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Old 04-01-2018, 11:01 AM
RGVshooter RGVshooter is offline
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Default My 357 mag Bowling pin loads

Some of you may know that according to the rules, bowling pin matches are set up at 25' to the pins. At our informal matches we hold each week, it's much further. We cut the top 6" off the pins and stagger 3 pin bodies with 2 pin tops on a steel table 36" high at 20 yards, 60 feet. Not 25 feet like what everyone else shoots at. 5 pins, 3 big, 2 small, and everyone loads up with 6 rounds only. No time limit, whoever knocks down the most pins wins. 1 pin (big or small) is 1 point if it clears the table, if it falls over but is still on the table that's 1/2 point, unless you shoot it again, clearing the table. So for example, if you have 1 pin still standing and the other guy has two pins on their sides remaining, then it's a tie. Load up another 6 rounds, and at the command, fire. Until whoever wins first. Got it?

With that in mind, we focus more on accuracy & knock down power, slightly less emphasis on speed. Although we do have a few speed demons amongst us.

I settled on my 4" 686 357 magnum. Which also doubled as a occasional carry that's why I chose 4" over 6" barrel. The handloads I came up with IMO are the best balance of power & recoil management as full power commercial 357 magnum can be kinda stout. Monarch 158gr 357 mag can rattle my teeth.

So I came up with this...

158gr Hornady XTP
9.5gr Blue Dot
WSPM primer
COL 1.575"

I haven't chrono'd these yet but it should give me around 1050-1100fps.

Another load that i came up with is

180gr Hornady XTP
11.9gr H110
WSPM
COL 1.590"

again est around 1100fps. But will chromo these later this week and come back with results.

The 158 recipe came out of Hornady #9 and the recoil is warmer than 38spl +P but very manageable recoil out of my 4" 686.

The 180's are definitely magnum territory and clear the pins clean off the table. Recoil is also manageable. But you can tell it has some ummf. I might back off the H110 a bit lol...
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:14 AM
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You can back off the 180gr load but..........

make sure you don't loose accuracy.

Good luck.
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Old 04-01-2018, 02:11 PM
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Don't back off H110 too much;it is not the best powder to download.
Your version of the sport sounds like fun.I'll see if I can get some guys interested at the range.
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qc Pistolero View Post
Your version of the sport sounds like fun.I'll see if I can get some guys interested at the range.
It is ridiculous how much fun full grown men (and a few ladies) can have shooting bowling pins at this distance outside. If you hit the pin tops just right, they can go sailing upwards of 20' in the air and disappear in the resaca behind the berm, never to be seen again... lol
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Old 04-01-2018, 10:50 PM
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Default WHATEVER

Once the pins become well used, each balances & reacts differently when hit. The unpredictability is what makes it so fun IMO. Different clubs/different rules & distances. MOST/all regulars I know reload with flat nosed cast. (XTP's WAY too expensive & don't have the wide/flat nose that cast do). Speed/accuracy/recoil recovery times seem to be better with a 158 gr & slower velocity, but TEHO.
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachogrande View Post
Once the pins become well used, each balances & reacts differently when hit. The unpredictability is what makes it so fun IMO. Different clubs/different rules & distances. MOST/all regulars I know reload with flat nosed cast. (XTP's WAY too expensive & don't have the wide/flat nose that cast do). Speed/accuracy/recoil recovery times seem to be better with a 158 gr & slower velocity, but TEHO.
Yeah the XTP's are adding up $$$. I still have a box of Badman bullets. 500 158gr. cast LSWC. I'm currently going thru my books to find the hottest loads I can find for this bullet. So far the only thing I found was from Titegroup

38 special
3.8gr titegroup
158gr cast LSWC
COL 1.475"
EST 920fps.

OR

357 magnum case

158gr cast LSWC
5.0gr Titegroup
COL 1.588"
EST 1075fps
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Old 04-01-2018, 11:48 PM
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Default Titegroup????

Though I find that fast target powders can be loaded up pretty warm, Titegroup is at the other end of the spectrum if you are looking for velocity in a heavy bullet.

Acc #7, Acc #9, Alliant 2400 and HS6 should do the job easily. I know that Acc#7 can be reduced greatly with no changes in properties.
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Old 04-02-2018, 12:27 AM
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Some use TG for max loads but with my 6" 357 magnum with a
full load of Green Dot with a 158gr LSWC I can manage 1281fps.
Universal and Unique will do over 1300fps and I did not try 2400powder
since I though this was fast enough for a lead target loading.

Just depends if you want to dump more powder into your cases
for an added 100-150fps.

Have fun.
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Old 04-02-2018, 02:38 AM
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Question Please advise

Quote:
Originally Posted by Qc Pistolero View Post
Don't back off H110 too much;it is not the best powder to download.
Your version of the sport sounds like fun.I'll see if I can get some guys interested at the range.
In 357 Magnum:

Hodgdons shows a MIN 15gr load of H110/296 @ over 1,400 fps with the 158 GR XTP.

Their MAX 7 gr load of AutoComp is @ almost 1,200 fps for the same bullet. This is at a higher pressure, but nowhere near the 40K+ MAX load for H110/296.

So, 2 questions: would the MAX AutoComp 7 gr load be a good one for the OP's bowling pin application, and...

Which load is considered to be safer?

THANKS!

P.S. 3rd question: Is that MIN 15 gr H110/296 "good to go" for other 158 GR JHP or SJHP's from other major bullet manufacturers, using their crimp groove to determine the OAL?
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:57 AM
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We shoot full pins at 25' against the clock. I have found mass, not speed clears the pin off the table. I use my 627 pro when I shoot revolver and have some 160+ grain SWC's I was given that work pretty good loaded to under 1K fps with HS-6 or CFE. Penn bullets has some 230gr. "thunderheads" that many swear by, but I have yet to try them. What I see a lot is somebody shows up with a 44 mag and wonders why it doesn't clear the table. The high velocity has the bullet exit out the back of the pin putting no energy into it. It just falls over and rolls around.
Have to admit my best pin gun is a Sig 1911 5" with 230gr. coated RN load with WST. Probably 800 to 850 fps. Hit the pin just below the fattest part. You can hear it smack the pin as it comes up an inch or two and goes straight back off the table still upright.
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
Some use TG for max loads but with my 6" 357 magnum with a
full load of Green Dot with a 158gr LSWC I can manage 1281fps.
Universal and Unique will do over 1300fps and I did not try 2400powder
since I though this was fast enough for a lead target loading.

Just depends if you want to dump more powder into your cases
for an added 100-150fps.

Have fun.
Try some 2400. I have not handloaded in a while, but I used it in 44mag loads quite succesfully
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:41 AM
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In theory, all that matters is momentum (Mass x Velocity) and 100% energy transfer, meaning the bullet stays inside the pin.

Power factor is used in many shooting games and is a figure derived from momentum. PF = Mass x Velocity divide by 1000 to give a convenient number.

Once you determine the PF needed to realiably knock a pin off the table with a center hit that does not exit, you can apply that PF to ANY combination of bullet & velocity that does not exit...offering up every ounce of its energy to the pin.

For example, the 230 gr bullet @ 800 fps mentioned above has a PF = 230 x 800 /1000 = 184. If that 230 gr bullet with a PF of 184 does not exit the pin and reliably clears it, we know that 184 is sufficient. Therefore, a centered, non-exiting hit from a 125gr HP @ 1474 fps should do the same, but would sure seem a lot ruder and probably wouldn't be favored by anyone.

If the OP's load of 158gr @ 1100 is successful, then any PF = 174 should work as well. That means a 180 @ 965 would be comparable. The recoil signatures will be different, and shooters will differ in which they prefer, but the bowling pin should react the same to both.

HP, RN, wide flat meplat, jacketed, cast ... those features affect penetration. But if there is no over-penetration then bullet design should not matter...only PF.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:10 AM
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Default NO NEED TO BE A VELOCITY FREAK.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGVshooter View Post
to find the hottest loads I can find.
I THINK you would be better served with a bullet/load combo dedicated for BP. Pins are relatively close & are no risk to your life, so no real need for THE HOTTEST/FASTEST. See what you shoot fast & accurate. For centerfire revolver I alternate between a model 10-6 (38 special only), and a L frame model 681 (357), but use the same 38 special 148 gr DEWC cast boolit seated flush in either gun, & it is surprising how hard they hit both BP's and steel plates with only 2.7 grs of bullseye. Recoil is unnoticed, & they are able to be shot fast & accurate. If I could find a 180 gr DEWC for 357, I would certainly try that, but not push the velocity envelope, no need to. It is such a fun event it really doesn't matter what you use, or if you win, to me. anyway.

Last edited by nachogrande; 04-11-2018 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:27 AM
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Default ** NOTHING** CLEARS A TABLE LIKE...

Hitting the pins. Mass/speed/shape are for naught if you miss. A weirdly weighted down pin probly won't react "as planned" every time. Saw a "perfect" low center hit pin flip up in the air & land standing up right where it started. Things like that are why BP is hands down the most fun event for me. The old timer that got me "forced me" to try it, even though all I had that day was a 9mm semi, showed me that it DON'T MATTER what you use. FUN IS FUN, regardless.
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Old 04-02-2018, 10:42 AM
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Years ago in a far away galaxy, I had good luck with a 29-2 with
a 8 3/8 barrel shooting 245 grain Keith cast bullets at about
800 to 850 fps. Don't remember the powder.
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Old 04-02-2018, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike campbell View Post
In theory, all that matters is momentum (Mass x Velocity) and 100% energy transfer, meaning the bullet stays inside the pin.
In theory... Problem is every bowling pin I've met failed physics in high school. A big lump of lead with a big cross section has proven to me to work best. I'd like to try a deagle in 50ae with a 300+ grain cast SWC loaded to 750 fps. Probably wouldn't cycle the action but I think it would smack pins off a table.
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Old 04-02-2018, 01:20 PM
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Nothing in the universe escapes the laws of physics...even the dumbest bowling pins don't get a pass.
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Old 04-02-2018, 02:40 PM
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My pin gun is a M29 in 44 Auto Mag with 300 gr. bullets at 915 fps. That load will take off 2 pins lying down together, even if they are already full of lead. Bullet weight is King for bowling pins. Best times when shooting a lot way back when were around 4.5 - 5 seconds. Some people were faster with .45 ACP auto or revolver.
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachogrande View Post
... If I could find a 180 gr DEWC for 357, I would certainly try that, but not push the velocity envelope, no need to...
Not quite a DEWC but the Missouri Bullet Co. 180 gr. Pugnose might be a possibility. Basically a WFN. 10 or 11 gr. of 2400 should get you in the 950-1000 fps. range.
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Old 04-06-2018, 12:22 PM
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Hate to have to beg, but would some be kind enough to PLEASE answer the 3 questions I posed in post #9?

THANKS!
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Old 04-06-2018, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STORMINORMAN View Post
Hate to have to beg, but would some be kind enough to PLEASE answer the 3 questions I posed in post #9?

THANKS!
1. Yes it is, considering all said previously re mass and velocity. Too fast is not your friend
2. Lower pressure should be safer
3. Any "Major Manufacturer" should print what loads they have found safe with their JHP's. Each will have different resistance causing different amounts of friction and resulting pressure. I would follow their guidelines for jacketed work if available. Only you can decide if extrapolating from published data is correct for you.
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Old 04-10-2018, 03:37 PM
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Despite decades of attempts to the contrary, I simply do not shoot 357 mag very well regardless of the issuing platform or target.

re: "The recoil signatures will be different, and shooters will differ in which they prefer, but the bowling pin should react the same to both."

The secret for me has been whether I can reliably hit the little monsters. So far 44 special, 41 mag & 10mm has been my personal 'most accurate' loads, in lumbering velocities without regard to PF or FPS calculations.

Our local version has 5 pins in center of 4x8 plywood sheet @ 50' (I think), we have 6 rounds for them & a stop plate that demonstrates winner in close match. We can load 6 at a time for up to 18 total.

Once a guy brought his new 500 S&W 4". 18 shots later he had not touched any of the pins.

Personal experimentation demonstrated considerable improvement in securing pin-off-table one-hit results with 10mm vs 40 S&W standard loads with exact same lead flat point 180g.

Hot 38 special loads in the 900 fps range work better for me, as somehow I shoot them more accurately than same bullet in mid or hot 357 loading in the same gun. I must flinch for one & not the other.
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Old 04-10-2018, 04:32 PM
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Default IN WHAT UNIVERSE?

[QUOTE=m657;

re: "The recoil signatures will be different, and shooters will differ in which they prefer, but the bowling pin should react the same to both."[/QUOTE]

EVEN IF ALL the pins were the same brand/size/wt and have NEVER been shot, they WILL NOT react the same (as 2 "identical" shots hand held are almost impossible), throw an uneven not "PERFECTLY" level table, and used pins weighed down/lumpy/bumpy will throw off their balance. TO, please answer my questions: respectfully, do your own homework. Not only is it "impossible" for someone tell you what will work best for YOU and your gun, there's the issue of giving out load info liability,& being blamed if it didn't work well for YOU. RPG, it sounds like you guys threw "the rule book" WAY out the window. I've seen many "variations". We do a 3 gun shoot, rimfire, centerfire revolver, & centerfire semi auto. 4 tables @ 25' with 5 pins on each. On either end of the table the 2 outer pins are app 1' higher than the other pins. 1 table has a green pin that has to be hit first, and one table with a red pin that has to be hit last, with time penalties added for pins shot out of order. The table with the slowest time gets dropped & the avg time of the remaining 3 tables is your score. Want to use a high cap magazine? KNOCK YOURSELF OUT, 5 clean shots almost always win. Any table with a time of 5 seconds or less is "pretty good", Times of 15+ seconds are not uncommon. I "think" I may have cleared a few tables in the high 3's (MY VERY BEST). AVERAGE times tend to range higher 6-8ish seconds MAYBE for me. BOTTOM LINE, you will have fun regardless of what the timer says, or what gun/bullet you use.

Last edited by nachogrande; 04-11-2018 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 04-10-2018, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STORMINORMAN View Post
In 357 Magnum:

1. Hodgdons shows a MIN 15gr load of H110/296 @ over 1,400 fps with the 158 GR XTP.


2. would the MAX AutoComp 7 gr load be a good one for the OP's bowling pin application, and...

3rd question: Is that MIN 15 gr H110/296 "good to go" for other 158 GR JHP or SJHP's from other major bullet manufacturers, using their crimp groove to determine the OAL?
1. Yeooow! 1400fps is zipping along. I haven't loaded any 158gr XTP's using H110, only 11.9gr for the 180gr XTP.

2. If that is Winchester AutoComp I would say back it off slightly to 6.8gr.s powder. 7.0gr gives a est of 1181fps, You want at least around 1100fps for a good balance of knock down power & comfortable recoil. I mean 7.0gr would get the job done, but with more recoil.

3. When it comes to magnum loads, I would suggest sticking to exactly what the recipe calls for. If you have a different manufacturers bullet, but it's in all respects a similar design and same weight. Then I see no harm in using it but back off a few grains of powder first, shoot those to see how they work before loading up a couple hundred only to find out you might have to pull them... try it!
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:46 PM
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Default TRY A WORKAROUND

IMO you may not be able to to load the 38 special up (safely, if at all) to hit the same POA as a hot 357. YOU MAY be able to load those 357's down to safely shoot similar to the "mouse fart" 38's. Save the hot-rodded ammo for where it's needed, if such a place exists.
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Old 04-10-2018, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nachogrande View Post
"mouse fart" 38's.

You want a mouse fart load? I have it! Hahahahah.

I have a box of 38 cal Speer plastic wadcutter "practice bullets". I'm not sure exactly what their intended purpose is but if you just stick a standard primer in the case, NO POWDER ( ) and seat it to the case mouth of a 38 special. It is probably the most weakest round I have ever heard. It'll go out to about 20 yards or so. I did manage to hit a bowling pin with it but it noticeably bounced of it.
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Old 04-10-2018, 07:13 PM
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Default DITTO BUT...

DON'T shoot a buddy that's bigger than you in the butt with one. I DID shoot a paint can a bud was painting with & it did dent the can & send paint flying, he wasn't laughing.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGVshooter View Post
1. Yeooow! 1400fps is zipping along. I haven't loaded any 158gr XTP's using H110, only 11.9gr for the 180gr XTP.

2. If that is Winchester AutoComp I would say back it off slightly to 6.8gr.s powder. 7.0gr gives a est of 1181fps, You want at least around 1100fps for a good balance of knock down power & comfortable recoil. I mean 7.0gr would get the job done, but with more recoil.

3. When it comes to magnum loads, I would suggest sticking to exactly what the recipe calls for. If you have a different manufacturers bullet, but it's in all respects a similar design and same weight. Then I see no harm in using it but back off a few grains of powder first, shoot those to see how they work before loading up a couple hundred only to find out you might have to pull them... try it!
1. Point well taken: 1,400 fps is magnum.

2. Thanks: a reduction of 0.2 gr is well workable.

3. This is where the H110/296 WARNINGS come into play re: reducing the MIN load. A "few grains" reduction: does this possibly move us into the WARNINGS area? Where a specific 158gr JHP (or a SJHP, SJFP) may differ slightly from a Hornady XTP shouldn't they safely load at the crimp grove at the published powder maker's MIN?

Cheers! & THANKS!

P.S. I have a bit of H110/296 but have been waiting to better understand these reduced load WARNINGS. Only been reloading for a couple of years, multiple calibers (including three where I don't personally own the weapon: 9mm Makarov, 45 Colt and 44 Magnum), but I'm not to the point where I'm comfortable approaching published MAX loads for any caliber.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:28 PM
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nacho: guess you disagree with reply #11 where that quote originated;

the use of the falling stop plates was somebody's excellent realization timer isn't necessary for the type of match the local pin director wanted; plate is about 3-4" diameter on a ground level stand; sitting side by side, not parallel but aimed to cross the path of the other; with very close times the one that hits the bottom first is the judged the winner of that stage. If it seems a 'tie' the one on top is judged slower and heads for the double elimination loser board. Go slow twice you're out.

No matter what size magazine, only 6 per round are loaded. And yes, if you have to shoot at one twice regardless of the reason, it's likely you're going home early.

I've seen plenty of accurate 9s & 38 shooters that were not hot loads, continue to the last few brackets.
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Old 04-11-2018, 03:04 AM
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I like the feel of heavy 180's over 158's not as harsh.
357 brass, fed SPM, 2400 1.590 oal 180 gr MO Bullet hard cast.686 pro 5"
11.2 grs Avg 1111 SD 5.85
11.6 grs 1142fps SD 5.6
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:15 AM
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Back many years ago when I shot pins I used 145 gr. Silver Tips in .357 magnum. (Yes, I'm old.) .38 Special just bounced off the pins even with a perfect hit. I used the old Blazer 200 gr flying ashtrays in .45 ACP. PO'd the admins who collected the brass I suspect.
Geoff
Who had to give up competition when his knee went, now my eyes are giving problems even after cataract surgery...sigh.
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Old 04-11-2018, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Skeptic 9c View Post
had to give up competition when his knee went, now my eyes are giving problems even after cataract surgery...sigh.
understand.....my cataract surgery gave plenty improved vision but didn't do anything to speed me up on the firing line....drat!!!
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Old 04-11-2018, 06:31 PM
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Default NOPE!

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Originally Posted by m657 View Post
nacho: guess you disagree with reply #11 where that quote originated;

the use of the falling stop plates was somebody's excellent realization timer isn't necessary for the type of match the local pin director wanted; plate is about 3-4" diameter on a ground level stand; sitting side by side, not parallel but aimed to cross the path of the other; with very close times the one that hits the bottom first is the judged the winner of that stage. If it seems a 'tie' the one on top is judged slower and heads for the double elimination loser board. Go slow twice you're out.

No matter what size magazine, only 6 per round are loaded. And yes, if you have to shoot at one twice regardless of the reason, it's likely you're going home early.

I've seen plenty of accurate 9s & 38 shooters that were not hot loads, continue to the last few brackets.
The only thing I disagree with, is the NEED for hyper velocity and a high PF. Actually hitting the pin matters most, IMO. The rest is just differences in how one plays the game. If you are having fun, how "wrong" can it be? I like timers cuz they are impartial, give you an actual numerical speed/time vs "you were slower/faster than the other guy. If everyone is paying the same amount of $ to play, IMO all should get the same amount of trigger time. I'm NOT SAYING my clubs way is better or worse than anothers, just that the best & worst shooters get the same chances to shoot at the same # of tables. It is more fun/inviting & tends to attract more people to give it a try, as it is not intimidating to beginners or experienced players.
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Old 04-11-2018, 08:03 PM
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With the way how we do pin matches down here we just load 6 rounds, set up 5 pins, no time limit. No stopwatch, no buzzer. All we have is a RO that gives out the command to "load & make ready", "shooter on the ___ ready?" "shooter on the ___ are you ready?" "shooters......Fire!"


Then it's whoever clears the most pins. If there's a tie, then the pins stay and we load up another 6 rounds and at the start it's "sudden death".


But remember guys. We stagger the pins. I mean we cut the top 6" off the pins and stagger them, 3 pin bodies, and two pin tops. At 15-17 yards. it's not as easy as one would think. To shoot at a 6" tall by 2" wide target at 45 feet with full power 357 magnum with only a few tries. I've been doing this for years with a revolver and yes, on a good day i can clear the table.

Here's a photo of one of my 148 grain 38 special wadcutter loaded up with 2.7gr Titegroup. The point is, try to find a balance of knock down power and good recoil management for a quick and accurate follow up shot. By the way, I took this shot at 45' with a 4" heavy barrel model 10-8. (yes, this pin went flying 3' behind the table) lol

Last edited by RGVshooter; 04-12-2018 at 12:20 AM.
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:42 PM
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I tested reloads in my ‘75 colt Python and the best reload I came up with for pin point accuracy was the 140gr Speer jhp using 2400 powder.
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Old 06-24-2018, 12:50 AM
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Fast forward to June 2018 and to date my favorite 357 load has been using Berry's 158gr plated flat point bullets, 13.9gr H110, winchester small pistol magnum primers or CCI 550 and a COL of 1.590". Chrono'd at a 5 shot average of 1136fps.
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Old 06-25-2018, 10:51 AM
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Question Just picked up 500# of those Berry's...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RGVshooter View Post
Fast forward to June 2018 and to date my favorite 357 load has been using Berry's 158gr plated flat point bullets, 13.9gr H110, winchester small pistol magnum primers or CCI 550 and a COL of 1.590". Chrono'd at a 5 shot average of 1136fps.
Still trying to figure this out: wondering whether the 6.8gr of AutoComp you graciously recommended for a 158gr (on your post from 4/10) doesn't get us to the approximately 1,100fps but by using 1/2 as much powder?

Half as much (by weight) of any powder for the same basic result doubles the number of loads per lb. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the published reduced load warning as they apply to the 296/H110 twins. What is the advantage of using one of them over the other more... "Economical"(?) powder choices?

I'm not trying to be argumentative in the slightest degree: both powders meter pretty much the same, so it is not a "ball vs. flake (800-X)" choice... I guess there's the "dirty vs. clean" question, but my experience is they both burn a lot the same in other loadings.

I truly appreciate the value of those more experienced on this forum.

Cheers!
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