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Old March 22, 2000, 01:49 PM   #1
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Powder Test for the 357 SIG

Note: This reloading info is just that. I am NOT responsible for your actions. Use official reloading data from the manuals to work up your own loads. I am not responsible for any typing errors, etc

Listed below are the chronograph results, using Blue Dot, AA9, and Power Pistol.

Flash: AA9 wins. It had a long subtle flash. Obviously, it has flash inhibitors. Power Pistol and Blue Dot both have long bright flashes. Although, they are fairly narrow, about 5". Therefore, I don't think there is a night blinding issue with them, although I don't have the facilities to test this feature. In daylight, the flashes are really difficult to see.

Most Versatile: Power Pistol wins big time. PP is the only powder I know of that pushes a 124 grain bullet up to 1500 fps (5.32" barrel), as well as working very well in .40S&W loads. In fact, according to the stats, it also works very well in 9mm and with regular and +P .45ACP loads. Other powders such a Vihtavouri N350, Hodgdon HS6, Alliant Unique, etc can push the 357 SIG between 1250 - 1350. But none of them can match Power Pistol, which pushes a 124 grain bullet easily into the 1400's with "normal" pressure ratings.

Accuracy: All 3 powders shot 1" groups.

Perceived recoil: All 3 powders felt identical.

Economic usage: Power Pistol wins. Both Blue Dot and especially AA9 require a lot more grains.

Clean or dirty: All three powders are acceptable. It's easy to clean the pistol afterwards. And more importantly, I don't have powder on my face or arms after shooting, as in when I use something like Unique.

For my chronograph tests, I chose to use the powder company's max values. True, the Speer Reloading manual cranks up some of these powders another full grain or so. But these wide variations have a lot to do with the exact components used. And I rarely if ever use the same components. Therefore, in order not to fight the pressure demon, I chose the more moderate Powder company listings.

Pistol: Glock 35; 5.32" KKM barrel; OAL 1.135; Rainier 124 grain flat point bullets; Starline brass; standard Winchester primers; temperature in the 50's at Sherwood, Oregon.

Regarding the plated Rainer plated bullet: I know this might surprise some of you. But the Rainier performed superbly and flew truly, and accurately, all the way up to 1500 fps. When I cleaned the barrel, there was very little residue. It was simple and quick to clean with some mellow Pro-Shot Cleaner and Lubricant.

Hi: High velocity
Lo: Low velocity
Es: Extreme spread
Av: Average velocity
Sd: Standard deviation

Gr hi lo es av sd
11.8 1286 1241 45 1264 15
12.1 1328 1307 21 1314 8
12.4 1359 1344 15 1351 6
12.7 1386 1371 15 1378 5
13.0 1406 1393 13 1400 5

AA9 is very impressive with its low standard deviation. It's within 20 fps of making IPSC Major Power. If you choose to follow the Speer manual, you could make major at around 13.2 grains, aprox.

Blue Dot
Gr hi lo es av sd
9.4 1212 1170 42 1190 16
9.7 1287 1249 38 1264 15
10.0 1300 1256 44 1282 17
10.3 1313 1282 31 1303 12
10.6 1341 1294 47 1320 22

The manual states that with a 4" barrel, BD should push a bullet at 1405 fps while using 10.6 grains. I wasn't even close. On the other hand, I've heard more than once that Blue dot is not very consistent because of temperature/elevation variations. I'm sure it could hit 1400 fps in the right situation.

Alliant Power Pistol
Gr hi lo es av sd
7.3 1235 1188 47 1215 21 (this load is a little too low and barely cycles the slide)
8.3 1380 1324 56 1359 22
8.6 1401 1367 34 1389 12
8.9 1435 1395 40 1418 13
9.2 1492 1442 50 1461 16
9.5 1501 1441 60 1477 22

All I can say is, "Wlw"! Power Pistol puts everything else to shame. Those velocities are incredible. IPSC major power can be obtained with 9.1 grains, which is still 4/10's less than the maximum 9.5 grains at 37,200 psi. That means PP is working at very manageable pressures.

I was so impressed with Power Pistol, that I created a couple .40 S&W loadings as well.

OAL: 1.135; mixed brass, and otherwise same as the above.

180 grain Montana Gold Flat point FMJ
Gr hi lo es av sd
6.1 965 923 41 937 17
6.3 986 936 50 961 20
6.5 1001 986 15 993 6
6.7 1029 986 42 1009 18
6.9 1044 992 52 1021 20

165 grain Montana Gold Flat point FMJ

Gr hi lo es av sd
6.5 1016 994 21 1004 7
6.7 1053 1028 25 1042 7
6.9 1069 1048 21 1059 8
7.1 1074 1062 12 1068 5
7.3 1106 1085 21 1097 9

Both the 180 and 165 grain Montana Gold rounds were quite accurate, within 1/4" of my best 357 Sig loadings. Once again, you can make IPSC major power levels at mellow pressure limits.
petej88 is offline  
Old March 30, 2000, 03:00 PM   #2
Join Date: January 13, 2000
Posts: 54
Thanks for posting the test results! I've tried AA#7, Unique, and W231 in the past. Although they all work quite well, I was looking for something a little bit better/different. I have also tried Power Pistol recently with the same excellent results that you have found. I had been planning to try AA#9 and Blue Dot for comparison reasons, but it looks like you have saved me the bother.
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Old August 27, 2002, 08:03 PM   #3
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power pistol and an p239

3.6 inch barrel power pistol gave me 1393 with sd of 7 and es of only going to try it in some of the others i have when the rain stops,it is a load well above the book.may not be safe in your gun as always work up to it .or better yet leave it to somebody else in case something goes wrong ,thanks,keith
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Old August 28, 2002, 11:06 PM   #4
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Posts: 986
thanks for posting!

Just tonight I tested some Herco loads in .40 S&W. At 95 degrees, they came in 20 fps OVER the advertised speeds according to Alliant. Accuracy remains undetermined, as I didn't "fluff" the sandbag and wound up with the grips on a hard surface for two of the five shots.

Flash report: Herco has a medium orange glow about the size of a hardball, of fairly short duration. IME, Power Pistol flashes almost white and much brighter.

BTW, I believe that Speer's data runs hotter because so many of their bullets have slippery and slightly thicker copper jackets, and 3% antinmony cores, which results in less frictional "slugging" as the bullets accelerate down the bore.

At what distance were you getting those 1 inch groups? That .357 SIG is catching my interest again.
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Old September 2, 2002, 06:41 PM   #5
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I have a couple 357 Sigs, and I have tried Power Pistol and LONGSHOT with 124 gr bullets.

They do not get much power before the Starline brass primer pocket goes oblong and and primer falls out. I tried various other brass brands, but the 357 Sig is just not a performer for me like 9x23 or 40 S&W.

And I shoul say that my trouble starts less than a grain above some of the loads posted above.
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Old September 2, 2002, 10:14 PM   #6
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Sounds like you may have had problems with the die adjustments. Possibily shoulder not in correct position, bad crimp for the type of bullet being used, and so on. Some resizer dies like RCBS have had issues with forming brass correctly. Picking the right bullet is critical for the 357 Sig too. Just guessing since I don't know your situation.

Glad you found something that works well for you though.
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Old September 10, 2002, 05:48 PM   #7
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power pistol and the p229 sport

i tried pp and 9.8 it is over book use at your own risk.shoots great.6 shots in a p35 chronograpy hi 1522 lo 1474 ave 1504 sd 16 .very accurate,thanks,keith

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