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Old January 11, 2012, 09:18 PM   #30
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Join Date: November 8, 2007
Posts: 2,001
Downsides of hot loads

Of course it is true that shooting hot loads will wear out a gun faster than shooting warm loads. And it is also true that shooting warm loads will wear out a gun faster than shooting "mouse-fart" loads. But, those are not SAFETY issues.

People bought .357 Magnums on medium frames like the GP-100 because of the compromise they provide between carry weight, power and trajectory. It once was a good and popular compromise. SAAMI's new standard that is down-grading its maximum potential has created issues in a lot of areas. As one example, Maryland requires a muzzle energy of 700 foot-pounds and a 6" barrel as the minimum legal deer load for a handgun. That was based on the specifications of the .357 Magnum, as advertized at the time that law was passed. Now, only Buffalo Bore and Grizzly load "factory" ammo that meets that specification.

Is it going to blow-up your GP-100 to shoot those rounds? No. Will it wear out your barrel faster? Yes. Does that mean that you should NEVER shoot those loads? No. Then what does it mean? As always, it means that you can safely shoot enough of those loads to sight-in your gun and hunt deer successfully without wearing out your gun, but if you choose to practice with those loads extensively, you WILL wear out your gun. And, shooting enough to safely work-up those loads is just more wear. So, if you are only going to use such powerful rounds for limited purposes, it may pay to BUY these hot loads instead of working them up as handloads.

One thing to be aware of when using the hottest loads in a revolver is that the actual velocity of those loads will decrease as the barrel wears. Losses of as much as 200 fps are documented between when the SAME gun was new and after it had been fired extensively, using the SAME loads. And, no, adding more powder to get that lost velocity back is NOT a safe practice.

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