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Wimpy Blazer .357

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by gbw, Jun 14, 2010.

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  1. gbw

    gbw Member

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    Has anyone else tried this stuff? Blazer 158gr. JHP, aluminum cased, 'Target and training' ammunition.

    I got a box of this as a gift, and since I rarely shoot factory ammo so I was curious. I expected a lot of noise and recoil, and 1150+ fps.

    Very mild recoil from an old CS-1 686 4", too mild I thought. I tried an even older 4" 66. It felt much more like a .38 than any real .357, but as I said I seldom fire commercial ammo.

    Baffeled, I got out the chronograph, checked it w/.22 and .45. Then tested the '.357'.

    Average velocity was 905fps from the 66 and 918 from the 686. High Sd and variability.

    This seems very very weak for .357, even at 158gr, but perhaps I'm out of touch?
     
  2. BCCL

    BCCL Member

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    I've got some Blazer 158gr. JHP's here that are about 15+ years old that the box lists fps respectively at:

    Muzzle 1235
    50yds 1104
    100yds 1015
     
  3. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    You did say ( target and training ) right?? What would a 38sp T and T load be,,, 38sp wad cutters at all of maybe just over 700 fps. Oh most newER S&W have some big cyclinder gaps. Try those loads in someones DW set about 2th's and fps go up. Remember test barrel velocities, not revolvers. It was free
     
  4. Matt 357

    Matt 357 Member

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    Blazer vs Remington Express

    I was at the range one day and shot Blazer 158s and Remington Express 158s out of my 6" GP100. The Blazer ammo was more like 38 or 38+P compared to the Rem Exp in terms of recoil. No idea about muzzle velocity.
     
  5. gbw

    gbw Member

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    I said (and the box said as well) .357 Magnum. Box printing noted ideal for target and training. I took that to mean inexpensive v. brass cased ammo.

    I don't know what .38 has to do with it except these purported .357s felt like .38s. Target .38s aren't JHPs, these were.

    I don't think the guns were the problem.

    BCCL - I didn't expect the number your box shows, but they are closer to what I expected. I'll check my box to see if they currently show any numbers, and if it shows reduced velocity - perhaps I missed something.

    Matt - I'm guessing you shot the same Blazer stuff and if so it is nothing like full power .357, which is what I expected.

    I am going to buy a couple of boxes of .357 standard ammo to see if it's all this slow now. It sure didn't used to be.

    Strange.

    Full power handloads from the Speer books of 8.9 gr Unique / 140 JHP go 1250ish from the same guns. N.B. - WORK UP any handloads.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  6. WC145

    WC145 Member

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    Drop CCI a line and see what they have to say.
     
  7. HB

    HB Member

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    I just shot some of those too and noticed the same result! I shot them side by side with some 125 .38 +p JHP and the recoil was almost the same. They were fired out of a scoped Ruger Blackhawk and the POI was almost identical to the 38s... very confusing
     
  8. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Note that .38 Special will leave a deposit in the cylinder, and eventually .357 won't load unless each charge hole is cleaned thoroughly with a wire brush. Maybe this is MEANT to be .38-level ammo for practice, but with .357-length cases to prevent the fouling problem.
     
  9. WinchesterAA

    WinchesterAA Member

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    I noticed the same thing when using blazer .357 mag 158gr JHP ammo.

    I shot a box of that, and a box of wwb .38spl and made a remark to a buddy I was shooting with that there wasn't much difference between the two.

    I figured it was just my gun, or the fact that I never really shot revolvers much til I bought one.
     
  10. NinjaFeint

    NinjaFeint Member

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    I noticed it is pretty light recoiling but I have a GP100. The only thing I can feel is Buffalo Bore.
     
  11. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The "Target and Training" lettering may have provided a clue. It was probably downloaded purposely, on the assumption that there's no reason to shoot full-power .357 magnum ammunition just for giggles on a regular basis...other than a few rounds here and there for familiarization.

    Sorta the same approach as the old.38 target wadcutter ammunition. It fired with a light "pop" and recoil was pratically nil. If the lighting was right, the shooter could visually track the bullet all the way to the target. One guy I know remarked that a good sprinter could shoot it, lay the gun on the table...and probably run and catch the bullet before it made it to 50 yards.

    Even modern-day .357/158 fodder is pretty intense. It's harder on the gun and the shooter than the attenuated stuff. The lighter levels make more sense for recreation.
     
  12. yeti

    yeti Member

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    Yeah, what Tuner said; kinda like .45 ACP 185gr. lead semi-wadcutter, a nice mellow target load(if it would feed), for those times when it positively doesn't have to be stopped right now.
     
  13. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    Your experience mirrors mine. I have had similar impressions with the aluminum cased Blazer 40 S&W. They shot about 2 feet low at 20 yds. What fun is that? If I want to shoot 357's, Blazers are not what I choose. If I want 38's, then I shoot 38's. I don't see the recreation aspect to shooting low powered 357's. If they don't hit close to where you are used to hitting, why even bother?
     
  14. DWFan

    DWFan Member

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    gbw, if you are an "old school" shooter who has memories of what the original .357 Magnum ammo used to be, the factory ammo that is currently available may indeed shock and disappoint you. While manufacturers such as CorBon and Double Tap and Buffalo Bore do offer Magnum ammo loaded to original velocities, the majority of factory loads are Magnum only in name and case length.
    The 173gr "Keith" load typically ran 1425-1450 fps in an 8" barrel revolver and 1375-1400 fps in a 4" barrel. Now the "standard" 125gr load is at that velocity level and a 158gr load is 125-150 fps slower. A comparable weight 180gr load is a full 200 fps slower.
    This "neutering" of the 1st Magnum has given rise to two ideas. One, that the .357 Magnum is a marginal cartridge for hunting deer-size game. That's because, when watered down like it has been, it is. The second is that manufacturers now can claim making semi-autos with ".357 Magnum" power with the latest whiz-bang 9mm. Well, they are equal to the .357 Magnum when it's nearly put in a wheelchair.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  15. gbw

    gbw Member

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    LOL, now I've a mental image of my poor aluminum Blazers in their little wheelchairs. So sad. I recall the 70's .357 anyhow, scared the snot out of me - I was just learning. Time goes much too fast, doesn't it.

    The Blazer box says .357 Magnum 158 gr. JHP, #3542.

    The Blazer site lists #3542 at 1150fps from a '4V' barrel. I'm guessing that's a 4" test bbl., vented to mimic the B/C gap. Now 158@1150fps is not exactly cutting edge .357 as DWFan notes, but it'd be fairly sporty and way more than any .38.

    Nope. On my sample no way 1150 or anywhere close. My notes are chrono avg. of 901 for the M66-1 and 887 for the M686. Both 4", 12 rds. each (Apologies, I was going from recall this morning). 3" M66-2 was slower yet but in line. Recoil tended to confirm the readings and was what got me testing in the first place as it was so mild. I rarely shoot factory .357 (or anything else 'cept .22) anymore and I was braced for armageddon.

    The target and training comment reads that NR ammo is an economy for those who don't reload. No reference to downloading.

    Well, this is no catastrophe, but it is shoddy QC in an area I'd really prefer good control. 1080, ok. 900, maybe not ok. I gotta wonder if they're that sloppy, might they may make a similar error on the high side? That could be trouble.

    If on the other hand they are purposely downloading the stuff they should say so - seems they are, from some of the experiences shown above. I'm all for mild shooting most of the time. It's easier on both me and the guns, and I'd buy it if I bought ammo. But it ought not come as a surprise.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  16. HB

    HB Member

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    While it does seem very low powered, i got it for about 16 bucks a box, which is not too shabby for factory .357! However, shoot it at night and you will get a surprise... quite an interesing blue fireball!

    HB
     
  17. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    gbw Measure the cylinder gaps on your revolvers. Tell what they are. Some i have seen lately have run between 6 and 10th's and some tech guy at s&w said thats fine for a production gun. I have not had the chance to crono'd much in my DW but with 2th's gap it would be to the advertized fps on some 180gr fedeal and hornady 158gr loads or a bit higher with an 8" barrel not 4". If you look at 44mags there are also a great spread in velocities of factory loads
     
  18. gbw

    gbw Member

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    I'll check them, but I remain skeptical, I think you're crediting too much potential loss to the barrel cylinder gap. IIRC S&W used to use .006 as a standard. Not too much, but enough to prevent interference in very dirty or hot guns - I'm sure there are S&W experts here who can confirm or correct this.

    An interesting test would with your DW and a batch of your most consistent full power .357 ammunition. Measure the dV .002" increments, opening the gap from .000" through .010". Perhaps this has already been done. If you can see any significant change I'll be surprised, and if it's anything like 200fps I'll be amazed. But I may have been wrong once before.
     
  19. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    Just the diffence in rifleing and gap along with elevation can all change a bullets fps and olddd stock can be higher in pressure. But hay ,your ammo was free right ,so contact cci and maybe they will send you some more to try. Then you can tell all what they say about the slooow ammo.There the ones i would have contacted first. Ain't know one i know gone'a give a rat butt if blaser ammo is a bit slow, ain't buy'n it for hunting or protection. Just a cheaper play and practice ammo. OH and typicaly dirty. I have shoot 500 rounds through my witness 9mm with out a worry. I buy hornady for protection and BB for hunting. That same tech guy at s&w said the new 460 and 500's are gapped big and that has helped to cut some fingers off. Not sure what i think about that but i don't have sooooo I have shot my wesson with just a loose 6th and it will shoot some dibris evenly out both side on white paper. had to check it after shooter next bay over was look'n to see what i was shooting. Said he could fell the pressure wave. With the gap at 2th or less it is more like a 38 atleast as far as the debris and pressure wave is.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2010
  20. Steve 48

    Steve 48 Member

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    I have some old Blazer 158 gr Mag and it's not wimpy, in fact, an old Guns and Ammo magazine rates it pretty high for a 2 inch revolver.
     
  21. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Member

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    Maybe you got a bad batch? I would try another box to confirm your impressions. I do have about 10 boxes of the Blazer brass in 40 S&W. Have not shot any in a good while as I have been shooting rifles mostly of late.

    Target loads do often mean lower powered. But I generally think in terms of bullet construction (aka FMJ or something similar) to define target vs velocity such as you get in the White Box ammo.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  22. Old 112

    Old 112 Member

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    The Blazer is my "lawyer resistant" factory load for
    my car gun. I wanted a "kinder and gentler" 357 round, and
    it sounds like that is what I have.
    I do not expect the hollow point to expand much, and
    that is fine. It will still have a chance at making
    two orfices at the distances it would be used.

    My ammo does not say Target and Training, but it
    is less than full throtle.

    Regards,
    Old 112
     
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