Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Default Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

I recently purchased a Henry Big Boy in .357 Mag. and can't wait to get to the range with it. I'm in the process of choosing a load for hunting varmints. Varmints = coyotes, groundhogs, coons, feral cats, etc.

My current thoughts are a 125gr. JHP loaded in the 1500 to 1700 f.p.s. range. As heavily constructed as pistol bullets tend to be, I chose the 125gr. bullet for speed and I feel it should have plenty of "umph" to get clean kills inside the 75 yards that I intend to hunt with it.

Any suggestions for other bullet weights, bullet types, loads, etc.?

Your opinions and experiences are apprecaited.
Thank you, Bowhunter57[/color]

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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 11:02 PM
Dee
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

Understand that if you get 1500fps in a six inch barreled pistol, you will get 2000+fps in the rifle, and so on. I load ONLY the 158 grain jacketed soft point at 1950fps in my Rossi Model 92, and have for years. It will definitely open up on your chosen game species. The 125 grain in that velocity is dramatic to say the least. POI with the 125, and the 158 ARE NOT THE SAME, so you will have to experiment. Pistol bullets are designed for pistol velocities, and when pumped up in a rifle, they will sometimes depending on the bullet and velocity OVER EXPAND. I hunt everything with the 158grain I described except squirrel. For them, I load a VERY SLOW, cast 158SWC in 38 special. Good luck. Dee,

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-19-2009, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

Dee,
Thank you, for your informational reply. I was wondering how much the pistol loading data would change in a longer rifle barrel. I'm certainly hoping for some "drama" with the 125gr. bullet weight, for hunting reasons. However, I'm hoping for excellent accuracy at the range and if I don't get it, I may have to switch to a heavier bullet.

I'm not one to "push" a reload and sacrifice accuracy. So, whatever ends up being the most accurate is what I'll use.

Also, I chose a jacketed bullet to avoid leading in the barrel. However, a semi-wadcutter in a hard cast and/or with a gas check may be just as effective for hunting. I have always used JHP bullets for the shocking power they provide with their expansion properties. I don't have much experience with cast bullets, but have heard from others that they tend to mushroom and pass through quicker than jacketed bullets. I'd rather have the bullet do more damage, as opposed to just passing through. ???

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 09:58 AM
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

Just remember that pistol bullets are designed for pistol velocities. I think you may end up going for something like the 158 grain jacketed soft point in the end. It is a do all bullet. I have been loading it for over 35 years, and in a rifle it retains enough weight to do the job. The 125 on game bigger than a prairie dog may prove to make a massive wound, but a shallow one depending on the velocity. With the 357 mag velocity GAINED in a rifle a hollow point is not really necessary.JMO

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

[quote=Dee]]
Dee,
You certainly have the experience and I'll take that over any manual or other printed data source. I'll load a few of the 125gr. bullets, sight in my rifle with them and get a few kills before I make any other decisions. However, I will switch if anything shows poor performance and/or accuracy...in a heart beat.

I take it, you recommend a soft point over a hollow point. For retained bullet mass? As opposed to fragmentation or mushrooming?

Don't get me wrong...I believe what you're telling me. I've had years of experience with .357 Mag. handguns, but this is my first venture with the rifle aspect of it. A hunting buddy of mine has some 158gr. JHP bullets that he cut an X into the hollow point and about 1/8" into the copper jacket, with a jewelers saw. He said that at average loading velocities these bullets would nearly cut a groundhog in half. This was far more devestating than he had antispated, but effective none the less. 8)

It pays to "experiment" a little, ever once in a while. However, at the rifle velocities I would not chance altering a bullet in such a fashion.

Good hunting, Bowhunter57[/color]

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-20-2009, 01:13 PM
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

At .357 mag rifle velocities the 147 gr Winchester silver tip acts like a Hornady V max, They expand violently and will drop a coyote at 100 yards like ya hit him with a sledge hammer. I mostly use hard cast bullets at 158 to 180 gr, The 158gr REM bulk SPs work very well also. I don't shoot the lighter bullets much as the heavier rounds seam to be more accurate, at least in my rifles and pistols. 8)


BTW I don't think 150 yards is out of range for my .357 rifles, I know that I can drop a white tail with a 180 hard cast at that range if needed, That being said my shots are usually within 75 yards. Most within 40, I like to get close, Easier to not miss ya know. ;D

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-22-2009, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

I made it out the range today...after a short session of reloading. As it turns out, a 158gr. JHP Remington bullet, with 14.5gr. of 2400 (approx. 1500 f.p.s. pistol reloading data) @ 28 yards will produce a 3 shot group that can be covered by a nickel. 8)

I don't care for the Remington bullets, due to their soft lead nose that tends to deform while seating the bullet. Also, it changes the OAL, after crimping the bullet. I'm going to shop around for another bullet brand.

I was very impressed with the lack of hard recoil, low muzzle report, extreme accuracy and how easy it is to retain the ejected brass. Now, I've got to get some more ammo loaded and ventilate a few groundhogs. ;D

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-22-2009, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

Bulk Remmie 158 JHPs are my go bullet for the majority of my plinkin', both with the 686 and the 92. I also use the 158 JSPs for hunting outta both. My experience with accuracy is similar to yours, but I've yet to have any deform while seating. If they are as accurate and consistent for you as you claim, it certainly isn't affecting bullet flight. Are you seating and crimping in one step?

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-22-2009, 11:51 PM Thread Starter
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

[quote=buck460XVR]]
buck460XVR,
Maybe I'm being too particular about the appearance of the lead nose portion of the bullet and the consistancy of the OAL measurement, as the accuracy didn't suffer.

I'm seating the bullet and after I feel the reloading press arm reach the bottom, I gently press a bit more to feel the crimp. The OAL was 1.586" to 1.590" on all loads. The manual suggests a 1.590" as a standard length.

I'm used to Sierra pistol bullets that have less lead protruding from the jackets. Perhaps it's not an issue. :

Good hunting, Bowhunter57[/color]

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 03:06 PM
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Default Re: Load suggestions for .357 Mag. Henry Big Boy

If you are deforming the nose of the Rem soft point I would encourage you to check the setting of your die. I have never had this problem whether using an old RCBS, one at a time Rock Crusher, or my Dillon progressive. The bullet dept should be reached BEFORE the crimp occurs, or in at EXACTLY the same time.

Also as badnews said, I too use the Remington BULK 158 grained jsp, and it is ACCURATE, hard hitting, evenly expanding, and very hard on coyotes at 160 yards.

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