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.357 Magnum for Long Range Target Shooting

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by American Rifleman, Aug 2, 2009.

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  1. American Rifleman

    American Rifleman Member

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    How far can you accurately (no more than a 18-inch group) push a .357 Magnum lever action rifle with some pretty good glass. Just for target shooting, not hunting. 500 Yards? More? What type of ammo would be the best?

    -American Rifleman
     
  2. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

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    .357...I'd say 500yrds will be a challange for a number of reasons. It's obviously dropping like a brick before that but velocity is going subsonic very close to 500yrd wind drift is nearly 80" at 500yrds too.
     
  3. General Geoff

    General Geoff Member

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    With hot loads in a rifle, 500 yards should be feasible. .357 Magnum is a whole different animal in a rifle, compared to a pistol.
     
  4. CypherNinja

    CypherNinja Member

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    I think it would vary pretty wildly based on exactly what load you are using and your ability to compensate for wind.
     
  5. marsche

    marsche Member

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    JPWILLY is right - my opinion. A 357 with a 110 grain bullet is about as fast as you can go for velocity. With a max load in a rifle you can attain about 2400 FPS with that bullet. If you run a ballistics trajectory calculation you will find that you are only going around 780 FPS at 500 yards. When you go subsonic you may have a hard time hitting anything. As a matter of fact, according to JBM, the calculation shows you will go under the speed of sound at 300 yards. I would think, as a rule of thumb, accuracy would fall off dramatically at about that distance. --- PS: The drop at 500 yards would be around 219 inches. The drop at 300 yards would be a more manageable 42 inches.
     
  6. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    Given any 357 pistol bullets BC numbers, it'll depend entirely on conditions.

    On a dead calm day, you could push it close to twice as far as you would be able to do on a day with gusting cross winds as low as 10 MPH.
     
  7. American Rifleman

    American Rifleman Member

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    I figured it had some potential.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Your best bet in a long range .357 bullet, if there is one, will be a 158 or 180 grain.

    They have a much higher BC, or Ballistics Coefficient then the lighter bullets.

    Although shorter range trajectory will not be as flat perhaps, you will have much higher retained velocity and less wind drift at long range.

    Even then, a 180 grain bullet would drop 19 feet and a 10 MPH cross wind would blow it sideways 7 feet at 500 yards.

    You will definitely have your work cut out for you!

    rc
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2009
  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    One question is why shoot a .357 at extreme range? For target work? There are much better cartridges. For hunting? An ethical hunter would think of the game, and not push his weapon and cartridge to such extreme limits.

    Personally, I would limit the .357 in a carbine to around 150 yards. You won't often find game at ranges greater than that in the Eastern United States. In the Western States, would choose something better suited to the conditions.
     
  10. American Rifleman

    American Rifleman Member

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    To see what you and your rifle can do.
     
  11. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    That can only be done by actual shooting.
     
  12. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Member

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    Had a guy win our local silhouette match with a 357 levergun, the rams are at 200 yards and we shoot offhand. I think he only missed one ram.

    Doesn't Hornady make a 357 Leverevolution bullet? For long range I'm thinking that would be the avenue I'd explore.
     
  13. American Rifleman

    American Rifleman Member

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    Yes they do. Can't wait to try some.
     

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  14. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    Just watch it with that LeverEvolution stuff, the brass seems to be shorter for some reason. A buddy of mine noticed it when he went to reload some.
     
  15. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    I have often thought about a Metric Rifle, following the idea of a Rook rifle of England and Europe.
    Specifications
    39" long or 1 meter
    4.4 lbs or 2 Kg with out sling or bipod
    Shooting a 9mm bullet at 500mps
    Fixed receiver sights and a post front sight
    shooting 4 position (prone, sitting, kneeling, and offhand)
    at 100 and 200 meters
    5 shots each position at either knock down steel or 10 ring targets with x for competition records.
    One sighting shot per string.
    in 5 minutes for each string/position
    That would be 80 shots for the course of fire.
     
  16. Kernel

    Kernel Member

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    Given ideal conditions, I think 400 yds would be about the max you could consistently keep groups under 18". You're limited by both the cartridge and the rifle. Lever actions rifles are wonderful firearms, but they aren't known for top accuracy.

    The .357 Mag is a fine cartridge, but an empty case only holds 27 grains of powder. Seat a bullet and you'll cut that in half. Not a lot of engine displacement to work with. Conventional wisdom says for long range performance you'll want to shoot the heaviest bullet practical.

    Best case scenario your looking at a 180 gr bullet moving out at 1600 fps. Rainbow like exterior ballistics not unlike the American Schützen target rifle of the 1890s. Or the British Cadet/Rook rifles of the same period. The .38-55 being, perhaps, the most popular Schützen cartridge.

    Of course, these old target rifles were all single shots, incorporating the finest workmanship and highest accuracy concepts of the day. They were fairly light weight and designed to be shot off-hand, those are about the only similarity they share with a modern mass produced lever action.
     
  17. Daizee

    Daizee Member

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    Best case scenario is a 158gr moving around 2000fps or a 180gr around 1900.
    Modern powder selection (lil' gun in this case) has brought the .357 into the .30-30 class at short range.
    That won't help the BC, but it'll give you more room to play with.

    -Daizee
     
  18. sniper5

    sniper5 Member

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    IIRC Ed McGivern in his book "Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting" documented shooting a .38 Special at 600 yards with a revolver and scoring 60% hits on a human torso sized target. He did it just to see what the accuracy potential for the cartridge was. So it CAN be done. The usefulness of it is the question.
     
  19. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    McGivern, who had quite an eye for publicity, billed this as "a duel with a rifleman." Shrewd observers noted there wasn't actually a rifleman shooting back at him.
     
  20. Kernel

    Kernel Member

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    Daizee,

    Care to site a source? Your velocity numbers are way, WAY, beyond anything published on Hodgdon's (the maker of Lil'Gun) web site. In fact, they’re still hundreds of fps beyond what Hodgdon publishes for the .357 Maximum! :eek:

    Keep in mind, lever action rifles are not exceptionally strong, to begin with. Getting a 180 gr bullet to move out at 1900 fps with less then 14 gr of powder space to work with is exceedingly ambitious, to say the least. :what:

    As someone who handloads for the .357 Mag, and has a can of Lil’Gun in the basement, I’d like to keep abreast of any new breakthroughs. :confused:
     
  21. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    Kernal, the specs for Lil'gun in a rifle are quite good, pushing a 180g jacketed at 1422 in a revolver, will net approx 50fps per inch going from a 6" revolver(adding 1.5 for cylinder) to a 16 or 20 inch rifle will add another 10 to 14 inches or an additional 500 to 700 fps. So we are looking at 1900 to 2200 fps out of a Rifle including the fact that the barrel is not vented like a revolver
     
  22. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    I'd say that is a relative statement. There's clones of the Win '94 lever guns out there shooting things like .44Mag, 454 Casull and 45-70 rounds that are using the same action components as the handgun version, just a heavier barrel than the lighter hand gun chamberings. So yeah, they may not be up to handling the big stuff but I think the works in them is tougher than we think.
     
  23. higene

    higene Member

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    .357 Long Range

    A poor boy's Quigley perhaps (Win 1885 - receiver built in 1897) in .357. I would go with 158 jsp or cast 158s. If one got really out there a 180 35 rem spire point perhaps (Higher bc being the object). The sights would probably top out at or about 300 on this one.

    Higene

    ;)

    PS 1725 fps with stock mag tech 158 jsp, 2250 w Win 125 (not for long range work)
     

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    Last edited: Aug 17, 2009
  24. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

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    That 1885 looks like a nice gun, I really would love to shoot that.
     
  25. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I can get around 2000 fps with Hodgdon Lil' Gun and a 158 JHP in my 20" Rossi. It shoots about 4" at 100 yards, but no scope. I really didn't buy it to shoot 500 yards, have bolt guns for that. It's a very handy little woods gun and way powerful enough for hogs and deer with a proper bullet to 100 yards while with a simple sight elevation change and move to .38 special 105 grain SWCs at 900 fps, it becomes a small game gun and fun tin can plinker.
     
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