Most Versatile Powder For .357 Mag


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Godsgunman
April 19, 2013, 11:00 AM
I am interested in your opinions on which powder you can get the most "bang" for you buck for .357 loads. Basically which powder gives you the best range from low recoil to full house loads and which is the easiest to work with? Currently I am using Unique since I am newer to reloading and I got it for $10 a pound from a buddy. The loads I have worked up so far have performed well so far but Unique can't really give me the full power stuff. So which is the most versatile powder I should look into?

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rg1
April 19, 2013, 11:26 AM
My vote is for Accurate Arms AA#9 using Accurate Arms data.

rcmodel
April 19, 2013, 11:28 AM
Unique.

A slower powder like 2400 or H-110 is necessary to get maximum velocity.

But it won't work worth a darn for reduced loads.

Just glancing at a Lyman #49 manual.
With a 158 grain bullet & max loads.
Unique = 1,185 FPS.
2400 = 1,279 FPS.
H-110 = 1,309 FPS.

SO you can get 124 FPS more velocity with H-110. WooHoo!!
But you can't use it for reduced loads.

rc

Uniquedot
April 19, 2013, 11:31 AM
Most versatile for me with full power loads has been 2400, but I prefer light loads with unique. You can generally get a little more velocity with h110, but you'll lose versatility.

joneb
April 19, 2013, 11:33 AM
Don't limit yourself to one powder, Unique is good for light loads and 2400, Accurate #9 or H-110 are good for heavy loads. Get yourself a reloading manual, and see for yourself.

USSR
April 19, 2013, 11:33 AM
Agree with rc, Unique. Covers an awful lot of the middle ground for .357 Magnum loads.

Don

ArchAngelCD
April 19, 2013, 11:39 AM
Since we all know every time you try to make 1 powder do everything in a cartridge all the loads suffer I use 2 different powders for my .357 Magnum ammo. For full house loads I use W296/H110 and for everything else in .357 Magnum I use W540/HS-6. I use HS-6 for several other applications too. (.38 Special +P, 45 Colt...)

Sorry I can't answer your question directly but 1 powder can't do what you want.

627PCFan
April 19, 2013, 11:42 AM
Another vote for aa#9

zxcvbob
April 19, 2013, 11:51 AM
I like Herco and AA#7.
But when I want economical and accurate target loads (still "magnums", not .38 specials) I use Promo. 4.5 grains of Promo or Red Dot with a cast 148 grain wadcutter is a fun load and really cheap to shoot

colonelhogan44
April 19, 2013, 11:54 AM
The more powders, the merrier! I use red dot, green dot, blue dot, 2400, h110 and lil' gun in my 38/357 loads, depending on what I want.

Yesterday I loaded 150 rounds with 158 grain cast and 10.3 grains of Blue Dot, which is a great upper-mid-range load.

ssyoumans
April 19, 2013, 12:41 PM
Unique, works well from 38 special loads to nearly 85% max velocity Magnum loads. It is also relatively efficient too. Takes nearly twice as much 2400 powder to beat a 158gr Unique load.
Haven't tried #9, but it requires more powder too.

Arkansas Paul
April 19, 2013, 12:46 PM
Most versatile for me with full power loads has been 2400

This is an oxymoron. If it's only versatile for full power loads, it's not versatile. It is LIMITED to full power loads.

Don't limit yourself to one powder

This. I don't shoot .357, but I do shoot A LOT of .45 Colt in a Ruger Blackhawk. I use Unique for standard stuff and 2400 for heavy loads. Don't limit yourself unnecessarily.

colonelhogan44
April 19, 2013, 12:59 PM
Maybe he's saying 2400 is the most versatile for a large range of full power loads -- ie 110 grain to 180 grain bullet weights.

Regardless, it's one of the best powders...especially for cast. It gives a slow push vs a faster pulse of the unique type powders, which is good for accuracy.

Walkalong
April 19, 2013, 02:33 PM
Basically which powder gives you the best range from low recoil to full house loads
Really low recoil will take a fast powder.

Medium to 85% or a bit more is Unique range.

Versatility at the high end is 2400.

Max loads only are H110/W296 territory.

N340 will do much of what Unique will do.

True Blue is very versatile here as well.

Universal Clays is pretty good.

W231 has a fairly wide range in .357.

gamestalker
April 19, 2013, 02:59 PM
It's not feasible to attain all levels of performance wiht jsut one powder for .357 mag.. You'll need at least two different powders for that, Longshot, & HS6 will work well for your low end to average loads, while 2400, H110 / 296 are probably the most common ones used for full house loads.

Wouldn't life be so much simpler if there were just one powder that would cover all our loading needs though.

GS

Clark
April 19, 2013, 03:02 PM
Unique will give the widest or close to the widest range of accurate loads.

H110/W296 will make the high velocity loads.

Elkins45
April 19, 2013, 04:30 PM
Add me as another vote for Unique as most versatile not just for the full range of 357 magnum but for handgun loading in general. There are very few handgun cartridges that Unique can't be successfully used in to produce some sort of functional load.

Crashbox
April 19, 2013, 04:39 PM
I've always considered 2400 as being the most versatile powder for the .357 Magnum, as the min/max loads in Lyman's 49th have a pretty wide spread (13.0 to 17.7 grains for 125 JHP's). Unique, on the other hand, is without a doubt the most versatile handgun powder cartridge-wise. However, I myself prefer its slower brother, Herco.

MikeS.
April 20, 2013, 08:56 AM
I like BE for light .357 and 2400 for everything else.

Fishslayer
April 20, 2013, 07:13 PM
Unique.

A slower powder like 2400 or H-110 is necessary to get maximum velocity.

But it won't work worth a darn for reduced loads.
rc

^^^ This. A medium rate powder like Unique is "OK" for a wide range but if you're gonna run with the 158gr Big Dogs H-110 or 2400 is the way to go.

I use Bullseye or Green Dot for my light target loads.

dragon813gt
April 20, 2013, 07:50 PM
I use W231 for very light to almost full power loads. And H110 for full power loads. You need more than one to run the full range.


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Godsgunman
April 22, 2013, 09:43 AM
Thanks everyone for the insight. Sounds like Unique is what I'll stick with since I am happy with the loads I've already worked up and it still gives me plenty of power.

geo57
April 22, 2013, 04:57 PM
While Unique does make for a very versatile powder in .357 mag ( and I do use it for loads at about 1000 FPS with 158 JHP ) it isn't true that 2400 " won't work worth a darn " for somewhat reduced loads nor is it true that it's only good for full power loads. 13.5 grs. of 2400 works nicely under a bulk 158 gr. JHP and does so @ about 90 % of max. ( 14.8 per Alliant ). It burns cleanly and with little to no evidence of unburnt powder granules on my revolver or in spent cases, is accurate and very manageable in DA mode. This load clocks about 1150 FPS from my 4 " GP100 and while I have no equipment to test PSI I'd wager that the pressure would be substantailly higher to get a load using Unique to attain this velocity and that is if your newer manuals even publish that stout a load with Unique. ( Yes, I understand that Lyman does or used to ). Alliant tops out @ 7.7 @ 1040 FPS with Unique and 158 gr. jacketed and I believe Speer does too now.

readyeddy
April 22, 2013, 05:07 PM
I like HS6 for a middle of the road powder for my magnums, about in between W231 and W296.

ljnowell
April 22, 2013, 05:19 PM
For me its AA#2 for wadcutter loads on up to mid range. Then its time for 2400.

Lerk
April 22, 2013, 08:47 PM
I find myself reaching for 2400, Trailboss, and Universal for a nice selection of loads. Pretty much done using Unique as I hate the fact it doesn't meter nice for me regardless of what powder measure I put it through..

joneb
April 23, 2013, 03:11 AM
Pretty much done using Unique as I hate the fact it doesn't meter nice for me regardless of what powder measure I put it through..
Unique meters like dog doo in my Redding Mod 3 w/a micro meter. I tried Accurate #5 and I have not used Unique since.

ArchAngelCD
April 23, 2013, 03:17 AM
I like HS6 for a middle of the road powder for my magnums, about in between W231 and W296.
Like I've posted many times already, that is exactly my "Powder Trinity" which I use for most of my handgun loading.

W231(HP-38), W540(HS-6) & W296(H110).

ArchAngelCD
April 23, 2013, 03:45 AM
Erased double post...

Mag_357TX
April 23, 2013, 03:55 AM
I use Unique, 5.8 grains (if I"m not mistaken) for a 158 grain LSWC. 357 magnum.

Have been using regular small pistol primers and Unique for my 357 loads but will eventually try a new powder with magnum primers. Although I'm pleased with the Unique (except the mess it makes), I know there are better powders out there for this particular load.

JSmith
April 23, 2013, 08:13 AM
Another vote for 231 here.

fatcpa
April 23, 2013, 09:53 AM
Hodgdon Universal Clays burn rate is similar to Unique and it burns cleaner (my opinion only) and meters better in my Dillon 550B. I use Universal for low to mid power loads and 2400 for full power loads. I think most use regular primers with 2400, but magnum primers are recommended for H110/W296. If I were limited to 3 powders for handgun loads, they would be H38/W231, Universal, and 2400. That said, I shoot a lot of single action 38 spl and 45 colt and most of those nowdays are loaded with heavy for caliber lead bullets and Trail Boss.

zxcvbob
April 23, 2013, 11:25 AM
I've used Universal, and it is cleaner and easier to measure than Unique, but it doesn't seem to be as accurate and it can't be loaded to quite the same power level as Unique. YMMV.

Lagarto
April 23, 2013, 11:52 AM
Has anyone tried Alliant's 300-MP for top end loads?

I have read about it, but haven't been able to find any locally.

Godsgunman
April 23, 2013, 12:02 PM
So if I wanted to step up to the full house loads, which is easier (more forgiving) to use H110 or 2400?

ljnowell
April 23, 2013, 12:16 PM
2400.

JRH6856
April 23, 2013, 12:17 PM
I've had good results with Power Pistol under a 158g LSWC for both light and full power loads.

dap22
April 23, 2013, 12:26 PM
If "forgiving" means ease of metering, I've found them both to meter very nicely in my 550's. If you mean the level of bang, then 2400 is the more gentle from my experience.

X-Rap
April 23, 2013, 12:33 PM
I have used Unique since I started reloading so if I had to choose one powder to load all my pistol rounds that's what it would be, I guess you could call that versatile or stubborn.

readyeddy
April 23, 2013, 04:54 PM
I never thought about it that way, but those are my three main powders for handguns.

au_prospector
April 23, 2013, 05:18 PM
What do you guys mean by 2400 not being versatile and only good for high power loads.

I guess I need clarification. I loaded 2400 with Winchester SPP using Speer 125 grain JHP and 2400 at 15 grains, 15.5 grains, 16.0 grains, and 16.5 grains. All were acceptable, but my 586 liked the 16.0 grains by far was the tightest group at 1.5 inches @ 60 feet.

I plan to load some .44 Mag with it as well. Why so down on 2400? Is it because its not good for .38 spl like Unique is? Is it because you shouldnt use a magnum primer with it? Is it okay to use SPP magnum primers with Unique for .357?

I dont know, thats why I am asking. I have 4 pounds of 2400 and 8 pounds of Unique. Hopefully, it all gets used.

colonelhogan44
April 23, 2013, 06:05 PM
2400 is an EXCELLENT powder. It's my favorite for non-gas checked cast bullets. I shoot minimum loads of 2400 (13.5 grains) under a 158 cast with great results.

USSR
April 23, 2013, 06:48 PM
What do you guys mean by 2400 not being versatile and only good for high power loads.

I guess I need clarification. I loaded 2400 with Winchester SPP using Speer 125 grain JHP and 2400 at 15 grains, 15.5 grains, 16.0 grains, and 16.5 grains.

au_prospector,

Read the OP: "which powder gives you the best range from low recoil to full house loads". Try using a 12.0gr load of 2400 with your 125gr JHP for about a 1,000fps load, and you will see that 2400 is not a good powder for low power, low recoil loads. Personally, I love 2400 for full power loads with heavy bullets, but it is not as versatile as Unique in which you can develop loads over a wide range of power and recoil levels.

Don

au_prospector
April 23, 2013, 07:59 PM
Hey Don, 11 grains? Sorry but since the starting load in Lymans 49 is 13 grains, I would not have even considered such a low load. If you want .38 special performance in your .357 mag (nothing wrong with that by the way, great practice) why not just shoot .38 special?

I have loaded 158 grain flatpoints with 7 grains of unique as well as 13 grains of 2400 and compared them every other shell in my .357. The unique loads where more of a WHOMP/THUD sound while the 2400 was more of a CRACK/SNAP sound and recoil. I would load the Unique again, but I prefer the 2400 feel and sound.

I was just questioning why so many seemed to be down on 2400. Since I use both powders I guess the question for me is a matter of personal preference. Thanks though.

ljnowell
April 24, 2013, 12:42 AM
Hey Don, 11 grains? Sorry but since the starting load in Lymans 49 is 13 grains, I would not have even considered such a low load. If you want .38 special performance in your .357 mag (nothing wrong with that by the way, great practice) why not just shoot .38 special?

I have loaded 158 grain flatpoints with 7 grains of unique as well as 13 grains of 2400 and compared them every other shell in my .357. The unique loads where more of a WHOMP/THUD sound while the 2400 was more of a CRACK/SNAP sound and recoil. I would load the Unique again, but I prefer the 2400 feel and sound.

I was just questioning why so many seemed to be down on 2400. Since I use both powders I guess the question for me is a matter of personal preference. Thanks though.

Thats the point of the thread though, what single powder will load the best for low powered target loads and still make a decent magnum load. Whats the best "compromise" so to speak. It really isnt 2400.

As far as being down on it, I dont see that here. Sure, there are a lot that like other powders, but when it comes to magnum handgun powder, it seems about a 50/50 split around here for 2400vs296/110. Personally I prefer 2400.

zxcvbob
April 24, 2013, 01:59 AM
I have a theory that one can load every handgun cartridge to almost its full range with just 2 powders: Bullseye and Power Pistol -- and they have a nice overlap. PP won't quite reach the top end for magnum revolver cartridges, but it'll get pretty close. (not as close as 2400 or AA#9)

I like having lots of different powders to choose from rather than being limited to just 1 or 2 (but 20 different ones in the powder cabinet is probably a bit ridiculous :o)

X-Rap
April 24, 2013, 09:30 AM
I'd be quite happy with a lifetime supply of Unique and 2400. Not much in my handgun world I couldn't get buy with.

JRH6856
April 24, 2013, 10:18 AM
I think if I had to choose only one powder for all of my handgun loads (.380, .38spl, .357, 9mm, .45ACP) , it would be Bullseye, and if I could add one more, it would be Power Pistol.

41 Mag
April 25, 2013, 05:28 PM
So if I wanted to step up to the full house loads, which is easier (more forgiving) to use H110 or 2400?

Go with 2400 and you will be much happier. While 296 / H110 is a great powder the load range on it is only about a 1 grain or so spread, and is usually best under the medium to heavier weight bullets. With 2400 you get a broader load range and also it can be used with a broader variety of bullet weights as well.

If you can find AA-9 it is also another good powder as well as #7. With either of them you also get a broader load range than with the 296 / H110.

ArchAngelCD
April 25, 2013, 05:52 PM
Just to address the full power side of the discussion, yes both W296/H110 and 2400 will do the job quite well. I don't mind using magnum primers and I do use W296 for full power .357 Magnum loads but I have used 2400 and both work well.

As for there being only a 1 gr spread with W296, not true. while most powder can be safely reduced 10% from the max charge Hodgdon recommends only a 3% reduction from the max. Even that is questionable because if you check some of the manuals their starting load is way below the 3% listed in the Hodgdon data. But, since we all agree most loading can be done with 3 powders when you want to lighten up the load more than the 3% with W296 just go to your next faster powder, in my case HS-6.

caster
April 25, 2013, 06:09 PM
BlueDot and 2400 will cover almost any need you have in .357 Magnum.

BD is especially nice in lever actions ;)

hang fire
April 26, 2013, 01:27 AM
Most versatile for me with full power loads has been 2400, but I prefer light loads with unique. You can generally get a little more velocity with h110, but you'll lose versatility.
Ditto +1.

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