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Thread: Long range 357 magnum - bullet weight?

  1. #1
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    Long range 357 magnum - bullet weight?

    Hi guys,

    Silly question.

    I'm looking at developing a good very accurate outdoor 100 metre 357 magnum load for my Uberti 1873 and more than likely, a soon to be ordered 1885 low wall. I already have a very very accurate 50 metre load but it doesn't seem to be consistent at 100 when I've tried it possibly because its a 38spl charge in a 357mag case.

    Looking at my load data, I can get some very silly velocities using a lighter bullet out of the rifle to the point it will breach the range limit by a clear margin.

    The velocities quoted for more powerful loads will require a gas check or jacketed bullets but the question....

    What is better for accuracy at range, a lighter bullet say... 125grn or the "standard" 158grn or a heavier bullet in the 170grn/180grn category?

    Thanks

    Andy
    Common sense is inversely proportional to intelligence.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by boff180 View Post
    Hi guys,

    Silly question.

    I'm looking at developing a good very accurate outdoor 100 metre 357 magnum load for my Uberti 1873 and more than likely, a soon to be ordered 1885 low wall. I already have a very very accurate 50 metre load but it doesn't seem to be consistent at 100 when I've tried it possibly because its a 38spl charge in a 357mag case.

    Looking at my load data, I can get some very silly velocities using a lighter bullet out of the rifle to the point it will breach the range limit by a clear margin.

    The velocities quoted for more powerful loads will require a gas check or jacketed bullets but the question....

    What is better for accuracy at range, a lighter bullet say... 125grn or the "standard" 158grn or a heavier bullet in the 170grn/180grn category?

    Thanks

    Andy
    Just to be clear, before I say anything out of place, but exactly what calibre will your low wall be?

    tac
    Lots of guns and trains.

  3. #3
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    357mag at the moment (Uberti do the low wall in this calibre)

    I don't want to mess around with Black Powder therefore due to the range velocity limit (2150fps) I'm also limited by my calibrate choices to essentially 357mag, 44spl, 44-40 or 38-55

    Ideally I don't want to acquire equipment for yet another calibre therefore, if it's viable, 357mag fits the bill. However if more suitable 44spl might also although this would require adjusting my 44mag set up to make rounds.

    Hopefully that logic makes sense.

    Andy
    Common sense is inversely proportional to intelligence.

  4. #4
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    Andy,

    My 'gut' would say go for a heavier bullet and a bit more speed. Personally I would not load a 73 action up to the gills.

    By limiting yourself to another 357 in the low wall you might be restricting 'other things'.

    If you went for the 38-55 Low Wall you can easily do 100 yards but if you had the opportunity it could be loaded to work very well at longer distances, people use this case for silhouette shooting and that's out to 500m, but the weight of the low wall would make full loads a bit unpleasant so somewhere in between.

    If wanting to stay with one cartridge then heavier bullets in both the 73 and Low Wall for the longer range,

    BTW you state the MV limit, what is the energy limit out of interest, 2150 is pretty darn quick for a 357

    Brgds Terry

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the advice, the long range load would be for the low wall but all I have to test it in at the moment is the 73... I don't want to buy the gun to find I can't shoot it accurately at the range I want.

    The muzzle energy limit is 1496ftlb... its primarily a muzzle loader/pistol range.

    The Lyman reloading manual details 357mag rifle loads for H110 for 125/140grn bullets in excess of 2,300fps
    Common sense is inversely proportional to intelligence.

  6. #6
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    Back in he day for long range pistol I used 158 jsp and 2400 powder

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by boff180 View Post
    Thanks for the advice, the long range load would be for the low wall but all I have to test it in at the moment is the 73... I don't want to buy the gun to find I can't shoot it accurately at the range I want.

    The muzzle energy limit is 1496ftlb... its primarily a muzzle loader/pistol range.

    The Lyman reloading manual details 357mag rifle loads for H110 for 125/140grn bullets in excess of 2,300fps
    You don't need that kind of velocity for 100 yards. I shoot on a 100 yard range with a .357". For the lead bullet, 158gr I use 6.8 grains of Unique. The book says the velocity is 1,200fps.
    I use copper jacketed hollow point for foxes (158 grain bullet) and I use 7.2 grains of Unique.

    Accuracy is good for both loads.

    I could swap to a 125 grain bullet for either load and I would expect a velocity of about 1,600fps. Both loads that I use are fine by me so I don't see any point developing another load/bullet combination.

    .38" loads in a .357" magnum case are not very good. I have tried them. If you are using a .357" then i would select a load to suit it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by enfield2band View Post
    .38" loads in a .357" magnum case are not very good. I have tried them. If you are using a .357" then i would select a load to suit it.

    Been loading "special" data in .357 and .44 magnum cases for nearly 30 years now in revolvers, semi auto pistols, carbines and rifles. Absolutely no appreciable difference in either. All things being equal using the magnum cases over the shorter ones give a very slightly higher velocity. May very well be due to the volume of gas that stays within the case prior to movement of the bullet. Has the added advantage of a shorter free bore to the leade and no objectionable ring of residue in the chamber with shorter cases. The final trade off is just a different powder to up the power level.

    Aliant 2400 I found best for full house .357 with H110 a close second. Worked the other way round in .44.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by simgre View Post
    Been loading "special" data in .357 and .44 magnum cases for nearly 30 years now in revolvers, semi auto pistols, carbines and rifles. Absolutely no appreciable difference in either. All things being equal using the magnum cases over the shorter ones give a very slightly higher velocity. May very well be due to the volume of gas that stays within the case prior to movement of the bullet. Has the added advantage of a shorter free bore to the leade and no objectionable ring of residue in the chamber with shorter cases. The final trade off is just a different powder to up the power level.

    Aliant 2400 I found best for full house .357 with H110 a close second. Worked the other way round in .44.
    Good post, this one.

    Re: .38-55 - the usual bullet for this calibre is a 200 - 240gr Postell-type, but it is a finicky cartridge to say the least. Much experimentation can be needed to work up to a good load, and bullet moulds are not so easy to find this side of the ocean. It really is a long-range shooter - out to 600 yards, with fancy compressed loads of duplex powder, wads and perfect bullets necessary to get good results.

    tac
    Lots of guns and trains.

  10. #10
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    I use a 3gr Tightgroup with a 180gr tc in my 357mag very good at 50m but would drop like brick at 100.
    3 gr is the start load for 170gr 38spe.
    "Trust me- I know what I'm doing!"

  11. #11
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    Hi guys,

    Thanks for the advice above.

    Before I tried different powders, I went down the range today with the Club Chrono to try my standard powder Viht N320.

    I tried a number of different bullets with the maximum load and compared it to my usual target load. I did not go for accuracy I was checking velocity to see if it would drop subsonic over 100 metres, hinting a more powerful powder may be required.

    The results were as follows:-

    Load 1 - Standard Target Load
    Calibre: .357 Magnum
    Case: S&B .357 Magnum - fired 3 times
    Primer: CCI Small Pistol
    Bullet: GM Hardcast 158 grain TC
    Powder: Viht N320
    Charge: 4.8 grains - maximum .38spl load from Viht load data
    Rifle: Uberti Winchester 1873 Sporting
    Barrel: 24 1/4 inch

    Velocity: 1,066fps
    Energy: 399ftlb

    Load 2 - Maximum Load - Lead
    Calibre: .357 Magnum
    Case: S&B .357 Magnum - fired 3 times
    Primer: CCI Small Pistol
    Bullet: GM Hardcast 158 grain TC
    Powder: Viht N320
    Charge: 6.6 grains - maximum .357mag load from Viht load data
    Rifle: Uberti Winchester 1873 Sporting
    Barrel: 24 1/4 inch

    Velocity: 1,320fps
    Energy: 611ftlb

    Load 3 - Maximum Load - TMJ
    Calibre: .357 Magnum
    Case: S&B .357 Magnum - fired 3 times
    Primer: CCI Small Pistol
    Bullet: 158 grain Total Metal Jacket RNFP
    Powder: Viht N320
    Charge: 6.6 grains - maximum .357mag load from Viht load data
    Rifle: Uberti Winchester 1873 Sporting
    Barrel: 24 1/4 inch

    Velocity: 1,210fps
    Energy: 514ftlb

    Load 4 - Maximum Load - Polymer
    Calibre: .357 Magnum
    Case: S&B .357 Magnum - fired 3 times
    Primer: CCI Small Pistol
    Bullet: 158 grain TC - polymer coated - green
    Powder: Viht N320
    Charge: 6.6 grains - maximum .357mag load from Viht load data
    Rifle: Uberti Winchester 1873 Sporting
    Barrel: 24 1/4 inch

    Velocity: 1,310fps
    Energy: 602ftlb



    Based off this, I think I can see why it isn't doing well at 100 metres.... I haven't ran the numbers in a ballistic calculator but I believe it's dropping subsonic and destabilising.

    As a result I've today acquired a tub of H110 and will try again with this project. Hogdon data puts the rifle velocity out of an 18 1/2 inch barrel between 1600 and 1750fps... Lyman has larger loads listed too.

    Ta

    Andy
    Common sense is inversely proportional to intelligence.

  12. #12
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    just for a comparison in my little .357 1894 marlin with 4.8gr of bullseye,fiocchi primers,158gr hard cast hannam rnfp i get approx 1156 fps.that is the max load in my book.so with your longer barrel and my powder your velocity should be a fair bit higher

  13. #13
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    Somewhat amused by this as Elmer Keith was driving 44 Magnum 240gr boolits to 400 yards with accuracy out of a 4" revolver. Getting a .357 mag to shoot at 100 yards should be a walk in the park!
    Personally I would use a heavy round nose around 170gr (I have a lovely 6 cavity Hensley and Gibbs mould) driven by a healthy load of Alliant blue dot or Viht equivalent (340 I believe). Good shooting.

  14. #14
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    I've shot .357Mag at 300m with great lack of success - undoubtedly you'll do better than I did shooting your Low Wall and its lovely long barrel by comparison with my 8.375" S&W. Loads in that for 300m were not comfortable in a handgun, but would be just fine for a rifle.

    Since I'm not in the business of posting reloading data here based on my own experience, I'll let you look up the details, but I WAS shooting a 170gr gas-checked hard cast rather than a FMJ - see post #13.

    Lead seemed to work better on steel than FMJs - maybe its was an illusion, who knows?

    tac
    Lots of guns and trains.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodgyrog View Post
    Somewhat amused by this as Elmer Keith was driving 44 Magnum 240gr boolits to 400 yards with accuracy out of a 4" revolver. Getting a .357 mag to shoot at 100 yards should be a walk in the park!
    Personally I would use a heavy round nose around 170gr (I have a lovely 6 cavity Hensley and Gibbs mould) driven by a healthy load of Alliant blue dot or Viht equivalent (340 I believe). Good shooting.
    Well, Elmer Keith did load his pistols up to the hilt, he developed a number of rounds, countless loads and quite a few bullet head (bootlits or whatever you want to call them) shapes, he also developed the "reclined" pistol shooting position, sat down leaning back on to a solid post or some thing and resting the pistol on his knee, not to mention his "this isn't going to beat me" attitude (for those not for familiar with Elmer Keith, try to get hold of his autobiography, Hell I was there)
    "Men occasionally stumble on the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened" Winston Churchill
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