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How light are "light" 357 loads??

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by ChasMack, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. ChasMack

    ChasMack Well-Known Member

    I have a Uberti 357 and thought I would reload a "light" 357 load for it so as not to pound the gun. I was wondering what is considered light and how does it compare to say a "hot" 38 or even a +P load? I will start looking for 357 reloading info, but so far all I have seen is some "hot" loads. Can a 357 even be loaded to say, 900 fps with a 158gr bullet?
  2. squarles67

    squarles67 Well-Known Member

    I use 6 grains of Unique under a 158g LRNFP for 1100 fps out of a 6" bbl. Easy shooting and accurate for me.
  3. MtnCreek

    MtnCreek Well-Known Member

    A mild charge of a fast powder should give you what you're looking for; maybe HP38 or IMR 7625. Trailboss would probably be good too.
  4. nojoke

    nojoke Well-Known Member

  5. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    You can load the .357 to 158 @ 900.
    Powder selection is the tricky part. HP38 is a good one. I tried SR7625 but found it to be highly position sensitive in light loads. Trail Boss and Clays are great for lead bullets.

    Look for starting data that gives you what you want.
  6. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    That would be OK, but a light bullet in magnum brass leaves a lot of empty space which can result in erratic velocity and requires a fairly high minimum charge to ensure the jackets don't get stuck in the bore.

    I like medium/heavy plated or lead bullets in light 357 loads with light charges. My current favorite light load is the plated DEWC (http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/1050153227/rainier-leadsafe-bullets-38-caliber-357-diameter-148-grain-plated-double-ended-wadcutter) over 4.8 grains of HP38 (or W231) seated to 1.440" COL.
    Terrific accuracy out to 50 yards in revolvers and my Handi rifle with low recoil.
    IIRC, Walkalong shoots a similar load.

    If you do a search for '357' in the key word box and 'Walkalong' in the user name box, you'll probably come up with a lot of great advice on this subject.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Light bullet loads can cause accuracy problems, unless you have a gun with adjustable sights.

    Most fixed sight guns are regulated to hit point of aim with 158 grain bullets at full velocity.

    If you shoot a reduced charge 110, the gun won't shoot where the sights are looking.

    For reduced loads?
    I'm firmly in the 158 lead at 800 - 900 FPS camp.
    In other words, .38 Special loads in .357 Mag brass.

  8. Big Juan

    Big Juan Active Member

    +1 rcmodel. 158gr Berry's TCFP's for both my revolver and lever gun over 38Spl loads clear up to max 357Mag loads. Not as accurate as HBWC loads could be, but a good compromise for plinking with both weapons. It's interesting to work up your own loads. Be careful, have fun.
  9. nojoke

    nojoke Well-Known Member

    Ok, just for fun. What's the expected result with a heavier load w/ a 110 grain bullet?
  10. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    110 grain bullets will generally hit lower out to 25 yards than heavier bullets.
  11. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    Get some 148 grain DEWC's and a pound of Bullseye or Green Dot. Start at 3.0 grains of powder and work up slowly until you get where you want (if you get above 5.0 grains, STOP and start over with a slower powder or a different bullet -- it means you're not really looking for light loads, but maybe "medium") The wadcutter bullet takes up a lot of the empty space in the case that everyone is so worried about.

    I load DEWC's in .357 magnum using 7.0 grains of WSF powder, but that's not a light load by anybody's standards. It's not a full-power magnum load either, but it's getting there.
  12. nojoke

    nojoke Well-Known Member


    I'm probably getting into territory that I shouldn't be in....since I am not an engineer. BUT, if the same number of grains is used to push a 110 and a 148 grain bullet, isn't the bullet with less mass gonna get moving faster? Would faster mean flatter?

    Conversly, if you altered the powder to get a 110 bullet to fly at the same fps as the 148, then I would agree with your statement that the 110 will be off the mark (down) from the 148.

    So, what falls faster off trajectory, a lighter & (presumably) faster bullet (identical powder loads) or a heavier bullet at identical speeds (powder loads adjusted till speeds are identical)?
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    My "light" .357 load is a 148 Gr WC at 700 to 750 FPS.

    Next is "intermediate" with a 125 at 1250 to 1300 FPS, or a 158 at around 1150 to 1175 FPS.

    Next is "reduced" at.......

    Light is as light as you want to go and not stick bullets.

    Absolutely. Unique will do it with ease.
  14. BYJO4

    BYJO4 Well-Known Member

    I use 4.8 gr. of Bullseye with 158 gr. LSWC. Minimal recoil and accurate.
  15. 45_auto

    45_auto Well-Known Member

    Yes, it is moving faster and shooting flatter.

    However, it's spending less time in the barrel which means it leaves the barrel before the barrel can rise very high in recoil. That's why light fast loads shoot lower, they get out of the barrel quicker before it rises as much.

    If you load them to the same velocity, the lighter bullet will shoot lower. They will both leave the barrel at the same time, but the recoil will be less with the lighter bullet.

    They both fall at exactly the same rate (acceleration due to gravity = 32.2 feet per second squared). With 2 guns held level, shoot a heavy slow bullet out of one and a light fast bullet out of the other at the same time. Also at the same time drop one vertically (from your third hand?) at the same height as the muzzle of the guns.

    All three bullets will hit the ground at the exact same time. The distance the bullets fired out of the guns will travel horizontally will be determined by their velocity and ballistic coefficient. Ballistic coefficient is how "streamlined" they are. Long skinny bullets have a higher ballistic coefficient and will travel farther before they hit the ground.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  16. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Well-Known Member

    Heavier bullets at slower speeds spend more time in the bore and rotate the gun up more before the bullet exits the muzzle. This launches them at a higher initial trajectory and even though the are slower, the high trajectory will keep them higher at short ranges.

    Faster, lighter bullets do not rotate the gun up as much before they exit the bore, so they start with a lower initial trajectory.

    At longer ranges, say 50 yards or more, the slower, heavier bullet will fall faster and end up hitting lower than the faster, lighter bullet.

    There are many other factors involved such as grip strength, the weight of the gun, barrel length, height of the bore above the center of resistance, and a couple I'm probably not thinking of.

    Big bore single action revolvers are most prone to the differences due to their high bore axis' and generally slower, heavier bullets, small bore pistols with low bore axis' like Glocks are least affected by the bullet's weight.

    If you really want a good read on the nuts and bolts of hand guns, find a copy of Elmer Keith's book 'Sixguns'.

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