruger Redhawk so now I have two, well, one is still on the way, but soon I will have two.

    At the same time I learned of the 353 Casull or the Freedom Arms model 83 in 357 Magnum. I spent some time on google and this looks very interesting. Basically a super heavy duty 357 magnum made for insane pressure levels and thus the new round called the 353 Casull.

    I was surprised that the price was not that bad but it looks like it could be a long wait of 7 months to a year or more. I figured I waited that long for a custom Baer, so I might as well consider it.

    So, does anyone have one or have experience with one? Advice or thoughts, suggestions?

    I was thinking a premier grade md 83 in 7.5". I figure the 9" barrel will be a bit too long but with that heavy of a gun it might be a better choice. Part of me wants to make a non-standard barrel length of 8 3/4" so it would match the original 357 Magnum just for fun. For $90 it would be kind of neat to be unique.

    Looking at the options, i was thinking of a 38 special cylinder (if they will make me one), possibly fluting the cylinders if that won't hurt the strength, Dovetail the front sight so I can change it. Trigger job and over travel screw (might as well make it as good as they can from the factory).

    So if you have a Freedom Arms Md 83, or a 353 Casull, any advice comments or pictures would be appreciated.
     
  2. eldon519

    eldon519 Member

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    Hey Peter,

    I think the limit on pressure becomes the brass. I was really intrigued by the 353 Casull, but nearly everywhere I read about it, I saw mention of having to toss brass really quickly due to enlarged primer pockets when using the top tier loads. That killed my interest but might be more tolerable to others. I still like to kid myself into believing I save money reloading ;-)
     
  3. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    I can only comment on the model 83 I have in .454 Casull (7 1/2"). It is the most fantastic single action revolver on the planet. Doesn't matter what caliber it is in, it is worth the wait, believe me.

    Dan
     
  4. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Member

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    I OWNED THE ONLY FA 4 3/4" 353 ever made, at least up to that time. It is nothing more than an extra heavy 357MAG, make no mistake about it. YES, I did load 357 small pistol pocket brass and shoot ammunition that turned new 357 brass into once-fired large-pistol-primer brass with 180GR bullets at 1700fps. This was written up years ago in PETERSON'S HANDGUNS handloading column.
    Interestingly enough, I had to return it to FA for something long forgotten now, and they lost it never ever to be seen again, by me anyways.
    One of my close pals loads his short 357 REDHAWK to 1425fps with cast 225grSWC bullts that shoot like a million bucks almost all the way to the promised land.
     
  5. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Lost it???
     
  6. unspellable

    unspellable Member

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    Brass

    I not all that familiar with the 353 Casull, but a couple of points occur to me.

    I'm assuming this is done with standard 357 Mag brass? How about trimming back 357 Maximum or 357 SuperMag brass? The 357 SuperMag uses small rifle primers and is rated for 50,000 cup. The 357 Maximum is rated for 40,000 cup. SAAMI does not specify the primer for the 357 Maximum, but the brass I've seen took a small rifle primer.

    Any way, trim it back and you have 357 Magnum length high pressure brass.

    One BIG caveat. This brass has a thicker head then 357 Magnum brass, so you will have a tad less powder room. That will slightly reduce the maximum powder charge to keep pressures within proper limits.

    Fluting the cylinder will have little effect on its strength.
     
  7. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    The front sights are interchangeable as is. F/A makes brass beads and fiber optic sights, others make target sight blades like the undercut patridge. Silhouette sights are also available.
     
  8. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I was looking at those options. I tend to like a standard Partridge sight on the premier models.

    I am honing in on my order but still piddling with the concept.

    I am working between a 7.5" and 9" barrel. Part of me argues a 9" barrel will get me more velocity and is that not the purpose of this gun? It also gives me more mass and a bit more sight radius all of which should help with the shootability.

    A 7.5" barrel will be a bit lower velocity (quickload says about 60 fps) but it will be more easily carried around and a bit less cumbersome. If I ever want to hunt with it, a 7.5" barrel would be easier.

    FA agreed that fluting would have no impact but would make it easier to handle and load. I like flutes for the ease of handling.

    They won't make me a custom 38 special cylinder so that idea is out the window.

    Any advise on the barrel length? I will probably order one this friday or next week.
     
  9. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    The bit smaller Model 97 frame might be just as stout in 357 caliber as the model 83, but don't really know. I've never handled one.

    I will say however, I own a few custom and very nice 1911's but I enjoy shooting my FA 44 Magnum more than any of them and if it had to come down to it.......it would be the last to go.

    For a bit of reference Peter, here is my field grade 44 Mag with the 10" barrel made for silhouette. I don't think FA makes this large of a patridge sight anymore. I bought mine used and it was sent new to Honolulu in 1990 according to the factory. I've always intended to buy some nice stocks for it to wear on Sundays, but just haven't.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013
  10. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    The model 97 is not very beefy. Smaller cylinder dimensions than most SA .357's. The cartridge OAL restrictions of the 97 would also be a hinderance.
    Ken O'Neill from Graybeard's forum made my patridge sight for me. He'll cut them to any height and has other shapes too IIRC.
     
  11. RCL

    RCL Member

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    Just a few thoughts....
    At one time I had a Model 83 in .454.....the 7 1/2" barrel on my brother's M83 balanced a lot better than the 10" tube on mine. I like a little forward weight but the longer tube was to much.
    My preference was for the Field Grade with it's satin finish. You can upgrade to the micarta grips and still be way ahead on price.
     
  12. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    Thinking about it, I have been talking myself into the 7.5" barrel version so I am pretty much set on it. While I sacrifice a bit of velocity I make up for it in a lot of handling "I believe". My 8" Supermag is a great target gun, but pretty unweildy. A 9" barrel is going to move it past the ease of toting to a decided range toy in my mind.
     
  13. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    If I can use an old Texas expression, "if I had my druthers" that 10" pictured would be 7.5" too.

    But then again I always have second thoughts every time I see its groupings at 75yds.
     
  14. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    Freedom Arms makes what is probably the best revolver in the entire world. If it were me I would purchase a 6" M83 instead of a 7.5" revolver. I'm a little embarrassed to admit I have never heard of the 353 Casull but it sounds interesting.

    As for the above suggestion to use 357 Maximum brass because it uses a SRP, you can also use a SRP in normal .357 Magnum brass too. The SPP, SPM and SRP are all the same height unlike the LRP being higher than the LPP.

    Maybe some day I will be able to purchase one. (but probably not)
     
  15. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I was shooting my 7.5" Redhawk today and it felt good for a length of barrel. An extra 1.5" hanging out there would probably be great for silhouette, but I tend to just punch paper and plink a bit.

    So while I am still considering a 9", 7.5" is probably what I will order. I am planning to think about it a few more days and order late next week.
     
  16. tuckerdog1

    tuckerdog1 Member

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    I've posted this pic before. But OP asked for a picture. FA 353. Today it would be a model 83 chambered in 357.

    [​IMG]

    This may be the article you Googled about the 353 Casull

    http://www.sixguns.com/range/fa353.htm

    Tuckerdog1
     
  17. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    A Freedom Arms in 357 Maximum would be drooling material.
     
  18. roaddog28

    roaddog28 Member

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    The Freedom Arms 83 is the best 357 magnum. You will find it will out distance the Redhawk. More accurate and will take the power house loads. They are not cheap but if you want the best then then that is the revolver. The Redhawk is a good revolver but I always like the Ruger Blackhawk better. The debate about strengh too me is not an issue. Either of the three I mentioned will take the strongest loads a shooter can handle.
    Good luck,
    Howard
     
  19. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    Don't forget that the FA Single Actions (at least this is true with my 83) have some of the tightest barrel-to-cylinder gaps of any wheel gun out there. My .454 with the fitted .45 Colt cylinder has about a .0015 measured gap. IIRC, the .454 has about a .002 gap. This has a substantial positive effect on velocity.

    Dan
     
  20. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    What about cutting down the stouter .357 Max brass and using benchrest rifle primers?
     
  21. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    I wouldn't buy anything longer than 7½" but that's just me. An FA that length will almost certainly shoot faster than any other factory sixgun the same barrel length. The 83 .357 is already a really heavy sixgun. So much so in fact that I'd never own one. If I wanted an FA in that chambering it would be a 97 but that's tangent to the discussion.
     
  22. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I have decided on the 7.5" so I agree with you CraigC. I handled my 8" Supermags and my 8 3/8" Pre-27's and decided that the extra barrel moves it from easy to handle to more challenging. Since I expect to shoot the 353 a lot, I don't want to have to fight the gun.

    So probably mid this upcoming week I will order it. I need to finalize the order summary so I will spend some time on their site and lists the options out.

    Thanks for the advice. Soon the roughly 8 month wait will start.
     
  23. bigdaa

    bigdaa member

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    Yup. I am wondering why FA didn't go this way instead. .357 Maximum brass is still available and made for the job.
     
  24. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    Excellent! You will not be disappointed and will cherish this outstanding revolver. Eight months is a long time but you will forget about it once you get the call that it has arrived.

    Dan
     
  25. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    Because it would require an all new frame design.
     
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