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.357 magnum: what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by carterbeauford, Dec 2, 2006.

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  1. carterbeauford

    carterbeauford member

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    I loaded 12 .357 magnum cartridges with two different kinds of bullets according to my Lee manual and not one of them fired successfully.

    Remington brass, Winchester 125gr JHP, CCI primers and loads working up from 6.7 to 7 grains of Green Dot. All of them went "pop" and lodged the bullet in the barrel with the powder behind it. None of the powder ignited.

    Same brass and primer, Hornady 180 grain CL, from 5.4 to 6.0 grains of Green Dot. These ones fired but with no recoil and I watched the bullet fly downrange.

    Min OAL is within spec, what am I doing wrong? :confused:
     
  2. 8ring

    8ring Member

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    Here are my suggestions. Are you using small pistol magnum primers? I've had several squibs like you described (bullet halfway down barrel with burnt powder behind it) in .357 using mag primers and minimum loads of Titegroup. My theory is that the mag primer blows the bullet out of the case before the powder starts to burn. The pressure decreases as the bullet leaves the case, the powder doesn't burn completely, and a squib results. (This is a theory only.)

    Second, did you have a tight crimp on the bullet?

    Third, was all the cleaning media removed from the flash holes? Any debris can cause incomplete ignition.

    I know this can be frustrating. I suggest a slower burning powder that will fill more of the case. Unique, Universal, Power Pistol, or VV N-340 can all provide good mid-range loads for your .357.

    Chris
     
  3. snuffy

    snuffy Member

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    wet, oily?

    At least the primers are firing! Sounds like something is contaminating the powder. Did you clean the cases with a liquid cleaner? Maybe they were not completely dry. Or it could be excess case lube inside the case??
     
  4. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Of the five manuals that I have only one lists Green Dot and that one is my Alliant manual of year 2000. and it has only one listing and that is 7.3 grains for a 125 grain JHP. Are you using magnum primers? If so, try Winchester WSPM primers. They are a little hotter then CCI. Next I would make sure you are getting a good crimp. Next...How old and how was the powder stored?

    Personally I would go to a more popular powder with more load data then Green Dot. Oh...Say...Something like W-296, Alliant 2400, etc, etc...:)
     
  5. carterbeauford

    carterbeauford member

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    snuffy, that makes sense, but since I'm using carbide dies, no lube has touched the cases. They are factory new, clean as can be. All I did was size them. Brand new container of powder, too.

    8ring, they are regular CCI small pistol primers. No crimp as my die set doesn't have a crimping die. The bullet were seated tight in the neck, though. Would you recommend getting a crimping die?
     
  6. Derby FALs

    Derby FALs Member In Memoriam

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    Use magnum primers and a tiny fluff of polyfill on top of the powder. I used to use cornstarch but it raised the pressure too much.
     
  7. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  8. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    NO CRIMP? On a magnum cartridge it is a must...:eek: Recommended crimp die... Lee FCD...:)
     
  9. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    your seating die has a role crimp built into it.
    Best way to find out is this take a sized case and put in the seating die with seating plug removed. Now with the locking ring loosened/removed screw the die down until it touches the case mouth then turn it down 1/8 to a 1/4 turn more and you should
    have a nice role crimp. If you have a loaded case run it into the die and crimp the bullet then replace the seating plug while the case is in the die and lock every thing in place you should be good to go.
    I just went thru the same thing with a fellow I work with who had the same problem
     
  10. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Are you absolutely sure your die doesn't crimp? I've never heard of a handgun bullet seating die that didn't have a crimper built in.

    Regardless, I can't believe that a lack of crimp would cause complete lack of powder ignition. I'd switch to magnum caps, if you aren't already using them. Frankly, though, it sounds like you may have a bad batch of powder.
     
  11. 8ring

    8ring Member

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    Follow the instructions that came with your die set to obtain a good roll crimp. Try your loads again.

    Check Alliant's website but I don't think they recommend magnum primers for .357 Green Dot loads.

    Does this powder have an odd amonia smell? If so, it has probably gone bad. Bring it to the dealer and see what they think.

    (Have you used this batch of powder with any other cartridges? What results?)

    If this doesn't work, I'd suggest trying a different powder. If you're a beginner, avoid the extremely fast powders and slow full house load powders (H-110, 2400, 296) with your first loads.
     
  12. carterbeauford

    carterbeauford member

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    [​IMG]

    This is what the neck looks like. Tried and retried and cannot get the Lee carbide bullet seating die to make anything that looks like a crimp. In front is my reload, in back is an HSM factory load.

    Haven't tried this powder on anything else, only thing I have is .357 magnum and .38 special.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    What Die?

    Excellent pic. What die?

    Lee makes a carbide crimp die. They work OK. It's designed to make sure loaded rounds will fit the chamber. Unless it is a bad die it should crimp fine. Read the directions with it. I have one for an auto cartridge. It may not be adjusted right. Is this the die?
     

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  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Straight from Lee website.


     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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  16. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    Does that mean that standard Lee seating dies do not offer a built-in crimper?
     
  17. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    The Lee seating dies for revolver cartridges will roll crimp like any other seating die regardless of whether the die set comes with a Factory crimp die or not. You just don't use it for crimping if you want to crimp seperately using the FC die.

    Regarding carterbeauford's problem I think most of the angles have been comvered by previous posters. If I was hazzarding a guess it would be that the powder is bad, either the load got contaminated or the canister was stored improperly if the whole can is bad. Green dot is a relatively fast shotgun/pistol powder and easily ignighted if good.

    Besides having a bad smell you can test smokeless powder by taking a very small amount, perhaps one of the small Lee dippers full and placing it on a surface where it can be burned. Touch it off using barbecue starter or long match. It should burn brightly and quickly. If the powder is bad it will burn similar to paper. Don't try this with black powder as it goes up in a flash with lots of smoke.
     
  18. MutinousDoug

    MutinousDoug Member

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    Not familiar with Green dot, but is it a fine grained powder? I had to stop using Win 452AA in my 12 ga trap load 'cause it seemed to block the flash hole and cause squib loads with Rem primers (that weren't sealed). These were old components. I thought the powder was getting between the cup and the anvil?
    Or maybe between the primer and the flashhole?
     
  19. Powderman

    Powderman Member

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    First off, Green Dot is a flake powder. It will burn fine with standard primers.

    Second, check your seating die. Make sure that someone at the factory didn't do something stupid like throw in a .357 MAXIMUM die into the box.

    If it says .38/357 Magnum or something resembling that, it should be OK.

    Now, next thing is how to install your seater/crimper.

    First thing, take your seater plug and screw it all the way UP into the die, until it stops. Put your shellholder into the press, and insert a loaded factory round.

    Raise the ram on the press all he way. Now, screw the die into the press--OVER the cartridge--until you feel it stop. You should DEFINITELY feel it stop. When this happens, lower the ram a hair, and screw the die in 1/4 turn ONLY. Raise the ram again--you should feel a definite resistance at the very top of the ram movement. This is the crimping shoulder acting the way it should. With the ram all the way up, the cartridge is locking the die in place; tighten your lock ring at that point.

    Now, screw in the seater plug until you feel it make firm contact with the bullet itself. Lock it in place, and the job's done.
     
  20. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    OHHH I just had a weird thought.
    Carter,
    You where using 6.7 to 7 grains weight of powder NOT 6.7 to 7 actual flakes of powder where you? Using just a few flakes of powder would explain the slight "pop", low power or lack of ignition.

    If you did confuse the term grain weight with the use of grain as a small piece or particle of powder go ahead and admit to it. We will all have a good laugh with you.
     
  21. Powderman

    Powderman Member

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    You know, that would be kinda cool!

    Think of how many cases of ammunition you could load from one can of powder!
     
  22. IDriveB5

    IDriveB5 Member

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    if you are using 231, do you need magnum primers for lead loads? how do you know when you need a magnum primer? Lees manual doesnt mention magnum or regular primer as far as i can tell.
     
  23. Powderman

    Powderman Member

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    Over the years, I have studied powder burning charts. These list canister-grade powders in ranking from fastest to slowest. The fast powders are generally suited for handgun use. The medium ranges can be used in handgun and shotgun; the slow handgun powders are generally used only for magnum loads in handguns.

    Now, the slowest burning powder for handguns is usually faster-burning than the fastest suitable powders for rifles; long guns are a different story altogether. Confused yet? ;)

    At any rate, I have sorted powders for my personal use. I define powders with burning rates similar to Alliant Unique and faster as fast burning powders. Standard primers are used exclusively.

    Powders with relative burning rates slower than Unique MAY rate a magnum primer; this depends on manufacturer's recommendations.

    Powders that should ALWAYS be loaded with magnum primers for handgun shooting are H-110, W296 and Alliant 2400.
     
  24. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    Grain? Whats a Grain?

    Not a bad thought. How would one know until he studies reloading. An easy mix up. I wondered what a "Grain" of powder was when I first started. A granule right? NOT!
     
  25. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Now that would be tedious. Counting out 7 pieces of powder. How would you figure .7 of a flake?:confused:
     
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