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38 special and 357 magnum powder

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Hamonrye, Jan 10, 2004.

  1. Hamonrye

    Hamonrye Well-Known Member

    I just bought a Ruger Blackhawk 357 mag, 9mm convertible. What powder do you guys suggest?
  2. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    For light to moderate .357 Mag. loads, Winchester 231 is a great powder.

    For fullpowerer .357 Mag. loads, Winchester 296 is a great powder.
  3. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

    Apart from Mike's Winchester powder suggestions ... and going by your subject line ..

    .38 spl .... light loads can use Bullseye, the fastest powder .. and towards slightly slower you can use Red Dot .... not as good metering tho as Win powders I am sure Mike would agree. Even dirty ole Unique will do .38 loads too!

    .357's ..... I like Blue Dot lighter loads ..... again not the cleanest powder perhaps .. and onto the full loads .. probably H-110, Vit N-110 .... 2400. Much slower powders.

    But be sure .. consult reliable loading data before trying any of these ... and work up your loads .. standard safe practice.
  4. Pumpkinheaver

    Pumpkinheaver Well-Known Member

    I use Bullseye in most of my .38 spl loads. In the .357 my favorite is H-110.
  5. einnor1040

    einnor1040 Well-Known Member

    I use AA#5 in 38's and H-110 or Blue dot in 357.
  6. stans

    stans Well-Known Member

    Ok, it is a 357 with a conversion cylinder in 9mm, so you can shoot 9mm, 38 Special, and 357 Magnum.

    Bullseye and W-231 (or HP-38) can be used in all three calibers for light to medium loads.

    Unique and AA#5 can be used in all three calibers. These would be the slowest powders and allow top velocities in 38 Special and near top ballistics in 9mm. For 357 Magnum, you can get within about 200 feet per second of top velocities.

    Blue Dot and AA#7 would allow you to get the most out of the 9mm, but not really that much more than Unique or AA#5.

    2400 and W-296 (or H-110) will allow you to get the most out of the 357.

    If I had to pick just one powder, it would be Unique. It is a jack of all trades, unfortunately, it is a master of none. For ease of use, stick with the spherical powders, they meter beautifully. I finally settled on W-231, AA#5 and W-296 for my handguns. Until I got a S&W model 29. In the 44 Magnum caliber, Unique does seem to do the best with mid-range loads.

    As for primers, use standard small pistol primers except for W-296 or H-110, these do require small pistol magnum primers.
  7. Bacchus

    Bacchus Well-Known Member

    I would also second the recommendation for Unique if you're looking for something appropriate for all 3 calibers.
  8. Sarge111

    Sarge111 member


    will do eveything you could want in 9mm & .38, and will handle all but the heaviest bullets in .357 quite well. It also meters very consistently and works fine with standard primers, which would allow you to buy one type for all your 'mid-bore' loading chores.

    The others mentioned are also good overall, and yes the slower powders are the way to go for 'blast & scorch' magnum loads. W296 has given me fine service in this department.
  9. Byron

    Byron Well-Known Member

    As always work the loads up from manuals and the data on the powder manufacturer web sites. That being said, I have found HERCO to be very versitle. I have used an older Sierra manual and an older Speer manual along with Alliant's site to work loads up. Herco works well in all three calibers listed. Byron
  10. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Greeting's All-

    I use a lot of Alliant "Bullseye" in light .38 Special target
    loads, and a LOT of "Unique" for mid-range .357 magnum
    load's; and I'm experimenting with Hodgdon "Universal
    Clays" for the heaviest of magnum load's.

    *FootNote- as noted previously, Alliant "Unique" is a
    flakey powder; thus it won't meter through some powder
    measures uniformly.

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
  11. mtnbkr

    mtnbkr Well-Known Member

    I use Bullseye for 38Special and H110 for heavy bullet 357mag loads.

    I've played around with Unique and 2400 in both as well. If I had to go with only one powder, I'd choose Unique or maybe 2400 if those 38's were +p. Unique is probably your best bet for a "do it all" powder in those three calibers.

  12. Matt Dillon

    Matt Dillon Well-Known Member

    Folks, I'm still looking for a powder for my primed 357 magnum cases. I have a good amount of Unique, but I tried to load up a few boxes a couple of months ago, and got a huge variation in dropped charges from my old Redding powder measure.
    I was looking at ~6.8 grains of Unique behind a 158 grain lead bullet, but I couldn't find a way to measure this load uniformly. I hate to think about weighing 1000 cases. Does anyone have any ideas? I was considering trying one of the Lee powder dippers to see if it got close to this load. Any thoughts? Thanks in advance for your advice and help, Richard Dillon:confused:
  13. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Well-Known Member

    Try tapping the powder measure several times with a wooden stick or the handle of a screwdriver before throwing the charge.

    That may help the situation.

    I know of one person who uses an old electric razor taped so the side of his powder measure to vibrate the powder. He fills the measure, lets it vibrate for 10 or so minutes, then lets it run while he's trowing charges. He says that it helps.

    Me, I don't use Unique. I'm not a big fan of Hercules/Alliant powders because of the measuring problems and also because they're not as clean burning as other powders. That's in handguns.

    I am, however, a BIG fan of Red Dot in 12 gauge shotshell loads, and have used a lot of it over the years.
  14. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Greeting's Richard-

    I have the same problem with an R.C.B.S. "Uniflow".
    I have made a powder baffle to ride on top of my
    powder while in the hopper; but I haven't had the
    opportunity to try it out.

    I like "Unique" really well, but it does leave the
    weapon very nasty when done.

    Best Wishes,
    Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
  15. Brian Williams

    Brian Williams Moderator Emeritus

    I have been using 231 and 2400 but have been reading alot about Lil' gun.
  16. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

    I like LIL'GUN for 357 mag and 38 Special in 158 gr.

    H110 = W296 is second place

    AA#9, 2400, N110, third place

    All other pistol powders will work, just not as well.
  17. Arub

    Arub Well-Known Member

    I use Unique (not as dirty as some folks say, improvements made over the years and way cleaner than Federal American Eagle loads) for 9mm, .40S&W, .38spl, .357 magnum and .45 auto. I do hand weigh each charge, so form of powder is not a factor. Unique is one of the most versatile powders on the market, also, one of the safest. If you have a double charge, it is readily apparent.
  18. Cal4D4

    Cal4D4 Well-Known Member

    I'm playing with Power Pistol. A little flashy, but promises to burn more consistently in the lighter loadings than Blue Dot and be capable of near nuclear loads. I believe it was originally developed for the 9mm - small case volume and high pressure.
  19. Clark

    Clark Well-Known Member

    Power Pistol is my favorite for short cases 25acp, 32acp, 32sw, 7.62x25mm, .380, 9x19mm, 9x23mm, and 45acp.

    Power Pistol is my second favorite [behind 800X that does not meter worth a hoot] for 40 sw and 10mm.

    LIL'GUN or W296/H110 work best in long cases like 32sw long, 32-20, 38sp, 357 mag, 44 mag, and 45 Colt.
  20. Snorkel Bob

    Snorkel Bob Well-Known Member

    Anyone use H108 at all? It should work pretty well for some neat 357 loads, but was curious is it could be use for 38 special at all. I have a feelings its too much for that cartridge though

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