Yearning For A .358 Norma Magnum


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52 shares, 44 points

.358 Norma Magnum and ballistic chart. Image gunauction.com
.358 Norma Magnum and ballistic chart. Image gunauction.com

Q: I have a Schultz & Larsen rifle in .308 Norma Magnum with a badly eroded throat that needs a new barrel. I am interested in having it rebarreled to .358 Norma Magnum. A gunsmith advised me that a .358″ groove barrel with one calibre of free-bore is the way to go since it would be superior to the standard chamber. What is your opinion of the .358 Norma Magnum and this procedure? My other questions are: What would be the maximum velocities with Woodleigh’s 250gn, 275 and 310gn bullets? What effect would freeboring have on these velocities. What barrel length – 610 or 650mm? Which twist would give the maximum velocity, stabilisation and accuracy for the bullets I want to use? Can the heaviest bullet (310gn) be seated to normal length without taking up too much powder space?

Paul Freeman

A: I believe the .358 Norma Magnum is a fine, well-balanced, high performance magnum that deserves to be more popular than it is. I am a great believer in free-boring since long bullets can be seated out farther (magazine length allowing) and recommend a 650mm barrel with 1:12″ twist. Case dimensions of the .338 Win. Mag. and .358 Norma are similar but the Norma has a bit more capacity and a larger bore, thus it can utilise a wide variety of powders, and with the best loads generate greater muzzle energy. For all practical purposes, with the right bullet, the .358 Norma will do nearly anything the longer .375 H&H will do, and in a standard length action. The 310gn Woodleigh bullet will fulfil most hunter’s needs for large African game. With the Woodleigh 250gn you should get up to 2800fps with maximum loads, And 2750fps with the 275gn. There’s no loads listed in the Woodleigh Manual for the 310gn, but I’d guess at 2600 to 2650 fps.. The heaviest bullet listed in the Norma Manual is 250 grains which ain’t much help. The standard twist is 1:14″ but 1:12″ should work to advantage with the long, heavy 310 grainer.


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Nick Harvey

Nick Harvey is one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He has been writing about firearms and hunting for more than 65 years, has published many books and uncounted articles, and has travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject is unmatched. He has been Sporting Shooter's Gun Editor for longer than anyone can remember. Nick lives in rural NSW, Australia.

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