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Thread: Load data thoughts

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Load data thoughts

    I'm preparing to load some ammo for 25 yard target work and I'm working up something different than what I've done in the past. With the information I have on hand, I can find bullets in the ballpark of what I'm working with and can probably come up with something based on that, but I'm interested to see what ya'll think.

    I'm working with two bullets from Matt's. A .357 165 grain lead SWC gas checked bullet, and a .452 245 grain lead SWC gas checked bullet. I had the 357 bullet sized to that spec rather than .358 or .359 because the chamber on my MGM barrel will not take anything larger than .357. They won't chamber. And that is the reason for the gas check, not so much because I plan to push them hard. The .452 gas checked bullet will be pushed a little harder than I would normally run a non gas checked bullet, so I went with that. The purpose for the SWC design for my use is for the target work. Nice, clean full diameter holes on paper.

    I will be loading and shooting 100 rounds of the .357 in 357 mag cases. Ideally, I should have two different load levels using the same cases. Think of it as loading 50 38 special loads in a 357 mag case, and then loading 50 rounds of standard 357 mag. The .452 bullets will be loaded in 454 Casull cases with a target velocity somewhere in the 1200 fps range, plus or minus a little.

    Powders I have on hand right now are pretty much the standards. Trail Boss, Titegroup, Unique, Bullseye, AA7, AA9, W296 and maybe a couple of others I can't recall right now.

    The shoot is a 200 round shoot, 50 rounds per category starting with rimfire and increasing in "power level" as we go. Hence the reason I'd like a slower and a faster 357 mag load. I like to stick with the 357 case because my MGM barrel tends to gather lead at the transition point between the chamber and rifling. Using the longer case and putting the bullet closer to the rifling, plus using the gas check, seems to solve that problem. I also tend to see better accuracy using 357 cases as opposed to 38 special.

    Any thoughts on load data for these bullets would be appreciated. They are a little oddball, so I'm not finding anything other than close enough and carefully work out a load.
    Last edited by Jay; 09-12-2017 at 04:47 PM.

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    Senior Member Fisheadgib's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    I would strongly recommend using only one load in each of the calibers that you shoot as the odds of different loads hitting at the same point of aim are pretty slim.
    Quote Originally Posted by snake284 View Post
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisheadgib View Post
    I would strongly recommend using only one load in each of the calibers that you shoot as the odds of different loads hitting at the same point of aim are pretty slim.
    Problem is, I'd be pushing the rules if I do that. While I could get away with it and probably nobody would say anything, I'd like to stick with what it's about. Which is essentially a test of fundamentals and marksmanship through a variety of power levels.

    As far as POI change, no biggie. Using the same weight bullet, there's not a huge difference at 25 yards when velocity isn't drastically different. And I always have my "dope" figured out and written down prior to the shoot. Plus, lunch falls between the two 38/357 categories, so I usually scarf down a sandwich and use the range to confirm POI before the next round starts.


    ETA - In the past, I've always loaded 38 spcl and 357 mag. Prior to starting to use the Encore for this stuff, I used a 8 1/2" Bisley. I always had to have my dope figured out before so I know where to move my sights between the two categories. What I found was, using the same weight bullets in both cartridges minimized the POI change. Using two different weight bullets tended to have a bigger change, of course. Last year, I shot 158 grain Hornady XTPs in both loads. I don't recall velocity, but I essentially loaded the 38s on the higher end of the load data and the 357s on the lower end of 357 load data. POI change was less than a couple of inches at 25 yards at most, with the slower load hitting slightly higher than the faster load. Problem with using HP or round nose bullets is, they don't make clean holes. The scorer determines whether or not the score line was broken by the bullet and the shooter gets the higher score when the line is broken by the bullet. Having clean cut, full diameter holes can make a difference of a few points over 50 rounds. That's why I'm switching to the SWC bullet.
    Last edited by Jay; 09-12-2017 at 05:48 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Here's a little info I've been able to find that might get me in the ballpark.
    454 Casull
    .452 250-255 lead SWC

    Trail Boss start 6.7gr - 862 fps
    Trail Boss max 9.0gr - 1011fps
    I think these might be a little weak for what I'm doing, but since I'm running a 245 grain GC bullet, might be able to bump the max load up a tad if I can fit a little more in the case without compressing it.

    AA9 start 21.6gr - 1326fps
    AA9 max 24gr - 1507
    Again, using a 245 GC bullet, I'm thinking maybe 22 grains would be a decent starting point and not get too crazy with it.
    Last edited by Jay; 09-12-2017 at 06:58 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    357 Mag 158gr lead SWC
    Here's where it gets a little tricky, since the data is for a slightly lighter bullet than what I'm using.

    Bullseye 4.8 gr. 939
    Bullseye 5.8 gr. 1,102

    Unique 6.0 gr. 1,034
    Unique 6.8 gr. 1,295 max

    TrailBoss 3.2 gr. 754
    TrailBoss 4.2 gr. 865 max

    Titegroup 4.5 gr. 1,028
    Titegroup 5.0 gr. 1,108 max

    AANo. 5 8.0 gr. 1,100
    AANo. 5 9.0 gr. 1,220 max

    AANo. 7 9.1 gr. 1,041 start
    AANo. 7 10.1 gr. 1,183 max

    HP38 3.9 gr. 846
    HP38 3.4 gr. 796
    HP38 5.0 gr. 1,109 max

    I have all these powders on hand right now.

  6. #6
    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    What's the "rules" of the shoot?

    If twere me, I'd find the most accurate/precise/whatever of the two power levels for each round and run with that. Like you said, you know you have to adjust the sights so POI between each is mostly(totally, actually) irrelevant. Just turn the knob or screw X times and move on.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zee View Post

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    The rules are intentionally kept pretty simple. This thing start off as a friendly competition amongst friends and has grown to include friends of friends. As such, there are very few rules.

    Four categories
    Rim fire
    38/9mm/40s&w etc
    357/45acp/44spcl etc
    45 colt/44mag/454 Casull - minimum bullet weight 240gr

    No sissy loads. This is only determined by the group watching and not by chrono.

    You can shoot bigger in a smaller category, but not the other way around. This is where I can tweak the rule. I can shoot 357 in the 38 class. But they don't want shooters using the same load more than once. This is a result of a guy who shot a 45 colt of his very well, and shot it through the entire match. Defeats the purpose.

    Once you start with a particular cartridge, you can't go back down. Example, I start using 357 in the 38 category and decide I suck with it. I can't go back down to 38 once I've started.

    I think we're on the same track. I'm thinking low and high 357 mag loads and see which powder gives the best accuracy for both.

    I'm not quite sure where to start since the data I see is for slightly different bullet weights.
    Last edited by Jay; 09-12-2017 at 08:03 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Trail boss is easy to figure. See where the base of the bullet ends up in the case. Mark a line. Fill to line with TB, weigh it, then subtract X %. Can't remember the exact percent, and I remember I was wrong last time I gave a number. But it's on their website somewhere.
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    357 Mag 158gr lead SWC
    Here's where it gets a little tricky, since the data is for a slightly lighter bullet than what I'm using.

    Bullseye 4.8 gr. 939
    Bullseye 5.8 gr. 1,102

    Unique 6.0 gr. 1,034
    Unique 6.8 gr. 1,295 max

    TrailBoss 3.2 gr. 754
    TrailBoss 4.2 gr. 865 max

    Titegroup 4.5 gr. 1,028
    Titegroup 5.0 gr. 1,108 max

    AANo. 5 8.0 gr. 1,100
    AANo. 5 9.0 gr. 1,220 max

    AANo. 7 9.1 gr. 1,041 start
    AANo. 7 10.1 gr. 1,183 max


    HP38 3.9 gr. 846
    HP38 3.4 gr. 796
    HP38 5.0 gr. 1,109 max

    I have all these powders on hand right now.
    According to the LEE Reloading Manual 2nd Ed.:
    357 Mag 173 grain Lead Bullet which happens to put your 165 grain weight roughly 7 grains between 158 and 173.

    ACCUR #2 5.0 gr. 885 start
    ACCUR #2 5.5 gr. 1006 max 41100 CUP

    ACCUR #5 8.6 gr. 1198 start
    ACCUR #5 9.5 gr. 1361 max 43500 CUP

    ACCUR #7 9.5 gr. 1198 start
    ACCUR #7 10.6 gr. 1361 max 41600 CUP

    ACCUR #9 12.2 gr. 1302 start
    ACCUR #9 13.5 gr. 1480 max 42700 CUP

    Comparing this to the load data for .357 Mag 180 grain Lead Bullet:

    ACCUR #5 7.7 gr. 1101 start
    ACCUR #5 8.5 gr. 1251 max 42300 CUP

    ACCUR #7 9.0 gr. 1121 start
    ACCUR #7 10.0 gr. 1274 max 43400 CUP


    ACCUR #9 11.3 gr. 1204 start
    ACCUR #9 12.6 gr. 1368 max 40200 CUP

    I think you can see where the data is trending. Start light and work your way from there.

    I hope this is useful to you.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by cpj View Post
    Trail boss is easy to figure. See where the base of the bullet ends up in the case. Mark a line. Fill to line with TB, weigh it, then subtract X %. Can't remember the exact percent, and I remember I was wrong last time I gave a number. But it's on their website somewhere.
    I have done that before. I did that with 250 grain lead bullets in 460 S&W Mag cases. They were fun and still had more punch to them than a standard 45 Colt load. Essentially, the base of the bullet, uncompressed, is a max load. I personally reduce by 10% for starting load. I'm not exactly sure if that's what the rule is.

    I might try some Trail Boss loads, but they tend to get me too close to the "sissy load" rule. That's the reason I did the 460 Trail Boss loads one year. If I get called on the "sissy load" rule, I can easily make the case them my loads are outrunning all the 45 Colt guys and getting close to the 44 mag guys. But, I don't have a 460 any more.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Thanks SPK. That definitely gives me a trend to work out a load from. I appreciate that. The Lee manual is one of the only manuals I have never bought. Guess it's about time for me to pick one up. Lyman and Lee seem to be the ones that give you the most data for cast bullets. Hornady, Speer, Accurate and a few others tend to favor jacketed bullets.

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    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    So, I just found some load data from one of my loads 7 years ago. It was a 158gr LRNFP using 8.6 grains of A7. Apparently, past me liked that load. I also found some data in my Lyman book under TC Contender and Encore only loads, a 357 load using a 155 grain gas checked SWC showing 10.8-12.0 grains of A7. So, with the info we have in this thread, plus past me's experience, I'm thinking my first go is going to be 8.8 grains and 10 grains of A7 for starting points on the high and low end loads. We'll see what future me thinks of that and tweak the loads from there.

    Disclaimer!!! Do not use any of my loads or information as load data to copy. We're wandering off the reservation here and coming up with data for bullets that aren't commonly loaded for this particular use.

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    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Let me
    Have a look at something. May be of interest to you anyway. Be right back
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    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by cpj View Post
    Let me
    Have a look at something. May be of interest to you anyway. Be right back
    Never mind.
    Quote Originally Posted by Zee View Post

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    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    But....I was interested....

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    Senior Member cpj's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    But....I was interested....
    Olllld load data from Sierra. If you want it PM me your number and I'll send some pics. Not sure it will help, as it jacketed bullet data. But, it's worth what you'll pay....
    Quote Originally Posted by Zee View Post

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    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Ok. Cool. Might skip that then.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Another question has come up and wonder what ya'll would think.

    I loaded 20 rounds of test ammo last night. I plan to take them out this evening and try them. As I mentioned previously, the chamber on my MGM barrel is very tight. So I had these lead bullets sized to .357. They chamber ok, until the last 3/16" or so, then they get tight and I have to push them in with my thumb to get them to fully seat in the chamber. The require a light tap to get them back out and there is a shiny spot around the case mouth where you can see it contacted the chamber. I wonder if the chamber being that tight around the case mouth could cause a pressure spike of some sort, since the case will not expand when its fired? I worked the crimp into them slowly, checking them in the chamber as I went. I'm using the crimp feature built into my Hornady seating die. I seat all the bullets first, then remove the seating stem and use the die body to apply the crimp. It is a roll crimp. In the chamber, you can see where it tapers down just a tiny bit right at the end of the chamber. It's barely visible. I'm thinking maybe a taper crimp or factory crimp die is the way to go for this rather than a roll crimp. I'm going to Sportsman's Warehouse today to see if I can pick one up. If so, I'll try it and see if that fixes the tight chambering issue. I'm just curious if anyone thinks the tight case mouth to chamber fit could cause an issue.

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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    Another question has come up and wonder what ya'll would think.

    I loaded 20 rounds of test ammo last night. I plan to take them out this evening and try them. As I mentioned previously, the chamber on my MGM barrel is very tight. So I had these lead bullets sized to .357. They chamber ok, until the last 3/16" or so, then they get tight and I have to push them in with my thumb to get them to fully seat in the chamber. The require a light tap to get them back out and there is a shiny spot around the case mouth where you can see it contacted the chamber. I wonder if the chamber being that tight around the case mouth could cause a pressure spike of some sort, since the case will not expand when its fired? I worked the crimp into them slowly, checking them in the chamber as I went. I'm using the crimp feature built into my Hornady seating die. I seat all the bullets first, then remove the seating stem and use the die body to apply the crimp. It is a roll crimp. In the chamber, you can see where it tapers down just a tiny bit right at the end of the chamber. It's barely visible. I'm thinking maybe a taper crimp or factory crimp die is the way to go for this rather than a roll crimp. I'm going to Sportsman's Warehouse today to see if I can pick one up. If so, I'll try it and see if that fixes the tight chambering issue. I'm just curious if anyone thinks the tight case mouth to chamber fit could cause an issue.
    I have a question. How do factory .357 Magnum rounds fit in the chamber?

    If they fit great then run out and get a factory crimp die from somewhere and you should be good.
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...tory-crimp-die

    If factory ammo has issues also then a trip to the Gun Smith might be in order.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Spk View Post
    I have a question. How do factory .357 Magnum rounds fit in the chamber?

    If they fit great then run out and get a factory crimp die from somewhere and you should be good.
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...tory-crimp-die

    If factory ammo has issues also then a trip to the Gun Smith might be in order.
    The only factory ammo that's been fired out of it were Hornady FTX loads and they fit just fine. My jacketed bullet loads using the same seat and crimp die and method fit just fine. I've already talked to MGM about it and they said the chamber is machined tight and was machined specifically for jacketed bullets. If I want it machined to accept lead bullets, I can send it back to them and they'll do it. I just haven't decided if I want to do that or not. The accuracy I get out of it is fantastic and I shoot jacketed bullets out of it most of the time.

    I'm going to head to Sportsman's before long and see if they have a factory crimp die. If they do, I'll run a load I made last night through the die and see if it solves the problem.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    The other up side to using a factory or taper crimp die is, I don't need the roll crimp I'm currently applying, except to get them to go into the chamber. Being a single shot gun, crimps really aren't needed. Just need to squeeze the brass back down just enough to chamber.

    ETA - I'm thinking I'm probably going to be out of luck. Looking at Sportsman's website, the only factory crimp dies they show are for rifle cartridges. I'm thinking this is what I'll need.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...tory-crimp-die

    We have a new Cabelas opening here. I think they open tomorrow. I had an invitation for a special opening on Monday, but chose not to go after hearing about massive crowds being there. Maybe I'll wait and go tomorrow and hope they aren't as packed full of people...
    Last edited by Jay; 09-13-2017 at 07:18 PM.

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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay View Post
    The other up side to using a factory or taper crimp die is, I don't need the roll crimp I'm currently applying, except to get them to go into the chamber. Being a single shot gun, crimps really aren't needed. Just need to squeeze the brass back down just enough to chamber.

    ETA - I'm thinking I'm probably going to be out of luck. Looking at Sportsman's website, the only factory crimp dies they show are for rifle cartridges. I'm thinking this is what I'll need.

    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/10...tory-crimp-die

    We have a new Cabelas opening here. I think they open tomorrow. I had an invitation for a special opening on Monday, but chose not to go after hearing about massive crowds being there. Maybe I'll wait and go tomorrow and hope they aren't as packed full of people...
    I have those dies in .357/38 and the carbide ring works great but just don't get overly enthusiastic when reloading.

    I've done that before and managed to break the carbide ring. Lee has a lifetime guarantee but I didn't replace it since it was very obviously my Fault. The ring will "skinny up" the front if there's slight bulging during the reload process. As you know, some brass is thicker than others and some cast bullets are fatter than others but that ring will help smooth things out.

    Let us know how it works out.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Awesome. Thanks for the info. That's exactly what I was hoping that die would do. I think it'll solve my issue, since it's just a tiny bit that causes them to stick just before being fully seated.

    The new Cabela's here just opened today. I'm sure the crowds will be crazy until everyone makes their way through to check it out, but I'm going to see if I can sneak in and find one of these dies so I don't have to order one.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    I load 158 grain cast SWCs with 6.5 grains Unique, very accurate and just enough to let you know you are not shootin any .38 Spl load. You should have no problems even going higher in .357 cases.

    I have a pamphlet one load/one caliber somewhere for .357 ..............let me look and I'll see what it says for cast bullets. Keep in ind the loads listed in most manuals are on the low side because they usually show cold swagged softer lead factory bullets that lead like the Dickens over 800-900 fps..
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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    Senior Member NN's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Chief View Post
    I load 158 grain cast SWCs with 6.5 grains Unique, very accurate and just enough to let you know you are not shootin any .38 Spl load. You should have no problems even going higher in .357 cases.

    I have a pamphlet one load/one caliber somewhere for .357 ..............let me look and I'll see what it says for cast bullets. Keep in ind the loads listed in most manuals are on the low side because they usually show cold swagged softer lead factory bullets that lead like the Dickens over 800-900 fps..
    I thought your .38 spl was quite easy shooting.
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  26. #26
    Senior Member NN's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    You mean it isn't?
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  27. #27
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    168 grain Lyman #358429 bullets from a 4" test bbl H110 11.8-15.7 1037 to 1318 FPS psi 18,900/39,800

    Bullseye 4.1 to 6.1 grains 813-976 fps

    Lists other powders too.

    To be honest, I see no reason you can't look at the 170 grain jacketed data and use that.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  28. #28
    Senior Member Big Chief's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by NN View Post
    You mean it isn't?
    Yes it is, but I backed off the powder charge from the .357 loads firing the same hard cast 158 grain bullets.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
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  29. #29
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Thanks chief. Appreciate the info. I have a couple of loads made for testing using A #7. I'll get them tested today. If they don't work, might try some Unique and see what happens.

  30. #30
    Senior Member Jay's Avatar
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    Re: Load data thoughts

    Here is the results from today's testing. And something very peculiar...

    I tested 2 357 mag loads. One 8.8 grains of Accurate 7 and the other 10.0 grains of the same powder. The 10 grain load shot a bit better.

    ETA- I'll get pics up asap. Photobucket sucks big, hairy.......

    IMG_4369.jpg

    IMG_0336.jpg
    I can't quite explain the horizontal stringing in the 10 grain group. I'm not all that impressed with the sight setup on this thing. The front sight is too thin. Lots of daylight on either side of the front sight when looking at my sight picture. Both groups fired at 25 yards, iron sights, from a bag rest. I'll be looking for a different front sight or make a new front sight blade that's a little wider.

    Here's the very curious part. When I loaded these, I checked a bunch of them in the chamber of my barrel. I mentioned earlier that they fit tight enough in the chamber that I had to push them in with my thumb and tap them out. I haven't touched them since I loaded them. Today, every single round dropped right in the chamber with a familiar "thoomp." Absolutely no resistance. I don't get it.

    My 454 Casull test loads failed. 22 grains of accurate 9 is apparently undercharged. Very dirty. Lots of soot and unburned powder, horrible accuracy. That won't work.

    I didn't remember to take my chronograph. Both 357 loads had a good punch to them. Not sure what they're running. But they feel pretty good. Might be onto something. They chambered and extracted like butter. Might bump the 8.8 load up to 9 and call it good.
    Last edited by Jay; 09-17-2017 at 05:34 AM.

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