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  #1  
Old 07-21-2011, 06:41 PM
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Default Lil'Gun & .357 Magnum

I'm currently using W231 in my .38 Special and .357 Mag loads, but also want to try some heavier duty loadings with 158gr Hornady XTP and Nosler 158gr HP's.

I've long used Lil'Gun in small rifle calibers: .17 Ackley Hornet, .221 Fireball, 22 K Hornet and others.

I'm looking at the Hodgdon's online data, and Lil'Gun appears to be a relatively low pressure load: 25.8K psi for a max load, versus 40.7K for H110 and 40K for W231.

Anyone here have any experience or comments re using Lil'Gun for your .357 Mag?

Thanks
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:46 PM
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There is a fair amount of Internet "ink" out there talking about how hot Li'l Gun is, and how damaging it can be to barrels and forcing cones. I have no experience, but you might want to do a search and read some of what is there.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:55 PM
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I have an 8 lb can of Lil' Gun and have avoided using it for .357 Magnum because of the reported problems with barrel throat erosion.

It's original intended use was for reloading .410 shotgun, and so many users have reported severe forcing cone and barrel erosion that it is problematic. I've read that Freedom Arms has advised against using that powder in their revolvers.

For now, at least, I will confine it's use to single shot pistols and rifles.
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vartarg View Post
I'm currently using W231 in my .38 Special and .357 Mag loads, but also want to try some heavier duty loadings with 158gr Hornady XTP and Nosler 158gr HP's.

I've long used Lil'Gun in small rifle calibers: .17 Ackley Hornet, .221 Fireball, 22 K Hornet and others.

I'm looking at the Hodgdon's online data, and Lil'Gun appears to be a relatively low pressure load: 25.8K psi for a max load, versus 40.7K for H110 and 40K for W231.

Anyone here have any experience or comments re using Lil'Gun for your .357 Mag?

Thanks
I have a load that my wife uses for her Marlin 1894. I don't use Lil' Gun in any revolvers because it is reported that there is terrible flame cutting of the top strap.

My wife's load develops 2100fps with a 158gr XTP from that 20" bbl. That puts it right at the bottom of the 35Rem ballistic data for the same bullet. We took that round hog hunting with us down in Oklahoma but we ended up using a 44Mag Marlin for most of the work there.

It did shoot to 2" @ 100 yards too. I figured that was a win/win.

Hope this helps!
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:19 PM
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The Internet "ink" as you put it is true on one account. It makes your barrel hot. That long carbine tube can get so hot you cannot touch it in 10 rapid fire shots in the 44Mag. Been there done that.
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:27 PM
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I have used the 180gr. Nosler Partition bullet with 14.5 grains of Lil' Gun as a deer hunting load. It is very accurate.

I have not fired numerous rounds quickly and have not noticed excessive heat in the 686 8 3/8" gun that I have been shooting it through.

I will definitely do some experimenting. One shot and then check for heat, etc.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:29 PM
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I've used Lil' Gun max 158- and 180-grain loads in .357 in my revolvers and my carbine. It's pretty remarkable from the carbine, but nothing special from the 3" and 4" revolvers. I never noticed the heat, either, in any of my .357 or the one .41 revolver I used it in. Frankly, given the experience level of some of the people warning against such use, I now try not to use it in my revolvers. But I'm not crazy paranoid about it - if I were in the field and that's what I had, that's what I'd use.

But, from a short barrel, I've found I can do just as well (sometimes with more minimal spreads) with "traditional" magnum revolver powders. So I've decided, "Why take the chance?" It may be that you come to the same conclusion.

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Old 07-22-2011, 12:31 AM
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I only use it in .22 Hornet from a single shot rifle. It's great for that application, but I have some reservations about using it in a revolver.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:50 AM
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Because I'm afraid to use Lil'Gun in my .357 Magnum revolver ammo I've only used it for my Carbine. I get excellent accuracy and and higher velocities than with W296/H110. (over 100 fps more with a 180gr bullet) I recommend it but only for ammo used in your rifle.
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Old 07-22-2011, 12:52 AM
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I love Lil Gun in both carbines and revolvers, but I don't run full-bore loads in them, I don't see the need. My loads run 1750 fps in the 18.5" carbine barrel, 1200 or so in most revolvers, and do everything I'd ask of a 357. I'm pretty sure most of the issues with erosion and flame cutting involve loads run at or slightly over what is considered maximum. I shoot a lot of .357/158 ammo, and haven't been able to detect anything abnormal in my guns. With lighter bullets it might be different, but with bullets of 158 grains or more, I can't find any evidence of problems.

But I sure can verify that what Smith Crazy said about barrel heating is true. It's no worse than H-110 loads, but it's still noticeable.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:38 AM
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Accuracy with Lil' Gun outta my revolvers(.357s, .44s and .460) was never as good as good ol' H110/W296. I too got sucked in by published numbers that showed it gave higher velocities with lower pressure. My Chrono never showed me higher velocities in my revolvers with published loads(again compared to H110/W296) so once the talk about premature forcing cone erosion came out, it was easy to quit using it.

BTW...I too experienced higher heat from guns/barrels than with using other powders and comparable numbers of rounds. Figured it had to do with that lower pressure-higher velocity thing.
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Old 07-23-2011, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buck460XVR View Post
BTW...I too experienced higher heat from guns/barrels than with using other powders and comparable numbers of rounds. Figured it had to do with that lower pressure-higher velocity thing.
Longer burning curve is what I guessed. The gas expands for a longer period of time kinda thing. That is what I am guessing anyway!
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:50 PM
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I stopped using Lil gun after just a few sessions. It makes my 357 Maximums way to hot to even hold. Trying to eject the brass from the Ruger SRM will burn your fingers after about 35 rounds.

Same issue with my 8 3/8" pre-27's. Lilgun is just a very hot burning powder.

Try it yourself and see if the heat and flame cutting is an issue to you. If it is do like I did and stop using it. If not, enjoy it. Great velocity powder and it has a lot going for it.
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vartarg View Post
I'm currently using W231 in my .38 Special and .357 Mag loads, but also want to try some heavier duty loadings with 158gr Hornady XTP and Nosler 158gr HP's.

I've long used Lil'Gun in small rifle calibers: .17 Ackley Hornet, .221 Fireball, 22 K Hornet and others.

I'm looking at the Hodgdon's online data, and Lil'Gun appears to be a relatively low pressure load: 25.8K psi for a max load, versus 40.7K for H110 and 40K for W231.

Anyone here have any experience or comments re using Lil'Gun for your .357 Mag?

Thanks
I have been impressed by the ballistics of Lil'Gun in 22 Hornet and have tio give it a try.
I tried using it in 410 shotshell shortly after it was announced and obtained a sizable number of case separations. I concluded that bit burned too hot for the 410 and went back to W-296.

That experience soured me on using it in any 357 or 44 mag reloads. Given your positive feedback on it's use in 22 Hornet I will try some loads.
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