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So, will the Rossi out shoot my Winchester?

March 28, 2015

OK, let’s do some prepping for the ‘throwdown’ between my Winchester 94AE Trapper, 16″ barrel lever gun and that Rossi 24″ barrel lever gun (both are in .357 magnum) I recently acquired and see if the data says which is going to shoot better.

I took what data I could find from the Lee Precision website for their fine pistol bullet casting molds and used that data on a useful ballistics page, JBM Ballistics. This information implies that the Rossi M92 may out shoot the Winchester, based on these ‘stability figures’ below. For those not into reloading or ‘hand loading’ their own ammunition, this may be new information. If you cast and load your own, as I do, then this is some hopefully useful data (or braggin’ rights) on lever gun brand and performance.

LEE PRECISION .358″ DIAMETER BULLET / MOLD BALLISTIC INFO.

 DC 358-105-SWC

Mold # DC 358-105-SWC

.358 diameter 105 grain Semi Wad Cutter.

Ballistic Coefficient = .106

Bullet Overall Length = .510 inches.

Distance from the crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .295 inches.

Stability figure:

Winchester 94 16″ barrel, 18.5″ twist, 1100 FPS: 4.265

Rossi 92, 24″ barrel, 30″ twist, 1100 FPS: 1.666

I used the same rifle information above on all these stability figures, with an assumed speed of 1100 feet per second out the barrels, so only the weight and length of the bullets is a variation in the calculations.

 DC 358-125-rf

DC 358-125-RF

.358 diameter 125 grain round flat nose bullet.

Ballistic Coefficient = .116

Bullet Overall Length = .540 inches.

Distance from the crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .275 inches.

Stability figure:

Winchester:  4.556

Rossi:  1.733

 DC 358-148 WC

DC 358-148 WC

.358 diameter 148 grain Wad Cutter (the ‘soup can’ bullet)

Ballistic Coefficient .072

Bullet Overall Length = .577 inches

Distance from crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .105 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  4.595

Rossi:  1.747


 DC 358-150-1R

DC 358-150-1R

.358 diameter 150 grain round nose

Ballistic Coefficient .131

Bullet Overall Length = .643 inches

Distance from crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .288 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  3.557

Rossi: 1.353

DC TL358-158SWC

 DC TL 358-158 SWC

.358 diameter 158 grain Semi Wad Cutter, tumble lube bullet.

Bullet Coefficient .117

Bullet Overall Length = .665 inches

Distance from bullet nose to the top edge of the first driving ring = .275 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  3.440

Rossi: 1.308

C358-158SWC

DC C358-158 SWC

.358 diameter 158 grain Semi Wad Cutter

Bullet overall length = .710 inches

This is a gas checked (the copper cap on the bottom of the bullet) cast bullet that can be pushed faster than plain based bullets.

Stability figure:

Winchester:  2.906

Rossi: 1.105

 TL358-158-2R

DC TL358-158-2R

.358 diameter 158 grain round nose, tumble lube bullet.

Ballistic Coefficient .207

Bullet Overall Length = .710 inches

Distance from the bullet nose to the top edge of the first driving ring = .245 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  2.906

Rossi:  1.105

 DC 358-158-RF

DC 358-158-RF

.358 diameter 158 grain round nose.

Ballistic Coefficient .160

Bullet Overall Length = .630 inches

Distance from the crimp groove to the nose of the bullet = .360 inches

Stability figure:

Winchester:  3.945

Rossi: 1.500

The stability figure is the Miller stability factor, from JBM Ballistics. This formula was derived by Don Miller and published in Precision Shooting. This formula is much better than the antiquated Greenhill’s formula. Stability value should be in the range of 1.3 to 2.0 to ensure bullet stability, they say. So, based on this information, the Rossi “should be” fairly accurate, shooting these Lee cast bullets, loaded per your favorite gunpowder manufacturer data to near the top end of the pistol lead bullet data for that weight bullet.

Hodgdon Powder   Alliant Powder   IMR Powder  Accurate Powder

The gas check type can be just a tad faster out of the barrel because of the cap on the base protecting it. I run all my bullets through a lube sizer machine and apply ‘carnauba red’ lube from White Label Lube unless it’s a Lee TL tumble lube bullet. On those I use a 50/50 mix of Johnson’s Paste Floor Wax and Lee liquid Alox, heating up the bullets just until uncomfortable to hold in my hand, dumping them and the mix into a large, plastic coffee container, the red round type with the side flats to make it easy to hold. The warm bullets help spread the material around as they tumble. The flats ensure the bullets get a good tumble as I roll the container along on my loading bench top, while HOLDING ON THE LID. I don’t trust that cheesy plastic snap on lid to hold in 10 pounds of bullets rolling around in sticky wax / lube. After they’re well covered, I place them on wax paper, on their bases, to allow the mix to dry out.

After running through the lubri-sizer, a typical gas checked bullet will look similar to these, where the ‘grease groove’ has been filled with a waxy material that helps reduce leading of the barrel when we’re shooting.

lubed gas checked bullets

The Lee tumble lube bullet gets a coating of the lube all over it, including it’s tiny grooves, so they’re not shiny on the nose of the cartridge, and are a bit sticky (and a little funky looking). I wipe off the base of the bullet before I load them, when tumble lubed, as I don’t want gunpowder all stuck to the base. I’m sometimes concerned that these sticky jokers may collect some sand on them, should they ever be dropped on the ground during a loading of a weapon.

Tumble lube bullet

So, anyway, off we go to the range and we’ll see about that Rossi and bullet stability.

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One Comment
  1. Trey Wall permalink

    Great info Silas,i don’t reload at the moment,(planning to), but i am sure there are plenty of people out there that will find this very informative i am very much a practical man so will still love to know how they shoot side by side at the range,great work,keep it up,cheers Trey.

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