The .358 Winchester is a rifle cartridge based on a necked up .308 Winchester, and was created by Winchester in 1955. The cartridge is also known in Europe as the 9.1x51mm. It uses .358 caliber bullets, and was released alongside the Winchester Model 70 Lightweight bolt-action rifle, as well as the Winchester Model 88 lever-action rifle.
Winchester and some others ammunition manufacturers do still produce this ammunition in limited runs, and the Browning BLR is also still offered in this chambering. However, the .358 Winchester has mostly faded into obscurity in the modern day. Still, it is an extremely capable cartridge on any game found in North America, and most other regions for that matter.
History and Design
The .358 Winchester cartridge came out over 30 years later than the .35 Whelen which is based on the .30-06 Springfield. Both higher-caliber cartridges are based on similar overall principles. That is, beefing up an existing cartridge with a heavier, larger diameter projectile for increased knockdown power on game. The difference in performance between the .358 Winchester and .35 Whelen cartridges is relatively similar to the performance differential between the .308 Win and the .30-06, perhaps with a slight edge to the .35 Whelen.
Frank Barnes notes in Cartridges of the World (14th Edition) that this cartridge "... is one of the best non-magnum .35-caliber cartridges turned out by any American manufacturer. It is a big improvement over the .35 Remington, slightly more powerful than the old .35 Winchester, and more useful than the .348 Winchester."
Noted web firearms author Chuck Hawks also agrees with the Speer reloading manual that "the .358 Winchester is one of the best woods cartridges ever designed."
- Parent case: .308 Winchester
- Case type: Rimless, bottleneck
- Bullet diameter: .358 in (9.1 mm)
- Neck diameter: .388 in (9.9 mm)
- Shoulder diameter: .454 in (11.5 mm)
- Base diameter: .470 in (11.9 mm)
- Rim diameter: .473 in (12.0 mm)
- Rim thickness: .054 in (1.4 mm)
- Case length: 2.015 in (51.2 mm)
- Overall length: 2.780 in (70.6 mm)
- Rifling twist: 1-12
- Primer type: Large rifle
- Maximum CUP: 52,000 CUP
Ballistic data below is from: Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading Vol 1 (6th Edition). The .358 Winchester is suitable for any North American big game.
|Bullet Weight / Type||Velocity||Energy|
|180 gr (12 g) SP||2,700 ft/s (820 m/s)||2,914 ft lbs (3,951 J)|
|200 gr (13 g) SP||2,500 ft/s (760 m/s)||2,776 ft lbs (3,764 J)|
|250 gr (16 g) SP||2,200 ft/s (670 m/s)||2,687 ft lbs (3,643 J)|
Guns Chambered in .358 Winchester
One of the most popular offerings still chambered in .358 Winchester is the Browning BLR, but many manufacturers have produced rifles chambered in this cartridge over the years. Some examples are:
It should also be noted that most run of the mill .308 Winchester rifles, or even those chambered in .243 Winchester (whose parent case is the .308) can be converted to .358 Winchester. One such company (JES) performs such services.
Despite the cartridge's dwindling popularity, there are still several manufacturers producing .358 Winchester ammunition. One of the most popular and readily available loads as of late, appears to be Winchester's Super-X 200 grain "Power Point" load.
Ammunition is also made by Hornady, Buffalo Bore, and is also produced by some smaller outlets, such as from Hendershot's Sporting Goods.
Note: .358 Winchester cartridge cases can be formed from typical .308 Winchester casings.
External References / Sources
Hendershot's Sporting Goods: .358 Winchester ammunition from Hendershot's Sporting Goods.
JES Rifle Reboring: A company that will rebore various .308 Winchester and .243 Winchester rifles to .358 Winchester. They also perform other services, such as converting .270 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield rifles into the .35 Whelen cartridge.