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Loading .357 Magnum with 2400

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Geister, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Geister

    Geister Well-Known Member

    I just bought some 158s to reload with 2400. I'm curious as to how hot some of you have gotten with that load combination while still keeping safe pressure. I'm starting out at 14 gr. but various manuals are all over the place with max load listings.

    I have a 6" barrel so I'm hoping at 14 gr I'm getting around 1,300 fps.
  2. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Expecting 1300fps is a bit optimistic with 2400. My old Lyman book shows 15.0 grains of 2400 is the max load. It gives about 1227fps for a 158 grain jacketed bullet. The test revolver was a 5" S&W M27. My Lyman Pistol & Revolver book gives 14.9 as the max load at 1279 for the same bullet weight. Alliant gives 14 grain as the max load. Not the starting load.
    Near max loads of Blue Dot and H110 will give you around 1300fps though. 9.6 to 11.9 or 13.7 to 17.7 respectively.
    You need to work up a load, not just pick one.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2007
  3. Geister

    Geister Well-Known Member

    I picked 2400 over H110, actually. H110 is too finicky for me and I didn't want to have to use three more grains to go another 100 fps faster. Never really thought about Blue Dot but I heard more stuff about 2400. I would have bought Lil' Gun if the supplier wasn't out.

    I appreciate it though, I figured the max load was in the 15s somewhere. One of the manuals states 14.8 at 1265 through a 6". I am working up a load, starting at 14 like I said. But I needed to know whereabout I can load it to.

    2400 still gives Magnum performance with the 158s over 14 gr. The next powder I get will probably be Lil' Gun although I will look into Blue Dot as well. Just depends on how much powder it takes to get the same results.
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Well-Known Member

    A load with 14.0grs of 2400 in a Remington case primed with a CCI 500 standard small pistol primer behind a Remington 158gr JSP chrono's at 1,243 fps from my S&W M66 4" and 1,338 fps from my Colt Trooper Mk3 6". Do not use magnum primers with 2400. I've had pierced and cratered primers using CCI magnum small pistol primers and a load of 13.5grs of 2400 with a 158gr Jacketed bullet. Now these loads where chrono'd on a warm Arizona spring day of 85 degrees or so.

    If you are using cast bullets drop your load down to 13.0grs for the same figures.
  5. Handgunr

    Handgunr Well-Known Member


    Since I make, and use cast bullets almost exclusively anymore, 2400 has become a staple diet in many of my cast bullet loads. That, and 4227 are both excellent cast bullet powders in that they have a smoother pressure curve compared to many other magnum powders and aren't as abrupt with cast bullets.
    Accurate Arms #9 is another powder that's burn rate is very similar to 2400, and although I haven't tried any yet, I've read where many have and concluded those results.

    Right now, one of my favorite loads is a widely used 13.5grs. of 2400 under the 358429 170gr. Lyman bullet.
    Out of my 6" GP100, I'm getting 1300-1350fps. and it's as accurate as any load I've shot in the gun. I used regular pistol primers. With 158gr. jacketed bullets, 2400 will work fine, but regarding jacketed bullets, other powders will probably perform better for you.

    On positive notes, 2400 meters very well, as does H110, W296, or Li'l Gun.

    If it's jacketed bullets you'll be using (as mentioned) on a regular basis, I'd stick with H110, or Li'l Gun, and due to their longtime warning (Olin), I'd use W296 for the full magnum loads only.
    Hodgdon, in the past, has recommended that H110 not be used on loads no less than 3% below stated maximums, but I've read & heard it both ways. Stick by book recommendations, and you should be fine. Li'l Gun has shown some great promise for me in several handgun and small rifle loadings, especially in a .22 SuperJet wildcat that I recently built.
    That powder has gained some popularity since it's been released, just like Varget. Dealer's can't keep it on the shelves around here. I think that it doesn't really have a big temperature issue, and can be loaded up or down without any worries.

    I've also used Blue Dot in the past, and it really does work very well, but it has an affinity for temperature sensitivity I've read.
    If that's the case, then magnum loads with it might be questionable during temp. extremes.

    As far as moderate loads, Unqiue, W231 and HP38 are excellent choices. I've always known (prior to Hodgdon's purchase of IMR, and their facility in Plattsburgh, NY) that they were a powder purchaser/distributor, and that they purchased large stocks of surplus powders from Olin, Scot, IMI and other's. Mainly Olin.

    Last year I comparison tested W231 against HP38 (for my own personal benefits) just to see the difference between them in loading competitive target loads.

    As I suspected, the results were exactly the same. Velocities, extreme spreads and standard deviation numbers were literally identical. Accuracy was approx. the same as well, but HP38 seemed to perform with a slight edge. That could of very easily been due to a different lot number though.

    Hodgdon won't admit it (naturally) but W296 and H110 are the same powder, but coated differently for identification purposes. In 2005, when Olin discontinued them, Hodgdon admitted that their HS6 & HS7 powders were in fact Olin's W540 & W571. Only after Olin discontinues their production of a powder, can Hodgdon admit what it actually is.
    Obviously, for contractual & liability reasons I'm sure, but by admitting it after the fact, Hodgdon gains the customers from Winchester/Olin who used those powders before they were discontinued.
    So it makes sense for them, business wise.

    Hodgdon has an amazing history, from start to present day. Good stuff.

    Whatever you choose though, following the powder co. and bullet maker's reloading manuals for safties sake, and you should be good to go. Chronograph's are a necessary item for me when working loads anymore.

    Take care,
  6. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Well-Known Member

    The data for 2400 is all over the place because the mfg. tolerances of the firearms are "all over the place". Also, 2400 has changed slightly over the years.

    You should be able to approach 1,300fps if not exceed it with 2400. It just depends on your particular revolver as to what the actual speeds are.

    As other poster stated, don't use a magnum primer with 2400. It dosen't need that much kick to light it off, and the magnum primer will increase pressure significantly. (not bad if you are looking to accept a slightly lower velocity with a bit less powder. Just decrease the powder charge by 5-10% if using magnum primers).

    I've used 2400 off and on for about 30yrs and it is still one of the best powders for the .357mag. Especially with cast bullets.

    Consider 15.0gr as maximum and your 14.0gr may be a little warm depending on your combinations of components. I've found 14.5gr with a Remington 158gr bullet to be the "sweet spot" for accuracy and velocity. Velocity runs just under 1,300fps from my 4" Sec.-6. About like the hotter of the factory loads I've chrono'd through it. The formulation for 2400 has changed slightly over the years with later lots being a bit faster than the original. I believe that this is due to the many complaints over the years that 2400 is very dirty burning at lower velocities/pressures (lots of unburned granules left behind in cylinder and barrel).

    However, if run to 12.5 or higher with a cast bullet of 150gr or heavier, it actually is quite clean burning and more efficent than some of the later propellants such as H110/Win296 or Hod.Lilgun.

    Back in the late early '80s when I was carrying a .357 on duty, I played with a lot of different powders, particularily BlueDot. It is good for heavy-mid range loads, but is very fickle at higher pressures. For this purpose, I still prefer Unique. It gives very good velocities and accuracy under cast bullets at jacketed bullet eqivalent velocities (ie: 1,250fps from a 4" bbl. Cast bullets with all else equal will get ~100fps more velocity than a jacketed bullet). Hence, I got into bullet casting many years ago to maximize my ammo performance and save a LOT of money.

    However, jacketed bullets are still better in some applications.

    Additionally, don't get "hung up" over the "zero's". A 158gr bullet at 1,290fps is 99.23% of one at 1,300. Hence, you'll never notice the difference in "real world" use.

    Just remember, if you want that extra "zip", just buy yourself a pound of Hod.LilGun. With a 158gr bullet, you can't get enough of it in a .357 case to get into trouble. However, 18.0gr is MUCH more accurate than the 19.0gr I've seen published by a Magazine writer. Velocity for the higher load is only marginally faster than the Hodgdon max. of 18.0. They actually know what they are doing and did so when they suggested stopping at 18.0gr. My powder measure throws 17.8gr and this gets 2,050fps from a Win M95 w/20"bbl, and tips over 1,400fps from the Sec.-6.

    Enjoy the 2400, just remember that the extra fps may not be worth the extra wear and tear on the gun. I "wore out" a S&W mod28 back in the mid. '70's "Hot rodding" it with heavy charges of 2400. Yeah, they cratered primers. Weren't all "good" loads supposed to do that, back then ???????????
    That gun was so "loose" when I parted with it, you could use it to scare people with making it sound like a rattle snake by shaking it. I won't print the data, but suffice to say it was an "Elmer Keith" and "Bill Jordan" load. We considered Jeff Weaver and Cooper to be "wimps" because they recommended using 1.0gr less powder !!!!!
  7. sansone

    sansone Well-Known Member

    if you mean alliant 2400, lilgun burns at about the same rate. currently I'm using lilgun for my 357 lever/carbine with very good results. in my 4" revolver the lilgun burns too slow(powder still burning when bullet exits) I have used blue dot for my 6" gun, but I use Unique for my short brrl 38,357,&.380
  8. Geister

    Geister Well-Known Member

    Cool, I bought the standard small pistol primers for the 2400. I did use a few Magnum primers with the 158s and notice that they do cater in a bit more.

    I appreciate the response and the velocities, Steve. I figured at 14.0 gr I'm getting close to 1,300 or just under it. I really need to get a chrono.

    But would someone using hardcast lead bullets really have to drop the powder charge?

    Handgunr, I'm definately going to have to write down that 170gr load. I'm going to be deer hunting with the .357 this year and that sounds like a good load.

    2400 is a pretty good load for higher weight .357 bullets. Just starting with 14 gr, the 158s are definately a magnum load. But I did have trouble working up to decent Magnum load with the 140s.

    I've been using HP38 originally, but it doesn't have enough kick for Magnum loads. It's great for plinking and VERY economical. Even by using 8.0gr with 125s (fairly hot load) you still get 875 shots per pound.

    Thanks for the insight, Goose. I'm not going to go past 15.0gr with the 158s. I'll just slowly work my way past 14.0gr and find the sweet spot in the 14s. Might just stop at 14.5gr like you said. I'm planning on buying a 4" Security Six or a K-frame Smith so it's nice to know that particular load will run close to 1,300 in them.

    I try to hang myself on the "zeros" but I usually stop myself from doing so, hah. I'm definately going to try Lil' Gun next so thank you for the insight on the max of 18.0 for the 158s.
  9. vanilla_gorilla

    vanilla_gorilla Well-Known Member

    I've had pretty good luck with 2400, though I only recently started loading for .357. I've got a box of 158 LSWCs over 14.2 grains of 2400 and the same bullet over 9.5 grains of Blue Dot. Hoping to try those out tomorrow. If 14.2 gr shoots nicely, I'll probably stop there, since I'm not looking for barn burner loads.
  10. Handgunr

    Handgunr Well-Known Member


    Cast or swaged ?

    Usually the bulk box swaged bullets like Hornady's, and Speers will lead when you start up over 850-900 fps. They're usually pure lead, or darn close. Hornady use to use a little harder alloy in their swaged bullets. But, I don't know if they still do.....I'm assuming so.

    If they're a harder cast then you should be fine, but just thought I'd toss that out there.

    Plainbased bullets made of alloys like WW's (or as hard as) at 8-9BHN should work pretty well for velocities up and around the speeds that the 14-15grs. of 2400 will normally generate.
    Sized & lubed properly, they should work pretty good at 1200-1300fps.

    Anything over that and I'll use either a gascheck, or water quench them to harden them up more. Sometimes both.

    Good luck,
  11. Handgunr

    Handgunr Well-Known Member


    When it comes to using cast bullets there's a couple of things to remember.

    If bullet sizing is too small for a particular gun, soft lead, or pure lead bullets will obturate, or swell to fill the chambers with a normal target load beneath them. Not much pressure is needed as it's pure lead, or very soft, and once they swell to fit the chamber, they shoot very well, and lead very little.

    When you start using harder and harder alloys in your bullets, most times the alloy is hard enough, or so hard, that the bullet won't obturate to fill the chamber if the sizing of the bullet is not correct for the gun. Even with maximum safe pressures.

    Sizing is the culprit in both instances, but in one situation, the softer lead alloy allows the undersized bullet to still work, whereas the other one can't due to it's much harder structure.
    This is one reason why you'll read & hear many complain of leading with hardcast bullets.

    99% of it is improper sizing. Lube plays a part in it too, but most any standard lubes work pretty well.

    Regarding that Lyman 358429 bullet.....it's a beauty and is pretty standard, as is the 358156. I use the heavier #429 bullet a lot in lighter .38 Special loads because the bullet is so long, and with hotter loads in the .38, it gives it a slight edge over other .38 loads.

    I was able to Ebay a 358156GCHP mould about a year or so ago, and I've always wanted one. The standard #156 mould was a gascheck, but they did make them at one time in a plainbase.
    Now that I've got it in a gascheck solid nose, and a gaschecked hollowpoint both, I can cast it (the HP one) with regular WW's (air cooled) and use them in the 13.5 gr. 2400 loading for walking the fields at night chuck hunting.

    Does a very nice job on them.

    Take care & good luck,
  12. Bula

    Bula Well-Known Member

    Another nicely written post by Handgunr.
  13. Barr

    Barr Well-Known Member

    Not to throw a monkey wrench in the works for cheap cast bullets, but I was recently reading an Elmer Keith article from the 60s out of a book I bought and he seemed to think the WW bullets would wear out a barrel rapidly in a few 1000 rounds. I will throw this out for food for thought.....

    He suggested nothing harder than 1:16 tin-lead alloy. He stated that when the WW alloy was analyzed much of the wear was caused by dirt, grit, and other particulate matter that had accumulated through use on tires.

    I realize that part or most of this should be able to be removed by fluxing while casting, but I am not sure of the experience because I have never casted. I have just always used hard cast lead bullets that I buy in 500 or 1000 round boxes for both .357 and .44 Magnum. Your mileage may vary as always. Anybody have any thoughts or experience on this?

    Of course, he also said that jacketed bullets wear out a barrel very fast. They do wear out a barrel faster than cast lead bullets, but it takes a lot more bullets than most owners will shoot in a lifetime.
  14. Handgunr

    Handgunr Well-Known Member


    Humbly, I'm not in a position to argue with a legend (and that's what I always thought old Elmer was), but he might be referring to WW's uncleaned (like you said) or something else.
    All bullet alloys, unless you're using straight pure lead, consists of a mixture of lead, tin & antimony, varying in hardnesses from just above pure lead at 5BHN, to hardnesses of up to 30BHN (through heat treating, etc.)

    If not cleaned (fluxed) properly, I can understand where an alloy could produce wear, or scratches on a barrel, but the alloy would have to be constantly, or consistently as dirty through every batch of bullets. Besides that, lead, being as soft as it is, would more than likely allow any dirt particles to impress further into it, but scratching is a possibility.
    I don't think Elmer ever figured this one out by ruining any guns.....quite possibly it could've been a theory of his, I don't know.

    I do know that there are bullets ("Tubb's" I think)produced that are coated with wearing agents to smooth out an otherwise rough bore, starting with rough to fine abrasives in a 4 or 5 step progression.

    Copper jacket material used in jacketed bullets, as a standard, is 40BHN. Anything less than that in hardness will proportionately wear less percentage wise, but dirt is another matter. Speculating, I have no idea how hard dirt would be, but I'm sure it's damaging if not cleaned out properly.
    Theoretically, it's always been stated that "wear wise", you can shoot 8 cast bullets for every jacketed bullet you shoot to create the same level of wear.

    Elmer was a big proponent of the 20-1 and 16 to 1 alloys, and wasn't very fond of WW's at all. He mixed his own from known pure ingredients, so I understand his thinking, even though I might not agree with it.
    I clean my WW's in several steps to assure that I don't get any dirt, or other crap in my casting pot.

    This is easily done by tossing them all in a tub of warm soapy water (or stronger industrial cleaner like reduced Purple Power), and letting them soak for an hour or two, dumping and rinsing them, and then (when dry) melting them down into ingots and cleaning them like I mentioned earlier.
    Your going to flux them in this pre-stage, and the ingots will be ready (thoroughly cleaned) for the bullet pot.

    All that aside, even if you never pre-cleaned anything, and just tossed the raw WW's into your casting pot, if you do your fluxing properly, and stir the pot as you should during fluxing, the dirt (being lighter than the alloy) will surface to be skimmed. The fluxing agents used today are designed to catch/trap and hold the surfaced dirt & debris in suspension anyway, and when stirred into the mix properly, they are designed to catch contaminates below the surface and carry them to the top.
    Not to say that dirt can never get into the bullets cast from old WW's, but if the process is done properly, it's highly unlikely.

    Another thought was that back in Elmer's day, 99% of all caster's were ladle caster's meaning that they scooped their alloy off the top and "hand poured" into the moulds. This was the way I started cause I was "way poorer" back in the early days.
    I don't even know when the bottom pour pots came into regular use in relation to that book. Being that the dirt & scum floats to the top, and even with good fluxing, it's possible to miss some of it I guess. Ladle casting could be a problem with that in mind, or the chance at getting dirt might be greater. Bottom pour pots are pretty much "dirt free" considering the way fluxing works though.

    Back in the old days, their fluxing agents, i.e.; wax, sawdust, crayons, tallow, etc., were all pretty good in comparison. Maybe not as good as Marvelux is today, but not too much farther behind.

    On another note, it almost makes me think that if this was ever a problem, you'd see scratches and/or wear marks in the sizing dies I'd think. Many of my dies have seen thousands and thousands of bullets passed through them, and they're sizing bullets the same as when they were new. I have dealings with many, many cast bullet caster's & shooters, and honestly, it's never been mentioned throughout the years I've been messin' with it.

    I still wonder why old Elmer would say that......makes me curious.

    Excellent point/post never the less Barr..........!

    Take care,
  15. vanilla_gorilla

    vanilla_gorilla Well-Known Member

    I'm using Lasercast hardcast bullets. About 18-20 BHN, and my .44s that I bought are up to 22-24 BHN, pretty darn hard. And it shows.

    Do you think there will still be a problem?
  16. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Well-Known Member


    I run those 158 lasercast slugs as fast as 1550 in front of 2400 in my 357s, no leading problems to speak of.
  17. AH-1

    AH-1 Member In Memoriam

    Not to throw a monkey wrench in the works for cheap cast bullets, but I was recently reading an Elmer Keith article from the 60s out of a book I bought and he seemed to think the WW bullets would wear out a barrel rapidly in a few 1000 rounds. I will throw this out for food for thought.....

    He suggested nothing harder than 1:16 tin-lead alloy. He stated that when the WW alloy was analyzed much of the wear was caused by dirt, grit, and other particulate matter that had accumulated through use on tires.

    I realize that part or most of this should be able to be removed by fluxing while casting, but I am not sure of the experience because I have never casted. I have just always used hard cast lead bullets that I buy in 500 or 1000 round boxes for both .357 and .44 Magnum. Your mileage may vary as always. Anybody have any thoughts or experience on this?

    Of course, he also said that jacketed bullets wear out a barrel very fast. They do wear out a barrel faster than cast lead bullets, but it takes a lot more bullets than most owners will shoot in a lifetime.

    well I guess I better junk my security six 357:D :D :D

  18. Hook686

    Hook686 Well-Known Member

    O.a.l. ????

    It amazes me that in 17 reolies, in this thread, not one O.A.L. was listed, to go with the bullet weight, powder weight and brand, and primer brand. I personally think the O.A.L. has more impact on pressure than using a magnum primer, or standard primer. Both are significant, in my opinion. I just wonder why folks do not specify the O.A.L., when listing loads.
  19. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    Since most of us are loading the 357 magnum to the cannelure point on the bullet, the COL depends on the bullet type. Thus for Laser cast 158's swc's it is 1.590. Seirra's 140 jhps 1.580, Lone start 155 rns 1.553. Remington 158 Jhp's 1.580 etc.
  20. Gewehr98

    Gewehr98 Well-Known Member

    OAL is dependent on cannelure/crimp groove location.

    That's why nobody's mentioned it. Having said that, I run 2400 in my .357 Magnum Desert Eagle, along with 158gr TFP or JHP bullets (no cast or swaged bullets in the big gas gun, bad juju). I've chronographed some impressive numbers out of the 6" Desert Eagle, well over 1500fps, using a hair over 15 grains of 2400. While not the fastest (I use WW296 or AA#9 for 1600+ fps), they certainly breathe life into the old .357 Magnum, a round which has been toned down considerably over the last few decades. I will caveat that these loads were developed for my own big 6" steel gun, which is gas-operated and has polygonal rifling. Start low with published data and work your way up, observing all the signs for indications of elevated pressures. YMMV, of course. (Somebody will try to run them in a J-Frame alloy .357, you watch...)

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