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Old August 28, 2012, 02:18 PM   #1
Billy Shears
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Quiet .357 Magnum Loads?

Hey guys,

I have a question for you. I've been reloading for about thirty years, but until now never loaded much 357 Magnum other than a few boxes of plinkers every now and again.

I recently inherited a GP-100 and hope to shoot it a lot, both recreationally as a range gun and perhaps as a camping gun.

However, this dang thing is LOUD. The 125 grain loads have a sinus-clearing, teeth-rattling, Vesuvian-like blast that is unlike anything I've ever heard before [and this is from a guy whose first handgun was a .44 Magnum]. The 158s are nearly as bad, but slightly more tolerable.

I'm not the least bit recoil sensitive, but even double plugged, the blast level is really getting to me. Can anyone recommend a pet load that reins in the noise a little while still remaining at 357 Magnum power levels? I'd rather not download to 38 Special levels.

I assume the simplest way to go about this is to load with heavier bullets at slower speeds, but I'm not quite clear if that is the answer, or if there even is an answer. Should I just stick with my .45 Colt and put the GP100 in the safe?

Any suggestions appreciated. Thank you in advance.
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Old August 28, 2012, 03:32 PM   #2
Hammerhead
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You don't have to go all the way down to .38 levels to take the edge off the muzzle blast. Heavy lead bullets with medium speed powders driven to 1,000 fps or so are far less taxing on the ears, but still retain some magnum machoness.

I feed my GP100 and my F/A 97 a steady diet of 158 LSWC's over 5 grains of Universal and my tinnitus afflicted ears appreciate it.
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Old August 28, 2012, 04:07 PM   #3
1stmar
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I use 8.2 gr of unique and Speer 158 gr hp, they seem pretty tame in my 6" gp100, 1250 fps. You wearing hearing protection?
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Old August 28, 2012, 04:25 PM   #4
Billy Shears
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Quote:
I use 8.2 gr of unique and Speer 158 gr hp, they seem pretty tame in my 6" gp100, 1250 fps. You wearing hearing protection?
Yep, I use double protection. Always.

I'm curious though. The load you mention...does it really cut down on the muzzle blast? It's quite a bit higher than the 7.7 grain max load listed for that powder/bullet combination on Alliant's website.

http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloade...3&cartridge=28

Quote:
357 Magnum 158 gr Speer GDHP Speer 1.575 10 CCI 500 Unique 7.7 1,040
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Old August 28, 2012, 04:40 PM   #5
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A couple of .357 Magnum loads that I really like:
  1. 8.0 grains Herco with a 158 grain SWC or RNFP cast bullet.
  2. 4.5 grains Red Dot with a 148 grain DEWC cast bullet @ 1.35"
If I want something more powerful, I switch to a larger caliber.
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Old August 28, 2012, 04:41 PM   #6
1stmar
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According to my Speer no 11 manual (very old)that was a max load for the 158gr and it was reported at 1198 fps at the time. I'm glad you pointed out that this data is out of date, this is a good reason you should always work up your own loads and validate, as you have done.

I don't think there is anything unique (pun intended) about this load. I normally don't shoot much revolver, but it just so happens I took it out last week for my son to shoot and I remarked to him how I recalled it to be louder. Recoil was really soft but that may be the 2x scope and mounts I have on it. :-)

Last edited by 1stmar; August 28, 2012 at 05:15 PM.
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Old August 28, 2012, 04:53 PM   #7
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You can always shoot 38's out of it .....

A quiet .357 Magnum load?

That's like a quiet big block V-8...... put a tiny carb on there, and it will quiet right down.
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Old August 28, 2012, 05:12 PM   #8
Billy Shears
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Quote:
You can always shoot 38's out of it .....
Well, yes, I understand that, but my original goal as stated above was that...
Quote:
I'd rather not download to 38 Special levels.
I'm just curious to see whether it's possible --without violating the laws of physics-- to load to what will still be an acceptably ".357-ish" power level [I dunno, say roughly 500 ft lbs of KE or thereabouts] while reducing muzzle blast. I'm hypothesizing that a heavy bullet [180 grains?] pushed out at a moderate velocity [1100-1200 or so fps?] may do the trick...at least to some extent, but I do realize that the .357 is by nature a loud sort of beast that can probably only be tamed so far before it is only a .38 in all but name.

Last edited by Billy Shears; August 28, 2012 at 05:21 PM.
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Old August 28, 2012, 05:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
...but I do realize that the .357 is by nature a loud sort of beast that can probably only be tamed so far before it is only a .38 in all but name.
You said it. My load is 5.0g of Red Dot under 158g SWC bullet. This is a 1000fps load and easy(er) on the ears yet will still reach out and tap 'em good. If I need more power, I reach for the .44Spec. More than that the .45 Colt. And according to Linebaugh and Seyfried that is all I should ever need.
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Old August 28, 2012, 05:51 PM   #10
Billy Shears
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More than that the .45 Colt.
I think you've hit on something there. I'm beginning to think that my old .45 Colt may be the answer I've been searching for all along. A 255 grain bullet moving at 950-1000 fps packs a lot of whallop and is much easier on the ears than anything I've shot from the GP100 so far.
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Old August 28, 2012, 06:25 PM   #11
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1 powder that`s not in the lime lite is IMRs 4227 , it`s a little tempermental to measure & does`nt clean up until ya hit the sweet spot but it`s a solid performer with less blast & snap in the recoil when under heavy for caliber bullets.
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Old August 28, 2012, 06:29 PM   #12
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Go shoot a .30 carbine pistol or revolver. You'll be deaf, so it won't matter anymore. lol I like 158gr SWC's over 9-10gr AA#7. They shoot good and have a milder report.
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Old August 28, 2012, 08:10 PM   #13
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How long of a barrel is this gun? My .357 has a 4 5/8ths barrel, it's loud but nothing that bothers the ears with my cheap muffs. Try a rifle chambered pistol if you want to hear something loud.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:57 PM   #14
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At 800 fps a 255gr .45 Colt has plenty smack, with not a lot of blast. It really is a sleeper.
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Old August 29, 2012, 12:13 AM   #15
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ive loaded trail boss in my gp100 in 357 cases and 158 cast bullets that i found very accurrate and mild report. not mag vellocity but thats the point.more accurate than 38's ive loaded without the carbon ring.try it you will like it GSPMAN
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Old August 29, 2012, 12:30 AM   #16
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I shoot W231 in my model 66 about the middle of the recommended start and never exceed range with 158 gr LSWC.

Nice load. Just enough to let you know it isn't a 38 and not enough to make you flinch.
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Old August 29, 2012, 12:31 AM   #17
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Keeping the velocity below the sound barrier would be a good start. A 173-180gr bullet at a 1000 fps would be somewhere between 38spl and 357mag at about 400 ft/lbs of energy.
I prefer a 45acp or 44spl myself for subsonic shooting.
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Old August 29, 2012, 01:34 AM   #18
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That would be 1128 fps at 70 degrees. Should be easy to get below with 158 gr bullets.
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Old August 29, 2012, 05:08 AM   #19
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Quote:
You said it. My load is 5.0g of Red Dot under 158g SWC bullet. This is a 1000fps load and easy(er) on the ears yet will still reach out and tap 'em good.
My favorite load also...
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Old August 29, 2012, 07:47 AM   #20
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Them Thar 125gr Remmies are ear busters for Sure' as stated try 158gr with
Unique JMO ; )
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Old August 29, 2012, 08:20 AM   #21
Billy Shears
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Thanks, everyone. You gave me some very good ideas.
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Old August 29, 2012, 08:26 AM   #22
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To "quiet-down" a revolver, try using a powder and bullet combination that gets the powder burned before the bullet gets out of the barrel. Using 160-to-180 grain hard cast lead bullets (with gas check if necessary) with a powder in the Unique/Universal range of burn rates woud probably help enough for you to notice through your plugs plus muffs.

QuickLOAD isn't very good at predicting pressures or velocities for revlovers. But, looking at the muzzle pressure of a load like 6.2 grains of Unique under a 168 grain Lyman LSWC gives a muzzle pressure of only 2800 psi, compared to something near 5,000 psi for cases full of slower-burning powders with the same bullet. Switching to cases full of slow powders under a Hornady 125 grain jacketed bullet, muzzle pressures get up to around 7,000 psi. )these results are for a barrel plus cylinder length of 8", with no consideration of the barrel-to-cylinder gap.) All calcultions were done to the same peak pressure limit, although some of the slow powders do not reach that limit.

You will need to look at manuals to see how much velocity you can really get out of those powders, because QuickLOAD is not good at predicting revolver velocities. Also, you can look at powders like SR-4756, which QuickLOAD does not include in its database.

Some searching for powder reputations is also a good idea. For example, Power Pistol is known for muzzle blast, while some of the VitaVuori powders are noted for lack of it.

Basically, the faster the powder, the lower the muzzle pressure for a given velocity with a given bullet. But, the max velocity obtainable within SAAMI peak pressure limits with a powder will be less the faster it burns. So, you really need to see what is the fastest powder that will get you the velocity you want with a bullet that you want, without exceeding SAAMI pressure limits.

SL1

Last edited by SL1; August 29, 2012 at 10:12 AM.
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Old August 29, 2012, 12:20 PM   #23
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About the only thing I could add is to point out that Brian Pearce has written a couple of times about using AA9 for .357 mag loads, specifically for the purpose of softening out the blast noise while still retaining magnum velocity.

I haven't tried AA9 but just thought I'd point it out--probably worth buying a pound of it to make up some test loads.

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Old August 29, 2012, 12:24 PM   #24
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I like 5.4 grains of Titegroup under a 158 gr. plated bullet. Not safe for .38 special but mild for a .357
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Old August 29, 2012, 12:52 PM   #25
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Quote:
I'm curious though. The load you mention...does it really cut down on the muzzle blast? It's quite a bit higher than the 7.7 grain max load listed for that powder/bullet combination on Alliant's website.

I like 7.5 gr of Unique under a 158 JHP. Mild, yet still is accurate, at least in my 686s and lever carbines.........and quite a bit less muzzle blast than full blown 158s.
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