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Old March 5, 2013, 01:11 PM   #1
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Reloading handgun rounds for levergun

So I'm just starting to get into reloading. I've got a press(Lee Breech Lock since I'm not planning on turning out massive amounts of ammo a month) and a 3 die set.
I'm having some problems and I'm thinking you guys could help lead me in a good direction or at least to some places I can find the answers I need.
This is for a .357MAG, btw.

First: I need a crimp die. I've heard that I should use a factory crimp because it will hold the bullet in place better when it's loaded into a tubular magazine. I've also heard that just a slight taper crimp will work if the bullets have a decent cannelure. Can you guys clear that up any?

Second: Should I use reloading info for rifles or handguns as a starting point? And if I use handgun loads, should I change the powder? I'm not planning on hunting or doing anything at distances beyond about 125 yards.
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Old March 5, 2013, 01:55 PM   #2
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Yes, a slight taper crimp is fine.../ or just a little more than it takes to get the amount of bell that you put into the case out ....and using a bullet that has a cannelure is important you're ok there ( some don't have one )...and you need a bullet with the cannelure to minimize the potential for "setback" when you load the rounds in a tube magazine in the rifle...or for that matter, as the handgun recoils, its a good thing to have them for the handgun rounds too in heavy caliber or magnum revolvers.

Honestly, I load the same round in .357 mag ....for my handguns ( for all of my S&W double action revolvers (K, L and N frames), my single action Freedom Arms and my lever action Henry rifle....( 158gr Montana Gold bullet ) ...and I'm using Hodgdon Universal for a powder right now.

I can't be bothered to inventory more than 1 load that I can use in everything. But if I wanted to use someting to maximize the potential of my .357 mag ....I could load a few boxes up to "Rifle" specs in the loading manuals.../ I wouldn't shoot "rifle" specs loads in my handguns though - while certainly a good stout Freedom Arms revolver or probably even an N frame S&W could tolerate it ...I wouldn't risk it personally.

Shooting for me is for recreation ...not about maximizing the velocity or performance on a round ...but if I wanted to compete in some kind of a long range bulls-eye competition, I'd fool around with it a little.
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Old March 5, 2013, 02:18 PM   #3
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Revolver rounds, either shot in a handgun or rifle, should be roll crimped. The ammo was designed for roll crimps to avoid bullet jump with hard recoiling guns, but the roll crimp has the advantage of assisting some powders to burn a bit cleaner (2400, H110 and W296 all burn better with a heavy crimp). Sometimes a heavy taper crimp will swage the bullet down.

Since your rifle is prolly a modern manufactured piece, to S.A.A.M.I. specs. it will handle all punlished reloads, rifle or handgun. I have 5, .44 Magnums and I started the reloading process the same with carbine, single shot, or revolver; use starting loads and increase until I got the accuracy/preformance I want.

The third die in your Lee set is a combo seat/crimp die. I would advize adjusting the die to seat the bullet (back the die body out so the cimp ridge doesn't touch the case first, then adjust stem for seating depth. Use an empty case to determine no crimping is happening yet), then back the seating stem way out and drop the die body to the desired crimp. In other words, separate the seating/crimping into 2 operations, less problems that way. Or you could buy a separate crimp die for use with a breech lock so you won't have to do quite the adjusting as you would with one die used for 2 separate operations...

I would avoid the Lee Factory Crimp Die. There is no need for "post seating resizing" of any correctly loaded round.
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Last edited by mikld; March 5, 2013 at 02:27 PM.
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Old March 5, 2013, 02:20 PM   #4
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If you are going to use magnum powders like H110, W296, 2400, N110 and the like, you'll want to use a roll crimp to aid in proper ignition of the powder. These heavy powders have to be 'held back' by the crimp until a good, solid fire is burning.

If you use faster powders like Unique, Universal, Bullseye and such then a taper crimp should be plenty.

You can use handgun data or rifle data, either will be safe, it's just a matter of performance.

If you want to shoot out to 100 yards and beyond, I would recommend 2400 as a powder (good powder to start out with), any primer you can find, and a 158 grain Hornady XTP or Remington JHP, and a solid roll or profile crimp.

I like the Redding profile crimp die. Adjusted light it makes a fine taper crimp, adjusted heavy it does a full roll crimp.

I don't like the Lee factory crimp die. It can crush the bullet (especially lead bullets) depending on your brass, and has a very short adjustment range.
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Old March 5, 2013, 02:31 PM   #5
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I have revolvers and carbines in both .357 and .44 mag. I use the same powders, same bullets and the same recipes for revolver and carbines. Have yet to find the need to load differently for them both. Only thing I might warn about is when one is loading mouse fart loads. If it don't make 800fps outta your revolver, I wouldn't shoot them in your rifle for fear of a stuck bullet.
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Old March 5, 2013, 04:21 PM   #6
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I'll second the recommendation for the REDDING Profile crimp die.

If you check your load manual you'll see that the loads are the same for rifle and revolver except that you might see a powder or two that are slightly slower burning for use in the rifle, i.e. IMR & H4227.

If you want data that is near the original pressure spec for the .357 Magnum, you can find them in the Lyman Pistol & Revolver III or the 49th edition load manuals.
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