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Loading .357 SIG: Yea or Nay?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Timothy, Jan 12, 2003.

  1. Timothy

    Timothy Well-Known Member

    I’m getting the distinct impression that loading for .357 SIG is not real high on most guy’s list of favorite calibers to load.

    Can someone fill me in on why?
    Should I re-think this one?
  2. JPM70535

    JPM70535 Well-Known Member

    The reason most of us who reload pass on the 357 SIG is that the case (cartridge) is bottlenecked and doesn't lend itself to reloading with a progressive reloading machine, in contrast to a straight walled case like a 45 or 40 or 9mm.

    Basically, a straight walled case can be resized (dry ) with a carbide sizing die and a bottlenecked case can't. It has to be hand lubed,sized,and the lube removed before the powder charging and bullet seating and crimping process. If not, the lube can possibly affect the operation of the Press. The extra time factor involved just can't be justified. IMHO
  3. antsi

    antsi Well-Known Member

    Disagree with JMP (all three times).

    If you do not shoot much 357 SIG, then by all means, it may not be worth reloading for you.

    The bottle-neck, lubing issue isn't that big a deal. Using carbide dies, I can easily run 357 SIG through my Dillon 550 with just a light "dusting" of spray lube. I don't have to stop the process and get rid of the lube, either. Just spray at a 40-45 degree angle, don't use too much, and it works just fine.

    If you do shoot a fair amount of 357 SIG, you stand to gain more in cost savings than any other defensive caliber. Plus, since it is a new caliber, there is a lot of room for experimentation and improvement on the "one size fits all" factory loads. In particular, I have had good luck with heavier 147 grain loads versus the factory 125 gr offerings.

    If 357 SIG is just a passing experiment for you - like, those who got a 357 SIG barrel for their .40 S/W gun because they could - then maybe reloading 357 SIG doesn't make much sense.

    But if it is one of your chosen calibers, it really isn't that much extra fuss to reload for it - especially considering how much $ you can save over factory ammo.
  4. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Well-Known Member

    I have no problems loading the 357 sig. I actually find it very easy to load. I use carbide dies, hornady spray lube (very light), remington JHP bullets and AA9 powder so I don't have to worry about set back.

    It is easy to load as any other pistol round and with AA9, there is no possible way to double charge it. Very easy to load actually.
  5. shu

    shu Well-Known Member

    I just finished a bottle of AA#9. Believe I will go back to Blue Dot, which is what I started with for 357sig. The Blue Dot flakes may meter less uniformly than the AA #9 little spheres, but it packs looser and fills the case while using about 20 percent less weight.

    Blue Dot seems to me to burn cleaner (much of the combustion in both cases being in front of the muzzle). I get alot of grit in the face when shooting AA#9 in a head wind, and it cratered the plastic lens cover of my chronograph. With Blue Dot I just get a nice blue flame.
  6. JimC

    JimC Well-Known Member

    I started loading the .357 SIG when it first hit the scene.

    I will admit, I bought a Bar-Sto barrel for my Glock 22 just to shoot it and load for it.

    I've since had a G33 barrel for my G27 and presently have a G32.

    I treat the .357 SIG case like a bottleneck rifle case. I lube and resize it, tumble them to get the lube off and then run them through my Dillon 550B like any other round.

    I found that I like the National Bullet Co. 125 gr. FMJ bullet made just for the .357 SIG cartridge. And, it's priced right at $53.00/M.

    I've only tried a couple of powders but favor AA#9 for my use.

    I like Star Line Brass the best with Federal being #2.
  7. tex_n_cal

    tex_n_cal Well-Known Member

    Be careful with that itty bitty bottleneck case:D

    I have loaded for the .400 Corbon, which is a similar deal. The problem is the neck is so short that it's tough to get a good tight bullet fit. Loose bullet fit in a semi auto spells bullet setback, high pressures, and kB! :what:

    You must get the bullet fitting tightly in the case. To test it, cycle some rounds by hand through the gun and re-test the cartridge overall length. If you are seeing bullet setback of more than .005" to .010", the bullet must be tighter for safety. A hard crimp by itself won't do it.

    Some good points above on removing lube after sizing the case. In addition, I usually check the expander plug in my dies. If it's not at least .005 to .007" smaller than bullet diameter, I polish it down. I'm using a .392" expander in my .400 Corbon.
  8. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    Listen to tex-n-cal he's given very important info. Thirty years ago there were many "experts" that said you should not reload auto cartridges. That today we would laugh at. But it's all a matter of learning how to do it properly and safely. The 357sig does have a short neck and repeated chambering may move the bullet back even in factory ammo . Bullet seating is important, some do not recommend using 180 gr in the 40S&W because it is easy to boost pressures by excessive seating , if you push the bullet back 0.100" you will DOUBLE the pressure.
  9. Zero

    Zero Well-Known Member

    If I can do it, so can you!

    I've been reloading them for about 6 mos now on a Dillon 550B. Lubing is no big deal, lay them out on an old cookie sheet or other similar object and give them a light spray of Dillon Spray case lub. I've had the best luck against setback by using the 124Gr FP plated bullets from West Coast Bullet. Get your crimp tight, so you can't push it back with your thumb and you'll be ready to rock.
  10. kidcoltoutlaw

    kidcoltoutlaw Well-Known Member

    carbide ?

    are you using the 357 die for the neck and the 40 for the body.i did not know they made a 357 carbide die.hornady said they would make me one. i never did ask them to do it.
  11. antsi

    antsi Well-Known Member


    Yes, Dillon makes 'em. They are somewhat expensive...
  12. mr. e

    mr. e Well-Known Member

    I've been loading 357 SIG for several years using a single stage press. Other than having to lube them because I didn't know a carbide die was available, they aren't any more difficult than other calibers to reload.

    Usually my hand loads outperform commercial loads in accuracy, but I haven't yet been able to match the consistently accurate Speer Gold Dot 125 gr. HPs. I use Widener Master Match bullets and, for the most part, Alliant Power Pistol powder.
  13. Zero

    Zero Well-Known Member

    Lube them, carbide or not

    You guys are going to have to at least lube them a little even if you get the Dillon carbide die.
  14. dan_s

    dan_s Well-Known Member

    The .357 Sig is number one on my list.. As in everything else that is pleasurable to do, there are some caveats that must be followed. Use the proper bullets, and use the proper brass (don't neck down .40). I load on a Hornady progressive and have had zero problems loading this round..
  15. Frohickey

    Frohickey Well-Known Member

    Aside from the lubrication requirements of resizing, the next thing I would watch out for is bullet setback. I think there is a formula about the length of the neck versus the caliber for good neck tension. At least one caliber length of neck for the caliber. (0.355 long neck for the 357Sig)

    Since its a bottleneck and it headspaces at the shoulder, couldn't it handle a rollcrimp on cannelured 0.355 bullets? The only caveat here is that most 9mm bullets are not cannelured, and most are also roundnouse bullets which have a much shorter bullet shank portion.
  16. duncan

    duncan Well-Known Member

    I also enjoy loading 357 sig on my Dillon 550.

    12.8 grains of AA9 and a 125 grain 357 sig Montana Gold FMJ with a light Lee factory crimp die produces my favorite load.

    And I use One Shot spray lube too!

    Little slower than 9mm but well worth it;)
  17. KP95DAO

    KP95DAO member

    357 Sig

    Ok, since there appear to be some who are not enlightened yet, here is Pete's page: http://www.pete-357.com/
  18. Zero

    Zero Well-Known Member

    Lee Factory Crimp Die?

    When did Lee start making FCD's for 357 sig?
  19. mr. e

    mr. e Well-Known Member

    I've found only one 9mm bullet that can be used to load 357 SIG, if I remember right, it was Speer's 124 gr. Gold Dot HP. All of the others had too much curvature at the base of the bullet, so they couldn't be seated in the short necked case of the 357 SIG.

    I'd recommend www.wideners.com for their Master Match bullets which are flat nosed, true 357 SIG dimensions.
  20. KP95DAO

    KP95DAO member

    I have used several "9mm" bullets in the 357SIG. The one I use most of the time is the Montana Gold 124 JHP. Of course all my 357 SIG rounds have the bullet seated onto the powder column. No chance of setback.

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