Interesting .300 AAC BLK/.357 Wildcat

After I blogged about the upcoming H&R Handi Rifle chambered in .300 AAC BLK, a reader emailed me about an interesting wildcat …

Some of us have been getting ready for the Handi in 300BLK for a while.

Handi shooters tend to have a preference for rimmed cases. These are .357 mag brass run through a 300 BLK die. That leaves a neck about .1″ short, not a problem in a single shot rifle. The bullets are 147Gr FMJ pulled bullets from Midway (inverted). (nearly the cheapest they have.)

Combine the 300BLK dies with .357mag brass doesn’t give you a 32-20 Winchester, but it sure gets close!!

[ Many thanks to George for emailing us the photo and info. ]





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Bud Davis

    Another cool “hack” 32-20 fans can try is to buy a rifle chambered in 32-20, and shoot 32-20 ammo in it. Turns out, it’s compatible! Who knew!

    Did they ever chamber the Handi in 327 fed mag? Might like one of those…

  • Beaumont

    It’s a good idea for tinkerers, since one can still use .300BLK. Sadly, new rifles chambered in .32-20 are not common, nor inexpensive.

  • Other Steve

    Sweet! So you can take a 357 case capable of moving a 158gr or 180gr bullet and instead move a smaller diameter 147gr bullet that has less powder charge thus still not quite creating ammo for a rare and pointless few guns… and ruin some 357 brass at the same time!?!?! Where do I sign up?

    Best idea ever!!

    • Bryan

      sooooo… not a fan?

    • Komrad

      Or you could feed it to several old classic rifles and pistols that would otherwise go hungry. Or maybe you’re right and everyone should only shoot polymer bullpup wonder nine gyrojet PDWS because anything old is bad.

      • Other Steve

        Komrad: but this doesn’t actually make 32-20, it makes something kinda close that works in only some 32-20 guns. It’s still .1″ short. This is a lame attempt to create something rare from something common but it doesn’t quite get there. How many could this possibly apply to?

      • Komrad

        It could probably work in tons of them with a little jiggling and many perfectly. Hell, the cases might even fireform and make perfect cases for later use.

    • Nick Pacific

      .357 Brass is easy to come by. Quality 32-20 loads, not so much.
      If I actually OWN a “rare and pointless” rifle and want to use it… that is pretty sweet.
      Only problem is I doubt this would help much with my lever actions.

      • Other Steve

        That’s nice but this doesn’t create a quality 32-20 load. It creates a retarded wildcat cousin that might fire in some guns.

  • A .30-357 Magnum wildcat is not new. I’ve seen articles on it going back at least 50 years. The trick here is that someone used a commercially available die set, not a special order item. The only modification the .300 BLK single-shot rifle would need is a cut to clear the case rim for the chamber and extractor.

    There was an Italian company that offered a revolver chambered for a similiar cartridge, the .30-357 AeT. You aren’t going to find a .32-20 WCF revolver that can kick a 123gr bullet out at 1,950 fps.

    http://www.municion.org/30/30-357Aet.htm

    • DrewN

      And the .30-.357 Maximum will drive a 125 gr. Nosler BT at 2600 fps from a 20″ twist barrel. 2400 or 2500 fps for a 150 gr. as well.

  • armed_partisan

    The obvious solution for people who want to try this seems to be to use .357 Maximum brass and trim it to length. A modified chamber reamer would need to be used to create the rim relief as Mr. Watters notes. A completely new extractor will likely be needed. If you had to pay someone to do this stuff for you, in all, it would be cheaper to procure a Thompson Center Contender in .32-20 than it would be to make a .300 Blk NEF Handi-rifle into a rimmed version of the same round. If you’re gonna do that, and you want bullets with higher BC’s then you could also look for an old TCU Contender barrel. I don’t think there’s a cheap way to do this, and the only reason you’d want this cartridge for single shot guns is because you already have it for semi-auto platforms.

    • I think the .360 Dan Wesson brass from Starline would require far less trimming once run through the .300 BLK forming die. One thing to consider with the average off-the-shelf .32-20 WCF barrel is that you may not find a rate of twist suitable for heavy bullets. You can get faster twists with custom barrels from folks like E.Arthur Brown, but then the same folks often offer barrels in either .300 BLK, .300 Whisper, or .30/221 Remington. Actually, E. Arthur Brown offers barrels for a “.30/221 Rimmed”, which would be darned close to the wildcat of this article.

      Googling “.30/221 Rimmed” brings up a lot of interesting results.

  • El Duderino

    I am wondering why they chose inverted .308 147gr FMJ when there are plenty of .311 bullets (pistol and rifle) that are the correct size. More expensive but closer to the correct projectile.

    • Beaumont

      Well…because the original chambering of the barrel, the .300BLK, is a cartridge of .308 bullet diameter.

  • Davey

    Ya know,
    This whole idea looks like a solution in search of a problem. In a single-shot rifle / carbine, rimmed cartridges are better but…

    If was looking for a subsonic load, a plain old .357 loaded with Hornady’s 180 grain spirepoint seems a lot less hassle. Of course, lots of people love to wildcat their cartridges for reasons other than practicality. 🙂

    • Tuulos

      Wildcats are usually born out of need, either real or perceived. Those more experienced shooters who come up with wildcats usually know what kind of cartridge they want (bullet diameter and weight, speed, size) and using those as the requirements they create (or at least try to) their dream caliber.

      Sometimes it doesn’t work as intended, sometimes they realize afterwards that they have reinvented another cartridge and sometimes they just hit the goldmine.

  • Alex

    Good idea, but this is not new. A Brazilian fellow had created at the 90’s a wildcat named “.30 Puma” ( http://www.municion.org/30/30PumaSpecial.htm ), that was a .357 shell, botle necked, with .308 (from .30 carbine) or .311 bullets, and .357 powder loads (15 Gr of H110). The ammo was designed to be used in a lever action carbine and could easily give 2200 fps to a .308/100 gr FMJ.
    I would like to change the .357 barrel of my lever action to something lighter and faster, but in Brazil (where I live) is truly hard to find someone to build a reloading die from a draft. Now, reading this page, I can realize that there is another solution to my wish, maybe I could buy .300 BLK dies at Brownells and get a more simple solution.

    Tanks for the tip!

    p.s.: I am not in the land of freedom, where “nice guys” can have guns with no hard bureaucracy and buy ammo in the wallmart – believe me, you are lucky to have had founding fathers that wrote the Bill of Rights and I am a bit envy of this…