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danhei
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 11:11am | IP Logged Quote danhei

Hi guys, I'm new here.

My dad got me some reloading equipment for Christmas for 357 and for 30-06. I think I've settled on a decent starting point for 30-06 (4350 powder and a 150 gr bullet) but I'm not so sure for the 357 and there is ALOT of info on the web.

It looks like both H110 and Lil Gun would be decent powders to use. I'm thinking maybe a bullet around 150 gr. Any ideas for loads and bullets for target and plinking? Doesn't have to be super-hot or anything, just looking to have some fun. I have a 6" Ruger GP100 and my dad has a Blackhawk. Also, we might eventually load some pretty heavy loads as possible bear-defense because dad lives in Alaska. Would Lil Gun be better for that purpose? Obviously, heavy or fast loads aren't going to be the first thing we try.

Thanks for any help,

Dan
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wolfdog
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 11:28am | IP Logged Quote wolfdog

One item u may want to purchase is a reloading manual. That will set u up with at least a broad guide for what u are looking for. Afraid I don't have any plinkin loads for my .357, I am playing around with heavy cast bullets (158-180grn) and lil'gun. Seems to be a match made in heaven.
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gstanfield
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 11:33am | IP Logged Quote gstanfield

Let me be the first to warn you not to use H110 or lil'gun for a "plinking" load as these powders are designed for high pressure use and they do not like to be loaded soft. They work fine for maximum loads, but for a lighter load you'll want another powder. I personally use IMR 700-X for my "plinking" loads, but Hodgden makes some good powders for light loads as well. My favorite light loads for 38 special (can be used in 357 in case you didn't know) are theses.

3.5 grs of IMR 700-X and a 150 gr bullet
4.3 grs of WIN231 and a 158gr bullet

both loads produce great accuracy in my guns, and I use the 38 cases for my light loads so that I can tell them from my heavy loads at a glance. I really like the 700-x load as it get decent veocity, but uses very little powder, which makes for cheap shooting. There are a lot of good shooters here, and they will be able to provide you with lots of data. IF you have a specific fps range you're looking for, let me know, but these are my favorite plinking loads.

Welcome to the site,
George



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JohnK
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 12:39pm | IP Logged Quote JohnK

Welcome aboard Dan. What do you mean by "plinking" rounds? As George said, H110 and Lil'Gun are great choices for top end loads, not very good at all if you're trying to make light loads. Of course some of us plink with heavy 357 loads too. H110 is good, I think Lil'Gun is better for top magnum level loads using moderate to heavy bullets, say 158gr or heavier. If you want light fun loads Unique or HP38 (twin to Win 231) are great choices.

I'd go with 5.5gr of Unque or 4.5gr of HP38 with 158gr LSWC in magnum cases for light loads.

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ramone
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 12:47pm | IP Logged Quote ramone

Both George and Wolfdog have given you good advise, and I really can't add to what they have said except for giving you a load that is sheer enjoyment, cheap and easy on your gun and you. It's a load that's as "old as the hills", but still good today.

Get some 148gr. Hollow-base wadcutter bullets, and load them over 3.4grs of Bullseye powder. You can shoot them all day and not get "battered" It's all that's needed to punch holes in paper, will give you lots of cheap practice with your gun. The load is so light, there is no leading problems. It's almost like shooting a .22, and almost as cheap. A pound of Bullseye will go a long way. Just be careful with Bullseye, as it's easy to over charge the case---it only takes a "smidgeon".
.38 spl cases can be loaded using 2.5 grs. Cases and primers are not imperative---I've used them all with good results.

Welcome aboard, and good shooting.


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danhei
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 12:54pm | IP Logged Quote danhei

I guess a heavy plinking load would be fine. Is there a problem using say a LSWC at faster speeds? Looking at Hodgdon's site, 18 gr of Lil Gun behind a 158 gr bullet is going to be 1577 fps. I'm sure it would be somewhat slower in a revolver with a 6" barrel but should still be pretty fast. If there is a problem with lead bullets, any specific bullet and powder amount recommendations assuming I purchase some Lil Gun.

I suppose it is somewhat silly to try and find one powder that does everything. Thanks for all the help,

Dan
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danhei
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 12:56pm | IP Logged Quote danhei

Ramone, thanks for the light load suggestions. I think I may have to purchase some Lil Gun and maybe some Bullseye. I definately need more practice shooting.
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WHITETAIL
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 1:09pm | IP Logged Quote WHITETAIL

WELCOME DAN! If I were you I would watch the sale papers and get some UMC 38. They are made by Remington, and are a good buy when they are on sale. Then you could reload the brass and keep them in the box they came in. If you are looking for a good boolet for the 357, than a 155-158 gr. boolet is hard to beat. What the guys have told you is the best advice going. Get a reloading manual,like Lyman,or Speer,these have many loads in them with many types of boolets.

Edited by WHITETAIL on February 07 2005 at 5:20pm


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Paul5388
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 3:13pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Dan,

Welcome aboard!

This is just my 2 cents, so take it for what it's worth. Forget about Lil'Gun or Unique or anything else, until you have some Bullseye, 700X or some other fast burning "target" load powder.

The gun isn't a problem, or you or the other powders, it's just a matter of learning the basics of loading on some loads that won't blow your head off if they are just a little off. Remember, a double load of just about anything is BAD NEWS!

After consulting a loading manual, as already suggested, on the proper techniques of reloading, the manual will also give you pre-tested loads to try in your gun for performance. Don't start at the maximum load suggested. Use the lowest load they have and if you need to, work the load up to the maximum.

Now, I know you already know all of this, but it never hurts to recap the important things and the important thing is to be safe with a great hobby!
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danhei
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 6:34pm | IP Logged Quote danhei

Thanks for all the advice. I think I'll try to pick up some Bullseye tomorrow and start from there. Should be a fun hobby to get into!
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Paul5388
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Posted: December 26 2004 at 7:26pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Dan,

May I suggest a Speer Reloading Manual also? They are usually around $13-$14 (probably the most inexpensive manual out there) and well worth the money for the "How-To" information on reloading. It will tell you step by step how to reload rifle or handgun ammo and the little things that are different that you need to know about semi-auto ammo. It will lean a little hard on RCBS equipment, but they're both part of the same group!

I still have the first manual I ever bought, a Speer #7. I bought a new Speer #13 last year and a used #8 and #10 a few years ago. They are probably the reason I have survived this long!
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gpannicke
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Posted: December 27 2004 at 8:51am | IP Logged Quote gpannicke

I guess it all depends on what you call "plinking" and what you're shooting. Since your 357 will handle 38, 38+P and 357 cartridges, you might call "plinking" anywhere from a light 38 target load to a hot 38+P load. My plinking preference is the light 38 target load with a handcast 148g wadcutter. Use a fast burning powder instead of a slow powder since you're not going for magnum velocities. I use 2.6g of Bullseye in a 38 spl. case and 2.8g of Bullseye in a 357.
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gunblu
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Posted: December 27 2004 at 10:32am | IP Logged Quote gunblu

You are getting plenty of good advice on the light loads for the .357, and while you're at it, check your .357 for accuracy differences between .38 and .357 cases.

I have found that the .357 cases, with the same load as the .38, are more accurate, but I have had other people to say that they have seen no difference.

You will find that this sort of thing, "research shooting", I call it, is a fun and integral part of loading.

Keep good notes.

Another light load you might want to try on your 06 is the little Hornady 90 grain .309 HP XTP over 20 or 25 grains of IMR 3031.

I think you will find it to be super accurate at 100 & 200 yards with almost non-existent recoil.

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8Ring
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Posted: December 27 2004 at 7:12pm | IP Logged Quote 8Ring


Medium speed powders provide a pleasant .357 magnum experience. I use Hodgdon's Universal with 158gr. hard cast lead in my 6" GP-100. 5.9-6.0 gr. gets about 1075 fps. 6.2 gr. gets about 1150 fps. 140 gr. lead truncated cone bullets and 6.2 gr. Universal provides
around 1,200 fps and good accuracy.

Good mid-range loads are also available with Vithavouri N-340, a very good but expensive powder from Finland.

Unique, Power Pistol, and AA-5 can also provide rounds that are a step up from .38+P but will not loosen your teeth.

Review the manuals carefully.

Chris
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gpannicke
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Posted: December 27 2004 at 7:31pm | IP Logged Quote gpannicke

gunblu wrote:

I have found that the .357 cases, with the same load as the .38, are more accurate, but I have had other people to say that they have seen no difference.


Ditto. The same equivalent load, right? I found that I needed 0.2 grains more of Bullseye in a 357 case than a 38 case for them to feel and shoot the same. The 357 gives me slightly better groups and I guess it's because I'm 0.10" closer to the throat.

-G
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danhei
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Posted: December 27 2004 at 7:41pm | IP Logged Quote danhei

I picked up some supplies today and we loaded some 148 gr wadcutters with Bullseye powder. The process went pretty smoothly. Later this week my dad and I will get to the range to try out our loads. Thanks for the help. I'm sure I'll be posting here alot in the future!
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mlspmk
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Posted: December 28 2004 at 10:29am | IP Logged Quote mlspmk

You may find that the Bullseye will burn pretty dirty. There is no beating it with those wadcutters though - deadeye accuracy, even for someone as blind as I am.
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Black Jaque
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Posted: December 29 2004 at 3:09pm | IP Logged Quote Black Jaque

Paul,

No offense but I would have to disagree with your safety advice. I feel more comfortable with a slow-burning powder that can safely fill the case without over-charging. For example, if you are loading near-max loads of Lil' Gun and a 158 grain bullet you will over-flow the case if you should accidentally double charge. You'd have to be dang near asleep not to notice the powder spilling all over the place. The actual instances of dangerous double charging occur more often with Bullseye-type powder where there isn't as noticeable difference between 3 grains and 6 grains in a cavernous revolver case.

The danger with magnum powders is with squib loads. Supposedly there have been a number of guns that blew up using super light loads of magnum powders. Why people then conclude that you can use magnum powders for moderate loads I don't know.

I use 13 grains of Lil' Gun and a 158 grain wheel-weight bullet. It is a delightful load. Some snort, very manageable recoil, and accurate in both my Blackhawk and my M92. No chance of a double charge getting by without noticing as 26 grains should overflow the case.

If you consider Lil'Gun, it should operate just fine at .38spl pressures. Lil'Gun is designed for the .410 shotgun which runs at pressures of ~10,000 LUP far below the ~16,000 CUP that .38s run on. H110 is another powder commonly used in 410s.

Also, I'm surprised that no one has recommended good ol' 2400. That's a versatile powder in the .357. I've never used it myself, but there are old timers who recall using it in hard times because one powder could be used for light, medium, and heavy loads.
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Paul5388
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Posted: December 29 2004 at 3:40pm | IP Logged Quote Paul5388

Black Jaque,

I think there is a mix up in either what I wrote or what you understand that I wrote.

I wasn't actually saying, "forget about Lil'Gun and etc forever", just forget about it until you learn how to reload. The "target" powder recommendation was to thoroughly familiarize with the reloading process, but also contained a warning to be careful about double loads of those fast powders.

I'm pretty sure you don't want 16.0 gr of Blue Dot behind a 125 gr .357, even though it will fit. In my gun, you don't want more than 13.0 gr.
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JohnK
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Posted: December 29 2004 at 4:10pm | IP Logged Quote JohnK

Paul5388 wrote:
I'm pretty sure you don't want 16.0 gr of Blue Dot behind a 125 gr .357, even though it will fit. In my gun, you don't want more than 13.0 gr.


Speer used to list 16.3gr as max behind a 125gr JHP, Alliant still lists 14.5gr as max. I used to load 15.0gr for my GP100 often, it was a very good load. Hot, lots of flash and bang, but a good accurate load. I never did get that one chronographed, but I'm sure it was doing 1,400+ fps.

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