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Old May 31, 2013, 06:02 AM   #1
superspirit
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low muzzle flash for 357 mag ?

I recently purchased an LCR 357, and am getting ready to work up a load for it. I have on hand 2400, (way too much muzzle flash), bullseye, blue dot, power pistol, and 700x, of these which one would produce the best magnum load with the least muzzle flash ? I will be using Hornady XTP 125 grn jhp's till the 110 grn's come in. If anyone has a pet load for the LCR please post it. Thanks for any and all recommendations.
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Old May 31, 2013, 06:39 AM   #2
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Bullseye and 700X are to fast for true magnum loads. Alliant advises against using Blue Dot for 125g JHP bullets in the 357. That leaves Power Pistol and it can be a little flashy also.
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Old May 31, 2013, 06:46 AM   #3
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snubbed; none on your list

IMEactualE you will need Vihtavuori 3N37, or N350.
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Old May 31, 2013, 07:05 AM   #4
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Interesting, Shootest do you have a link to that? I have data for it in my lyman's 48th manual and my speer #14 manual. and have used it very successfully in a 6" GP100, though I did see that alliant doesnt list a load for it, I couldnt find any warnings against it.
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Old May 31, 2013, 04:04 PM   #5
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With few exceptions, the slightly faster than Magnum spherical (ball type) powders will give lower flash than flake powders. IMO, 700-X and Bullseye burn too fast to make them effective .357 Magnum powders. You've already found that you don't like 2400. Power Pistol and Blue Dot will turn your LCR into a flamethrower when fired at night. 3N37 and N350 are both suitable, but their more expensive then necessary. One of the best ball powders you can use for short barrel defense loads is AA#7. I am working with True Blue for my 2 3/4" barreled Speed-Six for much the same reason. What I'm trying to achieve is performance equal to or better than 9mm +P loads from an auto. That can be done with Ramshot's start charges for True Blue and their ballistician recommended it to me because it's not as position sensitive as some other powders. Their ballistician is actually employed by Western Powder Co. who owns Ramshot and Accurate so he can be consulted on either powder. A Lyman 49th or the P&R III manual would be helpful also. True Blue has outstanding pressure stability. Even though it is a medium burn rate powder, Lyman used it to the highest pressure level of all loads with 110 and 125 gr. JHPs and it will flash a whole lot less than the powders you're considering. I would recommend that you look at the data for either AA#7 or True Blue at their respective websites. The Lyman Start Charges for True Blue are actually lower than Ramshot's. So, with True Blue and Ramshot's recommendation for Start Charges, performance should be pretty good in the LCR.
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Old June 1, 2013, 06:01 AM   #6
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one small tested point

In night-testing multiple guns with same-lot ammo, it becomes readily apparent that the specific launch platform used can alter the flash signature characteristics of a load.

In English: Your gun may 'flash' but another gun may not.
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Old June 1, 2013, 07:10 AM   #7
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I appreciate the input, The Vitavhouri powders are quite expensive and I was hoping to get this done with what I have on hand. since AA7 was recommended, I remembered at one time I had some AA9, so I went and looked and on the back of the shelf I found a small amount of AA9, since I am only wanting to load about 50 rounds for SD, I have enough left. would this be a better choice ? as it has been stated that spherical powders have less flash. if not then I guess I'll have to wait till I can pick up some more powder.
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Old June 1, 2013, 07:26 AM   #8
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I load 158 grain jhp bullet with AA7 powder. The flash is less with it than I was getting from the cheapest range ammo I could find. I have yet to try AA9. With a light bullet you might even be able to use AA5 powder. Just a thought.
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Old June 1, 2013, 04:13 PM   #9
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+1 on AA#7. And it meters Very consistently!
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Old June 1, 2013, 07:10 PM   #10
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IMHO, I have never been one to worry about muzzle flash, But I will make 2 points:
If you want less flash, try a longer barrel. Any snubbie makes a hell of a flash.
Flash can also be proportional to the amount of powder you use. Bullseye requires less in grains than 2400, thus the flash is less.
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Old June 1, 2013, 08:32 PM   #11
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Shootest is right that Bullseye and 700X are too fast for "magnum loads." Well. . . that kind of depends on how you define the term. Magnum pressures can be achieved (in fact, easily over-achieved), just not magnum velocities - not quite, but close.

Of the powders you have on hand, Bullseye and 700X are the ones you want to use to formulate a recipe for low flash / low recoil. (Which, I personally believe you're thinking on the right track for home defense. Low flash / low recoil also means low noise. In a home defense situation, full house .357 magnum loads would leave you with permanent hearing damage. The beauty of a .357 is that you can load rounds with sufficient stopping power AND with the above mentioned attributes.) And although they won't achieve common magnum velocities, they will go fast enough to expand and do what they're supposed to do. And you'll have a low flash, manageable round that will allow you to recover quickly and take that follow up shot if needed, and not blow out your ear drums in the process.

Please proceed with caution, as these are fast, unforgiving powders. First of all, do not use a bullet heavier than 125 grains (the Speer #4014 135g GDHP SB being the only exception) . 110g's are okay, but I'd stick with 125's if you have them.

I don't use the powders you have, so I don't have specific load data. (My home defense round is a 125 JHP with 7.6g W231) The purpose of writing this is to say that what you're trying to achieve is very doable, as well as a good idea. I don't have my load manuals with me, but if you find any data with your powder, start light. The load I use is on the low end of my Sierra manual and at just 0.4g more, case extraction is difficult and there are clear signs of over pressure. Fast powders in magnum rounds are touchy. Their pressure curves are very sharp and thus, real easy to put into dangerous territory. But that sharp pressure curve is what is going to give you the low flash you're looking for - especially from a short barrel .357. So proceed with caution, load just a few rounds at a time for testing, and work up to a suitable round. Be safe. Have fun.
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Old June 1, 2013, 09:14 PM   #12
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Quote:
I appreciate the input, The Vitavhouri powders are quite expensive and I was hoping to get this done with what I have on hand. since AA7 was recommended, I remembered at one time I had some AA9, so I went and looked and on the back of the shelf I found a small amount of AA9, since I am only wanting to load about 50 rounds for SD, I have enough left. would this be a better choice ? as it has been stated that spherical powders have less flash. if not then I guess I'll have to wait till I can pick up some more powder.
superspirit, AA#9 is an excellent .357 Magnum powder. I would definitely use it over the other powders you mentioned. I can't speak for its flash in short barrels but it gives very good accuracy and velocity. It might actually work pretty well in that Accurates Start Charges with #9 may be all the performance you're looking for. Keep in mind that their data was worked up with a 6" barrel and you're gonna lose some velocity. But with the lower powder charge, flash will also be less than the top-end loads. Since you are loading for defense and flash is important, you might want to test some handloads by shooting some at night if possible.
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Old June 2, 2013, 07:51 AM   #13
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numbers game

AA9 is (was?) a well-suppressed high-performance choice.
Use that.
Or what you have



(I used AA9 in development of a 41 Magnum civilian defense load.....)
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Old June 2, 2013, 09:01 AM   #14
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Thanks guys, with the responses here I have loaded some AA9 loads to try this morning, 5@12.6 and 5@13.2 with CCI 500 primers and 5@12.6 with CCI 550 mag primers, all with XTP 125 grn hp's, since 700x was also recommended, I will load a few of those also since I do have 357 data from the IMR website. then I will head out to the country and give them a try. thanks for all the input. will let you know how it turns out. I dont have a chrony yet, so will have to do all judging by group size and muzzle flash. thanks again for all the help.
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Old June 2, 2013, 12:03 PM   #15
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Admittedly, I had to look up LCR 357 to see what piece you have. It is a lightweight, short-barreled gun. All the more reason for going with the fast powders - as I mentioned in my previous post.

I've been loading since 1984 and have 10's of thousands of reloaded 357 round of experience. I must take issue with those telling you to go with these slow powders - that is not what you want. AA9 is excellent powder, it makes awesome full-power, high-velocity, magnum rounds - THROUGH A GUN WITH AT LEAST 6" OF BARREL LENGTH. You shoot AA9 rounds through your LCR snubbie, and you are in for some serious flash and smoke!

Slow powders have a long, gradual pressure curve - excellent for long barrels because it has the time-burn necessary to accelerate the bullet through the length of a long barrel. But it's a waste in snubbies because the back half of that long pressure curve is burning in the open air and not in your barrel - where the velocity is being produced.

That Bullseye you have is a good choice. Sierra 5th Edition (I have my manuals with me today lol) has their 110g (Sierra # 8300) at 7.1g - 8.4g. I would definitely start at no more than 7.1g. For the 125g's, (Sierra #s 8310 & 8320) they have 7.4g - 8.3g. Again, I would definitely start at no more than 7.4. I would even consider starting lower. (Also, it seems odd that the start point for the 125's are more the the start point for the 110s, but that's what the book says - got it right here in front of me.) I would be inclined to say start even lower (again), because it's got my W231 powder starting at 8.1g, and at 8.1, I experienced pressure problems. The W231 load I settled on is 7.6g - 0.5g LESS than the manual's minimum. There is no load data for the 700X, btw.

Fast powders - sharp pressure curve - good for short barrels.
Slow powders - long pressure curve - good for long barrels.
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Old June 2, 2013, 06:23 PM   #16
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Well, back from range so to speak. while the AA9 made less flash at the lower load, accuracy was non existent, they tightened up real nice at !3.2 but that came with a nice flash even in broad daylight. As for the 700x no accuracy and huge fireballs even at low loads.

Nick_C_S, thanks for your input, I guess I'll try some bullseye next, as the other powders I have are producing big flame in daylight. the load data I used for the 700x came from Hogdons website, I loaded 5@5.0/cci 500 primer, 5@5.0/cci 550 mag primer, and 5@5.5/cci 500 primer.Hogdon's website lists 4.5 to 6.4 for 125gr JHP with 700x.

I also noticed that all loads done with the magnum primers definitely produced more flash, so whatever I try next will be with standard primers.

And since this was my first time firing the little LCR. I have this to say, I love it, has less felt recoil than the SP101 357 2.5": that I traded in on it. with 357 mag loads. always shot 38's in the sp cuz it didnt handle the 357's very well.

Last edited by superspirit; June 2, 2013 at 06:38 PM.
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Old June 2, 2013, 07:00 PM   #17
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superspirit, it's a shame you didn't get good accuracy with the 12.6 load with the CCI-500 and flash should have been less than with the same charge with a CCI-550. Your accuracy improvement may have just come from settling in with the recoil because of the low number of rounds you made and tested. Bullseye is a flake powder and at high pressure, flake powders flash. The higher the pressure the greater the flash will be.

I am working up similar loads but for a Ruger Speed-Six that has a 2 3/4" barrel. My powder preference would be AA#7 but I don't have any. I do have Ramshot True Blue and their ballistician recommended its use for this application because its not as sensitive to powder positioning. With lighter charges of fast burning powder, chargeweights will be low so powder position can be an issue with .357 Magnum loads. TiteGroup gets recommended for these types of loads, but I do not like TiteGroup personally because it's known to spike at higher pressure. True Blue is slower and my loads are at about 50% density. But because True Blue is a very stable powder that gives very uniform ballistics in all handgun cartridges, I'm gonna put it to the test over the chrono. If accuracy is as good as I think it will be and the ballistic stats show that it is uniform at around Lyman's start charge data, I plan to use it in place of #7. True Blue is a very dense spherical powder that meters like hourglass sand and flash is very low in high pressure cartidges. May be just what the doctor ordered. Try it if you can get it, or AA#7 that's worked extremely well for me in the past. V-V 3N37 is another good one, but it's a bit expensive.
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Old June 2, 2013, 08:09 PM   #18
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Thanks for the input 57K, I wouldn't mind trying true blue, I just dont have any nor any extra funds right now,(bought too many new guns)LOL. Anyway right now I am working with what I have on hand. Trying to find the best of what I have, since I have the bullseye on hand and the bullets, it's just a matter of loading them up and trying them.

As for the recoil I had been firing several other fairly high recoil weapons prior to trying those loads, as I know I relax and shoot better as I get more rounds squeezed off, I did this testing about 3/4 of the way through the shooting session. And I tried one of each in my GP100 4" to check for any pressure signs prior to putting them in the lighter LCR.

It's a shame the 700x didn't do well as I came across a deal to good to pass up and I have a 12 pound drum of it to shoot up, lots of plinkin rds.lol
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