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Primer query relating to .38/.357

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Eightball, Jul 31, 2007.

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  1. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Okay, so I have a bunch of regular primers for .38spl (small pistol), and am thinking of working up some smokin' .357 loads for Friday when I'm hitting the range next. I'm planning on loading up some old 158gr Speer JHPs with some 2400, but am curious--will the regular small pistol primers suffice for .357 mag loads, or do I need to drive 10 miles to go to the nearest place that sells primers? :banghead:

    And, as a second question.....given a choice between 125gr. XTP and 158gr Speer JHPs, what would be a better bullet choice for a personal-protection in a .357 load that uses 2400?
     
  2. Snapping Twig

    Snapping Twig Member

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    Regular primers should do the trick. As to the best SD rounds, I understand the 125g JHP has few equals.
     
  3. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    So, would there even be a benefit to using the magnum primers for that load?

    And, why does the 125 have few equals? sorry to ask such presumably obvious questions, but I've got a lot to learn about reloading, still, other than following the usual pattern and following load data in a book.
     
  4. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    Its best to use standard primers with 2400 as its an easy to lite powder. Magnum primers with 2400 will get you over pressure well before reaching maximum loads. If you where using a ball powder thats harder to lite off like Hf110 then a magnum primer is specified in the loading data.

    Personally I prefer heavier bullets of 158gr or more for 2400 as the amount of powder used for light weight bullets like the 125's uses up the powder quickly and I can get as good or better velocity using Blue Dot with less flame cutting.

    When the .357 mag was common for police carry the police sometimes called the 125gr Remington or Federal JHP's the "majic bullet". Driven at 1,450 fps from a 4" barrel in full power magnum loads as a man stopper it had an unequaled record of 96% one shot stops. Very effective, very lethal, these are standard semi jacketed bullets, nothing fancy like the more recent bonded core bullets. Both these loads are still available from Federal and Remington. They are however a rip snorting load with major muzzle blast and significant recoil.
     
  5. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    The Load Data on the Alliant WEB site lists a Federal 200 primer which is a Magnum primer for all thier .357 Magnum loads with all their powders.
     
  6. nitesite

    nitesite Member

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    I have great success with standard small pistol primers with many of my .357 Magnum® handloads. But I use heavy bullets, so I'm not trying to light off large charges under light bullets.
     
  7. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    So, if I'm not trying to "light off large charges under light bullets", then I should be fine with Standard for these 158s? Or, would I need magnum primers for the 125grs?
     
  8. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    So, looking again in my reloading book, here's the loads I see listed that apply to me due to the powders/bullets I have, and information about them {Speer Reloading Manual #10} (and oh yeah, they're 125 gr, they were in the wrong box...then I have about a half dozen 160gr jacketed wadcutterish-looking HPs):

    *denotes use of 550 magnum primer

    125gr SPEER Hollowpoint, .357 dia.
    Powder | Weight(gr.) | MV
    2400: *19.5, 1555
    ........ *17.5, 1399

    231: 9.1, 1381
    ........ 8.6, 1308

    Bullseye: 8.3, 1314
    ............. 7.8, 1239


    Now, my question is, if I'm trying to get a nice, screaming hot (within loads listed, of course) .357 magnum load with these 125 gr, and have those powders but no magnum primers, what load should I use?
     
  9. Bula

    Bula Member

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    I load lots of hot 158 grainers with 2400 and have never used a magnum primer. 2400 will work for your 125's but it's better suited for the heavier (158's and above) bullets. 125's are preferred to the 158's by some folks because they are faster and less likely to overpenetrate. I think either will do the trick.
     
  10. BeJaRa

    BeJaRa Member

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    I load hornady 125gr XTP with 2400 and CCI 500 small pistol primers. You do use alot of 2400 powder shooting 125 gr bullets but they are so consistant with a nice even recoil in my 6" trooper. Now I did not work up too much over starting loads from the Alliant website as I got the accuracy that I wanted and while I do not have a chronograph I think those 125gr xtp's are moving plenty fast enough. Now then again, I have no intention of ever using my 357 as a defensive weapon as it has too much sentimental value to ever risk loosing, damaging etc etc, so I have not pushed the loads very far at all. I prefer the 125gr for shooting/plinking as it seems to have less percieved recoil for me.
     
  11. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    Sounds like you, Eightball, are just starting out reloading. I would recommend that you stick to the load data in your manual. If it calls for Magnum primers. Use magnum priners and not standard primers.
     
  12. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    I have a Speer #10, bought it some 25+ years ago. When loading 158gr JHP's with Speer mag primers I'd get over pressure at 13.5grs of 2400, primers cratered and pierced. New Speer #13 says specifically "not to use mag primers with 2400 or high pressures will result". My current load for 158gr bullets is 14.0grs of 2400 with a "standard primer". These loads chrono at 1,247 fps from my 4" S&W M66 and have normal looking primers. Since this loads velocity just happens to be about what the factory says their ammo does from a 4" barrel, that's good enough for me even though theres some growth in the charge left according to the manual.
     
  13. Bad Flynch

    Bad Flynch Member

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    In 1968 or '69, I bought a Colt SAA in .357. When loaded with 2400 and a suitable jacketed bullet, it would produce primer pin-holes that were a result of the long burn and 2400 powder. It was not a dangerous situation, but was disconcerting. Magnum primers stopped that. In addition, loading data for the .357 Magnum has been toned down from around 40,000 psi to 36,000 psi, so it may no longer be a problem.
     
  14. Bottom Gun

    Bottom Gun Member

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    I have loaded plenty of hot .357 loads with various powders and have never used a magnum primer.
    I do, however, use small rifle primers instead of small pistol primers. The rifle primers are no hotter than the small pistol primers and they are dimensionally identical but they are slightly harder.

    Note: you can NOT use small pistol primers in place of small rifle primers when loading rifle cartridges.
    You can't substitute large rifle primers for large pistol primers because there are dimensional differences.
     
  15. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    I'm having problems reconciling all of these statements together.

    And the question of which powder (between 231, Bullseye, 2400) to use is still up in the air; 2400 is capable of making some nice, fast loads according to the book, but then there's the "magnum primers vs. not" issue, and no one's said much about using the other powders for .357 mag instead of saving it for .38spl....
     
  16. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    O K...W-231 works best in short barreled .357 magnums. I get great results with 7.6 to 7.8 grains of W-231 under a 125 grain SJHP (Rem) and WSPM primers fired from a S&W mod 19 Combat Magnum 2 1/2" barrel...I use 2400 and CCI-550 primers in my Colt .357 magnum SAA 4 3/4" barrel and prefer W-296 and either WSPM or CCI-550 primers in my Ruger Blackhawk 6 1/2" barrel...
     
  17. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    So, is there a definitive answer as to if I should use regular primers or not?
     
  18. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    USE what your load manual says to use with the particular powder you are using...Follow the manual's instruction and you won't go wrong.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
  19. HoleShot

    HoleShot Member

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    If you go with an older reloading manual such as speer #10, you don't really know if the burning speed of a particular powder has changed over the years. If your experimenting I'd use the current edition. I'm at work so I don't have my Speer 13th (I think its 13) with me but I do remember reading where it said they no longer recommended magnum primers with 2400. Thats pretty conflicting since Alliant's website does call for magnum. I'll compare the charge weights when I get home and report back. Maybe the powder manufacturer compensates by not allowing as much powder.
     
  20. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Member

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    I trust the manufacturer when it comes to data for their products over a 3rd party book. Like I said above, "The Load Data on the Alliant WEB site lists a Federal 200 primer which is a Magnum primer for all their .357 Magnum loads with all their powders."

    ALSO, don't use W231 for hot Magnum loads since it won't give you the desired velocity and at higher charges will produce very high pressures.
     
  21. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    Often times, modern manufacturer's books have things downloaded so that they are less "on the edge" precise than they were a while back, due to lawyer's influence; an example is when a friend of mine was firing some .45ACP loaded with data from an older book, and we thought to himself "what the heck, this is strong!"--so he checked a newer book which listed the maximum as less than the older book, called up the manufacturer, and they admitted that the older loads are safe, but that they download things in newer ones so people who screw up can't say anything about the company. I wonder if that's the case with the newer book downloading loads?

    Though, the fact that the newer book says to NOT use Magnum primers, the older book does, and the powder site says to......kinda confusing :scrutiny::confused:

    Looking at the numbers, I concur. And, FWIW, I discovered that the brass in my box marked ".357 Magnum" was really .38Spl, so I was in err this whole time--however, that means I'm not risking loading anything the incorrect way, and this is more of a textbook argument at this point. So, everyone can breathe now.
     
  22. HoleShot

    HoleShot Member

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    I looked in my speer #13 and compared their max charges to Alliant's website and with a 125 grn jacketed bullet speer allows 1/2 grain more, 17.5 vs 17. Also with a 158 grn jacketed bullet speer allows almose a grain more, 14.8 vs 14. That makes sense to me, I guess Alliant feels the need for a magnum primer. Speer states they have developed new data for 2400 and performance is significantly improved over their 12th edition manual and not to use magnum primers for the data in the 13th edition. So, I would have to agree with Bushmaster and say whichever manual you are using, follow the instructions to the tee including using the components they recommend and you will be fine.
     
  23. ftierson

    ftierson Member.

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    The best advice is to use the recommendation in the most current/recent reloading manual...

    You decrease your chances of problems by doing that...

    Personally, I load both .357 Mag. and .44 Rem. Mag. only for Winchester M94 Trapper Carbines with 16 in barrels (and, obviously, no cylinder gap to worry about)...

    I load 158gr JHP bullets for the .357 and 240gr JHP bullets for the .44 Mag., using H110 for both of them...

    I crimp the bullets tightly and, as all the manuals suggest with H110/Win. 296, run close to the top end in terms of powder weight...

    The manuals also recommend the use of magnum primers with H110.

    I use CCI 300 (not 350) primers for the .44 and CCI500 (not 550) primers for the .357. They have both worked very well in the carbine loads...

    This is not a recommendation, but only a statement of what has worked for me in rifles.

    Forrest
     
  24. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

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    I would be extremely careful of anything that particular friend told you about reloading.

    His claim is that they modified information to prevent a law suit, and then turned around that told him that the older information was safe? They decided being sued was a cool idea after all?

    When someone tells me that kind of story, I have to wonder about the motivation of the company. Why would the company go our of the way to void their legal protection?

    They just decided that he was so cool that they would give him the real scoop? They had some way of verifying that he wasn't a litigation attorney, or an invesitgator for such an attorney?

    It may be the case that a company has decreased some loads for legal protection. I also think that it might be the case that the newer peizo-electric methods for measuring cartridge pressure is much more accurate than the CUP method, and manufacturers were surprised by the pressures reached by some of the old loads.

    At any rate, your friend's story is very likely hogwash. Call the company yourself and see if they contradict their printed manuals.

    BS'ing among friends is pretty much fun - who hasn't done it? But when it comes to reloading, BS can have dire consequences! Be careful.

    Mike
     
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