The .357 mag is to a .38 spl. what the max is to the mag. We all are familiar with +p, and +p+ .38 spl. loadings. Can someone tell me what is wrong with loading a mag to max loads, as long as bullets are seated out to obtain an equal powder chamber volume? This would parallel Elmer Keith's loading of the .44 spl, before the .44 mag. I will grant that the extra case length on the max gives you the opportunity to crimp in the crimping groove provided on jacketed bullets. But, with the generous throats in most T/C barrels, seating out poses no problems. Lee's factory crimp die, or a taper crimp die should take care of the need to crimp jacketed bullets for best ignition. With cast bullets, you could roll crimp wherever you want. Case volume, and hence seating depth, should be okay if COL is the same, whether it is a max or mag case. I have loaded "heavy" .38 spl loads in .38 cases, and .357 cases, interchangeably, using the same bullets, powder charge, and same COL. A chrono and careful case inspection should indicate a slow, steady rise in velocity/pressure until published velocities for the max are obtained. Finally, I WOULD NOT advocate anyone doing this, but it is in my nature to ask "what if". Fire Away,,,Bug.
I would go with the .357 Maximum (actually I did) but if you want to get the most from a .357 magnum for hunting try this load:
Weapon make Thompson
Bore-to-sight height (inches) 1.3
Weapon model Contender
Twist rate 1 in 14
Barrel length 10 inch
Serial number 156-2xxxx
Case make Winchester
Cartridge head stamp 357 Magnum
Cartridge designation 357 Magnum
Trimmed length (inches) 1.29
Over-all length (inches) 1.59
Bullet make Speer
Bullet weight (grains) 180
Bullet type Flat point
Ballistic coefficient .245
Bullet diameter .358
Powder make Hodgdon
Powder type H110
Powder charge weight (grains) 16.0
Wad (make and type) None
Primer (make and type) CCI 550
Muzzle velocity(FPS) 1690
Standard deviation(FPS) 14
Extreme spread(FPS) 42
Group size(at 25 yards) .36
This load uses a MAXIMUM charge of powder and you should back it down 5% and work up in small increments. The RIFLE bullet is crimped in the cannelure which makes the cartridge too long for any use other than in single shot weapons. It can be single loaded in some of the lever action carbines but will not feed through the magazine.
The bullet is designed to operate properly in .35 Remington and the velocities out to 100 yards are high enough from a 357 magnum to allow it to function (according to Speer).
This is about the most potent hunting load for the .357 mag and THE most accurate load that I have ever found. I hope this helps.
I ruined my first .357 Maximum chamber by shooting .357 Magnum loads in it. The ring in the chamber was deep enough to cut the longer Maximum cases at the length of the magnum cases in just a few shots. 38 spl cases are ok because the pressure is not high enough to ring the chamber but at magnum pressures the chamber will be ruined. If you do shoot 38 specials be sure to clean the chamber before shooting the maximum cases as the maximum will imbed any residue into the chamber wall and cause craters.
In a 10" 357 mag I was able to push 200 gr cast 1700 fps, which was definately as hard as you can push it. The problem is, the factory 357 mag barrels have crummy chambers, and it refused to group better then 1" at 25 yds.
I would imagine a 12" 357 mag could push a 180 gr bullet 1800 fps, but as the others suggest, get a 357 max, as you'll be able to get 2000 fps, maybe a tad more.
I've got a 15" Bullberry 357 Rem Mag Match barrel for my Encore. It does very well at 100 yards with max loads of 2400 and 158g hp/xtp. I tried some 180g ers and couldn't get them to group. Maybe the twist is not fast enough. Could be something to consider. 8)
I've never had the bad experience of ringing a chamber so Im really no expert. Paul S has some comments on the subject that make sense. I don't really know why you would want to shoot mags from a max barrel. Just tone down your load and use max cases. Just my opinion. KN
Paul S. brings up a point I hadn't thought about - ringing a Max chamber with Mag brass. My question was intended to be about using .357 Maximum loads in a .357 Magnum chambered barrel, with the bullets seated out to .357 Maximum COL. This should enable one to get Maximum performance out of a Magnum barrel. It wouldn't work on revolvers or lever actions, due to the cartridge length, but seems like it would work in a long-throated Contender, or H&R. Y'all tell me what YOU think. Bug.
If you seat a bullet .3 inches out from normal in a 357 mag case you will have to push your bullet into the chamber ahead of the case and then chamber your cartridge. There just isn't enough room to do it that will give you the same powder space as the Maximum.
I will accept what you say. I can't say I've been there. I do know that I certainly have loads(in .357 mag. cases) that have bullets seated greater than the 0.030 depth. I just don't know how much more, right now. Looks like more hands-on research is apropriate before I say much more. Have to check the manuals, and do some measuring. I did find out that MY .357 Mag. bbl won't allow bullets to be seated out far enough. though. Later,,,,,,,,Bug.
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