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Thread: 357 mag rifle accuracy

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    357 mag rifle accuracy

    Okay, what kind of accuracy are you guys getting from Model 73 Win 16 inch barrel and Model 92s with 20 inch barrel. This is with cast lead 158 grain flat based round nose flat point. I'm wanting just one simple accurate load. I'm driving myself nuts jumping around trying so many different loads. I do not want magnum loads, just reduced velocity about 1250- 1350 fps or close. I think I maybe expecting to much from cast loads in a lever action rifle. Not interested in pistols. Oh, open sights only, no scopes unless you state so in your results. 73s and 92s really are not scope sight rifles. I'm asking here because I have no one I know close by that I kind talk too.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Ignoring the "all day long" crowd, you can expect...at best....five shots in 2-2.5" on a consistent level with a very good load.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    About the best you can hope for with an open-sighted levergun firing a revolver cartridge is about 2 to 2-1/2 inches at 50 yards as a long run average of ten or more 5-shot groups without discarding any data. You may get one group out of ten which is around an inch, and another as large as 3 inches, but simply demonstrates the normal random variations of chance.
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  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    My results mirror that from Outpost75, except that my groups were somewhat larger than his.
    I expect that reflects the differences in our skill levels more than anything else.

  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy Win94ae's Avatar
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    Could you tell us how precise your groups are now?

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master
    Mk42gunner's Avatar
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    My .357 rifle is really more of a carbine, with the name almost longer than the gun--Winchester 94AE Ranger Compact, IIRC. Anyway, it is a 16" barrel and a great little plinker.

    I honestly don't remember shooting groups on paper with it after I got it sighted in for a lightish plinking load. I mainly used it for plinking in the desert with basically a cowboy level load, I seriously doubt if it was even pushing 1,000 FPS with most loads. What I do remember is that it shot acceptably, which meant that I normally hit soda can sized targets between 25 and fifty yards away.

    I need to dig it out of the safe and do some more shooting with it.

    Robert

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I am shooting a Marlin 1894CS in 357 mag so you can stop reading if you only want '73 and '92 experience.

    For a long time I used a Skinner peep on my rifle and I could generally hit a clay pigeon at 100 yards 5 out of 10 times.

    I decided to concentrate on finding it's true potential so I mounted a 4X scope on it recently. I have narrowed down my loads to the most accurate and, with a scope, I get 1 hole groups at 25 yards expanding out to 2 to 3" groups at 100 yards.

    I am almost finished with my testing. My goal is to publish my findings in a long thread here. I will include photos, accuracy results, chrono readings and real world trajectories of different loads out to 100 yards.

    Unfortunately the weather here is not cooperating.

    Again, these results were with a scope mounted but I was pleasantly surprised.

    Once I have a known trajectory for my favorite load I will go back to the Skinner peeps. They look more appropriate on a lever gun IMO.

    Hope this helps and best of luck,


    Steve in N CA

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    sghart3578 I look forward to your report sounds interesting.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    I loaded these originally for my wife to practice with in her Ruger lcr 38 . I tried them in my Rossi 92 and was impressed with how tight they shoot from the little carbine 4 grains of red dot under a 130 rnfp it is a very light load , and I have only shot it at 25 yards from the bench , with a marbels tang sight . I get groups 1/2 to 1" It would be a great small game load plinker for a 38/357 92. It is sure fun to see those little 5 shot clover leaf holes in the paper .

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I would not be happy with 2 1/2" at 50 yards from a rifle. You can do that with a smooth bore shotgun, at least the right one you can. My Henry 327 federal groups 1 1/2" at 50 yards with peep sight. That is a 25 shot average.

    I doubt you are ever going to get a pistol caliber lever carbine to be a sub MOA gun, but 3 MOA is very doable.

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub
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    All right,just what I was looking for. Looks like I am right in the ball park. 2 - 3 inchs at 50 yds is what I am getting with an occasional 1 and a half. I thought maybe I was a little off but I am going to stop chasing any more accuracy and concentrate on consistantisy. Dont know how to spell. Thanks guys for the come back.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    I have had 3 or 4 Rossi 92s in 357 and they were all 4 MOA guns or better with open sights. Every gun would shoot 10 shots around an inch at 50 yards. At 100 yards every gun would shoot 10 shots under 4 inches.

    Open sights are harder to shoot but many people forget the fundamentals. Focus FRONT SIGHT ONLY, not rear sight and especially don't focus on the target. The target should be fuzzy as you focus on the front sight.

    Another thing is that you will shoot open sights like crap on targets meant for scoped guns. You wont be able to shoot open sights properly at a 2" orange sticker at 100 yards. It is also hard to shoot iron sights at iron sight colored targets. If the aiming point is too small you will use bad form and focus the target, not your front sight. When you focus on your front sight, the little target is gone.

    You need a target that is very large so that you can aim your focused front sight at the middle of the large blurry thing. I recommend a 12" white circle on a black background at minimum for good groups at 100 yards. A paper plate is getting pretty small at 100 when you focus the front sight and the plate gets blurry. I find that on a paper plate target at 100 yards I will get vertical stringing. Place a 5 gallon bucket upside down on a white pizza box and spray paint a quick ring around the bucket.
    I use coffee can lid stencils on computer paper for 50 yard targets.

    I have a load with a gas checked 154 WFN NOE (158 gr in 1-1-98) that is 2.5 MOA for 10 shots at 100. 2000 fps with Lil' Gun. I hate gas checking, and I hate trimming brass so I shoot the Lee 158-RF with 1-4-95, powder coated and tumble lubed at the same 2000 fps for 4 MOA 10 shot groups a lot more often. I did shoot the best groups with a 3moa red dot in the middle of a paper plate at 100. Round white targets work well for dots too and since I can focus on the target with a dot, I can shoot a smaller circle than with open sights. However, with a larger white circle, the same day I shot the same load out of my open sight gun and I got just barely over 3 MOA for 10 shots.

    You could probably cherry pick a slow 3 shot group and expect these Rossis to shoot about anything in mag brass in a 2-3 MOA group on a low wind day. On windy days, and even 5 mph crosswinds will open up groups dramatically with these low BC bullets at 100 yards. With a great load they will shoot 10 shots in 2-3 MOA.

    My guns don't shoot specials as good, but after a lot of experimenting it seems like they will shoot the 125-rf Lee in 10 shot 2" groups at 50 yards from 1000-1300 fps in a wide variety of loads. The same bullet shoots great in full magnum loads with PC. 1" at 50 yards with 2100 fps muzzle velocity.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master Thumbcocker's Avatar
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    Plain base boolit iron sights

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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    And let's not forget that lever guns with their two piece stocks require a different shooting style, as least mine do.

    When I bench test my AR or my bolt guns they shoot very well in a lead sled. But my lever guns get much better accuracy when I cradle the forearm in my hand and rest my hand on a bag or towel or something similar.

    Also, where I support the forearm has an effect also.


    Steve in N CA
    Last edited by sghart3578; 03-19-2020 at 09:17 AM. Reason: poor spelling

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master


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    "reduced velocity about 1250- 1350 fps or close"

    I've shot a lot of 357, 44 and 45 cal M73s and M92s with PB'd cast bullets. I've found that the best accuracy is going to be with velocity in the 1050 - 1200 fps range with all of them. I suggest trying a fast burning powder [Bullseye, Red Dot, 700X, etc.] starting at 4 gr and work up using a chronograph and on target accuracy to find the load the rifle likes. Of course quality cast bullets of a proper alloy sized correctly with a good lube are essential for best accuracy also.

    I currently shoot PB'd cast in my 20" 44-40 M92 and 20" M73, both with velocities right at 1150 fps. My eyes aren't what they used to be but I can run a tube full (10 rounds) of each into 2 - 2 1/2" at 50 yards. the sights on the M73 get me to 200 yards and with the sights on the M92 I shoot to 300 yards. I can regularly hit my 10 and 12" gongs at those ranges and many a "hostile" rock attack has been thwarted by both rifles on desert walks.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 03-19-2020 at 09:28 AM.
    Larry Gibson

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  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    Thumcocker, thats what my groups look like, I always get that dam flyer once in awhile. Sometimes though when the planets align the sun is just right and I swear temp has an effect also. As an aside I can pick any of my AR15s and shoot 1 hole groups at 50 all day long, but this is cast boolits, they are a witches brew of black magic.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    Gibson, good idea I dont know why I really got stuck around 1250-1350. I will try some red dot or 700x, I have lots of each. Do you use a filler with red dot or the 700x?

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
    Outer Rondacker's Avatar
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    Minute of tennis ball off hand at 50yrds. My Rossi 16 inch likes them on the hot side.
    Stop being blinded by your own ignorance.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by relic View Post
    Gibson, good idea I dont know why I really got stuck around 1250-1350. I will try some red dot or 700x, I have lots of each. Do you use a filler with red dot or the 700x?
    No fillers in 357 magnum. 700x works great.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by relic View Post
    Gibson, good idea I dont know why I really got stuck around 1250-1350. I will try some red dot or 700x, I have lots of each. Do you use a filler with red dot or the 700x?
    No filler with either of those powders.
    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