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Thread: 357 Magnum plinking loads. Any favorites?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    357 Magnum plinking loads. Any favorites?

    I'm toying with the idea of buying the 105gr mold that Lee Precision offers with the intent of using it to make a plinking load for my S&W 686 Plus. My thought process is that a light bullet will need less powder to drive the bullet, in turn won't need a heavy magnum primer, and in turn it would make for a relatively quiet and recoil light shooting.

    I'm thinking of a small charge of a position independent fast burning powder like W231 or titegroup, or H110. This way I think I would be able to get away with using the bare minimum of power to get the bullet out and hit the paper.

    Have any of you tried something like this?

  2. #2
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lighter bullets usually need more powder in order to create enough pressure to seal the case to the chamber. You will also notice soot marks on your brass when it doesnt seal.

    They will strike the target lower too. I tried the 95rf from Lee and it was about 8" low in 50'.

    I recommend the Lee 358-125-rf. Will put your impact on paper, load data is easier to find, no dirty chambers. Recoil is still light. I have an extra 2 cavity If your interested.

    H110/Win 296 dont play nice in small amounts.

  3. #3
    Banned
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    perhaps that MAY work in one or two powders, but in the online loading data, lighter bullets need more powder to get to velocity

  4. #4
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    if you want a light plinking load .5cc scoop of red dot in a 38 special case is really like shooting a 22lr. And .5cc scoop of Bullseye in a 357 case with a 158 grain speer swc actually feels the same.

    And plinking loads that can shoot through a 2x4 are FUN.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    7gn of true blue 158gn lee plain base boolit in 357case.nice light load

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master tazman's Avatar
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    Lee 125 rf loaded over 2.8-3.0 grains of Bullseye, Titegroup, or WST in a 38 special case gives me a light, accurate load that shoots to point of aim for me in my revolvers.
    It achieves this because it is spending more time in the barrel. Definitely not a high velocity load.
    The Titegroup and WST loads are cleaner than Bullseye, but all three are very accurate.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master


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    My plinking load was (soon to be changed) 2.7 gr of Clays with the 130 gr RNFP. Very accurate (about 1" groups at 30 yards in the rifles) and light recoil in the pistols. .38 Spl cases.

    The only reason I am changing is to get a more powerful load to get the fiancÚ used to more recoil. I like to have only one load to keep things simple. With 4 pistols and 3 rifles, I am not going to tailor a load for each gun.
    Don Verna

    NRA Endowment Member

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy
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    My plinking loads for my S&W M19 and M28 are 38 specials or equivalent if I use magnum cases.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    .357 mag w/ 358627 boolit & 8.0 grs. of 2400.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    My favorite .357 magnum plinking load is a 158 grain, .358 diameter lead bullet, over 4 grains of TrailBoss, in a .38 Special case.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    148g cast with 4.3g 231 powder in a .357 case. There's no reason in the world to use a 38spl case and end up getting a crud ring in the chambers. I used this load for competition and at 25 yards shooting off bags it would shoot five shots with all bullets touching. Extremely mild recoil and great accuracy.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSB View Post
    148g cast with 4.3g 231 powder in a .357 case. There's no reason in the world to use a 38spl case and end up getting a crud ring in the chambers. I used this load for competition and at 25 yards shooting off bags it would shoot five shots with all bullets touching. Extremely mild recoil and great accuracy.
    I believe that is the same load I used when I was shooting in a Bullseye league many years ago. Nice load
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  13. #13
    Boolit Bub

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    My Very preliminary testing showed that 6.9 gr. of Winchester 572 with a 135gr. to 140gr. Pill was a pleasure to shoot in a steel framed .357.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    Unique and Tightgroup makes good plunking loads.

    Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSB View Post
    148g cast with 4.3g 231 powder in a .357 case. There's no reason in the world to use a 38spl case and end up getting a crud ring in the chambers. I used this load for competition and at 25 yards shooting off bags it would shoot five shots with all bullets touching. Extremely mild recoil and great accuracy.
    Quote Originally Posted by ubetcha View Post
    I believe that is the same load I used when I was shooting in a Bullseye league many years ago. Nice load

    I think I'll try to replicate what the two of you are recommending. What Lee mold would you suggest? There is a 148g wad cutter and semi-wad cutter.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by Froogal View Post
    My favorite .357 magnum plinking load is a 158 grain, .358 diameter lead bullet, over 4 grains of TrailBoss, in a .38 Special case.
    Is there any reason I can't use a .357 Magnum case? I hate using .38 Special in a cylinder meant for Magnum.

  17. #17
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    LUCKYDAWG13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSB View Post
    148g cast with 4.3g 231 powder in a .357 case. There's no reason in the world to use a 38spl case and end up getting a crud ring in the chambers. I used this load for competition and at 25 yards shooting off bags it would shoot five shots with all bullets touching. Extremely mild recoil and great accuracy.
    is this with a DEWC
    kids that hunt and fish dont mug old ladies

  18. #18
    Boolit Master RU shooter's Avatar
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    I'll second or third the 148 wc and a light charge of fast powder for plinking . My load is the Lyman 358495 and 3.5 gr of Bullseye in mag case, I use the same load in 38 spl brass with the bullet seated to the same mag length
    If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck!

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy Rodfac's Avatar
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    148g cast with 4.3g 231 powder in a .357 case.
    Yep, a great load in my guns as well (M19's, M66's, M60, 2 Ruger FTBH's and a Smith M27). I use Lyman's 35891 (wadcutter) at 145 gr cast from ACWW's, and lube with 50-50. I size to 0.358-9" for all guns. If you've got Bullseye on hand, 4.0 grains is just as good or better...NRA Bullseye Competition level accuracy from a good gun.

    The above loads work very nearly as well with Lyman's 358156 without the gas check and sized/lubed the same.

    YMMv, Rod
    Rod

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaak View Post
    I'm toying with the idea of buying the 105gr mold that Lee Precision offers with the intent of using it to make a plinking load for my S&W 686 Plus. My thought process is that a light bullet will need less powder to drive the bullet, in turn won't need a heavy magnum primer, and in turn it would make for a relatively quiet and recoil light shooting.

    I'm thinking of a small charge of a position independent fast burning powder like W231 or titegroup, or H110. This way I think I would be able to get away with using the bare minimum of power to get the bullet out and hit the paper.

    Have any of you tried something like this?
    You got some good advice from several different people. I personally agree with Tazman, but some other good loads were mentioned too.
    I would just like to add that it would be difficult to imagine a worse powder for what you want to do than H110. If you try that, I can pretty much guarantee you will be driving the bullet back out with a cleaning rod.

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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