What are your favorite .357 loads?


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Miata Mike
August 29, 2011, 12:53 AM
I am going to load both .38 special and .357 magnum with Missouri Bullet Company 158 grain .38 match bullets. I plan on trying the .38 special loads in a 3" Ruger SP101 and the .357 Magnum in a 6" Ruger security six.

Powders I have on hand are Bullseye (lots of it), Unique, HP38, and a still sealed bottle of Titegroup that I have resisted opening. I am not against buying a pound of any powder, and also have access to Red dot.

I would like a fairly mild but accurate load that will be ok with the softer Brinell 12 LSWC bullets. I don't shoot longer than 15 to 25 yards as a rule.

I settled on Bullseye for my .44 magnum load as it had less muzzle flip than the Unique load I tried.

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56hawk
August 29, 2011, 01:02 AM
I use 3.5 gr of Bullseye for 38 special loads and 17 gr of H110 for the 357. It's hard to beat H110 for full power magnum pistol rounds. It's great for 44 also.

All the powders you listed are great for 38 Special target loads, but are kind of pointless in the 357. If you want to stay mild I would suggest just shooting your 38s out of the 357.

Miata Mike
August 29, 2011, 01:08 AM
I have a lot of .357 cases and was hoping to eliminate the carbon crud in the cylinders from using the shorter .38 special loads, but I won't rule out anything. :D If I could use a powder like H110 for both .44 and .357, that might make a case for buying another pound. ;)

3leggeddog
August 29, 2011, 01:12 AM
Mild, i like 3.5 grs of w-231 with a 158gr lswc, which may prove to work better out of the short 3" SP101. I've got great accuracy with 4.1 grs unique threw my GP 100 6" . W-231 , 3.5 grs will shoot nice in your security 6... These are just target loads, NOT for hunting.

56hawk
August 29, 2011, 01:15 AM
If you just want to stick with target loads, Bullseye should work great. Never loaded it in 357 though. Not that there would be any problems.

I love H110, but it can't be downloaded. A starting load with H110 will be 100-200 fps faster than a maximum load with Bullseye.

zxcvbob
August 29, 2011, 01:16 AM
If I had lots of Bullseye, I would try 6.5 grains in the .357 with 158 grain lead bullets. This is a max load in Alliant's 2004 load data book, so work up to it.

Miata Mike
August 29, 2011, 01:20 AM
I love H110, but it can't be downloaded. A starting load with H110 will be 100-200 fps faster than a maximum load with Bullseye.

I take it H110 is one of those powders you never load light. Does it require magnum pistol primers? I did see in my manual that it is a high velocity powder, that's for sure.

56hawk
August 29, 2011, 01:29 AM
Apparently H110 will start to burn inconsistently with reduced loads. I've never bothered with magnum primers with either 357 or 44 and have never had any problems.

zxcvbob
August 29, 2011, 01:36 AM
You need magnum primers (or rifle primers) with H110, but you can get away with regular primers if you have enough neck tension and you crimp tight enough. Also you cannot safely reduce it.

Better off using 2400 or AA#9 if you want to experiment with hot loads.

I like AA#7. It's cheaper to use than 2400.

Miata Mike
August 29, 2011, 01:56 AM
All good posts so far. :D Do you guys feel that leading will be ok with the softer Brinell 12 LSWC bullets and more "magnum" loads? Very good discussion!

zxcvbob
August 29, 2011, 02:09 AM
I cast my own bullets using scrap lead that is probably softer than 12. Lately I've been casting and shooting a lot of .357 Magnum 148 grain wadcutters with 7.0 grains of WSF powder. I do get some leading with this load but it only builds up to a certain level then stops.

I use 8.0 grains of Herco with commercial 158 grain cast bullets (from mastercastbullets.com), which is a hotter load, and I don't get any leading with that.

ArchAngelCD
August 29, 2011, 02:41 AM
While the 3 powder you own will make good .38 Special ammo you won't get top velocities in the .357 Magnum without going over pressure. You really should use a slower powder like W296/H110, 2400, AA#9, Enforcer, Lil'Gun, 4227 and powdersin that burn rate range. Those powder will generate more velocity without exceeding the SAAMI pressure limits and all can be used for both the .357 Magnum and the 44 Magnum.

I use mostly 2400 and W296 for my .357 Magnum ammo. I use some Lil'Gun for ammo used in my Marlin Carbine because it works well with heavy bullets.

ColtPythonElite
August 29, 2011, 03:50 AM
I use a lot of MBC bullets. However, I just use the harder .357 Action SWC's in both .38 and .357 and have no issues.

My .38 load is 4.7 gr of Unique for an avg velocity of 961 fps. My .357 load is 5.6 gr of Unique for an avg velocity of 1008 fps....The .357 load is far from "hot". However, it is very accurate in my guns.

Take the talk about the "crude in the chamber from shooting .38's" with a grain of salt. I find all that talk to be lots of speculation and exaggeration. I have been shooting .38's out of my .357's for years and have never had the slightest sign of and issue. I guess if you never clean your gun, you may have a problem. However, I run a brush thru my gun after every range session....My first .357, which is still my favorite, saw at least 5k .38's thru it the first couple of years I owned it and probably less than 500 .357's. I never had an issue with tight chambers.

gamestalker
August 29, 2011, 10:42 AM
I like them mild also, not! I load all of my magnum cartridges exclusively with H110/296. As for .38 special, I like Longshot and have tried HS6 with fair results also.
I'm still waiting for my firearms to get loose or burn barrels, as many have warned me of, and it's been over 3 decades of loading as I do. Although I think one of my 7mm RM is starting to slow down a little bit.

BBDartCA
August 29, 2011, 11:03 AM
My favorite target load is 125g Remington semi-jacketed hollow point with 18.5g IMR 4227 and mag primers. Very accurate. Nice kick too. Its also a compressed load. This is in a 6" Dan Wesson.

357Shooter
August 29, 2011, 05:23 PM
That Titegroup is not position sensitive (important) and good for light 357 work. It's also clean.

JO JO
August 29, 2011, 05:26 PM
my fun load is 158gr lswc oregon trails "lasercast" and 2400

zxcvbob
August 29, 2011, 05:45 PM
That Titegroup is not position sensitive (important) and good for light 357 work. It's also clean.I don't think any fast-burning powders are really position sensitive unless you load them way down.

I've also not found Titegroup to be very clean with cast bullets. It might be the greatest powder ever with jacketed and plated bullets, but I seldom use those.

ljnowell
August 29, 2011, 05:49 PM
I load 148gr dewc from Missouri Bullet over 3.5gr AA#2 in a 357 case. I also load the 158 from Missouri Bullet over 14.5gr 2400.

Hondo 60
August 29, 2011, 06:12 PM
158 gr MBC ".357 Action" over 17.8 gr Hodgdon Lil Gun
It's got some kick to it, but not unmanageable.
Runs about 1300 fps.

Originally bought the powder to make some "Ruger Only" 45 Colt loads.
But I sold the Ruger 45 Colt Blackhawk.

So I had to figure out something to do with the powder. :rolleyes:

George Mabry
August 29, 2011, 08:22 PM
oops.

Miata Mike
August 29, 2011, 11:11 PM
I may crack open the Titegroup bottle and bum some 2400 from a guy at work. ;) This thread is going very good and polite. :D

Fishslayer
August 30, 2011, 04:40 PM
Take the talk about the "crud in the chamber from shooting .38's" with a grain of salt. I find all that talk to be lots of speculation and exaggeration.

Well, I can tell you from experience it is not all speculation and exaggeration. It's real. But the guns were new-to-me used ones so who knows how many rounds were fired without cleaning the chambers. My first S&W wheelgun (28-2) took about two days of soaking, scrubbing and scraping with a flared case to get the crud out.:fire:

Like you, though, I scrub the chambers after every session & once the problem was gone it never came back and the chambers always appear slick with just a few passes of the brush.

Now that I've scrounged a good supply of used .357 brass I usually just avoid the problem altogether by dumping 4gr of Green Dot under a 158gr LSWC in a magnum case. ;)

ColtPythonElite
August 30, 2011, 06:31 PM
True, I guess the crud ring is "real" in guns that may have never been maintained...However, from both your post and mine, it appears that a little time to clean out the chamber is all it takes to keep a shooter from ever having problems.

Strykervet
August 30, 2011, 06:52 PM
For full tilt boogie, I like a generous helping of Viht N110 under a 125gr. projectile. My 6" 686 clocks around 1800fps with it, has a 3ft. flash though.

My favorite target loads in a .357 are actually .38spcl., 158gr. soft loads. I only use the .357 to hotrod, when I do carry it I tend to use some kind of store bought stuff in a 340PD (I've destroyed one using handloads that worked fine in a steel revolver, so I tend not to load anything stiff for it).

Funshooter45
August 30, 2011, 06:57 PM
I have a few good loads for the .357. My wife loves about 4.0 gr of 231 with a 158 gr cast bullet in "her" model 60 S&W. 4.6 gr of the same powder and bullet shoots a lot more accurate in most revolvers, but it's more than she likes.

Moving up a bit, 16 gr of 296 makes a dandy load with a jacketed 158 gr bullet in my Blackhawk.

But lately I have found new love for the little wimpy .357 by going to 180 gr hard cast bullets from Missouri Bullet Co. Amazing the difference moving up from 158 gr. This is now a real revolver! :D Using about 13.5 gr of 296 or about 14.0 gr of Lil Gun gives good accuracy and a satisfying recoil.

The other day though, my shooting buddy and I were shooting some of the 180's with 296 and a question came up. They feel real good in a 6" revolver, not very good in our 2" or 3" revolvers. He's not a reloader, but he buys the bullets and helps me with the loading and he understands the principles. He asked if it were possible to use a medium powder like Universal or Unique with the 180 gr bullet and get a more manageable load for the lighter shorter barrels?

I dunno. I have used around 6.0 gr of Universal with the 158 gr cast. What would be a good powder weight for a 180?

zxcvbob
August 30, 2011, 07:57 PM
I dunno. I have used around 6.0 gr of Universal with the 158 gr cast. What would be a good powder weight for a 180?
Probably about 5.5. But I think I'd go to a little slower powder like 7.0 grains of Herco or 10 grains of AA7.

joneb
August 31, 2011, 12:36 AM
If I had lots of Bullseye, I would try 6.5 grains in the .357 with 158 grain lead bullets. This is a max load in Alliant's 2004 load data book, so work up to it.
With 158gr LSWC for .357 mag. Bullseye will work well, I would use standard small pistol primers and start at 4.2gr of Bullseye. Work up load until you have your desired result, I'll guess you find your load before 6.5 gr.

soloban
September 1, 2011, 12:06 AM
158 Gr. Hornaday XTPs over a near max load of H110 with CCI #550 Primers. Be prepared for a THUMP!

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