Working up .357 Mag load for Bears

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by kc0pph, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    I am in the process of working up a load for the .357 mag and was just curious as to the thoughts on what i have so far.

    I started working with just pleasure plinker rounds loaded very lightly using Win 231 and 158gn Cast GC bullets.

    I am shooting them out of a 586 with (please dont quote me but i know im close) a 6" barrel.

    7.8 gn W231 (Trickled) - Gave me slight flattening of primers and hard extraction.

    7.5 gn W231 (Trickled) - Gave me no damage to primers, but sticky extraction. I would use an empty plastic ammo box to tap the ejector.

    Any ideas to squeeze out some more power out of this without the extraction problems? Possibly 2400 or Unique?

    Anything would be apprecheated.

    (as for the cast bullets, i really like them as they are free, and I just finished making 34,000 of them, plus they will go through steel plate at 15' :D )
     
  2. NewLRhunter

    NewLRhunter Member

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    Have you used a chrono yet to see what kinds of velocities you're getting?
     
  3. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    I am one of those cheap people who just cries every time i give money for something that i can easily do myself. A good chrono is $100, ive invested many hours into the development of a doppler chrono, another which when my father and i do release it will be the most accurate chrono on the market, that can be used in any light condition. As for right now we are working on the programming of a PIC18F to do the math for the 2 optic sensors that we will use (mimicing standard ones on the market).

    So the short answer is we have an experamental one, but it has yet to be calibrated, and them darn pesky BB's moving really fast sometimes are not seen by it. Hopefully in a week we will have a working prototype.

    According to the load data i found online I should be romping with the 7.5 at 1085 fps, but that seems 50-75 fps slower than i would think.
     
  4. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I would use the heavy jacketed bullets with the slowest powder for Maximum energy
    and penetration for bear.

    Cast bullets will limit the velocity and performance on game, so a good bonded bullet will
    stay together and perform well.

    Before the good bullets were available I used a homemade bullet that would penitrate
    the armor on a hogs shoulder and had very good results.

    Just my opinion

    J E CUSTOM
     
  5. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    Well i use AA 2400 for my 45 LC and 44 Mag(The elmer Keith load of 22 of 2400), but ive heard that a 6" barrel is not long enough to burn the powder.
     
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Most any pistol will not burn all of the powder anyway so length is not that important. But heavy
    bullets spend a little longer time in the barrel, burning more powder and gaining more energy.

    The downside is more recoil.

    Look in the loading manuals for loads that give you the most energy ,not velocity because a
    revolver is not considered a long range handgun and for dangerous game heavy bullets are
    preferred.

    Again: Just my opinion

    J E CUSTOM
     
  7. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    Ive always computed energy using this formula

    Energy at muzzle = ((Bullet wt in gn) * (Velocity^2)) / 450400

    This says that velocity is more important that bullet weight for energy. Now at one time i did calculate out all of the .223 bullets and found that the 60 gn had the highest energy, Ill do that again with the .357's.
     
  8. ballistictip2506

    ballistictip2506 Member

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    For what its worth i have extensive experience with hunting hand guns and in my humble opinion the .38 cal bullets are not big enough in diameter to effect " QUICK " kills on bear size animals with either cast or jacketed bullets . For hand guns the distance at which your bullet impacts the animal obviously relates directly to velocity. At close range impact velocities for 158 grn bullets cause rapid expansion and little penetration the same bullet at distance is slow enough to reduce the rate of expansion but lacks the momentum to drive deep. Cast bullets will not expand and offer tremendous penetration albeit without large wound channels. That being said in my experience I would go with a 180 WFN bullet for deep penetration and shoot for the shoulder in the locomotive muscles and bones to effect as much damage as possible . Velocity differences between a 4, 6 and 7.5 in barrel length wont make much difference in terminal performance ( at handgun distances ) with a hard cast 180 grain bullet. Like I said , take it for what its worth ! Good luck !
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  9. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    My choices for mountain defense are a 45ACP and 357 magnum. I dont plan to hunt with it, just for defense. What i am asking is what powder would be recomended. I may look into getting a heavier bullet, but only want ones with GC.

    Also would hardening the bullets help? Some people quench the cast bullets out of the mold, others bake them at 475 in the oven then let slowly cool, any ideas? I am thinking if i get them too hard they might shatter like glass upon impact rather than deform.
     
  10. ballistictip2506

    ballistictip2506 Member

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    Sorry but I can't help you with your question as I have never cast a lead bullet in my entire life ! You are correct about brittleness . The powders of choice for the .357 for handloading for hunting with heavy bullets is now and always has been W296 and H110 .
     
  11. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    I hear a lot about this H110, just cant get my hands on it, and refuse to pay a hazmat shipping fee. Maybe ill have Sportsmans Warehouse order me some, or see if i can have them stash me a pound when they get it. As far as 296 never heard about it, and will deffinately do some research.

    Once again main reason i am using 231 is the supply i have. My grandpa (who passed in 95) had several 8# kegs he left when he died. About a year or so ago i started getting into reloading heavy. I have not even finished onekeg of the powder. If my math is correct i have enough for about 30K rounds at 7.5 gn a piece left. It will stay my plinker powder but ill look into these for my defense rounds.
     
  12. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

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    H-110/WW296 (They are the same powder) or 2400 are the powders of choice for the 357 Mag. Load max loads. If is self defense against a bear I would use a 180 gr Hornady XTP or a flat nose or swc hard cast bullet. But the 357 is pretty weak at it's best and you better be really close and stick that thing in it's ear or eye or neck where it meets the head to kill it quick or you will be lunch for it before it dies from body hits from a 357 mag. It just does not have enough power to break large bones reliable. Hard cast bullets will actually bounce off or skid on the frontal skull of a black bear. Bob Milek found that out many years ago. He would not use anything less than a 44 mag on black bear.
     
  13. kc0pph

    kc0pph Well-Known Member

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    That hurts my feelings when you say the 357 lacks power. :D It is a nasty customer but yes Im trying to get my fathers model 29 :D. Im confident that i can get a good first shot but latter shots might be an issue. I love my 586 because its easy to keep it on target with the added weight at the muzzle. I have some 2400 Laying around for the 29 and blackhawk so ill try that. Any suggestion for starting and max loads?
     
  14. roninflag

    roninflag Well-Known Member

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    h-110 and ww630 296 are the powders for the 357 followed close by 2400. use a 140 or 158 jacketed bullet. rem 5 1/2 primer. using a fast powder is a very poor strategy . i have killed several mule deer with 586. fine gun.mine will shoot great groups even at 100 yards. not over powered.