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Old 11-25-2011, 11:31 PM
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Default 9.2 grains of unique in .357 Magnum

I have loaded several .357 Magnum cartridges with 9.2 grains of Unique behind a 125 gr SJHP This is right about middle of the road (maybe a little on the upper end) of the Speer reloading manuel.

I've checked it over and over again on the scale and checked the scale itself. The scale seems to be fine as is the load.

My question is....it seems to fill the cartridges up pretty well. I know it should be more than the .38 Special but this seems to be quite a bit. Almost comes up to the base of where the bullet ends up in it's seating position. (I need to snap some photos so y'all can see better)

Should it be this full? How full, on average, is the.357 Magnum cartridge when loaded with a decent charge of Unique?
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:41 PM
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bear in mind that the 357's extra length over a 38 spec is more a safety function with a ballistic bonus. its not that much longer.
so what you are seeing just might be how the flakes stack.

personally, I'd have built the load around a cast bullet here. on the rare occasion I use a jacketed bullet, you can bet its a full house H110 or 2400 load. its all in the economics.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:44 PM
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HA! Typically I prefer a lead bullet 158 gr, but the manuel loadings for lead bullets is extremely weak. Even the Speer manuel lists in the notes that "these are not the maximum loads". My two manuels both in .38 Special and evne .357 Magnum seem to carefully keep all velocities with lead bullets right under 1000 ft per second.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug.38PR View Post
HA! Typically I prefer a lead bullet 158 gr, but the manuel loadings for lead bullets is extremely weak. Even the Speer manuel lists in the notes that "these are not the maximum loads". My two manuels both in .38 Special and evne .357 Magnum seem to carefully keep all velocities with lead bullets right under 1000 ft per second.
swaged ... yup 1000 or less.
get a Lyman manual, they take cast a good bit more seriously
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:51 PM
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Many manufacturers assume that handloaders are too stupid to manage leading from cast bullets unless they water down the load data.

Consult Lyman 49th and your cast loads will flourish.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:05 AM
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Doug, I've been loading 9.2 grains Unique on a 125 LFP for quite some time with no issues.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:36 AM
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I was looking at Lyman 49 in the store the other day.....to be honest I wasn't all that impressed. They don't seem to allow for lead bullets at all. I looked at .38 Special and (I think) .357 Magnum and there was no data for 158 gr lead bullets. They were all either jacketed or semi jacketed
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:47 AM
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Lyman 49th has 7 lead bullets with loads for both .38 Special and .357 Mag. You only looked at the first page on each section. The 358402 (120 gr) lists 9.4 gr of Unique as the max load in .357 Mag. and goes down to 7.2 gr.

The Hornady #35710 in 125 gr in .357 Mag has 9.7 gr of Unique as the max load and goes down to 7.0 gr.

Last edited by Paul5388; 11-26-2011 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 11-26-2011, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul5388 View Post
You only looked at the first page on each section.
Yup. The Lyman manual is one of the few that has good cast bullet data. It's my "go to" manual for any cast load.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:03 AM
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Since we are going to be loading/reloading/handloading for the foreseeable future and we have a computer, why not buy a subscription to loaddata.com?

You already know how to load. You understand the principles of how the dies work and your press and auxiliary equipment perform so.............all we really need is more data. loaddata.com is a great source for that data. No need to keep up with the latest publication, which by the way seems to keep watering down good data, @ $25/year or every other year for them.

You also get all of the loads that are tested in Handloader Magazine and references to their articles where they were developed, that way, you get the "whole story" behind the loads, accuracy information included.

The only reason I will buy another manual is to pass it on to a newbie to get them started. After that, I am going to introduce them to their computer and loaddata.com.


FWIW

Oh, by the way, Lyman has a Cast Manual too. All of the loads in it are for lead bullets.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smith crazy View Post
FWIW

Oh, by the way, Lyman has a Cast Manual too. All of the loads in it are for lead bullets.

The emphasis is on CAST. Not the regular Lyman 49th.

This one is all lead bullets.

Cast Bullet Handbook: 4th Edition Book
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul5388 View Post
Lyman 49th has 7 lead bullets with loads for both .38 Special and .357 Mag. You only looked at the first page on each section. The 358402 (120 gr) lists 9.4 gr of Unique as the max load in .357 Mag. and goes down to 7.2 gr.

The Hornady #35710 in 125 gr in .357 Mag has 9.7 gr of Unique as the max load and goes down to 7.0 gr.


No I believe I looked at all pages. From the beginning to the next type of cartridge. I didn't see anything for 158 gr lead.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:50 PM
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Hi Doug,

In answer to your question, I put 9.2 grains of Unique into a fired and unsized Remington .357 case. The powder came to within .4 (four tenths) inch of the case mouth. With a sized case the powder would have been a bit higher. And, of course, results could be a bit different for whatever case you're using.

I don't have any 125s lying around but I don't think you're going to have too much airspace between powder and bullet. And if memory serves me, 9.0 grains is what Skeeter recommended with a 125.

Hope this helps.

Mark
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:51 PM
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^
Glad to know I'm not playing tricks on my eyes then. Thank you!

I just went down to the store and looked at the Lyman manuel 49 agan. There was a 150 gr and, I THINK (hard to be certain from the B&W picture and there was no id on the type of bullet) a 158 gr lead bullet. But the loadings were weak. Nothing above 1000 ft per second and the PSI was all between 16000 and 17000. The only +P loadings were for the 150 gr and, again the PSI was all between 16000 and 17000. (My speer manuel lists 20,000 PSI as, I believe, the maximum for .38 Special+P).
But, except for the light 120 gr and I think 146 gr, all the other loadings were Jacketed or Semi-Jacketed.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:04 PM
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These are the heaviest loads I have found in the loading books I have.
From the Lyman 45th Edition, and the Lyman Cast Bullet Handbook from @1973.

With a 150gr plain base, or a 158gr gas checked Cast bullet they start with
4 grains of Unique for velocities @690fps.

MAX is 8gr of Unique for velocities of 1280fps for the 150gr and 1250fps for the 158gr.
These are from a 5" S&W Mod 27.

They also show 15gr of 2400 [this would be the Old 2400] as MAX with similar velocities.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
I have loaded several .357 Magnum cartridges with 9.2 grains of Unique behind a 125 gr SJHP
is what you said in your original post. That's why I posted the information I did.

The 48th edition, 49th edition and the Cast Bullet Handbook all omit a Unique load above 141 gr. Lyman always gives the mold number, drawing of the bullet and the weight in their manuals.
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Old 11-26-2011, 10:33 PM
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The highest charge of Unique I have found in any of my older loading books with a 125gr bullet is:
Speer Number 8, with their old 125gr soft point with the round nose, 10.5gr.

And in my old Sierra book with their 125gr bullet 10 grains.

Most books show 8 to 9 grains of Unique as MAX.

I would definately start lower and work up.

There are so many variables, powder lots, different companies bullet diameters, different case capacities, different primers, and different cylinders/forcing cones, barrel diameters, etc. that loading a revolver to the MAX should be done carefully... VERY CAREFULLY...

I did a little of this with semiautos too, back in the day, but really there is a lot of increased wear and tear on the gun for an increase of 50 to 100feet per second over good safe full power loads.
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:51 PM
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Uniqe is quite bulky, one reason I like it in magnum cases for midrange loads. Your 9.2gr load is a good one, I run 9gr as a midrange load, makes about 1300fps in most 4" guns.
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Old 11-27-2011, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
Uniqe is quite bulky, one reason I like it in magnum cases for midrange loads.

It's bulk is a reason it is so safe to load with in .357 and why it's a good powder for newbies once they get the hang of metering it. It's impossible to double charge your cases.
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:09 PM
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357 Magnum Load Data - Handloads.Com


WOW...look at the first and the first and fourth loads (the fourth says "guest" so....I don't know what to make of that. But the first is just about the same thing....claimed to be original .357 Mag load from 1935....THAT's what I'm talkin' 'bout)
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Old 11-27-2011, 08:30 PM
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"Guest" could be anyone, but specifically someone that isn't a forum member. You'll notice we didn't date any of that data from the powder manufacturers, so some of it may be quite old, not that it should make any difference. Named powder, i.e. Unique or 2400, is all the same, regardless of age, but can vary by small amounts between lots. That variation is the reason you should always work up to a load, since you don't know for sure what lot they used in the data. The cleaner burning Unique is still Unique, it just burns cleaner.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:31 PM
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I just grabbed a .357 cartridge, loaded with 6.0 grains ("maximum load" according to Speer manuel...that's not really maximum) behind a Midway 158 gr LSWC and fired it in my 4 inch Python.....I'd swear I was shooting .38 Special. The Speer listed velocity for this load out of a 6 inch Python was 1034 ft per second....I can only imagine how slow it was out of my 4 inch. That is really pathetic loading data.
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug.38PR View Post
I just grabbed a .357 cartridge, loaded with 6.0 grains ("maximum load" according to Speer manuel...that's not really maximum) behind a Midway 158 gr LSWC and fired it in my 4 inch Python.....I'd swear I was shooting .38 Special. The Speer listed velocity for this load out of a 6 inch Python was 1034 ft per second....I can only imagine how slow it was out of my 4 inch. That is really pathetic loading data.
Doug, what are you looking for? A fast bullet or what?

If you want more UMPHF, go to a slower powder. Any one of the real magnum powders will get you there. Trying to get there with a powder that is too fast is a dangerous way to go. Faster powders take less of it to make pressures rise to unsafe levels.

Find some AA#7 or something in that burn rate area if you aren't wanting full magnum performance. Trying to get there with Unique is, well, dangerous at best, silly at worst.

I'll tell you what I would use, AA#7 or AA#9, 2400 or even H110/W296. If it was in a rifle, I would have no qualms using Lil' Gun either, just not in a handgun. There is the new Alliant powder out too, 300MP. It is supposed to be good for those real magnum type of loads too.

Unique fits a lot of different calibers, there are some that it fits pretty well. For what you are trying to do, it may not fit at all.


FWIW
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Old 11-27-2011, 10:51 PM
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6.0 gr is a maximum load, in a .38 Special! And, it produces 1087 fps with a 158 gr LSWC. BBHFarm Gallery :: Speer #8, Speer Inc, 1970 :: aal

The maximum load in .357 is 8.0 gr of Unique with a 158 gr LSWC. http://www.bbhfarm.com/gallery/album10/aap

It's all in the manuals you are willing to accept as valid data.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:02 PM
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WOW....Speer has REALLY come down in their loading manuels. My Speer 14 is a lot lower. Their .38 Spl.+p is min. 4.7 and max 5.2. .357 Mag is min 5.4 and max 6.0.

smith crazy,
I'm not trying to create a super magnum load out of Unique....just something that is at least respectable (a load below 1000 ft percent with the word "magnum" attached to is ridiculous)

I plan to use 2400 for magnums sooner or later.
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Old 11-28-2011, 12:28 AM
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Unique is a pretty decent powder in .38 Special at 5.0-5.5 gr with a 158 gr LSWC. I don't think it's very good for .357 Mag, mainly because it doesn't meter well.

I made the mistake of buying Speer #13 and won't make that mistake on #14.

Unique has been around for over 110 years. If there was pressure problems with 5.0 gr, it would have been noted decades ago, but it wasn't. Of course, Unique wasn't the powder of choice for the original .357 Mag and shouldn't be used to get close to the original.
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Old 11-28-2011, 03:24 PM
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Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

LOOK at this weak stuff!
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Old 11-30-2011, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug.38PR View Post
Alliant Powder - Reloader's Guide

LOOK at this weak stuff!
That's because the Speer LSWC is relatively soft. With a harder cast bullet you can use 14 grains of 2400 for a real magnum load. Some folks go lower, some higher depending on firearm used.
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