.356 Winchester (using Hornady bullets)
Date: Oct 08 2014
In 1983 Winchester (USRAC) announced the .307 and .356 Winchester cartridges for the Model 94 lever-action rifle. Essentially they were the rimless .308 and .358 Winchester cartridges, respectively, but with a semi-rim to allow more positive extraction in lever-action rifles, and were loaded with flatpoint bullets for the tubular magazines. The Model 94 receiver was beefed up to handle the higher pressures associated with these cartridges (52,000 CUP). Also new that year was the Model 94 AE (Angle Eject) that tossed cases up and to the right and allowed scope mounting directly above the receiver. Marlin likewise offered its Model 336ER chambered for .356 Winchester. This is a potent round suitable for hunting any game in North America, including moose and the great bears of the North (with suitable bullets).
Although the same dies are used for handloading the .356 and .358 Winchester cartridges (with different shell holders), due to internal case structure and dimensions, the .356 Winchester has a slightly reduced water capacity. Additionally, many bullets seat deeper, further reducing capacity. Therefore, data developed for the .358 Winchester is not suitable for use in the .356.
Full length case sizing is suggested to assure reliable chambering, and bullets should be firmly roll crimped in place to prevent deep-seating when subjected to magazine tube spring pressure and recoil.
The Hornady 200-grain FTX bullet features a spitzer profile rubber tip, which allows it to be used in tubular magazines, while offering a comparatively high ballistic coefficient. As a result the nose is longer when compared to other flatpoint or roundnose bullets intended for the .356 Winchester. When the FTX bullet is crimped in the cannelure, the overall cartridge length exceeds industry standards that are normally held to 2.560-inch maximum. In a Model 94AE test rifle, when the FTX bullet was seated and crimped to an overall length of 2.600 inches, it fed and functioned reliably. However, some rifles may not function with cartridges of this length. In those instances, cases will need to be trimmed below SAAMI specifications, and bullets seated (and crimped) to the correct COAL of 2.560 inches.
Loads containing ball (or spherical) powders should not be reduced below "starting" loads or erratic ignition and pressures can occur. Notable performance was obtained with Western Powders TAC; Hodgdon H-4895, H-322; Vihtavuori VV-N133 and Alliant RL-10 powders.