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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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.

GB
 

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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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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. :D JIM
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter #8
.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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IN my mind....

Well said Smokey! :agree:
 

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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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356 is indeed great!

I picked up a Winchester 94 in 356 about 3 years ago. I wasn't looking for one and really had no interest in one until a buddy showed up and asked if I still had my old saddle and would I like to do some trading. He gave me the rifle, dies, and 140 rounds of new brass for a saddle that was taking up space and would probably never be on a horse again. I immediately dove into research on the round. I settled on the Speer 220 FP and mounted a 3x Leupold on the rifle. That was no easy task as the front scope mount holes are radially drilled on my 94 instead of drilled parallel to the bore. I finally found the mounts at US Repeating Arms parts department. To make a long story short, I took a mule deer doe with it, rather unspectacularily. She just fell over, about a 100 yard shot and minimal meat damage. But it handles beautifully and is accurate enough for 200 yard deer and elk shots and arrives there with the authority to complete it's mission. I think you will really enjoy your rifle. Good luck. Mart.
 

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The .356 Winchester, greatest lever caliber

Smokey,

You left out the part about the majority of shooters and hunters not having enough experience and/or knowledge to really ascertain what's what. That, plus some of the garbage the gun writers spew forth certainly doesn't help matters much either.

Rocky
 

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One other thing

to consider is that a large majority of people believe everything they read in magazines. When those fine calibers came out few magazine articles were written that gave them the credit they deserved. Today what we read the most is a magnumitis thing. If it isn't the latest and greatest magnum something or other then you just can't get by without it, and many people reading these articles are believing it.

If the .356 or .358 were re-entroduced today, it would take some knowledgable gun magazine writers promoting them to make it sell. When they begin to sell, the manufacturers make money and everybody is happy.
markc :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The .356 Winchester, greatest lever caliber

I couldn't agree more that the gun rags have become all but delivery systems for corporate promotional messages. Still, it takes people willing to swallow the messages to keep the promotional train on the tracks. I'd love to see more forums and other forms of communication between hunters, shooters and reloaders that challenge the bigger-is-better mentality. As far as I'm concerned, effective and efficient are better, not bigger. To me, effective means having enough gun to get a job done cleanly/humanely, and that doesn't encourage taking irresponsibly long shots. Efficient means getting the job done without undue recoil (to hurt the shoulder) and powder (to hurt the wallet). I really object to the "what if" messages in magazines and on television that have hunters in circumstances they'll seldom if ever find themselves. We're constantly being asked, "Shouldn't you seriously consider buying the mega magnum so that you'll be able to make that long shop across the deep ravine and won't need to chase the animal 'cause it'll drop dead in its tracks from the power of that magnum, and of course you've got to be able to take that marginal shot and still kill the animal 'cause you paid so much for the hunt in the first place"? and on and on. When we purchase and use firearms based upon real life circumstances instead of fantasies and 'what if' scenarios, I think we'll start seeing more of the truly effective but not necessarily sexy calibers start to make a comerback. At least the fact that the .270, .30-06 and .30-30 are still selling well suggests that we haven't completely lost our senses. Now, if only the industry would provide leadership instead of trying to create marketing mirages...
 

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The .356 Winchester, greatest lever caliber

Advocate, you got it!! We might as well read Car and Driver for the latest spin on what's hot. Not to stir anyone up, but I'm convinced this is a huge factor in the selling of the in-line muzzleloaders - it's all about the latest toy. The manu's profit from out-of-country sweatshops and the states profit from increased fees.

Pleeeeze - someone kick that box out from under me fast!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hey Ric..

I hunted in central Montana this year - the Little Belts for elk (no luck...didn't even see an elk), and just outside of Lewistown, in the Snowies, for whitetail and mulies. I took a nice 8-pt whitetail and two anterless deer (one whitey and one mulie)...used the .356 on the anterless whitetail. Dropped like a stone. My brother-on-law lives in Lewistown so we had easy access to the areas we hunted. Hope to return next year though the chances are slim of getting another elk tag as I'm starting over with prefernce points. Sure do have some really friendly folks in Montana. My mother-in-law, two sister-in-law and their families all live in the Columbus area.

There's a .356 for sale now at auctionarms.com - the guy wants $495 for it. It's a newer model with the cross-bolt safety. That safety may work well but it's butt ugly! Keep your eyes peeled as ya never know when a .356 for sale will show up on one of these web sites. What a great rifle to find for one or both of your boys. By the way, Hawk Bullets makes flat points in .358 caliber (180, 200, 220 and 250 grainers). Their bullet index site is: http://www.hawkbullets.com/P-LIST.htm. Good luck with reloading!
 

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The .356 Winchester, greatest lever caliber

I agree with Smokey and Advocate.

My problem with .356WCF is that I wanted/want a Marlin 336. I've never seen but one and let it get away before I could get back to shop with $$$. Tried to get dealer to order one, none of distributers could locate them. Seems that Marlin only made X number of them and after that, they dropped it before word could get out on it. With 180gr FN Speer at 2,700fps, it will kill deer better than most .300 and smaller magnums to 200yds. With a 220 Nosler FN partition (not presently made), it would be fabulous.
Today with internet and increased interest in good quality lever-guns, it would probably make a GO.

Marlin, if you're listening: I want mine in Stainless Steel, with GrayFinish like Ruger's, with HALF MAGAZINE, 22" bbl with Ballard style rifling, and either Walnut (checkered) finish stock or CAMO synthetic. PLEASE !!!!!!!!!!!! PRETTY PLEASE !!!!!!
 

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356 Winchester greatest of them all?

I'm with you Smokey and Advocate !! I'll go along with the 356 being a great lever action load. But it is going the same way as the rest of the great cartridges in this category if "real" hunters don't get their point across to the manufacturers. The gun companies with the different forms of media support have killed off all of the great lever cartridges of the past with the exception of the 30-30, 44-40 and 45-70. The 444 Marlin is still hanging around because of it's likeness to the 45-70 and Marlin is smart enough to see this. But they wouldn't keep the the 375 Winchester alive in the 336 Marlin after Winchester dropped it from the 94. Browning saw what a great rifle the Winchester model 71-348 was after it was dropped by Winchester for 20 years. It had a short life 'cause it didn't get the media guru's blessing and it's gone again! All the short magnums are hot now, watch out for goes down if we don't tell them that we don't need this crap. Don't watch the outdoor programs on TV with the corporate pretty boys shooting deer or what ever in a preserve tell you what the best rifle is. We know what it is!We've been shooting them for longer than these jerks have been around. We need the Savage '99 back with it's various loadings; 250,300,308,358. We don't need 6 versions of the 110 in Short Mag calibers. We need to tell Marlin, Winchester and Savage what we want. Don't let some bean counter do it for us ! Like someone else said kick out the soap box. I'm ranting to much I guess, or maybe just too "old fashioned". Bye !!!
 

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.356 can work on bison too

I know a young lady who took a Montana bison with a .356 - one shot at about 70 yards. It was a game farm hunt or something. The guide told her to aim for the ear tag - she did - she literally punched the tag and down came the critter. She's also taken a modest brown bear with a 270 - she practices before she hunts.
 

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356Win

:grin: The 356win is a great round.I have one in a win M94AE-XTR and one in a Marlin M336ER.But what it ain't is no 358Win, 348win or 375Win.Heres why:

356Win 200gr 2460fps-2688fps,Winchester or Conley
348Win 200gr 2560fps-2909fpe,Winchester or Conley
358Win 200gr 2700fps-3236fps,Conley
375Win 200gr 2512fps-2801fpe,Accurate

356Win 220gr 2315fps-2617fpe,Accurate
348Win 220gr 2470fps-2979fpe,Conley
358Win 220gr 2500fps-3054fpe,Speer
358Win 225gr 2550fps-3248fpe,Conley
375Win 220gr 2372fps-2754fpe,Accurate
375Win 225gr 2300fps-2642fpe,Conley

I have over 30 lever actions.While i love my 356Win.I realize it ain't in the same league as some of the others.It always comes up a little short when compared to the big dogs in its class.And when i handload in my Savage M99a in 375Win.I can exceed COL(I'm at 2.66),pressure up to 60,000psi if needed,and 22in barrel,and spitzer bullets.My 356Win can't catch my 375Win.Even though the 375win holds less powder than the 356Win.In this case the rifle makes the cartridge(375Win). Thanks
 
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