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Old December 11, 1999, 06:21 PM   #1
Mikie
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I was developing a 357 load with the Rem SJHP 125 gr bullet. The Alliant powder manual said 9.6gr of Unique would send a 125 JSP bullet at better than 1500 fps. When I chrono'd loads from 9.2 to 9.6 gr of Unique the most I could get out of it was 1300fps through a S&W 4" Model 27. How this perform so far below what the manual says?

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Old December 11, 1999, 06:30 PM   #2
Mal H
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Don't forget the barrel length factor, Mikie. The 1500 fps sounds like a rifle velocity and your 1300 fps sounds like you're in the infield of the right ballpark, that is, it's pretty much what you can expect from a 4" revolver with that load. Which gun did they do their testing with?
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Old December 11, 1999, 09:33 PM   #3
Robert the41MagFan
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That is a correct velocity for that barrel length. Lyman manual has a Hornady 125 gr JHP over 9.7 gr of Unique produces 1350 FPS. Using Federal cases, CCI primers and a 1.590 OAL. The difference in velocity can be do to OAL, amount of crimp and scale inaccuracies.

Robert
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Old December 12, 1999, 12:58 AM   #4
Cheapo
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I had a similar experience earlier this year working up loads with Power Pistol. I think the 5.6-inch barrel Alliant used is the revolver barrel length, not a test barrel measured from breechface like a semiauto pistol.

THEN I chrono'd the loads through two other .357 Mag revolvers. One was fully 100 fps faster than mine! Both were 6-inch barrels. The third wheelgun with a FOUR-inch barrel shot almost as fast at my six did. Some loads were even @ 15-25 fps faster.

Generally speaking, the fasted you can safely get out of a 125-gr bullet in your 4-inch gun will be 1400-1425 fps.
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Old December 12, 1999, 08:14 PM   #5
TheOtherMikey
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My Speer loadbook says the max load for a .357 mag with Unique is 9.6gr for 1343 fps with a 125 gr bullet. They used a Smith with a 6" barrel to compute the fps.
The hottest load I see published in the Speer book is 1507 with 18.8gr of N110 under a 125gr slug. .357 says magnum but it really isn't.
Hope this helps, Mikey
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Old December 12, 1999, 08:45 PM   #6
Mikie
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The surprising part of this is that the manual says a 125gr JSP on 9.6 gr of Unique should produce a MV of 1585 fps. I am over 300 fps slower, about 1250 fps. The other loads listed for other calibers, such as for 45 ACP are pretty close to what I get out my USP45 so I was hoping to get higher velocity. It looks like I bought a pound of Unique for nothing.

Anybody use Blue Dot or 2400 for 357 loads?

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Old December 12, 1999, 08:47 PM   #7
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There is also a fair margin in the set-up and methods used in chronographing between sites and brands vs perfect lab conditions.

The comment on crimp and OAL were also spot on, also revolver type and tolerances, EG cylinder gap etc is relevant too.

Really Mikie, 1,300 FPS is surely adequate for most handgunning purposes, an extra "tweaked" 200FPS is pretty marginal, bullet performance is probably more critical in the desired terminal ballistics. The extra wear and tear on user, cases and pistol may not be worth it either...or is this heresy!?

I have found that an increase of 400FPS(44Rem Mag 180 gn JSP- 25 gn Mulwex AR2205) can be obtained pistol vs. carbine, simply I believe due to extra 10" barrel length.

Maybe you need both, like the old-timers, with all ammo interchangable in the case of!

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Old December 12, 1999, 09:43 PM   #8
Robert the41MagFan
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Mikie,

One thing about manuals and 357. Many manuals do not separate pistol and rifle loads, so these loading manuals sell 357 short of it true potential to rifle shooters and it gives false numbers to those using velocity data in trying to develop a handgun load. It is a problem that will be encountered with this cartridge for example, but not 45 acp. Lyman for example, separates them.

I have tried 2400 and Blue Dot in a 357. These and H110 are usually the best powders for a 357, but you need tube length in order to take advantage of them. Since you only have a four inch tube, try a medium burning powder. Something that will burn a bit slower than Unique and quicker than Blue Dot. Try something like IMR 800X, Herco or Accurate #5, these all burn somewhere between Unique and Blue Dot.

Really don't think that any of these powders is going to help too much though, 357 Magnum is one of those calibers that is very much influenced by barrel length. More than most others.

Robert
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Old December 13, 1999, 12:37 PM   #9
Mikie
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Guys,

Thanks for all the information. The load of 9.6 gr of Unique under a 125 gr JHP is very comfortable out of my SW 27 4", ME is only 433 ft lbs for the MV of 1250 fps that I clocked. I also know that this load is close to maximum based on the way the primers looked and also the fairly sharp rap to the ejector rod required to clear the shells. I'm not going after a hotter load for any other reason than to have one in my pocket that I can load every once in a while for the rush. (I have a pet 45 +P load with the 185 gr JHP over 9.2 gr of Power Pistol. This coming out at about 1096 fps. I only shoot this in a clean gun and only a couple of magazines worth). I bought a pound of Unique to try and reach about 1400 fps but I didn't know how far below the published Alliant velocities I would be. I'll keep this as warm target load and pursue using other powders.

Thanks,

Mikie

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Old December 17, 1999, 02:35 PM   #10
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Mikie. I don't think Unique is the best powder for your purpose. It is a proven fact that, even though the slower podwers such as H-110, WW-296 and Alliant #2400 are not at their most efficient in shorter barrels, they still deliver the highest velocity. The muzzle blast and ball of fire, easily seen at noon on a midsummers day, will be ferocious. I was using a 4 in. Model 28 back then so I know about the flash and blast. I think the latest batches of #2400 are a touch faster burning than when Hercules was making that powder.
There is an article on the .357 mag. at (www.sixgunner.com/guests/paco.htm) that you might find interesting. It has to do with the original loading of the .357, how it has been downloaded, etc. Back in the mid 60's, I used to use the very load the author mentions. I also used Elmer Keiths .44 mag. load for the .44 magnum. When I got a can of Alliant's #2400, I had to reduce the load by 2.0 grains. This is why I made the comment earlier on the possible change (?) in the burning rate. Anyway, you just might like the article. Several people I've talked to about it have printed it up for their files. So did I.
When I use Unique in the .357, it is for somewhat downloaded ammo for small game, usually at a velocity around 1050 to 1100 FPS. You can use that "wasted" can of Unique for that if you want. Also, I don't much care for jacketed bullets in my handgun loads. Hard cast bullets don't do a lot of damage to cottontail rabbits and other edible small game. I cast my own.
I hope this was of some help.
Paul B.
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Old December 19, 1999, 08:17 AM   #11
WESHOOT2
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Best high-vel powder for .357 = H110. Use Magnum primers.

Book is guide; chrono is real.

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"All my ammo is factory ammo"

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Old December 24, 1999, 12:27 PM   #12
The-rebel-gun
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Win 296 powder with a 125 gr XTP out of a 6" barrel revolver gave me a about 1650fps, the book showed 1800fps for this load, I couldn't get it. But 296 powder is the way to go, most manuals don't have it listed, but the Winchester reloader page does on the net, and they have the loads in the little paper book you can pick-up where their powder is sold. I sold my .357 about 6 months ago and haven't replaced it yet, I don't remember the load data for it so you'll have to look it up.

Steve
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