Load data for .357 Magnum 158 gr. LSWCHP


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minutemen1776
October 17, 2009, 05:32 PM
Several years back, I was a fairly avid reloader, but other time commitments (i.e. kids, family, job, etc.) led me to abandon the hobby. I recently acquired a .357 Magnum revolver, and the ammo costs for it have caused me to think about getting back into loading my own. However, I've never loaded for the .357 before, and I'm wondering if I can accomplish what I want for a recreational and self-defense load. Basically, I want to load a cast 158-gr. LSWCHP into a .357 case and launch it at about 1100 fps, which ought to provide performance somewhere between a .38 Special +P and a full-bore .357 Magnum. Is this a doable goal? What powders, bullets, and load weights do you suggest I try to start? (And yes, I do understand about using a starting load and working upward to higher pressures and velocities.) Thanks!

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dagger dog
October 17, 2009, 06:14 PM
'76

I started out handloading with the .357 and 158gr,LSWC, but it wasn't a HP, then 2400 powder was from Herculese, and I shot a starter load of 11.5 grs over a CCI small pistol primer. I shot a lot of those loads from a 4" Ruger Secirity Six, never even thought of a chrono' but I bet they were hotter than any +p or +p+ 38 special you could buy that time.

rcmodel
October 17, 2009, 06:15 PM
Any number of powders will do what you want.
Just to name a few.

12.0 grains 2400. - - - - 14.0 is Max.
7.0 grains Unique.- - - - 7.8 is Max
7.0 grains HS-6. - - - - - MAX
5.0 grains WW231. - - - - MAX

Cast lead SWC-HP are a little hard to find, although they are available.
SWC-HP's are harder to cast on auto casting machines, and so not many people make them. When you do find them they will probably cost more.

For plinking & informal target shooting, I would suggest a similiar weight SWC solid like these.
http://www.missouribullet.com/results.php?category=5&secondary=10

Or more likely for the lower then magnum pressure you will be loading too, these softer ones:
http://www.missouribullet.com/details.php?prodId=52&category=5&secondary=9&keywords=

rc

greyling22
October 17, 2009, 06:36 PM
most powder mfg like alliant and hodgdon have load tables online. heck, even lee dies come with load data. I'd print a copy, take it to the gun store and find what they have in stock that will give you what you want using the minimum amount of powder to stretch you dollar as far as it will go. The real trick right now is finding primers. and if you do find them, they cost an arm and a leg.

Walkalong
October 17, 2009, 06:38 PM
Unique would probably be hard to beat for lead in the .357 at 1100 ish FPS. N330 is another excellent choice.

I am in Montgomery. Anywhere close?

rcmodel
October 17, 2009, 06:46 PM
the minimum amount of powder to stretch you dollar as far as it will goThe minimum amount of powder would be like Bullseye or something.

But that would certainly not be the best powder to get 1,100+ FPS out of a .357 Mag with 158 grain bullets.

The old Hitting a bowling ball with your fist as hard as you can thing!

rc

jfh
October 17, 2009, 07:09 PM
Ramshot's Silhouette is a good .357 powder for near-max, SD loads, I think. It has less flash than other powders (still a relative issue with 357 Magnum, but definitely less). I got it running over 1100 fps from a 2" barrel following their recipes with a 158gr LSWC.

However, I have not loaded and tested any of the 'traditional' 357 powders, as listed by rcmodel.

Jim H.

Ky Larry
October 17, 2009, 07:46 PM
"76, my Accurate Reloaders Guide 2005 Edition lists the following loads for
.357:

158 LSWC
CCI 500 primerr
C.O.L. 1.580
AA#2 powder
7.2gr 1229fps starting load
8.0gr 1296fps max load

AA#5 powder
8.1gr 1073fps starting load
9.0gr 1219fps max load

AA#7 powder
9.9gr 1119fps starting load
11.0gr 1272fps max load

AA#9 powder
12.2gr 1187fps starting load
13.5gr 1349fps max load

Hope this helps.

RidgwayCO
October 17, 2009, 07:54 PM
I've done some preliminary "what-ifs" for a load that sounds like what you're looking for. In years past I bought a bunch of Speer 158gr LSWC-HP bullets to load in the .38 Special, and have decided to try them in the .357 Magnum (just because...). With their new "hi-tech, multi-layer lube system" I'm thinking they might be driven to 1100 fps (424 ft-lbs of energy) without leading.

I usually look for a powder that will fill at least 50% of the case's available space, and be completely burned by the time the bullet exits the barrel. I also tried to stay at least 8,000 psi below the SAAMI maximum average pressure for the.357 Magnum. Assuming a 4" barrel and a COL of 1.590", QuickLOAD says that these powders will attain 1100 fps within my constraints:

Powder .............. Amount (gr)
---------------------------------------
Alliant Bullseye ........ 6.1
Hodgdon Universal ...... 6.6
Alliant Unique .......... 6.8
VihtaVuori N340 .......... 7.1
Alliant Herco ............ 7.3
Ramshot Silhouette ..... 7.6
VihtaVuori N350 ....... 7.9 (99% burned)
VihtaVuori 3N37 .......... 8.1 (99% burned)
Ramshot True Blue ... 8.2 (99% burned)
Hodgdon HS-6 ............. 8.4 (98% burned)

Remember... QuickLOAD is software written by fallible humans, not the divinely-inspired Gospel. Start low and work up (but you already knew that!).

jfh
October 17, 2009, 08:02 PM
:scrutiny:

But, AFAICT, your QuickLOAD work ups look to correlate closely what little 357 Magnum upper-range testing I've done with Silhouette and True Blue.

Thank you for that post. It's already bookmarked and printed.

Jim H.

Steve C
October 17, 2009, 08:17 PM
I load Speer or Hornady 158gr LSWCHP's in .38 spl to around 900 fps from a 4" barrel. The all lead HP may be too soft to expand and hold together at 1,100 fps. Further testing could be done with wetpack, water or ballistic gelatin to see how well they worked. Hornady list 6.5grs of Unique as maximum load with their 158gr LSWCHP at a velocity of 1,100 fps while Speer cuts their off at 6.0grs and 1,034 fps. Both these bullets are swaged and not as hard as a lot of cast bullets. I've read that hard cast HP bullets being mor brittle than soft lead have a tendency to fragment at higher velocity and fail to expand at lower .38 spl velocities.

You would probably do better performance wise to run standard semi jacketed HP's out of the .357 mag with 1,100 fps for 158 grain and 1200 to 1250 fps for 125grain and use solid cast bullets for practice as paper doesn't care if its a HP or not. Right now the availability from on line sources for hollow point bullets is a bit sparse and you may be better off picking up some locally.

Landric
October 17, 2009, 10:44 PM
I just got myself a Lyman 358429 HP mold, so I'm going to be looking for a ~1100 fps magnum load myself. I'm looking forward to working it out.

minutemen1776
October 18, 2009, 01:29 AM
Thanks. Lots of good info and advice here, as usual. :) I'll have to consider the hardness of the bullets I select, as I'd not considered that aspect. I found a good bit of on-line load data for 158-gr. SWC bullets. Does anything change with a LSWHP of the same weight?

Walkalong, I'm from Wetumpka, so I'm really close. Ever shoot at the range over on Lower Wetumpka Road? I also used to be a member at a club over in Macon County.

Ky Larry
October 18, 2009, 09:07 AM
'76, nothing should change except maybe C.O.L. I don't have any data for LSWCHP's so I can't be more specific.

ChristopherG
October 18, 2009, 09:29 AM
I've loaded Hornady's LSWCHP (which is cold swaged a little harder than the typical LSWCHP) in .357 cases over 6 grains of Unique. It went about 1050 fps (with gun-to-gun variation, of course). It did lead a little (though the leading was easily removed by following up with some standard-pressure and velocity soft lead loads).

I'd hesitate to use a hard-cast HP because I'd expect that any velocity hot enough to cause good expansion might cause them to break apart. I could be talking out my hat though, having no real experience with them.

Walkalong
October 18, 2009, 10:20 AM
Walkalong, I'm from Wetumpka..................Ever shoot at the range over on Lower Wetumpka Road? I am a member of Central Alabama Gun Club. I shoot there 99% of the time. I have not been to the one on LWR. Perhaps we could get together and shoot sometime. Either place. AC

jfh
October 18, 2009, 10:35 AM
Reviewing what's written so far--

1. There's no problem getting a 158 running at 1100 fps from a 4" barrel--it's a tried-and-true load.

2. A 158 can even run at 1100 fps from a 2" barrel, at the max end.

3. Any number of powders can work--but, those medium-speed powders seem to have the best results. FWIW, I now refer to the Ramshot burn rate list--which moves some powders around a bit compared to the Hodgdon one.

4. cast LSWC-HPs may be problematic. Perhaps Landric will get some answers in the long run.

5. In my (minimal) 158-gr / 357 / 2" barrel testing, I did run up against the issue of swaged-bullets and leading, but the testing did not really identify optimal powders for use with the Hornady or Speer swaged bullets.

6. The long-term factory favorite, the 38 Spl 158-gr. LSWC-HP in plus-p, now runs just over or under 800 fps from a 2" barrel. In a 357 case, you can simply go on up to 1100 fps in reloading--but a practical limit for me, shooting it in a lightweight (M&P340), the upper limit for a dual "Quad five" drill is about 900 fps. I got heavy leading using SR-4756 with that one, less so with True Blue--but enough testing really hasn't been done yet.

7. That nominal 800+ fps 38+P factory round does penetrate at least 10", IIRC--and more if the HP is plugged. Maybe we don't want to run it over 1000 fps from a 4" barrel--I dunno.

Jim H.

rcmodel
October 18, 2009, 01:46 PM
Does anything change with a LSWHP of the same weight? Yes it does.
A SWC-HP of the same weight as a SWC solid will have a slightly longer bearing surface and would in theory, have a slightly lower MAX load.
http://www.speer-bullets.com/images/Bullets/cartridge/4627.jpg http://www.speer-bullets.com/images/Bullets/cartridge/4623.jpg

But since you don't want a max load anyway, it will have no effect on your loads.
And in practice, companies like Speer that I posted the pictures of, list the same Max loads for both bullets.

Typically, when Lyman and others offered the exact same .357 bullet mold in both solid & HP form, the HP would be 10-15 grains lighter, and could be loaded to slightly higher velocity.


rc

fecmech
October 18, 2009, 10:59 PM
The 1100 fps should be no problem and as other posters have suggested I think the medium powders like Unique would be good. If you did encounter leading with the factory swedged HP's I think you could eliminate it somewhat by using the Lee liquid alox on the bullets.

Quoheleth
October 18, 2009, 11:13 PM
Using the on-line resources and confirming with Lee, I load 5.0 gr Titegroup under my LSWC (solid, not HP) and per the published data, it runs @1050fps. I use this under Missouri Bullet's .357 Action! bullet. I find this to be a very nice load in my 6" GP100; accurate, no leading, and flat-shooting.

Q

GRIZ22
October 18, 2009, 11:28 PM
want to load a cast 158-gr. LSWCHP into a .357 case and launch it at about 1100 fps, which ought to provide performance somewhere between a .38 Special +P and a full-bore .357 Magnum. Is this a doable goal?

In a 4" doable, anything shorter and you'd be pushing the envelope a bit with many powders.

zxcvbob
October 18, 2009, 11:35 PM
Magnus bullets #515 (available from MidSouthShootersSupply.com) with 5.5 to 6.0 grains of Bullseye should get you 1100 fps easily. Or 6.5 of Unique, or 7.0 grains of Herco. None of these are maximum loads.

I use that bullet at about 950 fps for my home defense loads.

Sport45
October 19, 2009, 02:12 AM
The bullets rcmodel showed above are probably swaged rather than cast. I've bought a bunch of swaged 158gr SWCHP from Roze and they work fine. I don't load them to the same velocity I would a cast bullet because they are much softer. In fact I only load them in .38 special and only use hard cast or jacketed bullets with .357 magnum.

I wouldn't expect a cast swchp to expand very well at handgun velocity, but I've been wrong before...

minutemen1776
October 21, 2009, 01:50 AM
Interesting info. So what do you think is the max velocity for a swaged .357 158-grain SWCHP? In other words, how much improvement can be made over the old .38 Special FBI load?

Walkalong, I also used to shoot at Central Alabama, but I let my membership go once I moved from Montgomery. I don't have a lot of free time, and the drive to Macon was nearly a deal-breaker. Still, it was a great range. I like Lower Wetumpka now, though it's nowhere near as big. But, it's nearby and I like that there's always a range officer. We'll certainly need to meet up and shoot sometime!

Sport45
October 21, 2009, 06:05 AM
Alliant shows a Speer 158gr LSWC at a little over 1000fps. Remington claims 890fps for their 158gr LSWCHP +P. I don't think the 100fps or so difference is enough to matter, speaking for myself.

I don't reload for self defense and don't advise it either, but it seems the rules would be different. The published loads and any we give would limit the velocity to prevent leading. In a self defense situation you only need to get 6 or 12 shots before the barrel is choked so leading isn't a big concern. I'd worry more about pushing the thing so fast that it comes apart rather than expanding and retaining its weight.

I carry a .38 snub with the Remington LSWCHP bullets mentioned above. If my snub was chambered in .357 I'd probably load it with the same cartridge. I admit the 135gr Short Barrel Gold Dots look promising, but I haven't tried any.

243winxb
October 21, 2009, 09:42 AM
Alliant 2400 @ 13gr. with 158gr cast. I use mag. primer, other use standard. Dont matter IMO

Landric
October 21, 2009, 02:23 PM
I've tried 13 grains of 2400 with 158, 173, and 200 grain cast bullets in .357 Magnum in both a 2 1/4" Ruger SP101 and a 4" S&W 681-3.

158 grain LSWC: Ruger Ave. 983 fps, S&W Ave. 1089 fps

173 grain LSWC: Ruger Ave. 959 fps, S&W Ave. 1028 fps

200 grain RNL: Ruger Ave. 1057 fps, S&W Ave. 1155 fps

Of the three, the 200 grain load is the only one I consider a full power magnum. The others could be pushed a lot further, and 1100+ fps should be no problem out of a snubbie with a 158 grain LSWCHP.

On the other hand, the same 13 grains of 2400 in .38 Special brass with the 173 grain LSWC gave me an average of 1096 fps out of the SP101 and 1201 fps out of the 681-3. However, that load is way over max by today's .38 Special standards (though not by Elmer Keith's) and gave me slightly sticky extraction, so I wouldn't try and push it any further.

Quoheleth
February 6, 2010, 04:42 PM
I know this is an old thread, but since I had subscribed to it it was easy to find.

I finally acquired some 2400 last week and was going to start putting together some .357 158gr SWCs with it. I checked Lee's 2nd edition of Modern Reloading. Seeing starting charge of 13.9gr and max of 15.3 (which Lee shows to be 34K CUPs), I planned to load an even 14.0gr to start.

Then something clicked in my brain from this thread. I had my Lyman Pistol & Revolver Handbook (3rd Edition) laying open, so I flipped over to their .357 pistol data and almost laid a solid gold brick. They show start as 10.6 and max of 14.0, and that max charge of 41900CUPs.

While my 14.0 "start" charge wouldn't have been overcharged, Lee is way wrong on this one. Were they using old data when SAAMI still had the .357 Magnum jacked up in the 1500fps range? My GP100 probably could handle an overcharge in the 14+ range, but I don't want to try it.

Anyway, this is a "thank you" to those who posted in this thread last fall, making that little "click" happen in my mind. It also serves as a caveat that it doesn't hurt to cross-check manuals and see what they recommend.

(On the other hand, this is also a note of wonder...Alliant doesn't even have a recommended recipie for 2400 and .357 Magnum loads.)

I want something with a little more authority than the Unique load, so I'm going to start @ 12gr and work up towards 14. Do you think .5gr increments is sufficient, or should I go with smaller steps?

Q

zxcvbob
February 6, 2010, 05:29 PM
(On the other hand, this is also a note of wonder...Alliant doesn't even have a recommended recipie for 2400 and .357 Magnum loads.)
Actually, they do. In their previous load book, before they took out all the cast bullet data except for pipsqueak "cowboy" loads, they recommended 15.3 grains max with 158 grain SWC's @ 1.58" overall length. It's supposed to be 34000 psi. That's probably where Richard Lee copied the data from.

I suspect Alliant did that because the velocity is too high for Speer swaged bullets.

http://thehighroad.us/attachment.php?attachmentid=81593&d=1216513445

_N4Z_
February 6, 2010, 05:46 PM
I checked Lee's 2nd edition of Modern Reloading. Seeing starting charge of 13.9gr and max of 15.3 (which Lee shows to be 34K CUPs), I planned to load an even 14.0gr to start.

Then something clicked in my brain from this thread. I had my Lyman Pistol & Revolver Handbook (3rd Edition) laying open, so I flipped over to their .357 pistol data and almost laid a solid gold brick. They show start as 10.6 and max of 14.0, and that max charge of 41900CUPs.

While my 14.0 "start" charge wouldn't have been overcharged, Lee is way wrong on this one. Were they using old data when SAAMI still had the .357 Magnum jacked up in the 1500fps range? My GP100 probably could handle an overcharge in the 14+ range, but I don't want to try it.

Don't know about Lymans pistol & revolver 3rd, but the Lyman 49th reloading Manual lists their loads using magnum primers. Lee 2nd loads are listed for standard primers. May explain the discrepancy.

Quoheleth
February 6, 2010, 06:22 PM
So, would the 15gr load be safe, then? I'm using a 6" GP100, Missouri Bullets, Privi and Speer brass (the Speer is actually nickle). I don't know if I'll want to go that hot, but it might be fun to try...if it is safe.

Q

zxcvbob
February 6, 2010, 06:30 PM
So, would the 15gr load be safe, then? I'm using a 6" GP100, Missouri Bullets, Privi and Speer brass (the Speer is actually nickle). I don't know if I'll want to go that hot, but it might be fun to try...if it is safe.I'd shoot it. In a strong gun, I'd probably take it to 15.5 or a little higher. But you have to decide that yourself.

_N4Z_
February 6, 2010, 06:46 PM
I have shot 158gr jacketed sp's over 15gr of 2400, with standard primers, out of a gp100 with a six inch barrel, and had no issue. That was my gp with me driving. Your mileage may vary.

Now with my 1894c I've backed down to the low 14's. Brass was stretching with the hotter 15 grain loads out of that rifle, and that's no good.

Now your using lead which I've not pushed that fast, but it's in the Lee manual as good to go. Work your way up from the starting load, as the manual instructs, and you should be OK. I've yet to have any issues with anything I've tried using Lee 2nd ed.

MichaelK
February 6, 2010, 06:51 PM
I make a +P .38 special load with Lyman's 358477 bullet and 8 grains of Blue Dot. That leaves my security six at 1090 fps. In .357 brass, I'm guessing that increasing that load by .2 or .3 grains would match that speed.

ArchAngelCD
February 7, 2010, 03:23 AM
When using a lead bullet in the .357 Magnum I've gotten really good success with HS-6. It's an old tried and true powder that is extremely accurate with lead bullets and usually generated less pressure than other powders with a similar burn rate. I also use HS-6 when loading FBI replica loads for the .38 Special, again, with very good success.

GP100man
February 7, 2010, 10:22 PM
I cast these & wind up with `bout 11 bhn & got to 13.5grs of 2400 & started strippin em , the chrono said 1250 fps so I backed off to 13.2 grs & there happy goin 1190fps!
Sorry to be so late on this thread , been out with the family & to a gunshow.

These are an Ideal 358156 HP with the Gas Check removed.

http://i746.photobucket.com/albums/xx110/GP100man/102_0012.jpg

mineralman55
March 29, 2010, 02:22 PM
Interesting thread. I'm looking for some light 158 gr LSWC loads in my 6" 586 using Silhouette and HS-6. Any min-max suggestions?

ArchAngelCD
March 30, 2010, 05:22 AM
mineralman55,
Hodgdon lists a min charge of 6.0gr HS-6 and a max charge of 7.0gr HS-5 with a 158gr lead bullet. Those are very light loads for a .357 Magnum. I'm guessing they are worried about leading because the reported pressure with the 7.0gr charge is only 15,500 CUP, that's not even near the pressure limits for a .38 Special. With the correct bullet you can push lead a lot faster than 1000 fps without leading. When I use HS-6 in a .357 Magnum with a 158gr LSWC I use a charge well over 7.0gr and get no leading at all. Mind you, any charge over 7.0gr is more than Hodgdon lists but really now, only 15,500 CUP in a Magnum round?? Please...

Lyman #49 (the newest manual) lists a min charge of 8.8gr HS-6 and a max charge of 9.7gr with a 155gr LSWC bullet. I usually charge 8.5gr HS-6 and that gives me just under 1000 fps from a 4" barrel.

Hope this helps a bit...

nitroexpress
April 6, 2012, 11:22 AM
I have a bunch of HS-6 left over from my 20 ga skeet days that I have tried in my 357.

I tried it with a Speer 158 LSWCHP and a CCI 550.

It is accurate and fun to shoot. Relatively clean burning at higher loadings.

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