The .356 Winchester, greatest lever caliber of 'em all - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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Default The .356 Winchester, greatest lever caliber of 'em all

Several months ago I was fortunate to acquire a Model 94 in .356 Winchester. I just LOVE this gun and took a small whitetail buck with it on my Montana trip this year. Before I bought the gun, I did a lot of reading about the caliber. One of the 'warnings' I heard was that recoil was pretty stout. After firing a box of Winchester 250 grain commercial loads, I was left wondering why anyone would be scared away from the caliber because of recoil, which was noticeably less than my .30-06 with 180 grain commercial loads. I've acquired an ample supply of new brass and Speer bullets, both in 220 and 180 grain weights, and look forward to using this rifle on everything from deer to (if I ever draw a tag) moose. Though my rifle now wears a Williams peeper, I'm going to replace it with a 4x fixed power scope because 1) these 50 years-old eyes aren't good enough to take advantage of a peep anymore, and because the scope should help me take better advantage of the rifle's power and range, which are both impressive. In terms of ballistics, this rifle with 220 grain loads ought to be the cat's meow for elk up to 200 yds, and it is a superb deer caliber up to 250 yds., depending upon the skill of the shooter. Why Winchester and Marlin don't reintroduce this great caliber is beyond me. Since I bought my first .356, I've been looking for a second...and their harder than snail's teeth to find.

I'd really enjoy hearing others' stories/impressions of the great .356 Winchester.
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post #2 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 12:03 PM
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Default Yes.

I was reading last night and the author of the artical suggested that the .358 Win is actually the same cartridge as the .356. There was only a few thousands of an inch difference in the rim diameter. And, in fact he was able to insert the .358's in the Winchester. NOT, suggesting you try it!
Either way, the ballistics are nearly the same which makes it a great short range round. The .358 is a sleeper that died of bad publicity as did the .356. Like you mentioned, recoil was the fea on the cartridges butt.
Have fun, I love the .35's!

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post #3 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 12:47 PM
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Default The .356 Winchester, greatest lever caliber

The reason they won't bring it back is because folks wouldn't buy them when first introduced. The companies have no reason to assume they would sell any better now. The .35 caliber other than the .35 Remington just doesn't sell. Folks want either a .338 or a .375 and just won't buy .358s. Even the excellent .358 and .35 Whelan are nearly dead as far as factory rifles go.

Do not attempt to fire a .358 Win. in the .356 Win. Yes it will physically fit but likely wouldn't eject as it doesn't have a rim. BUT more importantly it is loaded to pressures higher than are safe in the Winchester and Marlin rifles. That's why it wasn't used and the .356 was developed. It operates at lower pressures.

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post #4 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 01:02 PM
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Default Can't find one!

I don't know why hunters don't like the .35's. A quick search on four auction sites produced no .356's, only 2 .358's. Interesting though I found about 5-6 .358 Norma Mags. Now there is a .35 caliber for you! Beats anything out there and would be a great Alaskan gun. Found one 760 that was rebarrled to .358 Win. That would make a great brush gun.

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post #5 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 01:38 PM
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Default 35 calibers

If the majority of the hunter and shooters wanted a 35 cal. it would be on the shelf for sale by all of the major manufacturers. They dont give a flying F what caliber you shoot as long as you are willing to pay and pay dearly for it. They want to keep the calibers in the range where the majority of the public can handle the recoil / accuracy/ ammo cost so they can sell more of them. that is why you dont see the 35 as a hot cal. the general public just dont want it. JIM

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post #6 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 01:58 PM
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Default So....

Why the 7mm, .338 & .375 ultra. They kick harder and are more expensive! Or, is it because they just want to make you think that you need a new gun that is only slightly better than something that has been around forever. Maybe the gun dealers have some automotive salesmen working for them.

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post #7 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 04:13 PM
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Default Smokey, I have one for my Contender........

This cartridge has quickly become my favorite for Contender for serious hunting. I didnt get anything with it this year, but it is a definate shooter. I use data similar to the 358 JDJ, although this case is a little smaller, and I cant fit some of the maximum loads in the case. I dont need the extra power anyway. 235 gr Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets look real pretty in this cartridge, and I am sure they will knock down anything they are pointed at. The .356 also works real well with 158 gr.357 XTP's. Yeehaw, very fast, flat shooting bullet, and I bet these bullets at 200 yds, will still kill better than a 357 at 20 yds. I really want to try them on a yote. Graybeard has an article comparing the 375 JDJ and the 358, and he beleives the 35 caliber has better bullet performance. I agree.

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post #8 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Default .356

There's this funny dance that has always gone on between what the industry believes people will buy and what they actually do buy. I believe that if a product is developed based upon a solid idea, all that stands betwwen it and success is some combinatin of marketing and timing. I think the failure of the Winchester Big Bores in .307 and .356 to sell widely enough to remain viable is, to a large degree, a function of some combinatin of timing and Winchester failing to properly market the gun. But now, there is clearly a resurgence of interest in the lever gun, even in the calibers that really sock the shoulder like the .444 and .45-70. The .356, .348, and .307 are ballistically superior not only to these calibers for the hunting most people do, but they are superior to the great .30-30....by a considerable margin. The bummer is that customer demand for these guns because demand is measured through actual sales and these guns aren't made anymore. So, I say 'bunk' to anyone who believes these guns are losers. More accurate, in my opinion, is that Winchester and Marlin can be blamed for not having enough interest in their customers to reintroduce and promote them even if only to test the market.
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post #9 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 06:33 PM
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Default IN my mind....

Well said Smokey! :agree:

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post #10 of 67 (permalink) Old 01-05-2003, 08:36 PM
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Default The .356 Winchester, greatest lever caliber

Check your Browning dealer, the 358 is back, in the BLR with a straight stock!
Anyone want to buy me one? :roll:

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