.357 Magnum Reloading Question

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Today I loaded and tested fired my first full power loads. I have loaded lots of reduced recoil loads for plinking, but these were my first full power loads. I used Sierra 125gr JHC bullets, over 14, 15, 16, and 17 grs of 2400. I used Federal small pistol primers.

There were no signs of excess pressure, but one thing that I never noticed before when shooting either the plinking loads or factory ammo, was the tremendous amount of flash from both the muzzle, and in some cases, from the gap between the cylinder and the frame.

So my question is, is this flash normal? They way I was thinking is that the flash results from lots of unburnt powder. So is there a way to correct this, that is, allow all the powder to burn? Any advice/ideas on the subject would be helpful. Thanks.
 
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How long is the barrel your testing these loads with?
Having never used 2400 I can't comment on propellant. I'm sure someone here will. Perhaps you should try another.
Make sure you have a firm roll crimp.
A heavyer bullet will help as well.
All I got.
 
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I used a S&W Model 19, with a 4 inch barrel. I will try some with a heavier crimp. Thanks Saltydude.

I prefer to work out the kinks with 2400 before I go to another powder. The manual says the max for 2400 is 17.2grs.
 
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The most popular powders such as 296,H10 and 2400 are going to give you a huge fireball upon ignition in a 357. AA No9 or one of the Vita Vhouri powders might give you less flash but in the 357 it's part of the beast. Going to a heavier bullet might reduce the flash as well. Magnum class revolvers with a 4" barrel or less are going to look like a RPG going off so don't get your hopes up.
 
J

Jose

Yep, huge fireballs out the front and sides are par for the course for 125 grain .357 Magnums fired out of 4" or shorter revolvers.

That's part of the fun, if you ask me.
 

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Welcome to the world of full power magnum revolvers.

The flash is normal when using big charges of slow burning powder:

motivator3.jpg
 
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These are tried and true loads I have used for decades. 16-17 grs seems like you are crossing a line with 2400, even with the lighter 125gr bullets. That might explain the enhanced flash?

You are not using magnum primers, do I have that right?

I am also getting these velocities from the 7.5" barrel of a Ruger Blackhawk Bisley

158g JSP - 14.7g Alliant 2400 - Win/Fed 200 (deep woods carry, HOT LOAD, strong guns only!) 1455 fps
158g JHP - 14.0g Alliant 2400 - Win/Fed 200 (outdoor self-defense load, accurate and powerful) 1340 fps
125 gr HPXTP - 14.5 gr Alliant2400 Win/Fed200 (street self defense - fear nothing) 1466 fps
 
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I got my data from the 48th Edition Lyman Reloading Manual. The cases themselves don't exhibit any signs of over pressure. And yes, I'm using regular primers.
 

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I load .357's for both rifle and pistol, but use different recipes for each.
I use the slower burning 2400 for the rifle loads (Browning B-92 and Marlin 1894C).
The slower powder requires more bullet travel to get a complete burn. That's why the 2400 loads exhibit so much flash, half the powder is still burning after the bullet has already left the muzzle. It doesn't do anything to increase velocity, but it does waste powder.
For pistol length barrels I like Blue Dot.
It burns faster and more completely in a shorter barrel which equals less muzzle flash.
I use it for 125 & 158 grain jacketed .357's intended for a handgun.
The only .357 handgun load I use 2400 in is the ultra heavy 180 grainers.
These are not commonly found and really intended for use in Contenders and the .357 Maximum.
 
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What powder would you guys recommend for 357 loads out of a 2" LCR snubby w/158gr bullet? Is Blue Dot a good all around powder for 38sp and 9mm?
 
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Hey, thanks for that link. I don't think I will shot those heavy 125gr loads just in case. I will probably load those 125's with Unique, and keep it light: somewhere near 38spl velocities.
 

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What powder would you guys recommend for 357 loads out of a 2" LCR snubby w/158gr bullet? Is Blue Dot a good all around powder for 38sp and 9mm?

Blue Dot is a good powder for .357's, but NOT for .38's or 9's.
For those I have three powders I use often with good results, Red Dot, W231 and Clays.
 
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I'm not sure why some people try and get away with one powder for everything. At about $20 a pound, powder isn't all that expensive to buy, and lasts a long time. Having two, three or four powders on hand for various calibers isn't a oddity. Heck! Some of us have 12-18 powders on hand most of the time.

My suggestion is to do some homework as to which powder works best for your caliber, and use that.

However, if your reloading data book lists a powder as usable in your caliber, then it is. If you can't find a listing for a powder for your caliber, there's usually a reason why. The powder manufacturers have the most experience with their powders. If all else fails, give them a call.
 
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Blue Dot is a good powder for .357's, but NOT for .38's or 9's.
For those I have three powders I use often with good results, Red Dot, W231 and Clays.

Thanks Zappa..little confusing when you see Blue Dot listed everywhere in the manuals. I'll try it on some 357 loads and will try a few of your suggested powders on the others.
 

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Thanks Zappa..little confusing when you see Blue Dot listed everywhere in the manuals. I'll try it on some 357 loads and will try a few of your suggested powders on the others.

If you find the receipe in a modern handloading manual, it's generally safe for use in a modern quality firearm.
I stress modern manual because some load data from years past has been discovered to be a bit too hot.
Example, I have a SPEER manual from the mid 80's and it lists a .357 load with 15 grains of Blue Dot. This is a dangerously hot load and future editions didn't list it anymore. Also, burn rates and powder manufacturing formulas do change over time. The powder name may be the same as it always was, but it may not perform today exactly the way it did when tested years ago.
 

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I'm not sure why some people try and get away with one powder for everything. At about $20 a pound, powder isn't all that expensive to buy, and lasts a long time. Having two, three or four powders on hand for various calibers isn't a oddity. Heck! Some of us have 12-18 powders on hand most of the time.

True, but when you're just getting started in reloading, and only have a few calibers to work with, it makes things easier if you use a multi-versatile powder.

I started with 12 gauge skeet loads back in the early 80's with a MEC 600 Jr.
(still have it today)
I bought Red Dot in 4 lb canisters, which saved quite a bit of money over the one pound cans. At 17.7 grains a shell, a one pounder goes pretty quick.
I later got into pistol calibers with a single stage Lyman press (still have that too) and a set of 9mm dies. The book showed 9mm loads for Red Dot, that's what I had on hand, so that's what I used. Then I got some .38 dies and discovered Red Dot loads for that too. It was a good all around powder for the calibers I loaded. This got me by pretty well for a long time. Of course it doesn't work for everything, but as my calibers expanded, so did my powder selections. It's not a bad thing for a beginner to keep it simple while they're learning.
 
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Actually, Red Dot IS in fact one of the powders I use for my own 38 specials. And, like you, I originally started using the Red Dot for shot shell reloads. I have a bunch of it around.
However, I find that I like other powders for the 357 magnum loads, so even in the same diameter (and for the same gun), I don't use the same powders all the time.

True, but when you're just getting started in reloading, and only have a few calibers to work with, it makes things easier if you use a multi-versatile powder.

I started with 12 gauge skeet loads back in the early 80's with a MEC 600 Jr.
(still have it today)
I bought Red Dot in 4 lb canisters, which saved quite a bit of money over the one pound cans. At 17.7 grains a shell, a one pounder goes pretty quick.
I later got into pistol calibers with a single stage Lyman press (still have that too) and a set of 9mm dies. The book showed 9mm loads for Red Dot, that's what I had on hand, so that's what I used. Then I got some .38 dies and discovered Red Dot loads for that too. It was a good all around powder for the calibers I loaded. This got me by pretty well for a long time. Of course it doesn't work for everything, but as my calibers expanded, so did my powder selections. It's not a bad thing for a beginner to keep it simple while they're learning.
 
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