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S&W Scandium Alloy Revolver, What's The Heaviest Load Through Yours?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by sigbear, Jul 30, 2008.

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  1. sigbear

    sigbear Member

    Jul 21, 2007
    I have a S&W model 360 .357 mag. w/3" brl., I Bought this gun because I am older now and just can't carry my Ruger Security Six when hiking anymore (too dam heavy for an old buck). I have fired some Remington 125 gr. golden saber .357 mag. rounds through it, however, the golden saber is a med. velocity round and does give quit a kick but I can manage it OK in a emergency.

    I would like to load the gun with 180 gr. cast bullets when hiking, however, I don't know how this lightweight would handle such a round, and I am a little reluctant to try it

    Has anyone ever fired 180 gr. cast through their .357 mag. airweights?, if not, what is the hottest round through yours.

  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    I think I've done 158's. I don't remember; I bought a .38 +P Airweight instead, since I didn't figure I'd use the thing with .357's anyway and thought I'd save the money.

    If you're up for doing forearm workouts, though, I think that forearm strength is the limiting factor. Sure, your wrist and the web of your hand hurts, but that's only because your forearm muscles aren't strong enough to keep the gun from acting on your joints and moving in your hand under recoil.

    Start with the "wrist roller". Take 2" PVC pipe, about 18" of it, drill a hole in the middle of it, straight through both sides. Put about a 4 foot piece of rope through the hole and tie a knot on one end. Tie a small metal hook on the other, and knot the rope a few inches from the bottom in a couple places, to act as a "stop" for the hook. Use the hook to attach the rope throgh a barbell plate or similar weight.

    Hold it in front of you, and roll the weight all the way up. Roll it back down slowly. Switch the direction you roll your wrist (overhand to underhand or vice versa) so you get both the upper and lower muscles of your forearm. Repeat until tired. Rest and do more sets.

    Don't do it too often! Give yourself a day of rest in between. You don't want tendonitis; you want muscle strength, which takes time.

    Here's an endless variety of forearm exercises and homemade equipment, if you hit a plateau::)
  3. jfh

    jfh Member

    Aug 28, 2003
    Maple Plain, MN
    I have an M&P340 (13.3 oz). I've shot the Buffalo Bore 38+P+ 158-gr. heavyweights through it. That's the round that runs about 1000 fps from a 2" barrel. My hand is well conditioned, and I found the load manageable, but barely.

    I've also shot full-house magnum reloads through my 640 (25 oz)--158s running at over 1100 fps. That is about as the same difference as the BB loads in the 340, IMO.

    Personally, I find the reload I like now in the 340 (Scandium-framed) is a 158 running at about 900 fps. With that load, I can shoot two-cylinders back to back "comfortably," and could shoot more. I have complete faith in the strength of the Scandium 357 j-frames--I've got about 1500 rounds through my 340 now, and the b-c gap is unchanged. The limiting factor really is your hand conditioning, I think.

    I've NO experience with 180-gr. bullets in any of my short-barrel revolvers--but, IMO, the new Night Guard 386 (L frame/2.5" barrel, 7 shots, scandium / 25 oz) would be the one to try it in--maybe. I've also shot my 158-gr. reloads through it, and that one I can comfortably handle up to about 1000+ fps--after that, trigger-finger slap occurs.

    These are two-inch barrel reports--with your 360 / 3", you can more easily get a 158-gr. load running at 900 fps. or so.

    The latests 38+P "FBI loads" barely hit 800 fps from a 2" barrel, but do run about 830-850 from a 3"--you might want to try a box of Rem 38S12s to see how you like them.

    Jim H.
  4. pinkymingeo

    pinkymingeo Member

    May 31, 2007
    The heavier the bullet, the worse the perceived recoil. In my 340 and 360PDs I shoot 125jsp's at 900fps. I have several reasons for using this load. First, it's easy (with some familiarization time) to shoot. I put 50-100rds through one or the other PD a week, and anything heavier would pulverize my hand and trigger finger. I'd use lead bullets, but I shoot so many of these things that cleanup gets to be a chore, and the jacketed bullets only make a fraction of the mess. I use soft-points because I care about penetration, not expansion. I believe a 125@900 will create an entrance hole and an exit hole in most things I might shoot with it, which is good enough for me. Don't know what a jhp might do, nor do I trust them to do what I want. I've tried 158lswc's at 8-900fps and the recoil is substantially higher. 50rds per range session is no fun at all. 180's? No thanks.
  5. paul105

    paul105 Member

    Dec 7, 2003
    I've shot Beartooth's 185gr LFNGC loaded to 1,020 fps (actual chrono result) thru my son's 360. I've also chronographed the Fed 180gr Cast Core right at 900 fps from the same 360.

    Buffalo Bore shows their 180gr .357 load clocking 1,302 fps from a 3" J Frame The above 185gr LFNGC runs right at 1,170 from the two 3" guns I chronoed.

    I didn't find the 180s at 1,020 any different recoil wise the full house 158gr loads (both are manageable, and both are painful).

    With that said, the Buffalo Bore Stuff (or equiv if it exists) would probably be a different story.

    Here's a quote from Buffalo Bore regarding the use of the 180s in short barreled, lightweight guns.

    "We don’t recommend this ammo to be fired in super light alloy revolvers as bullets may jump crimp under recoil, but the ammo itself wont hurt these super light weight revolvers. These revolvers are simply so light that the recoil is severe enough to cause crimp jump."

    I never had crimp jump problems with my reloads, but I used a very aggressive crimp with the Lee factory crimp die.


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