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On 2001-05-11 13:25, whitebear wrote:
I am relatively new to reloading, and reload primarily .45ACP for my 1911s. My wife has a S&W 640 in .357 Mag, and I recently purchased a Ruger Security Six, also a .357. I reloaded a few batches of .38s for the two wheel guns, and then decided to look into reloading .357 to take advantage of the better fit of the case in the cylinder. I have used W231 for all my reloading so far.

I found no published loads for .357 Mag using W231 and 125 gr JHPs in my Lyman Manuals, nor in the Midway .357 Loadmap. I know I have a lot to learn technically about reloading, but why is W231 not used in .357 Mag? Inquiring Minds Want to Know...

I have been reloading since 1958, yes I'm an old shooter.

I currently load several calibers, but as to your qustion, "why no loading for 357 Mag. & W231?

The 357 Mag loading is a high pressure, high performance load. Meaning get the most energy possible out of the 357 case and firearm with the chosen bullet.

I shoot a S&W 357 mag in PPC and use W-231 in 38 special cases

3.0 gr. of W-231 & 148 gr Speer Hollow Based wadcuter gives 715 fps from my 6" S&W 66 and 2" 6 round groupes at 25 yards.

I also use 4.2 gr of W-231 for my 45 ACP target loads. This gives 690 fps with 10 round groups that will average no more than an inch and a half at 25 yards with my Clark Long Heavy Slide 45.

You can use W-231 in your 357 with excellent results useing the loads I mentioned. If you use 357 cases, you should increase powder charge to 3.5 grains.

The reason that W-231 isn't used for Magnum Loads in the 357 is that the powder burns too quickly (peak preasure is reached with very short bullet travel down the barrel) and excessive pressures are reached before the bullet reaches desired velocities. Also most powders have an upper psi limit that they will burn progressively.

Many years ago I had (cant find any longer) a chart that listed the pressure levels of several powders at which point their buring rate increased too rapidly to be predictable.

I do recall that the faster burning powders such as bullseye, and W-231 became unstable at lower pressures than the slower burning powders.

I use the 357 in both rifle and pistols (Revolvers & Thompson Contender).

Most velocities reported in reloading data are from closed breech test firearms.

I have found that using maximun loads (worked up slowly from starting loads) that I get more velocitiy from using H-4227 in the revolver, and H-110 in the Thompson Contender and The Marlin 1894 Cowboy.

Maximun Loads in 357 revolvers are great for self defense and hunting, but not fun in my book to shoot.

I will mention that W-231 is the only powder I am using other than Hodgdon Powder Products. When I finish up the current 8# keg, I will be using Hodgdon Powders exclusively.

They have an excellent web site and will respond to you questions responsibly, unlike some others that I have contacted.

Hodgdon Powder Has a lot of their loading data on line.

Try em, you'll Like em.
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