So what is “Wildcatting” in the gun world? It can mean a few different things to any gun nut, but most would agree that it is dealing with a cartridge or chamber that is unique and more than likely not a production chamber/cartridge. The “Wildcat” usually falls into a Research and Development or prototype category. This means experimenting like a mad doctor in the laboratory! Actually, there is a pleather of data courtesy of the World Wide Web to help in the load development and process of safely bringing your creation to life. Wildcatting is not for the beginner. One should have the basic knowledge of rifle and pistol chambers as well as reloading cartridges and understanding chamber pressures. This is where safety comes in. Because you are relying on experience and observations of past results, it takes some of the guess work out of the equation. An example would be a primer backing out of the pocket of a case or dark rings around the pocket. TOO MUCH PRESSURE! Means bullet seated to deep….too much powder….too fast a burn rate for powder to bullet combo. The best education you can give yourself as a hunter and shooter is to reload your own ammo. You learn so much by taking up this interesting, yet cost effective hobby! This takes us to the 358 Hoosier.
The creation of the 358 Hoosier was developed for me by the Dept. of Indiana Fish and Game. The law was changed for deer hunters in Indiana that would include a rifle case that could not exceed a case length of 1.800” yet must have a bullet diameter of .357 or greater. Well, after some research and consideration I chose a case that would be a creation of the 308 Win family. I have loaded the 308 Win in every format possible. From 130 gr bullets for varmints with H414 powder to 200 gr bullets for high fenced hog hunting with IMR 4350, I’ve loaded them all. Now, what case to make the process easy……hmmm? Not too much thought process here. The 358 Win case has the right capacity and structure to make this work. I quickly got on the phone with Hornady and had them make me some custom dies that I could use to set the shoulder back once I trimmed the case down to length. I then contacted Shilen to send me a couple of 22” 358 caliber barrels. Not knowing what the market would have in store we went with a Thompson Center Pro Hunter frame. The thought was to keep it simple and concentrate on the load and cartridge performance first……so the next blog will start right there!

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