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Thread: Herco ??

  1. #1
    Boolit Master butch2570's Avatar
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    Herco ??

    I recently chronographed some loads of Herco in a 686 six inch 357 mag, the loads came from Alliant directly. As 6.8 gr to max of 7.5 gr.

    I settled at 7.3 gr with a cast performance 158 gr rnfp, new Winchester brass and Cci 500 primer at a velocity of 1190 give or take . I loaded 50 of those after I had tried several cylinder fulls to chrono, I let my wife shoot that 50 while I was chronoing another revolver and different powder.

    I noticed when I was watching her shoot , “she was tearing a pop can up at 25 yds”, that the end of the cylinder looked like it had smeared lead around it ..

    Upon investigation, I see that those 50 rounds had indeed already had the start of a small flame cut on the top strap in that short of a time , and the cylinder end did indeed have melted lead around the throats.The forcing cone appears ok , as best I could tell..
    I’ve mostly used sr 7625 and 4756 up to this point , but was investigating different powder, because I’m down to my last 8 pounds of 4756 , and it’s my preferred 44 mag mid range load, in my 629. So I Know this powder is the culprit, because that flame cut was never there before..

    Has anyone else had this trouble with Herco ? Or is something else going on?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    farmerjim's Avatar
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    No, none at all for me. Herco is my no. 1 powder in all my pistol loads. 357 and 44 mag max loads without a problem.
    There is no difference between communism and socialism, except in the means of achieving the same ultimate end: communism proposes to enslave men by force, socialism—by vote. It is merely the difference between murder and suicide. Ayn Rand

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Been using Herco in handgun loads for a long time no problems at all. Very accurate mid range powder no leading no flame cutting at all.

  4. #4
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    HangFireW8's Avatar
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    Check your cylinder gap.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I use herco in some of my 357 loads without any issues ,but I don't load that hot I stay down around 6-6.5 gr .

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    May not be flame cutting. I have seen that before when leading of the front of the cylinder is present. You might find it to be lead splash. Maybe, hopefully. I've never had any cutting from Herco. Ball powder is usually the culprit.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master butch2570's Avatar
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    I have to dig out my feelers, but it looks the same as always, just eye ballin it.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master butch2570's Avatar
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    It’s definitely cutting, just a tiny line as of now , but Alliant claims that 7.3 at 1190 is under a max load according to their data. Cast performance claims their bullets are 18-21 bh, Alliant thinks the bullet may not be as hard as the claims , but I don’t have leading in the bore.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    No problem here with Herco. Check the gap

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I too use Herco in my six inch 686 Plus. I have not had any problems like you describe, however, I never exceed seven grains max.
    You have not said which boolit you are using. RCBS recommends a lower load of Herco with their 158 swc with a gas check.
    If I were you, I think I might back the load down half a grain or more and try again. Herco is good powder.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master butch2570's Avatar
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    It’s the 158 gr rnfp by Cast Performance Bullets, .358, it has always shot great out of that revolver with other powder. No other problems before..

    I’m going to cut it back to 6.5 gr and start again, I’m wondering with that 7.3gr load , if the pressure peak for that bullet weight is just at the wrong time when the bullet is leaving the cylinder..
    I’ve shot 12 gr. of 2400 with that bullet to the mid 1200s FPS, with no issues.. I clean my revolvers. after every shooting session, so I know when the cutting appeared..

  12. #12
    Boolit Master butch2570's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dg31872 View Post
    I too use Herco in my six inch 686 Plus. I have not had any problems like you describe, however, I never exceed seven grains max.
    You have not said which boolit you are using. RCBS recommends a lower load of Herco with their 158 swc with a gas check.
    If I were you, I think I might back the load down half a grain or more and try again. Herco is good powder.
    If you don’t mind me asking , what speed are you running with the 7 gr load and the RCBS 158 ?

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Herco seems to have fallen out of favor, probably with younger handloaders that are exposed to lots of newer powders. I seldom use anything but Bullseye or 231 anymore for all cast handgun loads, but have used Herco in the past with good results.

  14. #14
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    I do not know. I do not have a chrono, however, I know that extraction is a little sticky at 7.0.
    Primers appear ok, but you can not always tell by the primer appearance.
    I only use Herco in the 686+, and I have a supply of it. But I will not exceed 7.0.

    I agree that Herco has "fallen out of favor with younger handloaders", but that attribute allowed me to find it on the shelves a few years ago, when powder was difficult to find.
    Everyone can choose what powder to buy and use, but I like Herco, and will continue to buy it when I need 357 powder.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master butch2570's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dg31872 View Post
    I do not know. I do not have a chrono, however, I know that extraction is a little sticky at 7.0.
    Primers appear ok, but you can not always tell by the primer appearance.
    I only use Herco in the 686+, and I have a supply of it. But I will not exceed 7.0.

    I agree that Herco has "fallen out of favor with younger handloaders", but that attribute allowed me to find it on the shelves a few years ago, when powder was difficult to find.
    Everyone can choose what powder to buy and use, but I like Herco, and will continue to buy it when I need 357 powder.
    Yeah , I don’t have any sticky extraction,the cases come out easily. Primers look ok. The cases are clean , so I know it’s getting a complete burn. I used a good bit of Herco and blue dot in the late 80s for heavy field loads in shotgun, but that was waaay before I loaded handgun. I hope I can figure it out , with my 686 , as I have a healthy supply of it..

  16. #16
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    I use Herco exclusively for my 929 and 147 gr Polymer coated bullets. Anything else used with the 147's would cause sticky extraction or loss of accuracy. I settled on 3.7 gr in Starline 9mm brass. It is a nice mild ICORE and minor USPSA load.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master butch2570's Avatar
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    I got the feelers out and checked the b/c gap , it’s .010 , I believe that’s still within factory tolerance.
    But I never got the mic out and double checked the thickness of the feeler either.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by butch2570 View Post
    I got the feelers out and checked the b/c gap , it’s .010 , I believe that’s still within factory tolerance.
    But I never got the mic out and double checked the thickness of the feeler either.
    Might be within factory tolerance, but it's well outside my tolerance. I would either fix that or get rid of it. I consider .005-.006" to be just right, and .008" is max.

  19. #19
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    Is Herco load density sensitive????

    The reason I ask is I loaded some 38sp with 3.0 gr and a 120 rn boolit. All loaded on a dillion 550 that I have used over 25 years.
    We went to shoot some of the above the other day and had some of the rounds act like there was no powder in the case
    and I know there was!!
    Guns used were a uberti colt lightning copy, a 73 win. and S&W M 10. The only time the rounds acted like this was
    when shot out of the revolvers they ran just as expected in the lever gun. Not every round failed, could shoot 2-3
    then might have 1 act up, all came out of the same 100 round box, all brass and boolits were prepped the same.
    The Herco came out of one of the older red metal cans but was good, no bad smell or clumps no rust in the can.
    I'm scratchen my head over this one, never run into it befor.
    Calamity Jake

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  20. #20
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by Calamity Jake View Post
    Is Herco load density sensitive????

    The reason I ask is I loaded some 38sp with 3.0 gr and a 120 rn boolit. All loaded on a dillion 550 that I have used over 25 years.
    We went to shoot some of the above the other day and had some of the rounds act like there was no powder in the case
    and I know there was!!
    Guns used were a uberti colt lightning copy, a 73 win. and S&W M 10. The only time the rounds acted like this was
    when shot out of the revolvers they ran just as expected in the lever gun. Not every round failed, could shoot 2-3
    then might have 1 act up, all came out of the same 100 round box, all brass and boolits were prepped the same.
    The Herco came out of one of the older red metal cans but was good, no bad smell or clumps no rust in the can.
    I'm scratchen my head over this one, never run into it befor.
    Was it cold? Herco is a slow powder for 38Sp. Add in low charges, large case and cold and you have a recipe for squibbs.
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
    My goals for using cast boolits are lots of good, cheap, and reasonably accurate shooting, while avoiding overly tedious loading processes.
    The BHN Deformation Formula, and why I don't use it.
    How to find and fix sizing die eccentricity problems.
    Do you trust your casting thermometer?
    A few musings.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check