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High powered 357 loads for an Encore?

2340 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  MWalker
High powered 357 loads for an Encore?

The gun probably will but will the brass? It isn't made for that kinda pressure. It is made for half of that pressure more or less. The Encore DOES NOT have a good gas dissipation system like most bolt action rifles do. So ask yourself do you really want to have it in your hands if the brass gives way? I don't. That gas is going somewhere and there is no safe path for it to take.

This is from one who has exploded a Contender I was holding and dont' want to do it again.

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GB, Would you consider sharing the events surrounding that experience sometime?
Why not a max?

I too own and enjoy 357 magnum caliber firearms. I also really appreciate my 357 max Contender. The goal of 180gr @ 1650fps is not at all unreasonable in the 357 max and it is safe... besides I might be a bit nervous having those 60KPSI handloads hanging around!
Re: Contender

buckeye509 said:
GB, Would you consider sharing the events surrounding that experience sometime?
Sure. I've posted it on my forums several times in the past but it taught me valuable lessons and is worth repeating from time to time.

The barrel was an old Super 14 in .44 Magnum that I used in local silhouette matches prior to NRA registered matches being held here. In those long ago days I scrounged all of the range brass I could find and used it rather than buying new brass. (Lesson 1. I NEVER use range pickup brass anymore) Two of the cases I picked up had the S&W headstamp on them.

When I loaded then and now I put 50 cases in a loading block and dispense the charges with a powder measure. I did and still do tip the tray at an angle under good light and verify each case appears to have an equal level of powder. Two cases appeared to have too much powder. So I pulled them from the tray and dumped the powder back into the measure and inspected the cases for any foreign matter inside. I found nothing obviously wrong so once again charged the cases from the measure and returned them to the block and they still looked too full. So I again pulled them and dumped the charge and this time weighted out the correct charge of either H2400 or W296 (have forgotten the exact load but it as the book max for 240 grain bullets either 22.0 H2400 or 24.0 W296 as those were he loads I used in those days). They still looked too full and I knew at that point I really shouldn't use them. But I said to myself what the heck it is a BOOK LOAD after all what harm can it do? (Lesson #2-Never assume a book load is ALWAYS gonna be safe)

Those two cases both had the S&W headstamp. (Lesson #3-I never again used cases with the S&W headstamp. Anyway when I touched off the first case with the S&W headstamp the barrel popped open and the Pachmayr Fore end went sailing over 20 forward of me.

Examination of the gun revealed the barrel was buldged upward in the area where the rear sight/scope base screw holes are. How much other damage was done I don't know. I know it hurt my hand like the dickens but I found no blood. A quick check showed I still had 10 fingers, two hands, two eyes, one nose and a pair of ears. All seemed intact.

Packed the gun up and shipped it to TC and explained to them what had happened. Got a replacement barrel from them at no cost to me. I assume the frame was OK as it came back.

So never assume anything with loads. Definitely do not assume any book load in safe in your barrel or gun without working your way up from below. Any change in components even just different lots will change pressures and maybe very drastically so.

In those innocent days I used any brand of case I picked up off the range indiscriminately and didn't bother too much with even worrying if a set of shots for a group or set of targets were of the same headstamp. I assumed that the load I had fired thousands of with no problems with RP and WW headstamp brass would be OK or at least safe in S&W headstamp cases. It sure wasn't that time.

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Thanks for sharing. I'm just getting started with reloading and appreciate the (any and all) good advice.
Re: High powered 357 loads for an Encore?

Shawn said:
I am a fan of the 357 mag cartridge and have been for as long as I can remember. I was reading on a website about the Freedom Arms 353 in 357 mag. It says the gun is capable of handling pressures of 60,000psi (meaning a 180 gr bullet at approx. 1650 f.p.s) which far surpasses even the 357 max. My question is....would an Encore with a 357 mag 10" bbl be able to handle these pressures? I have used a 357 mag for whitetail in the past and feel this could extend the usable range of this magnificant cartridge.
At 60000 psi your case may or may not stay together for one load - I would bet not but even if it did you wouldn't get away with loading it a second time. That makes this an expensive (if not dangerous) load. I get 1800 fps from my contender with speer 180 grain rifle bullets from my Maximum super 14. If you want to increase the range of your 357 magnum then select a load like the Speer 180 grain bullet seated longer than you can in a pistol and 14 to 16 grains of H110 or WW296. That will get you as close to your target velocity as you can safely get and give you a bullet with a higher ballistic coefficient that will shoot flatter than a pistol bullet. Since the bullet is made for the low velocities of the 35 Remington it will still perform well - down to around 1500 fps.
High powered 357 loads for an Encore?

ou can't beleive everything you read, thats why there are so many tools to check your gun's performance with.

I like the .357 Mag also, and have shot one for many years.
Like you I want to extend my range.

As it has been posted before, the .357 Mag case is not meant to handle that much pressure (60,000 psi).

As for the .357 Rem Max being outpaced by the .357 Magnum, I have to say the Maximum will out perform the Magnum hands down.

I now own my second .357 Maximum (TC Encore), and my chronograph tells me that my 180gr HP XTP's are traveling at 1850 fps @ 30 degrees F, and 1980 fps @ 78 degrees F.

This is with a 10" barrel powered with 23gr of H110.

Best of luck to you. :D
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