Saturday, March 06, 2004

I am going to try to bring together some related posts I've made to various forums...


Is there something wrong with TC's .35 Rem barrels for the Contender?

With all the TC made barrels I've seen the problems aren't in how the guns are bored (I think they are very consistent in that regard) but in how they are chambered, crowned or finished. Finishing is a minor problem that brings the price down for the astute buyer. Incorrect crowning can be corrected as well. However, guns that are improperly chambered are a big problem. Often, only rechambering to a larger cartridge can solve the problems with the chamber and/or throat. That can be expensive as sometimes that also requires a foray into the world of wildcats (i.e. .358 Bellm or .358 JDJ) and additional dies, etc. Sometimes, that won't work either as there have been reports of chambers so far out of kilter that they simply can't be repaired. Bobby has probably seen a lot more .35 Rem barrels than I have and TC doesn't have a great rep for quality control so there may be something to the idea that the .35 Rem barrels are more likely to have problems.

IME, the .35 Rem and it's relatively small shoulder is a big problem for some reloaders who don't pay attention to detail or, perhaps, are somewhat lacadaisical in their approach to reloading. This even in perfectly set up barrels. When the dies are improperly set, there can be problems with proper functioning or case life. Many shooters will blame it on the barrel and move on.

I personally think the reason there are so many .35 Rem. barrels out there is that the .35 Rem is too mundane for a lot of shooters. Sure, it was a good first barrel but later... There are a LOT of options, and most want to try them. Rather than simply accumulate barrels (HEY!, don't look at me ), they sell them off and use the cash to buy new barrels, dies, etc. Contender shooters as a group seem to be more likely to do this than most shooters. We seem to love to buy, trade, accessorize, etc. However, it seems to me that there is a lot more of this activity among shooters than 30 years ago when many shooters only hauled out the guns to kill pests in the garden, go quail or dove hunting or for a couple of weekends of deer hunting.


The .357 Maximum...

I have a TC factory 21" barrel for my Contender. Excellent.

There seems to be a lot of stuff out there on the .357 Max and some of it seems to be true! The best powders seem to be W680, AA1680, H110/W296 and H4227. Lil'Gun might be in the running here, too. I'm going to be trying it this summer. Remember to use small rifle primers.

In the longer rifle barrels I think it is possible to get 2000 fps with the 200 gr. jacketed RN and AA1680. 2000 fps for the various 180 gr. jacketed bullets seems to be no great thing. 21 gr. of H110 and the 180 gr. Hornady SSP gets 1960 fps in my gun. This is plenty good. With the Leadheads 205 gr. LBT GC I get 1600+ fps from a charge of 17.5 gr. of H4227. Now this is a fun load to shoot and it is still effective.

Some people say that it reminds them of the .38-55. I think they're right. I'm hoping I can get a 200 gr. to leave my barrel at 1900-2000 fps using AA1680 or Lil'Gun and if so it will be very close to that .38-55 255 gr. jacketed moving out at 1850 fps. The .357 Maximum is really a hidden jewell.

Of course, it is basically the .38 Extra Long. One of the recommended loads for that cartridge is 6 gr. of Unique under a 150 gr. cast bullet. Using 158 gr. swaged lead bullets with this charge gives .38 Special peformance from the rifle and is loads of fun for small game and plinking. Great training round, too. In fact, the .357 Max is capable of swallowing all the .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammo you care to feed it. Just be sure to clean out that chamber later so that the Max cases have no problems sliding into the chamber.