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357Mag Pros Please Chime In!

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

  1. Eddietruett

    Eddietruett Member

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    After loading for 40+ years, I've tried most out there. What I use today for 99% of my loading with .38/.357 is 4 powders. Bullseye for 148gr HBWC for my 25 yard getting serious target shooting. Universal with Hytek Coated 130gr and 158gr for the majority of my shooting which includes shooting plates up to 100 yards. H110 & 2400 for Hunting and also shooting some long range target. I use H110 with 180gr Hytek Coated for Hog Hunting and 2400 for 158gr Jacked HP for Deer Hunting. Would probably use 2400 for all of my hot magnums, but the H110 shoots the 180gr Bullet much more accurate at 50 yards and does give me a little more velocity but that is icing on the cake. 2400 would push it plenty fast enough and 2400 doesn't have to be pushed close to max to get a good load like H110. I would never say what I use is the best. Its just what works the best for me. There are a lot of good powders out there today and sometimes you just have to try different combinations to see what works best in your particular gun. That is what is so much fun to me about reloading. Sometimes the smallest adjustment can make huge differences in accuracy.
     
  2. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    You should "reverse" you procedure.

    Read and Reference several loading manuals first, then make decisions based on that.

    If you plan to shoot lead, then get Lyman Cast Bullet manual. XTPs then get Hornadys manuals et etc. They have the information for a reason.:)
    The brand of primers and brass is not that big a deal, Can't go wrong with Starline.
     
  3. uncle.45

    uncle.45 Member

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    Lots of good info. Thank you guys!
    A nearby LGS stocks 2400 and BE86.
    I will get a bottle of each and work up a couple of loads.
    (Once the bullets get here)
    Thanks for the help, everyone!
    As usual, The High Road is a great forum!
     
  4. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    The SP101 is small for a magnum and needs light loads rather than "medium to heavy". You'll thank me for that advice. Look for a powder that is common to 38+p and minimum .357 Magnum and work in that range with .357 brass. It will be off the books but works great. I am currently using 5.0 BE-86 with 158 lead for "lite", stepped up to 6.2 for Tier I. I use 4.6 Bullseye with 125 gr, the same charge as my 45 ACP. With 125 gr XTPs I use 7.0 of SR4756 for "lite", but with that powder discontinued I would probably go to BE-86. I also use 7.0 with 140 gr for "Tier I". These classifications are for recoil levels and appropriate gun size. I have the SP101, a model 19-4, a Match Champion, and a rifle. I don't go to Tier II until the 19-4, saving full power for the Match Champion, which itself is challenged, allowing that the original .357 Magnum pistol was a relatively massive Smith N-frame.
     
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  5. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Yep, trying to squeeze full house magnum loads out of a 3" barrel is just an effort in futility.
    Yes as a "general" rule the slower powders will yield the highest velocity but in a 3" barrel all you gain is flash and boom. Powders like HP38 and Unique are more than enough. Once the OP gets tired of full house mags he will see the light!:) I did a lot of tests with a 2.25 SP101 and the extra powder is not worth it!
     
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  6. sequins

    sequins Member

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    I find heavy loads of H110/2400 in my SP101 to be no problem. I did have to adjust for end shake after about a thousand of them though. I'd rather wear out a gun than die with a safe full of queens and I love recoil.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2019
  7. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    With the 3" barrel, the efficiency of the slow magnum powders (H110, Lil'Gun, IMR4227, 300-MP, Enforcer, AA#9) will be very poor. They will still produce velocities greater than the medium-burn-rate powders, but hardly enough more to make them worth using twice as much powder and blowing giant flame balls.

    Because of the 3" barrel, I suggest Longshot and Power Pistol. If you need higher velocities, you could use Blue Dot or 2400, but at some point in the demand for velocity it makes more sense to get a longer barrel. Longshot and Power Pistol will deliver .357 Magnum loads out of a 3" revolver barrel that are at least as fast as similar weight bullets from 9x19mm and a 3.5" barrel. BE-86 is another powder I think is excellent. It delivers slightly lower velocities than Power Pistol but it has a flash suppressant, and it's more efficient. With one of these powders and the right bullet choice, you can have an effective defensive round or a practice bullet that mimics it.

    I think fast powders like HP-38, Titegroup, Red Dot, Bullseye, and Unique may fail to deliver velocities that many defensive bullets need for reliable expansion and sufficient penetration. Therefore, they also may not deliver sufficient recoil with practice bullets to imitate defensive ammunition, and the point of impact may also vary substantially.

    For bullets, the optimum choice for a defensive load is going to depend on the velocity you settle on. For practice bullets, I suggest RMR plated hollowpoints that will have a similar length to hollowpoint defensive bullets, but at a lower cost. Berry's plated hollowpoints also work fine. Occasionally, a low price can be found on Speer Total Metal Jacket (TMJ) bullets. These are also plated. I have not tried them, but also consider Montana Gold jacketed hollowpoints as an alternative to plated bullets for practice.
     
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  8. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    I had a friend who loaded full house 44 mag with Bullseye.

    I haven't used Clays. But Hodgdon's website shows up to 4.6 gr, 1079 fps, 33,600 CUP with 158 gr LSWC.
    HP-38 I have used. Per Hodgdon 5 gr, 1109 fps, 23,900 CUP, same bullet.
    Lee #2 HP-38 W-231: 6.2-6.7 gr, 1,275 fps, 42,500 CUP, same bullet.
    While not the ideal powders, they can be used. 2400 I haven't used, but it is reportedly one of the best for 357. If it is recommended by Walkalong, you can't go wrong.
     
  9. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    If you load a powder like Bullseye to the maximum pressure the cylinder allows, the result will be a "full house Magnum" but it will still be more than 200 fps slower than a load with the same peak pressure level with H110. The reason powders like Bullseye produce lower velocities is because they reach maximum pressure quickly, and then the pressure drops quickly. A powder like H110 produces high pressure for a longer period of time. If you compare the time/pressure curve on x-y axis, Bullseye will have a sharp spike whereas a powder like H110 will have more area under a broad pressure curve. The longer the barrel, the more of that area under the broad curve is meaningful. With a short barrel, a lot of it gets cut off on the time axis because the bullet exits the muzzle. In a .357 rifle, the difference can be many hundreds of fps. In a snubnose, the "slow" powder still produces more velocity, but it may only be 25 fps more than a medium burn rate powder, and less than 100 fps more than a somewhat fast powder.
     
  10. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    Faster powders can also produce a sharp recoil impulse. I stopped using Unique beyond a mid-level at best, and it is not as fast as Bullseye (went to AA#7, which will get your attention too).
     
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  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    We are very lucky today. Along with the old standby magnum powders many others have been added in the past 10 years.

    Older top end magnum powders are:
    2400, AA#9, AA 4100, H110/W296, VV N110 and IMR4227.

    Newer top end magnum powders are:
    Power Pro 300-MP, AA#11FS, Enforcer and Lil'Gun.

    There are very good powders from VihtaVouri, Noble and now Shooters Choice but I don't know anything about them personally but for 1 VV powder. I specifically said top end that's why I left off powders like Blue Dot, Herco and others just below full magnum strength.
     
  12. Mr_Flintstone

    Mr_Flintstone Member

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    Someone correct me if I’m wrong here, but in a shorter barrel like the 3” one the OP mentioned, wouldn’t you want a faster powder to reach max pressure quicker? Doesn’t a lot of the oomph! of a slower powder like H110 go out the end of a short barrel as a big ol’ flame? I’d think that you’d want to find a powder that finishes most of it's burn and expansion just as it leaves the end of the barrel.
     
  13. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    No, it it's still about energy, you need more of a slower powder to get more speed without going over pressure. The powder is burned before it leaves the barrel in any reasonable load.
     
  14. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I believe Enforcer is AA4100 rebranded for the Ramshot line.
     
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  15. joneb

    joneb Member

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    I disagree, my 2 3/4" barreled Ruger security Six does very well with Accurate #9 and 2400. Best accuracy with Hornady 158gr XTP's along with the most velocity.
     
  16. Glockula

    Glockula Member

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    Yes. That is what I use
     
  17. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    My facts are correct. A slow powder will deliver more velocity in any practical barrel length than a fast powder. However, the efficiency will be very poor and with short barrels the velocity advantage of slow powders could be as little as 15 fps or some other meaningless amount of additional velocity. I suggest working it out based on your specific barrel length and powder choice.

    Slow powders are rarely 100% burned before the bullet base exits the muzzle with most revolver barrel lengths. Even with a 6" barrel, a full load of H110 might only be 75% burned before the bullet exits -- this does not mean that load will produce lower velocities than a powder that burns 100%. In fact, the 75% burn of H110 often results in greater velocity than a 100% burn of a faster powder like Power Pistol.

    If you are burning 100% of the powder before the bullet exits, you are not maximizing velocity. Ideally, you would maintain the maximum peak pressure (like 35,000 psi) all the way until the bullet exits. We don't have a powder that does that, but if we did, it would certainly still be burning at exit time.

    Slow powders are less efficient. That means you might have to use twice as much powder to gain only 10% more velocity. The shorter the barrel length, the less efficient the powder is. So with a 6" barrel, H110 might give you 20% more velocity than half as much Power Pistol, but with the same load of H110 in a 2" barrel, you might only get 3% more velocity than the Power Pistol load. You will still get more, but is it worth it? You might be burning twice as much mass of powder, and we pay by the mass. That powder mass also adds significantly to recoil and in the case of the short barrel, you're suffering meaningfully more recoil without meaningfully greater bullet velocity. Bear in mind the powder is accelerated to a much higher velocity than the bullet. You're paying the recoil price to accelerate powder mass that does not hit the target.
     
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  18. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    My favorite "full power" plinking load is a Hi Tem coated RNFP over 15.2gr of H110. I realize it's not really a full power load, more like 92% of full power, but they are accurate, fun to shoot and don't have obnoxious recoil. I loaded these tonight.
    2019-11-13_19-37-44_002.jpg
    My other favorite 357 load is a 130gr Hi Tek bullet over 7.6 gr of Unique. A bit less recoil, but still feels pretty stout in an SP101 or my 3 inch model 60
     
  19. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with. I certainly did not contradict what you've written there. In a 2 3/4" barrel, a maximum published load of Accurate #9 under a 158 gr. XTP will burn about 77% before the bullet leaves the barrel. There is nothing wrong with this and as you've seen it can produce good results. But consider that a full load of #5 might only be about 30 fps slower in that barrel length. With the #9, you will burn 30% more powder to get about 30 fps more velocity. Now in a 6" real-world revolver barrel (not a test barrel), #9 could deliver over 70 fps more velocity than #5.

    What I've explained is true. Of course, my numbers are estimates, but the principles they represent are real. It is up to you to load up, shoot over a chronograph and see or otherwise decide what you like.
     
  20. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    What gun are you shooting? Barrel length?
     
  21. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    JMTCs.

    Even tho you have been reloading .45ACP, revolver crimps and the issues with possible leading at the higher velocities/pressures of magnum type loadings, I always suggest someone new to reloading for magnum revolvers, stick with jacketed bullets. Just so much easier to get a relatively accurate load right away. I also suggest to to buy anything in bulk until you have found what works well for you and your gun, Saving 2 cents a bullet ain't much of a savings if you find you don;t like it or it doesn't perform well outta your gun. An 8# jug of powder isn't a wise investment unless you use all of it before it goes bad. Buy some name brand jacketed bullets in 100 count boxes and a coupla one # jugs of powder after seeing what your manuals suggest. Once you have become proficient with the easy stuff, and find what works for you, you can move on to lead/plated/coated, buying bullets by the thousands and buy those 8# jugs. Watch for sales on brass and bullets and stock up when they are cheap, not when you need them. They never go bad.
     
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  22. murf

    murf Member

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    let us know how it is going with your load workup. we all like to learn new things here.

    luck,

    murf
     
  23. Hondo 60
    • Contributing Member

    Hondo 60 Member

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    OP - you haven't said if you want a plinking load, or a hunting load.

    For a mid level hunting load, I'd use 2400 & a 158 gr Hornady XTP.
    Or you might like Accurate 5, 7 or 9

    For just messin around I'd probably dumb it down to a lead 125 or 158.
    Please, please, please be careful.
    Some loads with a 125 gr lead pill can very easily be doubled.
    This will cause the gun to go bye-bye. :what:
    Please don't ask. :(
     
  24. Jonesy814

    Jonesy814 Member

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    A variety, SP101, 3" model 60, 2.5, 3 and 4 inch 686 and a 6" Highway Patrolman
     
  25. IWAC

    IWAC Member

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    I am going to be in the minority, here.
    I have shot "Skeeter's Load" 13.5 gr. 2400, 158 gr. SWC, 357 brass, in my S&W 586 4", and didn't like it very much, thank you!
    My brother in law and I settled on what we called "hot .38, Mild magnum loads. More fun to shoot accurately. For 30 + years my go-to IPSC and everything load was/is 150-158 gr. Cast SWC, 5.5 gr. Unique. 4" barrel, 860 fps chrono'ed, pleasant to shoot, and very likely adequate for any reasonable need. The recoil is similar to Speer's 357 Magnum Short barrel 135 gr load. Nice ammo, but expen$ive!
    "The Revolver Guy" has some interesting comments on his web site regarding 38+P/357 magnum loads. One I recall is that few people have the time, money,or dedication to become truly proficient with .357 magnum full snort loads.
    Federal has recently introduced a 130 gr. HST 38 +P loading that has shown great results in Lucky Gunner tests, as well as another site on YouTube. Velocity is 825 fps from a 2" barrel. and 850 from a 4". I have recently obtained a small sample of the bullets, and will be trying to approach Federal's advertised velocity of 890 fps, using my old reliable powders..Universal and Unique. AA#5 is still an untried quantity, but I expect good results from it, also.
     
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