New handloader with .41 mag


December 4, 2008, 07:38 PM
I recently picked up a S&W 357pd in .41 mag. The expense of the ammo finally pushed me into getting into reloading.

I read ABC's of Reloading and the latest Speer manual. I am loading Berry's 210 grain with 18.5 gns. of H110 over a CCI 350 (magnum) large pistol primer. I couldn't find any reloading data for the Berry's bullet, so took -10% of the closest charge I could find, which is 20.5 grns. of H110 for a 210 grn. jacketed bullet (starting load).

So, my questions are these:

1) Was I correct in going from 20.5 grns. to 18.5 grns (10%) to componsate for the softer composition of the Berrys plated bullet (as opposed to the jacketed bullet)?

2) After sizing the cases, they fit fine in the midway .41 magnum case gauge. However, the loaded cartridges will not (after bullet seating, the cartridge diameter seems too big). Interestingly enough, those same cartridges chamber fine in the revolver cylinder. Is that normal?


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December 4, 2008, 08:01 PM
The chamber gauges are made to minimum specs, so as long as the loaded rounds fit in your cylinder, that's all you need to worry about at that point.

You might be a little warm with the load for those particular bullets. You'll want to keep the velocity under about 1,200 fps with plated bullets. I've driven them faster and in some cases they stripped the rifling, and in others they shot fine. It all depends on the gun and load. You'll know for sure when you pull the trigger and look at the holes in the paper.

Hope this helps.


December 4, 2008, 08:11 PM
Thanks for the quick reply Fred.

I was/am a little concerned about the revolver has a 4" barrel, so I'm hoping the velocity stays low enough that the plated bullet's accuracy/integrity don't become an issue.

Would dropping a "starting" charge by 10% be a cause for a safety concern?

December 4, 2008, 08:13 PM
I really cannot answer #1 because I have never used those bullets, but Hodgdon warns about reducing loads with H110 & W296 (they are the same powder) more than 3%. I'm not sure if it's apropos in this instance or not. With the softer bullets, it may be ok.

The issue is a possibility of detonation with reduced charges, and you know companies want to do the CYA thing. That's why they issue the warning. Let's see what others think about it.

Question #2 is easy. If it fits the cylinder, shoot it. The bullets may be a little oversize from the manufacturer, but should shoot fine. They will conform to the barrel. Are you over crimping possibly and bulging the case? H110 does need a healthy crimp, just reach a happy medium.

41 Mags are cool. I had one years ago. I have a friend who uses nothing but Alliant Blue Dot in his 41.


December 4, 2008, 08:14 PM
If the loaded rounds chamber well in your cylinder, I wouldn't worry about them not fitting the guage, It maybe just that your chambers are just slightly over spec.
The guage is to give an idea if the rounds will fit in 'any' .41mag chamber.
Meaning your reloaded rounds may not fit someone elses .41mag, that has a tighter chamber.

December 4, 2008, 09:58 PM
The problem with reducing loads with either H-110 or Win. 296 isn't detonation. It's incomplete ignition, which results in squib loads and can stick a bullet in the barrel.

I use lots and lots of Berry's bullets, and I have the bullet you're using, but I haven't had the occasion to load them in the .41 just yet. There are better powders for your intended use, which give you a lot more latitude in power levels and velocities.

Here is what Berry's suggests for loading their bullets:

*How do I load Berry's Preferred Plated Bullets?
Plated bullets occupy a position between cast bullets and jacketed bullets. They are soft lead, but have a hard outer shell on them. When loading plated bullets we have found best results using low- to mid-range jacketed data in the load manual. You must use data for a bullet that has the same weight and profile as the one you are loading. Do not exceed mid-range loads. Do not use magnum loads.

Read your manuals and use the above suggestions for picking a load.

Hope this helps.


December 5, 2008, 09:28 AM
ReloaderFred, I want to thank you for correcting my assumption on the reduced charge warning. All this time I thought it was a detonation problem. If I had done some research, I would have had the correct information. I absolutely hate giving bad information and it's one of my pet peeves at gun talk sites to see bad information passed to novice reloaders.
Once again, your never to old to learn, and I thank you for watching out and giving the right information.
By the way, I actually use H110 in my heavier 3" 410 bore loads. :o


December 5, 2008, 10:11 AM
AA #9 is better for downloading a bit than W-296 or H-110. AA # 9 will still give impressive velocites in .41 Mag as well as very good accuracy. Ramshots Enforcer is supposed to be very similar to AA # 9. Their True Blue should work very well to get 85 to 90% loads with the .41 Mag and plated bullets.

December 5, 2008, 10:56 AM

You might want to make sure your friend sees this (he probably already has)


You might want to consider picking up some trailboss to use with the Berry's for some light plinking loads and use jacketed bullets for the heavy stuff.

December 5, 2008, 11:54 AM

You're welcome. The squib load problem with those two powders has been around for as long as the powders, which is why Winchester has only listed one charge for 296 for each bullet weight and caliber over the years. They don't advocate reducing their charges at all, though some sources do.

I've found that Hodgdon's Lil'Gun is quite a good performer with the heavier bullet weights in almost all the magnum pistol calibers. It gives even higher velocities than H-110/296, with even lower pressures. It's proven accurate in the loads I've tested, though the testing has been rather limited to this point, but it shows great promise.

I also like AA-9 for a lot of calibers, including the .41 Magnum. For lighter loads, I use SR4756 and cast bullets.

Hope this helps.


December 5, 2008, 12:02 PM
My concern with using Berry Plated bullets in a Magnum revolver with H-110/296 is they have no crimp cannelure.

Both those powders need a very firm crimp to help get them burning.

But if you over-crimp a plated bullet, the jacket plating cuts, and may separate, leaving a bore obstruction.

If it was me, I would reserve the plated bullets for mid-range loads using a more suitable powder, and buy real jacketed bullets for the fire-breathers!


December 5, 2008, 06:33 PM
These bullets have faint notches that run perpendicular to the bullet, in the location of a canellure. Are these not considered cannelures?

The starting load I posted above (20.5 grns H110) shows 1237 ft/sec out of a 6"barrel (Speer reloading manual #14). With 18.5 grns H110 (-10%) and my four inch barrel, velocity should be reduced down into the recommended velocity range for plated bullets, correct? I am wondering if there is a mathmatical formula for approximating velocity to a given powder reduction? I'm guessing probably not ...

Based on my limited understanding of reloading, a squib load seems to be the most probable of problems I may encounter with this reduced load combination. Please feel free to offer any thoughts or other advice.

I will pick up some titegroup as soon as my store gets restocked :)

Thanks again!

Ben Shepherd
December 6, 2008, 09:48 AM
Be VERY careful with the crimp. Those bullets DO NOT like heavy/firm crimps. If you overdo it you'll end up with bad leading and piss-poor accuracy.

Unique or universal in the middle of the charts with a light to moderate crimp should work very well(Does for me anyway). Titegroup might be OK, as others have suggested, but I have no experience with it in this caliber.

December 6, 2008, 04:25 PM
Well, took the .41 out for the first time, and shot about 50 of the above loads. No squibs or signs of overpressure on the brass. The only issue was very slight crimp jump on the last round of each cylinder. Accuracy was nothing to write home about, but these cartridges were ok for my first reloading attempt. I'll probably try a different powder/bullet combo for my next batch, and use the Lee factory crimp die on them.

Thanks for the help everyone!

December 6, 2008, 06:54 PM
I'm glad to hear that things went well for you, ibcguy. You learn as you go, and I bet that H110 spit a decent flame out of the 4" barrel.
I think some gave you some good advice here and it'll be something to shoot for. Pun intended.


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