348 Winchester - Help Wanted

  • Last Post 21 October 2010
mtn_runner posted this 10 October 2010


I've been loading my 348 winchester with 7383 powder this year, and on Chronograph, have achieved the most consistent loads ever managed by me.  Shot 20 rounds today, all with a NEI 255 gr gas check, lubed and sized with gas check comes out to 260 grains.  Sized to 0.349.

Chrono results for 20 rnds is 2,092 FPS, range over these 20 rnds was from a low of 2077 fps to a high of 2105 fps.  28 feet per second over 20 rounds - best I have ever been able to do.

Trouble was that I could not get the bullets in a round of five to group better than 5 inches at 100yds.

Bad eyesight contributes to this, but it is worth noting that I shot a 7/8 inch group at 100yds with my son's k-31 loaded with Lyman 314499 pills and 38 grains of Varget.

Any suggestions on how to shrink the groups on my 348 will be much appreciated.  My first thought is to shoot the bullets unsized.

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blindeye posted this 21 October 2010

Sounds like you had a great time. I'm glad your 71 is a hunting rifle. Mine just sits in the safe. No use for it where I live, but I always wanted one and wasn't disapointed with it in any way when I finally got it. I look forward to reading about next years elk, good luck, MM

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mtn_runner posted this 20 October 2010

Rimrx, Blindeye and Codarnall,

Thanks for all your input which I will endeavor to put to good use.  Purchasing factory ammo for a test drive as suggested by Codarnall is a good idea, but - ouch - this requires some cash.  I have some Hornady 200 gr jacketed that I might try first, loaded to +/-2400 fps to see what happens, if groups get no better, I'll bite the bullet and buy some factory.

Rimrx - I can walk out my door to hunt elk but it makes for a long walk.  For this hunt I had to drive about 3 miles (none on paved roads) and then hike another 4 miles before the elk were jumped.  This made for an invigorating afternoon of boneing out and hauling elk meat.  Hard work, but can you think of a better way to spend an afternoon?

I feel very fortunate to have used the Model 71 for what it was intended - shooting big animals in heavy timber at close range; with my own cast bullets.  Life is good.

As an aside, I went along with my oldest brother on Monday and he shot a young cow elk, which also required a long pack out.  He used a 'sporterized' 8x57 mauser with Speer 175 grain bullets.  Hit the elk twice in the ribcage/lungs at about 125 yds and neither of the bullets went through.  We recovered one of the mushromed bullet jackets, without any lead in it, in the diaphram, and a few fragments of lead under the skin on the opposite side.  Aside from ribs, no major bones where hit, and the elk ran more than 50 yds with a double lung shot.

By contrast, both of my cast bullets went right through a much larger bull, one of them hitting two major shoulder bones, the elk went no more than 20 yds after the first shot, and dropped in a heap on the second.

Cast bullets are great!!

Good luck Rimrx on your late season hunt - looking forward to hearing about the excitement.


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rmrix posted this 18 October 2010

Mtn Runner,

Congratulations on getting the elk!


Living close to them as you must helps. I can hunt out my door but do not always get int them. Elk range over a big mountain here as I am sure is the case for you.

Also, thanks for the hunting report. It is always fun to hear what happened, especially with cast bullets! A freezer full of elk meat is the real high point!

As far as load development goes, I am not sure you need much but it is always fun to improve things. Makes us feel better. Adding filler my not be the answer either. As Blind Eye has written, a full load of H-4831 or some other powder works well too. His load is about what I recall using.

Blind Eye, thanks for the data. It makes me want to go back to the old Win 71 I have not used in years and shoot it some. Your load is great!

From the start I had a working 235 gr. NEI mould. I never could acquire the mould you have. That is a good, classic 250gr. design. I just never did find one for sale early on. Then in later years when I did find a 350 482GC I did not want to pay the high price they always asked for one.

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codarnall posted this 18 October 2010

Mod 71. I presume. I'd try some factory loads first and get an idea of how well she'll shoot. I have an '86 in 33 Win with a like new barrel, like new period. That group may be all she'll do. Then Id go to a oversized hard bullet. My 86 in 45-90 keyholes everything except factory. I hogged out the mold and sized to 460 an that helped a lot as the barrel is poor. And as you said unsized but crimped to withstand the magazine forces etc, that will be your next issue. Charlie

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codarnall posted this 18 October 2010

Mod 71. I presume. I'd try some factory loads first and get an idea of how well she'll shoot. I have an '86 in 33 Win with a like new barrel, like new period. That group may be all she'll do. Then Id go to a oversized hard bullet. My 86 in 45-90 keyholes everything except factory. I hogged out the mold and sized to 460 an that helped a lot as the barrel is poor. And as you said unsized but crimped to withstand the magazine forces etc, that will be your next issue. Charlie

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mtn_runner posted this 17 October 2010

Blindeye and Rimrx,

FIrst to Blindeye - thanks for the detailed information.  I have not purchased 4831 for some time now but will do so.  I have an RCBS 0.349 sizer die, that I am now thinking about reaming out to .350.  From your comments, .351 or .352 might be better.

To Rimrx - I am happy to report opening day success.  Shot a nice, young and fat 4 point bull with the NEI 260 grainers yesterday.  Moving through a mature aspen stand, I jumped two bulls that were bedded down together at about 25 yards.  The bigger of the two didn't stop, that may be why he is bigger. 

The 4 pt stop to see what the heck it was that scared him and peered around a big aspen to have a look.  That left me with a neck and small part of the front quarters shot at 35 yards, offhand.  So I took it, the shot was a little low and hit the lower part of the shoulder at the junction of the neck.  He ran about 20 yards and stopped with his head hanging down, I figured he was dead, but bad experiences have taught me to keep shooting at an elk until it hits the deck.  So I took another shot at about 50 yds and dropped him, hitting low on the shoulder.

Not much to report on bullet performance - the first shot when right through, took out the windpipe and carotid artery, which killed him, the second took out a major shoulder bone, left bone fragements though the interior and departed through the other shoulder.  I found some bullet fragements under the skin on the exit side, but that is about it.

Lots of meat to cut up now.  Good luck on your late season.


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blindeye posted this 17 October 2010

I don't have extensive experience with a variety of cast loads for my Win. 71 because the very first thing tried worked just fine. I used the same load I use with jacketed bullets; substituting cast. Lyman #350457 cast of old wheelweights, not quenched or heat treated, weigh about 250grs., Hornady gas checks, Lyman Supermoly, 61grs. H4831, WLR, circa 1990 Win. brass. Drop at about .352 and run thru a .350 Lyman lube die because it's what I had. If I ever run across a .352 die I'll switch to that size. Light crimp. The as cast bullets would chamber and shoot with the same accuracy as sized; but the gas check location was below the case neck and I wanted them crimped on. No leading I could see after 10 rounds. I only shoot a few at a time. Recoil's not bad standing in a t-shirt, off the bench I'm worried about a detached retina.. Never bothered to chronograph. 2200fps? That 250gr. load with H4831 is way more than I'll need for anything I'll ever hunt. I couldn't use the original sights well but with a Lyman receiver sight and Redfield Sourdough front it does really well to 200yds. About 50% larger grouping than I've come to expect with a dozen or so 1903 and 03A3 Springfields. A little load refinement might tighten that up, but if it ain't broke I'm not fixing it.

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mtn_runner posted this 15 October 2010


I just realize that there was a possibility that you may be tossing and turning, biting your pillow at night, waiting to hear about the outcome of my tests with unsized 225 and 200 grainers, with powder capped with Cream of Wheat, in the model 71.

I also realize that there is a better probability that you have been sleeping well.

In any case, I loaded the 225 grainers up with 43 grains of 4895, capped with 0.7cc of Cream of Wheat and the 200 grainers with 45 grains of 4895 capped with 1.0cc Cream of Wheat.

Shot a 5 round group of each and will say that the results are not worth reporting (i.e. any elk that I shot at would die of laughing before they died of bullet impact).  So much more work to do on this front.

In the same session, I shot a couple of more groups of five with the NEI 255 grainers (which weigh in at 260 gas checked and lubed) and managed to pull out some 2 inch groups at 50 yards.  I think that the rifle can do a lot better, but this will be more than adequate for the steep canyon, heavy timber hunting that I plan to do tomorrow.

I agree completely with you on the merits of hard lube in these bullets.  The only reason I used liquid allox was as a quick way to get unsized bullets lubricated for shooting.

So much more test work to be done - as we are moving into winter, with the requirement to wear a heavy coat on shooting sessions - I will be exercising the .348 more often.

Shooting the 260 grainers at +2000 fps causes me to pause occasionally and have a look at the nicely checkered and thin steel butt plate that Winchester accesorized these rifles with to absorb recoil.

Regards ....

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rmrix posted this 13 October 2010

Good luck with your hunt. I always thought that finding the elk to be harder than killing one with cast.

One other thought with the higher velocity cast hunting loads...accuracy wise ... would be to use a top rated lube. You might be Okay with LLA (liquid) lube BUT I found I get much better accuracy with LBT blue and I am sure there are other lubes that work well. But for velocity above the mid-teens, something other than the Lee liquid lube worked better for me. Also, with the higher pressure loads, lube in the grooves keeps the bullet from collapsing causing a loss of basic accuracy.

Best of luck to a fellow Colorado elk hunter! Let me know how it goes. I will be huinting 3rd season with a 50-90 Sharps built on a Remington Roller.

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mtn_runner posted this 13 October 2010

Thanks rmrix,

I have applied gas checks to some NEI225 grainers and some RCBS 200 grainers but otherwise left them unsized.  As cast, these both measure 0.350.

Lubed (twice) with liquid alox.

I will switch to comparatively light loads of 4895 and try your cornmeal suggestion.  I have had good luck in my .303 with this recipe (using cream of wheat).

We'll see how it goes.  Elk season starts Saturday.  If all else fails, I can stick with the 260 grainers and 7383, but will have to keep any shots at well under 100yds. (have to rely on hunting as much or more than shooting!! which is ok with me).


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rmrix posted this 11 October 2010

Also, I would try to shoot the largest diameter bullets you can load and chamber with out any problems. If that is unsized I would try that.


All the best,

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rmrix posted this 11 October 2010

Mtn Runner,

My 348 Winchester was my first elk rifle and I shot only cast bullets in it. Sorry tyo say I have not used that rifle to hunt with in a few decades. Got it from an old guy (now I am an old guy) who hardly used and he had about 70-80 old super speed cases and Peters cases with it. Looking at the rifle, I had ALL the rounds that had gone through the Winchester. It was in good shape. Still mostly is but it does have a few more bunps/stores to tell than when I got it.

Taking a lunch just now so I will be fast. I used to shoot the NEI bullet but thinking it was about 235gr cast of Heat treated WW body and a 20/1 nose. The nose would blow off on elk and the rear shank would go on through. It would really get the heart/lung area for quick kills. Maybe there was a better combo but it works well.

I will look up the load some time soon and post but I think I was using one of the slow powders like H-4831 and getting about 2250fps at the muzzle. Out to 200y was all I ever shot. It always worked.  That data might be deep in some box ??????  I did not use any filler in this load.

( I won't be offended if not everyone would want to do this.) HOWEVER, no bashing please. Years ago V. Smith at LBT told me to try some corn meal on top of the powder charge for a fast (full power) cast 35 Whelen hunting load. He said it would take any highspeed leading out of the barrel after the bullet went through. I tried it and it worked. I got very good hunting accuracy.  Just start out by backing off your powder charge and adding corn meal a little at a time.  No sense having troube by dumping addition mass and volume to your case at max pressure.  By safe-go slow. 

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mtn_runner posted this 10 October 2010


Sorry, It was a 33 grain load of Varget in the 7.5x55 k-31 using Lyman 314299.  Apologies for this -  38 grains will be a little hot.

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