Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Arrow Reloading the .357 Magnum

    Reloading the .357 Magnum

    The weather was perfect for a range trip yesterday (1/11/2018) so I pulled out the old Colt Trooper MK III (4” barrel with about a 13 lb trigger pull) and eight different loads for two different bullets (four different loads per bullet), all using the same H110 powder, just different powder throw weights.

    I would classify the loads as medium-heavy for this caliber and they were taken from Hornady’s Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, p789 (for the 125 gr. Hornady XTP) and p792 (for the 158 gr Speer Jacketed Soft Point). Be sure your revolver can handle this...

    FWIW, I loaded these a week earlier in once-fired PMC nickel-plated brass (thanks to “Ceph’s” color-coding suggestion for heavier and light loads) to an OAL of 1.580” with a medium roll crimp of .376”. All were case-gauged and dropped in just fine.

    Note the use of the CCI 550 Small Pistol Magnum Primers with H110 powder...

    Here are the loads that shot the best for me and my revolver over a back-pack rest at 12 yds.:

    Bullet: 158gr. Speer Jacketed Soft Point
    Powder: 15.4 gr. H110
    Primer: CCI 550 Small Pistol Magnum Primer
    All five shots: 1.71”
    Best 4 shots: .92”
    Best 3 shots: .35”

    Bullet: 125 gr. Hornady XTP
    Powder: 18.4 gr. H110
    Primer: CCI 550 Small Pistol Magnum Primer
    All five shots: 1.62”
    Best 4 shots: 1.25”
    Best 3 shots: .46”

    None of these loads that were shot during the day resulted in cartridge OAL elongation while in the cylinder (bullet crimp would have been insufficient if this occurred), flattened primers, or resulted in any difficulty in ejecting the cases (both suggesting overly hot loads).

    I didn’t have the time to chrony these loads, but I was pleased with not only the relative accuracy for the Colt Trooper MK III (this was never designed to be a “highly-tuned” target revolver), but also the punch these loads provided in exchange for quite tolerable recoil that didn’t appear to be an issue with this heavy revolver.

    Since we’re expecting semi-cruddy weather this weekend, I know what caliber I’m reloading….

    Hope this information is helpful and do not hesitate to add your load to the PAFOA communal pot.

    And just remember, the worst day at the range is better than the best day at work!

    Amen….
    Last edited by bamboomaster; January 12th, 2018 at 07:03 PM.
    - bamboomaster

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    I tested some new 9mm loads yesterday. Now I know what works I'm going to be pulling the handle this weekend and filling a few ammo boxes.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    H110 / W296 is one of the few powders where you need an almost max charge or pressures get erratic. The old books all said start at max -3% (not 10%) and work up.

    I didn't look up your loads but the 158 grain load seems a little light from what I remember. Find some published load data from at least 20 years ago (before lawyers took control), start at 3% under and have fun.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    Quote Originally Posted by Delkal View Post
    H110 / W296 is one of the few powders where you need an almost max charge or pressures get erratic. The old books all said start at max -3% (not 10%) and work up.

    I didn't look up your loads but the 158 grain load seems a little light from what I remember. Find some published load data from at least 20 years ago (before lawyers took control), start at 3% under and have fun.
    Totally true! The loads I ran at the range were on the heavy edge of current reloading manuals. I have reloading manuals back to 1936 and FWIW, this is still a hefty charge. Umm, there was no 110 powder apparently available at the time in the older manuals I consulted. I'm pretty sure that over 60 years of improvements over powder testing equipment (those that test powder these days), these loads are close to max. The case looks FULL (with little room to seat the bullet), no matter which flashlight I'm using to peer into them!

    And the other 23 reloading manuals we have don't raise a hair unless you're using Unique or Bullseye.

    But what you've provided is also a reasonable warning for folks who attempt to "undercharge" their 296/110 powders. For the folks doing this, don't even think about it!

    Very thankful for your comments ...
    Last edited by bamboomaster; January 12th, 2018 at 07:39 PM.
    - bamboomaster

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    When I reload 357, I generally just flip the cylinder to the side and drop the scents out, then muzzle down and slide a shiny new round into each of the orifices.

    Oh wait, you meant something else , huh? Oh well!
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    Quote Originally Posted by Delkal View Post
    H110 / W296 is one of the few powders where you need an almost max charge or pressures get erratic. The old books all said start at max -3% (not 10%) and work up.

    I didn't look up your loads but the 158 grain load seems a little light from what I remember. Find some published load data from at least 20 years ago (before lawyers took control), start at 3% under and have fun.
    Which old books are you referring to about the 3% under? I looked in Speer Reloading Manuals Number 9 and 10, both from the 1970's, and didn't see any reference to it. Perhaps I missed it.

    I reloaded for .357 Magnum in the late '70s, using 296 powder. I don't recall the specific load, other than 125 gr JHP and 296 powder. The 3% doesn't ring any bells in my memory.



    Rick

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    Quote Originally Posted by Manxdriver View Post
    When I reload 357, I generally just flip the cylinder to the side and drop the scents out, then muzzle down and slide a shiny new round into each of the orifices.

    Oh wait, you meant something else , huh? Oh well!
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA
    Did spell check get you?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    Red dot was my go to pistol powder, yes I know it's a shotgun powder, used it for 12ga also.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    Quote Originally Posted by RLS View Post
    Which old books are you referring to about the 3% under? I looked in Speer Reloading Manuals Number 9 and 10, both from the 1970's, and didn't see any reference to it. Perhaps I missed it.

    I reloaded for .357 Magnum in the late '70s, using 296 powder. I don't recall the specific load, other than 125 gr JHP and 296 powder. The 3% doesn't ring any bells in my memory.

    Rick
    Here is a link to Winchesters 14th edition loadbook. You might want to save it as a PDF because most of their loads are wimpier now.

    On page 48 there is the load for .357. It lists a load of 16.6 gr W296 (same as H-110) with a 158 gr JHP. But notice there is also an asterisk next to the load. On page 49 there is a note that loads for W296 should not be reduced and should be loaded exactly (not even -3%) or you could get DANGEROUS pressures. I settled on 16.7 grains (other old books went up to 17.0) and have been shooting it for years. I get 1200FPS out of a 6 inch S&W.

    I do recall the SAAMI max pressure for 357 was petitioned to be reduced in the 90's. I think that was when everyone started putting 357's in small frame snub nosed revolvers. In order to not beat them up they made now underload ALL 357's. I would only shoot these older loads from a quality full sized revolver.

    And I have no comment on how they used to say do not reduce the charge then started posting max charges 15% under.

    http://www.castpics.net/LoadData/Fre...nchester14.pdf

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Reloading the .357 Magnum

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunsnwater View Post
    Did spell check get you?
    Yeah. "Spents" was the intended word

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