@ 06:09 pm (GMT)
Luke LahdenrantaI just thought I'd share a few things I have found as I have continued to research the medium bores, these might prove useful to someone else contemplating a new medium bore rifle.
One thing I am learning is that anyway you slice it, if you want to build a custom rifle in a slightly oddball chamber like a 358 Norma Mag is you got to be prepared to pay the piper. A lot more $$ for dies, brass etc plus as the gunsmith informed me I would have to buy my own reamer for about $250 CAD. Sigh the big Norma magnum sure is an expensive date...
But still the desire for a 358 Norma remains. I discovered that the old danish firm of Shultz and Larsen is still making them (along with a bunch of other calibers) and even in lefthanded as well! Joy! But they don't actually have a Canadian (or USA) importer yet so again... $$$
I talked to a well regarded lical gunsmith and by far the easiest and one of the cheapest options would be to have my 30-06 caterpillar turned into a 35 Whelen butterfly, a benchmark barrel installed on my Tikka will go for about $1k.
I have almost talked myself into going through with it. I think I would really like the Whelen. Nathan's write up on the 35 Whelen is one of his best and most eloquent, I'm certainly sold. The only thing that is giving me pause is finding out just how slim the selection of 35 caliber bullets is here in Canada. I mean it is really sad. One big online dealer, for example lists 12 bullets for 358 caliber, versus over 50 for 338 cal and about 25 for 375 caliber. And to add insult to injury, of the dozen 358 bullets listed, almost half are out of stock... including the Sierra 225 gr btsp and the Speers. Living in the .30 caliber component land of milk and honey that's quite a shock haha.
The other option that I am looking closely at is since in order build a 358 Norma magnum, I need a magnum action as a donor anyways. So I could buy as a stepping stone either a 300 mag or maybe a 338 Win Mag to try for a bit then rebore/rebarrel. I may go that route. The other option would be to skip all the intermediate steps in the journey and just fast forward to the 375 Ruger Guide Gun. Nobody starts threads anywhere, anytime, asking if the 300 Mags or the 30-06 or 7mm Mags are as good as the Three Seven Five. It's seems to be almost universally acknowledged that the magnum 375s are a big, you can't mistake it, step up from even the fast .30s :)
Anyway, if just reading about and researching the medium bores is proving to be this much fun, then I can't wait to actually get my hands on one!