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Thread: .357 Herret vs .357 Maximum?

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    .357 Herret vs .357 Maximum?

    I recently got back into T/C Contenders, and have picked up a couple 14" barrels in .357 Herrett and .357 Maximum. I've owned a Max before in a 10" Contender, but this is my first experience with the Herrett. While I like the oddball/"neat" factor of the Herrett, I'm beginning to think there may be no real benefit over the Max for deer under 100 yards (more like 50-75). I don't plan on using any pointed bullets, and the idea was to use 158-180gr Hornady XTP's.

    Anyone have experience with either (or both)? I know the Max will be considerably easier to load for, as I won't have to deal with forming brass, but its not as though I will be shooting either very much.

    Suggestions?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Dan Cash's Avatar
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    I don't have either one but think I would prefer the Herrett. If you decide on the Herrett, I think I have good Herrett sizing die you can have for the asking.
    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, the trouble with many shooting experts is not that they're ignorant; its just that they know so much that isn't so.

  3. #3
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    I own several Contender barrels,, including a 10" & 14" bull in .357 Maxi. I have owned a Herrett,, and it left here. No need,, as several other calibers filled the needs,, AND are easier to load for.
    Recently,, over on the SA forum,, David Bradshaw & Lee Martin designed a special cast bullet for the 357 Maxi,, that is SUPERB!!!!!!! The "Martin/Bradshaw" casts at 195 grns, powder coated,, and tested will give excellent accuracy at 100 yds & beyond. MV is around 1450 fps. DO a little research on it over there,, and you will find a wealth of info. Mostly,, they are using it in the Ruger revolvers,,, but I have put it through both my T/C bbls.
    Can't say enough good about it.
    David was in on the initial development of the Ruger 357 Maxi way back when too.

    Did I mention I prefer the Maxi over the Herrett?

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    Interesting, I may have to do a little research on the 195gr cast bullet!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master uscra112's Avatar
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    Since there's high quality factory brass available for the Max, I can't see messing with the Herrett unless you're a masochist. (Says he who got into a .30 Herrett barrel some years ago. and quickly lost interest.)
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  6. #6
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    Never had a .357 Maximum. I purchase a 357 Herrett when I was 14 years old. I really learned a lot with it. It performed as advertised and I really enjoyed shooting it. Forming brass isn't bad but switched to 35 Rem. and stopped shooting the Herrett so it got sold or traded for other Contender barrels.

    http://www.handgunhunt.com/forum/ubb...page/5/fpart/1

    “…Small cartridges like the .357 Magnum and .357 Maximum are not even in the same league as the .35 Remington when it comes to big game…” “…Better performance than is possible with the .357 Herrett…”. .35 Remington by Bob Milek Guns and Ammo February, 1986
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 05-25-2020 at 01:07 AM.
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  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I never worked with the 357 herrett, but have shot the 30 herrett. I also have loaded for 357 maximum in a DW revolver. Right off the bat, I'll say I wouldn't mess with 158 grain bullets. I found best accuracy with the 357 maximum above 200 grain, but a 180 grian XTP may be a fair choice. I like the Lyman 358627, 215 grain SWC and IMR 4227.

    I was not impressed with either the 357 maximum or 30 herrett. In the case of the 30 herrett, I don't see what real advantage it has over 30-30. I would think the 357 herrett has a small boost over the 357 maximum, but neither is a common cartridge. I also was not overly impressed with 357 maximum. For such an ungainly revolver required to fit it, it sure didn't seem to provide that much more over 357 magnum, even with its 9 1/2" barrel. Maybe a 14" would see a larger boost.

    If I wanted a 35 caliber Contender pistol, and didn't want 357 magnum, I would go for 35 remington.

  8. #8
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    I've been shooting the .357max for around six years now in rifles, both Encore and Win Low Wall. During that time I've kept pretty good records on many, many different loads tried and accuracy results. Most of the comments posted so far are pretty far off the mark. My current "fun gun" is my second MGM barrel on an Encore frame. It's 20" long and has a 1:16 twist. My other MGM barrel was 24" long and had a 1:20 twist. Of the two, I like the shorter, faster twist barrel as it covers a wider variety of bullet weights for accuracy. There is very little load data available that's printed in loading manuals. The most difficult part of using this cartridge is getting safe loads that realize its full potential. I have several safe loads that will push a 158g Hornady XTP-FP bullet to over 2400fps. This is using 1680 powder. The gun will print 1.0" five shot groups at 100 yards and 3.0" groups at 200 yards. I also use the Hornady XTP-HP 180g bullet and it shoots equally as good. Both of these bullets have accounted for a dozen or so deer over the last couple of years. Last year I ran into a batch of the Hornady XTP bullets that began to fragment at about 10% and would not even reach the target. I believe that pushing these bullets to that velocity is beyond the end of their capability. I started using the 180g XTP's instead of the lighter 158g. I recently tried using Speer Hot Core 180g bullets and have found that they shoot tighter groups than the XTP's were shooting. I'm getting sub 1moa groups (five shots) at 100 yards and they are made to be pushed to higher velocities than the pistol bullets are. These can be pushed fast, safe, and accurately. Both Lil Gun and Viht 120 are great powders for this bullet. The .357max is a far better rifle/TC round than it ever was a pistol round. Cases are readily available, it likes a lot of different powders, and it's a great cartridge easily out to 150 yards for most shooters. The .357 Herret is a good round, but simply not worth the extra work to make, load, and offers no better end performance.
    The Max can be sized in a carbide sizing die also. Same on you use on a .357mag.

  9. #9
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    NSB makes some interesting points.
    However,, the OP was asking about the Contender barrels in 14",, not longer rifle barrels. Nor barrels with different twists.

    David Bradshaw was working with Bill Ruger Jr. during the development of the 357 Maxi in a revolver. And while the revolvers were test with a LOT of variables,, (including barrel lengths, & rifling twists,) they settled upon the 7-1/2" & 10". I don't recall the twist offhand,, but the design was to allow the stabilization of heavy bullets at long range for silhouette shooting, and hunting. Since David helped design the caliber & such,, he has tested a lot more than most any of us,,, and his information on this caliber is invaluable.
    I'd suggest taking the time to read all he has written on the subject over on the SA Forum.
    And the Rugers,, while excellent,,, suffered from others who wanted light bullets at warp speeds. It caused some flame cutting of the topstrap, which made many "complain" & created a bit of negative attitude towards the caliber in a revolver. This caused Bill Sr. to stop production & scrap 5000 Maxi revolvers.
    T/C began making barrels, and has for many years,, which in general, has been a fine choice. But again,, throat erosion has occurred when light bullets,, combined with faster, hotter powder has been used.
    The caliber & guns SHINE with heavier bullets than the "normal" .357 bullets. 180 grn was considered the best factory ammo weight when it was being designed.
    So, David, along with Lee,,, designed the Martin/Bradshaw bullet to optimize the potential of the caliber. Mostly for the revolvers. But I own both T/C Contender barrel lengths,, and can say that it is also excellent in them. Mountain Molds makes the mold, and is available quite quickly. David has just recently (in the past few years,) began experimenting with powder coated bullets,, and Lee helped work on a lot of that end along with other details. The result is a superb cast boolit,, that performs quite well.
    I STRONGLY suggest you do the research over there on all this. I've been shooting & using the .357 Maxi for over 20 years,, & this new bullet design is proving the real capabilities of the Maxi. ESPECIALLY in revolvers AND the Contenders. A 195 grn bullet,, cast & PCed,, moving at 1465 fps (approximately, using the load data Lee & David have provided,) is quite capable of taking big game here in North America. I'd not hesitate to use it on elk, bear, moose etc. In fact,, for a 200 yd deer caliber combo,, it's quite capable.

    But do not take my word for it,, do the research & study what was done by the man who was in on the original design.

    Edit; Here is a picture of my cast, PCed, & loaded (per David & Lee's info,) .357 Maxi. Bradshaw/Martin design.

    Last edited by contender1; 05-25-2020 at 10:37 AM.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    NSB makes some interesting points.
    However,, the OP was asking about the Contender barrels in 14",, not longer rifle barrels. Nor barrels with different twists.
    I added this bit of text because I didn't feel that there was a really significant difference between a 14" contender barrel and a 20" Encore barrel. I'm sure there's some differences, but there's a lot of similarities. Back in its heyday, a very popular bullet for the Ruger revolver was the Hornady Sil 160g bullet. This bullet makes a decent hunting bullet out of a TC/Encore if driven at a high enough velocity. As per my conversations with Hornady, the bullet's jacket is twice as thick as the XTP and it does have a small opening in the jacket for bullet expansion. If you can find these bullets, they shoot the same as the XTP's but can be driven at higher velocities......like 2700fps without failure. I personally don't push anything that far, but at 2400fps they should be just fine. It's wise to know the twist of your barrel, a 1:20 is significantly harder to find good loads for than a 1:16. They can be found, but they won't be the heavier bullets....just sharing information on that point. If the OP's going to get into shooting a max, I'm just trying to share what I learned over the last six years shooting many different powders and bullets with mixed results. Other than being an avid hunter, I'm one of those old geezers who really likes to spend time at the shooting bench looking for good groups (too many years shooting competitions).

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I'm another former .30 Herrett owner and I'd not own another one. A PITA to form and set the shoulder during reloading (it headspaces on the shoulder not the rim). As stated before, the .30-30 is better for that caliber and the .35 Rem or .357 Max fill the larger bullets as well or better. With a 14" barrel I'd lean toward the .35Rem.

    The purpose (to me) of using larger cases is to launch heavier bullets. Using larger cases to launch smaller bullets (in most calibers) leads to shorter barrel life, sometimes a LOT shorter life.

  12. #12
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    I have a 30 Herrett (10” Contender), 30-30 (H&R and lever action), 357 Max (H&R), and a 35 Rem (lever action).

    The 30 Herrett and 30-30 are equivalent but the 30 Herrett gets to the same spot with less powder so less recoil. Case forming was not a pain and was in fact enjoyable since it was “new”. Resizing existing cases is no big deal.

    The 357 Max is generally considered to be less powerful that 35 Rem, but I don’t know if you would see a difference in a 14” barrel. The big difference is that the 357 Max is legal to hunt with in many straight wall states while none of the others are.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by garandsrus View Post
    The 357 Max is generally considered to be less powerful that 35 Rem, but I don’t know if you would see a difference in a 14” barrel. The big difference is that the 357 Max is legal to hunt with in many straight wall states while none of the others are.
    That is a good point for a rifle, but for a handgun, I doubt there are too many restrictions as far as deer hunting. For example, 35 remington in a 14" handgun would be perfectly legal here in Minnesota for deer hunting in the southern shotgun only zone. We do not allow straight wall cartridge rifles in this zone.

  14. #14
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    I believe the Herretts were developed for the 10" bbls. The standard 30-30 out of the 14" is a great cartridge, not as much in a 10".
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    I believe the Herretts were developed for the 10" bbls. The standard 30-30 out of the 14" is a great cartridge, not as much in a 10".
    What didn't you like? It obviously has more muzzle blast than something like 357 magnum, but it was not obnoxious. I found it a very pleasant round to shoot, hardly and recoil even with max loads. I even bought it's big brother 309 JDJ, although in a 14" barrel, and it too is a nice soft shooting round even at 2500 fps. I've heard no complaints about 30-30 in the BFR 10" barrel revolvers either. I still think 30 herrett offers next to no advantage in my experience.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post
    That is a good point for a rifle, but for a handgun, I doubt there are too many restrictions as far as deer hunting. For example, 35 remington in a 14" handgun would be perfectly legal here in Minnesota for deer hunting in the southern shotgun only zone. We do not allow straight wall cartridge rifles in this zone.
    There are in Michigan. Bottle neck handgun cartridges are not allowed in the non-rifle (southern MI) portion of the state. I have no idea about the other straight wall states.
    Last edited by garandsrus; 05-25-2020 at 10:32 PM.

  17. #17
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    Years ago, I was allowed to shoot a friend's Magnum Research in 357 Herrett. This was an interesting because you loaded it like a Howitzer, closed the breach, and cocked it with a lever on the left side forward of the trigger guard. They were quite reasonable at the time and hell-for-stout. I don't remember the exact fps, but he easily broke 2000 with a 10" barrel and 158 jacketed soft points. I haven't seen one since the 1980s and gad to look it up.

    The only guy I knew who shot 357 Max had a Ruger SBH and a Marlin lever gun re-chambered for the Max cartridge. I never got to shoot either.
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  18. #18
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    Since I was curious, I pulled out the Lyman pistol and revolver handbook 2nd edition. This book has some good old school loads in it, so be careful. Many of the max loads are higher than current max loads.

    One nice thing about it, is that it has a TC contender specific section, and it has 357 magnum, 357 maximum, and 35 remington side by side with realistic velocity data measured from actual 10" and 14" contenders. There doesn't seem to be a bullet that perfectly matches all three. I see two good comparisons. At 158 grain, 357 magnum lists jacketed soft point, 357 maximum lists a jacketed hollow point (looks like an XTP), and 35 remington lists the former JSP. The next closest we have is 170-180 grain. 357 magnum lists what they call a 180 gr JTC SIL that appear similar to a 180 gr XTP. 357 maximum lists both that 180 gr JTC SIL and a 170 gr FMJ. 35 remington lists that same 170 gr FMJ.

    So lets get to the numbers. I'll only list the powder and velocity of the max load. Watch the barrel lengths, 357 magnum is only listed with 10", 35 remington with 14", and 357 maximum with both. I won't list the powder charge, you may message me if you want to know.

    158 grain

    357 magnum (10")
    158 gr JSP
    AA #9- 1719 fps
    Bluedot- 1580 fps
    2400- 1491 fps
    IMR 4227- 1430 fps
    Unique- 1378 fps

    357 maximum (10" first, then 14")
    158 gr JHP
    H110- 1715 fps : 1769 fps
    RX7- 1675 fps : 1765 fps
    2400- 1669 fps : 1754 fps
    IMR 4227- 1630 fps : 1630 fps

    35 remington (14" barrel)
    158 gr JSP
    IMR 3031- 1956 fps
    IMR 4064- 1881 fps
    IMR 4198- 1757 fps
    748- 1673 fps


    170-180 grain

    357 magnum (10")
    180 gr JTC SIL
    AA #9- 1489 fps
    H110- 1452 fps
    2400- 1412 fps
    IMR 4227- 1383 fps
    HS-7- 1416 fps

    357 maximum (10" first, then 14")
    180 gr JTC SIL
    H110- 1495 fps : 1560 fps
    2400-1449 fps : 1501 fps
    RX7-1424 fps : 1503 fps
    IMR 4227- 1395 fps : 1470 fps

    170 gr FMJ
    H110-1675 fps : 1736 fps
    RX7- 1657 fps : 1674 ps
    2400- 1603 fps : 1669 fps
    IMR 4227- 1589 fps : 1651 fps

    35 remington (14")
    170 gr FMJ
    IMR 3031- 1848 fps
    IMR 4064- 1775 fps
    748- 1636 fps
    IMR 4198- 1603 fps


    It is also worth noting that I did not like H110 in 357 maximum, even though I love it in 357 magnum. In the max, I found erratic velocites, and less than stellar accuracy. The first thing I notice between 357 magnum and 357 maximum, is that at 158 grain in a 10" barrel, there is little difference. I don't know why they do not list H110 in 357 magnum, which in reality is right up there with AA #9. At 180 grain, there is a slight, but not a huge difference. This mirrors my own findings. 357 maximum is certainly more, but it is not 44 magnum more. Then we go up to 35 remington, and again not a huge difference, but there is some. A better way to look at it might be that 357 maximum is 100-150 fps faster than 357 magnum, and 35 remington is 100-150 fps faster than 357 maximum.
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 05-25-2020 at 11:01 PM.

  19. #19
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    Follow David White and Mike Bellm for some .357max load data. Also, MGM bbl's list loads. I chrono'd 158 Hornady bullets from my Encore/MGM and with 1680 powder I was getting just over 2400fps. Some are loading and getting close to 2600fps. Problem is, the XTP comes apart at those velocities. Using the Hornady Sil 160g the bullets will hold together. No pressure signs with this load. There is a real problem getting safe effective loads with the Max due to it being developed for revolvers and discontinued by Ruger before it developed a following in Contenders, Encores, Low Walls, etc. Used in any of these guns it can be loaded to safe pressures and easily exceed the Herrett or the .35 Rem.

  20. #20
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    In an Encore, why would 357 Max exceed 35 Herrett? The Herrett case has more capacity. You are exceeding SAAMI specs for the 357 Max and could do it with the 35 Herrett also. I am not willing to go there, by the way.

    Case length:
    35 Herrett - 1.750”
    357 Max - 1.605”

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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