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.358 Shooting Times Alaskan


The .358 Shooting Times Alaskan is a wildcat created by gun writer Lanye Simpson and introduced to hunters in 1992.
As Simpson pointed out, this cartridge is similar to the .350 Griffin & Howe (.358-375 H&H) but was instead based on the 8mm Remington Magnum necked up to .358 caliber. Simpson's design also featured slightly less body taper than the 8mm Remington Magnum along with a sharper 35 degree shoulder. Simpson also used the 8mm Remington Magnum case to create the 7mm STW, adopted by Remington in 1997.

 The .358 STA is a potent cartridge, well respected by those who use it. This cartridge hits hard and can tackle all manner of game. There is little that could not be achieved with this cartridge design.



The .358 STA is a potent yet well balanced cartridge. To some, it may seem over kill, however this power can be put to great use in two ways.
Although the .358 bore has many virtues, high BC’s are not its strong suit. The high power of a magnum can be put directly to use as a means to increase the effective range of the .358 bore, whether used on medium or large bodied game.  
The power of the STA can also be used to maximize the performance of heavy and tough core bonded bullets. Although most of these are designed to expand at low impact velocities and their abilities are often romanticized, in smaller classic medium bore cartridges such as the 9.3x62, these bullet designs simply work better at high impact velocities. Good bullet designs such as the Woodleigh and Swift may not be rated to extremely high magnum velocities - but they can take it. The net result is that at impact velocities above 2600fps, these bullets are capable of delivering very high trauma without any great sacrifice in penetration. With good forwards shoulder shot placement, the STA can be used to anchor large and heavy bodied game on the spot.
The .358 STA does produce hefty recoil. And while this may seem an odd suggestion, hunters would do well to mate this chambering to a Remington Sendero platform. The muzzle diameter of the (7mm / .300WM) Sendero rifle is about perfect for a mid carry weight .358 Magnum, taking the differences in internal bore diameter into account. The stock design is ideal for soaking up magnum recoil. Those who need or prefer lighter weight rifles, may wish to use a muzzle brake or magnum capacity suppressor to tame recoil.
Regarding cartridge design, it is my understanding that like his 7mm STW, Simpson designed his original .358 STA reamer with minimal, rather than generous free bore (throat length / bullet jump). Most .358’s have a free bore length of .150 to .250” for velocity generation without high pressure. But with an already large case and ample room for power development and as far as I can tell, Simpson leaned towards accuracy over power. The typical load length for the STA is 3.600” (91.44mm) and can therefore be housed in both Winchester and Remington actions. The Howa (or Vanguard) magnum rifle fitted with a Boyds laminate stock also has some merit. The STA can be housed in Sako magnum actions, however the stock pitch of the traditional Sako rifle is not ideal for this recoil level.  
Other custom .358 STA rifles generally feature more typical (long) free bore. This can come about as a result of a Whelen reamer used after an initial pass through the chamber with an 8mm Remington Magnum or 7mm STW chamber reamer.  Please note that this method of chamber reaming, creates a slightly different outcome (different cartridge), having slightly more body taper and a 25 rather than 35 degree shoulder compared to Simpsons design.

In other instances, custom STA reamers have been built with long free bore from the outset. Those wishing to adopt minimal free bore are advised to choose a length of .100”. Those wanting maximum power may prefer .150”. As a side note to New Zealand readers, I have set all current Manson / True-Flite NZ .358 caliber reamers to .150” free bore (1*30'). This is much shorter than the original .35 Whelen specifications but still allows for ample power development in standard and magnum calibers along with excellent accuracy.
Simpson preferred a 1:12 twist rate for the STA. This twist rate best suits bullets weighing 225 grains and heavier.
Readers should also take note that due to the range in body, shoulder and free bore dimension, it is impossible to accurately predict potential velocities for all rifles. Velocities listed here must be therefore be considered as averages only.

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Hand loading

Brass for the .358 Norma can be formed from either 8mm Remington Magnum or 7mm STW brass, the latter taken up in steps. Hornady neck dies are very useful for this process due to the egg shaped expander button on the neck die.
Like the .358 Norma, this cartridge performs best when loaded with H4350 (ADI 2209) burn rate powder. Though it also possible to load Hornady Superformance if chasing maximum velocities with heavy bullets.
From a 26” barrel, average velocities include 3250fps with 200 grain bullets, 3050fps with 225 grain bullets, 2950fps with 250 grain bullets, 2800 to 2850fps with 275 to 280 grain bullets and between 2600 and 2700fps with the 310 grain Woodleigh.
The .358 STA is very hard on 200 grain bullets, though these bullets can be put to use for hunting light frame game at extended ranges. A major problem is twist rate, the 200 grain bullets generally display poor accuracy if loaded beyond 2950fps in a 12 twist bore. Those who wish to use the .358 STA in this manner, may need to adopt a 1:14 twist bore. In a 12 twist bore, this bullet weight may need to be downloaded (can also use 88 grains H4831sc). Loaded to 2950fps, the 200 grain pills can be used out to a maximum range of around 400 yards. At 3250fps, effective range is increased to 500 yards. In either case, this requires suitable optics and a sound knowledge of exterior ballistics.
The 225 grain Sierra works exceptionally well at magnum velocities. Many may think this bullet weight to be too light for a medium bore magnum but this weight can be extremely useful. In the .375 caliber, 225 grain bullets were common for many years as a means to increase the flexibility of this bore on lean game. This could make a cartridge like the .375 H&H extremely versatile rather than having to use a tough bullet on lean game which could result in very long ‘dead runs’ when hunting tenacious game species. Hornady made an exceptional 225 grain .375” spire point bullet but due to low demand, this bullet has been discontinued. One has to wonder what exactly constitutes ‘low demand’ in todays corporate environment. Are we hunters or bankers. I digress.
Those who shoot the .358’s need not have the same concerns with the 225 grain Gameking, a bullet that is well established among .358 caliber users. Loaded to over 3000fps, this bullet can still be used on a wide range of body weights, regardless of its fragmentary design, though it reaches its upper limit on game weighing around 320kg (700fps) if used at vey close ranges with angling shots. Sighted 3” high at 100 yards, the Gameking strikes dead on at just over 270 yards, strikes 3” low at just over 300 yards, is a hand span low at 350 yards and a foot low at 400 yards. At 400 yards, the Gameking is still travelling at 2100fps, reaching its limits at around 550 yards, though wind drift and bullet drop are a major concern at these ranges.
The 225 grain Nosler Partition is also very useful in the .358 STA, however one must have realistic expectations. Those who fully understand the Gameking for example, know that it is designed to produce full and rapid expansion, dumping maximum energy inside the target. When using the Partition, hunters generally have expectations of very deep penetration. And although this is a heavy bullet, it is rather short and light for caliber and simply cannot handle extremely tough or heavy game with 100% reliability if striking round bone at close ranges. All that is required, is to maintain realistic expectations. Increased velocity equals increased target resistance. The 225 grain Partition is an excellent and often spectacular killer of medium to large bodied medium game and can be used to the same ranges as the Gameking, but it has its limitations. Once these are understood, this bullet can be put to use with great effect.
The Accubond is not one of my first choices for the .358 STA. This bullet was designed to perform like a Ballistic Tip while keeping the ‘maximum weight retention’ camp happy. This placed too many ifs and buts on the Accubond design. As it is, the 225 grain Accubond works well on large bodied deer out to moderate ranges and can be very useful in this regard. This bullet is too tough for lean game at extended ranges and too soft for large and heavy game at close ranges. Of the 225 grain Bonded designs, both the Woodeligh and Swift A-Frame bullets penetrate extremely well, though neither have the ranging abilities of the softer Accubond. These bullets are however better options than most if hunting large bodied deer at close ranges where raking shots are to be expected.  
The 250 grain Speer and Partition bullets are also put under a degree of strain when used at close ranges in the STA. Both are wonderful bullets however the Speer loses some of its ‘premium performance from a budget bullet’. Both are ideal for Elk, reaching their limit on Moose. Neither are ideal for bovines, especially at close ranges (my preferred hunting distance for keeping velocity and energy high). Again, all that is required is an understanding of limitations.
A major advantage of the 250 grain Partition is that it sheds some weight, initiating high energy transfer. This is especially useful if taking cross valley (lower velocity) shots on large bodied game. Core bonded bullets simply cannot compare under these circumstances. The Speer bullet differs to other core bonded designs having very light core boding, generally losing around 50% weight. That said, like other core bonded pills, this bullet does its very best work (fast killing) at impact velocities over 2400fps.
When it comes to selecting premium bullet designs for the toughest of situations, both Woodleigh and Swift really shine through, each offering 275 to 280 grain weight bullets while Woodleigh also offer their 310 grain round nose in both soft point and full metal jacket.
The Swift A-Frame is similar in design to the Partition, but features core bonding within both the front and rear core. Both the Woodleigh and Speer bullets can tackle heavy bone. Both lose a degree of sectional density during penetration, however this merely adds to wounding potential.
The Woodleigh bullets are designed for mild impact velocities however in my experience, the faster these are driven, the more spectacular the kill. I simply cannot fault this bullet design in any way, when used in the manner prescribed – ranges short, velocities high. Although a lighter copper bullet can be driven faster and penetrate heavy game with ease, there is something to be said for a heavy bullet which gives away some of its SD, delivering several thousand foot pounds of energy inside its target. Still, this is but one hunting method. My usage of heavy core bonded bullets requires short ranges, keeping impact velocities over 2600fps.
Barnes offer a 225 grain TSX bullet which can be driven at around 3050fps. In my experience, both core bonded and copper bullets display similar range limitations. Having said this, a Barnes bullet sheds less (often zero) weight, which allows a lighter than normal bullet weight to be used. By reducing weight, the hunter can increase velocity and to this end, gain some effective (fast killing) range over a core bonded design. I should however mention that on heavy game, I still prefer to get close and use increased velocity as a means to increase wounding potential, not range. But for those who are concerned about being able to get close, the Barnes can be used to great effect on heavy bodied animals out to a range of around 170 yards (2600fps). At 2400fps (250 yards), the Barnes can still produce clean but sometimes delayed kills. This bullet is infinitely better than the 225 grain Accubond and Partition designs when used on heavy bodied animals. Far too many hunters see the numbers two hundred and twenty five and fall into the illusion that this is a very heavy weight in comparison to their more commonly used small bores. Hunters must always remember that weight is relative to SD.


Closing comments

As much as I like the .338 bore for its flat shooting qualities, the .358 bore can display superior terminal performance. This would become even more apparent if bullet makers such as Hornady put as much time into this bore as they do creating new cartridge designs. Such things can only be understood after intensive field research. Theoretical ballistics tables simply cannot relay this information with any meaning.
The main advantage of this cartridge over other .358’s including the .358 Norma, is its ability to drive heavy core bonded bullets at such speeds as to ensure maximum hydraulic shock while also (provided ranges are kept short), delivering hydrostatic shock to the central nervous system. This enables the STA to deliver very fast killing across the widest possible range of game body weights. The Alaskan is also blessed with a .270 Winchester like trajectory, even though the BC’s of this caliber are generally rather mild.
As mentioned previously, those who use the Alaskan absolutely love it. Yes, it recoils a good deal and yes, it may seem over the top. But the Alaskan delivers.  
Suggested loads: .358 Shooting Times Alaskan Barrel length: 26”
No ID   Sectional Density Ballistic Coefficient Observed  MV Fps ME
1 HL  200gr  Hornady SP/ FTX .223 .300 2950* 3864
2 HL 225gr Sierra BTSP / Barnes TSX .251 .370 3050 4647
3 HL 225 grain Partition .241 .286 3050 4647
4 HL 250gr Speer / Partition .279 .446 2950 4830
5 HL 280gr Swift (use also for 275gr Woodleigh RN) .312 .388 2800 4873
6 HL 310gr Woodleigh .346 .458 2650 4833
*12 twist bore limits velocity potential
Note: Individual custom throat lengths may effect factory ammo velocities. This also affects potential velocities of hand loads.
Load 6: Suggest hand loaders try to load over 2650fps using Superformance powder. Start load 80 grains.
Suggested sight settings and bullet paths       
1 Yards 100 252 289 300 325 350
  Bt. path +3 0 -3 -4.1 -7 -10.4
2 Yards 100 271 310 325 350 375
  Bt. path +3 0 -3 -4.4 -7.1 -10.4
3 Yards 100 277 318 350 375 400
  Bt. path +3 0 -3 -6.2 -9.1 -12.5
4 Yards 100 267 307 325 350 375
  Bt. path +3 0 -3 -4.8 -7.5 -10.6
5 Yards 100 245 282 300    
  Bt. path +3 0 -3 -4.7    
6 Yards 100 200 250 275 300  
  Bt. path +2 0 -3.5 -6 -9  
Sight height 1.6” (Scope).
No At yards 10mphXwind Velocity Ft-lb’s
1 300 10.3 2081 1923
2 300 7.7 2324 2697
3 300 6.5 2412 2907
4 300 6.5 2347 3056
5 300 8.2 2135 2833
6 100 .75 2458 4159
358 STA Final 
.358 STA Imperial Metric 
A .532 13.51
B .513 13.03
C 25 Deg  
D .492 12.5
E .388 9.86
F 2.390 60.7
G .320 8.12
H 2.850 72.39
Max Case 2.850 72.1
Trim length 2.510 63.8
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We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.