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357 load development and casual observations

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by AJC1, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Loaded up and shot my first batch of loads with 2400. This is the slowest pistol powder I have used to date and it definitely let's you know it's a much slower powder. This is a journey post like my 308 cast loads and I hope to help someone else, and if I do something dumb feel free to say so. I built a ladder from 12.4-13.8 in two tents increments. The primers used were from my dads loads that I broke down so I dont know the brand but they were standard. The cases were all federal range pickups sized and trimmed to a uniform length. The results. 20210917_124331.jpg
     
  2. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    There was a bunch of unburnt powder almost like the 4227 loads I made. I intend to make a short ladder from 13.3 13.5 and 13.7 with mag primers to see if that cleans things up. So far with the additional amount of powder required and the unclean burn my 8.4 grain load of silhouette is better in every way. That load is the benchmark by which others will be compared. Looking at the primers is a even more troublesome as they show inconsistent burn and pressure. Lowest charge on the left. 20210917_124732.jpg
     
  3. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Please let us know if the magnum primers make any difference. I have used them but haven't seen any change with them. Some manuals caution against using them while others just say it's not necessary, with 2400.

    Your loads should be well under safe maximum, if the gun is appropriate and in good condition. I have gone up to 15 grains without pressure signs, though recoil and noise became obnoxious. I have settled on 13 grains as my all-around charge with a cast 158 SWC.

    Are your groups shot offhand?
     
  4. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Top and bottom of the ladder looks best. To my eye, anyway. May not be the tighterist groups but it looks like you had a good bead every shot and nothing went kattywonkers.

    I use small rifle primers a lot of times with 4227 and 2400 - but not always. Depends on if I have any and how heavy the bullet I'm using is. I don't have my notes online for much of anything yet but I did scan in a bunch of older notes from back before I got the 6" 3-5-7 and my only .357's were a 2" Lawman, the 4" Lawman and 6-1/2" Blackhawk - I still have both of them. For the 140gr. Speer SJHP I have 15.2gr. 2400 or 18.5gr. H110 with a Federal 200 primer. Back in those days my full .357's were mostly H110 and 2400 loads and I don't use H110 for revolver anymore. Too much noise and fury signifying nothing. I only used IMR 4227 and back then only for the Marlin carbine. Don't have the Marlin or the 2" Lawman anymore.

    Just as a side note, A 140gr. SJHP over 18.5gr. of H110 with a CCI 550 primer out of a 2" J-Frame Colt is about like holding onto a flash-bang with both hands while hailing a cab... :what:
     
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  5. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    Yes I shoot offhand so I don't consider it formal testing that's why I relate it as observations. I'm a decent shot but not a 50 yard ppc champion. Shooting at least twice a week I can tell if it's me or the load.
    Funny but interesting fact is I'm testing my cast bullets as much as anything. The max load being the best shows my bullets aren't failing.
     
  6. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    The starting load was very comfortable and considering it's the first target with a new powder I'm definitely not helping it. First trigger pull with brand new to me components always starts with a short prayer I dont blow my face off.
     
  7. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I think that sounds like a real reasonable thing to do. A short prayer never hurt nothing. :)
     
  8. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Like with IMR4227, the closer you get to 100% case fill, the better 2400 will perform.... the unburnt powder and variations are telling you it's not in it's Happy Place, just yet.

    You didn't mention what you are shooting those in...
     
  9. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    Nice Groups!!
     
  10. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    My current dispenser of freedom seads is a 4" colt trooper, from my grandfather.
     
  11. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    There is zero chance you will not end up with a pistol so this is for both of us ;)
     
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  12. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    IMR4227 in my 4" .41's isn't the best performer, either... I just don't think there is enough barrel. I would still work up to max with it, just to see what comes of it, however.
     
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  13. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I loaded 4227 and tested in.my buddies 6" s and w. That is now for 308 play lead rounds. 2400 seems to slow in a 4". I will test a mag primer and see. I'm just working my way down the chart.
     
  14. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    If you can see anything other than velocity variations in a pistol “ladder test”, you are one awesome shot! Since I shoot offhand, my accuracy criteria is consistent hits on my 50 yard, 12 inch gong target. If I can keep them all on at 50 yards, the round is accurate. I know there are people who can place their shots at 50 yards. Jim Collins was one of them:


    hEsAmoE.jpg

    fQPDlHb.jpg

    T3rEFD2.jpg

    I am totally amazed at Jim Collins ability to double action his revolvers and produce those 50 yard groups.

    I copied Skeeter Skelton’s load of a 158 L with 13.5 grains 2400 in a 38 Special case. He only shot these in a 357 revolver, he used 38 Special cases, because back in the day, the ground at the range had more empty 38 Special cases than gravel!

    I decided the same load in a 357 case had to be safe, and as far as I can hold, it is accurate.

    Since gunpowder is blended plus or minus 10%, I decide on my own velocity criteria, which happens to be about a grain or two under the charge that case stick in a 357 and I will reload new powder lots to that speed. The assumption is, velocity=pressure. Which is not true, but is good enough for what I am doing.

    I could bump up the jacketed loads a half a grain, but I am lazy, and when I load up several ammo cans of 158 lead bullets, I leave the charge setting the same and load up jacketed bullets.

    I left the W296/H110 data as a reference, not much difference in a maximum load of W296 and my 2400 loads. And if there is a lot of unburnt powder, well so what. Learn to eject cases with the muzzle up. That way unburnt cases don’t fall under the extractor star and bind up the cylinder. I do that will all magnum powders, none of them burn 100%. Powder combustion is inefficient, and that is just the way it is.


    Code:
    Smith & Wesson M27-2                             
    
    
    158 LSWC 13.5grs 2400 R-P cases CCI primers                  
    9-Oct-05  T = 64 °F
    
    Ave Vel =1273                            
    Std Dev =44.03                             
    ES  =176.7                              
    High  =1372                               
    Low  =1195                              
    Number rounds =30
    
    
    158 LSWC  13.5grs 2400 R-P cases Fed 100                  
    4-Sep-05  T = 80 °F
    
    Ave Vel =1245                        
    Std Dev =22.49                        
    ES  =97.26                            
    High  =1285                          
    Low  =1187                          
    N =32
    
    158 JHP (W/W) 13.5 grains 2400 R-P cases WSP              
    5-Aug-06     T = 103 °F
    
    Ave Vel =1196                         
    Std Dev =26.58                                
    ES  =87.17                          
    High  =1244                           
    Low  =1157                            
     N =10                              
    accurate not difficult to extract
    
    158 LSWC Linotype  15.5 W296  3D Cases CCI500
    14 Oct 2008 T =  80 °F
    
    Ave Vel = 1260 
    Std Dev = 34
    ES = 160.5
    High = 1315
    Low = 1154
    N = 18

    IPF1NO4.jpg






    Code:
     Colt Trooper MKIII 6" Barrel                       
    
    158 gr LSWC  13.5 grs 2400  R-P cases WSP                  
    
    30-Dec-15        T = 55 ° F                      
    
    Ave Vel =1169                        
    Std Dev =33                        
    ES  =176.3                           
    High  =1276                          
    Low  =1100                          
    N =24                              
    
    158 gr LSWC  Lino  15.5 grs W296  3D cases CCI 500         
    30-Dec-15        T = 55 ° F                      
    
    Ave Vel =1156                        
    Std Dev =53                          
    ES  =203.4                           
    High  =1285                          
    Low  =1081                          
    N =24                              
    
    158 gr JHP 13.5 grs 2400  R-P cases WSP               
    30-Dec-15        T = 58 ° F                      
    
    Ave Vel =1108                        
    Std Dev =18                        
    ES  =49.86                           
    High  =1140                          
    Low  =1090                         
    N =6    
    VTtDI0h.jpg
     
  15. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    I really like how nossler presents its data but 8.3 inch barrel really???? 357-Mag-158gr-version-9-0.jpg
     
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  16. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Member

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    Already eyeballing a .357 single action… thank for the leg work!
     
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  17. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    My two favorite pill dispensers for that prescription:
    04854414-AF1F-4D75-A0D8-7D68218133F8.jpeg
    Lawman Mk V and a 357. The longer barrel on the 357 gives it a much nicer sight picture but they both balance really well.
     
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  18. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I’m about to start on the Enforcer journey with the two above Colts. Meet you in the middle. ;)
     
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  19. kcofohio
    • Contributing Member

    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    Man, you guys are making me realize how much I regret selling the '63 built Trooper. :(

    I have in mind a Blackhawk somewhere in the future. For now I suck it up with a M-60. And a 77/357.
     
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  20. forrest r

    forrest r Member

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    FWIW:

    With a little testing it's fairly easy to improve the performance of your 357 loads. The brass ,crimp, type of expander used all play a part in how the powder performs. After the brass is dialed in the bullet selection makes huge differences in performance. How far out they're seated into the cylinders, alloy, body length, crimp groove/depth of cannelure all play a role in accuracy and velocity.

    Awhile back I decided to do a little testing looking for a sd/hd load for a l-comp 586.
    5vi2mrE.jpg

    I decided on this bullet and used 8/9bhn pc'd bullets sized to .358" testing both hp & fn versions of the bullet.
    3f3FUJ4.jpg

    I like this bullet because the nose of the bullet reaches out the filling the leade's of the cylinders (bottom bullet is out in the leade).
    Lcmp4hk.jpg

    Cylinder gap looses +/- 10fps for every 1/1000th". Using 38spl's in a 357 cylinder looses 10fps+. If the bullet has to travel/jump to seal the cylinders the load looses fps and more importantly. The short start pressures go do making slower powders burn less efficient.

    I used that 2 1/2" bbl'd l-comp 357
    2 4" bbl'd 357's (same revolver 2 different bbl's)
    3 6" bbl;'d 357's (revolvers)
    8" bbl'd 357 (revolver)
    10" contender 357 bbl

    I used full house loads of 2400 VS MP-300 VS H110

    When the testing was done the 2 1/2" bbl performed the best with 2400 producing 1200fps+. The bbl was too short for the MP-300 & H110.
    They all performed pretty much the same with the 4" bbl's (1300fps).
    The MP-300 & H110 started outperforming the 2400 in the 6" bbl's with both doing 1450fps+ (1400fps with 2400)
    The 8" bbl did 1500fps with MP-300 & H110 (1450fps with 2400)
    The 10" bbl'd contender did 1600fps+ with MP-300 & H110 ( 1500fps+ with 2400)

    I settled on the 14.7gr 2400/170gr bullet for that snubnosed l-comp'd 357 doing 1200fps. Really wasn't too concerned with accuracy, that load easily held 3" @ 50ft.

    When you start seeing a lot of unburnt powder, low velocities or fliers in your groups when using slow powders in your 357 loads. It's a tell tail sign of weak brass/poor short start pressures and worst case inconsistent ignition from light springs in the revolvers.

    Typical 6-shot groups @ 50ft using junk brass that looked like the puppy played with it for a week before reloading. The tell tail fliers
    7yITG2Q.jpg
     
  21. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    I was looking for a 77/357 when I found the 77/44. Bout broke my arm reaching for my wallet: $375 OTD NIB. Never did find a 77/357.
     
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  22. kcofohio
    • Contributing Member

    kcofohio Contributing Member

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    Wow, you got a good deal there! :thumbup:
     
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  23. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Well, I consider IMR4227 and 2400 to be in the same ballpark, burn rate-wise, but how they do it is a little different, or so it seemed to me in my limited testing.

    When I first started loading IMR4227, in the .41MAG, the middle of the pack load (19.5grn under a 215grn cast) was horrible in both my 4" and 6" pistols. I decided to burn it up in my Marlin, so I bumped the charge up to an even 20grn and loaded 700 of them... that's when everything shaped up. While they were excellent in the Marlin, of course, I figured... why not give it a try in the pistol, again? By the time I was done, I had started at the 200yd gong, and worked my way out to the 500yd gong, about 3' x 4' or so... and was making 6 for 6 hits with it, this with a 4" pistol fired off my knees. The load wasn't nearly as dirty as it was just .5grn before, so I obviously found somewhere it liked.

    My experiments with 2400, compared to IMR4227, in the .41, showed me what I had found years ago as well... 2400 didn't work as well as IMR4227... for me, at least. I could never quite get the accuracy out of it I got with IMR4227. I probably should have kept working with it, but I didn't see where it would have wound up better than IMR4227, and abandoned my testing.

    This is, of course, just my .02 worth. I think you are on the right path, anyway... it sounds like you have the time, so keep working with it. If you don't get the results you want, it wouldn't hurt to try a dash of IMR4227... ;)
     
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  24. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    This is my current control load and I try and shoot a few to warm up and foul the gun. One could say I was not on my best today but I use it as a relative measurement for the test loads. 20210919_115342.jpg
    This was the 13.7 grain load. It started burning cleaner and I had one flier. I backed off a tenth when switching to mag primers. This is showing me I need to keep going up as accuracy is improving and its getting cleaner. 20210919_115447.jpg
     
  25. AJC1

    AJC1 Member

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    The lowest charge of 13.3 was cleaner than its standard primer counterparts, but was garbage. 20210919_115608.jpg
     
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