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Keith loads in Ruger SP101

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by BattleChimp Potemkin, Sep 24, 2009.

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  1. BattleChimp Potemkin

    BattleChimp Potemkin Member

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    Excuse my potential ignorance :neener:

    I have shot many of my .38 12.5gr of 2400 158gr Keith loads in my GP100, but I have just purchased a SP101 for carry. For backwoods carry or similar, can the SP101 handle such a load? I know they are similar if not crazier than .357, but just wanted to make sure that this .357 gun was like many others.

    I know that many guns are not up to the task of constant .357 diet, such as older K-frame .357s and small .357 snubs, but this SP101 looks like a beast.

    Thanks all!
     
  2. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Your SP-101 is designed to stand up to a steady diet of .357 Magnums - in fact a specialty maker of high performance ammunition told me that the little Ruger is the only one in its class that will. Can't say how well the shooter will hold up though.

    Concerning Elmer Keith. His loads were developed around #2400 powder, that was originally developed for use in shotguns, and as a pistol powder is on the slow burning side. This didn't bother Keith at all, as his personal revolvers had at least 4" barrels. Using #2400 powder in shorter lengths will give you substantial muzzle flash that indicates the powder is burning outside the barrel, and translates into lower performance. You didn't mention the barrel length on your new revolver, but keep in mind that #2400 powder isn't the best choice in a snubby. Also if unburnt powder gets under the extractor star you are going to risk having the cylinder bind up.
     
  3. BattleChimp Potemkin

    BattleChimp Potemkin Member

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    3" barrel (for some reason, just didn't care for the 2" SP, the extra inch hides just as well).

    I have fired my Keith loads in a 2 1/4" 686, the flash wasn't terrible and the unburnt powder wasn't horrible either. The boom was another critter though! :D

    I was just concerned with the SP not liking (comploding in my hand) from a Keith load here and there.
     
  4. middy

    middy Member

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    I'm not sure you should be handloading hot .38s if you don't even know whether the pressure level is acceptable in a .357 revolver. :neener:
     
  5. Wil Terry

    Wil Terry Member

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    The Hercules propellent 2400 was developed as a RIFLE powder specifically for the 22HORNET rifle cartridge; it was NOT a shotgun powder perse' at all.
    I have shot thousands of the KEITH 38 loads--158gr SWC bullets riding 11.5g to as much as 13.5gr of 2400 in a S&W 3" M60 TARGET with nary a problem. NONE of the KEITH 38SPL loads exceed 357MAG pressures so they are perfectly safe in any 357MAG pistol. I know this from running them through the pressure gun.
     
  6. BattleChimp Potemkin

    BattleChimp Potemkin Member

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    Awesome! Time for some backwoods fun!
     
  7. wheelgunslinger

    wheelgunslinger Member

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    bwahahahaha funny stuff.

    I'd like to see some good photography of the chimp firing those rounds from that SP. I bet the flash would be epic.
     
  8. Landric

    Landric Member

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    I shoot 13 grains of 2400 with a 173 grain Keith LSWC all the time in my SP101. Mine are loaded in .357 brass, but I'm thinking of switching to .38 Special brass since it is easier to get and would allow me to crimp in the crimp groove. The 173 grain LSWC in .357 brass won't fit in the SP cylinder if its crimped in the crimp groove.
     
  9. BattleChimp Potemkin

    BattleChimp Potemkin Member

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    Now, I take objection to the .38 loading question! I have been loading for a while now! If you smartycats are so smart, what would the pressure levels on the Keith load be? :neener: :D I kid!

    My main concern was that the Keiths that I load and fire have a horrendous boom and lots of recoil. I was concerned with the idea of them in a small pistol (though reinforced, the SP is still a smaller gun) potentially damaging it. I dont mind if I damage myself (recoil hit head! :D ), just dont want anything backing out of the gun or comploding. I am also concerned, though they are "safe" in a .357, I always wonder what their pressure level would be.

    As for a pic, once I get another batch together, count on a "range report" on the loads and out of that particular gun. I would be remissed in not relaying how the SP does with Keith loads. I am a huge fan of them and think they would make a great backwoods/survival/shtf type load for .357s. Lots of folks carry these SPs and I think that would make them a good bear country load.
     
  10. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    If you're using EK's data, you will not hurt the SP. I've fired amped up 200 grain handloads out of them.

    I believe the unburned powder theory is a myth, isn't it?
     
  11. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Uh, I understand getting a bug up your butt to replicate Elmer Keith's experimental loads.

    But there's no practical reason in the world not to just load the same bullet over 2400 in the nice, thick .357 Magnum brass that Elmer Keith, himself, was quite happy to use once it became available.
     
  12. Archie

    Archie Member

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    The Ruger revolvers will handle most anything reasonable in the caliber marked on the gun. Keith loads in an SP 101 will not destroy it. As Old Fuff implied, you will probably give up before the gun does.

    Slower powders in shorter barrels does give more muzzle flash. However, powder burn rate is dependent on bullet weight, not barrel length. The fastest load in the long barrel will also give the fastest load in the short barrel; however the shorter barrel velocity will be slower than the longer barrel velocity.

    Pretty much all loads produce some unburnt powder. It is just the nature of the function. Lower pressure loads (which do not generate as much internal temperature) result in more unburnt powder. So if any given load is producing a noticeable amount of unburnt powder particles (say that three times, fast), the load is under pressure. By this, I mean under the optimum burning pressure for that powder.

    Which reminds me; I have to finish and publish that article on powder burn rate and selection.
     
  13. Stainz

    Stainz Member

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    Of course, the SP101, like the S&W 60, started life as a .38 Special. Bill Ruger thought it should be a .357M, and some were reamed/labelled for same. Sadly, they had to be limited to physicall short, ie, 110/125 gr, bullets. So the cast cylinder opening was slightly opened and the cylinder lengthened. Such models were denoted by an 'X' suffix - like KSP-331X - a 3" .357M - and all subsequent models, including the .22 & .32 models, were so lengthened. It - and the S&W 60, which is forged and heat-treated, will both handle standard .357 Magnums and offer a long life so doing. I am not that impressed with the construction of the SP101 vs the 60 - and would not load either to over SAAMI spc's for the .357 Magnum.

    Now, there was a limited run of the Redhawk in .357 Magnum. That could stand a bit more oomph - perhaps even the .357 Maximum. Oddly, my first vision, upon reading 'Keith level loads', was of .44 Specials - and his development of the .44 Magnum.

    Stainz
     
  14. BattleChimp Potemkin

    BattleChimp Potemkin Member

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    Armed Bear: I understand your reasoning. But with a name like BattleChimp, practicality is NOT an option! :D

    I got a good load from another guy on the Ruger Forum that uses .357 brass, gets it up to 1000 fps from a 4" and very mild. It is a moderator's "tactical" load. Yes I can go up from there. But, there is a heritage and history to Keith's loads. You ask the average shooter of my age what a Keith load is, they will think its a singer or something. Its sort of a nod to my father and grandfather.
     
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