.357 magnum powder suggestions

Discussion in 'Reloading Room' started by Branth, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. Branth

    Branth Member

    So, I just got a Ruger SP101 in .357, and I want to load some stuff up that really gets proper .357 ballistics, with an eye toward maximizing their power out of my grandpa's .357 carbine. I did some research, and I landed on 158gr Hornady XTP's with 16.7gr H110. I worked up the load just fine and wasn't seeing pressure signs of any sort, but I felt a stinging on my face when shooting, that I didn't feel with my practice loads (using Bullseye and IMR700X). I figured it must be shaving lead, and some small fragments of copper embedded in a legal pad held to the side of the gun seemed to confirm this.
    I contacted Ruger and sent it in, and it came back to me with a much smoother extractor rod (they must have replaced it) but no noticeable change in lockup, and when I shot it again today, I felt the same stinging on my face. I didn't see copper flecks this time (though they might still be there) but there were dark speckled of unburned powder, so I'm thinking maybe that unburned powder is spraying back at me.

    I want this load to be safe to shoot without safety glasses, so I'm thinking of trying a different powder. I hear Lil'Gun has the ability to get maximum power out of the .357, so I'm wondering about trying that. Anyone else have a better idea, or something I can do to fix this spraying problem?

    The gun is a 3" Ruger SP101, for reference.
  2. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    I have no actual experience, so I'll just post up stuff I find. I'm interested too, my Taurus might benefit from some decent heat.:p

    "A friend of mine loaded some 173gr Keith bullets over Keith's load of 15gr of 2400 in a .357 case and we got an average of 1460 fps out of his 6" M-27."

    "13.1 grains of 2400 powder will drive the 140 grain bullet 1219 fps, and a maximum load of 15.1 grains of 2400 will do 1298 fps."

    "11.0 grains of Blue Dot with a standard primer and 158 gr JHP. 1300 fps in my 6" guns, probably around 1250 in a 4" gun"

    "I get just shy of 1400 fps from my GP-100 4" with TVB 158-grainer hardcast LSWCs over 18.0 gr of Lil' Gun firm roll crimp,CCI magnum small primer. This loading really shines from a 20" tube, tho: just over 2k fps with single-digit deviations.

    Frankly, the Lil' Gun doesn't impress me as being especially better than other loadings from a 4". 10.2 grains of Blue dot (standard primer, all else same) gave me 1384 from the same gun, and 14 gr of 2400 (mag primer, all else same) gave me 1378."

    "158gr XTP over 16.7 gr of H110 and a Winchester small Mag primer gives me 1,591 fps"

  3. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah
    About the spraying of unburned powder...not an expert, but as I look at it, if you want to avoid that, you need to either burn it all, or make it stop coming back at you.

    To do that, I think you need faster powder, or less volume of a slower powder.
    Out of a 4 inch barrel, I would think your slower powder like H110 is being wasted.

    Personally...I think I would go to a faster powder with a lighter bullet. You can get plenty of energy on target that way, but it shoots flatter if you decide to go hunting.

    Here are a few I find interesting. Note how much farther your powder will stretch with these loads.;)

    125gr XTP 7.6 gr of Universal 1,453 fps OAL 1.59" WSPM
    Suggested starting load: 6.8 gr
    Pressure: 39,600 CUP

    125gr XTP 8.5 gr of HP38 1,514 fps OAL 1.59" WSPM
    Suggested starting load: 7.7 gr
    Pressure: 42,700 CUP

    125gr XTP 7.5 gr of TiteGroup 1,497 fps OAL 1.59" WSPM
    Suggested starting load: 6.8 gr
    Pressure: 41,200 CUP

    125gr JSP 8.4 gr of Bullseye 1,550 fps OAL 1.57" Fed 200
    Suggested starting load: 7.6 gr
  4. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

    <possible drift>
    Can the 10mm hold serve with most or all of these 357 Mag loads?
    I know the 180gr stuff is quite good, but I do not look at the small
    bullets very much.
  5. ajole

    ajole Supporting Member

    NE Utah

    135gr JHP 10.6 gr of Power Pistol 1,530 fps
    Pressure: 35,600

    135gr JHP 11.2 gr of HS6 1,435 fps
    Pressure: 36,900 PSI

    135gr JHP 8.0 gr of Universal 1,416 fps
    Pressure: 36,100 PSI

    135gr JHP 8.0 gr Titegroup 1,459 fps
    Pressure: 35,800 PSI

    135gr JHP 13.2 gr AA # 7 1,418 fps
  6. histed

    histed Supporting Member

  7. I am baffled by the stinging on your face. I use W296 for 38/44 out of a GP100. My bear load is pretty stout, 15gn W296/H110 158gn semiwadcutter for 1300fps. No problems like yours.

    Rugers are known for very tight BC gap, it would be real unusual to get something back towards the face. You should probably send it back again, and ask for another gun.
  8. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member


    First of all you have only a 3" barrel. You cannot and will not get the higher velocities
    a .357 is rated at with it. There simply is not enough burn time in a 2 or 3 inch barrel.
    Also, HP bullets designed for a short barrel are available. Designed to open at a slower velocity. So, loads for your Grandpa's carbine simply will not be as you need for the SP 101 3" barrel. Two entirely different loads will be required to optimize.

    Right now, if you were to load down to 38spl or 38spl +P for your 101, you would be closer to what you can actually get out of it. Or, as most do lately is to use 38spl +P
    in a short .357. Any barrel length below 4" for a .357 or a 38spl prohibits you from utilizing the maximum capability of the caliber.

    Use google and search for .357 or 38spl short barrel loads. Lot of info from Ruger and S&W boards and loads there. And, they recommend the lighter bullets also!!

    I have the same dilemma with a 2" 38spl! Oh, and H110 is a recommended powder, just load to lower velocity in the 101.
  9. MXGreg

    MXGreg Supporting Member

    If using Blue Dot make sure it's in warm weather. Blue Dot gets a little weird in cold temperatures. I had some loads I worked up last summer. Nothing extreme, just some target loads that clocked around 1000fps. Shot some this winter and holy cow! Much more recoil, big fire balls, and cases that were sticking in the cylinder.

    I've now switched to Bullseye for my target loads (at least for now).

    GLUGLUG Supporting Member

    I would stay away from blue dot all together. Alliant has warned against using BD in .357 mag and .41 mag for a few years now.

    P.S. Original warning text:
    "ATK Commercial Products
    900 Ehlen Drive Anoka, MN 55303

    July 25, 2008

    Dear Functional Wholesaler:

    Please distribute this letter to all of your customers immediately with instructions for them to do the following:
    • Post this letter in a highly visible area of their establishment
    • Distribute to their customers as soon as possible
    Alliant Powder Blue Dot® Product Safety Notice

    Alliant Powder® periodically reviews and tests their published reloading data to verify that recommended recipes have not changed over time.
    During the latest review Alliant Powder discovered that Alliant Powder’s Blue Dot® should not be used in the following applications:
    • Blue Dot® should NOT be used in the 357 Magnum load using the 125 grain projectile (Blue Dot® recipes with heavier bullet weights as specified in Alliant Powders Reloading Guide are acceptable for use).
    • Blue Dot® should NOT be used in the 41 Magnum cartridge (all bullet weights).
    Use of Blue Dot® in the above cases may cause a high pressure situation that could cause property damage and serious personal injury.

    We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause and appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.
    Thank you for your cooperation and if you have any questions or concerns please contact me at [email protected] or call me at 540-639-8503.

    Dick Quesenberry
    Alliant Powder
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  11. MXGreg

    MXGreg Supporting Member

    I was using 158gr bullets.
  12. If you aren't using them or haven't tried them, test a few with magnum primers.

    Are you using a heavy crimp?
  13. Branth

    Branth Member

    I am using mag primers with acceptable crimp. I am okay with not having true 357 power out of the short barrel, but I would like to have the same poad give acceptable performance from the pistol and have serious power from the carbine. Something that really utilizes the full power of the cartridge.

    Surely a full bore 357 is capable of more out of a 3" barrel than a 38 special?

    Right now, I'm getting 1150fps or thereabouts out of my gun. If that's what I can get out of it, that's what I can get out of it. I figure the carbine would be the primary gun, and the pistol would be the backup. Using the same ammo is just a bonus.
  14. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    I went through several articles tonight on .357 from 2 to 3 inch barrels. Vel ranged
    from 900 to 1170. This was all commercial ammo designed for those barrel lengths.
    Now, the 4 through 8 inch barrels really hopped up the velocity big time. My guess is you are as far as you can go with that 101 pistol with that load velocity wise.

    You are most likely having un-burned powder going out of it. Perhaps that is what you may be feeling??? Dunno. Perhaps back off a bit on powder and see what it chrono's then. Remember, if you can get all the powder burned in that 3" your velocity may well rise.
  15. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

    You Two "neighbors" should have a range day ;) :eek:
  16. Branth

    Branth Member

    Yeah, 1150 with 158's is fine by me. I just want recommendations on a different powder I could get same or similar velocity out of that won't spray burnt powder in my face.
  17. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    Your 16.7gr of H110 is Hodgdon's Max load for a .357 with a 10" barrel. Be very careful using that load in a carbine! It will build a lot more pressure in it.
    Your H110 is not that suited to a 3" barrel. I'll see if I can find a better recommendation
    on one of my go to reloading sites.
  18. I prefer Longshot for short barrels, it is consistent, and delivers good numbers.
  19. OldOutlaw

    OldOutlaw Supporting Member

    Here is what Nosler published for an 8 inch barrel. 158gr JHP.

    Notice your max for the H110 in this shorter barrel used by Nosler.

    Branth, my guess is that if you cut back on the load you are doing, the powder spray will drop a lot. And, I doubt you will see a lot of drop off of Velocity.

    Trying a Max load for a 10 inch barrel in a 3 inch barrel is not the best idea I think.
    Too much powder to burn off efficiently.

  20. Branth

    Branth Member

    16.3gr H110 got me about 1050 fps. I am leery if reducing loads too much because Hidgdon doesn't recommend reducing loads more than 3%, because of how H110 is somewhat difficult to ignite.