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Old April 10, 2012, 01:17 PM   #1
Lead Express
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Need opinion on powder for 357 and 38 special

Hello again,

I'm fishing for some opinions on your preferred powder in .357 and 38 special (same powder if possible).

I'm looking for something that can accept standard CCI 500 primers, and burns clean with 158gn LSWC. The powder I'm using now is dirty dirty dirty, and I don't have a ton of money to throw around on powders to test.

The gun used is a GP100 with a 6" barrel.

Much appreciated!
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Old April 10, 2012, 05:58 PM   #2
m&p45acp10+1
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For the cleanest powder I would say Trail Boss. You are not going to get super kaboom speeds, you will get a very clean burning powder. The only thing I have to clean off of my gun after shooting is the carbon from bullet lube. Other than that clean as whistle.

For .357 Mag AA#9 will give great velocity with cast or jacketed bullets and is very clean in my .41 mag with cast bullets. Though I would advise heavily against using it for .38 spcl cases. If one were somehow loaded into a weaker gun the results would more than likely be catastrophic.
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Old April 10, 2012, 06:06 PM   #3
SHR970
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Either Universal or W231 / HP38.

Both will work well for 38 and give you good midrange 357 performance too. W231 tends to be a tad smokey with some lubes at 357 speeds but you'll get that with several other powders also.
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Old April 10, 2012, 06:19 PM   #4
Bob Knizner
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Another vote here for Trailboss.

I have had great luck with it...clean burning and accurate.

Also like the bulkiness that makes a double charge more obvious. Some other powders I have tried (W231) require such a small charge that a TRIPLE charge would probably fit if you are loading mild lead loads.

Good Luck!

Bob
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Old April 10, 2012, 06:41 PM   #5
max it
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have a recent load book?

Hi Ya,
Looks like some learned bros. have commented on their powder choice. and i respect their op. I dont know anything.
I use Red Dot, dont know why except that I have a lot of it.
My point tho' is have some new load books nothing like it. Power seems to change I am told. And so are loads.

Keep your powder dry!

Max
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Old April 10, 2012, 08:08 PM   #6
slugoo
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put my vote in for 2400, works very well in 38 and outstanding in 357.
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Old April 10, 2012, 10:40 PM   #7
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I was crunching some numbers on trail boss, and found it to be extremely cost effective. I think that will be my next powder (I have many manuals to reference, BTW, but a little less money to buy the damned components). I also found this pretty interesting view on the youtube about TB. Who knew the old timer black powder methods could be adapted to modern powder???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0CFjblSBs0


Thank you all for the suggestions. I think I've got some loading to do...
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Old April 11, 2012, 05:01 AM   #8
Salmoneye
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I vote Red Dot...

Here is the 2004 Alliant load book:

http://glarp.atk.com/2004/2004Catalo...ntPowderSM.pdf

.357/.38 SPL are on page 42...This edition shows no .38 SPL recommended loads for 2400
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Old April 11, 2012, 05:30 AM   #9
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He says at the end $18.00/# but it`s a 9oz. bottle , am I or is he ????
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Old April 11, 2012, 07:52 AM   #10
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Another one for Red Dot. Or Green Dot.
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Old April 11, 2012, 09:48 AM   #11
lee n. field
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Quote:
The powder I'm using now is dirty dirty dirty, and I don't have a ton of money to throw around on powders to test.
Bullseye, by any chance?
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Old April 11, 2012, 11:17 AM   #12
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GP100man, even though it is only 9 ounces of powder, I can find this stuff for 11 bucks at powder valley. And yes, even though it is 9 ounces, it still has about 3900 grains in a bottle. Take and average 4 grain load per shell, and that gives you enough powder to load about 980 shells. For an 11 buck powder, it's pretty convincing to me.

I got into IDPA and bought a large quantity of power pistol for my 40SW. I'm also making use of it in 357 and 38, well, because it's there. It's just way too dirty for revolver cartridges.
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Old April 11, 2012, 01:18 PM   #13
AlaskaMike
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If you limit yourself to just one powder, then you'll have to compromise on your loads. You'll either have standard .38 loads and light .357 loads, or you'll have hot .38 loads (or, more likely, lots of unburned powder), and standard .357 loads.

I'd recommend that you really reconsider the "one powder" limitation.
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Old April 11, 2012, 01:32 PM   #14
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Hodgdon Universal - works well for me on both .357 mag and .38 spl ...and I use the same bullet for both ....either a Berry's 158gr RN or a Montana Gold 158 gr FMJ ...and CCI small pistol primers in both ...

powder drops on Universal for .38 spl at 4.3 gr
powder drops on Universal for .357 mag at 6.1gr

neither load is a compromise in my opinion.
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Old April 11, 2012, 01:51 PM   #15
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AlaskaMike, It wasn't intentional to load everything with one powder, it's just what I had for 40SW (I shoot about 1k monthly in .40) when I bought dies for my revolvers.

I'm working on branching out with multiple powders, but the budget is the issue.

I'll get there, I'm sure of it!

Thank you all for the insight. I'll pick up a few this next week if the lady is to pitch in on the shooting.
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Old April 11, 2012, 02:18 PM   #16
m&p45acp10+1
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The 9oz can will do everything a pound of most powders will. I get a little over 1k charges for .38 spcl out of a can. A 3.8 grain charge gives me great case fill. In fact a double charge would way over flow a case. Starting loads fill 70% of the case. Max loads are 100% case fill. Oh and a 9oz can here at the LGS that is not known for cheap prices a can runs $17.99. So cost per charge is still under 2 cents each.

I will continue to use it. It works well, and super clean burning. I do not care that it does not give a super loud blammo, kabeeewwwm report, and high velocity. It gives me loads that are close to what I would have with Bull's Eye for velocity with a target load. Without all of the dirty soot.

Most bangs from a buck. TiteGroup, or Bull's Eye will do it. As well as Win 231 Though they run on the dirty side.
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Old April 11, 2012, 02:28 PM   #17
Jim Watson
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I agree with AlaskaMike.
There is not one powder that will do good work in both standard .38 Special and full house .357 Magnum.
You can optimize for .38s and get low end .357s or you can load real magnums and replicate .38-44 High Velocity. But I don't think you can cover the entire spectrum with one powder, it is false economy.
For clean burn, Vihtavuouri powders do well; N310 for wadcutters, N110 for bear bumpers.

On the other hand, you don't need to end up with a dozen different partial cans of Not Quite Right Powder on the shelf, either. Work out what you really want to do, and buy something suitable. A clean burn is mostly from operating at the pressure range the powder was made for. I know two people who tried downloading 2400 and 4227 and just made a mess.

Last edited by Jim Watson; April 11, 2012 at 02:35 PM.
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Old April 11, 2012, 03:01 PM   #18
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For what it's worth a max load of TB is not a case full, manufacturer states fill to base of bullet at seating depth is a max load, and to never compress the load or strange things will happen. You weigh that charge and then play with 70%, 80%, etc. Good luck. Goat
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Old April 11, 2012, 04:45 PM   #19
m&p45acp10+1
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When I stated full case I mean as the manuals list. Case fill refers to capacity of the case with the bullet seated. That is why the charge weights vary with changes in bullet weight, and style.
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Old April 11, 2012, 05:57 PM   #20
grisbald
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Looking at one of my reloading books, Unique is listed for both those cartridges with that 158 gr. LSWC. Both these charges are less than maximum load.

.38 special 3.9 gr. 750 fps
.357 magnum 4.7 gr. 900 fps
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Old April 11, 2012, 06:26 PM   #21
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I make mild .38 Special target loads with 3.5 grains of WST and 158 grain Berry's plated bullets in either FP or RN. I have not done .357 mag loads yet.
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Old April 11, 2012, 06:40 PM   #22
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Unique Will push a 158 gr bullet @ about 1100 FPS in the Mag & alot faster with H110. JMO ; ) PS Unique would do for both
Y/D
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Old April 11, 2012, 07:49 PM   #23
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+1 Unique. Use Speer as your guide.
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Old April 11, 2012, 07:59 PM   #24
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I have 5 different pistol powders, I use for my shooting needs AA#2,5,7,9 and tight group. with Tighgroup being the dirtiest. I use 5 and 7 for my 357. I took me a while to get a stock of powder, I often tell my wife and kids I would like a certain powder for a birthday present or Christmas, powder and component are great gifts for a reloader. Where I live there are not a lot of local gun shops, So I save my money and buy in bulk when( 5 or 8 lbs powder) when I know I Will be going somewhere I can buy. I hate paying the $ 27.50 Hazmat shipping fee.
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Old April 11, 2012, 08:38 PM   #25
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My go-to for those cartridges with 158 gr. lead bullets is Unique. Won't quote any loads here but your manual has several. I kinda think "clean burning" is the new buzz word. I have shot a lot of Unique in .38/.357, .44 Spec./Magnum, and 45 ACP. and never has the "dirty" powders interferred with gun's function. Occationally I'll shoot up to 250 rounds per gun per session (most time it'll be a .38 Spec or 45 ACP) but, I take 2 or 3 guns with me. I usually have a hand towel handy when I shoot, and occasionally wipe my stainless guns (between strings/when reloading). I clean all my guns everytime I get home from the range so "clean burning" don't mean much to me...
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