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wild cats / non factory rounds

12 Sep 2015
@ 07:21 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

thought i better copy and paste from the off topic forum

Thomas Kitchen
Re: New Guy here.
welcome A vilavella.
sounds like you keep yourself busy.
you got me intrigued already what wildcats you been doing?

10 Sep 2015
@ 04:53 pm (GMT)

Quote this
A Vilavella
Re: New Guy here.
Hi Thomas,
Thanks for the warm welcome.
Wildcatting is a hobby of mine that I do in the winter time when we are snowed in. Specially the design part and brass forming, die making etc..

I am not doing anything too serious that perhaps others have not tried before. There is no much left to be invented although we like to think we are contributing with something.

The one I am developing now is a 308 magnum that can use the standard bolt face and actions as supposed to Dakota for example. I have two candidate donors the 375 ruger or the RUM case that has to be shortened. One could go with the norma or the 338 lapua super magnums in 308 but those are clearly overbored and need larger bolt heads and wider shank. We don't need so much powder to be able to improve on the venerable Win mag. Just imagine if the WSM was a tad larger and with lots of freebore what this could do and on a more reasonable budget.

I had the 338 LM and I liked it but I decided it was not for me. perhaps too much rifle for me.

So we are trying to do some caliber consolidation and get things to be a bit easier to manage yet still have something that can shoot flatter.

Another wildcat I just finished last winter and I have been testing this summer is a short Indiana Legal 358. This was designed to be used in popular actions like AR, SKS, AKM type yet deliver more power. For that I used the 7.62x39 shortened and necked up to 358 caliber. This is a nice little cartridge for the heavy brush and even for the contender or encore system. 180gr soft points can be propelled at 2,500+ fps on a compact 16" barrel. 200gr do 2300 fps and I also have the amazing 225gr SGK clocking 2200fps+ that puts the little round on the big game league. I would not be the goto round for large moose but also I would not feel shorthanded if the range was right.

Thanks for the interest. Are you a wildcatter too?
Is there a section where you discuss alternative calibers here?


11 Sep 2015
@ 08:18 pm (GMT)

Quote this
Nathan Foster
Re: New Guy here.
Shouldn't really be talking about guns and loads in this thread but I wanted to say- a .358x39 is my kind of cartridge. Nice.

Just be a bit careful with a whole freebore thing in the magnums. Use the book series to help with your planning in this regard. Christmas soon....


12 Sep 2015
@ 07:31 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
a mini howa action in 35x39 blown out to ppc specs perhaps Nathan?
i did wonder with those new howa's specially the heavy barrel one if it would be worth getting the barrel set back a little and rechambered in 22 ppc so you can fit amax's in the mag.

A vilavella
im currently playing around with doing a 35/303 leaving all the dimensions the same even the should angle to make sure there's no feeding issues and reloading dies easier to modify.

A Vilavella have you thought about starting off fresh with the 404 jeffery case which i believe is the parent case of the rum and wsm.

13 Sep 2015
@ 02:44 am (GMT)

A Vilavella

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
Hi Thomas,
Thanks for creating this section. I am still learning my way around the house.
The 358 I created last winter is quite simple. I used three reamers, one to do a rough cut, then the 35R and to finalize with a 358 throater to give it .160" freebore.
The final case OL was settled at 1.465" and it is trimmed at 1.455" or so.
The reason for the extra freebore was to give more versatility to a crippled virtually in-existent 35R freebore. I also got a barrel with 6 ratchet rifling that gives more versatility when shooting 357 bullets form affordable value packs.
I have been using several brass sources all brass I already had collected through the years like hornady 6.5Grendel, Winchester and lapua 7.62x39.
The lapua 7.62x39 needs neck turning after sizing and one must cut into the shoulder with an angled cutter since there is a lot of meat in there in this brass. The result is gain in capacity and the right dimensions. The other brass didn't need necks turned so it is a quite easy two step full sizing operation. After that trimming and done. not fireforming necessary
with the 6.5grendel. With the others is better to start with reduced loads until all cases are blown into final shape. With the lapua 7.62x39 I use a 375 mandrel to form a temporary shoulder so it has plenty of support and headspace is dead on.

I really like the versatility of this round for shooting 356 147gr and 140gr 357 value packs for practice, plinking or varmints while having the capability to use 180gr to 250gr bullets for the game.

The 35 department offers some very nice premium bullets like the nosler partition and accubond, 180gr TTSX and Sierra 225gr Game king.

Hornady's 180gr and 200gr are well priced and popular with the contender crews. They are also appropriate for the smaller deer but too soft for hogs due to the thin jackets.

The round loves H110 and lil-gun for the "light" bullets up to 180gr. And then AA 1680 works like a charm with the heavies. I am testing other powders too but have not consolidated data yet.

With the extra room and bullet versatility plus the good quality brass one can really push those 180gr to 225gr and still comfortable to shoot on a short handy 16-18" auto-loader or bolt action like the CZ.

If you look at the ballistics with the PArtition, Accubonds or the 225gr SGK it gives plenty of speed and momentum well past 200 meters with more punch than the parent 7.62x39 at the muzzle. The wounding potential of the 35 bore needs no introduction.

Regarding the 308 magnum is too early but I might end up using the RUM just because I have a large amount of once fired cases already. Although when I look at the RUM case and then the 358 I am starting to have wild visions of a great dinosaur hunter! ;-)

I need to see how I can put some pictures here so anyone interested in the subject can see how these cats look like.

Also today I found out that I have a 358/300 WSM reamer I didn't know I had. Anyone here has used this variant? It seems to me the WSM can push a lot of calibers very well with that large boiler room.


15 Sep 2015
@ 07:37 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
this is the 35/303 i have been playing with its a 250gr 35cal next to a factory 150gr 303

had a 35wsm reamer you didn't know you had, sounds like you got a nice work shop if you got reamers you don't know about.
the 35 wsm is known as a 35 sambar over this side of the world. it'll be a nice caliber to shoot with if you got the reamer sounds like your half way there

the 35x39 you made was it the same as a 358 gremlin or different again?
16 Sep 2015
@ 09:30 am (GMT)

Cor Nepgen

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
Hi, Seeing this topic I thought I would share a bit of information I came across recently. For some I think it will be old news, but perhaps others may find it interesting.

I came across an article in a local hunting magazine about two "South African Wildcats" as described by the author. (Given how I have seen different people from all over the world, independently come up with the same solutions to problems, I am not too sure how unique it is though.)

The article was written in Afrikaans so I will relate the interesting info (although the article was a bit thin on specifics..)

Both developed from the love of the 7mm cartridge and experience with the 7 x 57. Chris van Niekerk, a BR competitor and hunter is credited along with gun smiths, Kenny Jarret, for the Gwaza (USA) and Terry Harrison (SA) for the Tombi.

The first was the 7 x 60 Gwaza;
Based on the experience of the 7 x 57 the 8 x 68 case was necked down to 7mm. (the shoulder may have been 40degrees). This wildcat was used with good results to hunt at extended ranges.

The second was the 7mm Tombi.
The cartridge was developed for bench rest competition and specifically to be used with our locally available Somchem Powder (not the best on the market). Because of this one of the requirements was for the cartridge to work well with lower pressure loads.

The 7mm Tombi (named after a beloved dog Zoeloe for "daughter or "Girl") is based on the 7 x 57 cartridge with the shoulder at 40 degrees.

The cartridge was used by the SA bench rest team with success during the 2005 F-Class Bisley competition. There are not a whole lot of rifles around in this caliber (to my understanding) although some do use it for hunting at longer ranges with great success.

Perhaps some find it interesting reading. It has tickled me quite a bit..

Cheers, Cor
17 Sep 2015
@ 04:39 pm (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
That is a nice looking cartridge. What's the speed with the 250gr? Big bore enfield? ...sounds like fun.
My shop/man cave is very small but it is fun. The thing is I got a bunch of stuff from a friend's friend who past away and he was a wildcatter.
I have been collecting stuff for many years and sometimes we find things so it is like Christmas all over again!
I don't know the 358 Gremlin but sounds like fun too. I started mine in a white piece of paper. So far so good.

18 Sep 2015
@ 09:00 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
its still work in slow progress Eloy got so much on the go at the moment.
that's just a dummy round to make sure one i could make the ammo and two it will feed right.
im just waiting for my local gun shop to get some sierra 225gr projectile for me then ill work out the c.o.a.l plus the free bore and get David manson to make me a reamer.
only other thing i need to check is if the barrel maker/gunsmith can dove tail the barrel as i think ill go with a skinner front sight.
im estimating using 303 215gr data 35rem data and 358 win data ill get somewhere around 2200-2400fps with the 225gr projectiles.

i would be very great full to be given stuff like that, what an interesting thing to go through.
i can see you starting another project this winter ha ha.
my wife brought me the "cartridges of the world" book for christmas the wildcat section is a good read. might have to try get them to put Nathans 7mm practical in it
18 Sep 2015
@ 02:59 pm (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
If you are still in the discovery phase did you take a look at the list of existing reamers and dies? I have seen 303/35 reamers listed somewhere.
But also consider the 35 winchester reamer that could be short chambered and the dies cut. With just 5mm difference, it seems to me that could be easier, more economic and might give you some extra case capacity.
Regarding the 225gr SGK they are awesome bullets. They have a nice taper and they are more forgiving than other shapes even with long jumps into the lands.
I have observed they offer better ballistics than advertised by Sierra, a bit over .4 G1 for the speed ranges we are discussing.
They are a good value and great performers. Expect separation and fragmentation but they do get the job done.
I think 2300 fps should be doable. I can calculate an estimate for you if you want but the key is to know the final dimension and case volume spreads.
A simple throater will give you the desired freebore and angle.

BTW I think the 358 JDJ shortchambered might work as well but that is a JDJ proprietary and might become more expensive after all.


18 Sep 2015
@ 08:58 pm (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
cor those sound like fun its interesting to see what different countries use depends on what cartridges are available like the aussies ones based on the 303.

Eloy i looked at few options from epps improved version to the jdj (444 marlin necked down to 35) and even doing a 444marlin of 45/70 the problem being that the lee enfield mag is designed for the taper of the 303 brit which leads to feeding issues if you go the a straight walled round.

i am playing around with a mag seeing if i could make it single feed but thats another story (if short action tikka mags weren't so expensive you could shorten one and attach it inside the lee enfield mag perhaps)

im using the lee enfield as the base as they are cheap here and most of the barrels have seen better days like the one i brought for this project was $70 nzd so around $40 usd where as mauser type actions are around $350nzd plus.

i heard pacific tools had but a 35/303 reamer but its not listed.
could get it 303 chambered then neck and throat reamed but its nice to have a reamer set up for it.

early days yet and ill keep mucking around with it, as time and funds allow.

its always interesting to hear what people are playing around with or have tried

18 Sep 2015
@ 09:10 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
Hi Thomas
I use ADI 2206H in my 358 Winchester 225gn Sierra GK up to 2620fps. It shoots one hole groups with all loads from 2400fps through to 2620fps. I think your 303 Brit would be similar powder capacity(???) to the 358win. ADI 2206H might be worth a try.
18 Sep 2015
@ 10:28 pm (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
I don't know the Enfield that well so I cannot tell you. In the past I have been able to modified magazine by removing or adding internal ribs so the rounds will stack fine and feed as desired. The favorite choice is aluminum that is light and can be easily milled but one could do nylon. Of course one might loose total round count and rimmed cartridges can be more complicated.
You are the only one who can decide what is best based on your needs and likes/dislikes.

In the firearms world there is always a trade-off of some sort.

Here is a pic of the 35 cat loaded with a 180gr TTSX. These should expand well even past to 200 meters. Lil-gun pushes these really well. AA1680 is a good one for the 200gr-225gr medicine.

I have been working some hot hunting loads that put the little russian case in a new league all together. Lapua and 6.5G hornady are easy to form and are holding very well during many reloads.

21 Sep 2015
@ 10:57 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
The Enfield mag is a pain to work with when wildcatting. Left alone, the Enfield mag and entire Enfield system is fast handling (though it can still present challenges with a .358 cal bullet). Fast handling is one aspect of the Enfield that many kiwi's have enjoyed over the last century. I have played with inserts in the Enfield mag and changed followers. Even tried single column versions, nothing works that well compared to the original design and a tapered case. Welding a mag within the mag can work as has been done in the past.

If Thomas opts for the straight .35-303, he will not only have a simple wildcat but the reamer may be put to use by other Kiwi's (if Thomas is willing to loan or hire it out). In doing so, these hunters can get straight down to business without each and every job being a major for gunsmiths. .303 brass is still easy to come by here due to the Enfield being an NZ heritage rifle.

Yes, a nice high powered wildcat would be pretty cool, but...
30 Sep 2015
@ 10:16 pm (GMT)

Dan Keene

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
Hi Thomas.
Give me a call at work regarding your rifle please.
Cheers, Dan.
01 Oct 2015
@ 07:27 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
thank you for your help Dan really is appreciated.

to anyone else reading this, i have manage to work out few issues with great thanks to Nathan his knowledge really is a gift.
ill try do an update soon maybe even a video if i can work out this tec mo logely crap.
03 Oct 2015
@ 11:55 pm (GMT)

Ben Grady

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
I love the .303 wildcats. I have a 303-25 that I shoot with most weekends.
100gr pro hunters seem to do the trick. My chrony had them going at 3200fps so this is out performing a .243. I do want to put them through the chrony again just to confirm speeds as it also had my 25-06 117gr at 3200.
I would like to get hold of a 303-22 Falcon or 303-22 Sprint (not sure what the difference is?) but it would be a great varmint round.
My 303-25 is very accurate and I have tried many projectiles 75gr, 87gr, 90gr and 100gr.
04 Oct 2015
@ 06:51 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
hi ben
what action is your 25/303 based off.
a year or two back a guy was selling two rifles on trademe one was a 270/303 other was 25/303 one was p14 other lee enfield forget which was which but for the price im kicking myself now i didnt grab one.
i believe the falcon is full and the sprint is shorter there's many versions all slight different like the 22 wasp and 22 varmint k.
i see pacific tools and gauges list few of them.
plenty of good .224 projectile choices to
06 Oct 2015
@ 08:21 pm (GMT)

Ben Grady

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
Hi Thomas

Mine is a Longbranch no4 mk1 1942 action, plastic ati stock. It is awesome.
There was a mint looking 303-25 on trade a week or so ago, but $500.00 so not a bargain. I was very tempted. I would absolutely love a 303-25 in a P14 action. google "the Ultimate 303" an article from the Australian shooter mag a few years back. It is about a 303-25 no4 mk1 and a 303-25 ackley improved P14 action. In the latest aussie shooter magazine there is an article on wildcats, with a picture of the 303-22 Wasp. It looks like hum-dinger cartridge.
I would also like a sporterised P14 303 with a good barrel, as I have a couple of stocks to make one nice and tidy.

18 Nov 2015
@ 03:50 am (GMT)

Eloy Vilavella

Re: wild cats / non factory rounds
I have settled on a new case half way between the WM and the mighty 300 norma mag. I could have gone with the 300-338LM but I sold all my 338 stuff and I want more affordable brass for the 30 caliber plus the largest magnums are obviously over-bored for the task at hand.

So the case is a tad shorter than the dakota and using a regular magnum bolt face/head. The rum case is a perfect donor for the project.


Bullet wise, this is what I have in store for the new cat. Too long for the WM, even the match chamber.


I am going with 8 twist. Super flat shooting, huge range. It should be interesting. The problem is here I don't have the kind of runway required
to explore the limits. Perhaps in the spring if I can take it down to
Pennsylvania where we can shoot up to 2K meters.



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