Hey, I'm new.
Don't live in AK yet, but I'm spending the summer in Fairbanks and moving permanently in a couple years, when I finish college.
Anyways, I like the looks of the 358 Norma- it's basically got the killing power of the 375 H&H, but with recoil only marginally higher than in a 338 Win. However, I'm having a dickens of a time finding one! Does anyone know where in the world I could pick one up without spending a fortune? Are they even around?
I don't know anyone who currently chambers for it, so you'll either have to get a magnum action donor rifle, ie 7, 30 or 338 mag and have it re-barreled, or keep your eyes pealed at gunshops and auctions.
Just reflecting, I wander to the various used gunracks around town, and in 9 years up here, I don't ever recall coming across a 358 Norma. It's one of those rounds that just plain works and hence folks aren't likely to part with it.
As huge a fan as I am or 35's, I'd say if aren't going to handload and don't want to fiddle with cast bullets, a 338 mag will do everything the 358 will do, and with no problems finding guns, ammo, brass etc.
Another option is Rugers 350 rem mag. I just got one for my birthday, and have become quite fond of it. It does give up a little bit over the 358 Norma, either loose 200 fps or drop 25 grs of bullet for the same speed which is the route I took. That said it's a good pound lighter than a full size magnum rifle, so a fair trade. I figure if a 225 gr X bullet @ 2700 fps doesn't do the trick, another 200 fps or 25 gr of bullet isn't the answer.
Welcome Go North!
I'd have to agree with Paul, though I totally understand your reasoning. The .358 Norma just never quite took off, probably as much of the fault can be placed with marketing execs as with competition.
In my limited experience in this realm (.338WM and .375H&H), I'd have to say that you wouldn't be able to tell much difference in felt recoil when shooting similar weight bullets. Others on this board would have to relate to any differences in the field, but I suspect there wouldn't be much, if any.
You would definitely be handicapping yourself in regards to ammo availability, and for that matter, even brass. If you do want to forge ahead with this project and plan on reloading/handloading, you might also consider a few other cartridges in the same league; .358 STA (full length H&H length case with straighter body of the 8mm Rem Mag.), .358/338 (necked up .338WM, very similar to the Norma), .375 Taylor-Chatfield (.338WM necked up to .375), .366 Alaskan (see thread so named), .376 Steyer (factory loaded/SAAMI spec'd) and the 9.3X64 Brenneke (also factory loaded, although only by the likes of Norma). I would grab the first rifle I came across in a used gun rack that looked good in any of these calibers, including the .358 Norma, get dies and come back here for some load info from Murphy and gang!
You'd be hard pressed, however, to do better than either the .338WM or the excellent .375H&H. Remember, both of those can be loaded up and down, by you or Federal and Hornady (High Energy/Heavy Magnum). Factory ammo (when you didn't get around to load development in time for a hunt) availability won't be an issue either. Particularly in Alaska I imagine.
Forgive my rambling if you're already aware of all this and just want the 'big swede' to be different! I just kinda do that!
I have to go with the other guys on the advice they give you as well.
The cliché “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” really applies here. .358 Norma Mag is a fine selection for an AK rifle. If ever actually see one, I too would grab it for the empty space in my collection. But when in Alaska, do as the Alaskans do, and that is to get a .338 WIN MAG for starters.
The 338 Win Mag is no doubt the best all around AK rifle in terms of price and availability. It’s a real GIT R Done gun!
As for the 375 Holland and Holland, well words alone can not describe my true love for that one! I would sleep with it, but my wife says either the rifle goes back in the gun safe for the night, or I go back in the gun safe for the night I’m willing to bet God owns a .375 H&H in his collection…Let the .375 be the next rifle you acquire for AK.
The reality is if you do not already have a 358NM, expect to spent $2,000.00 and up for one or build it yourself for about $1500.00. Rayco Sales in Juneau, AK is the only place I have ever seen a box of shells for sale on the shelf for a .358 NM outside a gun show, so expect to handload or special order shells for it. Every gun shop and discount store in AK has .338WM and most do for .375H&H
Of course if money is not the issue then buy all three! .338WM, 375H&H then a 358NM
I have a custom rifle that is chambered in 358 Norma Magnum on a model 70 classic action. The 358 Norma Mag is hard to find, unless you stumble across one at a gun show, where I have seen a few. Also, if you don't reload, then don't even bother with this cartridge because you won't be able to shoot it! To me, recoil shooting max loads is less compared to my 338 Win. Mag.
Hey, thanks for all your help guys!
Yeah any of those calibers mentioned look good...and I have to admit that being a little different is slightly appealing...but since I don't currently handload (wouldn't mind learning someday), my options are limited.
I do like the looks of the 350 rem mag too... less recoil for one thing... but can it turn a charge? I don't want to be foolishly undergunned if I'm on the penninsula. If you guys think it's a sufficient stopper in those situations, I may go w/the m77 all-weather in that caliber.
The 350 rem mag will push a 250 gr 2500 fps, and at close range that'll stop any bear. It's just a repackaged 35 whelen, and the whelen has a legendary reputation as a bear killer.
The problem with the 350 rem mag is factory ammo, the onlything available is 200 gr stuff from remington, accuracy is pathetic in my Ruger, and it is a deer bullet, not a bear bullet. Load up a 225 gr X bullet, or your choice of 250 gr and it's a different story.
Since you don't handload, the Ruger 338 win mag all weather is by far the most gun for the $. If I weren't a gun nut, I'd be dollars ahead if I'd simply gotten a 338 when I first moved up here vs building a 35 whelen ackley, then re-chambering it to a 350 Rigby, and then getting the 350 rem mag.
I like the 375 H&H as well, but there aren't that many choices in factory guns with the current demise of the Win M70, and I'd rather tote a 338 win mag as they generally run about a pound lighter than a 375.
I was just noticing that Conley's 250-grain A-frame in 35 Whelen is supposed to do 2560 fps. I haven't seen a load in 350 RM that pushes that same bullet over 2450.
Is it hard to find factory ammo for the whelen that does that? Or is that an unusually hot load that would be hard to find without loading it myself? If it isn't hard to find that particular load, I may go with the whelen...what do you think?
Factory 35 Whelen 250 grain load is doing roughly 2400-2450. A good handload can push it to 2500+ but not + by much. Standard barrel length on the Whelen is 22". I have settled on the Nosler Partition 225 grain in all of the 35 caliber firearms I've owned in the past/present excluding the 35 Remington.