starting to reload for the .357 magnum - Graybeard Outdoors
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 12:16 AM Thread Starter
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Default starting to reload for the .357 magnum

I am just starting to reload for my .357's (revolverGP100 and rossi lever action rifle). I have read up on different loads and powders as well as reloading equipment. I am starting on the cheap and have the lee classic hand loader. I have purchased some alliant 2400 powder, cci 500 small pistol primers as well as some lil'gun and federal small magnum pistol primers. For bullets I am using hornady XTP's 140 - 180 grain. I also have a box of cast performance 187 grain gas checks bullets.

The CP bullets are the ones that I am wondering about. I got the standard 12-14 grains of lil'gun with these bullets but was told that 2400 was too hot for them? I can find loads of 9-10 grains of the 2400 for 200 grain .357 but nothing for 187? Would 10 grains of 2400 work okay for 187's? Can I go higher safely? I contacted alliant directly and they indicated that they did not have any data for bullets that heavy which makes me a little nervous.

Any suggestions on a safe starting load for either lil'gun or the 2400 that I can use in both the rifle and pistol would be appreciated.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

If you are going to start reloading you will need to get a good reloading manual.

all the info will be in there ;D
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 02:28 AM
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

You do need to get a reloading manual or more is better. LilGun is a slower powder than 2400 and a better choice for the heavier bullets. LilGun and 158gr bullets is a marriage made in heaven for the 357 mag. DP

Handi's:22Shot, 22LR, 2-22Mag, 22Hornet, 5-223, 2-357Max, 44 mag, 2-45LC, 7-30 Waters, 7mm-08, 280, 25-06, 30-30, 30-30AI, 444Marlin, 45-70, AND 2-38-55s, 158 Topper 22 Hornet/20ga. combo; Levers-Marlins:Two 357's, 44 mag, 4-30-30s, RC-Glenfields 36G-30A & XLR, 3-35 Rem, M-375, 2-444P's, 444SS, 308 MX, 338Marlin MXLR, 38-55 CB, 45-70 GS, XS7 22-250 and 7mm08; BLR's:7mm08, 358Win; Rossi: 3-357mag, 44mag, 2-454 Casull; Winchesters: 7-30 Waters, 45Colt Trapper; Bolt actions, too many; 22's, way too many. Who says it's an addiction?
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

Thanks for the replys. I should have mentioned I purchased the complete reloading manual for .357 magnum which has a lot of load information. However in comparing this info to what I find on line I am sometimes confused. Powder charges seem to vary between sources for the same weight bullet... which I find very confusing.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 01:12 PM
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

Be prepared, you are going to have trouble getting your loaded rounds to fit into the cambers of your weapons. The Lee Classic, hammer job, will only neck size a case. To get these cases to work in your weapons you will have to shoot that case in the same chamber every time because most of the others will not fit into the other chambers. These dies are really made to use with bottle neck rifle cases where you shoot all the cases in one weapon. I have been there done that and got that T-shirt over 30 years ago. Get you a real press and a set of carbide dies. Remember you heard it here. ;D
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 02:05 PM
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

As has been said, get a reloading manual or five. You will need at least one (I recommend Lyman or Speer if you're only going to have one). As for the "Smack it with a hammer" type Lee Loader, I've never used one, but my dad did when he first started reloading forever ago. It doesn't sound fun to me. I'd recommend a Lee hand press and a set of Lee carbide dies (deluxe edition if you can afford them since they come with the Factory Crimp Die, though you can crimp with the seating die in the regular set) for starting on the cheap.

2400 is my absolute most favorite powder for the .357 Magnum. Sure, you can get more velocity from Lil'Gun or H110/WW296, but I just like the way 2400 shoots. I use a max (or near max, anyway) load of 2400 with a 158 grain JHP for my full power load, and I'd use the same load if I shot 158 grain gas checked lead bullets.

I've used Lil'Gun in .357 Magnum. For bullets under 158 grains (like the 140 grain JHPs and 146 grain JHP-SWCs), I really hate it. Once you hit 158 grain bullets in the .357 Mag, Lil-Gun really starts to come into its own (as it also does in .44 Magnum and "Ruger, Freedom Arms, and T/C Only!" .45 Colt +P loads).

For non-gas checked lead bullets, I always seem to come back to Unique (.38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .45 ACP, .45 Colt), though I've found Ramshot's Zip to work really well for 158 grain LSWCs in the .357 Magnum.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

A Lee Loader is fine to start with (and 22 years later I still have/use occationally 2 sets). I haven't experienced the problems reported above (my Lee Loader full length sizes my straight walled cases), and once you get the hang of it you can "hammer" out a box of reloads quite quickly. this guy has it down pat.

The ABCs of Reloading, Lyman's 49th Edition Reloading Handbook, Lee's Modern Reloading is a good start on your reloading library; you will want more than recipe books.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-21-2010, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

+1 on the Lee Modern reloading book second edition. It has lots of info in it, with recipes also. Very good book for beginners or experienced reloaders.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2010, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

As Mdi stated, the Lee hand loader full length sizes straight wall cases. Back in the early 60s I loaded thousands of .38/.357 rounds with this tool. They chambered in the two revolvers I had without problems.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2010, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: starting to reload for the .357 magnum

Yep, I use my Lee Classic for .45 Colt and don't have trouble with it chambering even in my tight cylindered NMB Convertible. I also use the .45 auto. I use a hand press when loading at home, but I started with the classic and keep it in my Bug Out gear in case ever needed.

Tacklebury --}>>>>>> Multi-Barrel: .22 LR Versa Pack, .223 Superlite, 7x64 Brenneke 24", .30-40 Krag M158, .357 Maximum 16-1/4 HB, .45 Colt, .45-70 22" irons, 12 Ga. 3-1/2 w/ Chokes, .410 Smooth slugger, .410 20" Full Choke

also classics: M903 9-shot Target .22 Revolver, 1926 .410 Single, 1915 38 S&W Break top Revolver and 7-shot H&R Trapper .22 6" bbl.
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