Variations in 2400 by 357 Magnum over 40 years


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Peter M. Eick
December 23, 2005, 09:32 PM
I was playing around with my Handloader DVD set so I decided to map out the variation in every time I could find a 158 grn (+/-) lead 357 magnum load with 2400 to see how much the load changed over the last 40 years. Here it goes with notes that these are all published data with the references provided. These may be overloads by today's data, use at your own risk and not subject to my typing errors.

CAUTION: The following post includes loading data beyond currently published maximums for this cartridge. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The High Road, nor the staff of THR assume any liability for any damage or injury resulting from use of this information.



Note, these are only for 158 grn 357 magnum. Primers were not commonly given nor noted:

11.0 grns July 66
14.0 grns May 66
14.0 grns Jan 70
14.0 grns Sep 72
16.1 grns Nov 75 (158 grn JHP)
15.5 grns May 78 (158 grn JHP)
14.5 grns May 81
15.4 grns Nov 82 (158 grn JHP)
15.5 grns Sep 82 (158 grn JSP)
13.5 grns May 86
14.0 grns June 86
15.0 grns Nov 88
14.3 grns May 91 (163 grn lead)
13.0 grns Jan 92
15.0 grns Aug 95
15.0 grns Oct 95
13.5 grns Oct 95
14.8 grns Oct 00 (158 grn JSP)
15.2 grns Feb 01
12.5 grns Aug 03 (150 grn lead)
15.5 grns Feb 03 (150 grn lead)
14.5 grns Dec 04 (165 grn lead)


You know the main conclusion I drew from this is that the variation was larger then I expected and yet did not have the trend I thought it would.


Anyone wish to offer some insights on the numbers or a comparison of other sources?


By the way, it was a lot of fun to read the same history over and over and over again for the 357 magnum. It was also interesting to notice the subtle errors and the striking similarities of some of the articles. Some authors said it was introduced in 1936, yet the first one was in 1935. I now know what the word "re-hash" really means....:rolleyes:

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grendelbane
December 24, 2005, 08:17 PM
Very interesting!

I have the original November 1935 American Rifleman, (E-Bay is good for something!). There a young gun writer named Elmer Keith reports that the new cartridge is loaded with approximately 15.4 grains of 2400, (depending on lot).

The new Winchester .357 magnum cartridge is obviously thicker brass from his description. "The cartridge case is very thick and heavy, and has a cone-shaped powder space, the small end, of course, being to the rear, which leaves a very thick wall near the end of the shell."

I don't know, but I suspect that today's primers, (even our standard pistol primers), are hotter than the ones sold in the '30s. The brass seems to have been thicker, given EK's description, and Winchester did not recommend reloading it.

The new Alliant 2400 has been described as being faster than the old Hercules 2400. I have my doubts that this is anything more than lot to lot variation. However, due to the difference in primers, I suspect it is possible that the modern handloader will reach maximum pressure with modern components before he hits the levels that Elmer Keith describes.

Having once purchased some old balloon head .44 Spl brass back in the early 80s, I have great respect for what the old timers had to work with, and for what they accomplished. 2400 did not even come out until the 30s. The .38 Super was only introduced in 1929. Basically, we have only had our modern powerful handgun cartridges for 3/4 of a century. Yes, there was the 9mm Mauser and the old Mars cartridges. But powerful handguns for the masses is really a relatively recent historical phenomenon.

JackM
December 24, 2005, 10:10 PM
Some of the early .357s had Large Pistol primers. That could warm up the load some.

Bye
Jack

VonFatman
December 27, 2005, 10:02 AM
Hello Peter,
Interesting read...I was thinking about buying the Handloader DVD myself...but I used up my Christmas money on a Model 18 and T/C Omega...oh well.

I bet you were well versed on .357 by the time you got thru all those articles!!

Hope you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas.

If you see some interesting .41 loads...I'd be all ears!!


Bob

HankB
December 27, 2005, 10:23 AM
I don't know, but I suspect that today's primers, (even our standard pistol primers), are hotter than the ones sold in the '30s.The physical configuration of the primers is different, too. I have some old Winchester factory loaded .357 ammo in which the primers have a distinctively rounded - rather than flat - primer cup.

Today's loads are milder, too . . . I believe SAAMI lowered the maximum allowable pressure when they issued new limits using piezo/PSI measurements to allow manufacturers to sell ".357 Magnum" revolvers without having to make them sturdy enough to stand up to "real" .357's . . .

BigG
December 28, 2005, 08:36 AM
I have some old Winchester factory loaded .357 ammo in which the primers have a distinctively rounded - rather than flat - primer cup.

I remember the old Winchester ammo with the domed primers and red sealant. 45 ACP, especially. Those were the days! :D

molonlabe
December 28, 2005, 08:44 AM
15 gr of 2400 make nice holes in my primers out of a 686 a Colt Python, Dan Wesson and rugar. I finally pulled them all. I'd say that 11 ~ 12 grains maybe 13 tops.

Me I like 296

Old Fuff
December 28, 2005, 10:28 AM
Having once purchased some old balloon head .44 Spl brass back in the early 80s,...

Yes, do remember that some of the early .357 Magnum cartridges used balloon head cases (which was the reason the original .357 Magnum chambers were recessed for the cartridge head). These cases had greater capacity then current solid-head cases, and for that reason older handloading data should never be used unless the load is cut and worked up.

The Bushmaster
December 28, 2005, 11:11 AM
Molonlabe...You are having problems with 2400 putting holes in your primers?? I don't understand. I use 15 grains of 2400 under a 140 grain Remington SJHP in my Colt SAA .357 magnum with no problem and as high as 16 grains used in my Ruger Blackhawk...The only time I had a punched primer was because of an unfinished firing pin.

Peter M. Eick
December 28, 2005, 03:36 PM
I was shooting 14 grns of 2400 with a cci550 cap today and have nothing but praise for it. Worked great out of the python and registered!

The Bushmaster
December 28, 2005, 03:54 PM
I have always kept 2400 under the bench as it is a very versitile powder for many calibres. It is my favorite for my 40 year old Colt SAA...At 15 grains under a 140 grain bullet and a CCI550 primer to scoot it along it is a very effective load...:)

molonlabe
December 28, 2005, 07:50 PM
Yup. I bought the powder in 88 never used it again still have it I'v been using 296 since. I tried it in different guns because I thought it might have been the 586 I was using. I mean it works but it makes a clean hole where the primer hits. The primers I used back then were cci (in that little 10 row devided box that I liked). maybe it's contaminated but 200 roungs got pulled and poured back into the can. (It is in that round cardboard can they used to come in) I remember they wer JHP and I put a hell of a crip on them and the kenetic bullet puller left the jacket behind. It had to wait untill I found a collet set from RCBS someone was selling.

Grump
December 29, 2005, 01:46 PM
I don't know, but I suspect that today's primers, (even our standard pistol primers), are hotter than the ones sold in the '30s. The brass seems to have been thicker, given EK's description, and Winchester did not recommend reloading it.

According to my historical readings, including The American Rifleman back to the late 1950s (NO, I was NOT born yet, no less reading back then!!!:cuss: ), the primers of the 1930s were Chlorate based, non-mercuric (thank heaven, for residues thereof killed brass) but corrosive because their residues were just like NaCl salt and quite hygroscopic. Cleaning routine was three consecutive days of starting with a water-based cleaner and finishing with oil.

Anyway, they were hotter in flame and brisance than the new-fangled lead styphanate primers that were invented just before (?) WWII but not deemed good enough for Government work in the .30-06 until something like 1953 or so. In rifle, at least, many max charges might have gone up a half-grain or so, but I just don't recall how the many worried questions from reloaders were finally answered after the chlorate primers all disappeared.

Corrosive primers were even deemed better by some for match use, and were loaded into some [Remington?] special lots of target ammo well into the late 1950s and maybe the early 1960s.

P95Carry
December 29, 2005, 02:02 PM
Before I switched to VV N-110 - I for years used a straight 14 grains 2400 (Hercules of course) pushing my fave Lyman cast gas check 158 SWC.

Never felt it was a total max load but it was consistent, no over pressure signs as such altho primers we set back enough to flatten well.

Interesting comparison data Peter - and I too am almost surprised to see no obvious trend over time, as we might have expected.

Grump
December 29, 2005, 05:59 PM
The older .357 Mag cases were sometimes SEMI-balloon head. The rim was solid, but the web between the primer pocket and the case wall was not solid as in what we're used to today. I've seen a few of them. The primer pocket, viewed from the casemouth, is like a little brass knob at the bottom of the case, with a hole in the top. The thickness of the rim was the thickness of the casehead, between the primer pocket and casewall.

Balloon-head was the really, really old blackpowder stuff, wherein the case rim was formed just like a modern rimfire but with no gap for priming compound, and a thin folded part in the center that formed the primer pocket. In those, chamber pressure could and sometimes did make the rim a bit thicker upon firing, by simple inflation.

The points about reducing charges because of reduced case capacity are correct. I've seen many Federal cases that are almost the opposite of the semi-balloon heads--the case web stops ABOVE the flashhole, so the bottom of the case looks like there's a 3/16-inch countersink hole in the middle. The thin case wall on the side of the cartridge doesn't begin until almost a quarter-inch above the casehead (dimensions are approximate, folks!).

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