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"Ruger only" .357 loads?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by BigBlock, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. BigBlock

    BigBlock member

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    I'm thinking about getting a .357 Blackhawk to go with my .44. Obviously, since it's built on the .44 Mag frame, the gun is overbuilt about 10 times over. I was looking on Buffalo Bore's website for some heavy .357s, and they have them, but they say they are safe for "any all steel revolver, including J frames".

    Common sense tells me a .357 Blackhawk can hold much more pressure than a J frame S&W. Does anybody sell, or list handloads for, "Ruger only" .357s just like they do with .44 and .45?

    Not that I really need them for anything, but it would be lots of fun to play with...
     
  2. buttrap

    buttrap Senior Member

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    Not that I can think of as most good357s will take anything a ruger will.
     
  3. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    A Ruger will digest hot .357 Mag much longer than a S&W will.
     
  4. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Senior Member

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    freakshow10mm,
    Was that really the question?? I really don't think so. As for that myth about Ruger being like Superman... Well, the Blackhawk is a much larger revolver than a S&W K or L frame revolver. If you want to compare fairly (which most Ruger fanboys don't) you would compare the Blackhawk with the S&W M27 or M28. Even if you compare it to the current N frame S&W revolvers you won't find the Blackhawk superior. When comparing those revolvers you won't find S&W lacking in the least. (mostly because both companies make outstanding revolvers)

    Not every discussion about S&W and Ruger should be an opportunity to bash S&W especially here on THR. (I own both company's products and like them all)
     
  5. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 Senior Member

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    Some reloading manuals have listings for Contender/Ruger loadings only. Depends on model but most will take a hotter load and last longer especially the hunting models.
     
  6. Virginian

    Virginian Senior Member

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    I think it's only fair for Ruger fans to dis S&Ws since S&W fans routinely dis Taurus products. :)
    I have had a bunch of all three with no issues, at all.
     
  7. TAB

    TAB Senior Member

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    ugh the ruger only loads in 44 mag are not becuase of too much presure for the smiths. they just have a longer OAL that will not fit into a smith cylinder.
     
  8. goon

    goon Senior Member

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    The pressure limit on rounds like the .357 and .44 magnum has always been pretty high. Since the beginning of those rounds, the guns that were designed to shoot them were built to take the pressure, whether it was Ruger, Colt, S&W, or whoever else.

    Rounds like the .45 LC have been around for so long and chambered in so many guns that an awful lot of them just aren't built to handle the pressure that the .45 can be loaded to. That's why you find data for Ruger only or T/C only loads.

    Personally, I think you could probably load a Blackhawk or a Ruger Bisley hotter than many other .357's and be OK.
    But I wouldn't want to blow myself up proving it.
     
  9. MCgunner

    MCgunner Senior Member

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    My Blackhawk is about the strongest affordable .357 built, stronger than any N frame, not as strong as a FA, but hey, I said affordable, right? :D BUT, I know of no special pressure levels for "Ruger only" in .357 magnum, .45 Colt, sure. I mean, standard for .45 colt is barely over 10K CUP, 17K or something like that? Now, the Ruger will last and last shooting top loads, but I don't get carried away with it. My hottest .357 load is developed in that gun, 13.8 grains AA number 9 under a 180 Hornady XTP/JHP. It produces just over 1400 fps and 785 ft lbs in that gun and shoots pretty flat, 5" high at 50 and dead on at 100.
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Not in .357. Only in .44 Mag & .45 Colt.

    Anyway, the limiting factor is not the guns strength.
    Sure the Blackhawk is far stronger then a S&W J-Frame.

    But that doesn't make the .357 case itself any stronger!
    And if the case fails, the gun fails!

    rcmodel
     
  11. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    I've had a case failure and the gun was intact. Case failure doesn't automatically mean gun failure.
     
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You miss the point.

    You may well have had a case failure without gun damage. But the chance of injury is right up there on the scale.

    Nobody is going to load hot factory loads, or publish loading data that may cause a case failure in any gun chambered for it.

    My first .357 Blackhawk was purchased new about 1963.
    Factory .357 loads of the time were loaded way hotter then they are now.

    After a few cylinders full, barrel leading would raise pressure further, and you would have to beat the 6 empties out of a S&W N-Frame with a stick.

    And the Ruger SA would take some work to eject them one at a time.

    Times have changed, and .357 pressure standards were wisely reduced.

    Now, if you need more power then normal .357 loads, you need to move up to a bigger gun like a .44 Mag or .45 Colt and be done with it.

    Hot loading a .357 is not the way to get there!

    rcmodel
     
  13. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Senior Member

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    +1

    .......a friend of mine called me a while back wantin' to know if I would make up some loads for his .357 that would shoot like a .44. Seeing as this guy only shoots a coupla boxes of shells a year, I said I didn't know of any. He then rattled off a load he had gotten somewhere and said it would shoot just fine outta his Ruger. Knowing the loads were much hotter than I had ever loaded for my .357, I told him I wouldn't be much of a friend if I loaded some potentially dangerous loads for him to shoot, and he'd be better off just to get a .44. He got all pissy about what I had said and told me never mind, he'd just start reloading himself. He called me back a coupla weeks later, apologized and told me he had found a nice used Ruger .44 for less than what it was gonna cost him to get into reloading. I told him to save the brass for me.............
     
  14. Big Boomer

    Big Boomer Senior Member

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    Another point missed

    It's not about the chamber pressures, its also about the cylinder gap pressures. Similar to the 357 Max (a suped up mag) you get flame cutting, forcing cone cracking/erosion and general failure.

    Yes, the frame, cylinder, and case can take a bit more, but the above cannot.

    This is mostly with the lighter bullets of course where more powder can be used. I don't even run hot 125's in my Ruger anymore just for that simple fact, and never any 110's.

    I hope that helps. If you want something bigger/faster get a different caliber.
     
  15. Floppy_D

    Floppy_D Member In Memoriam

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    rcmodel:
    I double checked my old speer and hornady manuals, can't find any "ruger t/c only" loads for anything other than 44mag and 45lc either. Best o' luck.
     
  16. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Senior Member

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    I think you'll get case head seperations if you try to hotrod .357 Magnums. (that's what I got when trying to duplicate .38-44HV loads from long ago using modern .38 Special brass.) Plus the previously mentioned topstrap gas-cutting and possibly forcing cone damage.
     
  17. Chuck Spears

    Chuck Spears member

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    Why worry about Ruger, SW, and Taurus .357s when the Colt Python is obviously better than all three?
     
  18. jaholder1971

    jaholder1971 Senior Member

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    Bottom Line: The Ruger frames can take a beating, but there's nothing a hot load can do that proper shot placement won't do better.

    I've got both a GP100 and a Blackhawk. They both get fed handloads at/near max per the books and no hotter.
     
  19. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

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    Yup, discontinued guns are always better than current production guns. Why did the Python lineup end? Oh, right. Lack of sales.
     
  20. Chuck Spears

    Chuck Spears member

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    Autoloaders owning the new market.
     
  21. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Senior Member

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    A couple things come into play here.

    With the original loadings, pressures were around the 45,000 psi mark. Jacketed bullets were still in the future, and barrel leading was attrocious. The guns were also special hand built, specially heat treated units, or 44 framed.

    With the advent of smaller lighter framed guns, working pressures were dropped. Easier on the guns, much less bore leading.

    Then came even lighter, inherently weaker gun designs, and lawyers. This continues to the present day.

    So current pressures are listed at 36,000 max. With some guns, that is max, others(rugers, contenders, freedom arms, etc.) it isn't. The old pressures are plenty safe in those guns. And with jacketed slugs leading is a non-issue.

    IF you decide to push it with the older data:

    1. Keep slug weight at or above 140 to avoid focing cone/top strap issues.

    2. If you don't understand how to chronomap, I'd advise you NOT to pursue this. (The old speer #8 manual is affectionately known as the "blow up" manual for a reason.)

    3. The list of powders that will work is short. IF you pursue this I reccomend 2400 as a good powder to use. One to avoid is blue dot.

    AND ALWAYS REMEMBER: USING DATA ABOVE CURRENT PUBLISHED MAXIMUMS IS DONE AT YOUR OWN RISK. There is a difference between "warm", "hot", and "stupid". Understand those differences. The 357 is not, and never can be, a 41 or 44 mag.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2008
  22. Jim March

    Jim March Senior Member

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    Only a VERY experienced handloader should try and take advantage of the extra strength in a 44Mag-frame-class 357Mag. Basically, as you get near "the edge" pressure can spike suddenly with very small rises in powder charge. It isn't linear.

    A better idea is to get a second 357Mag cylinder and have it modified for a bigger-case-capacity cartridge - either the 356GNR (Gary Reeder wildcat based on a 41Mag necked down to 357) or the 357/44 Bain&Davis (44Mag shell necked down to 357). The bigger shell means less pressure for a given workload, (bullet energy) letting you stretch out further without running into the pressure spike wall.

    Swap cylinders and you're back to normal 357Mag - all of these rounds shoot out of 357 barrels. The easy answer is to get a 357/9mm convertible Ruger and send the 9mm cylinder in for modification.
     
  23. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Senior Member

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    Jim's not kidding. A few years back, I had a load in a 44 mag I was experimenting with. Things were going as they should. I upped the powder charge 2/10ths of a grain. Recoil was much more pronounced, and the cases went from falling out on their own, to get a brass drift and a hammer. That my friend is a slim margin.

    The difference between the 357 you want to hot rod and my 44? With that smaller case, you have even less room for error than I did.
     
  24. batmann

    batmann Member

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    Most, if not all 'standard' .357 loads will do anything the .357 was designed to do.
    A Rguer Blackhawk is a larger frame than a S&W J frame and more durable if you shoot the 'hot' loads a lot.
    Double Tap and Buffalo Bore are on the high end of .357's (pressure) but are both excellent rounds and will be a lot more pleasant in a Ruger BH.
     
  25. jjohnson

    jjohnson Senior Member

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    RCModel said: "After a few cylinders full, barrel leading would raise pressure further, and you would have to beat the 6 empties out of a S&W N-Frame with a stick."

    Absolutely. I was buying hot factory ammo 35 years ago, and found this to be absolutely true. I find the top end loads to be plenty enough to handle in the NM Blackhawk, and do figure it will regularly digest them more often than I care to shoot them. Having stuck cylinders of the same ammo in even a S&W M28 was enough to convince me that not being able to reload in the field is simply not an option. I just hate ammo that will predictably cause trouble.

    The .357 is lots of fun, but driving velocities that'll lead your barrel is the sort of thing that makes me carry .44 or .45 if I think I need "more power."
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008

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