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Old 02-05-2020, 09:47 PM
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Hello All!

I am looking to assemble some mid-range 357 Magnum loads using 125gr bullets. I would like to avoid using a ball powder. I would prefer to use either a flake powder or an extruded powder.

What would you recommend?
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:50 PM
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Unique would be good for that
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:31 PM
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Unique or Power Pistol
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:14 PM
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Everyone is saying " Unique " . I'll say one different , " BE-86 " . It's a flake powder that meters good and is flash suppressed . It's in between Unique and Power Pistol on burn charts . It's a powder that I enjoy . Regards, Paul
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:31 PM
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Unique or 2400.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboy4evr View Post
Everyone is saying " Unique " . I'll say one different , " BE-86 " . It's a flake powder that meters good and is flash suppressed . It's in between Unique and Power Pistol on burn charts . It's a powder that I enjoy . Regards, Paul
I just recently started loading with both Power Pistol and BE-86 and I am really liking both of them. They both meter better than Unique to me and they shoot good too and both are usable in most of the pistol calibers I reload for.

EDIT: I've also been loading with Hodgdon Longshot for several years and it works very well in 357 Mag also for mid range to mid-hot loads.

Last edited by muddocktor; 02-05-2020 at 11:46 PM.
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Old 02-06-2020, 03:56 AM
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Since Unique & Power Pistol have already been suggested, I'll throw out using Green Dot. I've found it surprisingly good.

It's a little faster than the aforementioned but it's one I use frequently for mid-power loads in 357s as well as 45 ACP & 41 Mag loads. Being a flake powder it's bulkier & takes up added space.

LongShot (a spherical powder) has a burn rate very close to Power Pistol. I used it when you couldn't find Power Pistol during the "Great Shortage" crisis but dislike how it stains the case, like so many other ball/spherical powders seem to do. Otherwise I like it.

.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:08 AM
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I have used Unique, Powder Pistol and BE-86 with good results.
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Old 02-06-2020, 04:42 AM
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I would recommend BE-86.
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:21 AM
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I like Accurate No. 5 for my 125gr JHP loads. Very good results. I adopted that powder after I found it in the Waters Load Manual in the late `80`s.
Jim
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:12 AM
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Bullseye would be just fine for use with 125 gr bullets if you're not
looking for top velocity.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:21 AM
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Are you planning on using an electronic powder dispenser or hand weigh each charge. I ask because the 6 Sigma spread for Unique or Longshot is +/-0.51 grains in a Volume type powder measure. Note, I've tried all the magic taps and table knocks and have found this particular placebo DOES NOT WORK. The simple fact is that all of the large granule Flake or powders meter very poorly when compared to a Ball Powder.

Now there are exceptions to the above and those exceptions are the SMALL flake powders. While not as good as a Ball Powder they do meter well enough to produce a 6 Sigma spread of +/- 0.2 grain or less. BTW, H110 has a spread of just +/- 0.07 grains and is one reason I just love H110. The small flake powders I have, and still, use are IMR SR7625 and Vihtavouri 3N37. Note, SR7625 has been discontinued and IS Position Sensitive so it's not suitable for large case revolver loads. However it is excellent in semi auto loads such as the 45 ACP or 40 S&W. As for the Vihtavouri 3N37, zero position sensitivity and a fantastic powder for 38 special or light 357 Magnums. The only issue with 3N37 is it a bit expensive and can be difficult to find in stock.

I recommend the Vihtavouri 3N37 for your usage. It meters very well with a 6 Sigma of +/- 0.14 grains and produces good mid range performance with excellent accuracy.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:39 AM
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Since you do not want to use ball powder, I'd say Unique or BE-86.
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:06 AM
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Check out the data for IMR4227. It's old school but it's worked well for me.
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:01 AM
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For mid range 357 load with 125's I like Unique, N340, Bullseye and W231.
W231 really surprised me, shot very well despite a LOT of empty space in the case.
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:18 AM
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Hs6, likes a good stiff crimp for ignition. Although I got 8 lbs of it cheap so I'm trying to eat it up.
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:18 PM
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I would ask the questions: In what gun, for what use, with mid-range meaning 1000fps?

I've successfully (.5" to 1.5" groups @25 yards) used:

I've used 4227 (extruded), H110 (ball) to get hot loads.

I've used HS-6(ball), 2400 (extruded) Vihtavouri N340 (extruded) for a little less than hot.

I've used 231 (ball), TiteGroup (ball), Bullseye (flake), and even TrailBoss (flake) for lighter loads.

The 357mag is one of the easier calibers to find accurate combos of powder and bullet across a wide range.

In the end I'm a fan of Vihtavouri and especially their N340 for accuracy and cleanliness. 50% more expensive, but you get what you pay for. It's very linear (meaning not spiky) in its use from light to hot.

I'm also not a fan of the lighter bullets. Lighter bullets require more powder to achieve the same velocity as a heavier bullet. More powder means more heat and top strap erosion starts to be an issue. No problems at mid-range loads.

I start with 158gr and go up to 196gr bullets for 357mag because I shoot mostly 100 yard plus steel which falls a little quicker with heavier pills.

Once again, your powder choice should depend on what kind of shooting you do.


Prescut

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Old 02-08-2020, 12:14 PM
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2400 is Best for magnum loads.
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:24 PM
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[QUOTE=BLUEDOT37;140664423]Since Unique & Power Pistol have already been suggested, I'll throw out using Green Dot. I've found it surprisingly good.

It's a little faster than the aforementioned but it's one I use frequently for mid-power loads in 357s as well as 45 ACP & 41 Mag loads. Being a flake powder it's bulkier & takes up added space.

I'll second that!I thought I was the only one using it.Also good for .45Colt
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Old 02-08-2020, 06:36 PM
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I would stick with unique if you like flake powders but be86 might be a bit better. I can get 1300fps in most 4" mag ums witn unique & not be bending anything.
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:10 AM
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In my 686 6" with a standard 125gr JHP I can get the following;

CFE and w231 at around ...1221fps
BE86 ......................... 1307
Unique ...................... 1355
HS-6.......................... 1344

SR4756 & 2400 can reach 1500fps, so these loads are pretty easy on recoil and can be accurate.

Good loading.
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:27 AM
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It was asked which handgun I am building this load for. I will be using this load in a 3" 686+.

Actually looking to use both a mid-range magnum load using 125gr JSP/JHP, and a Unique powered Magnum load using the Lyman 358156GC.

Thanks for your suggestions!
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:48 AM
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lrrifleman, in a 3" gun, I think that BE-86 would be a fine choice since it's flash suppressed and won't give you a giant fireball.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:37 AM
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I use Vihtavuori 3N38 for all my 357 loads. They go through a 3" 586.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrrifleman View Post
It was asked which handgun I am building this load for. I will be using this load in a 3" 686+.

Actually looking to use both a mid-range magnum load using 125gr JSP/JHP, and a Unique powered Magnum load using the Lyman 358156GC.

Thanks for your suggestions!
You will never, at least with safe pressures, get full magnum velocity out of Unique. For full magnum velocity with a flake powder, I suggest 2400. Unique and BE-86 for reduced loads only.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
You will never, at least with safe pressures, get full magnum velocity out of Unique. For full magnum velocity with a flake powder, I suggest 2400. Unique and BE-86 for reduced loads only.
No offense, but let's quantify what you are saying here about "full magnum velocity".

Yes, you can launch a 125 gr bullet at "full .357 Magnum velocity" in a 2 1/2" or 3" revolver and get 1350 fps or so. With 8.5 to 9.0 grains of Unique you'll only get 1250-1300 fps. You'll lose a full 50 fps. OMG, clutch the pearls....

What you will also get is SIGNIFICANTLY more recoil:

Charge Weight: 21.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1350.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 17.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 10.1 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 1.2 lb•s


Charge Weight: 9.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1300.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 13.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 5.9 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 0.9 lb•s


If you are thinking it's caused by the 50 fps difference in velocity, think again:

Charge Weight: 9.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1350.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 13.4 ft/s Recoil Energy: 6.3 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 0.9 lb•s


That heavier charge of ball powder has over twice the mass of Unique and that mass exits the barrel at about 3 times the velocity of the bullet. That 21 gr powder charge driving a 125 gr bullet at 1350 fps generates 71% more recoil energy, 33% more recoil impulse and 31% more recoil velocity than 9 grains of Unique driving the same 125 gr bullet at 1300 fps.

There's no free lunch. That extra 50 fps of "full magnum performance" will cost you twice as much in powder expense, almost twice as much in forcing cone erosion, and a lot more in recoil.

The question then is whether that extra 50 fps does anything significant for you in terms of either external or terminal ballistics and with most bullets that just isn't the case in a 2 1/2" to even 4" barrel.

In a longer 5" or 6" barrel you'll start to see more velocity gain and an extra 100-150 fps might be worthwhile in some hunting situations.

----

2400 is not a flake powder it's a flattened ball powder.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lrrifleman View Post
It was asked which handgun I am building this load for. I will be using this load in a 3" 686+.

Actually looking to use both a mid-range magnum load using 125gr JSP/JHP, and a Unique powered Magnum load using the Lyman 358156GC.

Thanks for your suggestions!
I use Unique in a number of cartridges. It's a very versatile powder and well worth buying in 8 pound kegs.

I use a Dillon 550B and with Dillon measures I have not seen the above mentioned large spread in weights. My charges in a .357 Magnum will vary +/- .1 grains from the nominal charge, and if i am loading a maximum charge, I'll set the measure so that it delivers the max charge on the high end of the distribution curve. If precision matters (mostly self defense loads), I'll then hand weigh and trickle the "low" charges up to the max weight. I'm still loading about 110 rounds per hour trickling up on an electronic scale.

-----

Power Pistol works fine in a number of pistol cartridges and meters well. It's my go to powder for 9mm Luger, and I'd use it in the .357 Magnum with no reservations.

----

BE-86 was designed by Alliant to narrow the differences between Unique and Power Pistol and it does that pretty well. Alliant had this to say about BE-86 in another forum about 5 years ago (bold emphasis added):

"I am glad to see you have stumbled onto some of the BE-86 we began shipping into distribution recently. Sorry to take so long to get it to market, but we have been under siege demand wise for all of our existing products in both OEM and canister markets that marketing didn't want to prioritize this new product (for canister). We will continue to get some out as we can, so if you ask for it, those orders should pull through.
I am very confident you will really like this powder. It is the same magic formulation as Bullseye(R) and Power Pistol(R), and virtually the exact geometry of Power Pistol. It is a little faster burning than Power Pistol though, and very similar to Unique(R), burn speed wise. As you mentioned, we have added flash suppressant to this product to moderate the flash response, whereas we do not for Power Pistol. BE-86(TM) is a high energy propellant though, so do not expect it to be flashless. The FS added moderates what would be maybe a basketball or bushel basket size bloom for a stout load of Power Pistol down to more like a baseball or cueball. I find it very acceptable from the shooter's position, and we have several OEM's that use this material for duty applications.
So to summarize, the "so what" on BE-86 is that it has the outstanding ballistics and ignitability of the BE series powders, in Unique burnrate, with great metering characteristics, with FS to moderate the flash bloom.
We worked up a good amount of data for this powder, but if we have left any applications out that you think might be interesting, send a message in through our "ask the expert" on our website, Alliant Powder - Home
Thank you for your interest in our new pistol powder BE-86."


That obviously makes BE-86 a very useful alternative to Unique.
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB57 View Post
No offense, but let's quantify what you are saying here about "full magnum velocity".

Yes, you can launch a 125 gr bullet at "full .357 Magnum velocity" in a 2 1/2" or 3" revolver and get 1350 fps or so. With 8.5 to 9.0 grains of Unique you'll only get 1250-1300 fps. You'll lose a full 50 fps. OMG, clutch the pearls....

What you will also get is SIGNIFICANTLY more recoil:

Charge Weight: 21.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1350.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 17.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 10.1 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 1.2 lb•s


Charge Weight: 9.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1300.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 13.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 5.9 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 0.9 lb•s


If you are thinking it's caused by the 50 fps difference in velocity, think again:

Charge Weight: 9.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1350.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 13.4 ft/s Recoil Energy: 6.3 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 0.9 lb•s


That heavier charge of ball powder has over twice the mass of Unique and that mass exits the barrel at about 3 times the velocity of the bullet. That 21 gr powder charge driving a 125 gr bullet at 1350 fps generates 71% more recoil energy, 33% more recoil impulse and 31% more recoil velocity than 9 grains of Unique driving the same 125 gr bullet at 1300 fps.

There's no free lunch. That extra 50 fps of "full magnum performance" will cost you twice as much in powder expense, almost twice as much in forcing cone erosion, and a lot more in recoil.

The question then is whether that extra 50 fps does anything significant for you in terms of either external or terminal ballistics and with most bullets that just isn't the case in a 2 1/2" to even 4" barrel.

In a longer 5" or 6" barrel you'll start to see more velocity gain and an extra 100-150 fps might be worthwhile in some hunting situations.

----

2400 is not a flake powder it's a flattened ball powder.
Thank you for the clarification regarding Unique and 2400, especially with light weight bullets in 357 Magnum. I feel that you have made some excellent points.
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:52 PM
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The ONLY time I shot full Magnum loads, is when I used the .357 for deer hunting or bear protection at the cabin.

The only other time is when I want to wake up the people at the inside pistol range......

Target 158 lead and slow 140 XTP are my go to loads now but I do have 110,125,135 and 158 Jhp bullets on hand, that I have used in the past.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevada Ed View Post
The ONLY time I shot full Magnum loads, is when I used the .357 for deer hunting or bear protection at the cabin.

The only other time is when I want to wake up the people at the inside pistol range......

Target 158 lead and slow 140 XTP are my go to loads now but I do have 110,125,135 and 158 Jhp bullets on hand, that I have used in the past.
158 gn SWC over a stout charge of 2400 all day for me with my 586
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:28 PM
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Another vote for BE86,it will work for almost all of your hand gun loads.
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Old 02-12-2020, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB57 View Post
No offense, but let's quantify what you are saying here about "full magnum velocity".

Yes, you can launch a 125 gr bullet at "full .357 Magnum velocity" in a 2 1/2" or 3" revolver and get 1350 fps or so. With 8.5 to 9.0 grains of Unique you'll only get 1250-1300 fps. You'll lose a full 50 fps. OMG, clutch the pearls....

What you will also get is SIGNIFICANTLY more recoil:

Charge Weight: 21.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1350.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 17.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 10.1 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 1.2 lb•s


Charge Weight: 9.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1300.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 13.0 ft/s Recoil Energy: 5.9 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 0.9 lb•s


If you are thinking it's caused by the 50 fps difference in velocity, think again:

Charge Weight: 9.0 gr Muzzle Velocity: 1350.0 ft/s
Firearm Weight: 2.2 lb Bullet Weight: 125.0 gr
Output Data
Recoil Velocity: 13.4 ft/s Recoil Energy: 6.3 ft•lbs
Recoil Impulse: 0.9 lb•s


That heavier charge of ball powder has over twice the mass of Unique and that mass exits the barrel at about 3 times the velocity of the bullet. That 21 gr powder charge driving a 125 gr bullet at 1350 fps generates 71% more recoil energy, 33% more recoil impulse and 31% more recoil velocity than 9 grains of Unique driving the same 125 gr bullet at 1300 fps.

There's no free lunch. That extra 50 fps of "full magnum performance" will cost you twice as much in powder expense, almost twice as much in forcing cone erosion, and a lot more in recoil.

The question then is whether that extra 50 fps does anything significant for you in terms of either external or terminal ballistics and with most bullets that just isn't the case in a 2 1/2" to even 4" barrel.

In a longer 5" or 6" barrel you'll start to see more velocity gain and an extra 100-150 fps might be worthwhile in some hunting situations.

----

2400 is not a flake powder it's a flattened ball powder.
In this post you were replying to someone ( Post # 26 ) who suggested 2400 powder with 125 gr. JHP in .357 mag to a 3rd person. Note that you state a charge of 21 grains. I can only guess that you were thinking H110 / Win 296 when you typed that. 21 grains of 2400 would be a significant overload.

It's also my opinion that 9.0 grs of Unique under a 125 gr. JHP in a .357 mag case getting 1300 FPS from a 2.5" BBL. would be very optimistic based on my own testing.

Last edited by geo57; 02-12-2020 at 06:01 PM.
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