Best metering powders for .357mag rifle?


January 3, 2005, 04:32 PM
In my handguns and soft lever rifle loads I have gravitated to W231 powder because it meters so darned well in my Redding 10X powder measure. Consistant metering is a preference of mine.

Now I'm ready for some powerful loads in the Marlin 1894C .357 magnum rifle. The only powders I have are all fast burning powders for my soft handgun/lever loads. So I am unfamiliar with the medium burning powders I would use for my new application

If any of you could recommend some powders that would be suitable for jacketed soft or hollow point .357 bullets in an 18" rifle that meter well in a powder measure such as mine, I'd appreciate your input. I'm not looking to make "power for the sake of power" loads, just ones that pack the whallop one would expect from a .357 mag round in a rifle.

I'm not looking for load data here. I'll be looking that up in my books. I'm looking for a list of a few appropriate powders for my task, so I don't have to buy 1 pound cans of too many different ones.

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January 3, 2005, 05:05 PM
Winchester W296 use load data as recommended with a magnum primer. Do not go below recommended load. This is an excellent powder and I also use it in my M1 Carbine.

January 3, 2005, 05:15 PM
Thanks ML.

January 3, 2005, 05:21 PM
Hodgdon Lil Gun, H-110 or WW-296
Lil Gun gives a bit less pressure and higher velocities with top loads.

Black Snowman
January 3, 2005, 05:39 PM
Everyone has posted good advice. I use a lot of WC820 cause I bought 16 lbs of it. So far all the velocity data to charge weights I've tried match AA #9 and it meters great being a spherical powder. I like to use it with a baffel for that extra margin of consistancy.

It won't get you top velocity though.

January 3, 2005, 06:42 PM
I'll say it again, H110/W296 (they are the same powder).

January 3, 2005, 09:12 PM
W-296 and its twin, H-110, with magnum primers for maximum loads. This is a spherical powder and meters very well.

Paul "Fitz" Jones
January 4, 2005, 12:01 AM
As a commercial police ammo reloader I bought many kegs of WW231 and when I converted a Single Shot falling block Martini and a half dozen 1892 Winchesters to .357 mag for my kids I saw no reason to change the powder as the longer barrel of the rifle gives a higher velocity and it does really meter very accurately!!


January 4, 2005, 11:39 AM
Have been reloading 357 Mag for many years. I only stock 2 powders. One is WW231 for the light loads and WW296 for the stiffer loads.
On the WW296 never download it. It burns proper and efficiently when it is near a maximum charge. Also always use magnum primers with the 296.
Just started loading for a Marlin i picked up and i use 20 grains of WW296 , with a cci 550 mag pistol primer and 125 grain JHP and a heavy roll crimp in the cannelure. This is to ensure the bullets do not get pushed down into the cases with the tubular fee. Velocity is 2100 fps muzzle. With the red dot scope it makes a nice fun gun to shoot and pretty flat out to 150 yards or so.
This load may seem a bit stout by today's manuals but i use the old Speer No. 10 reloading manual . No pressure signs in my gun with the above data. Hope this helps you establish some perimeters on about what powders you should use. Have fired thousands of rounds of 357 mag. out of 10" Thompson Contenders and found WW296 is about the best powder for the longer range loads. Shooting 200 meter handgun we had to squeeze every ounce of distance we could out of those little guns.

January 4, 2005, 12:36 PM
Guys, thanks very much for the guidance. I'm going to pick up some W296 and some magnum small pistol primers when I next pass by the big dealer (3 hrs drive).

While there, I was thinking of picking up a pound of Unique since it is also mentioned in .357 and .32H&R Magnum loads. But if this is a poor metering powder, I'll skip it.

Any opinions on Unique?

I'm totally sold on W296, since I'm a W231 user already.

Thanks again . . . this place is a great clearing house of ideas, isn't it!

January 4, 2005, 01:18 PM

Unique is a great powder for light to moderate loads in .38, .357, .45ACP, 9mm, and probably others - those are the ones I use it for. I burn a *lot* of Unique.

For maximum velocity with jacketed bullets in .357 mag, VV N110 is the best I've found. It meters very well in an RCBS Uniflow measure, burns very clean, and gives excellent velocities in 4" and 5-1/2" revolvers, and an honest 2050 fps with 125g JHP in a 20" Marlin levergun. It is too expensive though.

The Speer manual (the last one, from about 10 years ago) has some good loads for this powder. I won't post charge weights except to say that 17 grains is well below the Speer manual max, and shoots real well in my guns.


January 4, 2005, 09:07 PM
By the way Thirties. 296 meters like Cream of Wheat fine and no hangups.

January 5, 2005, 11:35 PM
I like H110 a lot for .357Mag. shot in rifles. I use standard primers (CCI500 or WSP). Crimp well...

I use a Lee Perfect powder measure for almost all powder metering tasks, and I have been very happy with it. However, I do notice a few problems with H110 (Win. 296) that I never have with larger ball powders (like H335/WC844/AA2230C, etc.). The ball size of the H110 is appreciably smaller than the other ball powders mentioned. I find that enough of the H110 will leak into the cone area that turns on the measure so that I generally pull the measure apart every 150 rounds of so because the measure turns stiffer and stiffer as more rounds are loaded. I never have to clean the cone area when using the other ball powders.

Just something to keep in mind when using H110/Win296. I'm willing to do the extra work because these powders are superior to anything else for this cartridge (and the .44 Rem. Mag.) when fired in rifles.

Ben Shepherd
January 13, 2005, 08:14 PM
I've got a nasty 357 habit(a dozen or so), and have played with lots of powders over the last several years. This is what I've found:

1. Top velocity-296/h110
2. Cleanest(still a top-end load)-n110-expensive though.
3. Blue dot is excellent for not quite "all-out" loads. Very economical and meters fairly well.
4. Still playing with 'lil gun, looks promising.

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