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Thread: Need help with plinker load for 358 Norma

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    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    Default Need help with plinker load for 358 Norma

    I want to shoot some 158 gr .357 jacketed bullets out of my Norma. What powder and how much should I be using. Also, do I use a large rifle primer or magnum primer? Thanks for any help.
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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    I would take a look at trailboss. I read an article recently where it was being used in a few different rifle cartridges with good results. I have used it in my S&W 460 loads and it makes a great light load for low-recoil plinking. It will fill your case to the same capacity as whatever your full-pressure powder with greatly reduced charge weight due to the design of the flakes. 9 grains of trail boss fills my 460 brass to the same point as 39 grains of lil gun. Maybe contact IMR and see if they have any ideas to get you started. If you use trailboss, you likely won't be pushing those bullets much faster than they were designed to go either.

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    You could safely start with 75gr of H4350 and see where you want to go from there. I'd imagine you could go quite a bit lower in charge weight and velocity, but that data is the starting load for the 180gr Hornady bullet from the Hodgdon manual so I'm sure it's safe. At this load level primers won't make much difference, so you can use whatever you have on-hand.

    If you're looking to save a lot of powder, you'll eventually have to experiment, and that's the best that can be said for it. Anytime you load something into a case and cannot accurately measure the internal ballistics, you're guessing. It might be an educated guess, but it's a guess nonetheless. An educated guess (notice I said guess) would indicate that as you go lighter in bullet weight and powder charge, you can also increase the burn-rate of the powder. At what level does it become safe to shoot a pistol powder like H110 in your rifle case with light bullets? That's something you're going to have to determine for yourself, but I'd be reluctant to hurt a nice rifle (or a functioning eyeball and finger/thumb combo) for the sake of $20 in powder...

    Sorry if it sounds like I'm on a soapbox; it's not intended. I just wanted to make sure you (and anyone else reading this) understand the risks involved when you stray well beyond the boundaries of published data.
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    Member AKsoldier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diesel Nut View Post
    You could safely start with 75gr of H4350 and see where you want to go from there. I'd imagine you could go quite a bit lower in charge weight and velocity, but that data is the starting load for the 180gr Hornady bullet from the Hodgdon manual so I'm sure it's safe. At this load level primers won't make much difference, so you can use whatever you have on-hand.

    If you're looking to save a lot of powder, you'll eventually have to experiment, and that's the best that can be said for it. Anytime you load something into a case and cannot accurately measure the internal ballistics, you're guessing. It might be an educated guess, but it's a guess nonetheless. An educated guess (notice I said guess) would indicate that as you go lighter in bullet weight and powder charge, you can also increase the burn-rate of the powder. At what level does it become safe to shoot a pistol powder like H110 in your rifle case with light bullets? That's something you're going to have to determine for yourself, but I'd be reluctant to hurt a nice rifle (or a functioning eyeball and finger/thumb combo) for the sake of $20 in powder...

    Sorry if it sounds like I'm on a soapbox; it's not intended. I just wanted to make sure you (and anyone else reading this) understand the risks involved when you stray well beyond the boundaries of published data.
    And that is the beauty of trailboss. You can fill the case and fire at pressures WAY below what the caliber is designed to handle. The article I referred to stated that you can fill the case to the base of the seated bullet as a "rule of thumb" with no adverse effects. IIRC, in the 30-06 with 180 gr. bullets, they were getting drastically reduced recoil and velocity around ~ 1800 fps. That is not hard data, just what sticks in my head.

    My experience though: Using my own cast bullets in my S&W 460 (Lee 300 gr. gas checked flat nose) and 9 grains of trail boss resulted in amazing accuracy, and recoil light enough that both my wife and ten-year-old son could shoot it with no problems. I haven't run them through a chrony yet, but I'm guessing they are right around 700-800 fps from my 5" barrel.

    I think I may try to work up some loads using trailboss in my .243 and see what kind of accuracy I can get. It's a cheap gun, but I've shot under half-MOA groups with my first handloads. It's a Marlin XS7 with a new Redfield optic. Trailboss might be a good option for rabbits and such with that rifle.

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  5. #5

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    I have done exactly what you are talking about in my Norma. As AKsoldier said, Trailboss is the easiest to do this with. I can't remember the load off the top of my head, but I read the same article he referred to and followed that procedure. Fill the case to the base of the bullet, weigh the charge, back off ten percent and start from there. Report is slightly louder than that of a .22 with negligible recoil. Much fun can be had with those loads. I have also played with Unique and SR-4759 which both worked well for me but they are very small charges in a very big case. I used LR primers in all.

  6. #6

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    Back in the day (as in, before I was attached by stupidity and sold my 358 Norma), I was really fond of 52 grains of IMR-3031 under 200 grain Hornady spire points. In fact I even whacked a few deer with it. Mild as a 30-30 and easy to shoot, but really knocked the deer. According to my logs, it chronoed around 2450 fps from my 22" barrel.

    That was my "plinker" and I never tried pistol bullets. Not acquainted with Trailboss enough to recommend it (though it looks like it would be good), but SR 4759 was dandy with cast bullets in my 358 in the 1500-1800 fps range, so I suspect it would work well with the right loads under your pistol bullets, too.

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    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    I was hoping someone would have a recipe with Unique, W295, or a rifle powder. Sounds like I might need to go pick up some Trailboss. I might try that H4350 DieselNut recommended as I have some of that on hand.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigswede358 View Post
    I was hoping someone would have a recipe with Unique, W295, or a rifle powder. Sounds like I might need to go pick up some Trailboss. I might try that H4350 DieselNut recommended as I have some of that on hand.
    You can use Unique, or a similar burning rate powder. Red Dot, 2400, or H4227, for examples. 10 to 15 grains or a bit more. As for accuracy, it's an experimental science.

    It might help to use a pinch of polyester to hold the powder to the back of the case, in which case, Standard primers should do it, if not either a Mag. or standard primer might work best.

    You can also use SR 4759. You might find data for it in the Lyman Manuals.

    I should be able to get more specific, but it's gonna take a while.

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    Good point Smitty on those powders. I always hesitate to recommend it because it's beyond the bounds of manuals and standard procedure. But I have done it myself for years in other calibers than the 358 Norma. Just never got around to it in those days, though I've done it with 35 Rem and 358 Winnie.

    I just go to the cast bullet manuals and select powders and loads there, but some folks get all wigged out about the potential for jacket separation. Never actually seen that happen with anything but the old Speer types having jackets that didn't wrap around the orgive, and only then with really minimal charges. By staying in the upper half of the recommended charge range and choosing bullets with longer jackets, no probs and startling accuracy. Poly filler is a good recommendation, though I quit bothering. I just tip the barrel up before each shot to settle the powder back in the vicinity of the flash hole and fire away.

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    BB:
    I'm glad you pointed that out. I should have specified Cast Bullets.
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    BigSwede358:

    The Speer Manuals show Reduced Loads for most cartridges, using SR4759, and some bullet. (Jacketed)

    I notice the one for 358 Norma is using the 180 grain FN-SP bullet, (for the 35 Rem. ????)

    28 to 32 grains of SR 4759 ----- 1769 to 2013 fps.

    Smitty of the North
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    Member bigswede358's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys. I'm hoping to make it into my reloading room soon. I just realized a couple days ago my archery elk hunt is only 2 weeks away. Holy crap, i have a lot of stuff to get ready yet.
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