Lee PrecisionInline FabricationTitan ReloadingRepackbox
StainLess Steel MediaRotoMetals2WidenersGraf & Sons
MidSouth Shooters Supply
Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: Moderate loads for .357 magnum?

  1. #1
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12

    Moderate loads for .357 magnum?

    I am trying to find a moderate load for my Smith & Wesson M66 4 inch using the .357 case. I have 158 gr. SWC 20-1 sized .358 with a brinnel of 8 to 9. Powders available are Unique, Win 231 and Universal Clays. Of course my goal would be to get at least .38+p velocities maybe 900 to 1000 fps and not lead the cylinder and barrel. The Hodgon manual quotes 5 grains Unique as max for the 158 lead bullet. Web searches show 6 to 7 grs. and hard cast. Is it possible to get the velocity I want with these softer slugs?
    harbor2

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy Wheelguns 1961's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Location
    Mid atlantic area
    Posts
    252
    I use 6.5gn of unique with a 158gn swc cast of 50/50 wheelweights to pure. I haven’t chronoed it, but it shoots accurately. I believe that it is in the 1000-1,100 range. I have also used 5.0gn of ww231 under the same bullet with excellent results. Edited to add: bullets are powder coated.
    Last edited by Wheelguns 1961; 10-31-2018 at 11:21 AM.
    Due to the price of primers, warning shots will no longer be given!

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Kansas US of A
    Posts
    1,318
    Look at max book loads for the 38 special or +P, then look at what a start load is with same powder and bullet for 357.

    As to speed and leading, your gun,alloy and lube will be the judge of that.

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    256
    Thats pretty soft for 357 magnum but if you powder coat those they should work. I would use Unique for mid loads but I'm at work so I cant recommend anything specific.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    East Central Illinois
    Posts
    2,396
    4.5 of red dot worked well for me as a plinking load.
    You'll go far providin' you ain't burnt alive or scalped."

    Will Geer as Bear Claw in "Jeramiah Johnson"

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12
    Thank you all for your replies. As soft as these slugs are I will start with 4.5 grs Unique and go from there. I have never tried powder coated bullets.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    4,674
    harbor2, I think 4.5 grains of Unique may be a bit too low in a .357 mag casing but there's no harm in trying. I doubt that load will even get you to 900 fps. Since you have 231 available, I would suggest something around 5.0 - 5.3 grains of 231.
    I wouldn't worry too much about the alloy being soft. With a proper fitting bullet and a good bullet lube you should have no trouble with leading even at 8 - 9 BHn as long as you don't try to push that too fast.

    Make sure your casings aren't swaging those soft bullets down even smaller than .358" And you may want to measure your throats; most S&W cylinders I've run across are closer to .357"

    A Lyman "M" die of the appropriate size may also be useful.

    Good Luck

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    4,674

  9. #9
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12
    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    harbor2, I think 4.5 grains of Unique may be a bit too low in a .357 mag casing but there's no harm in trying. I doubt that load will even get you to 900 fps. Since you have 231 available, I would suggest something around 5.0 - 5.3 grains of 231.
    I wouldn't worry too much about the alloy being soft. With a proper fitting bullet and a good bullet lube you should have no trouble with leading even at 8 - 9 BHn as long as you don't try to push that too fast.

    Make sure your casings aren't swaging those soft bullets down even smaller than .358" And you may want to measure your throats; most S&W cylinders I've run across are closer to .357"

    A Lyman "M" die of the appropriate size may also be useful.

    Good Luck
    Thanks for the reply Petrol & Powder, I will try Win 231, it definitely meters better than Unique. I need to read up on the Lyman M die particulars. I have Lee dies with the extra factory crimp die. Now that you mentioned to watch the case size in reference to the soft bullets, maybe the fcd die might not be usable. Will have to see, thanks again.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    barry s wales uk
    Posts
    1,483
    7 gr true blue works well ,meters well and clean

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    4,674
    I'm not a fan of the Lee FCD but that's a personal opinion. It's also not the relevant issue here.
    It's easy for a an improperly sized casing to swage a soft bullet down to a smaller diameter. A lot of expanders that work fine for jacketed bullets are not as well suited for cast lead bullets, particularly if the bullets are soft.

    When the casing is expanded the brass will spring back a little after the expander is removed. Ideally you want the casing to provide a little bit of neck tension without so much that it swages the bullet. For a .357" -.358" lead bullet, a .357" expander works fairly well. The casing will spring back to about .356" and that diameter coupled with a roll crimp in the crimp groove will prove good results.
    Add that neat little Lyman "M" die "step" that really helps to start the bullet squarely in the casing and the whole system works nicely with cast bullets that have a crimp groove.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    4,674
    I just measured the expander plug on my Lyman "M" die for 38/357 and it's .356" with a step of about .360"

    The plug is removable and you can get different sizes.

    I had Lathesmith make a couple of Dillon powder funnels (Insert BIG endorsement for Lathesmith here) and they are .357" with a .360 step.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    rintinglen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    HB, CA, FOR NOW
    Posts
    4,221
    6.0 grains of WW-231, 6.5 Grains of Unique, 7.0 grains of Power Pistol: any of these will make for a nice medium .357 158 grain load in the 1000-1100 FPS range.
    _________________________________________________It's not that I can't spell: it is that I can't type.

  14. #14
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    SOUTH CAROLINA
    Posts
    3
    I shoot a lot of coated 158gr TCFP and SWC with 5.0gr of Universal. I did chronograph some but can't find my book, but I think it was giving me around 950 out of a 8 3/8" Model 686. I shoot a lot of steel plates and 75 yards which is the limit to my home range. Very Pleasant to shoot and extremely accurate. Was using Unique but the Universal meters better in my Dillon press and seems to shoot a little cleaner. I have used a very similar load of Power Pistol listed by rintinglen above with very good results as well. I shoot most of mine in 38 special cases and use in .38 and .357 Revolvers. More of a +P .38 load

  15. #15
    Boolit Mold
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12
    I really appreciate all the replies for finding moderate loads for my .357. Now I just have to get out and do some loading and range work. I have a Lee hand press and dies coming in the mail, should be here soon. In the mean time, my grandson and I are taking this week to go reindeer hunting on Atka Island, Alaska. Wish us luck.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Walks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    669
    Good Luck on your Hunt.
    LYMAN M-dies are the best dies for expanding a case for a cast bullet. The 2-step expander has been sold by LYMAN for over 60+yrs.
    I don't care much for LEE dies either. I discovered their Factory Crimp die was actually squeezing the bullet Diameter of bullets seated & then Crimped with a FCD from .428dia down to .426dia in my .44-40. And .401dia bullets in a .38-40 down to .398dia, I don't use them anymore.
    Good roll crimp is the best way to hold a bullet for good powder ignition.

    I don't know what manual you are using but it's been a WHOLE LOTTA YEARS since HODGDON published a manual showing Alliant/Hercules powders like UNIQUE.

    Are you sure you're reading the right line?
    I would you suggest you use data from only the HODGDON (Winchester, IMR, HODGDON powders) or the ALLIANT website.
    Perhaps buy a copy of the LYMAN CAST BULLET HANDBOOK #4 or one of the caliber specific Loadbooks covering .38spl/.357mag.
    Happiness is a Warm GUN & more ammo to shoot in it.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

    rfd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    NJ via TX
    Posts
    2,532
    i load 4.7 to 5.0 grains of w231 under an acme or precision hi-tec coated 125 grain bullet for my S&W model 60 snubbie. easy going on recoil, pretty accurate, too. now i need to figure out what to load for a companion .357mag rifle ...

  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    NE Ohio
    Posts
    58
    I stumbled on 10gr of blue dot 25-30 years ago. For a mid range load it has been the most accurate load I have used.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Ed_Shot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    North Texas
    Posts
    768
    Red Dot / Promo 5.0 gr. under a 120~160 gr boolit in a .357 case is my standard mid-range load. Economical, and the accuracy is hard to beat.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
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