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Thread: Need help with 357 loads. Too much info out there!

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
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    Need help with 357 loads. Too much info out there!

    My apologies if I ramble on. I've been reloading for a few years now. Started off with .308 and now load 38/357 exclusively. I currently have 2400,Unique, and Win231. I would like to stick with 158gr LSWC coated for both calibers to make things easier. I've loaded both with 2400 and Unique and they have all gone boom with no issues. I would like to stick with Unique for the 357 loads and make some warm plinking loads. I will be mostly shooting paper and maybe occasionally steel. The problem I have been having is that Unique will not meter consistently for me. I have tried different ways to throw charges while trying to be consistent with no luck. With my RCBS uniflow I try to throw an 8gr charge but end up with 7.7-8.1.

    Does anyone have any tricks to get a consistent charge with this dispenser/powder combo? Or should I look at another powder? Win 231 is spot on for me with maybe +/- .1gr. 2400 is fairly consistent but I would like to reserve that power for my Hornady XTP bullets.

    So to sum it up I would like to load 357 with 158gr coated LSWC for general range use (recommendations for manufacture?). I want them to be warm (because I like knowing I'm shooting 357 and not a .22) but not full house magnums. Would like to use Unique or Win231 (open to other powder options that meter well). I will hopefully getting a chrono soon which should have been something I got awhile ago. These will all be shot from my 686+ 3".

    Thanks from reading this long winded post!

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Shoot some groups bench rested. Weighed versus thrown charges. If there is no obvious/measurable difference, use the measure.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    True Blue is a spherical powder that measures very accurately. I've used it in my 9mm and when I checked a thrown charge from my RCBS powder measure on both a balance beam and an electrical scale the results were the same. It never varied.

    Bullseye is another that measures consistently, but not quite as well as the True Blue....
    Tom
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Unique always does that. However, as 475BH says, shoot em and see. If that makes you a bit uncomfortable, use a ball powder for very uniform charges. I've never owned a powder measure that dropped Unique spot on.

  5. #5
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    Try AA5, power pistol or another powder. Many of us know Uniques quirks and love it anyway.
    Surprisingly for benchrest shooters, the amount of powder in the case is one of their least concerning variables. Often the 2%-3% swings Unique can have in thrown charges make little difference if they do not approach maximum levels at least out to 100 yards. If like many you shoot at 17 yards or less you will never notice.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  6. #6
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    The 231 powder that you already have will give you 1100 fps and it meters consistently. Why not just use that powder. I guarantee you will be able to tell the difference between an 1100fps load and a 850 fps load.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Throw the handle to the up position, tap the side of the drum with fingers a couple times to settle the powder in the measure then throw the charge into the case. A +/- of .1 gr with Unique is uniform and what I get with my RCBS powder thrower.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
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    Isn’t 8.0gn of unique a whole lot in a .357?
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  9. #9
    Boolit Master slughammer's Avatar
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    Yes, 8.0gr is a max with a 158gr according to the Lyman Cast Boolit Handbook.

    Starting load is 5.5gr.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelguns 1961 View Post
    Isn’t 8.0gn of unique a whole lot in a .357?
    Happiness is a couple of 38's and a bucket of ammo.

  10. #10
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelguns 1961 View Post
    Isn’t 8.0gn of unique a whole lot in a .357?
    Yes 8grns is max. I was just messing around with the small drum that I installed to see how it metered Unique compared to the large drum that was originally included.

    I'm going to start at a 7grn and work up to 7.5.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    start at 6.4 grns, (long time standard 357 load) you looking for accurate or a big bang?

  12. #12
    Boolit Mold
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grmps View Post
    start at 6.4 grns, (long time standard 357 load) you looking for accurate or a big bang?
    I rarely shoot past 25 yds so I'm not looking for superb accuracy. I do like the boom and would like moderate recoil. I will use my 2400 for the big boomers. Basically a warm plinking round.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Been using 4.5 grains Unique in .38 -- 4.0 was kind of dirty !!!!!! I am going to try 700x and red dot next time I load for that one behind 158 semi wad cutter.
    2400 works for magnum loads, but I don't use hot loads.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
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    What are you guys using for boolits? Ive been trying different brands of coated158gr lswc. I eventually want to cast my own but I'm not there yet.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master tazman's Avatar
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    For a plinking load, it is hard to beat the Keith style SWC boolits in any weight from 150 to 170 grains. They are consistently accurate and have been a staple for a lot of years. The Lyman 358311 and any 158 grain flat round nose boolit will also do what you want very well. If you prefer a lighter weight, the Lee 358-125-RF is a good choice.
    For 357 I, personally, use the Lyman 358311, the Lyman 358429, the Lyman 358156, and the NOE 360-150-SWC. I have others I can use, but these are my favorites. All of them shoot very well and are easy to cast. They will serve from slow plinkers to full power, kill anything loads.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I have a RCBS uniflow, Lyman 55, Lee perfect powder measure ,and a Lee disk powder measure on dies. Of these 4 items, the two that gives Me the most consistence with most powders are the Lee's. I weight each charge before dropping into the case and if the charge is light, I trickle in the rest . I have to trickle far, far less with the Lee's. The fine ball powders like 296 etc, seem to bind up the rotating cylinders inside the powder measures, especially the Lyman 55. For that reason , I like to use flake or spherical powders the most. If I happen to use a ball powder, then I dump powder with a Lee dipper and the trickle the rest to proper weight.
    I have been using the Lee 358-158 rf in my 4" Ruger Security Six sized .358 2lbs Coww - 1lb Soww with Tac1 in front of 6.1 gr Herco. With my alloy ,this bullet weights approx 164grs lubed.
    Last edited by ubetcha; 10-23-2018 at 10:07 AM.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Grand Master


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    I use 6.5 gr Unique under the 358477 or the Lee TL 158 SWC. That has proven to be an excellent medium range 357 load. For magnum lloads I uuse 2400 or H110 under the 358156.
    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

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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