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fmiller

getting started in .357 magnum

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I've got a SW 627 4" (not Performance Center, but I don't get to have nice things) on layaway. Next month it'll be in my hot little hands and I like to have a batch of ammo for testing.

 

I used to load 158 gr LSWC's in a 686 with 2400. But I no longer own that gun, and want to start fresh. I'd like to avoid leading, but save money vs FMJ's.

 

The internet tells me that Hi-Tek coated bullets (ie. Bayou or Missouri) can be pushed up to 1500 fps. And that they can't.

 

I'm looking for a stout load. Doesn't have to be Old Testament, but I'd like some oomph. Only use this on paper.

 

I know SWC's at powder-puff loads are what people typically use for paper punching, and I've done that in the past, but this time I'm looking for accuracy in something a little more... heavy metal...

 

Can any of you recommend a coated bullet that can handle, say, 1300ish fps? A favorite powder and load? 

 

Thanks for any and all advice~!

 

 

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I don't know, but I'd caution about loading too much ammo without being able

to actually make sure the OAL permits the cylinder to turn - 

 

I know how frustrating it is to wait for (anything), but I'd wait to get the gun

before I loaded up too many rounds.

 

Good luck with it    :) 

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Good point!

 

I read (somewhere) that the 627 has a cylinder that is 1.575, while the 686 has a slightly longer 1.625.

 

With that in mind, I've been looking at bullets either lighter than 158 grains, OR flat-point/swc's for 158..

 

Is there something special or magic about the 158gr bullets? It seems to be the go-to weight for .357's....

 

 

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Have you considered plated bullets? My loads with plated 158 grain bullets are around 1300fps, and they are working well.

 

I suppose 158gr is a traditional allrounder weight. You can get higher velocities with 125 or more knock down power or easier Major PF with bigger bullets.

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My reloading manual for .38 special mentions 1.55 as a "recommended" max OAL but I think that's for .38 only revolvers. Guns designed for .357 have longer cylinders. That being said, I load round-tip coated 147 blues and 160 Bayous at 1.5. Any longer, and I can't get them to gauge.

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I also recommend the 160 gn bayous. I’ve loaded them hot and not and been very happy. 

I would recommend HS-6 for your desired purpose.  Be sure to use a magnum primer with this powder for consistent ignition. 

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There’s nothing magical about 158s. It was the defacto standard back in the days when police carried fixed sight revolvers. 

 

The Bayou 158 SWC is a decent bullet, but not for reloads on the clock. Their 160 loads much faster into those 8 little holes  

 

i have been pleased with bayou bullets. I’m loading them at 1150 in 9mm and 1000 in 38 SPL. They perform well. Not as well as XTPs or HAP but they are good bullets. 

 

I still use a Lewis Lead Remover when deep cleaning after a bunch of lead bullets. It’s a good maintenance tool. 

 

If you’re looking for velocity I would start with a 125 grain bullet with a good roll crimp groove to prevent bullet creep from locking up cylinder under recoil. There’s nothing wrong with 2400 if you want magnum performance with cast bullets. I haven’t used it in years because I don’t need that high velocity. Power Pistol and Unique also work well in 357 mag. Power Pistol is LOUD and FLASHY tho. 

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How much are you planning to shoot these full power loads?  If we’re not talking thousands of rounds, then the cost savings on FMJ vs ? mIght be negligible, and at those top end velocities IMHO the promises of coated bullet manufacturers don’t stand up to reality.  I have a great load using Zero 158gr FMJ which is actually a half jacket that probably makes them more affordable.  I’d recommend checking out the prices at Roze distributors (Zero’s website) and compare to the alternatives.  I think you might be surprised.  

Edited by jkrispies

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THAT is a really good point...

 

Truth to tell, once I've bruised my hand, and ego, with full-house loads I'll most likely back down to something more nearly sane.

 

So - I think I'm going to start with 158 Zero's and some HS-6.

 

Thanks to everyone! 

 

 

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9 hours ago, fmiller said:

THAT is a really good point...

 

Truth to tell, once I've bruised my hand, and ego, with full-house loads I'll most likely back down to something more nearly sane.

 

So - I think I'm going to start with 158 Zero's and some HS-6.

 

Thanks to everyone! 

 

 

?.  Make it H-110 with magnum oriners and you’ll never shoot another .357 mag load again. 

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Hmmm.

 

I'll take your word for it...

 

I have a lot of HP-38 and Power Pistol - do any of you like either for .357 with 158 gr XTP's? I figured I'd start with FMJ bullets, standardize a load, and then start mixing in variables like FMJ vs plated vs coated vs lead, etc...

 

 

 

 

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Whatever powder you use, look at published data first. I start from powder manufacturers' tables.

I believe H-110 is much like Vihtavuori N110 which is more accessible to me: good for the highest velocities and biggest fireballs at the muzzle and cylinder gap. I believe I've got a flinch a couple of times from shooting full power factory loads. I don't think the recoil was bad but the fireball out of a 4" barrel disturbed me.

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18 hours ago, perttime said:

Whatever powder you use, look at published data first. I start from powder manufacturers' tables.

I believe H-110 is much like Vihtavuori N110 which is more accessible to me: good for the highest velocities and biggest fireballs at the muzzle and cylinder gap. I believe I've got a flinch a couple of times from shooting full power factory loads. I don't think the recoil was bad but the fireball out of a 4" barrel disturbed me.

+1. Fast velocity with remarkably little recoil for what it delivers.   Of course I’m using a 6” 686 with a full lug barrel, so I’m sure that plays a big part in my results and comfort level.  I never noticed a fireball, but again I have 6” and shoot in middday sun.   

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Last time I shot full power loads was an overcast day with a fine drizzle. Not the best thing after a break in shooting.

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@fmiller - If you want to get ~1300 fps from a 4" .357 using 158-grain bullets, you're going to have to go with either coated or plain lead...or ignore available load data.  I haven't tried it with plated bullets.  It ain't gonna happen with jacketed, at least chronographed from a real gun.

 

I haven't played with a 627.  Assuming the cylinders are the same length as the 27/28, you're going to have to stick with the industry-standard OAL which is based on the cylinder length of the original .357 Magnum that came out in 1935.  If your bullets have a crimp groove, crimping .357 brass in that crimp groove will usually give you the right OAL.  I haven't tried it, but my guess is that the Bayou 160 RN would be a poor match in .357 brass due to its long, tapering ogive.  My first choice would be their 158 SWC.

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