Cast 180 gr bullets in .357 magnum - range report


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Funshooter45
July 18, 2011, 02:04 PM
Several months ago I picked up 500 of the Missouri Bullet Co hard cast .357 bullets weighing 180 grs that they call the "Striker". I got sidetracked with my rifle test loading and didn't get around to shooting them until yesterday. It is basically a RNFP bullet with 2 lube grooves and a nice crimp groove and they say it has a BHN of 18. My goal with this bullet is to develop a longer range load and perhaps a deeper penetrating round as well for hunting purposes. I had a tough time finding one single source of published info for hard cast 180 gr bullets though. There were some sources for 180 gr jacketed bullets but those bullets tended to be seated longer than these cast bullets seat. So, I kind of guessed at some load ranges that I hoped would be safe starting points.

I loaded up 10 bullets with 5 different powders that I had on the shelf, crimped them all in the crimp groove as normal and fired them in my Ruger Blackhawk. This wasn't a true target test, I just fired them offhand at 15 yards to get an idea if any of them showed difficult extraction or harsh recoil. I don't have a chronograph so I can't give velocity numbers. I did notice there was a bit of difference in accuracy, although none of them were exceptionally good or bad at that range. I can say that none of these loads showed any obvious signs of high pressure. A couple of them had pretty good recoil, but nothing like a .44 mag or something like that.

Here are the loads and my initial impressions:

2400 powder - 11.7 gr, Winchester std primer, Starline brass. Very mild recoil. No soot or unburnt powder. This was the most accurate load. The powder charge can easily be increased, judging by the recoil compared to other loads. Very pleasant though.

4227 powder - 12.6 gr, CCI mag primer, Starline brass. A little more recoil than the previous load of 2400, but not too much. No sooty cases, no unburnt powder. Powder charge could be increased easily. Mediocre accuracy at 15 yds.

Accurate #9 powder - 11.0 gr, Win std primer, Starline brass. Higer recoil, clean burn. Not very good accuracy.

H-110 powder - 13.1 gr, CCI mag primer, Starline brass. Vigorous recoil, a sharp sting. Very clean burn. Pretty decent accuracy. No pressure signs, could probably increase charge slightly if desired.

Lil Gun powder - 13.5 gr, CCI mag, Starline brass. Sharp recoil but not as much as with the H-110 powder. Excellent acccuracy almost equal to the 2400 powder. No pressure signs. This is actually the first positive experience I have had with Lil Gun powder. I have tried it in .44 mag, 454 Casull, and .480 Ruger loads with disappointing results, but it seemed to work well here.

Based on these results I think I will try to develop the Lil Gun and 2400 loads at longer distances, but I have at least verified a safe starting point in my revolver. I also want to try a load using Universal or Unique for even milder shooting, although the first 2400 load was pretty mild and worked well.

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Cosmoline
July 18, 2011, 02:09 PM
Thanks! Are you running your cases back through the resizer afterwards? I've had some issues with bulges loading the big slugs.

For the mild load I highly recommend Trail Boss. I've been using it with 180 cast performance bullets in the .357. It's *very* accurate and mild. I don't have the charge amount handy but I used the standard .357 listed. With that stuff you fill the case up real quick so the trick is to load it up without compressing it.

Funshooter45
July 18, 2011, 03:07 PM
Yes, I was using the FCD to crimp with, but it didn't feel like it was having to remove any bulges in this case.

I hadn't thought about using Trail Boss with this particular bullet. I was looking at a longer range application originally, but now that you mention it, it sounds like a fun thing to try out.

Overkilll0084
July 18, 2011, 03:35 PM
For Plinking and Bowling pins, AA#5 in mild charges works nicely. I haven't gotten around to 2400 loads yet.
Did you have any leading issues? What little I've done with these suggests that they are pretty resistant. Even in my S&W, which seems to lead with the most unlikely loads.

Funshooter45
July 18, 2011, 04:17 PM
I only shot 50 rounds of these. I started with a clean barrel and after the 50 test loads I looked at the barrel and I didn't see any sign of lead. But I have never seen any leading issues with any other cast bullets with this particular revolver before. Some revolvers just seem to be like that I guess.

highlander 5
July 18, 2011, 04:29 PM
I use a 180 gr RNFP cast from a Saeco mold 50/50 ww/lino and they shoot quite well from my Redhawk. Can't remember the last lot I loaded but they were pushing 1200 fps.

627PCFan
July 18, 2011, 09:56 PM
My accuracy load is the 180 strikers over 11 grains of AA #9. Works for me. Try bumping your load up .5 of a grain and see what happens. Also, use a full heavy crimp-

Quoheleth
July 19, 2011, 07:21 PM
I like 11.3gr AA#9, but I concur that 2400 works fine, too. This is with mixed range brass, CCI SPP and my GP100 6".

Q

Funshooter45
July 20, 2011, 12:52 AM
Looks like I need to keep the #9 option on the table. I like that powder in my .44 mag loads. It's kind of funny really because like I said, it wasn't supposed to be much of an accuracy test the way I did it at just 15 yards and just shooting offhand without particular effort on my part to concentrate. But obviously I had a target for every group of loads, so it's tempting to try to judge the rounds by how small the groups are. It's possible that my concentration was lagging when I shot the #9 loads.

ArchAngelCD
July 20, 2011, 02:24 AM
Using a 180gr GC Cast Performance (http://www.grizzlycartridge.com/store/index.php?app=ecom&ns=prodshow&ref=CP38%2F180) lead bullet I made up a few loads using Lil'Gun and H110.

I used both in a 18.5" Carbine and here are the results:
13.7gr H110, CCI-550 primer
14.8gr Lil'Gun, CCI-550 primer.

From 50 yards with open sights:
Lil'Gun, AV 1657 fps with a 3.25" 5 shot group
H110, AV 1547 fps with a 3.375" 5 shot group

Those are fairly hot loads and should be approached carefully!
Lil'Gun delivered 110 fps more than H110 with that 180gr Cast Performance bullet and Lil'Gun delivered 90 fps more than H110 with a 180gr Hornady XTP bullet in the same carbine.

Funshooter45
July 20, 2011, 10:47 AM
Thanks ArchAngel. It looks like my starting point for the H-110 is getting kinda close to your hot load already, but looks like I have some room left to grow on the Lil Gun. It would be nice to find some application Lil Gun works the best.

squarles67
July 20, 2011, 11:06 AM
Here are my results using the Cast Performance 180 WFNGC. These were shot out of a Marlin 1894 CB with a 20" bbl.

Charge OAL Avg Vel ES SD
Cast Perf 180 WFNGC Alliant 2400 13 1.566 1585 37.89 16.24
Cast Perf 180 WFNGC Alliant 2400 13.5 1.566 1697 60.44 24.55
Cast Perf 180 WFNGC Ramshot Enforcer 12.3 1.566 1505 48.11 18.38
Cast Perf 180 WFNGC Ramshot Enforcer 13.1 1.566 1572 42.57 14.52
Cast Perf 180 WFNGC Hogdgon Lil Gun 13.7 1.566 1662 77.07 27.73
Cast Perf 180 WFNGC Hogdgon Lil Gun 14.5 1.566 1719 47.24 19.84
Cast Perf 180 WFNGC Hogdgon Lil Gun 15 1.566 1760 78.34 29.25

I've got some more loaded with Win 296 and AA#9 that I haven't had time to test yet. The enforcer loads seemed pretty mild but shot well. That last LilGun load is max.

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