.357 magnum: what am I doing wrong?


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carterbeauford
December 2, 2006, 12:55 PM
I loaded 12 .357 magnum cartridges with two different kinds of bullets according to my Lee manual and not one of them fired successfully.

Remington brass, Winchester 125gr JHP, CCI primers and loads working up from 6.7 to 7 grains of Green Dot. All of them went "pop" and lodged the bullet in the barrel with the powder behind it. None of the powder ignited.

Same brass and primer, Hornady 180 grain CL, from 5.4 to 6.0 grains of Green Dot. These ones fired but with no recoil and I watched the bullet fly downrange.

Min OAL is within spec, what am I doing wrong? :confused:

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8ring
December 2, 2006, 01:18 PM
Here are my suggestions. Are you using small pistol magnum primers? I've had several squibs like you described (bullet halfway down barrel with burnt powder behind it) in .357 using mag primers and minimum loads of Titegroup. My theory is that the mag primer blows the bullet out of the case before the powder starts to burn. The pressure decreases as the bullet leaves the case, the powder doesn't burn completely, and a squib results. (This is a theory only.)

Second, did you have a tight crimp on the bullet?

Third, was all the cleaning media removed from the flash holes? Any debris can cause incomplete ignition.

I know this can be frustrating. I suggest a slower burning powder that will fill more of the case. Unique, Universal, Power Pistol, or VV N-340 can all provide good mid-range loads for your .357.

Chris

snuffy
December 2, 2006, 01:20 PM
At least the primers are firing! Sounds like something is contaminating the powder. Did you clean the cases with a liquid cleaner? Maybe they were not completely dry. Or it could be excess case lube inside the case??

The Bushmaster
December 2, 2006, 01:26 PM
Of the five manuals that I have only one lists Green Dot and that one is my Alliant manual of year 2000. and it has only one listing and that is 7.3 grains for a 125 grain JHP. Are you using magnum primers? If so, try Winchester WSPM primers. They are a little hotter then CCI. Next I would make sure you are getting a good crimp. Next...How old and how was the powder stored?

Personally I would go to a more popular powder with more load data then Green Dot. Oh...Say...Something like W-296, Alliant 2400, etc, etc...:)

carterbeauford
December 2, 2006, 01:28 PM
snuffy, that makes sense, but since I'm using carbide dies, no lube has touched the cases. They are factory new, clean as can be. All I did was size them. Brand new container of powder, too.

8ring, they are regular CCI small pistol primers. No crimp as my die set doesn't have a crimping die. The bullet were seated tight in the neck, though. Would you recommend getting a crimping die?

Derby FALs
December 2, 2006, 01:37 PM
Use magnum primers and a tiny fluff of polyfill on top of the powder. I used to use cornstarch but it raised the pressure too much.

Walkalong
December 2, 2006, 01:38 PM
Straight from Alliant Web Pages
http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/RecipeDetail.aspx?title=Pistols%20and%20Revolvers&gtypeid=1&weight=125&shellid=1015&bulletid=25

125 Gr. JSP @ 1.57 O.A.L.
Green Dot Powder
Fed. 200 Primer
5.6 Grs. Start Load
7.3 Grs. Max Load
1,415 FPS @ 33,600 PSI ( for 7.3 Grs.)

STRANGE! :what:
Everyone has had good suggestions.
Yes, get a crimp die. Very important to crimp!!:)

The Bushmaster
December 2, 2006, 01:41 PM
NO CRIMP? On a magnum cartridge it is a must...:eek: Recommended crimp die... Lee FCD...:)

highlander 5
December 2, 2006, 02:02 PM
your seating die has a role crimp built into it.
Best way to find out is this take a sized case and put in the seating die with seating plug removed. Now with the locking ring loosened/removed screw the die down until it touches the case mouth then turn it down 1/8 to a 1/4 turn more and you should
have a nice role crimp. If you have a loaded case run it into the die and crimp the bullet then replace the seating plug while the case is in the die and lock every thing in place you should be good to go.
I just went thru the same thing with a fellow I work with who had the same problem

.38 Special
December 2, 2006, 02:03 PM
Are you absolutely sure your die doesn't crimp? I've never heard of a handgun bullet seating die that didn't have a crimper built in.

Regardless, I can't believe that a lack of crimp would cause complete lack of powder ignition. I'd switch to magnum caps, if you aren't already using them. Frankly, though, it sounds like you may have a bad batch of powder.

8ring
December 2, 2006, 02:17 PM
Follow the instructions that came with your die set to obtain a good roll crimp. Try your loads again.

Check Alliant's website but I don't think they recommend magnum primers for .357 Green Dot loads.

Does this powder have an odd amonia smell? If so, it has probably gone bad. Bring it to the dealer and see what they think.

(Have you used this batch of powder with any other cartridges? What results?)

If this doesn't work, I'd suggest trying a different powder. If you're a beginner, avoid the extremely fast powders and slow full house load powders (H-110, 2400, 296) with your first loads.

carterbeauford
December 2, 2006, 02:54 PM
http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y38/hovisimo2/reload.jpg

This is what the neck looks like. Tried and retried and cannot get the Lee carbide bullet seating die to make anything that looks like a crimp. In front is my reload, in back is an HSM factory load.

Haven't tried this powder on anything else, only thing I have is .357 magnum and .38 special.

Walkalong
December 2, 2006, 03:28 PM
Lee carbide bullet seating die

Excellent pic. What die?

Lee makes a carbide crimp die. They work OK. It's designed to make sure loaded rounds will fit the chamber. Unless it is a bad die it should crimp fine. Read the directions with it. I have one for an auto cartridge. It may not be adjusted right. Is this the die?

Walkalong
December 2, 2006, 03:31 PM
Straight from Lee website.


Lee Carbide Factory Crimp Die

A carbide sizer sizes the cartridge while it is being crimped so every round will positvely chamber freely with factory like dependability. The adjustig screw quickly and easily sets the desired amount of crimp. It is impossible to buckle the case as with a conventional bullet seating die. Trim length is not critical so this extra operation takes less time than it would if cases were trimmed and chamfered. Revolver dies roll crimp with no limit as to the amount. A perfect taper crimp is applied to auto-loader rounds. The crimper cannot be misadjusted to make a case mouth too small to properly head-space. A firm crimp is essential for dependable and accurate ammunition. It eliminates the problems of poor ignition of slow burning magnum powders.

Walkalong
December 2, 2006, 03:38 PM
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=238214

Just found this great post by DaveInFloweryBranchGA , Check it out.

.38 Special
December 2, 2006, 09:17 PM
Straight from Lee website.
Does that mean that standard Lee seating dies do not offer a built-in crimper?

Steve C
December 2, 2006, 10:24 PM
Does that mean that standard Lee seating dies do not offer a built-in crimper?

The Lee seating dies for revolver cartridges will roll crimp like any other seating die regardless of whether the die set comes with a Factory crimp die or not. You just don't use it for crimping if you want to crimp seperately using the FC die.

Regarding carterbeauford's problem I think most of the angles have been comvered by previous posters. If I was hazzarding a guess it would be that the powder is bad, either the load got contaminated or the canister was stored improperly if the whole can is bad. Green dot is a relatively fast shotgun/pistol powder and easily ignighted if good.

Besides having a bad smell you can test smokeless powder by taking a very small amount, perhaps one of the small Lee dippers full and placing it on a surface where it can be burned. Touch it off using barbecue starter or long match. It should burn brightly and quickly. If the powder is bad it will burn similar to paper. Don't try this with black powder as it goes up in a flash with lots of smoke.

MutinousDoug
December 2, 2006, 10:48 PM
Not familiar with Green dot, but is it a fine grained powder? I had to stop using Win 452AA in my 12 ga trap load 'cause it seemed to block the flash hole and cause squib loads with Rem primers (that weren't sealed). These were old components. I thought the powder was getting between the cup and the anvil?
Or maybe between the primer and the flashhole?

Powderman
December 2, 2006, 11:01 PM
First off, Green Dot is a flake powder. It will burn fine with standard primers.

Second, check your seating die. Make sure that someone at the factory didn't do something stupid like throw in a .357 MAXIMUM die into the box.

If it says .38/357 Magnum or something resembling that, it should be OK.

Now, next thing is how to install your seater/crimper.

First thing, take your seater plug and screw it all the way UP into the die, until it stops. Put your shellholder into the press, and insert a loaded factory round.

Raise the ram on the press all he way. Now, screw the die into the press--OVER the cartridge--until you feel it stop. You should DEFINITELY feel it stop. When this happens, lower the ram a hair, and screw the die in 1/4 turn ONLY. Raise the ram again--you should feel a definite resistance at the very top of the ram movement. This is the crimping shoulder acting the way it should. With the ram all the way up, the cartridge is locking the die in place; tighten your lock ring at that point.

Now, screw in the seater plug until you feel it make firm contact with the bullet itself. Lock it in place, and the job's done.

Steve C
December 3, 2006, 12:18 AM
OHHH I just had a weird thought.
carterbeauford wrote:
I loaded 12 .357 magnum cartridges with two different kinds of bullets according to my Lee manual and not one of them fired successfully.

Remington brass, Winchester 125gr JHP, CCI primers and loads working up from 6.7 to 7 grains of Green Dot. All of them went "pop" and lodged the bullet in the barrel with the powder behind it. None of the powder ignited.

Same brass and primer, Hornady 180 grain CL, from 5.4 to 6.0 grains of Green Dot. These ones fired but with no recoil and I watched the bullet fly downrange.

Carter,
You where using 6.7 to 7 grains weight of powder NOT 6.7 to 7 actual flakes of powder where you? Using just a few flakes of powder would explain the slight "pop", low power or lack of ignition.

If you did confuse the term grain weight with the use of grain as a small piece or particle of powder go ahead and admit to it. We will all have a good laugh with you.

Powderman
December 3, 2006, 01:53 AM
You know, that would be kinda cool!

Think of how many cases of ammunition you could load from one can of powder!

IDriveB5
December 3, 2006, 02:21 AM
if you are using 231, do you need magnum primers for lead loads? how do you know when you need a magnum primer? Lees manual doesnt mention magnum or regular primer as far as i can tell.

Powderman
December 3, 2006, 04:01 AM
Over the years, I have studied powder burning charts. These list canister-grade powders in ranking from fastest to slowest. The fast powders are generally suited for handgun use. The medium ranges can be used in handgun and shotgun; the slow handgun powders are generally used only for magnum loads in handguns.

Now, the slowest burning powder for handguns is usually faster-burning than the fastest suitable powders for rifles; long guns are a different story altogether. Confused yet? ;)

At any rate, I have sorted powders for my personal use. I define powders with burning rates similar to Alliant Unique and faster as fast burning powders. Standard primers are used exclusively.

Powders with relative burning rates slower than Unique MAY rate a magnum primer; this depends on manufacturer's recommendations.

Powders that should ALWAYS be loaded with magnum primers for handgun shooting are H-110, W296 and Alliant 2400.

Walkalong
December 3, 2006, 09:03 AM
OHHH I just had a weird thought.

Not a bad thought. How would one know until he studies reloading. An easy mix up. I wondered what a "Grain" of powder was when I first started. A granule right? NOT!

The Bushmaster
December 3, 2006, 09:32 AM
Now that would be tedious. Counting out 7 pieces of powder. How would you figure .7 of a flake?:confused:

Roadkill
December 3, 2006, 12:51 PM
I had the same problem with .357 & .38 using both Reddot and Unique. Ignition was the problem. Not enough pressure bulit up fast enough to move the bullet out. I have been cutting small styrofoam squares and setting them on the powder in the case, just large enough to keep the powder at the ignition end. Have not had a problem since and the little white "poof" looks kinda cool too.

Walkalong
December 3, 2006, 01:25 PM
Hey Roadkill
Have you ever tried poly fillers like Winchester Super Grex ( no longer made but substitutes are available. )

carterbeauford
December 3, 2006, 01:57 PM
Carter,
You where using 6.7 to 7 grains weight of powder NOT 6.7 to 7 actual flakes of powder where you? Using just a few flakes of powder would explain the slight "pop", low power or lack of ignition.

If you did confuse the term grain weight with the use of grain as a small piece or particle of powder go ahead and admit to it. We will all have a good laugh with you.

Haha, no man, I use either a Lee safety scale for small charges. I will admit I am new to this, having better luck loading 30/30 though.

I appreciate all the advice, I think the problem lies in the crimp. If I understand it right, the primer is pushing the lighter bullets out of the case before the powder has a chance to burn. Since the heavier bullets are seated deeper in the case, some of the powder burns, but not all of it. The powder is good because I put 18 grains in a 30/30 load and it went boom.

I am going to lay off this load for a while as my revolver is headed back to Taurus for unrelated problems. The die is indeed the correct one, a Lee carbide .38/.357 die.

The Bushmaster
December 3, 2006, 02:37 PM
Then it has a roll crimp built into it. Just needs set up correctly or like Powderman said some fool at the factory screwed up.

Walkalong
December 3, 2006, 05:03 PM
Be EXTREMELY carefull putting fast pistol powders in the 30/30. (any rifle cartridge) You could have a detonation. It will be VERY position sensitive also. Fire it one way.. OK Fire it another... BOOM. I blew the H***out of a primer pocket in a .22 hornet like that. OK one way. Definitely not the other. Be careful!

Just don't do it. :eek: :what:

Powderman
December 3, 2006, 06:15 PM
I had the same problem with .357 & .38 using both Reddot and Unique. Ignition was the problem. Not enough pressure bulit up fast enough to move the bullet out. I have been cutting small styrofoam squares and setting them on the powder in the case, just large enough to keep the powder at the ignition end. Have not had a problem since and the little white "poof" looks kinda cool too.

Oooh, bad move. REALLY bad move!

Do NOT use ANY types of filler in a pistol case. That, in conjunction with using powders like Red Dot and Unique are asking for a blown case, or worse!

Check your bullet neck tension. Your handgun cases should have that distinct hourglass shape when reloaded--unless you have a full length cartridge sizer like the big ammo manufacturers do. Check the expander ball, and make sure it is of the proper diameter.

For revolver cartridges, a good roll crimp is essential for proper function and accuracy. For semiautomatic cartridges, a taper crimp is needed.

I read lots and lots of posts here about reloaders who do NOT crimp their loaded rounds. This is a HUGE reloading mistake, but some people just do not listen.

If you are having trouble applying a proper crimp, get an experienced reloader to watch you set up your dies. They should be able to give you some pointers on how to do it for best results.

db_tanker
December 3, 2006, 08:03 PM
I would suggest getting a diffrent powder...like SR-4756 or maybe Bullseye....you can use those for light cast bullet loads in a 30 WCF and still load up some good loads for a 357 mag handgun...

D

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