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Thread: Real Gel Tests: 357 Magnum Revolver

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy curioushooter's Avatar
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    Real Gel Tests: 357 Magnum Revolver

    Gel calibrated at a slightly softer consistency: 3.75" for the 17 caliber BB compared to previous testing.

    The first shot taken was the 170 grain Hammer bullet propelled by 17 grains of 300MP. From my 5" 686 this produced a 1190 FPS velocity. At this low velocity that bullet sailed completely through 28" of gel and expanded very little if at all, showing a very small expansion cavity at the beginning and turning into an icepick-like wound channel. As brilliant as that bullet works at 1800 FPS, it is unimpressive at a lower velocity.

    The next four shots taken were with the Hammer bullet, same alloy (91pb-6sn-3sb), with the large hollopoint cavity. These come in at 158 grains checked and lubed.

    The bullets which didn't fragment retained nearly all their weight. The one that fragmented had the walls of the cavity shear off somewhere around 6-8" and one was deposited there and the other bit an inch or two on (but under 12"). The core part continued to about 18" of depth.

    Sometimes more velocity is a bad thing. I think that the 13.5 grain of 2400 load may show more promise with a smaller hollowpoint cavity or with a stronger alloy. IMO these don't show much promise as hunting rounds for deer. A heavier hollow point may be the way to go. I do think it is interesting that the ones running at 38SPL velocities in ways outperformed the magnum loads on gel. I just put a caliber to them: .380, .505, and .690." That 1100 FPS load would have made an outstanding service load for 357 magnum revolver back in the day.

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master





    SSGOldfart's Avatar
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    Any difference in bullets performance with barrel length? Other than speed?
    I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.
    Paralyzed Veterans of America

    Looking for a Hensly &Gibbs #258 any thing from a two cavity to a 10cavity

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy curioushooter's Avatar
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    To answer your question barrel length greatly increases muzzle velocity. It doesn't seem to affect much else.

    Here is a good demonstration. I've been trying to find the lower velocity limit for the 359 hammer bullet where the flat point will not mushroom. I have proven 2x that it is an icepick at 1200 FPS and expands not at all going clear through 28" of gel. At 1800 FPS and at 1600 FPS it expands beautifully. My guess is that somewhere around 1400 FPS will been where it hardly expands with the alloy I am using.

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    This gel calibrated a tad softer (3.75" with 595FPS BB), but still in range. Again 4 layers of denim.

    I am rapidly reaching some general conclusions. Jacketed HP bullets seem to have a wider range of velocities at which they will perform at least reasonably well. The 180 grain XTP has demonstrated good performance from 1700 FPS down to 1000 FPS. It seems cast boolits have a narrower range between where they will expand and where they will fracture.

    Another general conclusion I am reaching is that more velocity doesn't mean more better. Too much velocity with larger hollowpoints decreases performance. The best handgun performance I've observed so far has been the 162 grain small hollowpoint pushed by 13.5 grains of 2400 which translated to 1200-1250 FPS. This bullet expands to nearly .7" and goes 16" deep. Put that same load in a rifle, where it will go 1600 FPS, and it fractures into pieces. The upshot is that if you want a dual purpose load for handgun and rifle, or if you want a load that will work across the greatest distance possible, the Jacketed bullet is the way to go.
    Another general conclusion is that at hangun velocities a hollopoint is needed for humane performance IMO. Another general conclusion is that a 357 magnum handgun with a hollopoint will vastly outperform the biggest bore handgun without a hollopoint.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I might end up getting a deer this year with a .280" hard meplat because anything that expands from my levergun isn't accurate enough for more than 50-75 yards with good groups. so if I see one at 75 to 100 ill rack out the chamberd expanding round and hit it with a .280" meplat at 14-1300 fps at that distance and ill report to you how it works

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy curioushooter's Avatar
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    Hope it doesn't pass through and get lost/hit dirt/tree/rock. Such bullets don't give much useful info unfortunately.
    Elmer Keith was able to recover some that passed into a snowbank after the animal. They looked just like gel bullets.

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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