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Old February 7, 2016, 10:42 PM   #1
SAA GunSlinger
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S&W 586 powerful loads?

Hello, I just recently purchased a model 586 6inch 357 magnum to go with my, 44 magnum model 29 and my 38 special model 36. I make my own reloads and always used a Ruger GP100 for my reloads. I recently sold my Ruger Gp100 for the smith and Wesson 586. (im a big smith and Wesson fan) What I wanted to know is can the smith and Wesson 586 handle powerful loads. I loaded 125 grn Hornady XTP bullets with H110 powder, loaded at 21 grains of powder, starting load data from the lymann reloading book. They were very stout and powerful loads but fun to shoot but the Ruger Gp100 with the strong frame it had, had issues with them. After firing 50 rounds of it, the cylinder would freeze up and become stiff. After a good cleaning it was back to normal but anytime I fired those powerful loads the gun would repeat the problem but I would work the action and put normal 158 grain factory loads in and it would go back to shooting just fine. I feel that the powerful 125 grn loads I was putting through the gun was a little much, so I reframed from doing it. I load for 45 colt, .50 AE, 44 mag and 357mag, im new to loading 357 mag rounds and im trying to learn what loads are healthy for a 357 revolver and what are not. I really loved shooting the 125 grain powerful loads through it, made a hell of a bang and fireball and shot straight as an arrow but could my new smith and Wesson 586 handle these powerful loads? What would be good loads for my smith and Wesson 586? Its a gorgeous gun and Id hate to ruin it. Its never been fired, so I figured before I tried anything else I would come to the experts and ask. Would 125 Grn bullets loaded with 21 grains H110 be safe to shoot from a smith and Wesson 586 and if not what would be good healthy loads that wont harm the gun? Your advice would be greatly appreciated

Last edited by SAA GunSlinger; February 7, 2016 at 10:50 PM.
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Old February 8, 2016, 03:28 AM   #2
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Your Ruger wasn't binding up because the loads were too powerful. It was binding up because it was getting dirty in the wrong places. If the loads were "too powerful", the gun wouldn't recover if it were being subjected to too much stress in critical areas. The S&W 586 is every bit as strong as the Ruger, and both guns will easily digest any "book" load you put through it. I owned one 586 and owned three 686's (same gun in stainless). My current favorite 686 in 6" configuration has probably digested more full power h110/ww296 loads over the last ten or twelve years than you'll shoot in a lifetime and it's still going strong with no problems what so ever. Shooting 125g bullets with the powder you're using is leaving a lot of unburned powder in the gun. That's what makes that big fireball every time you pull the trigger. In my opinion, the 125g bullet is a complete waste in a full power 357mag load. You will get your most muzzle energy and best performance with bullets in the 158g-180g range. The lightest weights I find effective are 140g XTPs and I consider them the minimum weight I'd even consider. You might want to consider using a different powder if you're going to keep using 125g bullets and tone down that "fireball" coming out of the end and sides of the gun. Yes, the sides. Shoot it in the dark and you'll soon see the total amount of unburned powder and hot gas coming out in a corona around the gun. That crud is binding your gun up.
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Old February 8, 2016, 08:42 AM   #3
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Both the Ruger GP100 and the S&W "L" frame revolvers were built to handle any reasonable load for a long time.
What you've been doing with the hot 125 grain loads is about as hard on the guns as anything possible. It's claimed that the hot 125 grain load contribute to "flame cutting" of the frame and expansion of the forcing cone. This may be more of an opinion than proven fact but there's some reason for the damage.
FWIW I don't use 125 grain loads in 357 just because I don't need a huge fireball and "hell of a bang".
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Old February 8, 2016, 08:45 AM   #4
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Your Ruger wasn't binding up because the loads were too powerful. It was binding up because it was getting dirty in the wrong places.
I agree.

both guns will easily digest any "book" load you put through it.
A also agree.

"Hot" published loads are fine.
"Hot" loads beyond pulished data might kill one gun before the other.
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Old February 8, 2016, 10:44 AM   #5
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Thank you all for your help, I will stay away from the 125 grn loads, as you pointed out its just a waste of powder and if I decide to use them again ill search for a cleaner powder. Figured it was something along those lines of the gun getting to dirty from the loads I was firing. Fired everything else just fine but when I used those 125 grn reloads that's when it would bind up. Its comforting to know that the 586 is just as strong as the GP100. I got a lot of 158grn semi wadcutters, ill start reloading those as you said the 158grn -180grn range have the best performance and ill reload them at base loads, no need to waste a lot of powder or stress the gun anymore then I have too, especially if im just plinking at the range. Thanks once again Nosecondbest and Mobuck
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Old February 8, 2016, 10:58 AM   #6
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I shot all of these loads in a S&W M586 without any issues, only have chronograph data in a Colt MKIII. Should work fine in your M586

Colt Trooper MKIII 6" Barrel 
158 gr LRN  3.5 grs Bullseye 38 SPL cases WSP
30-Dec-15	T = 55 ° F	
Ave Vel =768	
Std Dev =18	
ES  =	72.03	
High  =798	
Low  =	725.9	
N =	18	
158 gr LSWC  13.5 grs 2400  R-P cases WSP
30-Dec-15	T = 55 ° F	
Ave Vel =1169	
Std Dev =33	
ES  =	176.3	
High  =1276	
Low  =	1100	
N =	24	
158 gr LSWC  Lino 15.5 grs W296  3D cases CCI 500
30-Dec-15	T = 55 ° F	
Ave Vel =1156	
Std Dev =53	
ES  =	203.4	
High  =1285	
Low  =	1081	
N =	24	
158 gr JHP 13.5 grs 2400  R-P cases WSP
30-Dec-15	T = 58 ° F	
Ave Vel =1108	
Std Dev =18	
ES  =	49.86	
High  =1140	
Low  =	1090	
N =	6	
If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.
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Old February 8, 2016, 05:14 PM   #7
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I used to shoot a lot of similarly loaded rounds through a couple of my 686's in year's past. They seemed to digest them just fine.

I however, have outgrown shooting rounds of such genre.
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Old February 8, 2016, 09:04 PM   #8
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I was at an ultrasound startup in 1994 and some ugly old grumpy mechanical engineer sold me a 686 that was like new for $300, except he put different trigger spring in it. He was also a gunsmith and a biologist. I normally work with MEs that drifted into electronics where there are no moving parts as a result of complacency. But this guy was the exception. What a brilliant old grump. I shot it a few times and sold it to some young mensch engineer for $300.
That was before I started collecting data on the thickness of chamber walls, in revolvers between cylinders and to the outside. But I do remember the 6 shot 686 as having thick walls.
This was before I started collecting hundreds of guns and trying to blow them up. This was before my father showed me how to calculate the stress in guns.
This was before I partnered up with John Berkowitz to prove the load books were wrong about the CZ52 and the Tokarev.
But this was after Berkowitz had written about the math of the 357 magnum.
Almost any post on any forum about hot loads pressure in a 357 magnum will reflect an ignorance of the concepts in John's post.
The 357 magnum for revolvers is what can be finger tip extracted 6 at a time. Those are the arrows shot into the fence. SAAMI registered max average pressure is the target painted around the arrows in the fence.
But there is more that can go wrong than the splitting of the cylinders and breaking of the top straps of revolvers with 357 mag overload that I have done at least 3 times.
The smith and wessons can get loose rotationally. If the cylinder does not line up with the forcing cone, then when the bullet enters the forcing cone, the bullet can change direction and put a momentary torque on the cylinder with respect to the frame. There is a bolt coming up through a slot in the frame and fitting in a slot in the cylinder. The torque can bend open the frame slot or the cylinder slot slightly. The next shot will have an even worse axial orientation between the chamber and the forcing cone and the torque can be even bigger.
Having bought smiths that are loose, having bought smiths that I shot loose, and having bought smiths that I have not shot loose, I would make some generalizations. While the threshold of brass deformation or cylinder splitting may be repeatable, the rotational shooting loose is unpredictable. Hotter loads are higher risk.
1) Colts with the trigger pushing on the hand, making perfect alignment, do not shoot loose.
2) Smiths come from the factory tight. They may or may not get shot loose.
3) Ruger come loose from the factory.
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"Ad hominem fallacy" is not the same as point by point criticism of books. If you bought the book, and believe it all, it may FEEL like an ad hominem attack, but you might strive to accept other points of view may exist.
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Old February 11, 2016, 06:11 AM   #9
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Was it binding up due to bullet slip? Or from being dirty? With too little crimp the last few bullets in the cylinder could slip and rub the forcing cone when the cylinder is revolved.
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