Loading for 1894Cl and Ruger Blackhawk .357


November 11, 2010, 12:49 PM
I'm brand newbie to reloading, just ordered my kit and a manual. I have a NM Blackhawk and a 1894Cl 28" with Ballard rifling. I'd planned on shooting lead SWC bullets between 158-180 gr. My first goal is one versatile, accurate load for both guns. I know very little about powders except that there are a lot of them - do you guys have recommendation for a powder that would work well for this application? Unique and W231 seem to have a big following for .357, but I don't know them from donuts...

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November 11, 2010, 12:59 PM
Welcome to the board. Others with much more experience will be along to help. But seeing as I have just found a load my 1894c likes I thought I'd pass it along.

For .357 magnum... rifle load.
18g Lil Gun with a Hornaday 158 JHP XLT

I have not had the chance to chrono this yet.

I have been trying different powders and bullets. Results were a bit depressing until I got to this combination.

Here's the article by Taffin that I got the info for this load. It is rifle specific and for that reason very handy.


Also the Sierra Manual has a section for the .357 rifle loads.

I don't have a revolver for .357 magnum and I'm not familiar with loads for them. I know that the Rugers will handle some stout loads, but it probably would be a a good thing to segregate your rifle loads from your pistol loads. Or mark them.

November 11, 2010, 01:42 PM
The RNFP point feed much better than the SWC in my Marlin 1894CB.

Win 231 is a very good powder that meters well and has lots of applications. Also HP-38 is exactly the same powder and can be used interchangeably.

Unique works well also, I use 6gr under the Missouri Bullet 158 RNFP in a .357 case. Gives me just under 1100fps out of a 6" bbl and works well in the revolvers and lever gun.

November 11, 2010, 02:10 PM
I would vote for RN-FP bullets too for the Marlin.
Some of them in .357 just don't like the sharp shoulders on SWC's

I would also vote for Unique powder for a good all around load for lead bullets in both the rifle and revolver.

It will not give you top velicity like 2400, H110, or Lil Gun, but will work well at lower pressure level loads with lead bullets.


November 11, 2010, 06:59 PM
I like 2400 for .357 mag. Lead was a pain for me before I started casting my own. Most commercial LSWC were bevel based, and lubed really hard. Leading was a real issue for me in higher end
.357 mag loads. I shoot a gas 163g, checked bullet from a Lyman 358156, lubed with 50/50, seated short (it has 2 crimp grooves). Man does that bullet shoot well from pistols and carbines. I do load it long for pistol only loads, but seated short they are still performers, and you can share one load between pistols and long guns.

November 15, 2010, 01:23 AM
Thanks for the replies, I'll probably start off using w231 and RNFPs. I'm trying to get my significant other more into handgun shooting. Since she's recoil sensitive, I'll probably move onto some light wadcutter loads for her.

November 15, 2010, 07:54 AM
I got a deal on Blue Dot so I naturally loaded up some 38 SPL/357 MAG with 158 GR SWC They are good accurate lite loads with the 38 SPL but are some what dirty. The .357 bark a little more but are still mild loads as compared to factory loadings. I like these and stick to them for my target shooting needs.YMMV

Steve C
November 15, 2010, 08:45 AM
Your powder selection should depend upon what type of load you are looking for. With magnum cartridges HP38/W231 and Unique are fast enough to be mostly used for target shooting and mid range velocity. If you shoot Cowboy action events you have a velocity and power limitation and these would be fine for that.

If your intention is for full power loads for hunting, defense in the woods from animals, or just because you want to then a slower powder will give you the best velocities. 2400, H110, LiL Gun are much slower than W231 or Unique but if shooting lead you may run into problems with leading if driving soft bullet, or improperly sized bullet too fast. For a new reloader its probably better to use jacketed bullets for full power and velocity loads.

As you gain some experience and do the research you will find that you can drive lead bullet pretty close to the same velocity as jacketed without leading but it takes some work to match hardness, and diameter size to the velocity and bore diameter. Simply buying simply buying hard cast commercial bullets is no guarantee of no leading and in fact the harder the bullet oftren the more leading you will get with light loads.

November 16, 2010, 10:33 AM
Try to find an old Speer #10 manual. It has some good 357 handgun loads. Start low and work up. I load my 94 Winchester and Blackhawk on data equivelent to 357 specs. The max loads are just that max. Both loads work well in both. Byron

November 16, 2010, 10:48 AM
Herco and AA#7 are both good .357 Magnum powders with 158 grain RNFP's, and will give you more bang than 231 or Unique. AA#9, 2400, 296 (a.k.a. H-110), and Lil'Gun are the powders to use for maximum power, but it takes a lot more powder to get there.

Power Pistol is my next one to try.

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