Date: Apr 17 2020
The .358 Winchester was introduced in 1955, created by necking the .308 Winchester case to accept .358-inch bullets. It was originally introduced in the Model 70 Featherweight rifle, but was later offered in the Model 88 lever action. Other companies including Ruger, Savage, Thompson/Center and several foreign manufacturers have likewise offered rifles.
The .358 Winchester offers similar ballistics to the .348 Winchester, with early factory loads advertising 200- and 250-grain bullets at 2,530 and 2,250 fps, respectively, from 24-inch barrels. On large game, such as moose and Alaskan brown bear, its big bore caliber and bullet weight earned a reputation of reliability. Although it is an excellent choice for hunting deer (and elk) in the timber, its popularity among deer hunters has been limited.
While the .358 is not commonly thought of for its accuracy, it often produced five-shot strings with unusually low extreme spreads, and many groups measured under an inch from the Browning lever action rifle used here.
The BLR test rifle was fitted with a 20-inch barrel, and Winchester factory load ballistics fell approximately 100 fps short of their advertised velocities. Using the 200-grain Hornady SP bullet, Hodgdon H-4198, H-4895, IMR-4320, Winchester 748 and Accurate 2520 either duplicated or exceeded factory load velocities. Switching to the 250-grain Hornady SP-RP bullet, IMR-3031, Alliant Reloder 15, Accurate 2520, Hodgdon H-4895 and Winchester 748 likewise duplicated or exceeded Winchester factory load velocities.