Loading for revolvers


December 9, 2012, 05:32 PM
I have been loading 38SPL and 45 Colt for about a year now, but just bought a .357 mag (686 SSR) and tested out some plated bullets because that's all I had on hand. (6.8gr HP-38, Berry 125gr FP, WSPM) I forgot my tripod :banghead: so no chrony data but it felt mild although there was noticable flash in bright daylight.

Anything in particular to watch out for when approaching higher end loads?

How do you avoid the whole "flame cutting" situation?

The only suitable powders I have on hand are Blue Dot, HP-38, and H110 but I am looking at 2400 based on several manuals.

Any suggestions on loads, components, or techniques are welcomed!

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December 9, 2012, 06:03 PM
Haven't loaded .357 in a while, but I used a good bit of Bluedot. IME H110 was as good or maybe a tick better and metered better. Don't know if 2400 will get you anything H110 won't.

Flame cutting is the nature of the magnum beast. Some powders are more forgiving than others. IIRC, 4227 and 5744 and similar powders are a little easier on the top strap, but you generally give up a little velocity.

December 9, 2012, 06:24 PM
I don't believe upper end loads are recommended for the 125 Berrys platted bullet.
From what I hear and follow you will have less flame cutting using 158grain bullets.
I don't think you need magnum primers with HP 38.
2400 can be downloaded much more than H110 although it's not quite as good for max power loads. I use 2400 for upper end loads with non-magnum primers.
Hope this helps.

December 9, 2012, 06:26 PM
The hell bent for leather 125 Gr .357 Mag loads of yesteryear were the worst offenders for flame cutting. Think lots of powder at high pressure.

The flame cutting tends to go so far and slow considerable after that. If you load mega max 125's and shoot a lot of them you are going to experience flame cutting and beat up your revolver.

Blue Dot works, but is no longer recommended for 125 Gr bullets, despite many here shooting a metric buttload of them in years past following load book data with no problems. I believe (But do not know of course) that the warning is due to the position sensitivity of Blue Mot in a magnum case.

H110 is great for full house loads (Check data), but doesn't like being downloaded. 2400 is also great for full house loads and is more tolerant of downloading some.

AA #9, N-110, and Enforcer are other magnum powders useful for full house .357 mag loads.

Jacketed or lead bullets are better than plated for full house loads. Some plated bullets cannot take it.

December 9, 2012, 07:22 PM
If you are loading heavier bullets using current 35 kpsi maximum SAAMI data, you needn't worry about flame cutting. As mentioned, this problem comes from light bullets and ball powders loaded to the former 43-45 kpsi pressure limits. Scots 4100 (the same as Ramshot Enforcer) also works well in the 1st Magnum and can use AA#9 data.

December 9, 2012, 07:35 PM
I enjoy loading high end loads for my 45lc and watch my buddies faces light up when they see the flash. I have a lot of Unique on hand for my pistols so between that and Pistol Power are the only powders i use.

December 9, 2012, 08:54 PM
Unique and 2400 are good powders for middle and upper range 357 loads.

December 9, 2012, 10:40 PM
Sorry, I forgot to mention I will be using jacketed bullets for the magnum loads, most likely the XTP. I typically like to use heavier bullets in most cases, but I already had the 125gr plated bullets on hand for practice with my 38SPL 442.

My main concern is tearing up my gun because I shoot a lot. If there is anything I can do to get good performance without undue stress that is where I want to be. It is a used gun and appears to have not been shot too much. There is no free lunch, but there must be middle ground somewhere.

Also, sort of related, when I first cleaned the gun there was carbon fouling in the upper rear corner and face of the frame near where the firing pin protrudes. Blown primer? Underpowered sooty loads? Possible sign of abuse? It shoots fine but I've never seen fouling there.

December 9, 2012, 10:58 PM
I shoot 125gr JHPs over 10.0 gr. of Power Pistol by the thousands. My notes show they average 1450 fps...You be the judge if that is hot or not. My pet gun has no flame cutting and over 25k rounds under her belt. It is still tight as new.

December 9, 2012, 11:25 PM
Like I have posted in many threads, I do most of my handgun reloading with 3 powders. I use W231 (HP-38), W540 (HS-6) and W296 (H110) I will use all 3 in the .357 Magnum for different types of loads and all 3 work very well.

I do not use a magnum primer with W231 but I do with both HS-6 and W296.

December 9, 2012, 11:37 PM
Alright, looks like when I get the bullets in I'll start with HP-38 and H110. I don't have any Power pistol but have considered getting it to try in other calibers too.

December 9, 2012, 11:55 PM
For 125gr plated in 357 mag I would use medium burn pistol powder like Unique or accurate #5 loaded between 38spl and 357 mag. jacketed data.

December 9, 2012, 11:59 PM
The last Berrys 125gr I loaded was with 7.0 gr of Unique. They were fairly mild.

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