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Back around 1984, this Rossi Model 92 in 357 Magnum was my hog rifle. Using the Lee 358-140-SWC cast bullet @ 1400 fps, I killed many wild and open range hogs with this rifle. While replacing the sights with sights I could see after the passing of 20+ years, I decided to work up a different cast bullet load. I knew several things about the load before I started:
I picked the Lee TL-358-158-SWC mold. From my alloy, the bullets averaged 155.9 grs in weight, naked. My micrometer measured them at a uniform .358" in diameter and .645" in length. Seated to the bottom of the crimping groove, as you see them here, and heavily crimped with a Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die, the Cartridge OverAll Length (C.O.A.L) measured 1.570".
I lubed the bullets once with Lee Liquid Alox, let them dry, then lubed them again. Notice the heavy coat of lube on the nose of the bullet standing in the center. To avoid gumming up the seater and the resulting variation in seating depths, I wiped the noses of all bullets before seating. I left the heavy coat of lube on the ogive of the bullets. It won't rub off in the magazine tube, so why not leave it there for extra lube during the critical start up phase?
The sights adjusted on-bullseye @ 25 yards, I began shooting 14-shot groups over the Chrony. I loaded 15 rounds, shooting them in sequences of 5 shots. As the first shot of the first sequence was a fouling shot aimed away from the Chrony and the target, the groups contain 14 shots for record. After each 5 shot sequence, I cooled the barrel via compressed air through the bore. Here's the load components:
NOTE: The following loads are safe in my rifle only and with my components only. Some are maximum loads in some manuals. Do not use in a pistol. Do not use mag primers.
I began by charging single rounds with IMR4227 using different Auto-Disk cavities and shooting those rounds over the Chrony. I wanted a velocity around 1550 fps. If I found a cavity which threw a charge of IMR4227 which gave me that approximate velocity with acceptable pressure, I would then shoot a 14 round group for record. The cavity/charge/velocity results:
And I discovered a problem. Some of the loaded rounds were longer that their brethren. Close inspection showed some of the bullets protruding farther from the case than others. After a few minutes of head scratching, I discovered why. I had seated the bullets with a regular seating die set for zero crimp. In a separate step, I had provided a heavy crimp with a Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die. While awaiting their trip through the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die, the compressed powder charges had pushed the bullets up slightly in the non-crimped cases. So, now, they were crimped in varying locations on the bullets as the Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die only crimped them, not seated them. I had to readjust the regular seating die for a slight crimp and run all 15 rounds through it again, reseating all 15 bullets and mangling the grooves of several of them. But, heck, they didn't look real bad, and, besides, it was getting dark outside by then, so I decided to shoot them anyway.
The photo shows the results. One called high flier and one low flier probably due to mangled grooves. But in the center there's a nice round group of 12 shots in 2 1/4" x 1 7/8" @ 25 yards in dim light. And zero lead in the barrel. And good Chrony results:
Late the next evening I loaded 5 rounds with good crimps, then I hung a B-8C(P) target @ exactly 50 yards and in a deeply shaded section of my shooting range. I then waited for the sun to go down. Only the addition of rain would have made a better simulation of actual hunting conditions. Just before it was too dark to shoot, and placing the bullseye on top of the front sight as I did with the 25 yard groups and starting with a cold barrel, I fired the group.
For shots #1, #2, and #3, I used a .050" target aperture. For #4 and #5 and for further simulation of actual hunting conditions, I used a .150" hunting aperture. The results speak for themselvesall 5 shots in the bullseye. Notice the center of the group in the center of a beer can if placed on top of the front sight blade.
Come February or March of next year and Hog Camp 2005, my Rossi Model 92 357 Magnum will haunt the hog woods again. With plenty of power for 75 yard shots and with 10 rounds in the magazine, 1 in the chamber, and 9 in a buttstock carrier20 rounds totalit's the ideal deep woods hog rifle.
Here we see the Rossi tricked out for the deer & hog woods. That's camo duct tape. This photo was actually taken in deep woods on a hunt. While taking a snack break on the log, I thought it looked photogenic. When deer season ends, I will replace the hunter orange sling strap with an olive drab strap.
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