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Old 10-27-2011, 07:38 PM
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Default 357 Magnum / Win 231 / 158gr LSWC

To start with: Is this combination of components just wrong? If it makes any sense, can some of you all suggest an appropriate range for the powder charge? If not, should I just go find some AA #5 or Unique?

I want to find an accurate target load (25 yards) for my two 357 Magnum revolvers. Having tried 148gr HBWC bullets in .38 Special cases, I decided to experiment with .357 Magnum cases and Hornady's swaged 158 grain lead SWC HP... without digging up data before ordering components. My Hornady and Lyman manuals don't include this combination of components and I haven't been able to find much online either.

ARGH! I feel like an idiot.

I am hoping to stick with Win 231 as it works well in .38 Special and .45 ACP/AR. Other pistol powders I have on hand are AA #7 and VV 3N37. No data in my manuals for either of those with this bullet in .357 Magnum either.

Hornady's 7th Edition manual shows a max .38 Special load of 4.4 grains at 850 fps for the 158gr bullet. Several posts here and elsewhere suggest bumping up .38 Special loads "a bit" for the same bullet & powder in .357 Magnum cases. One post here recommended 6.2 grains of Win 231 under this bullet, but that's more than "a bit" higher powder charge. I also found references elsewhere to old Winchester data showing a max load of 6.7 grains of 231 under a 158gr lead SWC.

FWIW the revolvers in question are a Model 66-5 and a Colt Model 357. IOW max pressures and velocities are not my goal.

Last but probably not least - am I correct in assuming that I MUST use small pistol magnum primers in .357 Magnum cases?
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Old 10-27-2011, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinMan View Post
To start with: Is this combination of components just wrong? If it makes any sense, can some of you all suggest an appropriate range for the powder charge? If not, should I just go find some AA #5 or Unique?

I want to find an accurate target load (25 yards) for my two 357 Magnum revolvers. Having tried 148gr HBWC bullets in .38 Special cases, I decided to experiment with .357 Magnum cases and Hornady's swaged 158 grain lead SWC HP... without digging up data before ordering components. My Hornady and Lyman manuals don't include this combination of components and I haven't been able to find much online either.

ARGH! I feel like an idiot.

I am hoping to stick with Win 231 as it works well in .38 Special and .45 ACP/AR. Other pistol powders I have on hand are AA #7 and VV 3N37. No data in my manuals for either of those with this bullet in .357 Magnum either.

Hornady's 7th Edition manual shows a max .38 Special load of 4.4 grains at 850 fps for the 158gr bullet. Several posts here and elsewhere suggest bumping up .38 Special loads "a bit" for the same bullet & powder in .357 Magnum cases. One post here recommended 6.2 grains of Win 231 under this bullet, but that's more than "a bit" higher powder charge. I also found references elsewhere to old Winchester data showing a max load of 6.7 grains of 231 under a 158gr lead SWC.

FWIW the revolvers in question are a Model 66-5 and a Colt Model 357. IOW max pressures and velocities are not my goal.

Last but probably not least - am I correct in assuming that I MUST use small pistol magnum primers in .357 Magnum cases?
I use 2.8 gr Bullseye + 148 gr HBWC in .357 cases, which is the same as I use in .38 special cases.

I just got some Hornady 158 gr LRN bullets, I intend to use 3.5 gr Bullseye, which is a max .38 special load.

It is ok to use .38 data in the .357 cases, velocities might be slightly lower than with .38 cases.

You don't need to use magnum primers. Magnum primers are only needed with hard to ignite powders like W296. Standard primers are fine with W231.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:10 PM
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Like said above, no need for a magnum primer with W231. If you're looking to use W231 for a 158gr LSWC in a .357 Magnum go for it. Of course you won't achieve maximum velocities but then again, you are shooting a lead bullet. you can get 1,000 fps from that combination and even more with a harder bullet.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:25 PM
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Speer says 4.9-5.4 gr W231 with THEIR swaged 158 in .357.
I have loaded a lot of .38 Special 158 gr lead with 4.6 gr W231.
I'd start .357 at the top of .38 Special and see what happened.
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Old 10-27-2011, 11:39 PM
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Gee, why not got the Hodgdons web site and find the data for 158 gr bullets and W 231/HP 38?

Even though they use a Mag Primer it is not needed as per a phone call to them, they only used Mag primers to keep all data consistent . They use Mag primers for any/all Mag loads.

3.4 to 5.0 grs max for the 158 gr bullet in 357 Mag.

I use 5.0 grs for a nice target load.

Cartridge Loads - Hodgdon Reloading Data Center - data.hodgdon.com
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:01 AM
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Thanks guys! Good info.


Rule3 - I did look at the Hodgdon site before starting this thread. I always go to the powder manufacturer first; however, I always want at least two published sources if at all possible. Also that data is using a magnum primer as you pointed out.

I broadened my search and Google found a post here that I didn't find (?)
Shows Winchester data from 2003 - post #9:
.357 Reloading data needed

That shows a maximum charge of 6.7 grains! It's also going 1,275 fps which is well over the limit for swaged lead bullets (somewhere between 950 and 1,100). Don't worry - I'm not going to try that load.

Looks like starting my ladder at 4.5 grains and working up is the way to go for now.

P.S. I don't know why I got better results from this site using Google search than this forum's search.
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Old 10-28-2011, 01:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinMan View Post
That shows a maximum charge of 6.7 grains! It's also going 1,275 fps which is well over the limit for swaged lead bullets (somewhere between 950 and 1,100).
I tried to reach Major Power Factor with win231 and got sticky extraction by the time I got a cast 158 up to 1150 fps.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:08 AM
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In the FWIW Department I recently started reloading .357 using 125 gr SJHP and Hornady XTP. I found standard primers with 7.5 gr of W231 works just fine. Thanks for the info on the 158 gr bullets, I'll try them next.
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Old 10-28-2011, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinMan View Post
Thanks guys! Good info.


Rule3 - I did look at the Hodgdon site before starting this thread. I always go to the powder manufacturer first; however, I always want at least two published sources if at all possible. Also that data is using a magnum primer as you pointed out.

I broadened my search and Google found a post here that I didn't find (?)
Shows Winchester data from 2003 - post #9:
.357 Reloading data needed

That shows a maximum charge of 6.7 grains! It's also going 1,275 fps which is well over the limit for swaged lead bullets (somewhere between 950 and 1,100). Don't worry - I'm not going to try that load.

Looks like starting my ladder at 4.5 grains and working up is the way to go for now.

P.S. I don't know why I got better results from this site using Google search than this forum's search.
Speer manual lists 4.5 to 5.0 grs of HP 38 for the lead 158 gr.

Glad you checked the Hodgdon web site. Did not know you had done so.

There is always those that push things to the limit so you are wise to check several sources. Don't rely on some junk you find posted on the internet. It way work, but WHY bother?? If you want true Magnum loads then use a different powder (slower) That's why they make them.

The 5.0 grs of HP 38 in a 357 will be a fine target load. If you load HP 38 too low, it gets smoky and dirty.

Have fun, be safe.
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Old 10-28-2011, 04:56 PM
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I've shot 5.0 grains of HP38 under a 158 gr LSWC, hardness approximately 12 BHN.

This is a SOFT load out of a L frame size .357. Feels like a .38.

Since there is data up into the high 6 grains range for other bullets of similar weight (not necessarily lead, though), I decided to go up from 5 grains in half grain increments until I saw some accuracy (I didn't see what I wanted at 5 grains).

5.5 grains, unremarkable grouping
6.0 grains, unremarkable grouping
6.5 grains, able to hold 2 inches at 25 yards off bags.

6.5 grains feels more like a 357, cases fell out, burn was pretty clean. I stopped there.

Next time out I'll try 4.5 and 4.0 grains, going down from 5, and see what happens. I know 4 grains shoots very well in a 38 special case with this bullet.

For magnum level loadings, I've settled on 12.2 grains of AA9. Does every thing I need it to do, doesn't require a magnum primer, and is highly accurate.
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Old 10-28-2011, 05:25 PM
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Well, I had to call Hornady today to ask a question about setting up one of their dies so I asked if they had any data for this combination. The tech was very helpful and found the following in an older Hornady manual:

4.8gr min up to 6.4gr max @ 1,100 fps

Please DO NOT take that as gospel! 6.4 grains looks hot to me based on everything else I've seen.

I just loaded 25 @ 4.8 grains and 25 @ 5.0 grains so we'll see what the chronograph says. Hopefully, it'll stop raining sometime this weekend.
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:21 PM
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Default LOAD DATA .357 158 GR. AND 231

Hello

This is what I use and have great results from my model-19 4" and my models 27 3.5/5" colt .357 6". One thing you might check is how soft are the Hornaday 158 gr. I use a hard cast 158 gr. swc and 148 gr wc. For the 158 gr. swc its is over 5.1 gr. 231 small pistol primer. the 148 gr wc is over 3.5 gr. 231 small pistol primer. I also use .357 brass not .38 special it works out better for me on cleaning the cylinder throat.Also a good crimp helps them burn even and clean. Hope this helps and good luck.

RB
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