357 magum powder


April 18, 2007, 11:04 AM
What are you guys favorite powder in 357? I use 296 and love it, anyone have any other good powders to try? Preferably slower burning?

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Mark whiz
April 18, 2007, 11:09 AM
Win296 is my favorite for jacketed bullets 158gr & up for sure. Win 231 works well with lighter bullets - the 145gr Win Silvertips in particular.

I've found that Hogd. Universal clays does a great job with 158gr cast LSWCs in both .357Mag and .38Spcl.

April 18, 2007, 11:14 AM
what about 4227?

April 18, 2007, 11:56 AM
I went away from 296 and H110 because it was too fine and leaked out of the Dillon, powder measure! IMR4227 was the next best choice! Measured better and was just as impressive out of a 357 or 44 in magnum loadings.

April 18, 2007, 12:09 PM
2400. I use a load of 13.5 grains 2400 with a 158 in 357 brass. For the same velocity, other powders give me extraction problems, but the 2400 loads just drop out of the cylinder.

April 18, 2007, 12:16 PM
A promising powder with heavier bullets is Hodgdon's Lil'Gun. I've been experimenting with it with 180 grain cast bullets in my Marlin Carbines and it's a real thumper. We've finally got a powder that will bring the .357 Carbine into the same power range as the 30-30 carbine.

I haven't used it in my pistols yet, but plan to. Most of my .357 revolvers are 6" barrelled, and it should do well with the longer barrels. Up until now, Win. 296 has been my standard powder for full power loads in .357, .41 and .44 magnum loadings.

Hope this helps.


Ben Shepherd
April 18, 2007, 01:10 PM
IF I was limited to only one powder for 357, it would be 2400. Hands down.

It works well from mid range clear up to *holy cow* with all slug weights from 110 up to 200. Accuracy has been from good to outstanding in every combination I've tried it in in this caliber.

It's only drawback is that it's slightly dirty.

Steve C
April 18, 2007, 03:38 PM
2400 for 140gr bullets and heavier. Blue Dot for under 140gr bullets. Unique for cast loads. Have some 296 and H110 on hand but haven't found them any better than 2400, just need a bit more for the same velcocity.

April 18, 2007, 06:31 PM
If you feel that the .357 Magnum has the same burn rate requirements as the .44 Magnum, maybe 2400, 296, H110 or even Li'l Gun is the way to go.

On the other hand, if you feel its smaller case capacity might require a slightly faster burn rate than the .44 Magnum . . . AA#9! Ramshot Enforcer is nearly identical in burn rate. AA#9 will cover the same load range as 2400, and it will produce higher velocity. Less muzzleblast than 2400, 110, or

As far as a carbine length barrels, the highest .357 velocity I've seen recorded from a 18 1/2" barrel and published in a reloading manual with a 180 gr. bullet was 1846 FPS with AA#9. 2400 produced 1543 FPS, W296: 1679 FPS, H110: 1689 FPS in the same data. That's 157 FPS faster than its closest rival. The premise that a slower powder will get you a higher velocity doesn't seem to hold up in this case. I haven't seen the numbers on Li'l Gun and I'm not inclined to accept Hodgdon data. Remember their ad campaign, "H110, the powder that screams, No Wimps Please!" Well they were claiming 1800 FPS, or better, in the .357 Magnum with a 125 gr. JHP. Never mind that the smaller print stated velocity was from a 10" ballistic test barrel. The full pressure load that I have that is 3 grains higher made 1589 FPS from a 6" revolver. Blue Dot achieved higher velocity from the same revolver.

Nothing surprising here. For guys that have been around long enough, You already know that Blue Dot was the .357 Magnum velocity champ for typical revolvers until SAAMI reduced the pressure rating of the .357 Magnum. #9 wasn't tested at the time because it had newly arrived on the market, but it did arrive in time to get used for Rifle loads in a Marlin with an 18 1/2" barrel. #9 will produce velocity as high as the older Blue Dot loads from a 6" revolver. The max pressure limit for the data I'm referring to was 46,000 CUP. The data I'm referring to for AA#9 is current: http://www.accuratepowder.com/data/PerCaliber2Guide/Handgun/Standarddata/35738Cal(9.2mm)/357%20Magnum%20pages%20100%20to%20102.pdf
What I'm saying here is that among the powders we have available for the .357 Magnum, AA#9 has the highest energy potential. I haven't tried Enforcer yet, but I haven't seen data above the 35,000 PSI level, either. Li'l gun looks impressive in some loads, if it's anywhere near how Hodgdon rates it, but for the .357 Magnum data I've seen other than Hodgdon's, Li'l gun is too slow for the .357 Magnum to achieve maximum velocity potential from a revolver. With Hodgdon's track record for reporting velocity, I think I'll remain a bit skeptical on what it will do in longer barrels as well.;)

April 18, 2007, 06:55 PM
I've used Blue Dot with great success, but I have also noticed it seemed "hotter" in cold weather. I figured it was my memory getting loose, until I read here that Blue Dot is temperature sensitive. I won't stop using it, but I may reserve it for warm weather.

I went away from 296 and H110 because it was too fine and leaked out of the Dillon, powder measure! Something doesn't sound right there. I've run several pounds of H110 without "leakage". I get "droppings", but that happens no matter what powder I use, and can mostly be attributed to the operator.

April 18, 2007, 06:57 PM
I like Lil'gun.. it's kinda slow burning for anything under 6"brrl

April 18, 2007, 07:56 PM
H110 works very good in 357mag. I feel it has more kick than 2400. 2400 IMHO might be more accurate than H110 using the same bullet. If you do try 2400 it does not require a Magnum Primer.

April 18, 2007, 09:56 PM
Win 296 for full power loads with jacketed bullets and Win 231 for lighter loads with cast bullets.

The Bushmaster
April 18, 2007, 10:34 PM
I use three powders for my three .357 magnums. For some reason they each seem to shoot best with these powders. Ruger Blackhawk 6 1/2" barrel=W-296 under a 140 gr SJHP...Colt SAA 4 3/4" barrel=2400 under a 140 gr SJHP and S&W Mod 19 2 1/2" barrel=W-231 under a 125 gr SJHP and I fullhouse with this one.

April 18, 2007, 11:18 PM
Another user of 2400 here. I've never used anything else for magnum loads. Some might say that shows a lack of experience with other powders (and that's probably true,) but I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Ben Shepherd
April 19, 2007, 09:47 AM
A couple more-

Blue dot works well for mid-to-moderate magnum loads.

Another VERY good, but expensive powder VV's N110. It's dang near impossible to get a cleaner burning load than this powder with a jacketed slug.

Chief 101
April 19, 2007, 10:45 AM
I have to go with the 2400 and I have tried many others.
;) Chief aka Maxx Load

April 19, 2007, 11:56 AM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data that may be 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.

It's ole fashion, it's been around for years, but 2400 is just plain hard to beat. I agree with some of the others here and say try it. About all I shoot in the 357 is a Lyman Keith 358429 and the heavy stuff works fine with the old powder.

Another I like for lite stuff is WW231/HP38. I use 5.5 grs. with the above bullet for 1050 fps in my 4" M-19. Very accurate..........Creeker

BTW all loads were used in 357 mag. cases and the bullet seated to the crimp groove.

Brian Williams
April 19, 2007, 12:20 PM
231 for low power loads,
2400 and Lil'gun for more Umph.

Ben Shepherd
April 19, 2007, 12:32 PM
LAH, just how much 2400 do you put under that slug? I'll bet my guess(1/2 grain one side or the other of 15) is close, but I'm curious.

April 19, 2007, 03:09 PM
Another 2400 user here.

158gr SWC (been using Bushwhacker bullets) over 14 grains of 2400. Easy recoiling, middle of the road load... burns clean, doesn't abuse the brass, accurate out of my 4" 620. Also fills the case well, making it practically impossible to double up a charge.

I use bullseye some as well, mainly on .38spl loads, but you use so little of it... you gotta pay extra close attention. At ~5gr per charge, you get a bunch of rounds out of a pound of powder!

April 19, 2007, 05:13 PM
CAUTION: The following post includes loading data that may be 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.

Ben said: I'll bet my guess(1/2 grain one side or the other of 15) is close, but I'm curious.

Ben I've never used over 14 grs. and this is the reason why. The only heavy duty 357 I've owned was a M28 S&W. These have short cylinders so I seated the bullet to crimp over the front driving band eating up powder space. I also shoot this bullet in my M19 which isn't as strong so I use only 13 grs. for it. Plenty of people use more but I don't. Sure wish I had a Ruger BH, then I might push it some.........Creeker

Ben Shepherd
April 20, 2007, 08:57 AM
The way you had the heavy load warning, I figured you were *pushing* a bit. Guess not.

Still, a charge of 2400 between 13-14 grains under a 158 is a good load, and safe in any 357 I'm aware of. Usually somewhere in there, there's a sweet spot accuraucy wise in most guns.

2400 also happens to work well in 41 mag, 44 mag, and heavier 45 colt stuff. So if you load any of those calibers keep that in mind.

Eclipse45acp: Bottom line (IMO) is that you would be VERY hard pressed to beat 2400 as the best all around magnum pistol powder.

April 20, 2007, 12:55 PM
Ben I didn't mean to mislead. I haven't purchased a new loading manual since the 70's. The very few I do purchase are used ones so I never know when published loads change. I tend to load and shoot the same ole stuff I've shot for 30 years. I posted one load here I've shot most my shooting life and was called to the carpet because I didn't use the warning so I now use it for any and all loads I post. I'm a guest here and wish not to offend or break any rules. The ole saying is better safe than sorry..............Creeker

BTW I agree with your sweet spot statement.

April 20, 2007, 02:27 PM
Hey CZ....

For guys that have been around long enough, You already know that Blue Dot was the .357 Magnum velocity champ for typical revolvers until SAAMI reduced the pressure rating of the .357 Magnum.

Care to ellaborate for someone who hasn't been around quite that long?

Are newer revolvers not built to withstand the higher pressures?

or ...

Did the lawyers scare the folks at SAMMI

Ben Shepherd
April 20, 2007, 02:37 PM
The old 357s were built on bigger, stronger frames.

And as testing equipment has become more accurate, some of the older loads were found to be pushing 50,000 psi. Do that in one of the new unobtainium guns, and you'll have a big problem.

And powder has changed formulation over the years as well.

April 20, 2007, 05:40 PM
unobtainium guns

Well said. HEE HEE

April 20, 2007, 08:27 PM
Errm, can you-all quote velocities ( and bbl lengths) for some of these loads? That's easier to measure than pressures (at least for me).


April 20, 2007, 08:56 PM
It ties in nicely with a discussion of various .357 magnum revolvers. Because there is nothing new here, either.

The original pressure rating of .357 Magnum was 46,000 Copper Units of Pressure, CUP. The first revolver in common use to have a problem with it was the S&W M19. It is relatively close to 50,000 PSI although someone would have to point out to me where they saw it rated in PSI. The higher pressure loads are listed in CUP. It was never designed for sustained use of full power .357 magnum loads. One reason S&W was hesitant in following the recommendation of Bill Jordan to build a .357 Magnum on the K frame. The revolver was designed for .38 Special for practice and .357 Magnum for duty. Like everything else, many didn't heed the advisory. Then imported revolvers became very popular. Some were as large as N-Frame Smiths like the M28 mentioned, but were inferior in quality. Most however were about the same size as the K-Frame. With the hotter loads in .357 Magnum, a number of owners were reporting splits in the forcing cone of M19 revolvers and with the widespread use of imports SAAMI's solution was, well, typical. Colt revolvers like the Python and Trooper models had no problems with the warmer loads. Then Ruger introduced the Security Six which put a bite on S&W's K-Frame market. The Security Six was only a tad larger and used a larger cylinder similar in dimensions to Colt's. The real problem for Smith K-Frames was that there is a flat that is cut on the bottom of the forcing cone for cylinder crane clearance, and where the splits occurred. Ruger Security Six revolvers were designed to have clearance without the necessity of the cut. In any event, SAAMI lowered the pressure limit for .357 Magnum ammo from 46,000 CUP, down to 35,000 PSI which is 33,000 in the CUP measuring system. About the time this happened, S&W had already addressed the situation in two ways. First, the M66, the stainless version of the M19 seemed to have no problems with the warmer loads, and the M586 was designed specifically for them. Every revolver made in the US, prior to the M19, were also. Oddly enough, Dan Wesson model 15s had the same cylinder size as the M19, but when Dan Wesson designed it, he addressed the forcing cone issue and used a slightly larger frame in addition to it.

N-Frame Smiths, L-Frame Smiths, Colt's Python, Trooper, King Cobra series, Ruger Security Six and GP-100s and Dan Wesson's M15 were designed for ammunition with the 46,000 CUP pressure limit. The Taurus .357 Magnum built on the M44 frame probably would be suitable if they hadn't decided to drill 8 holes in its cylinder.

The aforementioned Taurus as well as all of their other revolvers, K-Frame Smiths, Rossi's, ALL of the small frame revolvers should be restricted to ammo that does not exceed the 35,000 PSI pressure limit. Sounds like common sense to me. Evidently, many of the powder makers feel the same way because most of them now show loads that go above 35,000 PSI, to near the original pressure max. of 46,000 CUP. Hodgdon and Accurate both list data.

Now, I'm not trying to pick on 2400 here, and I'll try to spread the wealth. But looking at an older manual with 46,000 CUP data, let me tell you what the maximum listed pressures were with the standard 158 gr. JHP, using 2400 and Blue Dot. I'm not going to list load data, just the pressures obtained. Blue Dot: 40,900 CUP, 2400: 41,800 CUP. Blue Dot is capable of higher velocity at the slightly lower pressure. This is where you sometimes see conflict between manufacturers data pamphlets and a reloading manual with independent pressure testing. Also why I recommend load manuals, at least one, that includes pressure data. OK, I mean Lyman here. I like SPEER's as well, but pressure is not given. Even though the max was 46,000 CUP, very few loads crowded the limit. Conversely, look at the pressure rating of the .454 Casull of 65,000 PSI, as well as some of the newer behemoths. Yeah, the original was larger with a 5 shot cylinder, but we have a number of others today not quite as large with six round cylinders. Are they proportionately larger to account for the much higher pressure? Superior mat'ls are the common thread here.

I've used all of the powders mentioned here except Li'l Gun. As I mentioned, I believe it to be slightly slow for the cartridge and this is somewhat based on the use of H110. One thing you'll find common to H110 and W296 is that they rarely chronograph velocity near what is shown by manufacturer's data pamphlets. Look at the older Component manufacturer manuals and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about, By the time you get to chronographing, you won't have much doubt, and whatever you have will be eliminated after chronographing.

Now, is it necessary to have the highest velocity possible when you're shooting your revolver? Most often, it's not. Of course, I feel the same way about muzzle blast. But, if you are going to use a .357 Magnum to harvest deer, you want all of the velocity possible, so long as it's matched by accuracy. This is how you get the higher muzzle energy, and sometimes, as is the case of a recent thread, there is a mandated minimum for Kinetic Energy of your handgun load. Moreover, a lot of the acceptable minimum caliber debate starts right here. Many of the Gun Rag articles told you that .357 is marginal for whitetail deer, but they didn't tell you why. Makes sense because ammo manufacturers make up a good deal of their revenue. My opinion? Don't use factory ammo for hunting whitetail deer with a .357 Magnum revolver!

Why do I like AA#9? Because at max loads it WILL chronograph what you think it should and at 25 yards, you should find groups under 1" and under 3" at 50 if you're capable of dealing with recoil and have a decently accurate revolver. It has less muzzleblast than 2400, 110, or 296 and at the start charge level it is the equal or superior to all of them. I have found the same true in .41 magnum as well as a few others who have ACTUALLY tried #9.

I know my opinion is a little different here, but I'll tell you, if we were talking about 4" revolvers, the recommendations would still appear the same without consideration of how peak pressure is effected by barrel length. I have even seen guys state that they don't believe there is an effect because revolver cartridges pressure peak at the casemouth of the cartridge. They don't have the Lyman manual, or have never read the article that covers this, that's in it. For the guys that are fortunate to have the Quikload software, all you have to do is enter the data. It will show you time to peak pressure and accounts for barrel length. The burn rate requirements of the .357, .41 and .44 magnums are NOT the same.;)

April 20, 2007, 09:45 PM
Ditto for AA powders. I can get published velocities without pressure signs with them as well. Can't say that for some powders. :)

April 22, 2007, 05:24 PM
Oddly enough, Dan Wesson model 15s had the same cylinder size as the M19, but when Dan Wesson designed it, he addressed the forcing cone issue and used a slightly larger frame in addition to it.

Are you sure about this? I was under the assumption that the only difference between a M13 and a M19 is the sights. The cylinder on a Dan Wesson Model 15 is larger than a cylinder on a S&W Model 13.

Peter M. Eick
April 22, 2007, 06:32 PM
The old Handloader Magazine published a lot of hot (by today's standards) loads for 2400 and blue dot back in the late 60's and 70's.

To me, this is about what cz57 said. As the K frame came along in 357 and then the other issues got involved, the 357 magnum got neutered. Actually, you can say the same thing about the 38 special also.

My opinion is that today, you can equate the 357 maximum to what the 357 magnum used to be, the 357 magnum is about equal to the 38/44 originally. The 38 special is about equal to the 38 S&W. Basically all of the rounds took one step down the performance ladder.

This really hit home today when I was cleaning all of my handguns. When you hold an N frame 357 magnum in your hand and then a Python, the metal around the Python cylinder is a lot smaller. When you hold say a Diamondback after a 38/44 Heavy Duty, it is astonishing how small the cylinders are.

April 22, 2007, 07:04 PM
Geister: They are the same size cylinder. I found this out when I bought a speed loader for my DW 15-2 around 1981. It was made originally for the Smith Model 10/13/19/65/66 etc. The cylinder is really not the issue with the additional heat treating that .357 Magnums receive vs. .38 Specials on the same frame. The flat cut at the bottom of the forcing cone is the issue. I pointed to the DW because it is a pretty good illustration of where the problem lies. Dan Wesson frames are slightly larger than K-Frame Smiths, mainly the top strap and forward of the cylinder but their cylinders are the same size.

If there's any doubt, ask Peter M. Eick. If memory serves, I've talked to him several times on another forum and he has an extensive collection and knowledge of DW revolvers. Speaking of which, what do you think Peter, are you happy with the state of affairs post CZ ownership? I can't say that I am with only .44 Super Mag stamped on two revolvers. I had hoped to see a more extensive product line with the models 15, 41, and 44 manufactured. It appears that CZ was more interested in their 1911s.;)

Peter M. Eick
April 23, 2007, 08:26 PM
I can't really comment on the CZ/DW state of affairs, but what I can say is the MD-15 DW's are some of the most stoutly built DA 357's I have dealt with. I have intentionally pushed my 8" DW up to original 357 velocities (figuring 8 vs. 8 3/4" is not that much more pressure) and had no pressure signs or anything. The DW is the gun I would and did use to see how hot you can go on a 357 before you have to move up to the 357 Max (which I also shoot).

They are exceptionally accurate well made guns, but I never liked the DA stroke. SA, excellent guns.

I still have a few DW's but mainly now I shoot hot loads out of my 357 maximum. The 357 mag has become more of a plinker at say 1450 on a 158 out of the 8 3/8" Pre-27's or the DW 8" MD-15.

April 24, 2007, 12:26 AM
Well, my results were the same. The most accurate .357 magnum I've ever fired was a DW 15-2 8" V. I wish CZ/DW would put them back into production along with the original frame sized .41 and .44 Magnums.

In my rundown of .357 Magnums, I forgot to mention the limited run of Ruger Redhawks in .357 magnum. Can't say that they are exceptionally accurate, but you're not likely to develop a realistic handload that they won't handle.;)

April 26, 2007, 02:30 AM
CZ57, the holes might be aligned the same but I do not think they are the exact same cylinder dimensions. I just compared a Dan Wesson Model 15 cylinder to a S&W Model 13 today. The Dan Wesson simply looks beefier. When I first looked at the Model 13 what caught my attention was the smaller cylinder.

The Dan Wesson frame is definately stout. I would consider it to be L-frame size if not larger. The gun that I would consider to be slightly larger than the K-frame Smith is the Ruger Security Six.

Peter, I'm using my DW right now for hot target shooting. I have no concerns whatsoever on the durability of the gun. Hell, if I ever have problems I can simply buy a new barrel and fit it in my self. The DA does stack too much for my liking, but I did manage to improve the trigger pull considerably by simply polishing the internal contact points. I think the only thing I can do about the stacking is put in some softer springs.

If Dan Wesson came out with a durable .357 about the size of a K-frame Smith, with the Smith's trigger pull, and the interchangible barrels, all for under $500, that would be the greatest .357 revolver.

April 26, 2007, 08:58 AM
Well, if you have them both, measuring should be fairly easy to do. It could be that the outside diameter of the 15-2s cylinder is slightly larger, but that really don't mean much if the holes are drilled on the same spacing. The weakest link in a revolver cylinder is the wall thickness between the cylinders followed by the thickness from individual cylinder to the outside of the cylinder. Comparison by looks probably isn't the best gauge because of the DWs larger frame which will also give the appearance of a larger cylinder because of perspective. Taurus also uses the model 10/13/19 etc. size cylinder on their 6 shot revolvers in .357 Magnum.;)

April 26, 2007, 02:03 PM
I really like Lil-gun for 357. Having said that, let's look at my set up. My only 357 firearm is a TC Contender with a 10" barrel. Looking at the hodgdon website, that is the test firearm that all of the data is based on. Lil-Gun is a powder that was originally designed for the 410 shotgun. It works very well for me in my 357 and my 22 hornet, but that is probably because they both have long barrels.

April 27, 2007, 01:27 PM
wolfe: sounds like the ideal situation. If I had a 10" Contender, I'd probably try it myself!;)

April 28, 2007, 10:40 PM
H110 for ALL bullet weights in all my magnum pistols. It works!:D

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