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Thread: Forming 35-338 Brass

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    Default Forming 35-338 Brass

    I recently came into a 35-338. I have handloaded for over 30 years, but never formed brass from another caliber. Is it better to stretch the neck of 338 WM to 358, or size 375 brass down?

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Well each caliber and even each brand of brass has itís own idiosyncrasy. Iíve never done the 35-338 but Iíd start by fire forming 338 brass first and see how that works. 6 or 8 grains of Bullseye topped with some lightly packed cream of wheat, no bullet, point rifle in the air so it stays in and pop it off. Inspect the case, they may be good to go just like that or may need reaming and trimming. Try a couple different brands and maybe you find one that is easy to make work for you. Sometimes there will be a pesky ring in the neck where the thick part of the shoulder moved up, youíll need an inside neck reamer to fix that so try another brand of brass. There should be 338 fired brass around cheap you can clean up and try out so fire forming is definitely the place to start. Now there are expanders you can get for your die but youíll likely need to anneal fired cases for best results that way.
     
    Sizing down is not a lot harder to do but is harder to explain and 375 brass will be a lot less common. With new brass try lightly lubing it up with Imperial wax in and out. You can just try to stuff that into the sizing die but you may have better luck with the seating die first. Remove the bullet seating plug from seating die, size your 375 in there then go on to the sizing die. You get an intermediate step between 375 and 358 that way but it may or may not be needed, itís another cheap tool in the trial and error toolbox to find the best way. If you do need the extra step then you will need to order an appropriate size ďforming dieĒ (or an extra sizing die you can open up some with a dremmel) as the seating die isnít hardened and wont hold up to the demands of long term production. Again you may find some brands will need more work and if you are using fired brass I highly recommend you anneal it first or you will crumple and crack a bunch otherwise.


    Best of luck to ya and holler back if ya got more questions, 35-338 sounds like a lot of fun to me.
    Andy
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    Thanks for the info, Andy. I hope to get some loads worked up before Christmas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calm seas View Post
    I recently came into a 35-338. I have handloaded for over 30 years, but never formed brass from another caliber. Is it better to stretch the neck of 338 WM to 358, or size 375 brass down?
    I am too lazy for all that Cream of Wheat. I annealed the necks of 40 cases of .460 Weatherby and ran them up into an RCBS sizer...PRESTO! .500 A-Square. Yours would be very easy to do. Lots quicker too.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    I'm assuming you're 35-338 is 2.500" L. In that case, I'd neck up .338 Win or down .458 Win cases. A .375 H+H case would require some serious trimming. What you have is essentially a .358 Norma, right?

    I've formed .375-338 cases before from both .338 and .458 Win cases. Necking .458 is easier, but .338 cases are easier to come by and I'm into nickel plated cases.

    IIRC, my FF load is about 15.0 gr Unique with COW filler and a wax plug. Case loss (split necks) was always higher if I tired to blow the case neck out two or three calibers in one FF-ing. Always found that if I necked up with and expander and Imperial Sizing Wax before FF-ing my case loss was lower.

    Here I am fireforming some .338 cases. You can see the wax plug in the necks.



    Pics of some cases - L to R : .338 Win, .375-338 w/ 250 Win PP, .375-.338 w/250 NP, .375 H&H, .375-.338 fireformed case



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    We know what they say about 'assume'. I bought the rifle this summer. The seller said his ex's ex 'would fire form brass for it from 338. It has 35-338 stamped on the barrel. I figgered the scope alone was worth the asking price, and I am a sucker for pretty wood. My bro-in-law thinks it's a pre-64 Win 70, I have not researched that aspect yet.
    Last edited by calm seas; 12-14-2012 at 10:57. Reason: typo

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    It will be easy to make brass for. I essentially make .358-338 for my .358 Norma. Lube-em, size-em, and shoot-em. You can load the fireforming rounds with hunting bullets, there is no reason you can't hunt with these too. I will sometimes load my fire forming rounds with pistol bullets and use them for plinking or target practice. You have a great round there enjoy.
    LIVE TO HUNT....HUNT TO LIVE!!!!

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    After looking at L.G.s pics (thank you), the 338 brass gets the nod, until/unless I find a screaming deal on 358 brass. I am guessing I should start loads with data for 358 NM - 10%?
    Bigswede, I have read that the lighter bullets for the 357 mag, loaded to 3000+ fps, are real varmint loads

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    They don't have to be light to hit 3000. I haven't tried it but I think I can hit 3000 with a 225gr. My 250gr is getting 2880. A 158gr jaketed pistol bullet can be pushed faster than it will stay together. The 35-338 is not quite a 358N but it's not far off.

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    I have used 375 H&H brass to make cases for my 350 Griffen & Howe. You might want to check with Quality Cartridge and see if they make brass for yours. They make a lot of wildcat brass. They are the only place that makes the 350 Griffen & Howe and they are headstamped 350 G&H. Very good brass also.

    I paid for the brass because I didn't want to accidently put 350 Griffen & Howe ammo in my 375 H&H.

  11. #11

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    If your .358/338 is a necked-up .338win mag, the easiest way to get brass is from .338win brass. The .375 H&H case is way too long to serve.

    Might find a tapered sizing button from Redding or RCBS. Forster might make you one; or take a .35 cal button and taper the diameter forward yourself with a file. Tapered button is easiest solution. Can probably get by just fine by lubing your case necks with mica or other dry lube. Can also polish your size button with crocus cloth to smooth it.

    Redding Type S Fl sizer dies will usually take larger size buttons. The .338win S die should work fine with a .35cal button. Just get a .378 or .380 +/- sizing bushing and you'll be set. Could have a machinist open up a .338win seating die to take a Redding or RCBS .35cal seating stem and sized case neck. Not a big deal.

    Sounds like a great wildcat for all-around use! Have fun!

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    Get a ready made die set from CH4D.com. Use a K&M expander mandrel to size up. Anneal first. Lube. Will be very easy to make this.
    Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocre minds. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence. Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    Get a ready made die set from CH4D.com. Use a K&M expander mandrel to size up. Anneal first. Lube. Will be very easy to make this.
    Wow, thanks for the link, Nitroman. 83 bucks for 35-338 dies. Beats RCBS 358NM price all hollow. Les, quality cartridge didn't list this brass, but I may invest in a small stamp set and build a '35-' to put on the front of the factory 338 Win Mag marking.

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