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Old October 25, 2020, 10:28 PM   #1
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.357 JHP load data

Do you guys have different load data between your .357 loads using a different bullet but the same weight?

I tested two loads yesterday using 158 JHP Noslers and Winchester. The best group of each was either 10.5gr Blue Dot or 11.5 Blue Dot but not great. My test load using 158 GD Speers was steller with the best at 11.5gr Blue Dot and second being 10.5gr. This really makes me think about whether if there is a universal load data.

Do you think it's my bad shooting or should I try AA5 or Longshot since I have these? Can one bullet brand make a big enough difference to change powders? What is your experience?
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Old October 25, 2020, 10:31 PM   #2
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Do you suggest fast powder for lead bullets?
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Old October 25, 2020, 10:39 PM   #3
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How are you doing your accuracy testing?

Distance, standing or off a bench?

Number of shots in your group?

What gun?

Please give us your group sizes.
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Old October 25, 2020, 10:57 PM   #4
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Do you guys have different load data between your .357 loads using a different bullet but the same weight?

Gold Dots are a little different than many other HP's. With them, I tend to do the top end of the work up separately. Meaning, if I have a completed work up with - say - Hornady's XTP's, I'll back down 5%-ish and re-work up with the Gold Dots. I expect the end result to be different.

Often, the biggest difference is how deep the bullet sits in the case. Assuming you seat/crimp in the cannelure (you should), it's good to measure the distance from the base of the bullet to the cannelure. A bullet of the same weight sitting deeper in the case, using the same propellant charge weight, will be result in a faster burn and higher peak pressure. Other factors will change results as well.

Just so you know, I don't spend a lot of time grouping my handgun loads. I almost always shoot at 10 yards; and at that distance, they all pretty much go straight. What I look at is velocity and standard deviation with a chronograph.

Although, your description of what you have going on was a little fuzzy to me, I think some of what is happening is a case of small sample size. Your conclusions may be premature and more testing needed.

I don't know about Longshot because I've never used it; but I know moving to AA#5 from Blue Dot is a big move (I've used both). AA#5 is a good deal faster that Blue Dot. I have worked up 158 XTP's using AA#5 (I have the chrono data if you want it); but it was approached strictly as a low-recoil short-barrel specific loading. Results were good. But it's apples n oranges compared to using Blue Dot.
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Old October 26, 2020, 09:48 AM   #5
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I spent years shooting a large variety of handguns chambered for the .357mag. I’ve even had a couple of Coonan semi’s in the mix. Almost all my testing is done at 25 yards to begin with and then moved out to fifty yards. Since I mostly use my 357mag handguns for hunting, I usually load for maximum velocity with best accuracy. For jacketed bullets, I rarely use different loads based on the fact that I almost always get the best end result with WW296/H110. Some other powders come close, but that’s just it.....close. I shoot a lot of volume and haven’t seen over time where another powder offers a reason to change. This has been true with all my different .357mag handguns...including the Coogan’s. For cast, and mid-range target loads I’ve found that different powders work better with some bullets than with others.
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Old October 26, 2020, 10:32 AM   #6
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My favorite .357 powder is AA#7. (it helps that I bought 16 pounds of it from Jeff Bartlett years ago, cheap) Lead or jacketed. It doesn't quite get the speed of 2400 or H110 but it's pretty close and it's economical even if you have to pay full price for it. It performs very similar to Blue Dot without all the drama. Herco is also good a good one with lead bullets; I like that it's bulky.
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Old October 26, 2020, 12:11 PM   #7
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I only worry about changing loads when I change bullet weights not types.
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Old October 26, 2020, 12:15 PM   #8
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Thanks for the responses so far. I went to a range on Saturday with only 2 hours to shoot maybe 20 different testloads. Obviously, I didn't finish but I tried with as little I brought with me ( no chrono, no sandbag.. ). The closest distance is 35 feet. I call it the "shooting the assailant from across the street or from a bedroom, down the hallway and to the living room". I had to wait for shooters walking out to 300 yards and back so this made the cease-fire long so I hogged as many target stands as I could. I mostly shoot test loads because I shoot on average 1x a year and accumulated test loads for the last 2 years. I haven't shot my pistols for maybe 5 years.

I benched my handgun but used a rolled up canvas jacket. In hindsight, I'll atleast use a sack filled with range dirt filled with lead. This will reduce my jerking the gun down. I figure, the test load that has the best group is where I'm going to. I'm not a bullseye shooter..

My best load with with my .45 and 200 LSWC bullets I cast myself and VVN310. Half of the magazine grouped at 2". That's besides the point since we're talking about my .357.

I use BD and I like it a lot because my .357 groups using Speer GDs are so good and I've read that it's use in my .40 should be good too. I didn't want a full power load front the 2400. 2400 might be an option later for other cast bullet loads. I've used AA9 successfully in the past and it has a strong blast. For a full .357 load, I'd use this but don't want to break my S&W.

I've read good things about AA7 and it's next to BD on the powder burn rate chart, but will it translate into similar size groups to this same bullet/BD powder combo? I don't have wads of $100 bills in my pocket.

Has anyone tried AA5 with their .357-158gr JHP loads?
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Old October 26, 2020, 03:48 PM   #9
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Gold Dots have plated jackets, so they are sort of half way between a jacketed and a lead bullet as far as the gun can tell. They upset a little more easily and that may be obturating your bore better. They also have lower start pressure, so I would expect a smaller charge with a jaketed bullet to come closer in pressure and time. A chronograph would tell you when the velocities are close.


You may want to read this. It turns out different bullet types the same weight can cause up to 30% difference in peak pressure with the same powder charge.
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Old October 26, 2020, 04:53 PM   #10
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12.5-13.0gr 2400 and your 158's ought to be a good load. Not hot, not mild. Just a good, accurate load out of my Blackhawk and Henry rifle.
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Old October 26, 2020, 07:07 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by burbank_jung View Post

I tested two loads yesterday using 158 JHP Noslers and Winchester. The best group of each was either 10.5gr Blue Dot or 11.5 Blue Dot but not great.
Where did you get your load data? Alliant shows a max of 10.2 under a 158 GD(they're not Gold Dots anymore but Deep Curls).

Nosler shows a max of 10.4 under their 158 JHP. Most accurate was 9.9

Speer gives a max of 10.2 and Lyman a max of 10.7 under 158 pills.

All but the Lyman give max kloads below you start load. You upper load of 11.5 is almost a full grain about even the stoutest load of 10.7.
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Old October 26, 2020, 11:36 PM   #12
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.357 GD Load Data

I found it online and I also used data from Waters' Petloads book. He listed 158gr Speer JSP using both loads with 10.5gr and 11.5gr BD as accurate loads. I used these, not thinking that GD could be significantly different. I tend to give up on hot loads so if the load was excessive, I would have quit. Attached are my targets from 1-2 years ago. The distance is about 35 feet. Don't ask me where the other two two holes are. Maybe I loaded 4. I get cheap.
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File Type: jpg 158GDTargets.JPG (262.0 KB, 6 views)
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Old October 26, 2020, 11:59 PM   #13
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Pistol Range Distance

I never measured the pistol range distance. Here is a photo of it but I'm guessing it's past 25 feet. That's my revolver I'm shooting my test loads with and yes, I do like dogs. I just don't like the card.
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