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  #1  
Old 09-29-2011, 08:36 AM
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Default .357 Reloading data needed

I usually reload .38s but would like to try some .357s. In doing some research I've found a lot of conflicting data concerning my use of W231 and the 125 grain Remington sjhp and Hornady XTP bullets. One manual does not recommend 231 or regular primers for any load, another 7.6 to 8.3 g with regular primers. Another site calls for 7.3 to 8.5 with 8.1 g being ideal, again with regular primers. Another for 7.8 g and magnum primers. Someone else suggested magnum primers for all loads over 8.0 g. I'm looking for mild loads and would like to hear from anyone who has actually reloaded this cartridge and their results. I plan on using them in two revolvers, barrel lengths of 2.25 and 4". Thanks.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:03 AM
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I have loaded 7.5 0f 231 with the 125 gr jhp and a regular primer. It is below max and shoots well.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:53 AM
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Current data from Hodgdon:
http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp
(powder manufacturer)



Hodgdon Powder Company
Cartridge Load Recipe Report - 9/29/2011
data.hodgdon.com 357 MagnumLoad Type: PistolPowder: 231BW: 125 Cartridge InformationCase: WinchesterBarrel Length: 10"Twist: 1:18.75"Trim Length: 1.285"Primer: Winchester SPM

357 Magnum Cartridge Load DataStarting Loads Maximum Loads
Bullet Weight (Gr.)PowderBullet Diam.C.O.L.Grs.Vel. (ft/s)PressureGrs.Vel. (ft/s)Pressure
125 GR. CAST LRNFP 231 .358" 1.580" 4.6 1052 13,800 CUP 5.5 1185 18,800 CUP
125 GR. HDY XTP 231 .357" 1.590" 7.3 1335 33,800 CUP 8.5 1514 42,700 CUP
NEVER EXCEED MAXIMUM LOADS

I've been loading near max 125JHP per these data for decades with no problems.
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Last edited by OKFC05; 09-29-2011 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
[I've been loading near max 125JHP per these data for decades with no problems.
I assume you're using magnum primers. Is there a problem using small pistol primers (CCI 500)? I've seen recommendations all over the place on this issue.
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Old 09-29-2011, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Vermont View Post
I assume you're using magnum primers. Is there a problem using small pistol primers (CCI 500)? I've seen recommendations all over the place on this issue.

CCi primers are fine, as are winchester primers... it's the Federal primers that have thin cups and show a lot of pressure/flattening with hot 357 mag loads.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max View Post
I have loaded 7.5 0f 231 with the 125 gr jhp and a regular primer. It is below max and shoots well.
Thanks Max, that's the kind of information I'm looking for.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:00 PM
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Whatever manuals you are using, throw them away. First off, you only need magnum primers in 357 Magnum for certain slow powders, namely H110/W296. Second, W231 is great in just about any handgun cartridge, including 357. Go to Hodgdon's online reloading center, and you will find plenty of good data there.
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Old 09-29-2011, 09:21 PM
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I don't know if you are married to W231 but here are two recent 357 loads I loaded and their results in 2.5" & 4" M'19's

2-3/8"S&W 19 125-JHP-XTP 7.2g N-320@ 1147fps
2-3/8"S&W 19 125-SJHP-Rem 11g AA-5 @ 1252fps

4"-S&W 19 125 JHP-XTP 7.2 N-320 @ 1195fps
4"-S&W 19 125 SJHP-Rem 11g AA-5 @ 1325fps

Last edited by 125JHP; 09-29-2011 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 09-30-2011, 12:09 AM
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I have had the best luck with Winchester powders using the data that was published by Winchester 2003 prior to Hodgdon taking over the marketing of their powders.

This is the .357 mag data from that on line manual. The data listed is maximum and should be worked up to with a 10% reduced start load except for the W296 which should not be reduced by more then 3%.


Last edited by Steve C; 09-30-2011 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 09-30-2011, 05:50 AM
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The use of magnum primers is not mandatory in this caliber or any other for that matter, it is POWDER specific. If you load with W231/HP-38, they are the exact same powder, you NEVER NEED to use them.

You CAN use them and should reduce the charge weight to minimum and work your load up again. The use of magnum primers is to get hard to ignite powders going. W231/HP-38 is EASY to light off.

Now, Hodgdon is of the habit of using magnum primers by caliber. If you go to their webpage, find the data you want, click PRINT, you will see the rest of their data. It will include primer type used. It will also tell you the barrel length.

Use those tools to check on a load. All of the powder companies have a data website available. That is usually my first stop for a load. It will keep you from having to rely on "webrangers" from gun forums to help you build a load. Not the safest of practices by the way!
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Old 09-30-2011, 09:26 AM
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It would not be my first choice to use 231 for 357 Mags if you want real 357 level loads approaching factory levels, primarily because it produces much higher pressures for less velocity than many other excellent choices in magnum powders.

However, if your intent is to develop loads more in the old 38-44 range rather than full on Mag levels, it certainly will do it.
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Old 10-01-2011, 12:28 AM
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Like said above, magnum primers are powder specific, not load specific in handgun ammo. Hodgdon will use a magnum primer in all their .357 Magnum loads and use only standard primers in all their .38 Special loads even though they are using some powders that work much better with a magnum primer like HS-6 in the .38 Special.

When loading hard to ignite slower ball powders like HS-6, HS-7 and H110/W296 use a magnum primer. W231/HP-38 is a fast enough ball powder so as not to require a magnum primer. I use a lot of W231 in the .38 Special, .38 Special +P, .357 Magnum, .45 Auto, .45 Colt and a few others and all are loaded with a standard primer with very good results, no unburnt powder and low SD numbers.
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Old 10-01-2011, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve in Vermont View Post
I assume you're using magnum primers. Is there a problem using small pistol primers (CCI 500)? I've seen recommendations all over the place on this issue.
If the data calls for a magnum primer, use a magnum primer.
If it doesn't, don't.
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:01 AM
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To Everyone, Thanks for all the good information. It's much appreciated.

Steve
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Old 10-01-2011, 08:43 AM
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I'm gonna tell on my self. Pooh pooh it if you want but there is pretty good logic behind what and why I did this.

I use Wolf primers exclusively. The reason? #1: They are cheap. Reason #2? They work, and they work well.

I got to thinking one day though, why not test them against other brands across the chronograph? See what you see. So that is just what I did. Only two other brands on hand, Winchester & Federal. Now, I had the Federal for a couple of reasons. #1, they were cheap when I bought them. (Are you seeing a pattern here? )#2: they worked in my M625JM and I dearly love to shoot that gun!

Well, back to the testing. I believe that I was using 2400, that part escapes my aging memory, but the cartridge was the 44Mag. I used the three brands of primers with that powder and was pretty surprised with the results. We all know that magnum primers are not NEEDED for 2400, right?

The Federals had the lowest velocity of all three brands of primers. A close second was the standard Wolf primer. Here is what I got out of that, those two primers were about the same for "hotness" or brisance. The other thing that I noticed was that there were wide ES and large SD numbers to go along with it. That told me those two primers were not doing a very good job of getting all of the powder to burn. Maybe your conclusion would have been different, that's fine, this is my story!

So, I switched to the Winchester primers. Anyone remember what is on the outside of their packaging? "For standard AND magnum loads" (Or something to that affect!) When I switched to that primers, the velocity went up, the ES went down and so did the SD. I immediately thought, hey, that is getting the powder to burn better! (Again, your conclusions may differ, this was mine! )

Then I did the unthinkable! I took some Wolf Large Pistol MAGNUM primers and used them with 2400!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sacrilegious! What came next was a real eye opener too. I got the exact same velocity, the ES numbers were so close that it was almost scary followed by the ES and SD numbers matching to a tee as I got with the Winchester ones.

Here was my conclusion from this unscientific test, I was going to use magnum primers with 2400, needed or not because I am kind of a numbers guy, and, in this cartridge, with this powder weight, with the bullet I was using, from my handgun, they gave better results than standard primers.

Others have done the same thing only in reverse. Like ArchAngel and his beloved HS-6. I am guessing that he tried standard primers with HS-6. I suspect he even used standard primers and found that the results weren't up to his standards. That is why he uses only magnum primers, well, me too, when he loads HS-6 in any caliber. 380 to 45Colt and beyond.

So, I guess this is kind of a long post but.............to me..............this is part of the fun of handloading. Reloaders won't care too much, they just want ammo and they want it now. Handloaders are different. They play around quite a bit!

Last edited by Skip Sackett; 10-01-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:21 AM
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Quote:
Others have done the same thing only in reverse. Like ArchAngel and his beloved HS-6. I am guessing that he tried standard primers with HS-6. I suspect he even used standard primers and found that the results weren't up to his standards. That is why he uses only magnum primers, well, me too, when he loads HS-6 in any caliber. 380 to 45Colt and beyond.
You are correct Skip. I tested my ammo loaded with HS-6 using standard and magnum primers and in every case the velocities went up but more importantly the accuracy improved along with the ES and SD numbers shrinking.

You see though, I got different results when using standard and magnum primers with 2400 BUT, I only tested 2400 with the .357 magnum which uses a small primer, not a large primer. It's easily possible the primer size and case diameter makes a difference because I have no doubt your information is accurate.
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:52 AM
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Firearms are all unique. No two are exactly the same, neither are shooters or conditions.

I believe my results were fired from a Marlin 1894 too. The longer barrel may have made quite a bit of difference.

You have good input AA and I am sure of your information too. One thing I did not validate that you did, accuracy. I only checked numbers. The numbers got better, I have no idea about accuracy, wasn't part of the testing parameters.

Have a good day, friend!
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Old 10-02-2011, 10:49 AM
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Lots of good experiences and info here. I'll add my $.02:

First - Primers:

There is a big difference in primers between rifle and handgun regarding when to use magnums and standards. In rifles, there is a difference in cup thickness between standards and magnums (as well as the force of the primer), so when you're loading a high-pressure cartridge (mostly, but not always, also called "magnum") you want a magnum primer. Pistol primers are different - no difference in cup thickness between standard and magnum; but there is a big difference in the flame temp, flame duration/length, and brisance. SO, in pistols, the primer difference is more about the conditions of the load, whereas in rifles it's partially about the conditions of the load, but also about the primer handling pressures properly for the load being used. This confuses people, generally when they have a lot of experience with one type of gun and then start loading the other type and use their past experience to apply to the new situation.

WLPs are indeed marked "For standard AND magnum". They have been tested and they are in-between a standard and magnum primer for the most part (might lean a little towards the magnum end).

Magnum primers are called for in pistols for three circumstances: Cold weather, ball powders, and heavy loads of powder. These are guidelines and not hard-and-fast rules. For example, some ball powders have heavier deterrent coatings than others, so some ball powders work fine with standard primers.

Generally speaking, most cartridges with most powders work fine with standard primers in most loadings. I use WLPs exclusively for all my LP primer loading, because it saves on inventory, and Winchester factory ammo doesn't seem to suffer from using the "in-between" primer in situations that don't call for such, for example the 45 ACP. (Never a need for a magnum LP primer there, but the WLP doesn't have a detrimental effect.) This has given me the impression that Winchester has discovered a "sweet spot" when it comes to handgun LP primers.

As far as the OP's question about 357 loads with W231, I have more than a little experience. I think for the most part it's been covered pretty well by the posters above. I, too, get better results using the old Winchester-published data (rather than the Hodgdon-published data we're stuck with today...).

I do NOT use W231 for "real Magnum" loads, rather, I use it to achieve 38-44 equivalent loads using cast bullets. I don't care for the 125gr bullets in 357, but if I were to load them, and were to use W231, I like the 7.5gr load. I use 140gr to 160gr bullets (jacketed, cast, and swaged) in the 357 with both W231 and AA#9 or 2400. I load the 38-equivalent and 38-44-type loads with the W231 and the "real Magnum" loads with the slower-burners, but W231 is a totally acceptable and useful powder for the 357.
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Old 10-02-2011, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smith crazy View Post
I use Wolf primers exclusively. The reason? #1: They are cheap. Reason #2? They work, and they work well.
Wolf primers have plenty of fans. If they were available in my area I'd probably be buying them. I've considered buying them online. I could buy enough to be worth the hazmat fee.

I was in Kansas a couple years ago & they were some ridiculous price. I didn't know any better & passed. Kicked myself later.
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Old 10-04-2011, 03:19 PM
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I prefer cast bullets in my 357s but I tried a few loads recently with
125 gr Sierras in my S&W md 28 with 4" barrel. Velocities are with mid
point of a Competition Electronics Chronograph aprox. 12 ft from the
muzzle.
1. 21gr W296 WSPM primer = 1331 fps.
2. 17.5gr 2400 CCI 400 SR primer = 1373 fps.
3. 8.2gr W231 WSPM primer = 1285 fps.
Appearance of the fired primers indicated that the 231 load was at
higher pressure than the other two as the primers were much more
flatened.
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max View Post
I have loaded 7.5 0f 231 with the 125 gr jhp and a regular primer. It is below max and shoots well.
I took your suggestion and reloaded some .357 brass with 125 g Remington sjhp and Hornady xtp with 7.5 of 231. I sight my revolvers in at 10 yards and was grouping 2" at that distance. I'm sold, Thanks Max and everyone for their advice.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
1. 21gr W296 WSPM primer = 1331 fps.
2. 17.5gr 2400 CCI 400 SR primer = 1373 fps.
3. 8.2gr W231 WSPM primer = 1285 fps.
Appearance of the fired primers indicated that the 231 load was at higher pressure than the other two as the primers were much more flattened.
I'm a little surprised you think the W231 load will generate more pressure than the other two loads according to the charge weights you list. According to Alliant 17.5gr is the Max charge of 2400 under a 125gr bullet. BTW, what did you use a SR primers with 2400 and a WSPM primer with the other loads? Alliant used a CCI500 primer in their testing so with a Max charge of 2400 and a SRP your load is above Max according to Alliant's data and it should be generating more pressure than the W231 load. Your W231 load is below Max at 8.2gr and probably in the 40,000 CUP range because Hodgdon is reporting a Max charge of 8.5gr W231 with a pressure of 42,000 CUP. They are using the same primer you used. Your W296 load is reported to generate 38,400 CUP @21.0gr using the same primer you did so your observations are spot on there. I'm just wondering about that 2400 load, I'm feeling it's at a higher pressure than the W231 load because your W231 load is below the published max by .3gr and your 2400 load is at Max but you used a SRP instead of a standard SPP like was used by Alliant. I'm guessing you are generating more pressure in the 2400 load but you won't see the pressure signs because a SR primer will handle the pressures better because rifle primers are designed to withstand much higher pressures than a pistol primer will.

You can't use primer condition as an indicator of pressure unless you use the same primers in all the loads. (especially when that harder primer not only hides pressure signs better while also increasing the pressures because it's a rifle primer)
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:27 AM
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ArchAngelCD my Speer # 13 manual says 17.5grs 2400 with a 125JHP
and CCI 500 is within current pressure max. for 357 mag. of 35,000 psi.
As has been discussed here before there is little to no difference
between the 400 and 500 as to primer energy and my own tests with
loads using 2400 show very little difference in velocity between the two. My lot of CCI 500s are very difficult to seat and do show more
flow back into the firing pin hole than any other primers I have and
so they are relegated to light loads in old well used 38spl cases. Pre
Hodgdon data from Winchester shows 8.1grs of 231 with a 125gr JHP
at 42,500cup with primer unspecified. And yes there is an obvious
difference in primer appearance between the 296 and 231 loads using
the same primers. My assumptions are just that; assumptions. I
think any of the three loads should be fine in any sound revolver.
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