question of Swaged SWCHP for 357


September 2, 2011, 11:19 PM
Howdy everyone. I normally only load Missouri Bullet bullets when I shoot lead(which is 98%) of the time, however, today I was gifted a box of 300 .358 swaged lead SWC-HPs.

Since i do not normally load swaged bullets I figured I would pick the braintrust at THR. My first instinct is to load them over 14.5gr of 2400 like I would any other 158gr lead bullet in 357. However, with the softer swaged lead I foresee lots of leading from such a load.

Anyone have any pet loads or advice for me here? I plan on doing expansion testing for the heck of it. I may even work up some loads using AA#2 to see what kind of expansion I can get with a fast burning powder, but I would like to magnumize them as much as I can.

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September 3, 2011, 09:26 AM
I use Hornady swaged for all my 38spl loads. I've made some .357 using 4.5 gr. of Universal Clays, they held up fine with that light load.

I've been wanting to go a little hotter but just haven't got around to it. If they're Hornady's I'd be interested in see how you build them and how well they hold up, good luck.

September 3, 2011, 10:50 AM
IME, they are very, very accurate, I think the swaging process gives you a more consistent bullet than casting, but they are relatively soft. Speed limit 1,000 fps.

September 3, 2011, 10:52 AM
Well boss, I think I am going to do some real testing. I dont know if I can manage pictures or not, but I will report back. I plan on doing a two-fold testing, one to see how slow they can be pushed and still expand and two, to see how fast I can push them before they lead horribly or the bullet fails on impact.

September 3, 2011, 10:55 AM
My experience with swagged bullets hasn't been positive and I prefer to stick with cast. I suppose, if someone gave me some I would load them light and let the kids shoot them up for target practice. It seems to me that if you push them anywhere near 1000 fps you get leading problems. Some people do fine with them, it just hasn't been my experience. About 5.5 grains of Unique should get you close to 950 fps and make them useable for plinking.

September 3, 2011, 10:57 AM
I think the FBI spec for SWCHP ammo was 950 fps from a 4" barrel.

I load those over 4.5 grains of American Select in .38 Special brass. If you have any Unique, try about 5.0 grains (.38 or .357 doesn't matter)

September 3, 2011, 11:20 AM
The only handgun powders I keep anymore are AA#2, Power Pistol and 2400. I used to have 700x, 800x, bullseye, unique, etc. I have shaved it down to those three. I think I will load some "light" loads with 2400(like there are any light loads with that) and some with AA#2.

September 3, 2011, 11:31 AM
2400 is not going to burn worth a crap at any pressure level even approching the speed limit of those soft swaged bullets.

I wouldn't even bother trying it.

Hornady (if that's what you have) sets an upper limit of 950 FPS with that bullet.
Nowhere is there any mention of 2400 powder either.

The slowest powder they show in the data is AA #5.

I'd try probably 4.5 - 5.0 grains Unique and see what happens.


September 3, 2011, 11:37 AM
I would RC but I dont keep Unique anymore, I dont care much for it. I think I will use AA#2, as it will fit the bill for the speed requirements. Though I still think I will try some 2400 just for the heck of it. I will try to get pictures of the leaded barrel too!

September 3, 2011, 11:41 AM
If you have a good, smooth barrel you won't have any leading issues. For target loads I get less leading with swaged because they seem to be 'tuned' for velocities under 1K. They were never meant to replace cast in high velocity loads.

September 3, 2011, 12:24 PM
I've done a lot of load development with these bullets--e.g., using both Speer and Hornady. Personally, #5 or Ramshot's True Blue are my go-to powders. AA#2 is too fast; as you approach max, you may very well blow out the round. from a 2" barrel, if I got over about 930+ fps, (low-med. 357 pressure), blowouts occurred.

Of the powders you have I would use Power Pistol--which I have not tested very much because of the flash factor, and the implied SD use of these kinds of bullets. Start lower; these bullets will perform well (expand, etc.) at 850+ fps, too.

Jim H.

September 3, 2011, 02:15 PM
but they are relatively soft.

They are about as soft as you can gt.

They are PURE lead.

Keep them under 1000 ft/s ad make sure the bore is absolutely clean before firing them.

The slightest bit if copper in the bore will catch lead.

If the bore is not very good you may get leasing down to 800 ft/s.

September 3, 2011, 02:21 PM
Its a S&W 686 that has never shown any signs of leading since I have had it, but those were mostly Missouri Bullets. I have loaded swaged bullets before, but not these. I guess we will find out what they are capable of in my wifes gun.

September 3, 2011, 02:43 PM
I haven't used swaged bullets in many years. If the swaged bullets fit your cylinder throats, you may not have leading at 38 +P velocities, but IFRC, all swaged bulletd (the last I used was Hornady), in my guns, leaded considerably at 357 velocities. If I had 300 swaged bullets now, I'd prolly melt them down and mix about 50-50 with wheel weights and cast some 160 gr, Lyman SWC, and shoot 'em in my .38 Specials. Or load 'em up with min. loads of Unique; 3.3 gr for 700 fps, or so...

September 3, 2011, 02:49 PM
I've driven Speer's swaged lead SWCs to 1200 fps with Unique with no leading issues. Accuracy was on a par with my home-cast bullets, with a slight edge going to the poured slugs. Expansion in ballistic gel at 10 yards is fairly explosive, shedding a lot of weight within 4 inches. 1000 fps works much better, with the bullet turning into a classic mushroom and holding 95% of its weight.

September 3, 2011, 04:02 PM
buy some half jackets

September 3, 2011, 06:28 PM
I've got half jacket bullets, and other swaged ones, and jacketed round nose, and hollowpoints, etc. I was given these and thought I would play with them.

September 3, 2011, 11:06 PM
They are PURE lead.
Hornady swaged bullets have a touch of antimony and are a better bullet than Speers, which IIRC are pure lead.

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