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Thread: Custom BLR in 358 WSM

  1. #1
    Premium Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Custom BLR in 358 WSM

    Here's the future plan:

    I currently hunt with a 358 win. BLR (browning lever rifle). I'm exremely fond of it and I usually handload 250 and 200 grain bullets for it. I want to buy another .358, but get the take down version. I was going to have clymer make me a custom set of reamers to ream the chamber to 358 wsm. Replace the orginal bolt face with a short mag. one. Buy a set of custom dies made for the dimensions of the new chamber and resize 325 wsm cases into 358 wsm cases. The take down version would be good for this project and appears that this will be a success. Does anyone think differently? The BLR has a 1:12 twist which is faster than the 35 Whelen's 1:16 twist. So i would essentially have a 6.5 pound 20in. barrelled carbine capable of shooting 250 grain bullets about 300 fps.+ faster than the 2,380 fps. that im getting from my 358 win. handloads.

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    Default 358

    Sounds like a solid plan. Have you had any trouble with your BLR not fireing?? I had one in 358 (brand new) and loved how the rifle shot and handled, but it was VERY prone to not shoot the first time you pulled the trigger, if it was cold out or if the gun was even slightly dirty you could count on it. If you pulled the hammer back and pulled the trigger again it would normally fire. I had bought the gun for a backup guide gun. One day on a Mt side with a sow pretty close i couldnt open the bolt!! Gun was just a little dirty! I got rid of it. I have heard and read since of a lot guys with the same problems. I know a guy who built a 358 on a marlin, much better gun.

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    i shoot the .35 whelen,358 win, and the 35 remington, and enjoy them all! i have shot deer & elk with all of them and find them to be extremely flexible as to bullet-powder combinations.

    your "wildcat" sounds like a great plan, and a rifle that hasn't been done yet. please photograph the journey, and put some of them up. i'm sure the interest in your rifle will surprise you!

    ** as to yukon's reply.........i had a similar problem that was corrected by stripping the bolt,and a wolf spring.
    happy trails.
    jh

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    Premium Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Hello yukon,
    not one malfunction to date. I've cared for my rifle and it's taken care of me and always fills my freezer. the design of it is amazing if you think about it. I dropped the rifle in silt once and test fired it with no prolem. I also had a sling swivel break and the rifle plopped ejector side down in the muskeg and still no problems.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    I had the trouble with my BLR in 308 and it was fixed the same as Pine's was. Strip and slick the bolt and put a better hammer spring in it.

    Andy

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    Premium Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Yukon: If you had a malfunction with your rifle, why didn't you do what a gunsmith does and trouble shoot what is causing the malfunction instead of getting rid of a perfectly good gun? Was it brand new or used when you bought it?

  7. #7

    Default BLR

    I made a 358 Norma Mag. out of a Stainless BLR in 7mm. Works perfect for me. I had a 21 inch barrel installed and it carries pretty well. I have had a BLR since 1985 and not one malfunction.

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    Your project sounds good but there are a couple of points to consider. First and foremost the 358 is a 308 case the WSM is significantly different. There would need to be changes in the feed mechanism. You may get by with just a magazine and bolt from a WSM caliber and that would be good. It's probably tough to get those barrels except from Browning with the locking lugs, etc. So rebarreling with a 325 WSM and having bored might be too much. I guess it would have to be a 358 rechambered. I'm not sure the chamber (cylinder diameter) of that barrel would be adequate. Are WSM calibers of the same barrel diameter as the 308 series of calibers on that rifle? What does you smith think of this?

    On the set of reamers All you need is a finish reamer form Dave manson. He has that on his list of wildcats and it would be quick and excellent quality cutter. There is no need for a roughing and then finish reamer. The 35/300 WSM (that's what it's called) has dies available from Redding for about $125 and that is a good deal, so it is technically not so wild anymore.

    I've loaded for the 35 WSM and and like the caliber. It delivers some good ballistics. I think the 250 grains hit 2600 fps from a 22" barrel.
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    Premium Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I've disassembeled the short action 325 wsm and the 358 wsm and they are EXACLTY the same. The wsm has 2" more barrel length, that's it. I measured the bolt locking lugs and they are the sames size as the rugular short action. The loading ramp does look a little different, no biggie. I will make this work. Reaming the chamber from 358 diameter too wsm diameter will be about the most practical way. just bought the rifle, called clymer already and it will take a few weeks. I will post picks of my progress.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I've disassembeled the short action 325 wsm and the 358 wsm and they are EXACLTY the same. The wsm has 2" more barrel length, that's it. I measured the bolt locking lugs and they are the sames size as the rugular short action. The loading ramp does look a little different, no biggie. I will make this work. Reaming the chamber from 358 diameter too wsm diameter will be about the most practical way. just bought the rifle, called clymer already and it will take a few weeks. I will post picks of my progress.
    Of course the 325 WSM and the 358 WSM are the same I though you were converting form a 358 Winchester.
    Not to jerk your chain here but if you're converting form a 325 WSM to a 358 WSM you'll need to rebore or replace the barrel. And if converting from the 358 WIN to the 358 WSM I'll bet you the bolt head cut is different and the magazine follower are different. I didn't say the locking lugs would be different I meant the bolt head or cut inside where the cartridge goes.

    You may be right, I've never made a caliber change on a BLR rifle but I have changed well over a hundred other guns. This would be the first gun I've ever seen that had a .534" bolt head that used a .473" cartridge. Good luck. What do you plan to use to load ammo? Post a picture of the 358 Win and 325 WSM bolt faces.
    Last edited by Murphy; 03-05-2009 at 07:59.
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkeetnakid View Post
    I made a 358 Norma Mag. out of a Stainless BLR in 7mm. Works perfect for me. I had a 21 inch barrel installed and it carries pretty well. I have had a BLR since 1985 and not one malfunction.

    Who made your barrel for you? Am I all wrong here or does the BLR have locking lugs in the barrel or are they in the front of the receiver ? Clue me in here.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    Here's the future plan:

    I currently hunt with a 358 win. BLR (browning lever rifle). I'm exremely fond of it and I usually handload 250 and 200 grain bullets for it. I want to buy another .358, but get the take down version. I was going to have clymer make me a custom set of reamers to ream the chamber to 358 wsm. Replace the orginal bolt face with a short mag. one. Buy a set of custom dies made for the dimensions of the new chamber and resize 325 wsm cases into 358 wsm cases. The take down version would be good for this project and appears that this will be a success. Does anyone think differently? The BLR has a 1:12 twist which is faster than the 35 Whelen's 1:16 twist. So i would essentially have a 6.5 pound 20in. barrelled carbine capable of shooting 250 grain bullets about 300 fps.+ faster than the 2,380 fps. that im getting from my 358 win. handloads.

    I guess I missed this part of your original post. And this is what I meant about the bolt. I believe these rifles are made to snap together in a modular way to adapt to different calibers. Barrels are made to fit with all bolts, etc. Isn't this right. The barrel is cut for the locking lugs, not the receiver. If I wrong here let me know. Headspace is then more or less maintained with out individual fit up. This will work then but care in the last few turns of the reamer would be necessary. Get at least a go gage with the reamer, you can use a shim for the no go if need be. You could also just use a 325 magazine since they do make it in the caliber. I wouldn't try to modify the 358 Win magazine just keep for a spare for your 358 Win.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  13. #13

    Default Barrel

    Murphy,
    I believe the barrel is a Montana Rifle Company. I just assumed that it was as the person who did the work for me was an employee of Montana Rifle and had a side business. At that time, Montana only produced actions and barrels, they did no installations or fittings.

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    Quote Originally Posted by talkeetnakid View Post
    Murphy,
    I believe the barrel is a Montana Rifle Company. I just assumed that it was as the person who did the work for me was an employee of Montana Rifle and had a side business. At that time, Montana only produced actions and barrels, they did no installations or fittings.
    Thanks. I was qurious about how it went together. That was a mag to a mag so it would be an easier transition. Is your rifle an aluminum receiver? I have learned that they use a barrel sleeve with the lugs and the barrel is threaded to that sleeve put in place from the rear. I guess I can see how that all works. How is your 358 working out for you? Run out of brass yet?
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  15. #15

    Default 358 Norma

    Murphy,
    Its working great. I really like the way it handles and it shoots 250 grain A-Frames under an inch at 100 yards. I have plenty of brass, between what I purchased from you and MidWay. It is the newer alloy receiver model. I had it made as I was not happy with the stainless left hand bolts available,(for a reasonable price), at the time. Now I have a new left hand stainless Hawkeye Ruger .375. Not quite sure yet on which one I like better. The BLR in 358 Norma is lighter than the Ruger, but the Ruger is a bolt action. Dunno, time will tell. They both have similar ballistics when you compare 250 grain bullets.

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    Default I have a 358WSM

    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    Here's the future plan:

    I currently hunt with a 358 win. BLR (browning lever rifle). I'm exremely fond of it and I usually handload 250 and 200 grain bullets for it. I want to buy another .358, but get the take down version. I was going to have clymer make me a custom set of reamers to ream the chamber to 358 wsm. Replace the orginal bolt face with a short mag. one. Buy a set of custom dies made for the dimensions of the new chamber and resize 325 wsm cases into 358 wsm cases. The take down version would be good for this project and appears that this will be a success. Does anyone think differently? The BLR has a 1:12 twist which is faster than the 35 Whelen's 1:16 twist. So i would essentially have a 6.5 pound 20in. barrelled carbine capable of shooting 250 grain bullets about 300 fps.+ faster than the 2,380 fps. that im getting from my 358 win. handloads.
    Now, a 6.5 lb gun chambered in what will, for all practical purposes, duplicate the 358 Norma.., I'm flinching already.
    It is a great idea, and I would only add that the Redding dies in 35-300wsm have loaded up some very accurate loads.., flawlessly.

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    Default Please keep me informed...

    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    Here's the future plan:

    I currently hunt with a 358 win. BLR (browning lever rifle). I'm exremely fond of it and I usually handload 250 and 200 grain bullets for it. I want to buy another .358, but get the take down version. I was going to have clymer make me a custom set of reamers to ream the chamber to 358 wsm. Replace the orginal bolt face with a short mag. one. Buy a set of custom dies made for the dimensions of the new chamber and resize 325 wsm cases into 358 wsm cases. The take down version would be good for this project and appears that this will be a success. Does anyone think differently? The BLR has a 1:12 twist which is faster than the 35 Whelen's 1:16 twist. So i would essentially have a 6.5 pound 20in. barrelled carbine capable of shooting 250 grain bullets about 300 fps.+ faster than the 2,380 fps. that im getting from my 358 win. handloads.
    This is exactly the project that I want to undertake. I have a BLR LtWt in 300 WSM and it is my favorite rifle ever. Accurate, light weight, and very well balanced. I have put 200+ rounds through it and have not experienced any feeding problems whatsoever. When I originally bought it, I was concerned with the recoil potential of the magnum cartridge in that light of a rifle, but have found the felt recoil to be very tolerable. Less than my Win Model 70 Featherweight 30-06, which is heavier. I have fired 40+ rounds at one sitting, with no shoulder pad, and no pain. You probably know this, but Browning has exploded views and parts price lists on their site at http://media.browning.com/pdf/parts/..._pricelist.pdf. I don't see any feed ramp in the exploded view, so that would not need replacement. A .325/.300 WSM magazine should provide reliable feeding. Thanks for the info regarding the barrel dimension in the chamber area. One of my concerns was whether the 358 Win barrel would have enough chamber wall for the increased pressure of the WSM after reaming it out. I spoke with a technician at Browning. All he would say was, "We would not want to get involved with that." He should run for government office. I didn't want any guarantees, just to know whether they were the same outside diameter at the chamber. I'm no gunsmith or ballistician, but would think that the 1:12" twist rate would be near perfect for the heavier weight bullets. I'm thinking of the variation in twist rates between .223 rifles built to handle light bullets (1:12-14") and heavy bullets (1:7-9"). The tighter twists stabilize the heavy bullets better for accuracy, but over-stabilize the lighter bullets, for decreased accuracy. I have seen it mentioned in other forums that there are 3 companies who already have reamers available for 358 WSM/Sambar, so you might not need to have a custom reamer made. You might even be able to rent one, or buy used, since there appear to be a number of people out there doing this conversion. That's what I am hoping for. Is there a technical reason why you want to go with the take down BLR for this conversion? There's lots of great information in this thread. Thanks to all. I'm very interested to follow the progress of this project.

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