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357Mag Pros Please Chime In!

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by uncle.45, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. uncle.45

    uncle.45 Member

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    I've been loading all my 45acp ammo for about 3 1/2 years, and I decided to get a 3" Ruger SP101 in 357 Magnum that I want to reload for.
    I will start with 500 pieces of Starline brass, but would really appreciate recommendations from you regarding choice of bullets, powder, primers, etc..
    For now, I will load all my range ammo, and after some practice will also load SD ammo.
    (Please save that debate for another thread)
    After choosing appropriate powder, etc. I will reference manuals and carefully work up loads, so I don't really need that info, but if you have a 'pet' mid-or-higher load to share, I would be glad to know it.
    Thanks for any/all input everyone!
     
  2. rg1

    rg1 Member

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    I've tried 2400, Win296-H110, Blue Dot (don't use) and Accurate Arms AA#9 powder with AA#9 being the best in my revolvers and Marlin lever action rifle. My bullet of choice is Hornady 158 gr. XTP's both hollowpoint and flat point XTP's. Using various brass mostly RP and CCI 500 and 550 mag primers. Accurate Arms 1st manual tested with standard CCI 500's while later AA data tests with the 550 mag primer. Use Accurate Arms data available on-line. My best loads are using AA data just short of their maximum load. Good accuracy and no issues in both rifle and pistol and the XTP is a good bullet for hunting or SD and not too expensive to plink-practice with. You won't find a better bullet than the 158 gr. Hornady XTP for .357 Magnum. Make sure your sizing die sizes to give good bullet tension in the case and give a firm roll crimp to the case mouth.
     
  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Full power? Coated 158 Gr SWC and 2400.

    Medium power? Same bullet, BE-86

    Light plinker? WST or Competition, same bullet will work, but I use the X-Treme 158 Gr SWC
     
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  4. LaneP

    LaneP Member

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    I like shooting something a little under full power loads in the .357, and for me I've used Unique, CFE-P and A2400 with good results. I've leaned toward 125 grain JHP for SD loads. 158 and 170 grain SWC GC make great general purpose bullets. For those days you want to impress friends with your fireball making skills, look to H110, W296 and Lil Gun.
     
  5. uncle.45

    uncle.45 Member

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    Thanks, rg1! That's a good start.
    You, too, Walkalong! I use a LOT of Precision SWCs already. That simplifies my supply orders.
    Even for casual target, I will likely stick to medium and higher loads, so BE86 and 2400 should be good choices.
     
  6. mdi

    mdi Member

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    For newer reloaders starting a new cartridge, I suggest starting with a tried and true load. For 357 Magnum I'd say a jacketed 158 gr bullet, soft point, hollow point, etc. Jacketed bullets are a bit easier to load than cast and all problems have been worked out and info readily available. I still use middle of the load powders. like Unique and Universal and easily get stout and mild loads. Find a load in your reloading manual, buy listed components, and use starting loads. By the tome you finish the box of bullets you'll have a good "feel" for reloading the cartridge and then can go with different components. I shoot a lot of cast, and PCed quite a few. Besides my Lachmiller mold dropping a nice 160 gr, SWC I also shoot a bunch of Lee 125 gr. RNFP, both nekkid and PCed.

    I never cared for H110/W296 mainly because I wanted more versatile powders and those two are Magnum Powders that don't lend themselves to lighter loads. I have used Unique, Universal, Blue Dot, and 2400 for a lot of my loads with 158 gr bullets and even used the same powders I used for 38 Special..
     
  7. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Coated lead 158 gr bullets and 2400 powder.
     
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  8. Glockula

    Glockula Member

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    I use mostly 158s in .357 mag, revolver and lever action rifle. I load for 4 .357 mag revolvers and a Rossi 92. Unique handles my mid level plinking bullets. I dont use a lot of lead in .357 just .38 special really. So plated bullets and occasional lead 158s get a medium charge of unique.

    Full bore .357s get 2400 or AA#9. I have used mostly Hornady xtp and xtpfp in 158. Some xtp 125s and speer 158 gold dots as well. I like 2400 better but have used more AA#9 due to availability.

    I use a light, no kidding light, roll crimp on trimmed cases. You only need to trim handgun brass once, why not. It helps feeding in the rifle and they slide right in a revovler. Good luck and be safe!
     
  9. uncle.45

    uncle.45 Member

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    Thanks for the valuable input guys!
    I have used Win WLPs exclusively for the last two years with 100% reliable function.
    Don't 357s use SPPs? Should I use magnum primers, or are they necessary? Win WSPMs?
     
  10. sequins

    sequins Member

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    Missouri bullet company LSWC bullets in 158gn are my preferred blinkers. I really like 158s out of my SP101 2.25in and the price is great. Coated lead is really nice!

    I load gold dots, HTPs, as well but for plinking its MBC for me.

    Mild to wild I like AA#7, AA#9, 2400, H110, and Lil' Gun. I usually load towards wild since the sp101 can take it. I get great accuracy.
     
  11. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    Magnum primers are only needed with the slowest powders like HS-6, H-110. Powders, if we knew what you have it would help. 357 can use most any powder from Bullseye to H110. And there are so many bullets to choose from. My preference is MBC .357 Action coated
     
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  12. uncle.45

    uncle.45 Member

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    My current powder stash is probably no help. All I have right now is HP38 and Clays.
    Way too fast for magnum applications, I would think.
    I am leaning toward something like 2400 judging from the suggestions I have been getting.
    I will do some digging through a couple of manuals when I get home from work.
    Will WLPs be good with 2400?
     
  13. uncle.45

    uncle.45 Member

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    Edit-- Will WSPs be good? Doggone autocorrect.
     
  14. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    For full power H110/W296 behind a 158 gr XTP, or 2400. Just for fun plinking I use WST and 158gr MBC 158gr SWC 12 BH with the HyTec coating
     
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Not with Be-86 or 2400. H-110? Yes.
     
  16. uncle.45

    uncle.45 Member

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    I use a bunch of coated bullets from Precision or MBC.
    I'll probably stick with them except for SD loads.
     
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  17. kcofohio
    • Contributing Member

    kcofohio Contributing Member

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  18. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    For decades the staples for high velocity rounds in a 357 Magnum have been H110/W296 (same powder) and 2400. The W296 loads are full power or nothing else as the manufacturer recommends not cutting the loads! However, 2400 is far more flexible and I used 13.5 grs 2400 with a 159 L or JHP only because that was the load Skeeter Skelton recommended to use in a 38 Special case. I think this load is too hot for a 38 Special case, but works fine in a 357 case.

    And as @rg1 said, AA#9 is an excellent powder for full power loads. It is not friendly to reduced loads, I think 2400 is the only magnum powder that really is "friendly", that is not hostile to reduced loads. But none are really usable below magnum levels as the extreme spreads are too high. All of these magnum loads, lead or jacketed, will make a big fireball out of a three inch tube!

    Never use Blue Dot. It only works well in full power loads and jacketed bullets. Extreme spreads are way too wide below full power, and it created severe leading with cast bullets regardless of velocity.

    Smith & Wesson M27-2 6.5” Barrel

    Code:
    158 LSWC Linotype 15.5 W296  Zero Cases CCI500 
    21 June 2008 T =  85 °F  
    
    Ave Vel = 1282   
    Std Dev = 35  
    ES = 128.1  
    High = 1325  
    Low = 1197  
    Number Rounds = 12  
    
    No leading, no extraction issues, heavier recoil than AA#9 load
    
    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  
    
    
    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 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    
    N = 30    
    
    
    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       


    IPF1NO4.jpg

    Colt Trooper MKIII 6" Barrel

    Code:
                                             
    158 gr Valiant LRN 12.0 grs AA#9                                                                         
    R-P 357 cases WSP                                                                                        
    
    19-Sep-18T = 88° F                                                                  
    
    Ave Vel =1118                                                                        
    Std Dev =29                                                                            
    ES  =86.65                                                                              
    High  =1163                                                                             
    Low  =1076                                                                            
    N =11                                                                                    
     
    loud and accurate                                                                                            
    
    158 gr JHP (W/W)  13.5 grs AA#9                                                                           
    R-P nickled 357 cases WSP                                                                            
    
    13-Sep-18 T = 90 ° F                                                                
    
    Ave Vel =1127                                                                        
    Std Dev =61                                                                            
    ES  =187.2                                                                              
    High  =1225                                                                             
    Low  =1037                                                                            
    N =11                                                                                      
    
    
    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
    
    
    158 gr JHP (W/W)  13.5 grs AA#9                   
    R-P nickled 357 cases WSP                            
    
    13-Sep-18 T = 90 ° F            
    
    Ave Vel =1127                    
    Std Dev =61                        
    ES  =187.2                          
    High  =1225                        
    Low  =1037                        
    N =11                                                                                                                                         
    
    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           
    VTtDI0h.jpg


    For lighter loads, I went out and used 357 cases and tried to get close to 38 Special velocities. I never got that low, but came close. I really like Unique, it has been an extremely flexible powder, works its best at mid range velocities, is absolutely outstanding in big cases such as the 44 Special and 45 Long Colt. It is the second oldest powder on the market and that is due to the fact that it works.

    I tried AA#5 and that worked well. AA#5 is a ball powder, supposed developed for the 45 ACP and it shoots well in that caliber also. I was very surprised how well it worked at "38 Special" velocities.

    Colt Trooper MKIII 6" Barrel

    Code:
     158 gr   LRN 4.0 grs Unique lot 364 3/9/1992
    once fired 357 R-P cases WSP
    
    19-Sep-18T = 80 ° F
    
    Ave Vel =719
    Std Dev =27 
    ES  =124.8
    High  =759.3
    Low  =634.4
    N =24
    
    light recoil, accurate, low muzzle blast
    
    158  gr     LRN  4.5  grs  Unique  lot  364  3/9/1992     
    Midway  357  cases  WSP   
    
    13-Sep-18  T  =  72  °  F 
    
    Ave  Vel  =  815 
    Std  Dev  =  26 
    ES    =  106.7 
    High    =  853.5 
    Low    =  746.8 
    N  =  18 
    
    
    Low  recoil,  about  2"  above  point  aim,  accurate,  low  noise   
    
    
     158 gr   LRN 4.5 grs Unique lot 364 3/9/1992
    Master 357 nickled cases WSP
    19-Sep-18 T = 80 ° F
    
    
    Ave Vel = 829
    Std Dev =35 
    ES  =163.3
    High  =887.3
    Low  =724
    N =24
    
      [ATTACH=full]870974[/ATTACH]
    
    
    158  gr     LRN  5.0  grs  Unique  lot  364  3/9/1992     
    R-P  357  cases  WSP   
    
    13-Sep-18  T  =  72  °  F 
    
    Ave  Vel  =  852 
    Std  Dev  =  22 
    ES    =  85.04 
    High    =  891.4 
    Low    =  806.4 
    N  =  24 
    
    
    increased  recoil,  about  2"  above  point  aim,  accurate,  louder     
    
    [ATTACH=full]870975[/ATTACH]
    
    
    158  gr     LRN  5.5grs  Unique  lot  364  3/9/1992     
    R-P  357  cases  WSP   
    
    13-Sep-18  T  =  72  °  F 
       
    Ave  Vel  =  919
    Std  Dev  =  32 
    ES    =  117.2 
    High    =  972.1 
    Low    =  854.9 
    N  =  24 
    
      shot close to point of aim, much louder, more recoil, some leading
    
    [ATTACH=full]870976[/ATTACH]
    
    158 gr   LRN 6.0  grs AA#5 lot DM
    Midway 357 cases WSP
    
    19-Sep-18T = 85 ° F
    
    Ave Vel =837
    Std Dev =30 
    ES  =93.74
    High  =873.2
    Low  =779.5
    N =25
    very accurate, no leading, shot pt of aim, louder, more recoil
    
    158 gr  LRN 6.0  grs AA#5 lot DM   
    R-P 357 cases WSP   
    
    11-Oct-18 T = 71 ° F   
    
    Ave Vel = 824    
    
    Std Dev = 23     
    ES  = 82.73   
    High  = 861.1   
    Low  = 778.4   
    N = 12   
    
    
    [ATTACH=full]870977[/ATTACH]
    
    
    158 gr   LRN 6.5  grs AA#5 lot DM
    Master 357 nickle cases WSP
    
    19-Sep-18T = 85 ° F
    
    Ave Vel =863
    Std Dev =29
    ES  =115.7
    High  =920.1
    Low  =804.4
    N =25
    
    very accurate, no leading, loud, shot point of aim.
    
    
    calibration loads
    
    158  LSWC  Factory  Zero  38  Special  ammunition   
    13-Sep-18  T  =  72  °  F 
    
    Ave  Vel  =  739 
    Std  Dev  =  38 
    ES    =  152.4 
    High    =  804.1 
    Low    =  651.6 
    N  =  18 
    
    158  LSWC  Factory  Hornady    38  Special  ammunition,  box  dated  12-1982   
    13-Sep-18  T  =  90  °  F 
    
    Ave  Vel  =  734 
    Std  Dev  =  16 
    ES    =  50.56 
    High    =  755.8 
    Low    =  705.3 
    N  =  16 
    

     
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  19. Mr_Flintstone

    Mr_Flintstone Member

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    Location:
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    140 gr XTP over H110 or IMR-4227 on the high end; Titegroup or Autocomp for medium loads..
     
  20. mdi

    mdi Member

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    If you're looking for over 1400 fps then use H110/W296, H4227 with a 158 jacketed. For more "sane" loads, up to 1100-1200 fps I use Unique, Universal. When I started loading for my Magnums (mostly 44 Magnums) I has a raging case if "Magnumitis"; full bore, highest velocity, most muzzle blast and recoil the better. That lasted until I had to send my S&W 629 back to the factory for repairs. Since I don't hunt anymore my loads are a lot milder and I can come home with no bloody fingers (square back trigger guard on a Ruger Super Black Hawk), My 357 loads now run about 1,000 fps with a 160 SWC. Much less pain after 100 rounds...
     
  21. IlikeSA

    IlikeSA Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,050
    Titegroup and 2400 load 95% of my 357 loads, from wadcutter plinkers to medium hot. I do keep h110/296 and Lil gun around, but don't use them often.

    I prefer Acme and MBC as bullet makers.
     
  22. frankmako

    frankmako Member

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    Mar 30, 2012
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Southeast Tennessee
    starline brass, 125 or 158 gr fp or hp zero bullet company bullets. titegroup and/or aa#5 powder. standard or mag primers will do, does not matter.
     
  23. beeenbag
    • Contributing Member

    beeenbag Contributing Member

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    As many have said, 2400 is a great powder for 357 magnum. When you get to larger magnums like the 44, then h110/w296 will out perform 2400 by a good margin. The case capacity in 357 mag actually lends itself well to 2400, plus you don’t have to have a magnum primer. If you want light to medium loads, your HP38 will work, but you won’t get that “magnum feel” from it.

    as others have stated as well, xtp bullets are hard to beat in the 357, I like the 158s and the 125s. I load and shoot many more 158s. If you go with a lead swc, make sure you go gas checked, if not then use appropriate load data for a lead bullet, and again, you won’t get that magnum performance doing that.
     
  24. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2011
    Messages:
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    Unique, BE86, and Power Pistol are my choices of powder.

    My bullet choices are 125 gr JHP Montana Gold for about 10 cents each if you buy them by the case or MBC 140 gr coated Zingers.
     
  25. Prowler53

    Prowler53 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2019
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Schuylkill County Pennsylvania
    H110 and Laser cast 158 gr RNFP. Good accurate round and never felt a need to change anything. I do have some unique to use up so I'm planning on loading a couple hundred to try it out.
     
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