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Thread: Heavy 357 boolits

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Heavy 357 boolits

    Spending a bit of time with my 357's. Always thought that heavy 180 grain + boolits should do well in the 357 mag revolver for deer hunting and such.

    With the heavy 200ish boolits , the inertia and penetrating power should do well on deer size critters on the par of 44's and 45's. Trotting along at 800+ FPS and limiting range to 70 or 80 yards , I would recon that these pills will do dandy on these critters.

    Noise should be lessened in comparison to the 140's and 150's shoved outta the barrel at 1300 or so do. That sharp crack should be replaced with more of a booming it seems to me.

    I have not experimented yet on account of no molds ... but if accuracy would hold ... I see a 200 grain soup can lookin boolit as well as a 220 grain soup can boolit from Tom @accurate molds that I would like to try.

    Anybody able to help educate me and others that have contemplated this venture?

    My Ruger's in GP100 guise seem able to withstand this kinda load with ease. I really like the GP as it is way sturdy and the last one I got has a unfluted cylinder wich makes me even more comfy with this thought.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I've got a box of recovered bullets taken from deer I've shot with the .357mag over the last forty+ years. Actually, for forty years I only hunted deer with a handgun. I personally don't think you're headed in the right direction. I have quite a few 180g bullets and a lot of 158g bullets and I can assure you that the heavier bullets don't expand nearly as much as the lighter 158g bullets do. The heavier ones on average will penetrate a bit more, but most of the bullets regardless of weight were through-and-throughs anyway. My personal feeling, based on a lot of experience, is that what minimal gain you get in penetration is lost on expansion. Part of the problem is a weight vs case capacity issue. It's a trade off for the bigger bullet. I'm basing this on having shot well over fifty deer with the .357mag handgun and another dozen or so with a .357mag rifle and .357max rifle. Even a big deer will easily succumb to a well placed shot from a .357mag handgun. I don't think you're getting lost in this project, but I don't think you're gaining anything. I think that you're over analyzing it. I'd spend a lot more time focusing on bullet placement rather than what weight bullet to use. Most of the "expert" advice I've read on this subject is from someone who either read a lot about it, or shot "his deer" with something and it instantly became the best one to use. My advice to anyone wanting to hunt with the .357mag handgun is to pick any bullet 158g or more and find the most accurate load they can to hunt with. Practice, practice, practice and put that bullet in the vitals. You'll get your deer. For game larger than deer such as elk, moose, bear, etc I think you're simply better off going up to a larger caliber like the 44mag or more. Good luck though with this. My opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I don't think you need that kind of mass. A couple of examples:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	LBT 452230 LFN Jug Test.jpg 
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    230 grain LBT .45ACP cast of HARD stuff driven at standard GI hardball speed of 830 fps. Bullet on the left is unfired. Bullet on the right stopped in the 9th milk jug of the stack.

    Name:  .32-20 9 and 3 jugs 1250fps.jpg
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    Two 130 grain .32's from the same mold, but of different alloys, both driven at about 1250 fps. Hard one needed nine jugs to stop; the 20-1 slug stopped in three - which is on par with a lot of police duty loads.

    While my experiments in the .357 cartridge are just beginning, I've come to like the NOE/Ranch Dog tumble lube mold designs a lot. For the .357, you've got these offerings: https://noebulletmolds.com/site/prod...359-178-rf-ai5

    As a solid, you'll get all the penetration you need for deer and then some. As a hollowpoint, the cavity removes about 15 grains of metal, taking it down into the "classic" 158 grain weight class. At pokey .38+P speeds, this was "the" police load for the '70's and into the '80's. Load it, or something similar, up to your comfort level in .357 cases, and you shouldn't need much else.
    WWJMBD?

    "I'M MELLLLLLLLLLTING!" - Elphaba

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    NSB,
    I didnt read where you mention what alloy you are referring to. Hard cast? soft cast?
    The OP did mention his moderate velocity and moderate yardage; I think this is do-able, provided he not casting hard alloy.

    As the OP described moderate velocity, a pure soft alloy or a tin based alloy (no antimony) sounds do-able.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    NSB ... I bow to your experience here. My one thought is the horrible crack of the high speed loads of 158 grain boolits. My thoughts were that when hunting, I do not wear any hearing protection and more and more, the noise level of the magnum velocity's hurts my ears ... sooo ... my thoughts are a heavier and thusly slower boolit should make more of a 45's boom rather then the very loud crack.

    Having never taken anything greater then rabbits and turkeys and those with the 38 special in Rugers blackhawk and security six's. Plenty of grouse and squirrels but never deer sized critters.

    Packed a 44 mag smith 629 4 inch loaded with hot 300's for bear protection but for practice WITH ear protection ... never had to shoot it without ear protection ... except for a Alaskan grouse once ... ate parts that we could find.

    May be over thinking at that. I do not have experience to fall back on ... thusly the query here about the heavy for cal boolits in 357 mag revolver resulting in lower noise and recoil.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    bigted, I'll give you one on the hearing thing. I spent a lot of years shooting the .357mag from a lot of different handguns. I've shot countless thousands of rounds out of those handguns and ......I have about a fifty percent mid-range hearing loss. Most of the time I was hunting I never wore hearing protection and that's a big contributor to that loss. It wasn't deer hunting that did it, I spent an awful lot of days hunting woodchucks and other critters with the .357 and I used full power loads. If I had it to do all over again I might still not wear hearing protection for deer hunting because you simply don't do much shooting hunting deer. I would ALWAYS wear it hunting critters and target shooting. If your hearing's still good do all you can to protect it. Once you lose it to noise it doesn't come back.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy Rodfac's Avatar
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    I would ALWAYS wear it hunting critters and target shooting. If your hearing's still good do all you can to protect it. Once you lose it to noise it doesn't come back.
    Almost 60 years of shooting with 4 years of hi-power competition thrown in, a year 100 yds from a 105mm battery and forty years worth of jet engine noise have left me somewhat impaired....deaf as a post my wife would say...but here's a suggestion...I now hunt deer with noise attenuating ear muffs on. With the volume turned up, I can hear like a ten year old again, and in the winter season, I'm keeping my ears nice and warm.

    Believe me, young guys...it's a life changing event when your hearing goes south. Family arguments, isolation at parties and dinner invitations 'cause people just don't want to put up with your deafness. Do yourself a favor, get the best protection you can find...most of the good muffs now are as cheap as a cpl boxes of boutique CC loads. Rod

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodfac View Post
    Almost 60 years of shooting with 4 years of hi-power competition thrown in, a year 100 yds from a 105mm battery and forty years worth of jet engine noise have left me somewhat impaired....deaf as a post my wife would say...but here's a suggestion...I now hunt deer with noise attenuating ear muffs on. With the volume turned up, I can hear like a ten year old again, and in the winter season, I'm keeping my ears nice and warm.

    Believe me, young guys...it's a life changing event when your hearing goes south. Family arguments, isolation at parties and dinner invitations 'cause people just don't want to put up with your deafness. Do yourself a favor, get the best protection you can find...most of the good muffs now are as cheap as a cpl boxes of boutique CC loads. Rod
    A very good post. I also have a set of electronic muffs, and they do wonders for helping you hear and deadening loud noise....the best of both worlds. And as stated, they don't cost all that much either.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Ha ha ... yep 63 years young and unmuffled chainsaw's, straightpipe Harleys, unmuffled heavy equipment and tons of loud rock n roll have me saying HUH a lot anymore.

    Lost a bunch of my hearing already and I appreciate the loud noise warning. Young folks ... hope that you heed these words ... once its gone ... its GONE forever.

    Thanks fella's. Keep em coming. Gotta be more folks with experience and suggestions on the slower heavy's in the great 357 mag cartridge accuracy wise and range wise.

    Am bound to try a heavy or two just for the S&G's. I dink with my guns n loads a lot and it keeps this ol geezer outta trouble ... mostly.
    WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE...MORE WILL BE SAID THEN DONE

  10. #10
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigted View Post
    Ha ha ... yep 63 years young and unmuffled chainsaw's, straightpipe Harleys, unmuffled heavy equipment and tons of loud rock n roll have me saying HUH a lot anymore.

    Lost a bunch of my hearing already and I appreciate the loud noise warning. Young folks ... hope that you heed these words ... once its gone ... its GONE forever.

    Thanks fella's. Keep em coming. Gotta be more folks with experience and suggestions on the slower heavy's in the great 357 mag cartridge accuracy wise and range wise.

    Am bound to try a heavy or two just for the S&G's. I dink with my guns n loads a lot and it keeps this ol geezer outta trouble ... mostly.
    I have never shot a deer with a 357 but my 686 LOVES the 180 gr Cast Performance and H-110 powder. I tried to get it to shoot 200 gr Speer's but not a chance. I'd rather shoot the cast boolits anyway. It has a 6" barrel and H-110 makes it really sing with the 180's to the tune of 1250 fps average. It still has that 357 crack with 180 gr boolits that kills eardrums and since I was un attentive to hearing loss in my callow youth, I now belong to the "what did you say" crowd. For you younger shooters: protect it or loose it!
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Groo's Avatar
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    Groo here
    The biggest problem with the 180gr to 200gr 357boolets is getting them to go fast enough to be stable.
    900fps is on the bottom end at hunting ranges [100yds]
    This was a big problem for the 44mag rifle with slow rifling.
    People keep slowing down 300gr loads so they did not kick so hard and did not have enough RPM to fly true.
    180 to 200 bullets should be loaded to 1000 fps+[in your gun!!!] to drive deep like you want

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Groo View Post
    Groo here
    The biggest problem with the 180gr to 200gr 357boolets is getting them to go fast enough to be stable.
    900fps is on the bottom end at hunting ranges [100yds]
    This was a big problem for the 44mag rifle with slow rifling.
    People keep slowing down 300gr loads so they did not kick so hard and did not have enough RPM to fly true.
    180 to 200 bullets should be loaded to 1000 fps+[in your gun!!!] to drive deep like you want
    I've never found that to be a problem. 170-180 grains is no big deal. They may not be ideal for powder puff loads, but any reasonable mid to top level load will shoot very well. Again, I've had no problems with 200 grains at all, I maxed out around 1150-1200 fps in a 4 5/8" blackhawk, and they shoot well. I have not done much with the 215 grain 358627, but they too are stable with H110 loads. I'm guessing 230-240 grain bullets is going to be where you start to see problems.

    As for the noise, I never worried too much about it. It's loud, but I just don't see how it's worse than any other magnum. A 44 magnum is every bit as loud. I would doubt you could measure a decibel difference between them with comparable loads. A 308 winchester encore pistol is LOUD, and a rifle with a muzzle break is another step above that. Other than shotguns, an encore pistol is likely the most popular big game gun in the southern half of MN. I always, no exceptions, wear adequate hearing protection for target shooting. I even try and use it for higher volume hunting like small game and duck hunting. But a single shot at a deer? No.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    After having played with a TC 10” 357 magnum for a number of years I moved on to a 6” GP 100 and FA in 357 magnum. The GP will tolerate the heavies, though they can be unpleasant as standard every day fodder. The TC and the FA, I see no need for the 357 Maximum.

    I use several designs for the 180-205 range. After having run a few thousand rounds too 200 yards I never saw any issue that I ever had the idea had to do with a stability problem.

    I have poked holes in my share of deer all with 180’s and an alloy I prefer. Shots were 30-160 ish yards, wish I could show you a recovered bullet, I have never recovered on as there were always two holes.
    As mentioned shot placement is key.
    My loads use Starline brass and small rifle primers.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I am loading lyman’s 195 grain bullet with the max. 2400 amount quoted in the 45th edition for 38 special. It’s almost 900 FPS in a revolver so I am guessing 1150 FPS or more in my marlin 1894C 18.5” barrel. It is so accurate in that marlin micro groove and fun to shoot, I don’t believe I will change. As far as hunting, this is a water quenched bullet from WW material so I wouldn’t expect it to expand. The way it rings steel at 100 yards, I have no doubt it would punch through deer. Power wise, it is probably close to a 32-40 pushing a 165 at 1440 FPS.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    I bought an older .357 Mag Ruger Redhawk to play with heavy bullets. Glad I read this thread because it reminded me about it...

  16. #16
    Boolit Master

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    That ought to do the trick....
    JMHO-YMMV
    dd884
    dgilbert07 at windstream dot net

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Take advantage of the Redhawk cylinder length.

    The FA 357 is not your daddy’s or grandpas 357. The Redhawk strength wise should be close.

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