.357 extraction problem.. high pressure?


January 18, 2004, 10:36 AM
After doing a couple k rounds for my 9mm with no issues I decided to load up some .357 magnums for my S&W 686..

Speer #12 lists a charge of 6.0 to 6.8 gr of 231 w/ 158 gr jacketed bullets. I loaded some once fired cases up with 6.4 gr's of 231, wsp primers, and 158gr XTP's.

When fired they don't "feel" hot (although I know this is very subjective..)

The trouble I had was they are VERY diffucult to remove from the cylinder after firing. I only shot 2, neither showed any indication of the primer flattening.

I know that diffucult extraction is a sure sign of high pressure, I guess my question is why? I'm well within published loading data..? Thankfully I only loaded 18 rds, and I'm going to pull the remaining 16 as I don't dare shoot them.

Thanks for any insight..


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January 18, 2004, 11:37 AM
By any chance have you shot (quite) a few .38s out of it w/o proper cleaning?

Crud in the chamber can cause sticky extraction, 'specially when using the longer .357s afterwards.

First thing I'd check is squeaky clean chambers.

January 18, 2004, 11:50 AM
If you have been shooting a lot of 38 spls in that gun it can have a buildup that can cause extraction problems when using the longer 357 brass, that can usually be cleared up by a thorough cylinder cleaning with a brass brush. A more effective method is to get a box of Chore Boy Copper Scouring Pad, cut a bit off the pad and wrap it around a brass bristle brush, that works really well getting build ups of lead or other things, and the copper won't damage the cylinder or barrel. Make sure it says "Copper" on the box!

January 18, 2004, 12:33 PM
boy, I kind of feel like a dope now... you guys nailed it..!

I had run ~ 100rds of 38 special through it for a "warmup" before trying my handloads.. After looking at the chambers I'm pretty sure you guys are right on the money..

I guess I was so certain that I goofed something up in the reloading process that I forget the basics..

Off to give the gun a good cleaning now ;)

Thanks for helping me see the obvious.. :D


January 18, 2004, 12:50 PM
Coupla "rules," 243.

"I know that ... " ain't necessarily so, & feeling like a dope is good for the ego (in the long run). :neener:

Clean 'em up, re-test & let us know to make sure the suggestion/s were correct.

I shoot a lot of .38 HBWCs through my .357s (prolly 90%) & can usually tell that I'll have extraction problems due to the stiffness (lack of a better word) when the longer shells are stuffed in - they seem to need a bit of an extra push for that last .10" or so - just a bit, but enough to be telling, & that only when the chambers are extremely gunked up.

One thing you should absolutely learn from this is if you're using that 686 for any form of self defense/yada, be certain to keep it squeaky clean - - within realm of functionality anyways.

That'll preclude any probs with insertion/extraction if the balloon goes up.

January 18, 2004, 04:03 PM
I agree with labgrade 100%! :)

Dave R
January 18, 2004, 04:38 PM
Now that you're reloading, there's no need to put a .38spcl case in that revolver again (unless you have some to use up.) Just load .357 brass to .38spcl levels. Keep those chambers clean.

Jim Watson
January 18, 2004, 05:30 PM
I got sticky extraction from 6.7 grains W231 and 158 gr LRN in clean .357 chambers. I think it best not to try for Magnum power with fast burning powder, no matter what the book says. Buy some N110, H110, 2400, etc.

January 19, 2004, 06:22 AM
The chambers were pretty filthy I'm embarassed to say, all cleaned up and ready to go now. I can't wait to get back to the range to try another couple to see if the problem is corrected or not, I'll post the results (probably won't get a chance to shoot again until next weekend though)...

I've got probably 1k rounds each of .357 and .38 spl to shoot up before I really have to start loading for it, this was just a practice batch.. From this point on I'll try to remember to shoot one, or the other on each trip, and make sure to clean the gun properly when I get home...

Jim I pretty much agree with you about the powder issue.. I'm also going to try a powder that more completely fills the case (to ease my constant worries of double charging one).. I bought my relaoding stuff used, and included about 5 or 6 pounds of 231, probably stick to using that to load 9mm like I've been doing and break down and buy some different powder when I start bulk loading .357's on the dillon.


January 31, 2004, 02:34 PM
Just wanted to let you guys know that you were right.. Just got back from the range, clean gun, zero extraction problems..


January 31, 2004, 03:36 PM
It's really nice when you can clear up a problem so easily! :)

February 1, 2004, 05:25 AM

February 1, 2004, 10:51 AM
now all we have to do is get you some casting equipment. a lyman 358311 or 356156, a mini mag, a dipper, some wheel weights, and a sizer you'll be in business.

February 1, 2004, 11:33 AM
lol, I'm working up to casting.. it's going to be one of my summer projects as I see my 357 getting a workout, it's become my favorite gun to shoot..

I've already managed to accumulate two 5 gallon pails full of wheel weights (happen to work in a garage).. I figure ~150 pounds should give me a good start..

As soon as the weather comes around and I can get outside I'm going to give it a whirl.


February 1, 2004, 12:10 PM
Watch out its VERY addicting. I just start and infact i'm going to shoot my 1st home grown boolits here today. those 2 buckets of WW aren't as much lead as you think. I took 169 lbs of ww (this included the can) and it rendered down to about 130 lbs. you'll probably only get 10k-13k boolits from those 2 buckets.

things you will need:

a mold and handles. SKIP lee go straight to lyman or rcbs. troll ebay. i got a mint 358156 with mint handles for $41 about 2/3 the price of new. i got a NIB never used rcbs 356-90-rn for $20 WITH SHIPPING. thats a 50 dollar mold!

furnace or melting pot. i bought a furnace, a lyman mini mag but if i was to start over i'd go find a used but working hi watt electric plate and a small iron pot.

lead dipper- skipp lee again here. get an rcbs or lyman. i have the lyman it does what i need it to do.

bullet sizer- troll ebay again seen alot of good deals on these there

Now those WWs will need to be rendered. i use a zebco fish fryer burner (wal mart $25) a cast iron dutch oven (harbor freight $10) and a 20 lb propane tank ($30)

i bought a 10 incher but i should have gotten the 12 or 14. the 10 incher i can get 35 lbs of WW in it. but when it melts down its only 1/2 full.

you'll want an ingot mold. a lodge CI bread stick mold works great.

you might wanna just order a lyman master casting kit, the right size die and top punch and that way you get everything at once.

I ladle cast. its time consuming but not really much slower than using a bottom pour. Problem with bottom pours is the only onces worth a crap are the lyman and rcbs units and they start at almost 200 bux. the lee's are called dribble master by those who use them because all they do is leak.

small items you'll need.

a zippo to smoke the molds
a soup lade with a wood handle for ingoting metal
a slotted spoon with wood handle for scooping clips.

Ala Dan
February 1, 2004, 03:04 PM
Greeting's All-

Leo - I also shoot a Smith & Wesson 686. Now days
I don't shoot many magnums at all; mostly just hard
cast 158 grain L-SWC's out of a 6" barrel. I always keep a
spent .357 magnum case lying around to insert into each
chamber to help cut the build-up left by the .38 Special's.
It helps a lot, or at least 'til I get the weapon back to the
house for a through cleaning.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

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