Update to my search for a mild 357 Magnum

Update to my search for a mild 357 Magnum

This is a discussion on Update to my search for a mild 357 Magnum within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Iím new to revolvers, only been carrying a LCR since Thanksgiving last year. Purchased the 357 model. Figured 357 isnít that bad and people just ...

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Thread: Update to my search for a mild 357 Magnum

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    Update to my search for a mild 357 Magnum

    Iím new to revolvers, only been carrying a LCR since Thanksgiving last year. Purchased the 357 model. Figured 357 isnít that bad and people just act like babies about the recoil. Then I fired some factory Hornady 158gr 357 Magnum. Yep. That hurt. I do occasionally reload, and set my sights on something between a 38spl+p and a full power 357 Magnum. Iíve done a few light 38spl loadings before, but wanted to load some ammo that would cover all the bases to sort of have an idea for what each recipe gets you in terms of recoil.

    Loaded up mostly 158gr LSWC bullets, except for the H110 loadings. For each, I did a few at the minimum powder charge, a few in the middle of the range, and a few at or near max charge. The powders used were Trailboss, Clays, HS-6, True Blue, and H110. Every load received a CCI small pistol magnum primer. I referenced the Hornady and Lee manuals for the different load data.

    Finally got to the range to test out the loads I made up a couple weeks back. Here are some of the highlights:

    Trailboss: All were incredibly mild, from minimum to maximum charge. Felt like a light 38spl. Would be great for a new shooter.

    Clays: Also very mild, although a hair more punch than the Trailboss loads. I noticed that at 7 yards, with the minimum charge loading of Clays, I fired literally a 1 hole group, probably a .5Ē hole for 3 rounds. Was the most accurate of the day. Not sure if it was just me or the load that shot well that time. Would definitely load more of them to investigate.

    HS-6: Definitely getting up there in power. From the minimum to maximum, definitely a step up from 38spl+p recoil. Beginning to get a bit uncomfortable in my LCR. Iíve used HS-6 in 38spl leadings, and got terrible powder burn, was a total mess. Was much better in this loading in 357.

    True Blue: Another very slight step up from the HS-6. Not a great powder burn at any loading weight. Some powder left unburnt on my hands and in the cylinder. Itís very fine, almost like a baby powder, and makes a total mess.

    H110: Holy freaking cow. Great powder burn (heck, almost burnt down the entire range 😂), heaviest recoil, but for some reason it didnít seem as painful as some other factory 357s Iíve fired. Maybe because these were 125gr instead of 158gr like the factory magnums Iíve fired? Basically was incredibly loud, even with properly sealed earplugs, my ears are STILL ringing a couple hours later. There was a guy next to me shooting an AR with a huge muzzle brake. No problem. This max load of H110 was WAY louder than that AR. Iíve fired a 9mm handgun before without hearing protection, and the 21.5gr of H110 with a 125gr Gold Dot was 95% as loud through my earplugs as a 9mm without ear plugs. Not to even mention the 3í diameter and 7í long fire ball that came out of my 2Ē barrel. Was just generally ridiculous.

    So at the end of the day, it seems like there isnít really much overlap between a 38spl +p and a lighter magnum. It seems like the magnums are much more versatile in velocity than I expected. Iím less than a year into revolvers, pretty new to magnum cartridges, having only fired about 75rds of Magnum ammo, and brand new to reloading Magnum ammo. I can certainly see why handloaders are into going for the nuclear hot loading of Magnum rounds. Fun stuff to play with. Oh, and my thumb is literally missing skin after this trip. Iíve included a screen cap of whatís probably the first 1/4 of the length of the flash of the H119 load. Definitely plan on loading some more of those up and touching book max. Oh, and doubling up on hearing protection and wearing sunglasses. 😎

    Anyway, seems like this whole search for a more mild magnum was all for not, I think Iíll just stick with a 38spl+p for carry. Plenty of power. Will continue to handloads some of the hot stuff, and maybe even get a full size steel revolver to shoot the hot loads out of so I can stop beating my hands to death with this lightweight Ruger LCR.


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  2. #2
    Nix
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    I have tried several mild .357 loads. Because I carry a J frame or LCR, I like an easier shooting round than full magnum loads.

    In my experience, .357 Magnum is one of the more versatile loads. For snubbies, I like the quicker burning powder, because there just isn't a whole lot of barrel to work with.

    HS-6 is nice for that. I'm not sure I've used True Blue, but I expect that would make for a fine "Mild .357". Unique or Universal makes for nice mid range loads. Power Pistol seems to have worked well for me, too. 231 might be a good choice. Accurate #5 works here, too. Titegroup is a pretty versatile powder that plays well in the magnums, but won't give you full magnum velocities (or recoil).

    H-110, 2400, Enforcer, etc.... those are really for hot magnum loads. When I'm loading for full performance, I reach for H-110 or VV N110.


    158 LSWCs are great rounds, but I've tried 140 XTP's, too. Less weight = less recoil. The 140's have worked well for me out of snubbies.

    Also, be sure to get a decent crimp on the .357's: prevents the bullets from creeping out with recoil, but also helps the powder burn evenly.

    Have fun!
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    Member Array starlights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nix View Post
    I have tried several mild .357 loads. Because I carry a J frame or LCR, I like an easier shooting round than full magnum loads.

    In my experience, .357 Magnum is one of the more versatile loads. For snubbies, I like the quicker burning powder, because there just isn't a whole lot of barrel to work with.

    HS-6 is nice for that. I'm not sure I've used True Blue, but I expect that would make for a fine "Mild .357". Unique or Universal makes for nice mid range loads. Power Pistol seems to have worked well for me, too. 231 might be a good choice. Accurate #5 works here, too. Titegroup is a pretty versatile powder that plays well in the magnums, but won't give you full magnum velocities (or recoil).

    H-110, 2400, Enforcer, etc.... those are really for hot magnum loads. When I'm loading for full performance, I reach for H-110 or VV N110.


    158 LSWCs are great rounds, but I've tried 140 XTP's, too. Less weight = less recoil. The 140's have worked well for me out of snubbies.

    Also, be sure to get a decent crimp on the .357's: prevents the bullets from creeping out with recoil, but also helps the powder burn evenly.

    Have fun!


    - what do you think of golden sabers?
    - i got a few boxes but haven't tried them yet...










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    When using a 2" barrel revolver we cannot expect .357 magnum ammunition to achieve the ballistic performance usually achieved in 4" or 6" barrels. Generally speaking, most .357 loads fired from 2" guns will achieve no more than .38 Special loads fired from 6" barrels. Those relying on small lightweight revolvers will suffer huge penalties in recoil, muzzle blast, and muzzle flash for relatively small increases in ballistic performance, when compared to .38 Special loads fired in the same weapon.

    I carried a 2.5" Model 19 S&W as my primary handgun for about 10 years as a plainclothes cop. I used Federal .38 Special +P 158-grain LSWC-HP ammo (the so-called "FBI load"). That Model 19 weighs nearly twice as much as your Ruger LCR, so the felt recoil is far less.

    Enough is enough, and too much is just plain too much.
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    Nix
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    Quote Originally Posted by starlights View Post

    - what do you think of golden sabers?
    - i got a few boxes but haven't tried them yet...

    I've loaded some in .45 ACP and .357 Mag, they are nice bullets. I would definitely use them again.

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    Distinguished Member Array ETXhiker's Avatar
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    A new reloading thread! Awesome! I have mostly reloaded .357 with full power loads using H110 or 296, or used Unique for mild loads. I will be following your load quest with interest, even though my only .357 at present, is an old model 28 with a 6 inch barrel. Since you mentioned True Blue (which I love for 9mm), I wonder how Ramshot Silhouette would do, as it is known as a low flash powder? Just a thought, keep us posted!

    ETA: Okay, forget the Silhouette, it appears to be position sensitive in a large case like .357. Maybe some Blue Dot, or AA#7?
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    Senior Member Array bill35738's Avatar
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    Golden Sabers are a Med-velocity 125gr. 357mag. that took the place of Remingtons Green box marked 125gr. 357mag. Med-Vel. I've used them ever since I bought my SP 101 back in the 80's There all I use in my LCR and SP unless I'm going out in the woods some were then I'll load the SP up with something a bit more heavy! Its a nice round for the LCR even with the boot grip on it!
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    Use the search function and find bmcgilvray's posts from a few years ago on heavy .38 Special loads. I think you'll find some useful loads there, although I don't think Bryan explored much with snub-length barrels.
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    I used to shoot either a 125 grain Speer JHP or the 130 Golden Sabers. They worked as an in between 38+P and .357 Mag Goodness! If I remember right Herco was the powder of choice. It performs just like Unique but without the flame thrower with arc welder effect! If you have never tried a full load of unique you should try it at night! The flash is as bright white as a flash bulb from grandmas camera! Compared to that an equal load of herco gives a dull orange flash. I used between 6.5 and 7 grains of Herco. If I remember right it got me between 1150 and 1200 fps from a 6" barrel. But check that data with a reliable source. Data changes over the years.[ this would have been from the 70's and the Golden Sabers from the 80's]. Good Luck DR
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    Nix
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    I like 7 grains of Herco under a 158 LSWC, 8-8.5 under a 140, but it doesn't meter well from my press, so I don't use it as much as I might. Herco is a cool powder.
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    Senior Member Array donp326's Avatar
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    7.2 grains of Unique was my light load from my second edition Sierra loading manual.
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    VIP Member Array Chuck808's Avatar
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    Brass already went in the sonic cleaner for 30 mins and was dried. Now itís in the tumbler with some corn cob media to get polished up and have any dark areas removed. For sure going to be loading some more 357 with Clays and H110.

    I never get a chance to shoot outdoors at night, but lighting off a few rounds of the H110 loads at dusk would be amazing.
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    VIP Member Array airslot's Avatar
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    Before it closed down, I emptied a local indoor range three different times with the SP101. The load was a 158 XTP over 15.5grs of W296. The muzzle blast and concussion were crazy if you weren't right behind the gun. When I was leaving, people wanted to know what brand of "cannon" I was firing.

    Still looking for my old reloading notes with the light loads.
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    Member Array Henry9008's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by airslot View Post
    Before it closed down, I emptied a local indoor range three different times with the SP101. The load was a 158 XTP over 15.5grs of W296. The muzzle blast and concussion were crazy if you weren't right behind the gun. When I was leaving, people wanted to know what brand of "cannon" I was firing.

    Still looking for my old reloading notes with the light loads.
    I have gotten similar comments using a 110 gr JHP sitting on 21 grs of 2400 out of a 4" Python! 😊
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  16. #15
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    I love shooting.357 out of my 3Ē SP101 but I donít experience pain like you humans.

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