Blackhawk 357 heavy load thought check please.


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GJgo
July 22, 2013, 12:50 AM
I'm hoping to get some input from others comfortable with "Ruger only" loads to help make sure my train of thought hasn't derailed. I'm working on some stout 357 loads for my 4.6" New Model Blackhawk convertible. These are loads that I'll be keeping separated so they'll never be fired in any other gun. The purpose if these loads is to have something heavy to carry when I'm up in the high country.

**ANY LOAD INFORMATION IN THIS THREAD IS LIKELY OVER PUBLISHED MAXIMUMS AND IS NOT TO BE REPRODUCED BY ANYONE FOR ANY REASON**

I'm using:
-Starline brass (because it's tough)
-Federal GM200M primers (because they're a little softer, they'll go first)
-AA#9 powder (because it is awesome in mag loads & easy to throttle)
-Hornady 158gr XTP FP bullets (because they penetrate deeper than HPs)

Looking through 357 loads over the years it seems that a bit of lawyer-proofing has happened. I understand, book loads have to be safe in any 357 & with plastic / alloy ones out there you have to be more "careful" than one would in say a Blackhawk.

I've used AA9 in 10mm for a long time, I think it's very under-rated. I think it has a lot more potential than you see in the load manuals, and it's safer than 296/110 because it's much easier to throttle. IME anyway..

In addition it's ~100f here during the day right now so working up loads now will be worst-case scenario as far as temperature & pressure, if the powder is temp sensitive. I don't know.

So here's where I'm at. I started at 12 grains (mid-book) & loaded 5 rounds. I then went up in .5gr increments to 16 grains, loading 5 rounds each. 16 is way over published maxes nowadays, but Clark has posted some published loads from years past that went to 16. I decided that if at any time the pressure signs got weird I'd just pull any I'd loaded over that to be safe. Well, I didn't have to.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3816/9337364987_7bec472039_z.jpg

In any of the 50 shots fired:
-The shot felt & sounded fine.
-The primers all look great, no flattening at all.
-The brass all fell out of the cylinder with the force of gravity. I did not have to eject any rounds, IOW they were nowhere near being sticky.
-The brass is not bulged or weird in any way.

I was actually expecting the velocities to plateau in this "relatively" short barrel but that hasn't happened yet. I chronographed the higher end loads, here's averages on what I got:
14.5g = 1410 fps
15.0g = 1430 fps
15.5g = 1440 fps
16.0g = 1490 fps
I still have room left in the case, might try 17 & see what happens. OTOH seeing the velocity jump at 16 perhaps it's creeping up on the edge. I've worked up revolver loads for other guns in the past & have crept up on pressure signs, so I'm confident that I have a little space here still.

In the end I'm going to throttle back from maximum to find something that's accurate enough while still being fast for deepest penetration. Really I'd just like to know where max is for this combination of parts as an academic exercise. So, for those comfortable with this kind of experimentation what do you think of the process?

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Steve2md
July 22, 2013, 03:05 AM
With that spike at 16, I'd personally go in .25 increments or even smaller if you can from there, rather than jumping right to 17, if you see pressure signs, back off a tid bit till you have as much speed as you can while still having accuracy and no extra fouling (lead/copper) Good luck, wear your safety glasses and some good leather gloves testing loads that high

gamestalker
July 22, 2013, 05:28 AM
I don't mean to rain on your parade, but what your doing, and how your approaching it is potentially disastrous.

First of all, moving up in 1/2 gr. increments when you are already well above published maximum, is just asking for trouble. Quite frankly, I don't see how you could possibly be that far above published max without at least some visible signs of higher than normal operating pressures. Bit I guess if your brass is consistently falling out of the cylinder on it's own, and nothing else is presenting that would suggest you are approaching the top, I guess all is good, and just keep on, keeping on.

As for 296 not ideal for throttling up with, it is arguably the best choice of any powder for full throttle .357 magnum wheel gun loads, and functions at it's best at the upper end. 296 / H110 are designed for taking the .357 to it's all out potential for individuals such as myself, that like full tilt magnum loads. AA9 is not going to keep pace with 296, it may get close, but it will be producing significantly higher pressures, and with a sharper curve than 296 at the same velocity.

GS

Walkalong
July 22, 2013, 08:20 AM
16 is way over published maxes nowadays, but Clark has posted some published loads from years past that went to 16. You do realize he likes to push things until they fail, right?

Really I'd just like to know where max is for this combination of parts as an academic exercise. It's in the load books.

1911Tuner
July 22, 2013, 08:33 AM
While I'm pretty comfortable with pushing the envelope with loading data in a New Model Blackhawk. For carry ammo in the "high country" just in case and very moderate use, the big Ruger will doubtless tolerate it. Just understand that poking Sgt. Murphy with a pointy stick usually doesn't end well. If you go into high country that often, you can carry a .41 Magnum Blackhawk for the same bulk and an ounce or so less weight...and you get more punch and penetration without flirting with proof loads.

Might be worth investigating.

GJgo
July 22, 2013, 10:27 AM
Thanks all,

Steve- I agree, was planning on stepping down the increments if I choose to go any further. I'm also wearing safety glasses, shooting with leather work gloves, and not shooting alone just in case. I agree that the velocity spike is telling me something so I'm probably almost there, have to play it safe.

GS- In my experience with 296 (which I have on hand) it has a narrower operating window than AA9 does, and does not seem as linear with increases in charge weight. This is just my observation & not based on any facts so I may be wrong on this, but I've used a lot of both. I also find AA9 to be a generally more accurate powder than 296.

I've also always read that 296 will get more velocity than AA9 but I'm not sneezing at the numbers I'm getting. Does anyone have velocity numbers for a 158 gr pill in the old school manuals that weren't watered down?

Walkalong- I do realize Clark's penchant for failure. In the post I'm referring to he referenced book loads that go to 16, not his proof loads. He said that he did his own proof loads to 17 in an old 38 special that was reamed out to 357, and at 17 things got sticky for him. I think it was a K frame? You know as well as I do that the book max is meant to be safe in any production gun so it must yield to the lowest common denominator. Plus, every gun is a rule to its own. My 300WSM for example is sticky-bolt overpressure with factory Rem & Win loads. My 629 was producing pretty darn flat primers with a book max load of 296. My 327 Mag is also over-flattening the primers in the factory AE 100gr load. Thus, I like to test each in a thoughtful, safe manner. Where would all the 6PPC benchresters be if they stuck to "book" loads? They use the best actions, best components, best loading practices & get amazing results safely.

1911- Correct, any loads I do from this testing will be in a clearly marked box that I'll not use for practice, just for when I'm wandering around the mountains. We have lots of big critters in the woods here. I presently don't have a 41 or a 44- I have in the past, but my buying days are over for a while. I used to have a scandium 41 mag but it shot loose after a few thousand rounds. I traded the 629 in on a 77/44. I also had a 460 mag for a while but the fools at S&W PC put an aluminum hammer on the thing plus a match trigger & it wouldn't light primers to save its life.

Walkalong
July 22, 2013, 12:44 PM
Where would all the 6PPC benchresters be if they stuck to "book" loads?Touche, as I never consulted a load book for my Bench gun.


My warnings are mostly aimed at all the readers who are not experienced reloaders, and do not know how to work up loads, or be safe when testing something a little off the charts.

That said, metal fatigue happens, and while a few shots may not blow something up, too many over pressure rounds can make things let go one day without warning.

Jesse Heywood
July 22, 2013, 04:07 PM
That said, metal fatigue happens, and while a few shots may not blow something up, too many over pressure rounds can make things let go one day without warning.

Which is the reason for the drop in pressure by SAAMI on both 357 and 44 mag. A reloader I knew went through several model 29s due to top strap failure before S&W redesigned. He also sent his Python back to Colt on an annual basis to get the timing fixed. He shot 100-200 rounds a week, all maximum, out of the Speer books since they had the hottest loads listed around 1980.

Sooner or later, the price will be paid.

Cosmoline
July 22, 2013, 04:18 PM
I'd suggest a .357 Redhawk for these sorts of experiments, not the Blackhawk. My RH is eating up carbine-only loads with ease, but a BH is not considered as strong.

blarby
July 22, 2013, 09:02 PM
I'd think that a 158gr projo @ 1490 fps isn't going to do a whole lot less than one going say, 1500, or 1550.

I've poked a bit outside of the box when it comes to over book loads, So I get the feeling you are having.

Is there something you want that bullet to do, specifically, that 1490 FPS won't do ?

Thats really the question.

Experimenting outside the boxes usually has a purpose, and at some point you either get there- or you don't. Or the gun explodes.

Going outside the box therefore has a destination, and a path. You've obviously found your path- but where in the heck are you going ? Without a goal in mind, you are essentially on the path of blowing your gun up once you reach the fail point.

Whats your goal ?

I think your process is fine, if a little abrubt. Assuming you have a scale that can reliably measure the loads, I'd follow the advice on .25 grain increments instead of .5. Although for expediency inside of published loads, I too use .5 increments until I find a sweet spot.

What is the maximum you say ?

About .25 below where the gun lets go. Until it does, you'll never really know.

Thanks to the cumulative effects of metal fatigue from overproofed loads, what may be safe today could very well mangle you tomorrow.

The "general" maximums are already listed. You're already outside that parameter. For Euro standards, a barrel has to be proofed at 150% of the pressure of maximum established PSI standards for that cartridge. That 50% pressure, give or take, is the world you are playing in. Play safe.....

Steve C
July 23, 2013, 12:39 AM
Get the nonsense out of your head.

First thing, "Ruger Only" loads are in reference to the .45 Colt in the heavier than the 1873 Colt revolvers and has nothing to do with any other Ruger handgun chambering for other commercial cartridges including the .357 mag or the .44 mag. They are not indestructible nor are they any safer with overpressure loads than any other well made handgun.

I have personally seen one .45 Ruger with the top strap bent back and the 3 chambers of the cylinder opened up. The Gentleman had lent it to his grandson to shoot and the ammo and loads where unknown. .

There was also a coworker who bought a Ruger GP100 from another coworker who had an FFL. He tried some of the sellers "proof" loads he got in the deal and blew it up. So much for high pressure loads being OK in Rugers. Ruger wouldn't cover the damage and I never did hear if the guy got his money back from the fool that gave him the ammo.

People can do any foolish thing they want with their own property and risk their own lives. I'd just hate to see someones kids, family or unsuspecting friend get injured or die from a grenaded cylinder.

GJgo
July 23, 2013, 12:54 AM
Thanks Walkalong, I do understand.

Blarby you are correct, I should define a goal. Beyond approaching the limit so I know where I'm backing off from, I want a load that is reasonably accurate & also exceeds 550 ft-lbs of energy at 50 yds to satisfy Colorado's minimum requirement for big game (hunting) so this will be a legal sidearm to have along with me when I'm hunting, as well as "enough gun" any time I carry it in the high country.

With a 158 grainer, according to Berger Ballistics:
1250 FPS = 470 ft-lbs at 50 yds
1300 FPS = 504 ft-lbs at 50 yds
1350 FPS = 540 ft-lbs at 50 yds
1400 FPS = 579 ft-lbs at 50 yds
1450 FPS = 619 ft-lbs at 50 yds
1500 FPS = 661 ft-lbs at 50 yds

So let's say that I need to be at least 1400 to comfortably clear the requirement.

For a point of comparison Buffalo Bore has a 158gr SJHP load at 1475 fps advertised. (http://www.midwayusa.com/product/926010/buffalo-bore-ammunition-357-magnum-158-grain-semi-jacketed-hollow-point-high-velocity-box-of-20) Maybe they're just using #9..

gamestalker
July 23, 2013, 01:34 AM
But still, if there is something more in terms of velocity you are focused on achieving with AA9 and 158's, you will most certainly be able to get more of that with 296, and very likely with a better pressure curve than AA9 is capable of. 296 doesn't begin to show it's accuracy and velocity potential until you get up there pretty high with it, and in my experience it demonstrates very poor characteristics at loads under 80%. After all, the charge table is considerably longer, so that alone tells you it is less reactive to incremental increases. I like AA9, but I like it with AL applications such as 10mm, where 296 doesn't function at all.

And Clark, he actually deliberately tries to see how much it takes to KB a sturdy framed firearm. I think he actually makes a living doing this.

And metal fatigue, this is a very real concern for those of use that push the limits on a regular basis with every day production rigs. I have actually had a 700 rifle chamber let go after years of running max pressure loads, yet the load that fractured the chamber was no where near my typical max load. It didn't KB, it just simply developed a fracture after years one heavy load after another.

Just stay safe, and don't get complacent with this hobby, or it will hurt you.

GS

blarby
July 23, 2013, 01:35 AM
I want a load that is reasonably accurate & also exceeds 550 ft-lbs of energy at 50 yds to satisfy Colorado's minimum requirement for big game


1350 FPS = 540 ft-lbs at 50 yds
1400 FPS = 579 ft-lbs at 50 yds
1450 FPS = 619 ft-lbs at 50 yds


15.0g = 1430 fps
15.5g = 1440 fps
16.0g = 1490 fps

Congratulations.

You have achieved your goal.

Now, why exactly would you want to go further ?

I think you should do "tuning" between 15.2 and 16.0 grs to find out which loads give you the absolute best accuracy.


For me, in a completely different caliber and situation, I need a solid .429 projectile with a meplat of less than 3/8th of an inch that at 25 yards has over 950ft/#'s of energy. It's becoming an interesting story, lemme tell ya. But, its serves well to have the goal first, then the testing. OTherwise it puts the carriage in front of the horse, ya dig ?

In your case- your testing has already given you results within your desired parameters. Further "proofing" at higher charges only guarantees further metal fatigue, with a noticeable lack of usefulness in serving your stated purpose.

GJgo
July 23, 2013, 10:38 PM
Points taken, it is helpful to bounce ideas around. I think I'll also try out some 296 in the next outing & see how it compares both in velocity & accuracy. I'll report back.

Jesse Heywood
July 23, 2013, 11:00 PM
How do you prove to the state what you velocity is at 50 yards? Do they give the handloader some guidance?

buck460XVR
July 24, 2013, 10:15 AM
Really I'd just like to know where max is for this combination of parts as an academic exercise. So, for those comfortable with this kind of experimentation what do you think of the process?


My thoughts mirror Steve C's. I also agree with those critical about the jump of .5 gr in charge weight when already way above published max charges. I never understood the philosophy of risking ones health and firearm for the sake of trying to make it something it is not. I love me .357s, but they are not a .44. That's why I have .44s, etc, etc. Trying to make a dangerous game defensive handgun outta your .357 may mean the shot that finally fails in your gun, may be the one when you need it the most.

GJgo
July 24, 2013, 10:40 AM
Buck in my line of work we're hired to put really big engines in really small cars. There's good money in making things something they're not. :)

At 15gr .5gr is only 3.3%, but it sounds like 1-2% is more appropriate. Easy to do.

Jesse that's an excellent question, I have no idea. I'll have to ask some day.

So I pulled out my books last night as I was curious where each said was the max charge for W296 in the 357 Mag using 158gr pills. Here's what I found. Not exactly consistent.
Speer: 14.7gr
Nosler: 14.8gr
Hornady: 16.0gr
Hodgdon: 16.7
Sierra: 17.3gr
Much older Speer: 17.8

In addition the manuals that listed both W296 & H110 had a 1 grain variance in the max charge, and everything I've ever read indicates they are the same thing. How does a reloader know where he stands if not by testing specific components in a specific gun? I agree that "over pressure" is not a good thing for safety & reliability, however this observance shows that pressure is not pressure is not pressure. Different components, primer types, powder lots, chambers, cylinder gaps, land/ groove diameters, barrel lengths, the list goes on.

In general I've found the Hornady book's listed max charges to be very consistent with my findings in loading other cartridges, but I think they're way off base for their 357 / 158 / AA9 load.
Hornady: 11.5gr
Speer: 13.7gr
Accurate: 13.8
Sierra: 14.1
Old Lyman: 14.9
Old Accurate: 15
Older Accurate: 15.8
Older Lyman: 16

Anyway good feedback, keep it coming.

627PCFan
July 24, 2013, 10:54 AM
Are you trying to meet minium FPE for deer hunting?

buck460XVR
July 24, 2013, 07:43 PM
Buck in my line of work we're hired to put really big engines in really small cars. There's good money in making things something they're not. :)

There may be good money in it, but that don't mean it's safe or make it an intelligent decision. Good money in replacement firearms I hear too. Put a Porsche engine in a VW Beetle don't make it a Porsche, just a Beetle with a Porsche engine. Makes it dangerous cause it ain't got the brakes, drive train or suspension to handle the power. Sure you can upgrade that too but it's still a Beetle, that's less reliable and is gonna wear out faster. It will impress other Beetle owners tho.......Porsche owners not so much.

I run the 158gr XTP-FP to 1700 fps in my lever carbine, makes for one 'ell of a deer round......but I still would consider it to be a poor choice for defense against dangerous game other than the two legged variety, thus it would sit in favor of something more appropriate. If it's all I had, then it's better than a stick, but against a teed off momma griz.......not by much. I think I'd invest in bear spray.

GJgo
July 24, 2013, 10:40 PM
Well, it is all I have at the moment that's suitable for high country carry so it is what it is. No griz that I know if in CO so that's not in play.

627, more or less yes- that is one consideration. I won't hunt with it, but in order to take it with me when I am hunting for say a finishing shot it must meet the criteria.

GooseGestapo
July 25, 2013, 06:34 AM
It's not so much the gun as the cartridge components that become the limiting factor.

It's going to potentially ruin your day if you need a second shot and you've extruded primer metal into your firing pin hole, tying up the cylinder preventing it from turning or merely leaving a shard of metal in the pin-hole preventing it from firing the next primer. This is the most likely "failure" of warmer than normal loads. It has little,or nothing, to do with the "fail strength" of the firearm...

Ask me how I know...

I lost 70 points at the 1997 NRA Police Nationals due to a Federal primer (soft primer and warm hand load-but very, very accurate, exacerbated by the bullet "pushing back" upon chambering causing a pressure excursion) leaving metal in the firing pin hole on my S&W PPC-9 "Limited". Probably cost me winning two guns.....
Also, a sheriff's deputy aquaintance survived a shooting incident where the primer extruded into the firing pin hole on the recoil plate on her S&W 686 disabling the firearm on the first shot. Prevented perp who had disarmed her from shooting her a second time, and got him shot by another deputy...
This incident resulted in a half dozen law suits. And a recall of the firearms by S&W. Ammo was Winchester factory 145gr SilverTips.
Now you know why the loads have been "tamed" back in the last 20-30yrs.

Experience has taught us something....

GJgo
July 25, 2013, 11:05 AM
Goose, point taken, never put over-book loads through a S&W. :P Actually most of my revolvers over the years have been Smiths & I have found this to be true. For the most part max book loads have been good stopping points in the Smiths when watching pressure signs. The only exception has been my 610, and it's just a 629 with smaller holes in it & very strong. 10mm book loads are half baked anyway, too many semi-autos chambered in it that are really too weak for the job.

Along the same lines the 357 NM Blackhawk is a 45 LC NM Blackhawk with smaller holes drilled in it. There is a lot of metal in this gun. Of course there are always limiting factors, and your point regarding primers is relevant. This is the main reason why I chose Federal primers for this work-up. My thought is that with every other component being over-built, the primers will / should be the weakest link & will flatten / crater / pierce at the top end before any other component fails- seems to me this is the safest possible failure mode if one were to go over pressure. So, what do you think of the primers in the photo up top? I agree that over pressure is bad & I don't want to go there, but my point is that for this particular combination of parts the evidence does not indicate that I am.

CraigC
July 25, 2013, 12:59 PM
Firstly, do not trust so-called pressure signs in straight wall revolver cartridges. They're unreliable at best and relying on signs to warn you to throttle back is a fool's errand. Sure, lots of folks do it because they don't know any better but these guns have been tested to destruction and shown no pressure signs right before they exploded.

Secondly, Buffalo Bore uses non-cannister powders so thinking you can duplicate their velocities without exceeding safe pressures is also folly.

However, I do not believe you can get enough slow-burning powder in a large frame, or even a medium frame Blackhawk .357 to hurt it. Although eventually something will fail and if the case goes, it has to go somewhere. Pray it's not your face. That said, it handles itself well with 353 Casull loads so you should be okay. Think 160's at 1750fps and 180's at 1650fps in the FA 83. Not recommended for any other firearm.

I still think H110 or Lil Gun would be a better choice for what you're doing. AA#9 is listed as faster than 2400.

GJgo
July 25, 2013, 01:17 PM
Thanks Craig, that is a legitimate point. In the past I have seen "pressure signs" in my other revolvers (many Smiths & a couple SP101s) such as primer issues & sticky extraction, and have treated it the same as in bottleneck cartridges. I have not heard before that it's not a fair comparison, please expand on the reasoning.

I know that about BB, it was kind of said in jest..

I still think AA9 is under rated. That said, I'll try 296 & report since I have some. There is no good powder for sale anywhere right now so I'm limited to what I have. I will never use Lil' Gun in a revolver again, it melted two of my forcing cones.

CraigC
July 25, 2013, 01:38 PM
There was plenty of 296 at the last show, if you wanted to pay $200 for an 8lb jug. ;)

GJgo
July 25, 2013, 03:07 PM
I just checked the Hodgdon website to get their 158 / 296 load, it's up there with the Sierra load. They don't list the barrel length but 1591 is cooking.

158 GR. HDY XTP Winchester 296 .357" 1.580" 15.0 1418 28,600 CUP 16.7 1591 40,700 CUP

GJgo
July 25, 2013, 05:57 PM
It was an older Lyman manual that went to 16gr max charge. In this thread at the S&W forum (http://smith-wessonforum.com/reloading/89966-357-mag-158-jhp-aa-9-a.html) there are some guys with older manuals that list out various max charges over the years. I think it's interesting actually how big of a discrepancy there seems to be from book to book with this load- I wonder why.

Walkalong
July 25, 2013, 07:31 PM
Better pressure testing equipment these days.

GJgo
July 25, 2013, 07:39 PM
Fair enough. At some point in the past didn't SAAMI spec for 357 loads also drop a few thousand PSI?

Peter M. Eick
July 28, 2013, 07:29 AM
Nice work. I am about to do the same experiments with my 357 Redhawk's.

Yes the SAAMI dropped the pressure a while back. If you study the history of the round, I believe that they dropped the pressure due to the K and L framed 357 mags that were getting beat up by full power ammo. Thus we now have 357 Magnum lites as I like to think of them.

My design goal is simple. 1515 fps with a 158 out of an 8 3/8" pre-27. This is roughly what the original Registered Magnum's did in the late 1930's. I bought a 7.5" and 5" 357 Ruger Redhawk specifically to load up to that level at which time I will switch over to my pre-27's and verify the power level. My lightest frame 357 is a Python and I will keep to "modern" book max loads in it.

Like you I have played in the 16+ grns of 2400 level to achieve old time power levels. What I am planning to do this time is work up to my velocity goal with different powders and see which combination gives me the best accuracy and the lowest pressure indicators.

So all in all, it sounds like we are kindred spirits heading on a similar path. Take care and play it safe. I know I will start working at the bench this week loading up my 2400 ladder test to around 18 grns to see what happens. Once I get to 18 grns I will decide if I need to go up more. I don't think so, as I think I will hit my goal right around 16.5.

Walkalong
July 28, 2013, 10:01 AM
But do realize Peter is doing his work up in a tank, ala the Redhawk.

GJgo
July 28, 2013, 11:15 AM
Thanks Peter, work up safely. :) What are the thoughts on why a Redhawk might be stronger than a Blackhawk? Seems to me that having a crane would be a weak point in comparison.

P.S. I found this funny picture in an old thread (http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-152834.html)-

http://img376.imageshack.us/img376/4864/redhawk357f4pg.jpg

buck460XVR
July 28, 2013, 01:21 PM
I know I will start working at the bench this week loading up my 2400 ladder test to around 18 grns to see what happens. Once I get to 18 grns I will decide if I need to go up more. I don't think so, as I think I will hit my goal right around 16.5.


Could one get much more than 18 gr under a 158? IMLE, 18 gr would already be a compressed load.

buck460XVR
July 28, 2013, 01:23 PM
There was plenty of 296 at the last show, if you wanted to pay $200 for an 8lb jug. ;)


Just bought one Wednesday at my LGS for $140. LPP for $34 a thousand also. Stuff is starting to come back.:D

GJgo
July 28, 2013, 05:28 PM
Out of curiosity I took some measurements of chambers I had around. Peter, perhaps you can add the same measurements from your Redhawk?

Gun / Between chambers / thickness to outside
S&W M 10 (K frame 38) .075" .073"
S&W M 686+ (L frame 357) .056" .085"
S&W M 610 (N frame 10) .120" .095"
Ruger NM Blackhawk (357) .165" .130"

murf
July 28, 2013, 05:35 PM
check out the speer #14 manual under "silhouette" loads (page 900). should give you an idea of what velocities to expect from a 45,000 cup load (this is the current saami max pressure for the 357 magnum).

your new model blackhawk cylinder is long enough for these type bullets, and the gun is strong enough to take full-house 357 mag loads.

i recommend bludot under a 180 grain bullet. my current blackhawk (mine has a 4.625" barrel) load is: 180gn lead tc bullet, 10.0gn bludot, cci 500 primer. this load runs through the chrony (@ 12 feet) at 1250 fps. very accurate out beyond 100 yards. i don't know what the energy is, but another 50 fps should get you what you want.

the nice thing about 180 grain bullets in the 357 magnum is the ability to shoot lead bullets without a gas check. lighter bullets at increased velocities lead my barrel and tend to tumble.

luck,

murf

Peter M. Eick
July 28, 2013, 10:22 PM
I did not dig them out, but just as a comparison to a big N frame Pre-27.

http://eickpm.com/picts/redhawk_vs_pre27.jpg

Not the size of that cylinder compared to a big N frame.

http://eickpm.com/picts/redhawk_cylinder.jpg

Here is a good shot of the amount of metal around each one of those rounds. From the edge of the rim to the edge of the cylinder is about the same the primer to the edge of the rim if you wanted to estimate it.

http://eickpm.com/picts/recessed.jpg

Here is an N frame 357 Magnum for comparison.

As you can see we are not in the same ballpark.

Question about the 18 grns. I agree it is compressed. That is why I am running this experiment. What powder today makes the 357 Magnum roar like it used to.

41 Mag
July 29, 2013, 06:22 PM
To be honest you will probably hit your goal with around 16.5 of 296 granted you still have a fairly tight cylinder gap. You not going to get much more 296/110 in the case with that bullet.

That said, I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE A REDHAWK, that would even out my collection.

As for the barrel length(s) listed on the Hodgdon site, you have to hit the print button to see what they used. In the case of the loads you looked up it was a 10".

Good luck with your loads and above all else be safe.

Peter M. Eick
August 2, 2013, 10:35 PM
I actually have a deal arranged to buy another 7.5" one as a spare later this year. I liked it enough I wanted another one.

I will be safe. Just because I am going above book max for say a K-framed 357 Magnum, it does not mean I am taking any real significant risks. I don't own any small framed mags. My Python is the lightest I have so I just have to keep the redhawk loads in the redhawks.

GJgo
August 5, 2013, 10:42 AM
Yesterday I went back to the range with some more AA9 & W296 loads to run over the chrony. I ran the #9 first for backup to my earlier tests and the results were very consistent. In all cases I put 6 shots over the chrony & took the averages.

14gr- 1375. Not a legal hunting load.
15gr- 1442 fps. This is a legal load. It's also plenty accurate so I think I'll go forward with this.
16gr- 1512 fps. I feel this is still a safe load in my gun but it's more than I need so why beat it up if I don't have to.
>16? I didn't go there. There's still room in the case for more powder but I met my goal.

Then, since everyone says 296 will get me even more I gave it a shot.

16gr- 1245 fps.
16.5gr- 1323 fps.
17gr- 1363 fps.
17.5gr- 1408 fps. At this load the nose of the bullet started to deform when seated, so this is all I can fit. Also the SD put a number of rounds below 1400 so I wouldn't consider this a legal hunting load for me.

As a comparison, I put a few Buffalo Bore 180gr WFNGC over the chrony & they ran 1360 FPS.

So, at this time I think I'm right about #9 being the best for what I'm looking to do. In this load 296 cannot in fact match those speeds.

Peter M. Eick
August 7, 2013, 09:12 PM
As a heavy AA9 user in 357 Sig, I would comment that it can have a fair amount of "lot to lot" variations. If you are going to stay at the high end like that you may want to re-chrono after every lot change or different bottle of powder.

Walkalong
August 8, 2013, 02:17 PM
As a heavy AA9 user in 357 Sig, I would comment that it can have a fair amount of "lot to lot" variations. So can AA #5.

It always pays to recheck things when switching lot numbers of any powder, but definitely some more than others.

Nathan Detroit
August 9, 2013, 12:09 PM
Really interesting thread and valuable. Blarby wrote

"Going outside the box therefore has a destination, and a path. You've obviously found your path- but where in the heck are you going ? Without a goal in mind, you are essentially on the path of blowing your gun up once you reach the fail point.

Whats your goal ?

I think your process is fine, if a little abrubt. Assuming you have a scale that can reliably measure the loads, I'd follow the advice on .25 grain increments instead of .5. Although for expediency inside of published loads, I too use .5 increments until I find a sweet spot.

What is the maximum you say ?

About .25 below where the gun lets go. Until it does, you'll never really know.

Thanks to the cumulative effects of metal fatigue from overproofed loads, what may be safe today could very well mangle you tomorrow."

I just wanted to add one thing to this discussion. The concept of a path and destination are nicely sophisticated ways to look at the process of load development. But there is one thing that gets overlooked frequently. The destination should really be based on the functional service life you desire. If you only need to handle one round, then you can really build a burner load. If you want a 100 round service life, then the pressures have to come down some, and if you are looking for a 5000 round service life, then the pressure must come down some more. The problem with looking for a given service life, is that you have to know what kind of failure mode you are willing to accept. And then there is the non-trivial issue with determining that you are there.

That is one reason for working within the manual listed loads. Going over them and it takes a lot of shooting to find out where you are.

To the member that was working up Redhawk-only loads: Many years back JD Jones published some loads that one of the Handgun Hunter International crowd had worked up for his Redhawk. They were right on the heels of the .357 Maximum. I will see if I can find them if you are interested.

Peter M. Eick
August 10, 2013, 02:08 PM
Nathan,

I would be interested in your information on loads for the Redhawk. I load for the 357 Max already so it is right up my alley.

If you can email them just PM me or hit my email address.

Your point is very true about the gun life vs. wear and tear. I have one 38 special revolver I am coming up on 50,000 rounds fired out of it. My next closest is like 10,000 and most of my revolvers are less than 1000. As I have gotten older, bought more guns, I found that the same amount of shooting is spread out over so many guns that wear is not an issue to me.

So my goal is simple, a 158 @ 1515fps out of my 7.5" Redhawk with the smallest amount of casing head expansion and the best accuracy compromise. This will then be checked my my 8 3/8" pre-27's and compared back to the 1930's S&W performance data I have.

Walkalong
August 10, 2013, 05:53 PM
Y'all be careful now, ya hear? :)

Peter M. Eick
August 11, 2013, 03:33 PM
We are being careful and having a lot of fun.

Yesterday I was loading up test rounds that are straight out of Phil Sharp's 1937 Handloading book. I also loaded some up from his 2nd update (late 40's if I remember right). I won't even begin to post them on the site because we are well past even Speer 8 ("the little green book of spells" as one pundit called it).

I figure I am splitting the difference between 353 Casull power levels and the 357 magnum (of days gone by). Maybe soon I can get them out over a chrono and see where my guesses land in terms of power.

The fun of pushing toward a goal is the experiment. I bought the Redhawk knowing there is a possibility I will blow it up. I will be careful but its not like I am pushing a nice collectible Pre-27. Besides, I have a line on another 7.5" one to buy this fall so I can have a nice spare to save.

GJgo
August 12, 2013, 12:43 AM
Peter, regarding your goal- You probably saw that my 16gr load of #9 ran the 158gr at an average of 1512 fps. Good accuracy, no primer flattening and the cases extracted smoothly. My NMBH has a 4.6" barrel. Anecdotal for you but there it is.

I think next I may try some 180gr XTPs, see if they shoot straight. Looks like to be a legal hunting load I'll have to be consistently at 1275 fps or faster, I think that should be no problem. Anyone run 357 180s in their revolvers?

Side note, the plinking load I'm going to work up next for this gun is using the 9mm cylinder with 110gr .357" XTPs and a light charge of powder for plinking & small game. That'll be the majority of the shooting with this gun, so I'm not always beating it up with heavy 357 loads.

Arkansas Paul
August 12, 2013, 11:47 AM
With that spike at 16, I'd personally go in .25 increments or even smaller if you can from there, rather than jumping right to 17, if you see pressure signs, back off a tid bit till you have as much speed as you can while still having accuracy and no extra fouling

Won't do any good with straight walled pistol cartridges. They don't show pressure signs nearly as fast as bottleneck stuff. By the time revolver brass starts showing pressure signs, you're WAY past where you should have stopped.

And as for "Ruger only" loads, they apply to the .45 Colt round, where normal loads are anemic for use in the older guns that weren't made to handle today's pressures. You shouldn't automatically just amp things up over max loads just because you have a Ruger. And this is coming from a big Ruger fan.

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