Forum: The 353 Casull  oder .357 Magnum für den Freedom Arms Revolver 353

2ter Teil: Ueber die Anfänge dieses Revolvers und einige generelle Vergleiche

by JOHN TAFFIN

The .357 Magnum, the first, and to many appreciative shooters, the best of the Magnums, has been a steady seller for the past sixty plus years. Of all the Magnums, it delivers the most muzzle energy in exchange for the least felt recoil. While it was looked upon as some kind of magical round in the 1930's, one that would penetrate any automobile or down any game animal, it has been put into proper perspective over the years, and has become a favorite of shooters who also realize its limitations. It is at its best as a defensive round; a varmint and small game round for hunters and outdoorsman; and is only pressed into service for big game occasionally, and is generally regarded by many as a round that should only be used by expert shots for hunting anything above the size of coyotes. Others swear by it as perfect for hunting deer-sized game. In recent years, it has proven to be an excellent round for both long- and short-range silhouetting when used with the proper guns and loads.

The .357 Magnum was looked upon as a handful of awesome power in the 1930's. Surely this was a sixgun that was the epitome of power. And then came the .44 Magnum. And the .454 Casull. And the .500 Linebaugh. Sixguns became more and more powerful. But the .357 Magnum remained the favorite of all Magnums. Every manufacturer has chambered one or more of their models for the original Magnum. Except one. Freedom Arms started with the .454 Casull in the early 1980's, then added the .44 Magnum a few years later as well as the .45 Colt, at least by offering auxiliary cylinders for the old Long Colt for use in .454 revolvers.

The decision was made to chamber the Freedom Arms revolver to .357 Magnum and the experiments started. It is no simple matter to add a new chambering as the technicians at Freedom Arms did not just want a .357 Magnum, they wanted the finest .357 Magnum possible. Groove diameter was finally settled at .357" and the twist of the Freedom Arms .357 Magnum, dubbed the 353 Casull, is one-in-fourteen to better stabilize heavier bullets of the 180 and 200 grain weights. The name "353" comes from a play on numbers following the ".454" and "252" Freedom Arms revolvers, "252" being the designation for the .22 Long Rifle Freedom Arms Single Action.

The 353 Casull is capable of handling loads that are impossible, spelled E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S in other 357 Magnums. With the 353 Casull, the only limitation is the strength of the .357 Magnum brass. Loads for the 353 Casull are assembled in standard .357 Magnum brass and I have used both Federal and Winchester .357 Magnum brass with the same results. Only rifle primers should be used with the pressures involved in loading for the 353 Casull and I strongly recommend Remington #7 1/2 small rifle primers. Pistol primers will probably flow and tie up the gun as the cylinder will not rotate.

The first area to go will be the primer pocket and brass should be kept separated as the heaviest loads will enlarge the primer pockets and they should then only be used for squib loads or better yet discarded. Heavy 353 loads should only be assembled in brand new brass. Even more moderate 353 loads will result in brass life that is very short with these "ULTRA PLUS P .357 MAGNUM PLUS P" loads.

Loading the 353 Casull is accomplished with standard .357 Magnum brass, and I used RCBS .357 Magnum Carbide dies. Since 353 Casull loads are assembled in standard .357 Magnum brass, they must be properly marked. I suggest the use of plastic cartridge boxes such as manufactured by MTM and the boxes labeled clearly : "FOR USE IN THE 353 CASULL ONLY". I would also suggest that one brand of brass be chosen for use in the 353 Casull only so a glance at the headstamp will warn the shooter:"FOR USE IN THE 353 CASULL ONLY". A third reminder would be to put a dab of model airplane dope or fingernail polish on each primer as a red flag that says: "FOR USE IN THE 353 CASULL ONLY". Less one thinks I am overstating the situation realize that we are talking loads that are way above standard Magnum loadings of 35,000 to 40,000 psi, and in all probability at 60,000 psi or more.

With the 353 Casull chambering, amazing things happen besides tremendous chamber pressures. We are talking 160 grain bullets at 1750 feet per second, 180 grain bullets at 1650 feet per second, and 200 grain bullets at 1500 feet per second. To put that into perspective, one needs only to look at some standard .357 Magnum loadings. These same jacketed bullets custom loaded for my pet eight and three-eighths inch .357 Magnum, the original .357 from Smith & Wesson, will safely do 1350 , 1250, and 1050 feet per second respectively. That is a dramatic difference to say the least.

It becomes even more dramatic when one compares the performance of the .357 Maximum/SuperMag with the 353 Casull. Remember, Maximum brass is 300" longer in length than standard .357 Magnum brass. The same bullets outlined above for the 353 Casull and .357 Magnum, max out at 1500, 1350, and 1250 feet per second respectively in my eight-inch Dan Wesson .357 SuperMag. A look at the following chart with muzzle velocities and muzzle energies puts all of this into proper perspective.

.357 MAGNUM

357 SUPERMAG

353 CASULL

BULLET

MV

ME

MV

ME

MV

ME

160 GRAIN

1350

646

1500

800

1750

1088

180 GRAIN

1250

625

1350

727

1650

1087

200 GRAIN

1050

490

1250

694

1500

1000

     

Does the 353 Casull raise the .357 Magnum to the status of being a true big game handgun chambering? I have shot two animals with the 353 Casull using Cor-Bon's 353 loading of a 180 grain bullet at 1600 feet per second. On my recent hunt in Texas the last day of the hunt was dedicated to finding out what the 353 Casull would do loaded with 180 grain Cor-Bons. We found three Corsicans, one with a better than full curl, and I took my first shot at game with the 353 Casull. I hit him one-third of the way up from the chest in line with the front leg and he went ten feet and dropped dead. The 180 Cor-Bon penetrated completely at about 50 yards. We cleaned him out and went looking for one final ram. Another nice one was found in a group of about ten and I waited about half an hour to get a clear shot. He took one step forward of the rest of them and I slipped another 180 Cor-Bon in, this time about one-third of the way down from his back in line with the front leg. He dropped immediately, and died instantly.

Does this make the 353/.357 Magnum a big game cartridge? Results were dramatic to say the least and as good as the rams I have shot with the 7-08, .375 JDJ, and the .454 Casull. It looks great to begin with but I want to see more before I recommend the .357 diameter revolver cartridge, be it .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum, or 353 Casull, for anything larger than small deer. Good bullets are now available from Hornady in the 158 grain XTP flat-point and hopefully by the time you read this they will also have their 180 grain XTP available. Cor-Bon's 180 grain bullet is available as well as loaded 353 ammunition. Bob Baker of Freedom Arms has taken a BlackBuck with the 353, and Peter Pi sent me three bullets perfectly expanded taken from a large wild hog shot with the 353 Casull using his ammunition.

Bullets must be carefully selected in reloading for the 353 Casull. Reloaders ran into trouble early with the .357 Maximum by using .357 Magnum bullets at velocities higher than they were intended to be used in a revolver and lighter weight bullets were coming apart. For the 353 Casull I would recommend staying with bullets beginning at 158 grains with the Hornady 158 XTP line, through the 160, 180, and 200 grain silhouette bullets from Hornady, Sierra, and Speer.

The two most accurate jacketed bullet loads I have found for the 353 Casull are both assembled with heavy Speer bullets. Using the Speer 180 grain silhouette bullet over 18.0 grains of AA#9 or 17.0 grains of #2400. The first load does 1650 feet per second and will put five shots into one-inch at 25 yards and one and one-fourth inches at 50 yards. The #2400 load is a more "sedate" 1560 feet per second and does seven-eighths of an inch at 25 yards and one and three-eighths of an inch at 50 yards.

The second Speer bullet that has given excellent accuracy is the Speer 180 grain .35 Remington Soft Point bullet. This rifle bullet gives 1570 feet per second with 17.0 grains of AA#9 and does seven-eighths of an inch at both twenty-five and fifty yards. I re-cannelure these bullets for an overall loaded length of 1.745".

Cast bullet shooting in the 353 Casull, as opposed to their use in the .357 Magnum or .357 Maximum/SuperMag, becomes a whole new field of experimentation. Cast bullets that perform well at 1400 feet per second may or may not perform well when driven at the velocities possible with the 353 Casull five-gun. I have run into the same situation when using some .45 Colt bullets in the .454 Casull. When the muzzle velocities exceed a certain level, accuracy disappears. My theory is that the bearing surface has to be just right or the bullets skid or strip on the rifling when driven at high speeds.

My best 353 Casull cast bullet loads have been experienced with 180 grain gas-checked bullets , using both home cast RCBS #38-180 FN and the BRP 180 grain gas check. The latter is available from BRP Bullets (1210 Alexander Rd., Dept AH, Colorado Springs Colorado 80909. Phone 719-633-0658). The longer nosed RCBS bullet shoots slightly better and will get right down close to one-half inch at 25 yards at 1400 feet per second.

American shooters have made the .38/.357 chambering the most popular revolver bore. From the .38 Special, for law enforcement and super accurate target shooting, to the .357 Magnum, now regarded as the best defensive round when properly loaded, to the top silhouette cartridge, the .357 Maximum/SuperMag. Now we have the 353 Casull. As I have said in print before, I expect the 353 Casull to re-write the book on the .357 Magnum . It looks like a .357 Magnum. It smells like a .357 Magnum. It feels like a .357 Magnum. But the expected conclusion cannot be drawn. It is definitely not just another .357 Magnum.

353 CASULL LOADS

FIREARM: FREEDOM ARMS 353 CASULL BARREL LENGTH: 9"

TEMPERATURE: 40 DEGREES CHRONOGRAPH: OEHLER MODEL 35P

PRIMERS: REMINGTON #7 1/2 SMALL RIFLE PRIMERS

 

BULLET = HORNADY 158 XTP-FP

 

 

 

 LOAD         

MV

 

17.0 GR. AA#9

1624 f/s

495 m/s

* 18.0 GR. AA#9

1674 f/s

510 m/s

19.0 GR. AA#9

1778 f/s

542 m/s

18.0 GR. H110

1574 f/s

480 m/s

19.0 GR. H110

1628 f/s

496 m/s

20.0 GR. H110

1671 f/s

509 m/s

* 21.0 GR. H110

1739 f/s

530 m/s

16.0 GR. #2400

1517 f/s

462 m/s

17.0 GR. #2400

1620 f/s

494 m/s

18.0 GR. #2400

1678 f/s

511 m/s

 

 

 

BULLET = HORNADY 160 JTC-SIL 

 

 

 

LOAD         

MV

 

17.0 GR. AA#9

1625 f/s

495 m/s

18.0 GR. AA#9

1691 f/s

515 m/s

* 19.0 GR. AA#9

1748 f/s

533 m/s

20.0 GR. AA#9

1864 f/s

568 m/s

19.0 GR. WW296

1625 f/s

495 m/s

* 20.0 GR. WW296

1721 f/s

525 m/s

21.0 GR. WW296

1818 f/s

554 m/s

17.0 GR. #2400

1658 f/s

505 m/s

18.0 GR. #2400

1703 f/s

519 m/s

19.0 GR. #2400

1771 f/s

540 m/s

 

 

 

BULLET = SPEER 180 FMJ 

 

 

 

LOAD         

MV

 

17.0 GR. AA#9

1540 f/s

469 m/s

* 18.0 GR. AA#9

1649 f/s

503 m/s

19.0 GR. AA#9

1688 f/s

515 m/s

19.0 GR. WW296

1636 f/s

499 m/s

* 20.0 GR. WW296

1655 f/s

504 m/s

21.0 GR. WW296

1702 f/s

519 m/s

16.0 GR. #2400

1477 f/s

450 m/s

* 17.0 GR. #2400

1559 f/s

475 m/s

 

 

 

BULLET = SPEER 200 FMJ 

 

 

 

LOAD         

MV

 

15.0 GR. AA#9

1322 f/s

403 m/s

* 16.0 GR. AA#9

1457 f/s

444 m/s

16.0 GR. WW296

1329 f/s

405 m/s

17.0 GR. WW296

1437 f/s

438 m/s

* 18.0 GR. WW296

1500 f/s

457 m/s

 

 

 

BULLET = SPEER 180 SP (RE-CANNELURED AND SEATED TO AN OAL OF 1.745")

 

 

 

LOAD         

MV

 

16.0 GR. AA#9

1486 f/s

453 m/s

* 17.0 GR. AA#9

1570 f/s

479 m/s

17.0 GR. WW296

1421 f/s

433 m/s

18.0 GR. WW296

1492 f/s

455 m/s

19.0 GR. WW296

1568 f/s

478 m/s

 

 

 

SIERRA 200 RN (RE-CANNELURED AND SEATED TO AN OAL OF 1.776")

 

 

 

LOAD         

MV

 

16.0 GR. AA#9

1434 f/s

437 m/s

* 17.0 GR. AA#9

1522 f/s

464 m/s

18.0 GR. AA#9

1544 f/s

471 m/s

18.0 GR. WW296

1431 f/s

436 m/s

19.0 GR. WW296

1519 f/s

463 m/s

20.0 GR. WW296

1596 f/s

486 m/s

* FAVORITE LOADS

Since the above was written , Hornady has brought forth their 180 grain XTP. I use these or the Freedom Arms 180 with 19.2 grains of AA#9 for around 1700 fps.


FREEDOM ARMS 353 CASULL

by JOHN TAFFIN


"John what do you think our next chambering should be for our revolver?" asked Wayne Baker as we walked the aisles of the 1991 SHOT Show. Freedom Arms had just officially unveiled their latest five-shot single action, the 252 Casull in .22 LR and company President Wayne Baker was not about to sit back and wait for the orders to roll in. The .22 chambering was a radical departure from the norm at Freedom Wyoming which has been bigger is better for the last decade. 
It was in 1983 that the shooting public was introduced to the first Freedom Arms revolver, and 1991 marked the fourth chambering of the big five-gun, and now they were ready for the fifth in a series of super accurate, precision made revolvers. What would it be? Let's back up a bit and take a quick glance at the evolution of magnum revolvers.
In 1930, Smith & Wesson brought out the first ever sixgun that would be mated with a Plus P loading of the .38 Special. The sixgun was the .38/44 Heavy Duty and the .38 Special ammunition produced for this revolver was at least 200 feet per second faster than conventional .38 Special loadings. The gun and ammunition were designed to give peace officers a better chance against bootleggers and criminals armed with .45 ACP's and Thompson submachine guns.
Shooters like Elmer Keith and Phil Sharpe saw a better application for the .38/44 and began handloading the .38 Special for use in the .38/44 as an outdoorsman's sixgun. As a result of their work, the shooting public of the depression years was soon to be introduced to the first of the world's most powerful revolvers, the .357 Magnum. That was 1935.
Although the first Magnum was now a reality, men like Keith, Ray Thompson, Gordon Boser, and others were not satisfied. Sixgunners who had been loading the .44 Special to 1200 feet per second with a 250 grain bullet looked down their noses at the little .38 Special Magnum with its 158 grain bullet at 1500 feet per second. An exclusive society sprang up known as the .44 Associates whose members exchanged reloading data and spoke in mystical tones about the virtues of the .44 Special. As a result of Keith and others clamoring about the .44 Special for three decades, the second heir to the title of the world's most powerful revolver debuted in 1956 as the .44 Magnum became reality. Surely we had reached the ultimate.
Strange how things work out. Keith had abandoned the .45 Colt in 1925 after blowing a .45 Colt Single Action apart. He took up the stronger brass of the .44 Special and the heavier, stronger cylinder of the .44 chambered Single Action Colt. His experiments lead directly to the .44 Magnum thirty years later. In the early 1950's before the advent of the .44 Magnum, a young Utah gunsmith by the name of Dick Casull, gravitated to the .45 Colt as it was now available with solid head brass while the .44 Special was still made balloon-head style. Casull needed strong brass for his experiments with Colt Single Actions and Bisleys and later custom made five-guns which lead to the .45 Magnum, at first dubbed the .454 Magnum and later to be called the .454 Casull. 
Casull made custom revolvers as well as rebarreling and fitting five shot cylinders to Ruger Super Blackhawks before deciding to produce a factory .454 revolver. After some false starts, Casull teamed up with Wayne Baker and the first .454 Casull from Freedom Arms was produced in the early 1980's. Now we had the third `world's most powerful' revolver. The .454 Casull became the hunting revolver in the 1980's just as the preceding .357 and .44 Magnums had in the 1930's and 1950's.
Freedom Arms had no intention of trying to outdo their real world's most powerful, and instead started chambering the world's best built revolver for lesser cartridges. The .45 Colt was a logical choice for all those who were appreciative of the old `Long Colt', and it was a simple matter to provide cylinders chambered for the .45 mated up with the .454 barrel. 
The .454 is a kicker. Yes, it really kicks like the proverbial mule and everyone does not want that much recoil nor do they need that much power. A natural part of the evolution of the Freedom Arms revolver then seemed to be the .44 Magnum with sales aimed at silhouetters and hunters who needed no more than the .44 could deliver. The IHMSA Price Ceiling Rule stifled Freedom Arms' goal of building the ultimate silhouette revolver for awhile, but as it was lifted, not only did silhouetters look to Freedom Arms for .44 Magnum revolvers, Freedom Arms looked forward to bringing out another ultimate silhouette five-gun for the toughest test of silhouetting skill, the .22 course of fire.
With that in mind, Freedom Arms provided the shooting public with the fourth chambering of the Casull revolver with introduction of the 252 Casull. The `252' nomenclature is a play on numbers to mate it with the .454 caliber of the original Casull. The .22 Long Rifle chambered 252 soon gathered a reputation as the most accurate .22 revolver of all times. Now it was time for a fifth chambering. Which brings us to the question posed to me at the beginning fo this article.
My first reaction to Baker's question was to complete the Casull revolver lineup with the big bore Magnum that does not get enough respect, the .41 Magnum. Always the step-son of the Magnum family, perhaps its residence in the world's finest revolver would finally give it much deserved praise. "Wayne, how about chambering for the .41 Magnum. There are a lot of dedicated .41 shooters out there that would love a Freedom Arms revolver for their favorite cartridge." "What would you think about a .357 Magnum?" was his reply. Hmmm? "Yes, that does make a lot of sense as there are even more .357 Magnum lovers who would like to own a Casull with power coupled with low recoil and the .357 Magnum is still one of the best revolver chamberings for silhouetting. Yes, I think your choice would be a good one, Wayne." That's why he is the company president and makes great revolvers for writers like me to write about!
The Freedom Arms .357 Magnum is now a reality. The Silhouette Model has a nine-inch barrel instead of the ten-inch barrels available on the .454 and .44 Magnum as it will not make the four pound competition weight limit with a longer barrel. And as a natural follow-up to the .454 Casull and 252 Casull, this one is called the 353 Casull. Don't let the name fool you, it handles all .38 Special and .357 Magnum brass and loadings and there is no 353 Casull ammunition as such. At least not yet.
For those readers who may not be familiar with Freedom Arms revolvers, the Casull is a traditionally styled single action five shot revolver with a patented sliding safety bar making it perfectly safe to carry with five rounds. Personally, I always carry all single action revolvers, be they sixguns or five-guns, and whether they be equipped with safety bars, transfer bars, or no safety at all, with an empty chamber under the hammer. 
A number of sighting options are available on most models beginning with standard fixed sights on 7 1/2" .454's and 4 3/4" .44 Magnums. Also available are low profile adjustable sights, silhouette sights, express sights, and scope mount bases. Front sights on all adjustable sighted models are easily removed by the loosening of a socket head screw that enters from the front, and a number of replacement front sights of differing heights are available both in plain black and red insert models.
All Freedom Arms revolvers are built with the precision of a fine watch and the strength of a bank vault. My original .454 Casull that was purchased in 1986 has had thousands of heavy rounds through it and it is still as tight as it was when it still resided in the factory box. No cylinder endplay and no cylinder side play is normal for Freedom Arms Casull revolvers. 
The 353 Casull is a standard Freedom Arms revolver that is built the same as the .454 Casull, .44 Magnum, or 252 Casull. That is each Freedom Arms revolver is made of 17-4 steel with the emphasis on precision and quality. Using completely modern machinery, often built in-house as needed, Freedom Arms uses a number of innovations to insure that each Freedom Arms revolver is a high quality revolver. 
Having a goal of perfect alignment with barrel and cylinder at the time the bullet is transferred to the barrel upon firing, the technicians at Freedom Arms pre-drill the cylinders, fit them to the frame, and then line-bore them to the barrel. That is each cylinder is chambered as it is fitted to the frame. Cylinders are not chambered in mass quantities and then simply fitted to a frame. Each barrel, frame and cylinder are a precisely fitted unit.
This quality is carried through as the gun is detailed out with files and emery paper the old fashioned way. Each pair of grips is individually fitted and it is impossible to simply order a pair of grips. The gun must be returned to the factory even for grip fitting. The one exception is the use of Pachmayr grips which are made to a standard pattern. They are not individually fitted.
With the .357 Magnum chambering in the 353 Casull, amazing things happen. We are talking 160 grain bullets at 1750 feet per second, 180 grain bullets at 1650 feet per second, and 200 grain bullets at 1500 feet per second. To put that into perspective, one needs only to look at some standard .357 Magnum loadings. These same jacketed bullets custom loaded for my pet eight and three-eighths inch .357 Magnum, the original .357 from Smith & Wesson, will safely do 1350 , 1250, and 1050 feet per second respectively. That is a dramatic difference to say the least.
It becomes even more dramatic when one compares the performance of the .357 Maximum/SuperMag with the 353 Casull. Remember, Maximum brass is .300" longer in length than standard .357 Magnum brass. The same bullets outlined above for the 353 Casull and .357 Magnum, max out at 1500, 1350, and 1250 feet per second respectively in my eight-inch Dan Wesson .357 SuperMag. A look at the following chart with muzzle velocities and muzzle energies puts all of this into proper perspective.

.357 MAGNUM 357 SUPERMAG 353 CASULL

 

.357 MAGNUM

357 SUPERMAG

353 CASULL

BULLET

MV

ME

MV

ME

MV

ME

160 GRAIN

1350

646

1500

800

1750

1088 

180 GRAIN

1250

625

1350

727

1650 

1087

200 GRAIN

1050 

490

1250

694

1500

1000

 

PERCENT INCREASE IN MUZZLE VELOCITY AND MUZZLE ENERGY

BULLET

 

 

 

 

353 CASULL OVER .357 MAGNUM

353 CASULL OVER .357 SUPERMAG

MV

ME

MV

ME

160 GRAIN 

30 %

68 %

17 % 

36 %

180 GRAIN 

32 %

74 %

22 %

 50 %

200 GRAIN

42 %

104 %

20 %

44 %


I had two test 353 Casulls at my disposal. One is a standard production Silhouette Model with nine-inch barrel and standard impregnated hardwood grips and Iron Sight Gun Works rear sight and sharply undercut black Patridge front sight. The other is the prototype 353 Casull with an SSK barrel of carbon steel specially contoured to a diamond shape. The factory gun has a groove diameter of .357" and 1:14 twist barrel, while the prototype has a .358" barrel. The 1:14 twist is designed to stabilize the heavier 180 grain and 200 grain .357 bullets used for silhouetting and hunting. The prototype 353 Casull is also fitted with Pachmayr grips and a Leupold 4X scope on a SSK T'SOB base. There were no malfunctions with either gun except the ejector rod on the factory gun had a tendency to hang up until it had been worked a hundred times or so. It either had a burr or mated up with a burr on the ejector rod housing.
The argument continues over whether or not the .357 Magnum is a hunting handgun. My friend Bill Ripple of Ohio, a thoroughly experienced Eastern deer hunter says that the standard .357 Magnum is adequate for everything east of the Mississippi River. But even he is now lusting after the .357 Magnum in the 353 Casull. If the standard .357 Magnum is adequate for Eastern deer hunting, the .357/353 Casull combination will be superb to say the least. For the first time we have a .357 Magnum that will utilize Hornady 158 grain XTP's at 1750 feet per second and I expect both 180 grain XTP's and CorBons, neither of which I had for testing, will do 1600 plus feet per second. Bob Baker of Freedom Arms took the first game with the 353 Casull, a Black Buck Antelope on the YO Ranch with a 180 CorBon at 1600 feet per second.
The 353 Casull can be loaded far above the performance of any other .357 Magnum or .357 Maximum/SuperMag revolver. But that is not its only claim to fame. It makes a perfectly superb .357 Magnum when used with standard loads and I suspect there are a lot of .357 Magnum shooters out there that want exactly that. Six factory jacketed bullet loads were tried in both the standard Silhouette Model 353 Casull and the scoped-sighted prototype. The results were an average, not the best mind you, but an average twenty-five yard five-shot group of 1.08" and an average fifty-yard five-shot group of 1.25". Those averages are miles above average for .357 Magnum revolvers! A direct result of the precision fit of the Casull revolvers. 

FIREARM: FREEDOM ARMS 353 CASULL 
BARREL LENGTH: 9"
TEMPERATURE: 40 DEGREES 
CHRONOGRAPH: OEHLER MODEL 35P


FACTORY LOADS

LOAD

MV

25 YDS IRON SIGHTS 

50 YDS 4X LEUPOLD

CCI LAWMAN 140 JHP

1518

1 1/8"

1 1/8"

BLACK HILLS 158 JHP

1374

1"

1 5/8"

FEDERAL 158 JSP

1451

1 1/8"

 1 1/4"

HORNADY 158 XTP-HP

1386 

1"

 7/8"

HORNADY 158 XTP-FP

1414

1 1/4"

1 1/8"

WINCHESTER 158 JSP

1480

1"

3/4"

Switching to handloads for the 353 Casull, I concentrated on super high performance loads. All loads are assembled with Federal .357 Magnum brass and Remington #7 1/2" Benchrest Small Rifle primers. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH THAT THESE ARE 353 CASULL LOADS AND MUST NOT BE USED IN ANY OTHER FIREARM CHAMBERED FOR THE .357 MAGNUM!!!!! It is impossible to damage the 353 Casull using these loads but brass life will be very short beginning with enlarged primer pockets. For best results these maximum loads should be assembled in brand new brass only. This is one instance in which the brass is operating at maximum levels not the revolver.


JACKETED BULLET HANDLOADS

BULLET

LOAD

MV

25 YARDS IRON SIGHTS

50 YARDS 4X LEUPOLD

HORNADY 158 XTP-HP 

21.0 GR. H110

1753

1 1/4" 

1 3/4"

 

18.0 GR. AA#9

1723 

1 1/8"

 2"

 

18.0 GR. #2400 

1716

 7/8"

1 5/8"

HORNADY 160 JTC-SIL

19.0 GR. AA#9

1748

1 1/8" 

1 3/4"

 

20.0 GR. WW296

1721

1 1/2"

1 3/4"

SPEER 180 FMJ

18.0 GR. AA#9

1649

1"

1 1/4"

 

20.0 GR. WW296

1655

1 3/8"

1 5/8"

 

17.0 GR. #2400

1559

7/8"

1 3/8"

SPEER 200 FMJ 

16.0 GR. AA#9 

1457

7/8"

1 3/4"

 

18.0 GR. WW296

1500

1 3/8"

1 1/2"

SPEER 180 SP

17.0 GR. AA#9 

1570

7/8"

7/8"

SIERRA 200 RN

17.0 GR. AA#9

1522

1 1/4"

1 1/8"


Cast bullet shooting in the 353 Casull, as opposed to their use in the .357 Magnum or .357 Maximum/SuperMag, becomes a whole new field of experimentation. Cast bullets that perform well at 1400 feet per second may or may not perform well when driven at the velocities possible with the 353 Casull five-gun. I have run into the same situation when using some .45 Colt bullets in the .454 Casull. When the muzzle velocities exceed a certain level, accuracy disappears. My theory is that the bearing surface has to be just right or the bullets skid or strip on the rifling when driven at high speeds. 
My old standard .357 Magnum loading consisting of the Lyman #358156GC over 15.0 grains of #2400 picks up considerable velocity over other long-barreled .357 Magnums and exits the barrel of the 353 Casull at 1641 feet per second and shoots very accurately with one and one-fourth inch groups at twenty-five yards and one and one-half inch groups at fifty yards. If I never used any other load in the 353 Casull, this load combination would make the 353 a prized possession.
Switching over to 180 grain cast gas-checked bullets in the 353 Casull, I tried both the RCBS 38-180 FN and the BRP 180 grain gas check. AGAIN,THESE LOADS ARE FOR USE IN THE 353 CASULL ONLY!!! 


CAST BULLET LOADS

BULLET 

LOAD 

MV

GROUP (at) 25 Yards

BRP 180 SWCGC

15.0 GR. AA#9

1568

1 1/4"

 

18.0 GR. AA#9

1791

1"

 

15.0 GR. H110

1422

1 3/8"

 

16.0 GR. H110

1554

1 1/4"

 

18.0 GR. H110

1680

1 1/8"

 

13.0 GR. #2400

1436

1 1/4"

 

14.0 GR. #2400

1482

1"

 

15.0 GR. #2400

1607

1 1/8"

RCBS #38-180FNGC

15.0 GR. H110

1402

5/8"

 

16.0 GR. H110 

1550

1 1/8"

 

13.0 GR. #2400

1413

7/8"

 

14.0 GR. #2400

1458

1 1/8"

 

15.0 GR. #2400

1574

1 1/8"


The 353 Casull .357 Magnum, is available in only two standard barrel lengths at this time, 7 1/2" and 9". All four chamberings are available with special silhouette packages consisting of special grips and special sights. Non-standard barrel lengths are available at extra cost from the Custom Shop. Contact Freedom Arms (P.O. Box 1776, Freedom Wyoming 83120. Phone 307-883-2468) for a complete catalog and price list of all models and options.
The .357 Magnum itself is rapidly approaching its 70th birthday and still remains the most popular of all of the Magnums. The .357 Magnum in the 353 Casull should re-write the book on the first Magnum, giving it new life as both a silhouette and hunting cartridge. Sometimes going backwards really turns out to be real step forwards.


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