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Old September 12, 2021, 05:21 PM   #1
horseman308
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Bullet choice for deer - .357mag in a 1873 Uberti

The place I hunt is pretty thick. Straight wall rifle cartridges are legal this year for deer, so I'm gonna take the 1873 out I was gonna get some of the new Federal Hammer Down loads, but of course, there's none to be had. I've read that as most .357mag is intended for short barrels (i.e. pistols), many bullets meant for defensive use end up fragmenting at the higher velocities from a carbine.

Whether that is true or not I can't attest. But I've got all the components to load a deer worthy cartridge, except maybe the bullets. I do have some 158g hardcast lead, but I don't know I how those would do. I'm open to suggestions on bullet selection. Assuming bullets can be found either....
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Old September 12, 2021, 05:48 PM   #2
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You can push a Hornady XTP pretty hard. You might consider the 158 grain offering, or 180gr.
They have the 140 grain polymer tip that might be interesting, but I have not tried them.

Hard cast would not be my choice for deer, deer are not thick skinned and heavy boned.

Don’t worry about overdriving a 158 grain xtp. It can take it.
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Old September 12, 2021, 08:59 PM   #3
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Generally speaking the 125JHP is optimized for defensive use from pistols and I can tell you from personal experience that when driven to 2200fps from a carbine their performance is radically different and while violently expanding, penetration is ..suboptimal.

The regular jacketed 158s (and here I'd go with the soft point over the hollow point) can be driven over 1800fps from a carbine, and GENERALLY still hold together and perform well in game.

The bullet maker can tell you the velocity range their bullet is designed for. Give them a call or email and see what they say.
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Old September 13, 2021, 05:02 AM   #4
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Either 158gr XTP’s or 180gr XTP’s. Since I have both I’d prefer the 180gr.
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Old September 13, 2021, 05:44 AM   #5
horseman308
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Thanks guys. I ordered some 158g XTP's, as that's what was in stock at Midsouth.

Next question: I thought I had some better pistol powder for mag rounds. I've got Win 231 I got for loading .38spl target rounds, but I'm reading that it's too fast-burning for magnum rounds. Powder is harder to find these days, so anything particular I should be looking for? Or would the W231 suffice?
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Old September 13, 2021, 09:23 AM   #6
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L'il Gun
Unique

Are my faves. Lots of good powders for .357
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Old September 13, 2021, 10:53 AM   #7
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If you don't have a reloading manual, and one that has the .357 Magnum in both the rifle and pistol sections, GET ONE!!

The first couple of my manuals that I looked at don't even list 231 in the .357 Magnum Rifle section. In the pistol section, they show 231 maxing out in the 1100fps range with a 158gr jacketed bullet from a 6" barrel.

Unique is in the rifle section, delivers 1400fps range speed with the 158gr there.

2400 is my choice, and the only powder I've been using in .357 for decades. Max loads from a carbine deliver he 158gr jacketed bullet into the 1800fps range, and you aren't going to get much more than that with anything you can use.

some manuals do show slightly higher speeds using H110 or W296, but the difference isn't much, and well within the difference that can result from simply using a different gun. I've used H110 and 296 in the .357, don't care for them, and while I do use them in .44Mag, in .357, I stick with 2400 powder, Been using it with good results for about 50 years, personally, I see no reason to change now.

Seriously, if you don't have a reloading manual, get one, or three....Get the one from Lyman for general stuff and get the one from the maker of the bullet you plan to use (Speer, Hornady, etc) for their tests and results with their bullets.
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Old September 13, 2021, 11:53 AM   #8
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I've got 2 different Lyman manuals and a Hornady manual. Your point is well taken. My question is more based on the idea that j don't want to buy 4 or 5 different powders just to try them out if I can get a pointer or two.
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Old September 13, 2021, 12:47 PM   #9
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Your powder choice “doesn’t really matter.” What other cartridges do you shoot? Seek a powder that serves many needs.

2400 and Unique (see 44Amp, above) are good “general” stout load pistol powders and are better than 231 or bullseye for safety reasons (those powders can be double charged in error) and are “fast”, a slower powder will give better performance.

If you have big bore magnum handguns, like .44 or .45, then the Lil Gun class powders may be slightly better and you can enjoy learning about them in your big boomers, too.

If you don't have a can of 2400 or Unique in the shop, these are classics for a reason. They work a lot better than "good enough" and are broadly used in many loads.

For example, I shoot cast 180 lead from my 30-06 with a little charge of Unique for a plinking load. It smells good, too.
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Old September 13, 2021, 04:07 PM   #10
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Over the last forty+ years I’ve shot well over fifty deer with the .357mag and another dozen or so with the .357mag in a Marlin lever gun. Almost all were shot with a 158g Hornady XTP or a 180g Hornady XTP. Neither bullet will “blow up” at any load you can shoot at any book load. I’ve shot the same bullets in a .357MAX and they became problematic at 2300fps and above. I’ve used H110/WW296 for almost all my loads for many years. Other powders will work as well. FWIW, if you look at the Lyman loading manual, they show the same loads for both handgun and rifle.
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Old September 13, 2021, 08:24 PM   #11
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I was discussing this with a friend and he brought up a point I had overlooked, and a valid one, I think.

And that is that the OP is using an 1873 action rifle. Now, its modern steel, so its quite a bit better than the originals, but the old toggle lock up design of the 73 just isn't as strong as more modern designs, like the Win 92 or the Marlin 1894.

Should do fine with any regular factory level .357 load today, BUT when handloading, I'd approach the heavier loads with caution, and at the first sign the rifle isn't completely happy, I'd stop, back off a bit, and call that the working max.

Every gun will not be happy with every load in the book. Some aren't happy with book loads that used the same make & model test gun. Some guns shoot loads faster than the test guns, others slower.

Sometimes, the listed starting load turns out to be a gun's max right there. I've seen it with a .357. Its not common but it does sometimes happen, and you won't know about it, until it does.

Remember every load and every gun is a unique special combination of factors. Most of the time things line up the same way and we get the usual results. But, every now and then, things line up in just the right way to produce very atypical results.
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Old September 14, 2021, 05:33 PM   #12
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The Hornady XTP-FP was designed for the higher velocity of a rifle, I'd start there and use Lil' Gun, 2400, or H110.
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Old September 15, 2021, 12:45 PM   #13
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Lil’Gun and H110 are very similar. May as well add W296 to the mix. They are great powders for strong magnum loads.

2400 can be used in most anything, from midrange to stout loads. In these days of scarcity, I would rather have a pound of 2400.
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Old September 15, 2021, 01:49 PM   #14
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Another vote for 2400 and either the 158XTP or the 180XTP. Preferably the 180.
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Old September 15, 2021, 03:45 PM   #15
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A max load of 2400 under a 158 Hard Cast (only if it's a SWC shape) will surprise you. Should give full penetration if shots are kept to 50 yards.
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Old September 15, 2021, 06:14 PM   #16
horseman308
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Thanks, y’all. 44AMP, your point is well taken. I had wondered about that regarding the strength of a 73 action. I'll be certain to be cautious. Now, I just need to find some powder....
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Old October 2, 2021, 10:11 AM   #17
Red Devil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horseman308 View Post
The place I hunt is pretty thick. Straight wall rifle cartridges are legal this year for deer, so I'm gonna take the 1873 out I was gonna get some of the new Federal Hammer Down loads, but of course, there's none to be had. I've read that as most .357mag is intended for short barrels (i.e. pistols), many bullets meant for defensive use end up fragmenting at the higher velocities from a carbine.

Whether that is true or not I can't attest. But I've got all the components to load a deer worthy cartridge, except maybe the bullets. I do have some 158g hardcast lead, but I don't know I how those would do. I'm open to suggestions on bullet selection. Assuming bullets can be found either....
Inside of 100 yds...?

Factory:
Federal American Eagle 158 gr. JSP.
Barnes VOR-TX 140 gr. XPB.
HDY Custom 158 gr. XTP.
Remington 180 gr. JHP.

Handload:
HDY 180 gr. XTP over H110 powder.




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