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Old November 12, 2012, 07:25 PM   #1
saumur
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Ruger Blackhawk 357 Loads

I used to reload (30 years ago) my 44 magnum Virginia Dragoon because the high price of ammo. I am starting back up reloading with my new Ruger Blackhawk 357 which has a 6 5/8" barrell. I purchased reloading equipment and books but I am not aware of new products and do not know where to start.

I mainly target shoot. With the 44 magnum, I used CCI Large pistol primers, either blue dot or unique powder, and lead semi-wadcutters.

Can someone tell me what is the best load for my gun with 158gr bullets. I also am debating using 125gr bullets instead. There are so many different options now.

Last edited by saumur; November 12, 2012 at 07:35 PM.
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Old November 12, 2012, 08:21 PM   #2
Salmoneye
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You need to buy ten manuals, and 30 powders...

Only half joking...

My favorite light-magnum plinking load for the 158gr bullet is 5 grains of Red Dot powder with a standard primer...

My favorite medium-full magnum load under 158gr jacketed is 15 grains of H110/W296...

Every gun/load combination is a world unto itself, and what works in mine for me, may (or may not) work for you in your guns...

Research loads online, gather all the manuals you can, read how to load and what small differences in components make, and you will be well on your way to safely (and accurately) enjoying your guns...

Hodgdon site for data:

http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp

Alliant 2004 Paper Manual in PDF format (.357 mag info on page 42):

glarp.atk.com/2004/2004Catalogs/2004AlliantPowderSM.pdf
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Old November 12, 2012, 10:07 PM   #3
CADILLAC HOOSIER
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I agree with Salmoneye on 10 manuals and 30 powders. I have a Blackhawk 357 same barrel as yours and I shoot it a lot. As with him, I like 5.0 to 5.3 gr of Red Dot behind 158 gr LSWC. I shoot those a bunch. Also like 7.0 to 7.4 gr of Accurate#5 with a 158 plated bullet. A friend gave me about 5 lbs of Red Dot when he quit reloading shot so I kinda fell into it. Love that Blackhawk, bought it new in the 70's.
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Old November 12, 2012, 10:12 PM   #4
Super Sneaky Steve
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I use Bullseye and Tightroup for accurate lower power loads, more tightgroup lately because it's cleaner and meters better.

Hot stuff I go with HS6 and H110. Keep in mind that if you use H110 you'll want to gas check your lead or use jacketed because it will pit the base of the bullet.
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Old November 12, 2012, 11:41 PM   #5
saumur
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Thanks

Thanks for all the advice. I will let you know how it comes out. I am collecting brass now before I can reload.
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Old November 12, 2012, 11:43 PM   #6
saumur
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Gas Check Lead?

Silly question. How do you gas check lead?
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Old November 12, 2012, 11:50 PM   #7
rclark
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Quote:
I like 5.0 to 5.3 gr of Red Dot behind 158 gr LSWC.
Yep, I like 5.0g of Red Dot too. Gets you around 1000fps out of a 6 1/2" barrel.
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Old November 13, 2012, 01:05 AM   #8
44 AMP
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Quote:
Silly question. How do you gas check lead?
Not a silly question at all, if you don't know about old time reloading...

waay back in the dark ages, when reloading starting to take off, lots of things were tried, some worked, some didn't. One of the things that did work was placing a copper cup over the base of a lead bullet. This allowed a lead bullet to be driven very fast (to as much as 2200fps or so, in rifles) without serious leading.

The copper cup pervented (checked) the powder gas from melting the base of the bullet. There were many designs made with a "rebated" base on the bullet to take the "gas check", which was added during the lubing& sizing process for the cast bullets.

Lyman has an extensive line of bullet molds, with several gas check designs.

I don't think gas check bullets are as popular as the once were, due to the huge numbers of jacketed bullets available these days, but they are still sold, and used by a fair number of dedicated reloaders.
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Old November 13, 2012, 10:17 AM   #9
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One powder for .357? BlueDot, all my most accurate loads have been with this. 2 powders? Blue Dot and Unique as the latter has lot's of versatility. 3 powders? BlueDot, Unique and TiteGroup. Have great luck with Titegroup in lightish small game loads but if you load it anywhere on the high side it tends to melt the base of cast bullets and cause leading.

For bullets I use some commercial 158gr hardcast lead and Berry's plated 158gr. FPs for plinkiin/small game. For anything serious I've settled on Hornady XTP's in 158 and 180 gr.
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Old November 13, 2012, 12:16 PM   #10
saumur
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Kenny Post

I loved using Blue Dot on my 44 magnum but have not seen it anywhere. That is why I asked about other loads. I found a great place to get bullets.

http://gardnerscache.com/index.html

I love the 38-357/158GR/LSWC/BB BULLETS but am trying to come up with the powder load to go with them. I will probably use blue dot, red dot, or titegroup in that order to find the right combination.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:19 PM   #11
oldgranpa
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+1 on what the others are posting,
reloading used .357mag cases is the way to go. I also reload to .38spec levels using 6.5gr Inique with 158gr Speer bullets and std. primers, with .357mag cases of course. This avoids the carbon buildup in your cylinder using plain .38spec ammo. I get an avg. of around 1050fps with my Ruger Blackhawk 6-1/2" barrel. About 900fps with my snub S&W.
Unique is a bit dirty and maybe not the best choice but it's what some friends and I got started with.
For full power I just use factory, Fed AmerEagle 158gr .357mag. It get close to 1500fps.
og

Oh, BTW, I'm sure you've checked the reloading forum, tons of data there, like this old thread on .357 reloads with some posts of mine....
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...ight=oldgranpa
Beware of some of the "experts" however, and just read lots of info to make your decision.

Last edited by oldgranpa; November 13, 2012 at 05:36 PM.
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Old November 13, 2012, 07:20 PM   #12
popbang
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I still use 2400 with my 158 grain 357 mag loads. It works and shoots good.
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Old November 13, 2012, 07:25 PM   #13
rclark
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Quote:
Can someone tell me what is the best load for my gun with 158gr bullets.
As a caveat ... the above loads are what each of us found worked well in our guns... Your guns may like something completely different . So use the above data as 'suggestions' only .
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A clinger. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes improperly referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. Ok.... the .44Spec is growing on me ... but the .45 Colt is still king.
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Old November 13, 2012, 08:07 PM   #14
L_Killkenny
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Quote:
Unique is a bit dirty and maybe not the best choice but it's what some friends and I got started with.
I used to think this, as a matter of fact I've gotten in debates about how dirty it was. But anymore I'm not to sure. I started using a good heavy crimp and now my gun and cases are pretty dang clean whne I get done.
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Old November 13, 2012, 08:27 PM   #15
Bob Wright
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Here's my favorite middle-of-the-road round:



That's 9.5 grs. HS-6 with 158 gr JHP. Velocity I think is around 1100 fps.

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Old November 14, 2012, 09:16 AM   #16
saumur
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Bob

Nice grouping with your middle of the road loads,
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Old November 14, 2012, 10:29 PM   #17
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I like the 110 and 125 grain bullets. I cant explain why but the recoil "feels" better (even in hot loads)
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Old November 20, 2012, 11:09 AM   #18
Wallyl
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Loads for a Ruger .357 Mag BHK

With a 158 SWC I use either 5.5 of Promo or 6.5 of Unique...you get about 1,100 FPS Muzzle Velocity. Same with a Lyman 358156 (158 SWC-GC)...also a good load for a Lyman 358311 (158 RN). My BHK loves the Lee 140 SWC ... shoots like a .38 Spl with WC's...
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Old November 20, 2012, 11:31 AM   #19
Hal
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Quote:
With the 44 magnum, I used CCI Large pistol primers, either blue dot or unique powder, and lead semi-wadcutters
I switched over from CCI to Federal primers years ago & ever looked back.
No real particular reason other than it seemed a lot more people used/thought highly of the Federal primers.
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Old November 20, 2012, 11:47 AM   #20
Wallyl
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.357 Ruger Blackhawk

I use Wolf/Tula primers...work just fine and are less expensive...
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Old November 22, 2012, 11:48 AM   #21
ltc444
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For my 357 I prefer WW296. It burns clean and produces good long range groups. if you would like my load give me a PM.
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Old November 24, 2012, 06:30 PM   #22
Hammerhead
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For practice loads 5.0 grains of Universal under any 158 grain lead bullet.
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Old November 27, 2012, 06:45 PM   #23
bamaranger
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two loads

Yeah there are new products, but the old school stuff still works fine.

I basically load the .357 two ways: a full house 158 JHP, and a mid-range GP 158 LSWC.

The full bore 158 JHP (currently Rems) load is 13.5 gr of 2400. The mid range load is 6 gr of Unique and bulk lead SWC's. I use std primers in both.

My 4-5/8" B-hawk is zeroed for the 6.0 LSWC midrange load. It does not beat me or the gun up, but provides more power than std .38 spl.

In the event I carry a .357 for SD, my M28 gets 125 JHP's. Man, what a flame thrower. The old Patrolman shoots .38 WC to same point of aim.
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