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Practically Shooting

357 lead loads

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Okay, I'm bored. So I thought I would ask for those loading 158 lead bullets in the 357 mag, what loads are favorites? I got some 158 RNFP bullets from Renegade which is a local caster, a real nice, well cast bullet. For powder I've got lots of Unique, Green Dot, H110, 2400, and 231. Just looking for accurate plinkers to run out of the Pythons.

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I thought I replied to this a while back, but I guess not. Maybe I forgot to enter it. Anyway...

Anything you named should work fine; it's just a matter of fast you want them to go. And it doesn't sound like you need or want them to go very fast.

H110 and 2400 will give the highest velocities, and use the most powder in the process- neither of which I'd think you were after with plinking loads.

I've never used Green Dot in the .357, and it's been a while since I loaded any 231 in it either. I did just shoot some 231 loads up in a .357 rifle that I had loaded at least a couple of years ago. They did pretty well, and would be OK for general playing around.

My guess is you will end up using Unique. It seems to do just about everything well except super high speed loadings.

Just a word of warning about 2400. I know you aren't looking for full throttle loads, but I'm going to throw this out as a general comment for everyone.

Printed "long time standard" loads using 2400 sometimes worry me, because the 2400 we have today is not the same as the 2400 Elmer Keith had. It is a faster burning powder now, which means the loads that were listed in books and magazines for 50 years may be little bombs with today's 2400. These loads have gone down in gun history as gospel, but might not be a good idea with current production 2400.

I despise warning labels all over every product we buy, but this is one case where I wish Alliant would have put a note of some kind on 2400 containers a while ago. If a guy used X grains of 2400 for a long time that was perfectly safe, then finally ran out of it and bought a new can of it last week, he might run into trouble.

I know of no blowups from this, but haven't gone looking either.

I discovered this change in 2400 several years ago by doing about that same thing. I loaded up some .357 Magnums using the load Skeeter Skelton loved and named in his articles countless times. I had used it when I started reloading around 1981 and it was stout, but OK. I didn't blow anything up, but the first six rounds fired were tough to eject and gave flattened primers. Pretty interesting, especially since Skeeter Skelton was not known for loading things right at the firewall. Pulling the rest of the ammo down and re-checking charges showed it was right on the dot on weight. This was when I started poking around and found 2400 was a little faster burning now that it had been over most of it's existence.

Current manuals should be OK. It's the old "standard favorite loads" we need to double check.

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  • 1 year later...

I'll toss in my two cents' worth here, even though the thread is a bit dated.

I haven't shot 158-grain lead pills, but for the Missouri Bullet 140-grain TCFP's that I bought, I did find that 7.5 grains of Herco works quite well. It seems to have turned my Ruger SP101 into a near tack-driver compared to any other loads I've used, and I've read elsewhere that others also find Herco to be very accurate in the .357 Magnum.

So if anyone else is shooting lead 158's, I would advise at least trying out Herco. It's a bit smoky and not as clean as some more modern powders, but *VERY* accurate in my opinion, YMMV.

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I'm a Herco fan. It's not a powder you hear named a lot for handgun use, but it has become one of my most used powders for handgun. I use it most in 9mm, but have also used it in .38 Spl, .357 Mag, .44 Spl, and .45 ACP.

At least with the lot I've been using, it always takes less Herco than the manuals say to reach X velocity. I've never used it loading to max, so don't know if it would reach max pressure early or not.

I have heard from reliable sources that when powder companies test their powder lots for consistency, they test according to that powder's intended or most common use. In other words, Bullseye would get pressure tested in mild handgun loads rather than in shotgun loads it is sometimes used for. It might be absolutely perfect in those tests, but be a little faster or slower in one of the secondary uses. With Herco, I think the intended use would primarily be heavy shotgun loads and not moderate handgun loads. What I'm saying is- while all reloading data is only a guide rather than gospel, it might be particularly true when using powders like this that aren't all that popular for what we are using them.

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Apparently, Herco was a fair amount more popular in the past. I've seen manuals dating back to the '60s showing it used for .357 Mag.

Perhaps one reason it is seldom-published as a useful powder is one particular load in Lyman's 44th, it was definitely a shrapnel-maker IMO.

Another advantage to Herco is that it seems to be readily available no matter where I'm shopping-

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