The .356 Winchester

By Chuck Hawks


Introduced in 1982, the .356 Winchester was developed in parallel with the .307 Winchester. They are both based on the same case; the .356 version, despite its nomenclature, accepts standard .358" diameter bullets.

As currently factory loaded the .356 launches a 200 grain Power Point bullet (SD .223) at a MV of 2,460 fps and ME of 2,688 ft. lbs. At 100 yards the figures are 2114 fps and 1985 ft. lbs., and at 200 yards the velocity is 1797 fps and the remaining energy 1434 ft. lbs. Its trajectory looks like this: +2.5" at 100 yards, -1.8" at 200 yards, and -17.1" at 300 yards.

The Speer Reloading Manual Number 13 shows that the Speer 180 grain Hot-Cor bullet (SD .201) can be driven to a MV of 2310 fps by 44.0 grains of H322 powder, and to 2569 fps by 48.0 grains of the same powder. The trajectory of this bullet at a MV of 2500 fps is as follows: +3.1" at 100 yards, 0 at 200 yards, and -13.6" at 300 yards. This makes the .356 about a 250 yard deer rifle.

The Speer Reloading Manual Number 13 also shows that their 220 grain Hot-Cor bullet can be given a MV of 2143 fps by 45.5 grains of W748 powder, and 2328 fps by 49.5 grains of W748. This deadly missile has a ballistic coefficient of .316 and a sectional density of .245. At a MV of 2300 fps the ME is 2583 ft. lbs. At 200 yards the velocity would be 1807 fps and the energy 1595 ft. lbs. The trajectory should look like this: +3" at 100 yards, +2.3" at 150 yards, -0.6" at 200 yards, -3.1" at 225 yards, -6.3" at 250 yards, and -15.1" at 300 yards. With this load the .356 is at least a 225 yard big game cartridge. This is the bullet I would choose for elk hunting.

Note: A complete article about the .356 Winchester can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.




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Copyright 2004, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.


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