I'll be hunting whitetails in coastal Louisiana marshes. 400-500 yard shots are not uncommon, with 600 yards being max visibility. This rifle will be used for 2 weeks out of the season, once rifle season kicks in I'll be back on the .280 AI.
Our primitive weapon regulations have just been busted wide open this year and I'm planning a build for next year to upgrade from my .35 Whelen. Here are the 3 requirements...
1. must be breech loaded
2. must have an exposed hammer
3. must be .35 caliber or larger.
With that said, I'm leaning towards a TC Encore Pro Hunter platform and having a custom barrel built for it. Right now I'm liking the .358 Norma, but am also intrigued by the .358 UMT.
What are your thoughts? What would you build given the 3 requirements stated?
The UMT would be ferocious (hope I spelled that right). I have a 358STA which would also be a whitetail stomper. The Norma is a cool idea.... Will the Thompson support the UMT?
"I, however, view ethics as an individual decision. My ethics are mine - and I won't explain or justify them to anyone else. I seek nobody's approval, just that of my own conscience. "
SSK Industries is who TC recommended for building a custom barrel. They worked with TC in developing the Encore. I'm awaiting a response from them on that very question. This quote is straight from their website....
"In SSK Encore barrels, any cartridge with the case head size and pressure level of the 300 Win mag can be safely chambered. The 300 and 338 Win mag are reasonably popular, as is the 375 H & H. Increasing the case head size beyond this means you must reduce pressure. Cartridges such as the 470 nitro in factory pressure levels are acceptable to the Encore. The 375 H & H , 416 Taylor (416/458) and 416/348 JDJ are worth consideration for really big game, and the 500 Alaskan is popular as are several other 50s. The 458 Win. is OK but only acceptable to hardened shooters."
I am considering 375 H&H, widely available factory & custom ammo to play with are a plus. Part of me wants to just keep it .35 caliber though. Recoil is not a major factor to me, I can handle it well. Naturally, would not like to deal with any more than I have to though.
Bottom line is, I want the farthest PBR center hold I can get with a 4" vital radius. A lot of shots are presented without time to make corrections. I have to act fast at times or eat tag soup. I need to go fast and keep it as flat as possible.
The 358 Norma is a good choice. However as you don't have magazine length limitations I would go with the full length STA. Depending on barrel length etc. 3200 fps is achievable with the 225 Accubond. If you're in an experimental frame of mind the Nosler 250 9.3
bullet has a decent BC, and 3000fps in either the RUM case, or the full length magnum case should be achievable.