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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I was starting out in the Air Force 28 Years ago, I had a Ruger 44 magnum and Winchester 30-30. Both are expensive rounds to plink with but I enjoyed them so much. With the help of an avid reloader, I reloaded both rounds and had a great time. I got married and had a child so I was worried about the guns in the house so I sold them (real stupid). I am with a new wife and she says do what you enjoy. I bought a Ruger Blackhawk 357 Magnum and Ruger Mini 14 and want to reload them.

I purchased lead bullets to load my 357 magnum because they are more economical. I used lead SWC in my 44 with no problems previously so I want to do the same thing. I purchased a RCBS reloader and will gradually build up my equipment.

I have to ask about 357 Magnum loads (I have a lyman 49th reloading handbook on hand). I enjoy shooting 125gr bullets rather than the 158gr because they better. I purchased 38/357 - 125gr RNFP Lead bullets from Magnus Bullet Company which I want to use. Numerous people in this forum talk about hardness and it does not say anything like that on the box. I also see in the form that with lead bullets you do not want to exceed 950fps. I am confused if the magnum rounds go between 1000 to 1300fps. I figure I wanted about 1100fps out of my reloads. I'm I wrong? Other reloaders recommend HP-38 for lead round reloads. I shot someone's 357 magnum LSWC loads using 4.6gr HP-38 and they seemed weak.

Can someone help with a decent load for 357 Magnum using my 125 gr RNFP lead bullets? It is being shot out of a 357 Ruger Blackhawk with a 6 inch barrel.
 

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You can shoot lead bullets to magnum velocities if they fit your gun. I believe fit is way more important than BHN. You'll need to determine what the cylinder throats measure (don't take the factory's word, either slug the cylinders or use pin gauges to measure). Also you should slug the barrel and measure the slugs with a micrometer, not calipers (unless you're very good with dial calipers). The bullet sized (purchased) the same diameter as the cylinder throats and larger than the groove diameter will shoot the cleanest, with no leading. I've shot .357 150 gr. SWC hot loads (a bit over max. charge of True Blue) with no leading. Don't know the velocity, but they were pretty hot, a WAG of 1300+ fps (a mistake on my part). I sized the bullets to the same size as the cylinder throats, .359"; no leading...

Commercial cast bullets are usually harder than necessary and have a so-so lube. Bullets hold up better in shipping and lube stays in the groove. Measure them so you'll know exactly what you're shooting.
 

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Any cast bullet loaded to velocitys over 1000 fps can be expected to lead the barrel, unless they have gas checks. Gas checks are copper caps used on the bottom of cast bullets. They prevent lead from melting, and depositing the face of your bolt ot cylinder, from the hot gasses after ignition. They also rngrave into the grooves and scrape them clean, on the trip down the barrel. Gas check bullets can be loaded to jacketed bullet specks, without problems.......Robin
 

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Welcome to the forum and welcome back to reloading. I have never had an issue with leading by following the simple rule of using cast bullets sized .001" above bore diameter. If you have an issue then an examination of throat dimensions is in order. The only cast lead bullets I shoot below 1000 FPS are in the .45 ACP. All of my magnum revolver loads are well in excess of 1000 FPS.

For magnum velocity BHN is an issue and Lyman's data always lists magnum loads with at least their #2 alloy which is 15 Brinell. I buy bullets from Missouri Bullet Co. and they are rated 18 Brinell. This is hard enough to keep you out of trouble where leading is concerned so long as the bullet is .001" above bore diameter and there are no throat issues.

Check the manufacturer's website and see what they rate their bullets at. If it's not shown there, give them a call and ask them. I've had very good results using Missouri bullets. If you check out their website, go to the technical page and it will explain how to match BHN to the pressure of the load you're shooting with cast bullets. 18 is pretty high but I've also used Oregon Trails/LaserCast bullets that are even harder with absolutely no leading problems in magnum handguns at magnum velocity. ;)
 

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Welcome to the forum. There is plenty of good info here so you need to determine what suits your needs the best. You have one of the best tools at your hands, your computer. Go back to the basics. Match your bullet and powder to your needs. Plenty of venders out there to choose from. Use loads from a good source, Lee, Speer, Horandy and be careful of loads from on line. A good load manual sounds like the place to start. Good luck, and thank you for your service!
 

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Welcome from Australia mate.
Glad to have you on board, nice folk here and lots of good info.
 

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Any cast bullet loaded to velocitys over 1000 fps can be expected to lead the barrel, unless they have gas checks.
Not necessarily true. I have shot .44Mag lead BHN 15 240g SWC bullets from my BH up to 1333fps with no significant leading. Just saying :) . Never have used gas checks ... ever. Each gun is different though....

Not sure what you mean by decent, but this is what I use with the .357s

5.0g Red Dot under your 125g SWC would get you 1090fps out of a BH 6 1/2" barrel. This does not lead my barrel. It is an accurate load. I never pursued any higher velocity rounds as my .357s are used for target use only. I move up to .4x big bore if I need more 'punch' in the field.

I normally use standard 158g SWCs using the same 5.0g of Red Dot for around 1019fps. Easy shooting but accurate in my revolvers.

YMMV

I shot someone's 357 magnum LSWC loads using 4.6gr HP-38 and they seemed weak.
As a point of reference, 5.0g of W-231 (same as HP-38) pushes a 158g SWC at 926fps out of a BH 6 1/2" barrel. I didn't test lighter loads than that. Also, I never tested W-231 with the 125s as I have no real interest in the lighter bullets.... But I suspect it would be 'weak', but fine for paper punching or barking a squirrel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks

Some very good information here. Thanks

I do not like HP 38 powder because it feels weak. I shoot a friend's reloads which were HP 38 powder 4.6gr with 158gr LSWC. They were suppose to go 1019fps but it seemed not the powerful. After shooting 125gr jacketed factory loads, it seemed like shooting 22LR shells. I figured with 125 gr LSWC maybe I can get a better target round.
 
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