Vihtavuouri 3N37 or N350 for .357?


December 23, 2004, 03:21 PM
In my quest for a powder which will give strong .357 power and burn
more completely than 2400 or H-110 in a 3" barrel, I'm considering
Vihtavuouri 3N37 and N350... anyone have experience with these
powders? Do they meter well? Burn cleanly? Burn well in a short barrel?

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Jim Watson
December 23, 2004, 04:02 PM
.357 Magnum revolver?
I like N105 for kind of moderate magnum loads, a friend loads full charge magnums with N110, but he is conducting psychological warfare, it has a LOT of muzzle flash from his 2.5" M66.
I think 3N37 and N350 are too fast for real magnums.

December 23, 2004, 09:50 PM
I've used N340 for medium .357 mag loads with good results. A less than max load of N340 with a 158gr. cast bullet gave about 1175 fps from my Ruger GP-100 6". A less than max load gave about 1250 fps with a 140gr. hard cast. The N340 metered superbly in my Uniflow and burned cleanly. Modest extreme spreads (30-40 fps) with magnum primers.

The N-350 should give a little more power. The VV loading manual is available online.


December 24, 2004, 05:22 AM
I looked at the Vihta powders today and discovered that they tend to be about $10 more per pound than most other brands of powders. They must be making some *really* exceptional powders if folks are generally comfortable spending the extra bucks for it.

N350 might be worth a try.

But I also discovered that PowerPistol (which meters very well, burns very cleanly, develops excellent power, but creates a bright flash) can achieve a very potent loading with the 140 gr. bullet. I think I'll give that a try first since I have some of it on hand.

Thanks for the feedback on N340.

December 24, 2004, 10:15 PM
Just made up some Christmas PowerPistol loads and chronyed them tonight. Chronograph 12' from the muzzle.

Test gun: Ruger GP-100 (fixed sights, 3" barrel)

Bullet: 140 gr. Speer JHP
Primer: Federal Gold Match Standard Small Pistol

9.0 gr. PowerPistol = 1089 fps / 369 fpe
9.5 gr. PowerPistol = 1161 fps / 419 fpe

Very clean burning, no smoke or soot whatsoever; no evidence of unburned powder. Moderate recoil. Bright flash. All in all, looks like it would be a good defense load, potent yet quite controllable. Very comfortable in the 3" GP-100, not bad in the 3" Smith 13/65. Haven't tried it in my SP-101 yet, though. I suspect it will be controllable in the SP-101, but felt recoil will be much more intense.

December 24, 2004, 10:24 PM
Ahah - just posted back on the other thread . again - NICE pic!!

The Vhit powders are - awful spendy. I may not get any more but - I do (and have) found them about the cleanest burning ever - all forms.

I would consider 340 out of the equation for any hot loads - just to darned fast (from my thinking). It makes for a great 9mm load tho. I favor the N110 for my usual mag .357 loads ... and have not tried 105.

Seems like your test loads are getting a good result.... and, I would not probably expect to find any powder which would give good speeds without considerable flash. (Free lunch again - and all that!!)

December 25, 2004, 06:37 PM
Eeee. . .
N340 and N110 are favorites for my .357 rounds - I just crimp 'em nice and firm. I've no experience with N350, sorry.
The extra price for the powder? I don't know if it's an exclusive process, but they 'wash' the finished powder in pure nitro - and there's just something pleasant from enjoying a very good product from that little country that has done lovely things with ammunition, rifles and gunpowder for all these years.


December 25, 2004, 06:41 PM
Trisha ... 340 eh ... obviously this works for you but -- to what level are you loading with that powder. As I said earlier, that does seem to me a tad fast for any substantial loads.

What for example might be your fave load with it - bullet weight and charge weight.? No primer flattening etc? I may have to try it but usually keep it for my 9mm loads ... with a 14 grns N110 behind 158 gas check being a nice below max load for mag useage... ''fruity'' but not quite blistering! :)

December 26, 2004, 12:36 PM
Behind a good JHP or even a JTC, I'm more than happy with the listed max charge of 7.4gr of N340 with my S&W 649. Blistering? No. Accurate, clean, and supersonic out of that little revolver? Yes. 125gr XTP's get 16.2gr N110.


December 28, 2004, 03:42 AM
I keep coming back to N340. I've heard elsewhere that in addition to being really clean, it also has very low flash and meters well in a Dillon 550. Can't ask for much more than that (well... decent accuracy too, I guess).

Looking at the load data, it looks like getting close to max I could use N340 to push a 140 gr. JHP to around 1150 fps from a 3" barrel... exactly what I want in my 3" defense tubes. Or back down to min. loading for lighter, daily practice loads.

Seem reasonable, or should I bump a notch to a slower Viht powder (3N37 or N350?) I've also heard that Hodgdon's Longshot is clean and low flash for a good bit less money.

Trish... I can see how Viht powders might sit on a dealer's shelf for a long time... simply because it's expensive stuff which most reloaders probably avoid. I don't really want to spend the extra money myself, if I don't have to. But the Vihta powders sound like they're all very clean, meter well, and low flash... it's not easy to find all those nice properties in a powder. I guess that's why they can get the big bucks for it.

December 29, 2004, 10:24 AM
I understand that many reload as a way to save funds. I do too, but I find the most enjoyment in making quality ammunition (as good if not better than commercially available); so the cost of VV powder really doesn't enter into the picture for me.

Try a couple of pounds and see for yourself. I find lead styphenate (sp?) primers give the best ignition, but some degree of that may be psychological as I don't have comparative primer ignition pictures to back that.

When it's just for a day of drills, ammunition made on the progressive suits just fine; but when I want to verify the combination of myself and the load and the particular firearm, taking a day to make 500 rounds of meticulously crafted match-grade ammunition is a pleasure in itself. Going to +P+ loads and setting up my best 1911 for it, with a few hours spent pushing myself to my best performance sees me unable to wipe the smile from my face for days afterwards with the targets then taped to the wall behind the reloading bench.

VV N340 lets me do both, and never fails to please - so the slightly higher investment seems well worthwhile.


December 29, 2004, 03:11 PM
Thanks Trisha... they have a number of powders closely clustered together (N340, N350, 3N37, 3N38) do they all have the same properties other than power development? I may need to go to N350 or 3N38 for a little more power. But I don't understand the differences between these apparently similar powders. Also, is N110 are as clean and low-flash as N340? Appreciate your comments!

December 29, 2004, 03:34 PM
Not to pre-empt Tricia ... in essence - from 310 (fastest pistol powder - Viht's Bullseye!) you get slower as you progress up toward 350. I haven't ''caught up'' yet with the 3N series.

Somewhere I have a file showing comparitive burn rates - sppeds of combustion ... of a load of powders. I must try and find it.

A web search however may also yield some info .. try perhaps ''powder burning rates'' ... or similar set of keywords. There are one or two good documents out there.

The Viht' site too might help - hmmm .. what URL? have to check...

Here ya go - or it was anyways ..

December 29, 2004, 05:08 PM
Thanks P95... the Vihta website has a great chart regarding burn rates,

but I was really wondering how the characteristics of the powders varied. I hear that N340 is very clean with very low flash and meters well. I was just wondering if the other powders in that "speed" cluster were the same in those characteristics... and if N110 was also like that (in spite of being much slower).

December 29, 2004, 08:50 PM
The extent of my experience with Viht powders is --- N's .... 310, 340, 110, 133, 140 and 150. From that limited experience I'd just say broadly - all seem excellent metering, excellent clean burns.

Cannot to be honest remember specifics sufficient to tag em one by one!! Don't remember any severe flash with any - but maybe never really taken stock of that!

January 1, 2005, 05:10 PM
N110 will give you flash, but be remarkably clean with a good crimp. I have seen the best performance from the powder through those who shoot 6" revolvers, and spectacular results with those who use it in lever-action carbines.

VV has (within its near-cult following) an unvarnished and untarnished reputation of being both batch to batch consistent as welll as true to each powder's burn rating. I only load with jacketed bullets, so I don't vouch for even hard-cast lead rounds (I would use a gas check were I were to go that route).


January 1, 2005, 05:23 PM
Trisha, as another N-110 fan ... I usually do use gaschecks, certainly in .357 but - have found no probs at all using hardcast Keith 250 SWC's, plain base - in some quite ''energetic'' .44 mag loads.

My 14 grains N-110 pushing gas check Lyman 158 SWC, in .357 ... is a superb round out of my Win94 and is also a great round in N frames too.

What really amazes me with VV powders is the amazingly low carbon resudue ... from all their powders I have ever used ... compare that with say, the sooting from using Unique!!

January 2, 2005, 05:46 PM
Add the very low standard deviation with meticulously built ammunition - it's so nice.

I smile at the 1355fps I obtain with a 300gr XTP out of my Super Redhawk .44mag - "I'll take poppers at 100 yards, please; with iron sights for a bottle of wine!"

Fosters cans with the Desert Eagle is just too much fun with that load. . .

And here at altitude the chronograph sweetens the 180gr .357 load to a clean 1400fps out of an aquaintences 6" S&W. It drops to 1305 out of my 649, but that's more than enough of a comfort zone and is my winter defensive load.

As I shoot far more .44mag, I have a Marlin lever action carbine on my wish list. . .


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