Which powder for .357 16" Winchester Trapper?


June 15, 2006, 04:20 PM
I've been reloading .45ACP with bullseye powder for a few months and am moving on to my second cartridge to reload. I've been considering trying W231 for the .45ACP too, so that is an option for reloading .357. I see that bullseye and W231 powder have listed loads for .357, but I was wondering if anyone could give me some recommended powders for using with the 16" barrell that might work better?

I'm planning on using 158gr. copper plated RN from Sportsman's Warehouse. (I think the brand is either West Coast, Accurate, or Accura Bullets. Seems like the boxes there have changed a couple times.) I'm after something that would give good accuracy out to 100yds. and not really be a full power load.

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Brian Williams
June 15, 2006, 04:56 PM
For real light loads look at Trail boss, a lot of the Cowboy crowd like it because it really fills a case, but for all out thumpinhellanddamnationfulltiltandboogie loads I love Lil' gun.

Warning use these loads at your risk and only in a rifle
18gr Lil'gun 158grLSWCGC and federal primer. This load actually has a kick to it.

June 15, 2006, 11:30 PM
I prefer Winchesters 296 powder for the .357 mag (rifle and revolver) have tried others but always come back to 296...it's what Winchester uses in their factory loads.
You don't have to load to full power...just load with the minimum charge but do NOT load less than what is recommended.

June 15, 2006, 11:51 PM
You want slower powder for sure.

I use VV N-110 for near hot .357's (14 grain behind 158) but for a lower load have found 8.5 of Blue Dot quite useful - and that I have used in 38 spl cases too - sorta +P+ type of 38 load!. These both shoot well from my Win 94 tho of course the Blue Dot has much greater drop.

I mention these as what I have used - they are not per se recommendations. Treat all load data with caution always.

June 16, 2006, 02:58 AM
I've had great luck with Trail Boss in light .44 Rem mag loads, but only mediocre results in .357. Neither my Marlin or even my Freedom Arms revolver seem to like Trail Boss.
My best light .357 loads so far have been with Hodgdon Tite Group. Using CCI 500 primers and 5.5 grains of Tite Group, any 158 grain bullet will shoot very well with Hornady XTP's shooting the best groups I've ever shot.
Velocity should be about 1,050 fps from a revolver, not much more from a carbine because of the fast burn rate. This gives a very mild report from my 16" Marlin and is especially quiet in my 22" NEF Handi rifle.
I'll be stepping up to hot loads soon with Lil' Gun.

June 16, 2006, 02:59 AM
P.S. You might want to try Tite Group in the .45acp as well.

June 16, 2006, 09:22 AM
+1 on the W-W 296 for full-power loads. Great stuff. My .357 Marlin likes 2400 powder for milder loads (1100 fps.)

Steve C
June 16, 2006, 01:43 PM
I don't have a Winchester but my IMI Timberwolf carbine has a similar barrel length. I've run a couple loads over the chrono out of my .357 mag IMI Timberwolf. A 158gr Remington JHP on top of 14.5gr H110 measured 1,560 fps. The same load form a Ruger 4-5/8" Blackhawk ran 1,227 fps. A plated or cast bullet should give another 100 to 200 more fps.

A .38 spl loaded with a 158gr LSWC on top of 4.7grs of W231 left the Timberwolf barrel at 1,101 fps average. The same load was 911 fps from the Ruger BH. You should get similar results in the .357 mag case with an additional .1 or .2 grs.

If your shooting Cowboy matches or plinking you'll probably want a lower velcoity load. You can tear off the copper plating on the copper plated bullets if you push them too fast.

July 22, 2006, 04:08 PM
Okay, answer first; if you look at a burn rate table side by side with a loading book for .357, you can determine which powder in your book is slowest among what they have listed. No point in using Bullseye if you have 16" of barrel. Better yet, if you can find somebody with a program like Quickload, you can plug in a 16" barrel into the data and find a suitable powder that will burn completely in the longer barrel. Quickload can tell you how much barrel you need to completely burn a given powder in each load. It will also allow you to select slower powders than are listed in loading manuals, so you could work up (safely) a 'carbine only' load if you like using a powder that will continue to work in your barrel. Downside if you put it in your revolver, you'll get some flame.... Start by finding the slowest powder in your load book and then look at slightly slower powders in the burn rate chart. That's a rule of thumb - not every combination will work - but it's a starting point. Be careful if you're doing something you can't find in a load book or at least sanity check with other experienced loaders - you can't afford a mistake:D

Now for the question - hey, when I use Trail Boss, I get crud residue that I don't get with other powders. Anybody wanna share their favorite solvent?

July 23, 2006, 07:05 PM
I like 2400 and no. 9

July 23, 2006, 08:44 PM
Try Bullseye out of your carbine before worrying about anything else. It will shoot just fine.

Uncle Don
July 23, 2006, 09:43 PM
I'm going out on a limb here and suggest something like Blue Dot. The slower burning powder has time to do it's job with 16" to work with and you'll get your best velocity and least flash. Using a fast powder is good for handguns, but your objective is quite different with the longer bbl - take advantage of what the cartridge can do for you in a rifle.

Guess I didn't read well enough, P95Carry already covered it.

July 24, 2006, 03:07 PM
I'm planning on using 158gr. copper plated RN from Sportsman's Warehouse. (I think the brand is either West Coast, Accurate, or Accura Bullets. Seems like the boxes there have changed a couple times.) I'm after something that would give good accuracy out to 100yds. and not really be a full power load.

Using a copper plated bullet, if I remember correctly, they usually recommend to hold the velocity to moderate. This is to prevent plated jacket separation.

If this is the case, I would think that you don't want to go full load on 357 - as you mentioned. Hence, no need to use slower powder. I think bulleye should work ok, if you load at 38+p level, or lower.

For me, I use Uniq at 38+p level on my Marlin. This has been working well for me.

Uncle Don
July 24, 2006, 03:43 PM
Everyone has their own opinion. To me, using Bullseye for a rifle load is kind of like using a thoroughbred horse to pull a wagon. All the powder will be burnt in the first three inches of bbl - then the extra bbl length is just a drag on the bullet. I'm not at all against Bullseye for 38 Special, just not in this case.

July 24, 2006, 07:01 PM
If all you're after is a plinking load--just something that goes bang--then I suppose using a plated bullet might make some sense.

On the other hand, think about this. A full-power .357 is not going to have significant recoil in a carbine, period. A full-power .357 will shoot flatter and be on point of aim at a hundred yards instead of only 30 or whatever you get with your plinking standard. And, if you buy bulk Remington jacketed bullets (either SJHP's or my fav. for this purpose, JSP's), your loads need not be more expensive (at least by any significant margin) than the copper plated ones. Your plinking load, IOW, could be a round capable of taking out a white tail or any bipedal target, and still be cheap and fun to shoot.

The most accurate load in my .357 carbine is 18.0 grains of Lil'gun (which is Hodgdon's published max) under a jacketed, 158 grain bullet. This will do 2,000 fps from an 18.5" barrel, and should come pretty close to that in your 16"er. Lots of folks over at the forums at leverguns.com and marlinowners.com have discovered that Lil'gun shines in a carbine.

On the other hand. If you just want to use the plated bullets, any of the fast-burning powders should get you as fast as you're gonna want to push them. Lots of people have reported difficulties with the plating stripping over about 1100 fps. You can get that from a carbine with just about any smokeless powder. So, if that's your decision, use whatever fast powder you've got.

July 24, 2006, 07:12 PM
Hey, I fired up my Quickload program last night - I have a carbine with a 20 inch barrel and figured I'd have a look too. It appears that Blue Dot and 2400 are a couple of pretty good choices for getting some use out of that longer barrel. Both take much of the longer barrel to burn completely - depends on what your load is, but both aren't nearly done burning in a four inch barrel. That kinda explains why I get a big belch of blue flame when I stuff 110 grain hollowpoints down on a max load of either and touch one off in my S&W :evil: Oh, by the way, I'm talking jacketed bullets here.....

We could argue the merits over particular powders all day, but in general, if you're looking for those slower powders to get something out of sixteen inches worth of barrel, there ya go for a start. Have fun.

July 25, 2006, 04:36 AM
Years Ago™ a friend of mine had a Winchester 92 that had been converted from .32-20 to .357 Magnum.
We worked up some hellacious loads using 2400. We based them on the old Elmer Keith N-Frame loads.

July 25, 2006, 12:07 PM
I've found that 2400 is actually a bit fast for top carbine performance (and I realize we're on a tangent here, since the poster did not ask about 'top carbine performance'; hopefully he'll chime back in if he feels he needs more data or clarification).

Speer published a couple of interesting supplementary data sheets when they released Gold Dot bullets in .357 and .41 (there may be similar data sets in the Speer manual, but I don't have that). They show that the top performers in a 6" barrel are not exactly the same as in an 18 or 20" carbine. Well, here's an example. Lil' gun or the old standards, H110/W296, are the velocity winners with a carbine, though they're too slow to get a real efficient burn in a handgun. It's not a big difference, but it is interesting, I think

July 25, 2006, 12:20 PM
I use the same load as my Rugers do in 357. It is based on Bullseye....

July 26, 2006, 09:22 PM
For plinking loads stick with bullseye, just watch out for double charges. For magnum loads I have had good luck with H-110.

July 26, 2006, 11:04 PM
Plated bullets may have a max. recomended velocity, contact the manufacturer and find out.

August 18, 2006, 05:37 PM
Wow, thanks for all of the replies. I had checked on this thread for a couple days and thought it died after that. I just now saw that I had missed a bunch of good info around the end of July.

Ended up taking the information collected here and also data from my reloading books (Lyman 48th Ed. actually has a .357 section under rifle loads that shows pressure/velocity out of longer barrels.) and powder websites and went to the store. Since it appeared the lilGun loads were best for closer to max, I skipped that. Ended up buying a bottle of H110 and loaded 50 rounds at 15.8 - 16.2 grs. I had figured 16.8-17grs. would probably be a max load for H110, so I stayed a little lower. I found that the powder metered horribly out of my Lee powder measure, but besides that, they seemed to shoot quite well and didn't show any signs of pressure or the copper coating stripping off.

I'm going to have to reread all the messages again and get some LilGun and jacked bullets for some hotter loads.

Thanks again for all of your advise.

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