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  #1  
Old 07-30-2012, 05:30 PM
JeepinSoldier JeepinSoldier is offline
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Default W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads.

I like to use 231 because I can use it in all my calibers from .380 to 45 ACP.

I have not loaded .38/.357 in years. Looking for loads for 158 grain lead semi wadcutter for:

.38 Special target - for this one I guess the old standby of 4.0 grains 231 is best.

.38 Special +P stockpile, general use.

.357 target.

.357 medium load / general use.

The guns that these loads will be used in are: Model 10 3", Model 65 3", Model 13 3", and Model 19 4".

Yes I have load books - and have searched the net but the data is all over the place.

Last edited by JeepinSoldier; 07-31-2012 at 12:54 PM. Reason: Oops, model 13 not model 12.
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:32 AM
Steve C Steve C is offline
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I continue to use Winchesters and Speers +P load data for W231 with relatively soft 158gr lead bullets of 4.5grs to 4.7grs max +P. Usually I use 4.5grs. These loads run between 830 to 900 fps from my 4" revolvers depending upon the gun and primer used. Lead loads listed by Hodgdon are all downloded to cowboy action levels which is a very mild target level.

For the .357 mag I load hard cast bullets at full power (1,250 fps +/-) mostly using 2400 and AA#9. If I was going to use W231 in the .357 mag with 158gr lead bullets I'd keep the load below Speers 5.4gr max and and less than 1,000 fps with soflt swagged or cast bullets. For hard cast work up to no more than 6.7grs max Winchesters data,
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:23 AM
alwslate alwslate is offline
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Some recent results with W231 for +P 38 spl; once fired Federal brass,
WSPM primer, 5.1 grs 231 and TV 158 gr cast SWC. S&Ws 10-5 4" vel=
1003, ES = 14 fps. 10-8 3" vel = 982, ES = 20 fps. 10-5 2" vel = 910,
ES = 12 fps.
A .357 mid range load used Win. brass, WSPM primer, 5.8 grs 231 and
same TV cast bullet. Velocity in my S&W md. 28-2 4" = 1039 fps and
ES = 10 fps.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:32 AM
GCF GCF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
Some recent results with W231 for +P 38 spl; once fired Federal brass,
WSPM primer, 5.1 grs 231 and TV 158 gr cast SWC. S&Ws 10-5 4" vel=
1003, ES = 14 fps. 10-8 3" vel = 982, ES = 20 fps. 10-5 2" vel = 910,
ES = 12 fps.
A .357 mid range load used Win. brass, WSPM primer, 5.8 grs 231 and
same TV cast bullet. Velocity in my S&W md. 28-2 4" = 1039 fps and
ES = 10 fps.
Can you provide dails on the TV cast bullet? Never heard of them. Any idea what the hardness is?

I recently started load workup for a 4" 686, w/ a Dardas 158 grn / .358" / SWC-BB / 16BHN. I picked Dardas, as I've had very good results w/ their 200 SWC / .452", 45acp bullet.

Starline 357 brass, & WWSP primers.

Never loaded 357 before, & was not sure what to expect. Started out w/ Unique: 5.1, 5.4, & 5.7. Groups tightened up as the charge increased, & no leading, so intend to try 6.0, & 6.3 soon.

Also plan to try Titegroup, as I've got a bunch.

I also noted that all groups fired hit very low. I had to crank the rear site all the way up - to hit point of aim. I'm thinking a snappier load might require less sight adjustment.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:48 AM
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I have always used the 4.0 grain/158 LSWC load using Federal small pistol primers.
Recently a friend remarked that he always uses magnum primers with 231.
I'm planning to load a batch of each and do a chrono test.
Just wondering what primers others are using with 231?
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:57 PM
JeepinSoldier JeepinSoldier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
I continue to use Winchesters and Speers +P load data for W231 with relatively soft 158gr lead bullets of 4.5grs to 4.7grs max +P. Usually I use 4.5grs. These loads run between 830 to 900 fps from my 4" revolvers depending upon the gun and primer used. Lead loads listed by Hodgdon are all downloded to cowboy action levels which is a very mild target level.

For the .357 mag I load hard cast bullets at full power (1,250 fps +/-) mostly using 2400 and AA#9. If I was going to use W231 in the .357 mag with 158gr lead bullets I'd keep the load below Speers 5.4gr max and and less than 1,000 fps with soflt swagged or cast bullets. For hard cast work up to no more than 6.7grs max Winchesters data,
Thanks Steve, and others that have posted!

Exactly the answers I was looking for! I know you should experiment and develop your own loads, but I dont have alot of time currently and am looking for safe target and medium loads to start with that generally are accurate in S&W K frames.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:02 PM
JeepinSoldier JeepinSoldier is offline
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Im planning on using the Missouri Bullet Company LSWC's.

For the .38 and .357 light loads:

.38 Match
.358 Diameter
.38 Special
158 Grain SWC
Brinell 12
For Target Velocities

For the .357 medium loads:

.357 Action!
.358 Diameter
.357 Magnum
158 Grain SWC
Brinell 18
For Magnum Velocities

I want to keep the .357's at around 1000 - 1200 fps.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:50 PM
Rule3 Rule3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeepinSoldier View Post
Im planning on using the Missouri Bullet Company LSWC's.

For the .38 and .357 light loads:

.38 Match
.358 Diameter
.38 Special
158 Grain SWC
Brinell 12
For Target Velocities

For the .357 medium loads:

.357 Action!
.358 Diameter
.357 Magnum
158 Grain SWC
Brinell 18
For Magnum Velocities

I want to keep the .357's at around 1000 - 1200 fps.
I use both those bullets (the same other than hardness) They soft ones with HP 38/W231. If you plan on using the same powder for 357 use the same softer bullets.

HP 38/W 231 is my all around favorite powder for loading pretty much every caliber but if you want to load 357 magnums there are better powders for the hard cast bullets. HP 38 is to fast for true mag velocities so you are just going to be shooting +P 38's out of 357 Mag brass (which is fine)

Reduced loads of 2400 or similar slower powder will give more of the magnum punch. You do not need to go beyond med level loads and beat up your hand and guns for general shooting.

A side note to TAROMAN, I see no reason to use a Magnum, primer with HP 38. Hodgdon does list the use of them in their data which I called them and they stated that they use Mag primers on all tested Magnum loads and powders to keep things consistent. Most manuals and tests with will not indicate a mag primer except for powders like H110 ,HS 6
That's why 2400 has an advantage, it can be reduced much more and no mag primer needed compared to H110.
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Old 08-01-2012, 01:54 AM
ArchAngelCD ArchAngelCD is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TAROMAN View Post
I have always used the 4.0 grain/158 LSWC load using Federal small pistol primers.
Recently a friend remarked that he always uses magnum primers with 231.
I'm planning to load a batch of each and do a chrono test.
Just wondering what primers others are using with 231?
Even though W231 is a ball powder it doesn't seem to be as hard to ignite as it's slower brother, W296. While W296 seems to do best with a magnum primer I have never seen the need for a magnum primer with W231.

I'm very interested in your test with both. Please make a new thread so we can talk about it when you gather your data.
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:00 AM
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Hodgdon's current load data lists a Max charge of W231 under a 158gr SWC as 5.0gr in a .357 Magnum. The pressure they report is not even a hot standard pressure .38 Special load. Older sources list a charge range of 6.0gr to 6.7gr W231 under a 158gr SWC. The Max charge of 6.7gr might be a little on the hot side so I would work up from 6.0gr slowly.

Sorry I don't have first hand W231 .357 Magnum data because I use HS-6 when I want middle hot lead magnum loads instead of W231. I see no reason to use W231 though if that's what you have.
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Old 08-01-2012, 06:48 AM
alwslate alwslate is offline
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GCF, Tennessee Valley Bullets, one of the forum vendors. Check their
web site for information on their bullets. Titegroup works well for mid-
range .357 loads. Win. brass, Win. std. SP primer, 5.6 grs Titegroup,
TV 158 gr cast SWC = 1056 fps in my 4" 28-2. I use magnum primers
with 231 because consistancy is improved over standard primers.
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:19 AM
TheTinMan TheTinMan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchAngelCD View Post
Hodgdon's current load data lists a Max charge of W231 under a 158gr SWC as 5.0gr in a .357 Magnum. The pressure they report is not even a hot standard pressure .38 Special load. Older sources list a charge range of 6.0gr to 6.7gr W231 under a 158gr SWC. The Max charge of 6.7gr might be a little on the hot side so I would work up from 6.0gr slowly.

Sorry I don't have first hand W231 .357 Magnum data because I use HS-6 when I want middle hot lead magnum loads instead of W231. I see no reason to use W231 though if that's what you have.
There is something peculiar about Hodgdon's data for W231 under a 200gr LSWC for both .38 Special and .357 Magnum. The COAL listed is significantly shorter than other published data. If you look at Hornady data for their very soft, swaged LSWC, the max appears to be based on keeping velocity below the point of bad leading rather than excessive pressure. The introductory text in my Hornady manual is fairly explicit about the velocity limits for their LSWC. Given the pressures show in the Hodgdon's data I'm guessing that they are using the same approach.
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Old 08-01-2012, 12:47 PM
kentguy kentguy is offline
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JeepInSoldier,
Here is my 2 cents with this load - now these are "every day target loads", nothing close to or over the top mind you.

Bullet - 158g LSWC (your choice)
Powder - Winchester 231 @ 4.0g
Powder range - 3.4g up to 5.0g (LEE revisied 8th Edition)
Burn Rate - #29 (Hodgdon)
Primer - Winchester WSP
Bullet seating OAL - 1.580"
Velocity - 744.5 fps
Test gun - S&W 357 mag. model 28-2 w/6" barrel

This load is a soft shooting & accurate load (tested out to 50 yards) again nothing to write home about but easy on the wrist and fun to shoot all day.

Just some FYI... have fun and be safe
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:49 PM
GCF GCF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alwslate View Post
GCF, Tennessee Valley Bullets, one of the forum vendors. Check their
web site for information on their bullets. Titegroup works well for mid-
range .357 loads. Win. brass, Win. std. SP primer, 5.6 grs Titegroup,
TV 158 gr cast SWC = 1056 fps in my 4" 28-2. I use magnum primers
with 231 because consistancy is improved over standard primers.
Thanks for the info!
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Old 08-02-2012, 02:55 AM
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The TVB WEB site is no longer active but they do have a Facebook page now.
Tennessee Valley Bullets - Scotts Hill, TN - Shopping & Retail, Gun Store | Facebook
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:17 PM
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I see all of these load data and velocity results and some mention of accuracy. Is it fair to ask what kind (size) of groups these rounds are producing?
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:53 PM
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I've had great results from HP38/231/with 158g SWC & FRN in both 38 & 357 mag at 900 to 1100 fps in 5.5" barreled m627. They work very well also in Ruger Vaquero and Security 6.

I've used comparable recipe for velocity/accuracy for Tite Group. Prefer the HP38/231 for slight edge in accuracy.

Looking for 357 Mag load for 158 SWC lead @ 1200+. Older manuals sure have hotter loads than newer ones. Have misplaced Skeeter's 2400 data, but IIRC that was for JHP not lead.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:21 AM
GCF GCF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m657 View Post

I've had great results from HP38/231/with 158g SWC & FRN in both 38 & 357 mag at 900 to 1100 fps in 5.5" barreled m627. They work very well also in Ruger Vaquero and Security 6.

I've used comparable recipe for velocity/accuracy for Tite Group. Prefer the HP38/231 for slight edge in accuracy.
When you say "comparable recipe", are you reffering to actual charge weight?

I've noticed that Hodgdon's 231 / Titegroup data for the 158 LSWC shows almost identical max load / velocity for the two. Max load pressure is a bit higher for the Titegroup, IIRC. Also noticed that the HP38 / 231 shows a much lower starting load - for some reason...
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:26 PM
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don't have the actual numbers at hand right now, but as I've done considerable reloading with these components can comment on results in my own use....

It seems I get best results in a certain velocity range, which is often down a couple .tenths of charge weight, from the max listed.

Not sure what really accounts for that result.

My main use at the range these days is the rather large steel plates from 4" to 14" out to about 30 yards. I like to have "bowling pin" minute of accuracy for anything I load, with comfort of recoil to enjoy several hundred rounds on target with no residual aches & miseries. As a geezer I have plenty of those without adding to the collection. And with geezer eyes upon me, the demands of such as Bulls Eye targets is simply frustration.

Falling plate racks at 25 yards is my main method of establishing what these loads need to do.

There is little difference between 750 fps or 1100 fps, as the plates go down easily when 200-230 g of cast lead initiates an impact anywhere on the plate.

Moving to 38 caliber, several of the plate racks at my club tend to get stubborn when using 130 gr even at 1100 fps....yet the 158 gr tends to overcome such reluctance.
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m657 View Post

...don't have the actual numbers at hand right now, but as I've done considerable reloading with these components can comment on results in my own use....

It seems I get best results in a certain velocity range, which is often down a couple .tenths of charge weight, from the max listed.

Not sure what really accounts for that result.
Well, actual numbers aside, are you using a bevel base SWC, gas checked, or plain base?

For my 4" 686 (no dash), I'm currently loading a Dardas 158LSWC-BB / .358" / 16BHN. Initially tried 5.1 - 6.3 Unique / WWSP / Starline 357 brass. Results were just so - so, w/ best groups at 6.0 grns.

Groups for all but max, were well below point of aim.

Thinking the bevel base isn't helping, & also 16BHN may be a bit too hard for target 38spl / 38spl +p velocity w/ this powder.

Titegroup & 231 are up next, as I've got it on hand.

Oh for the record, fully understand the "geezer" thing. No seriously, don't ask... ;=]
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:13 PM
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MY experience loading for a Colt Model 3-5-7 with 6" barrel. Win 231, Starline .357 Magnum brass & CCI small pistol primer:

Hornady 158gr LSWC
4.8 grains of Win 231 averaged 890 fps - too fast for this soft swaged bullet according to Hornady manual

Penn 158gr lead truncated cone
4.8 grains Avg 924 fps S-D 15
5.1 grains Avg 975 fps S-D 11
5.4 grains Avg 1,001 fps S-D 17
5.7 grains Avg 1,049 fps S-D 15

5.4 grains had the lowest extreme spread (53) and seemed like a nice target load but 5.7 grains produced the best groups.

I found some old Winchester data for 158 grain lead bullets over 231 which showed 6.7 grains as the MAX with muzzle velocity of 1,275 and maximum pressure for .357 Magnum. (file attached with older Winchester data)

Please work up carefully if you want to follow any of this data.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Winchester 357 data for 231.jpg (44.2 KB, 427 views)

Last edited by TheTinMan; 08-09-2012 at 04:36 PM. Reason: corrected MAX load from old Winchester data - 6.7 grains
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:07 PM
GCF GCF is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTinMan View Post
MY experience loading for a Colt Model 3-5-7 with 6" barrel. Win 231, Starline .357 Magnum brass & CCI small pistol primer:

Hornady 158gr LSWC
4.8 grains of Win 231 averaged 890 fps - too fast for this soft swaged bullet according to Hornady manual

Penn 158gr lead truncated cone
4.8 grains Avg 924 fps S-D 15
5.1 grains Avg 975 fps S-D 11
5.4 grains Avg 1,001 fps S-D 17
5.7 grains Avg 1,049 fps S-D 15

5.4 grains had the lowest extreme spread (53) and seemed like a nice target load but 5.7 grains produced the best groups.

I found some old Winchester data for 158 grain lead bullets over 231 which showed 5.7 grains as the MAX with muzzle velocity of 1,275 and maximum pressure for .357 Magnum. Obviously I didn't reach that muzzle velocity, and there were no pressure signs of any kind. However, I'm stopping there. (file attached with older Winchester data)

Please work up carefully if you want to follow any of this data.
Am I misreading, or does the attached data show 6.7 (not 5.7) of 231, under a lead 158 bullet?
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Old 08-09-2012, 03:24 PM
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can't speak for others, but I've NEVER had any significant advantage with bevel base over plain base....other than ease of inserting prior to setting into case at loading station....

Results from gas check decades ago didn't show any advantage in hot-loaded IHMSA rounds; repeat last fall with some 41 mag 215 g SWC did not show any advantage. As always, YMMV.

As much as I struggle to find otherwise, my favorite rounds tend to be of the 41 mag persuasion...and again, 900-1100 fps work best for me.

Not to high jack thread about 38/357....

The hot loads of 20-30 year old manuals make today's listings seem so tame. Don't know what to make of it.

I know my goal circa 1980 was to find a 357 mag load that would approximate 1500 fps with great accuracy and no barrel fouling.

Along the way I've found LOTS of loads that meet all my goals except the velocity factor, which may not have been all that rational an expectation in the first place.

But the 1100 fps 357 loads seem to be pretty mild even now.
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GCF View Post
Am I misreading, or does the attached data show 6.7 (not 5.7) of 231, under a lead 158 bullet?
No, you didn't misread it. I was hurrying and trying to do three things at once. The old Winchester data shows a MAX of 6.7.

My apologies to all. Load data is not something to take lightly.
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  #25  
Old 08-09-2012, 09:09 PM
GF1 GF1 is offline
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W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads.  
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You can make lots of powders work for "efficiency" at the loading bench, in terms of stretching less than optimum powders across a number of calibers. I don't buy into that, however, as there are too many compromises and for the time and trouble I put in I want it optimum.

There's no money difference, as you're putting the same amount of powder down range for the same money.

For the .357 through .44 Magnums, including the .41 Magnum which is my darling caliber, I really like and get the best results with Alliant 2400. It's not picking about lighting off, standard primers work fine (magnums OK too), as does a normal roll crimp. I've had great success with the heavier for caliber bullets, both hard cast and jacketed; for the .357, they are 158 grains.
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  #26  
Old 08-10-2012, 03:21 AM
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W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads.  
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Current load data is anemic at best. They claim it's because new testing methods show the old data was way overpressure. I would accept that if they didn't try to claim a load that is reduced by as much as 20% is generation the same velocities. I may not be an engineer but I'm not stupid either. They are talking out of both sides of their mouth and another place to that on the other side of the body.
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  #27  
Old 08-16-2012, 01:23 PM
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W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads.  
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I am a huge fan oh W231, but there are just certain limitations where we try to drive it too far. Jeep - I do the same as you. W231 is my primary pistol "stockpile" powder, and it is at least as good as average, if not ideal, in many loads and calibers. I use it in the following:

380 ACP (practice & full-power loads)
9mmP (practice loads)
38 Spl (practice & full-power loads)
357 Mag (practice loads)
10mm (practice loads)
44 Russian (practice loads)
44 Spl (practice & full-power loads)
44 Mag (practice loads)
45 ACP (practice, target, & full-power loads)

In particular answer to your question, Jeep, load 4.0grs W231 w/ 158gr SWCs in either 38 or 357 and you'll have great results. I find this to be VERY accurate in most guns, and its at the top end of power for the 38 without having to worry about alloy-frame guns. Its powerful enough to let you feel you're shooting something, but light enough to let most people focus on accuracy.

I've tried W231 in the higher ranges which are "certified safe" in the older loading manuals. My opinion is that they've eliminated these loads NOT out of safety, nor out of laziness - just publishing the cowboy loads... I believe they experienced, or got enough questioning querries, or both, about the change in combustion characteristics with W231 at "magnum levels."

I've found in 357 & 44 Magnums that as the pressure approaches or exceeds 25-30k (even though still in the "safe zone"), W231 is no longer a pleasant, accurate, nor ideal powder. I've noted substantially increased recoil and muzzle blast, lower accuracy, and a different smell to the consumed powder under these circumstances.

I've noticed similar but less-pronounced issue in 10mm. Even at high pressures in the 9mm, I don't notice the problem at all. I've theorized from this experience that case volume, or more-accurately: unused space inside the case, when combined with higher pressure for this powder is the causal factor.

The bottom line is that W231 CAN be safely loaded for a medium-power 357 load, but I think you'll be dissatisfied with the results.
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  #28  
Old 08-17-2012, 03:40 AM
ArchAngelCD ArchAngelCD is online now
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W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads. W231 .38 and .357 Magnum loads.  
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A lot of good information here already. I agree W231 has it's limitations on magnum calibers, that's why I use 3 powders mostly. The original "Powder Trinity" before there were a lot of powders available was Bullseye, Unique and 2400. My powder trinity is W231 (HP-38), W540 (HS-6) and W296 (H110) I haven't found anything I can't load with those 3 powders or the other powder trinity either.

When I reach what I feel is the limit of W231 I go to HS-6. When I want full power magnum loads I turn to W296. Those 3 powder never fail me. Yes, I do have about 8 or more other handgun powder on the shelf but that's because I like to try new stuff. I always seem to come back to those 3. (Trail Boss, Clays, Universal, AA#5, Power Pistol, 2400, Lil'Gun, Longshot and maybe some I forgot)
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