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loading .357 mag with 2400

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by SSN Vet, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    I'm getting back into shooting my revolver and digging through my notes realized I haven't loaded .357 mag in > two years....

    I'm looking for a softer target loads to be shot out of a Taurus 689 with a 6.5" barrel. Something I can shoot 100+ rounds in a range session, while a.) concetrating on technique & accuracy out >20 yds and b.) enjoying myself

    I only want to load .357 cases.

    I have 158 gr JSP Zero bullets.

    W231 & Alliant 2400 are my powder options.

    I only have standard WSP primers.

    Looking for load recommendations using these components that guys have actually tried with good results or published accuracy loads.

    I've played around with W231 loads in the 5-5.5gr range in the past, but unfortunately did not save any targets or record my results. I'm contemplating going lighter with these. Say 4.5 to 5 gr. Thoughts???

    Is their any consensus on whether 2400 is position sensitive? Can I download < 14 gr with good results? (keeping in mind that I'll be using std. primers).

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    If you are willing to buy another powder, Unique is perfect for what you are looking for. W-231 is OK. I do not know how much 2400 can be downloaded.
  3. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Well-Known Member

    www.hodgdon.com shows a minimum start load for the 158gr Hornady XTP of 6.2gr of 231/HP-38 and a max of 6.9gr.

    Alliant 2400 can be reduced 10%, but you will probably get a dirty burn at reduced loads.

    I concur that Unique would be your best bet, but 231 would work, just less leeway on the loads.

  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't use 2400 for what you're looking for but W231 can be used and get you what I think you want. If you would have given use the velocities you are trying to achieve it would have been easier to recommend a powder. I have used W231/HP-38, Universal, Longshot, AA#5, HS-6 and a few others for .357 Magnum ammo that's not at maximum velocities and pressures.

    With those 158gr Zero bullets a charge of 6.0-6.2gr W231 will deliver just over 1000 fps from a 4" barrel if I remember correctly.
  5. Iron Sight

    Iron Sight Well-Known Member

    Something that works for me with my S&W 686 (6" Barrel)

    Missouri Bullets 148 G LDEWC
    Win 231 Powder 4.0 G
    357 mixed brand cases 1.375 OAL
    CCI 500 primers

    Very accurate and comfortable for my style at 25 yards.
  6. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    Yup... I've loaded it up to 6.7 gr. and it is the absolute worse load I've ever made. WAY to snappy. Even out of a hefty hunk of steal like my 689. I'll never load magnum velocities with fast powders again. I just pulled the last of these I had.

    Thanks for that recommendation. Do you have a specific light target load to go with it? Will Unique meter well from a Lee Auto-Disk?

    Unfortunately, I don't know what velocity will provide both good accuracy and light recoil with the 158 Gr. bullet. All I know is the outcomes that I'm trying to achieve. I'm guessing it has more to do with getting just enough pressure to obturate (sp?) the bullet into the grooves. But that taps out my theory musings. I wonder if a one caliber booklet for .357 has any such data.

    Thanks for this one. I have a small qty. of Berry's plated 148 gr. DEWCs. So I'll give this one a try with those.
  7. R.Clem

    R.Clem Well-Known Member

    NOTE: These loads are from old manuals and should not be used in any way other than what is listed, I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU USE ANY OF THESE LOADS AND HAVE ANY TYPE OF PROBLEM.

    According to my old Speer #6, a starting load of 12.0 gr. of 2400 will give about 1150 fps, with the max being 14.0 gr., I loaded and shot a number of these many years ago, as my notes show, they were pretty accurate and had about the same recoil as .38 Special +P., but had "dirty" problem.
    Unique has been my mainstay in .357's and the above manual shows 6.0 gr. starting load at 1000 fps, and a max of 7.0 gr.. These are with 160 gr cast slugs. There is also a load shown of 4.0 gr. in another manual, but that leaves a very large amount of air space and with out a filler I would not recommend it
    Now we go back further to a Lyman-Ideal #39 and find a moderate load for the .357 with 158 grain cast plain base or gas check that doesn't list a load for 2400, but does show a load of 6.0 gr. of Unique at 1200 fps. The high power load for Unique is 8.0 at 1400 fps. (I don't recommend this load in the light hand guns of today, they are the equivalent of .357 ++P). Also shown in the High Power loads is a load for 2400 at 15.5 gr. max for 1500 fps, these are really tough on the hands with a light revolver, say less than 30 oz. (This load has to be approached with caution, simply put, it is the maximum for pressure in the old Ruger's)
    The down side of Unique seems to be the muzzle blast, very sharp.
    I would recommend a load with 8.0 gr. of Blue Dot at about 900 fps. It is a very good load for recoil sensitive people and quite accurate, this powder has a max of 10.9 gr. at a supposed 1300 fps, my 4" and 4 5/8" clock about 1050 fps and are still manageable by most shooters who are recoil sensitive. I have shot many of these for punching paper, they are great for starting out with a new gun as they are overly loud and give good accuracy in most all the guns I have shot them in.

    NOTE: These loads are from old manuals and should not be used in any way other than what is listed, I ACCEPT NO RESPONSIBILITY IF YOU USE ANY OF THE ABOVE LOADS AND HAVE ANY TYPE OF PROBLEM.

  8. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    2400 is a slow powder and best for full power magnum loads. 14.0grs behind a 158gr jacketed bullet and standard CCI primer duplicates factory ballistics at chrono'd average of 1,248 fps from my 4" S&W 66. With lead bullets I drop 1 grain to 13.0grs using a 158gr hard cast commercial bullet for the same velocity.
  9. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Well-Known Member

    231 is to hot imho...Unique is ok... If you have long barreled items the 2400 is good.

  10. Jeff H

    Jeff H Well-Known Member

    A little off topic since the OP wanted to know about medium power loads, but lead can be pushed significantly harder than 13grains for a 158 bullet.
  11. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    Definitely if you want 1,400 - 1,500 fps. I've always been quite happy with velocities that equal factory loads and haven't found any need for more. I was mainly trying to give the OP some idea of the velocities you will get in response to his question:
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Just pick your bullet weight and velocity from a manual or Alliants online data. Unique works great with all weight lead, plated, or jacketed bullets in .357 from fairly light to 85% or so of what the slow powders like W-296 will do. It does it with very good accuracy and good ES & SD numbers.

    I like 125's at 1200 ish FPS & 158's at 1100 ish FPS for a load that I can shoot a good bit of at one time. (6" barrel) That takes about 7.8 Grs of Unique with a 125 Gr plated or jacketed bullet or 7.1 Grs for a 158 Gr plated or jacketed bullet. I can shoot 50 of these from my 2 1/2" 686 with no real discomfort. Piece of cake in my Colt Trooper Mk III or S&W 27 or 28.

    Check data, start low, and work up. AC

    Attached Files:

  13. frankge

    frankge Well-Known Member

    I have a Taurus .357 686 and load berry bullets over 13gn of 2400. My 13 year old likes shooting. Really acurate too.
  14. Harley Quinn

    Harley Quinn Well-Known Member

    Curious about lead build up at 1400 fps??? Copper clad start shedding at that speed:confused: In another mention about mixing powders:confused:
  15. Re Unique. I shoot 158 grain plated (Ranier's) ahead of 6.0 grains Unique in my S&W M19 w/6 inch barrel. It's great fun and not too hard on the shooter or the gun. I've used 2400 in my Python, but it's a slow powder generally reserved for ramping up heavier hunting loads.
  16. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    SSN Vet,
    The short answer is NO, Unique doesn't meter well in the Auto-Disk. On the other hand, Universal is the ballistic twin of Unique and does meter well in most power measures.
    I still feel since you originally stated you have W231 and 2400 on hand you should use W231.
  17. SSN Vet

    SSN Vet Well-Known Member

    Since my notes recorded loading 5.5 grs. and 6.7 grs. of W231 previously and I remember not being happy with either load.... I'm going to work 'down' a load from their.

    Set up and loaded a box at 4.7 gr. W231

    Loaded up a box of magnum loads with 13.8 gr. of 2400 as well and will compare with factory Federal ammo.

    I'll post some targets and let you know my results.
  18. tonkawa

    tonkawa Member

    Unique meters very well out of my Lee Pro Auto Disk. I use it for a 45 acp and 45 Colt with great results.
  19. Jeff H

    Jeff H Well-Known Member

    A tad OT and maybe we start another thread about this, but lead does fine at 1400 and 1500+. There is a ton of reading that can be done on the topic on these forums. Properly sized bullets of the correct hardness can be pushed really hard with out leading in handguns.
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    I have loaded a 158gr LSWC in a .357 Magnum case with 5.0gr W231 and it was a light but good load. I don't remember how well the load I mentioned in my above post shot but I do know I really like this load. Sorry I can't be of more help with those Zero bullets but I usually don't download jacketed bullets. I load lead bullets for the lighter ammo.

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