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Hi everyone,

I haven't posted in sometime due to family obligations and 52 hour days. Now that things are calming down I have the entire winter to start reloading again. As a side note I was going to go to the range today but woke up to icy roads so that was a no go. :mad:

I own a Gp100 with a with a 4.20" barrel and I usually shoot .38 Special loads through it using X-treme 125 grain .357 bullets and Hodged CFE pistol powder.

I would like to start working on some .357 Magnum loads for my GP100 but I would rather learn from wisdom than experience when it comes to reloading.

If I'm correct, I recall that shooting 125 grain bullets loaded at .357 power can have negative affects on the revolvers forcing cone. Is is accurate? Also, for my .357 Magnum loads what bullet weight should be used that is as close to the original design spec for the .357 magnum revolver design?

Thanks.....
 

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The classic Keith load is 158 grain LSWC over 15.3 grains of 2400. My last load I worked up was this bullet over 15 grains and it chrono'd at 1258 FPS at 7 yards, now I just need to see how accurate they are. If it's accurate I'm happy with this load. It's plenty warm.
 

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The classic Keith load is 158 grain LSWC over 15.3 grains of 2400. My last load I worked up was this bullet over 15 grains and it chrono'd at 1258 FPS at 7 yards, now I just need to see how accurate they are. If it's accurate I'm happy with this load. It's plenty warm.
Forgot to mention this was also out of a 4" GP100.
 

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For true magnum velocities, I highly recommend jacketed bullets. My 4" GP100 really likes 135~140gr JHPs over a heavy dose of W-296 and a magnum primer. 158gr JHPs shoot pretty good too, also with W-296 powder and magnum primers.
 

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The classic Keith load is 158 grain LSWC over 15.3 grains of 2400. My last load I worked up was this bullet over 15 grains and it chrono'd at 1258 FPS at 7 yards, now I just need to see how accurate they are. If it's accurate I'm happy with this load. It's plenty warm.
If I remember correctly that was in a 38 case. A classic Keith bullet depending on alloy goes over 158 grains.
 

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Whether people ask or not I always say the ideal bullet for 38/357 is a 158 gr SWC. That's pretty much all I shoot with a modern twist. I use Hi-Tek coated and can push them hard without leading. If you shoot lubed lead the lube grooves provide good lube availability and the Keith style claims the wider groove superior. Lead is cheaper than jacketed even coated.

They are easier to load than a straight wadcutter. They have slight ballistic advantages over the WC. For target shooting you still get a punched hole. For warm blooded animal shooting the sharp shoulders cut tissue instead of pushing it aside.
 

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I do agree with Lowegan again on the use of WW296/H110 when using 135-140grn JHP ammo and using a fairly hot load of said powder as well as a magnum primer. I use that same load in my S&W Model 19 with the 4" barrel, and have for quite a few years with no ill effects. The forcing cone still looks as it did when brand new. I do believe I've shot a few 125grn rounds thru it also, but not a steady diet.
 

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I don't load for .357 anymore, but back when I did I was partial to the 158 grain Hornady XTP. With a 4" barrel you will be blowing unburnt H110/296 out the muzzle. Makes a nice fireball, but not very efficient. I like Unique and Blue Dot for shorter barrels, Unique especially.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
For true magnum velocities, I highly recommend jacketed bullets. My 4" GP100 really likes 135~140gr JHPs over a heavy dose of W-296 and a magnum primer. 158gr JHPs shoot pretty good too, also with W-296 powder and magnum primers.
Iowegan, thanks for the info. Is there any reason I should not shoot 125 grain bullets with either a .38 special load or .357 load out of my GP100 ? This question is more in reference to any damage or premature wear and tear on the revolver.

Thank you....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Oh, I forgot, do I need magnum primers or will regular small pistol primers work fine?
 

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Hi everyone,

I haven't posted in sometime due to family obligations and 52 hour days. Now that things are calming down I have the entire winter to start reloading again. As a side note I was going to go to the range today but woke up to icy roads so that was a no go. :mad:

I own a Gp100 with a with a 4.20" barrel and I usually shoot .38 Special loads through it using X-treme 125 grain .357 bullets and Hodged CFE pistol powder.

I would like to start working on some .357 Magnum loads for my GP100 but I would rather learn from wisdom than experience when it comes to reloading.

If I'm correct, I recall that shooting 125 grain bullets loaded at .357 power can have negative affects on the revolvers forcing cone. Is is accurate? Also, for my .357 Magnum loads what bullet weight should be used that is as close to the original design spec for the .357 magnum revolver design?

Thanks.....
I like the performance of 125 gr both cphp for training and xtp for defense in my sp101, I don't have a chrono but it has manageable recoil and good accuracy. I use titegroup as my powder load .
 

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Oh, I forgot, do I need magnum primers or will regular small pistol primers work fine?
Some powders require magnum primers.
They have better ignition when using with slow burning powders like W296 for example.
 

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My preference for a 357 bullet weight is 158 grains, especially with full power loads. I think the 125 grain bullet with a powder like CFE pistol or Power Pistol is just fine. I shoot a 357 125 grain load with Power Pistol that runs around 1000-1100 fps and really like it for practice with my SP 101 or my old service six. I think where you may increase wear in a 357 is with the 125 grain bullets when you use 296 or H110 with maximum loads, but I don't think an occasional box will hurt a GP100. I prefer to move up in bullet weight if I am going to put up with more noise and flash!
 

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The use of magnum primers depends on the powder used. Has nothing whatsoever to do with magnum loads. For example, 296/H110 it should be used. 4227 it should be used. But 2400, unique, true blue, and others it is not required.

I've standardized on plain o' 158g SWCs myself whether magnum loads or not. I've moved away from 'magnum' loads as there aren't many uses for them except noise/recoil if you like that. Most all my shooting is done at the range anymore and paper/steel just don't need punching with hot loads. The hands also like it :) . 13.5g of 2400 under 158g SWC was/is my .357 'magnum' load at around 1263 fps. No need for jacketed/slick 50/powder coated/bubba's magic synthetic coating/etc. here.
 

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I load both the 125gr and 158gr with no problems. Jacketed and hard cast hollow and solid point. I use H110/W296. I always use CCI small pistol magnum primers. Never had any problems good accurate loads. Been handloading since 1983.
 

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rojasj, As noted by other posters, using magnum primers is more related to the powder you use. If you have a Hornady manual, they use magnum primers with all their loads, no matter what powder is used. Speer gets it right …. they use standard primers for most loads except when slow burning powders like W-296, H-110, Lil'Gun, or IMR 4227 are used. The reason being, most slow burning powders are hard to ignite and to complicate the issue, they tend to get even harder to ignite when temperatures drop below freezing. So .... if you use standard primers with magnum powders, you run the risk of a squib load and further, magnum primers tend to make the powder burn very uniform from shot to shot so accuracy is typically better,

As for 125gr bullets in magnum loads ..... they will cause more damage to the top strap and forcing cone than heavier bullets but no where near as bad as 110gr bullets. I use 125gr jacketed bullets in my +P short barrel 38 Special loads and don't see much evidence of flame cutting.

Years ago when many police officers carried 357 Mag revolvers, the factory 125gr police load was considered the best man stopper available at the time. These loads used 20gr of commercial grade H-110 .... a very hot load that puked a 3 foot fire plume. If you hunt with as 357 Mag revolver, a 158gr JHP with 16gr of W-296 is about as good as it gets. A 135~140 gr JHP with 17gr of W-296 is a great self defense load.
 
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I have the 3" GP100 and load it with the 158 grain JHP's. Last time I reloaded 357 mag the only powder available to me was 700X. Now that things have loosened up a bit and it is time to do 357 again I will be trying a different powder.
 

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Going back to the last bit question in your original post, rajasj....the original bullet weight .357 was designed around was 158gr. As others have noted, however, 125gr to 135gr is viewed by many, myself included, as optimal for most uses.
 
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