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  #1  
Old 02-04-2012, 10:04 PM
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Default Mid Range .357

I've got lightning bolts and I have +P's, but what I needed today was a mid range magnum for my new to me K frames.

I thought about W231 and IMR 4227, but when I looked at my powder stash, Unique jumped out at me.

Consulting the books, I saw that the range of 6 ~ 8.4g would go from 900 ~ 1300fps, so I settled on 7g to push a 160g 358156 w/o the gas check somewhere in the 1100fps area.

What do you think of that load?

I have some 358156's that are loaded with 15.5g W296 that I will bring, but I'm not certain I'll use them in the K frame. They're good in the 586, and I'm toying with the idea of a round or two in my 65 to see where they land according to the fixed sights.

I'm also going to try some 358156's that I loaded into magnum cases over 5g W231 since they are +p 38 equivalents and should be fun to shoot in a 3" K frame.

Lemme know what you think of the 7g Unique load.
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  #2  
Old 02-04-2012, 10:12 PM
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I shoot 6.0- 6.7 gr's of unique & a 158gr. cast SWC & get excellent accuracy. all of my S&W's like unique for cast bullets.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogman View Post
I shoot 6.0- 6.7 gr's of unique & a 158gr. cast SWC & get excellent accuracy. all of my S&W's like unique for cast bullets.
Im in the middle 6.5 of unique works great.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2012, 10:33 PM
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So you approve?

Fixed sights and all, I didn't want them to print too high to the sights, so I figured over 1000 and closer to 1100fps would be the ticket.

I have this 65-5 3" to try them in tomorrow and a 4" 13-3 I'll be picking up Tuesday (California waiting period) to see how they work out.

I'm of the opinion that since they're not making barrels for these anymore, I should treat them with respect. That and the fact that they're smaller and lighter then the N frames I shoot.

I have a 3" 629-2 that gets fed 265g cast over 22g W296, so recoil isn't a bad thing in my world, but for the mission of the 65 in particular, controlling the follow-up shot is an issue.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow.
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Old 02-04-2012, 10:51 PM
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158 gr LSWC over 7gr of Unique is my Goldilocks load. Flapjack.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:18 PM
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158 grain LSWC or LRN and 6.0 grains of Unique.

You know you're out of the .38 special range but not abusive to gun nor shooter.
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Old 02-04-2012, 11:53 PM
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I use 6.5 gr of Unique with the 358429 (173 gr) and 7 gr. with the RCBS 150 gr. (actual weight with air cooled wheel weights 157 gr.)
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Old 02-05-2012, 12:36 AM
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I have used Unique for 38spl/.357mag, 44spl and 45acp with good results, but I had a hard time getting it to meter well in my powder throw.

I tried AA#5 as a substitute, it meters perfectly and performs very well in 45acp and 9x18 Makarov. #5 also did well for me with heavy 38spl loadings, 44 spl and mid range .357 mag.

I am not trying to bash Unique as it is a great powder, but for now I am exploring other options.
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  #9  
Old 02-05-2012, 12:44 AM
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I've come back to Unique many times. I won't give it up again. I know it can be dirty, but I have to clean the guns anyway, and a quick wipe down is usually all it needs. It meters okay through my Dillon powder measure.
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  #10  
Old 02-05-2012, 12:48 AM
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"Flammable dirt" is a mainstay isn't it? I always come back to Unique or W231 for my mid-range loads, they just work so well.
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  #11  
Old 02-05-2012, 06:27 AM
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I use W231 for light midrange .357's and for heavier midrange loads it's all about HS-6. HS-6 is very accurate with lead bullets and the pressures are on the low side for the velocities it develops.
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  #12  
Old 02-05-2012, 07:22 AM
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10.0gr of AA#7 under a 158gr SWC
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2012, 09:08 AM
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Im using 6-6.5 gns Universal clays, with 158 gn cast, burns cleaner than Unique and very accurate

Last edited by Mule88; 02-07-2012 at 10:16 AM.
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  #14  
Old 02-05-2012, 08:02 PM
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Default OMG!!!

I told you these were 358156 and that I loaded them w/o GC.

THEY TUMBLED! No ****! At 7 yards, 2 out of 6 tumbled.

This was in my 3" 65-5.

I tried them in a 4" 586-1 and a 5" 27-0 and they shot fine.

They went where I pointed the barrel, but they tumbled, so these are a no-go for the 65-5. I expect the extra barrel length made the difference with the other two revolvers and this gives me hope of the 4" 13-3 I'll be trying them in next week.

The best news is that I shot near 100 full power 160g cast (358156 wGC) over 15.5g W296 and it ate 'em up! One big hole at 7 & 10 yards.

I also used a magnum case and 5g W231 under the same bullet w/o GC and they shot just fine. No tumbling, no issue, accurate as sin.

So, souping up these bullets and not using the GC doesn't work in my 3" 65. I bet if I used the GC they'd work, so further experiments to follow.
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  #15  
Old 02-06-2012, 12:02 AM
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You might try sizing the bullets about .001 larger and trying again. I've found that when cast bullets tumble it's usually because they are undersized for that particular firearm.
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  #16  
Old 02-06-2012, 01:24 AM
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They're sized to .358 and can't pass through the cylinder unless I smack 'em with a dowel.

Like I mentioned, the other loads shot straight and true, just not these.

I will keep an open mind, but I am leaning to the no gas check on a checked bullet design at moderate speed as a contributing factor.

All the loads I put through it were the same bullet, sized the same made from the same alloy. The magnums with the gas checks installed were fantastic as were the +P loads w/o the gas checks, but boosting the speed and no check didn't work out so well.
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  #17  
Old 02-06-2012, 02:41 AM
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[QUOTE=Snapping Twig;136331054]I told you these were 358156 and that I loaded them w/o GC.

THEY TUMBLED! No ****! At 7 yards, 2 out of 6 tumbled.

This was in my 3" 65-5.=QUOTE]

Could the bullets be skipping the riflings ? Not enough bearing surface (driving band) for a short barrel. I guess this kinda go along with post #15.

Without the GC there isn't much for the barrel to hold on to.
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  #18  
Old 02-06-2012, 03:00 AM
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I'm leaning that way.

At +P velocity they spin up nice and go exactly where you want them to, but go past 900fps and the dynamics change.

Same bullet with the GC was a laser at full magnum velocity.

This mid range magnum out of the other 4" & 5" S&W's we had there today shot well, so IMO, the 3" barrel and no GC made for not enough stabilizing.

I'll be loading up some with the GC to compare.

But... seems my worries about needing a mid range magnum were not valid. The 15.5g W296 rounds (same bullet WITH GC) shot just fine.

If I can get these midrange mags working, and I believe it's an easy fix, they recoil a lot less and are worth the effort to have.
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Old 02-06-2012, 03:32 AM
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Maybe a different bullet is needed ?

I am thinking of these for a 2.75" Ruger Sec. Six

.357 Keith 170 gr. SWC-FB per 500 .357 Keith 170 gr. SWC-FB [SWC] - $36.00 : Rim Rock Bullets, Premium Cast Lead Bullets
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  #20  
Old 02-06-2012, 07:15 AM
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For my mid range loads I use a 158 gr lead swc on top of 7 grains of Unique. I figure its about a 3/4 power load. I find it snappy but fun to shoot.
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  #21  
Old 02-06-2012, 07:22 PM
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Your load sounds about right. My "mid-range" 357 load is 8.0 gr of Power Pistol under 158 gr FP or SWC.
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  #22  
Old 02-06-2012, 08:10 PM
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Do you use magnum primers with that much unique?
Do you get any lead fouling at that speed?

I had some 38 spl. 158 grain LSWC loaded with 4.8 grains Unique and it seems I was getting some leading at those loads.

Love to load some 357 magnum but have been worried about leading.

Thanks
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  #23  
Old 02-06-2012, 09:36 PM
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I'm loading for the first time tomorrow and using the 158 LSWC I cast and the Lee book says the starting load for it is 5.2 and max is 6.0. for Unique. I figure I will start off around 5.5 and get a good base line on what the light load is and then work up till I find a nice accurate target load for my 13-3
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Old 02-07-2012, 01:35 AM
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Harley guy,

I'd suggest you try the hotter .357 loads.

I have been using the same Space Coast cast 158 grain LSWC in both .38 special and .357 loads.

At the modest .38 special loadings with these hard cast bullets, I get heavy leading in a several different .38 special revolvers. When I go to the hotter .357 loads with the same bullets, the leading problem completely goes away.

This phenomenon has been frequently discussed on the reloading board.
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ruger-p94 View Post
I'm loading for the first time tomorrow and using the 158 LSWC I cast and the Lee book says the starting load for it is 5.2 and max is 6.0. for Unique. I figure I will start off around 5.5 and get a good base line on what the light load is and then work up till I find a nice accurate target load for my 13-3
Amazing how different various books can be.

My data shows 6 ~ 8.4g.... Wait, I think I know what's up...

The data for LEAD is lower and the data for jacketed is higher.

I have been loading for 30 years, so I have had experience, therefore I suggest you gain yours in the safest way possible - through caution and good records.

I used the jacketed data as weight is MOST important. Construction is too, but here's where experience pays dividends and allows deviation from the data. If you understand that jacketed bullets have more resistance than lead, you realize that pressure is lower for a given bullet weight - jacket vs lead.

You also gain velocity with lead over jacketed for the same powder charge.

With that in mind, I used the jacketed data for my loads in both the 65-5 and today, the 13-3 - just like yours.

I found that the 7g Unique load with a cast 160g SWC shot to POA in the 13.3 and it is accurate indeed.

Work your way up to it and let us know what you think of that load, which is not a maximum load in any event.
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  #26  
Old 02-08-2012, 07:46 AM
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I also noticed in the book that the oal is 1.570. I understand you can not go below this or you will increase the pressure quite a bit. I am using a Lee tumble lub bullet and there is a groove for a crimp around the 1.65 mark. My understanding is going to that mark will only lower the pressure of the bullet and it will still fit in the revolver with lots to spare. I was planning to make 15 rounds like that and try them out and if the round "felt" slow then I could put a few more grains in but keep it at the larger oal.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruger-p94 View Post
I also noticed in the book that the oal is 1.570. I understand you can not go below this or you will increase the pressure quite a bit. I am using a Lee tumble lub bullet and there is a groove for a crimp around the 1.65 mark. My understanding is going to that mark will only lower the pressure of the bullet and it will still fit in the revolver with lots to spare. I was planning to make 15 rounds like that and try them out and if the round "felt" slow then I could put a few more grains in but keep it at the larger oal.
Lead bullets have a crimp groove for a reason - use it.

You get a good crimping spot to prevent bullet set-back (increased pressure surprise) and OAL is right for that bullet when loaded according to Mfg's. SAAMI data.

Here again, the exception and experience shows up with a combination like the Lyman 359429 (long) and the N frame cylinder (short). You have a long cylinder on the 13, so no worries, but that bullet needs to be crimped in a "different" location and the powder charge modified to accomodate this condition.

Welcome to the reloading world.
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  #28  
Old 02-08-2012, 02:34 PM
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I have been using 4.0 grains of American Select with a 158 gr. lead semi-wadcutter in my .357 mag. Rossi Ranch Hand. It is a great load for that pistol.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:42 PM
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6 grains of Unique aka "Flaming Dirt" in a 357 case with a 158g lead RNFP gives me 1100 fps put of a 6" model 66-2
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Old 02-09-2012, 04:45 PM
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Got back from the range after testing my first load. I used 5.2 grains of Unique with the 158 grain lead WC. I was able to get a nice tight 2 1/2 grouping with not much recoil. I think I will add three grains and round it off at 5.5 with the oal at 1.580. Very happy with the load....
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Old 02-10-2012, 11:09 PM
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If I could only have one pistol powder, it would be Unique. A 6.5-7gr charge under a 158gr LSWC is an easy shooting accurate load in most 357mags.
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
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If I could only have one pistol powder, it would be Unique. A 6.5-7gr charge under a 158gr LSWC is an easy shooting accurate load in most 357mags.
I have had my fill of Unique had it's poor metering characteristics, I guess its not a big deal at mid range loadings but when I load at the upper end I can not get Unique to meter consistently enough to feel comfortable with the charge.

My next candidate for a Unique replacement will likely be Universal.
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Old 07-03-2018, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
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Got back from the range after testing my first load. I used 5.2 grains of Unique with the 158 grain lead WC. I was able to get a nice tight 2 1/2 grouping with not much recoil. I think I will add three grains and round it off at 5.5 with the oal at 1.580. Very happy with the load....
5.5 gr. Unique/150 gr. RCBS mould= 860 fps/std primer/ 357 brass 4" bbl. Good load!
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Old 07-03-2018, 10:56 PM
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5.5 Unique with 158 swc speer or hornady light recoil very accurate. six oclock hold full power load are dead on (146 1/2 jacket swc 17.0 grains 296
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Old 07-03-2018, 11:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mule88 View Post
Im using 6-6.5 gns Universal clays, with 158 gn cast, burns cleaner than Unique and very accurate
I've switched from Unique to Universal as well. Cleaner and meters much better in my Dillon 650 and I find it a very accurate mid range powder.
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  #36  
Old 07-04-2018, 12:47 AM
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Nearly all of my .357 magnum shooting is done with K-frame revolvers (Model 19, Model 66, etc). I use two cast bullets, one is a 158SWC, the other is a 145RN-HP. Both do very well using 7.0 grains Unique, standard primers. Accurate, controllable, comfortable to shoot. I have not chronographed these, but I suspect velocities in the 1100-1150FPS range; a significant boost over .38+P levels, but not hard on guns or shooters at all.

I've been using Unique in several handgun calibers for over 40 years. I find it to be consistent and reliable. I see others commenting on metering problems, which I've never experienced with my Lachmiller powder measure. I see others commenting on dirty guns, which I have never noticed to any degree (even when shooting 200 rounds or more), I just clean as usual with no great difficulty.
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  #37  
Old 07-04-2018, 12:50 AM
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I love a good 6" .357 magnum LOVE one.

Gets them pills a movin!!
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:00 AM
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My favorite 357 load is 6 grains of Unique and a Lyman 358429. This is a very accurate load with my model 27.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:14 AM
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Yep 6.5 to 7 grains with 158 swc. Even kills deer fine .
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Old 07-05-2018, 01:01 PM
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I use 6.9 under a 154gr swc.Good for a little over 1000fps
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  #41  
Old 07-05-2018, 07:37 PM
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This thread is 6 yrs old but people have started adding to it so here is my favorite 357 load . 7.5 grs of WSF using any bullet weight from 158-173 gr swc . This is my " unique replacement " load . Prior to WSF , I used unique and my fav load was 7.0 grs for same weight bullets posted above .
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Old 07-14-2018, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleydrivinglawnerd View Post
Do you use magnum primers with that much unique?
Do you get any lead fouling at that speed?

I had some 38 spl. 158 grain LSWC loaded with 4.8 grains Unique and it seems I was getting some leading at those loads.

Love to load some 357 magnum but have been worried about leading.

Thanks
Magnum primers are not needed with Unique, or many other common .38 Spl/357 Magnum powders. Bullseye, Blue Dot, Universal, AA#5, Love Potion #9, etc., etc.

For years, I shot a home cast bullet. WW/scrap/ 50-50 bar solder/fishing sinkers, melted on my Coleman camp stove. I fondly hoped the mix was somewhere close to Lyman #2 alloy. 150 gr RCBS swc mould, sized to the cylinder mouths....357, 5,5 gr of Unique=860 fps, no leading.
Commercial "hard" cast, same load= leading, soooo, I solved the problem by buying a Lewis Lead Remover kit. Works fine.

Now, I use 6.0 gr Unique, which is as close to Magnum as I want to be. Except...maybe hunting Saber-Tooth Tigers. which I don't do any more...No more room on the walls for another head and my wife's quilting. SHE says at 79, I'm getting too old! I'm sure I don't know what she is talking about!

New revolver, now, .358 cylinder mouths, boolits sized for them.

Worrying takes all the fun out of it, when there are remedies. Do the best you can, don't sweat the small stuff, shoot often and much,and FEAR NOT!
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:04 PM
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Speaking of cylinder throats , I recently bought a 19-5 , 4” nickel . When checking the cylinder throats I discovered they were a consistent .355 using pin gauges . I wondered how many owners had complained about a leaded barrel previously. I opened them up . I lucked out as the barrel had no “ barrel to frame “ choke . It’s very very accurate and NO leading of the barrel. Regards Paul
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357 magnum, 38spl, 45acp, 586, 629, crimp, fouling, model 66, rcbs, rossi, ruger, universal, wadcutter

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