05 March 2024

Weird Gun Idea - 350 Legend As A Possible Reduced Logistics Cartridge

 I've been mulling over putting together a rifle and ammunition combination that could use black powder or black powder substitute for deer hunting. The idea was, if I can't get appropriate smokeless powder, could I use BP or a  BP sub to load up. .45 Colt for sure can do that, especially with the correct gun but .357 Magnum isn't a good choice as there just isn't enough case capacity. I had wondered though if .357 had a longer case, could it be used? The .357 Maximum case isn't long enough but the 350 Legend case could be. The new .360 Buckhammer would probably be even better. 

Since 350 Legend was the original cartridge for the WWSD Hunter project, I still have the barrel and a plenty of empty cases. I pulled out a case and my powder measure and some Triple Seven. What I found was that the 357 Legend case can handle around 40 grains of powder if it's compressed. That's about what you can stuff into a .45 Colt case by the way. 

The next question is about performance. What sort of velocities can we get? Well, at the moment, I don't have a way to answer that guess for sure but what I do have is some projections. The YouTube channel, Everything Black Powder has run a few experiments with both .45 Colt and .30-30 using different powders. 

The one that caught my eye was his .30-30 loads using a 165 grain case bullet and 35 grains worth of Swiss black powder. I believe it was FFg rated. From a 20 inch barrel, he was getting low 1400 fps velocities. Triple Seven would be a little faster or very similar, if I understand correctly. 

What I think is interesting, the bullet I was considering for this idea would have been bullets dropped from my Lyman 358439 HP that I suspect will drop cast lead bullets around the 160 grain weight. The cast bullet used in the .30-30 was 165 grains.

Unless there is a boost from the bottlenecking or something else, the 40 grains in the 350 Legend case should push my proposed bullets about the same or better velocity from a longer barrel. I'm hoping for around 1500 fps from a 16 inch barrel.

That would be right around .357 Magnum velocities from an 10 or so inch barrel with today's loads. If we wanted full power, original .357 Mag, that would be from an 8 inch revolver. 

With the correct lead alloy, this idea should work. 

The last thing I can think of is getting the correct twist rate for the barrel. Thankfully, the AR Stoner barrel I got for the WWSD Hunter project is a 1:16 twist rate which is the same twist rate as the 16 inch barrel in my Marlin 1894. 

At this point, the only thing left for me to do is to get reloading dies for 350 Legend and put the barrel on an upper receiver to try it out. 

Ultimately, I think a different gun would be a better choice. I'm thinking about a Rossi R92 in .45 Colt but the idea that the 350 Legend could work in a pinch was pretty interesting. If I ever do this, I'll post what I find here.

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