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What's your favorite mild-to-medium .357 load...

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by desmobob, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    ...using 158gr. JHPs and one of these powders:
    • Unique
    • Blue Dot
    • N340
    • Longshot
    • SR7625
    • Power Pistol
    (For 4" S&W M66-2)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  2. Jack B.

    Jack B. Member

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    Unique is what I use. H110 is for full strength loads not mild to medium loads is my understanding. Never have tried any of the others. I also like N105 a lot.
     
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  3. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    I probably shouldn't have put H110 on the list... I guess even the "starting" loads for H110 are pretty hot. H110 is off the list.

    I've heard it said that Blue Dot is similar in that it prefers to be used in loads more toward top end, but I've had good luck with a 7gr. load of Blue Dot. (Alliant lists the max charge as ten+ grains.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
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  4. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    Unique. That's about all I ever loaded for my 4" 686...
     
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  5. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    7.5 gr Unique.
     
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  6. 25-20 WCF

    25-20 WCF Member

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    When I loaded for my M-28 I too used 7.5 grains of Unique with 158-grain jacketed bullets. It was accurate and relatively mild. I also used BlueDot, which performs fine in mild/medium loads.


    .
     
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  7. 375supermag

    375supermag Member

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    My general purpose/target/plinking load for all of my .357Mag revolvers is a commercial cast 158gr LSWC with Blue Dot.
    My son and I shoot thousands every year.
     
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  8. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Blue Dot does not work well other than full power loads and with jacketed bullets. I tried Blue Dot with cast bullets and experienced severe leading. So I don't recommend the powder.

    I wanted to develop 38 Special equivalent loads in 357 cases. My loads are actually faster than my 38 Special loads, but they shot well. Of course I tested Unique. And I ran my tests with two pistols, and unfortunately, they both have iron sights. I can no longer see the target and the sights clearly, so my group sizes are much larger than what I get with my Ultra Dot topped 1911. But, Unique worked well, and you can more or less, pick your velocity. Either 4.5 grains Unique with a 158 LSWC or 5.0 grains Unique with the same bullet are accurate and a little faster than a standard 38 Special load.


    Colt Trooper MKIII 6" Barrel


    158 LSWC Factory Zero 38 Special ammunition
    13-Sep-18 T = 72 ° F

    Ave Vel = 739
    Std Dev = 38
    ES = 152.4
    High = 804.1
    Low = 651.6
    N = 18

    158 LSWC Factory Hornady 38 Special ammunition, box dated 12-1982
    13-Sep-18 T = 90 ° F

    Ave Vel = 734
    Std Dev = 16
    ES = 50.56
    High = 755.8
    Low = 705.3
    N = 16

    158 gr Valiant LRN 4.5 grs Unique lot 364 3/9/1992
    Midway 357 cases WSP
    13-Sep-18 T = 72 ° F

    Ave Vel = 815
    Std Dev = 26
    ES = 106.7
    High = 853.5
    Low = 746.8
    N = 18

    Low recoil, about 2" above point aim, accurate, low noise
    OuqSBBO.jpg
    158 gr Valiant LRN 5.0 grs Unique lot 364 3/9/1992
    R-P 357 cases WSP
    13-Sep-18 T = 72 ° F

    Ave Vel = 852
    Std Dev = 22
    ES = 85.04
    High = 891.4
    Low = 806.4
    N = 24


    increased recoil, about 2" above point aim, accurate, louder
    mT6vlv0.jpg

    158 gr Valiant LRN 5.5grs Unique lot 364 3/9/1992
    R-P 357 cases WSP

    13-Sep-18 T = 72 ° F

    Ave Vel = 919
    Std Dev = 32
    ES = 117.2
    High = 972.1
    Low = 854.9
    N = 24

    shot close to point of aim, much louder, more recoil, some leading
    DQsERVT.jpg


    VTtDI0h.jpg

    M66-2 4" Barrel

    158 LSWC Factory Zero 38 Special ammunition
    13-Sep-18 T = 88° F

    Ave Vel = 723
    Std Dev = 28
    ES = 102.2
    High = 761.7
    Low = 659.4
    N = 22

    158 gr Valiant LRN 4.5 grs Unique lot 364 3/9/1992
    Midway 357 cases WSP

    13-Sep-18 T = 88 ° F

    Ave Vel = 780
    Std Dev = 23
    ES = 81.02
    High = 819.1
    Low = 738.1
    N = 17

    158 gr Valiant LRN 5.0 grs Unique lot 364 3/9/1992
    R-P 357 cases WSP

    13-Sep-18 T = 88 ° F

    Ave Vel = 821
    Std Dev = 40
    ES = 123.8
    High = 900.5
    Low = 776.7
    N = 24

    158 gr Valiant LRN 5.5grs Unique lot 364 3/9/1992
    R-P 357 cases WSP
    13-Sep-18 T = 88 ° F

    Ave Vel = 894
    Std Dev = 18
    ES = 62.65
    High = 923.7
    Low = 861.2
    N = 26

    WMwE5NW.jpg
     
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  9. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    7.0 to 7.5 grs of Unique with 158 gr. SWC bullets.
     
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  10. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    One of the reasons I stick with 7.5 gr of Unique with jacketed 158 gr bullets is because I like the same load in my .357 carbines as well as the revolvers. 7.5 means no fear of a stuck bullet in the carbines while giving me a load that shoots like a .22 magnum. The load also prints fairly close to my hunting type loads so one can still hit the steel gongs with those plinking type loads, without having to change the sights.
     
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  11. JO JO

    JO JO Member

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    I would pick Unique on your list
     
  12. JohnB-40

    JohnB-40 Member

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    After reading Slamfire's post back in May(as in post #8 above),I tried his load of 4.5 gr of Unique. Instead of a 158gr LRN,I used a Penn 158gr TCBB. I found this to a very accurate mild load in both my Vaquero and Model 73 lever rifle. I also recommend 4.2 to 4.5gr W231/Hp38 for a lead 158gr bullet
     
  13. Olon

    Olon Member

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    I've used 6 gr. of Blue Dot with plated bullets for my economy/plinking load out of my Henry and it does well. Surprisingly pretty accurate; a pie plate or an 8" square inside 100 yards is a gimme and I've shot it out to 150 with success. Seems to burn pretty cleanly too.
     
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  14. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    I've tried the 4.5gr. Unique load in .38 Special with plated 158gr. lead RNFP bullets. Accuracy was so-so but improved as I increased the charge to 4.9gr. I tried a 5gr. load in .357 and was pleased.

    I was interested in something a little hotter for jacketed 158gr. HP bullets in the .357. I'll be loading some of the 7.5gr. and 7.7gr. charges today, and probably some lighter charges as well.

    Thanks to everyone. I appreciate your suggestions.
     
  15. desmobob

    desmobob Member

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    It seems a lot of folks dislike Blue Dot. As an old-school shotshell reloader, I always have some around. I also use it a lot in 9mm and .40 S&W loads. Some of my most accurate hot 9mm loads use Blue Dot. My 7gr. Blue Dot/158gr. JHP load shoots nicely in my .357 without excessive muzzle blast/flash.
     
  16. gonoles_1980

    gonoles_1980 Member

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    Of those powders I am currently using 7.8gr of PowerPistol with 158gr LSWC. Never uses any of the others.
     
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  17. Olon

    Olon Member

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    I've toyed with the idea of using it in .40 but haven't really settled on anything just yet. That and my 700-x are candidates as I have a lot of each for my 16 ga.
     
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  18. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    My one experiment with BlueDot was in light .38SPC loads (which, as you would imagine, were a disaster,) and mid-range .41MAG loads (which Alliant now recommends against.) I have since sworn off BlueDot... mid-range loads are handled with Unique, and heavy loads by IMR4227, 2400, or W296. Not saying it's a bad powder, but it fills a very small niche.


    My mom had a 3" J-frame .38, I loaded a very light charge of 4.0grn Unique under a Hornady 158grn swaged lead bullet... probably one of the most accurate loads I've ever produced, they were like little lasers. My 4" 686 liked a little more Unique under a standard 158grn SWC.
     
  19. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    Unique, about 6 grs. But for medium loads in my own Model 66, I mostly shoot gas-checked 158gr SWC-HP cast bullets from Rimrock Bullets of Montana.
     
  20. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    My pet load is 6.2gr unique under my 158gr cast bullets.
    Accurate results with everything from sp101 to marlin 1894c.
    6.2 gr is also what one of my dippers holds, so that works too.
     
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  21. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    I checked my database and for the few times I load jacketed bullets I have used a true magnum load or at least for serious velocity, SR4756 for 125 grain small-gun and 300-MP for 158 grain large-gun/rifle. For those I just followed jacketed data from Speer/Hornady/Lyman books. Almost all of my shooting is with lead loads tailored to a gun size/weight (my allowance for recoil) or full out with gas checks.
     
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  22. .308 Norma

    .308 Norma Member

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    You and I must have the same kind of dipper sets.:D
     
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  23. RealGun

    RealGun Member

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    My notes say that 6.5 is a "good shooter", all 158 gr lead, but also rates it for medium to large sized guns (in my hands). My small-gun load with 125 gr is 6.2 gr of BE-86, an extrapolated load averaging 38+p and 357 Mag minimum for a common powder.
     
  24. labnoti

    labnoti Member

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    In my opinion, Unique does not make medium loads. It's a fast powder for light loads.

    I suggest BE-86 as a starting point for medium loads. Power Pistol offers a little more velocity, but without flash suppressant.

    I believe AA#7 makes medium loads, but I have no experience with it.

    My favorite, since you asked, is Longshot. The performance is very similar, almost the same as Power Pistol. Even the load data is practically the same -- but they are totally different powders as Longshot is a ball powder and PP is flake. These powders burn well even in short barrels. So what load specifically? It depends on the barrel length. In a short barrel (3") I want a maximum load. In a longer barrel (5 to 6") 7.7 gr. of Longshot is enough.

    2400, Blue Dot, and Steel allow higher velocities than the first powders I mentioned, without quite being "hot" magnum loads. Of these three, I prefer 2400. These powders are less efficient in short barrels (3" or less). You start to burn a lot of powder that's not adding to your velocity. There's still a net gain, but a lot of waste. Another powder I believe is in this category is AA#9. I have no experience with it.

    For hot magnums, I like H110. Other powders I consider best left for hot loads: Lil'Gun, IMR4227 (the mildest of these powders.) There are also powders I don't know about but I consider in this category: Enforcer, 300MP, N110
     
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  25. Charlie98

    Charlie98 Member

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    That would be more a match with W296 and H110... not the faster burners. AA#7 would be a better pair to 2400 and BlueDot, etc...
     
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