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Short Barrel 357 loads

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Seafarer12, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. Seafarer12

    Seafarer12 Participating Member

    Jan 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Hey Guys,
    I went by the local gun store today to see if they had the powder bushing I needed for my shotgun press. Anyway they didn't have the bushing I needed but they had a used SP101 and the price was right. I have been looking for a small 38/357 revolver. I wanted to ask if anyone had a good load for a 125gr XTP in a short barrel gun. My normal 357 loads have a hard time burning all the powder in a 4 inch barrel gun so I know in this 2 inch gun I would put on a fireworks show. I have a decent selection of powder but most of my powders are on the slow side for pistols because I load 357's for long barreled guns and rifles.
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Nov 20, 2006
    Calling jfh. :)
  3. rfwobbly

    rfwobbly Senior Member

    Nov 14, 2008
    Cornelia, GA

    That's so you can dispense with the need for a tactical light.

  4. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Mentor

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    I use W-231 in a 2 1/2" barrel of a S & W mod 19. I get complete burns and over 1100 fps with both 125 and 140 grain SJHP. These loads are right on the border of the maximum powder charge of W-231. If you do try this powder, work up slowly watching for sticking cases during extraction. A sure sign of over pressure for your gun...
  5. jfh

    jfh Senior Member

    Aug 28, 2003
    Maple Plain, MN
    Oops--slow on checking in on this thread.

    Seafarer12, several of us have worked extensively on short barrel reloads in .38 Special and .357 Magnum. Typically, this work first focussed on the Speer recipes they posted for their 135-gr. GDSB bullets; more recently it's expanded to include "FBI Loads"--e.g., 158LSWC-HP rounds as well. Some of us have also started to work with 125-gr. bullets--but, generally, the trend has been to the heavier bullets.

    Here is one of the first threads on this subject, and Here is a link further discussing the development of "replica reloads."

    Our development work focussed on suitable practice loads tolerable for lightweight revolvers, not necessarily 357 fire-makers. Further, we've focussed on building a round that replicates the feel of a chosen factory round, not on the (external) ballistics.

    I've also begun working up a few 125-gr. loads as well, but have no definitive results as of yet.

    FWIW, I used to carry an SP101, and I would consider it a suitable gun for shooting magnum loads through, albeit with the standard caveats. It seems to me that a logical 357 load to carry would be the GDSB 357 135-gr. load--that's a 135 gr. bullet running at 970-1000 fps. The Speer 357 GDSB PDF references two recipes for that with readily-available powders--Power Pistol and V.3N37. ArchangelCD may be along later; he's worked a bit more with 357 than I have.

    Personally, I've also built up "FBI900" rounds (the standard FBI 38+P load runs about 800+ FPS in today's factory rounds). That can be done with any number of powders--but I don't know of any factory round that necessarily meets those specs. Personally, I would consider such a load--a 158LSWC-HP at 900 fps from a 2" barrel--virtually ideal for a SP101 carry; I do know I can shoot it from a lightweight (M&P340), but ten rounds is the max for me--i.e., a "dual quad five", back-to-back.

    Generally, though, I subscribe to the idea of finding a factory carry round to base one's practice rounds on. Maybe one of BB's 125-gr. rounds will work for you.

    Any other questions, ask away...or, if you want that Speer PDF file, e-mail me.

    Jim H.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2009
  6. joneb

    joneb Senior Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    I use 158-180gr for a 2.75" Ruger Security Six and use AA#9. I've have tried AA#7 and HS-6 with 125gr JHPs with good results, I like Bullseye and Unique for lead bullets.
  7. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Elder

    Nov 25, 2006
    Northeast PA, USA
    As Jim said I did a little work with a replica load for the Speer Short Barrel .357 Magnum load.

    Using a Speer 135gr Gold Dot bullet or Hornady 140gr XTP bullet I found a replica that feels right, has the same felt recoil and velocity as the Speer factory load. I charged 8.8gr Power Pistol under the above bullets and using a standard small pistol primer in a .357 Magnum case with very good success. I'm not a big fan of Power Pistol but you have to go with what works! LOL Sorry I can't find my notes on the chrono data for this load right now but if I remember correctly it was right around 1000 fps in a M640. (but I can't be sure on that)

    As for a 158gr LSWC/HP round I haven't made up any in .357 Magnum brass but I have made up some .38 Special +P rounds that are very accurate and produce extremely low SD numbers.

    Here is the data:
    Winchester .38 Special +P case
    158gr Hornady LSWC/HP
    CCI 550 Primer (Magnum primer on this load)
    7.0gr HS-6
    COL 1.475"
    4" M686 -- 2" M640
    927.0 - AV - 888.9
    955.1 -- H -- 897.1
    905.4 -- L -- 876.6
    49.7 -- ES -- 20.5
    20.7 -- SD -- 7.9
    17.0 -- AD -- 5.9

    Hope this helps a bit...
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2009
  8. Seafarer12

    Seafarer12 Participating Member

    Jan 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    thanks for the information guys. I already have some Unique and 231 so I might load up a few of each and see which ones does better.

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