Range Report - 180gr WFN-FB HiTek Coated (.357 Mag)

ZeeZee Senior MemberPosts: 20,743 Senior Member
I am getting into this cast bullet thing.

Made it to the range with the 180gr WFN-FB HiTek Coated bullets from Missouri Bullet Company to try in my 4" Ruger GP-100. Compared to the .44 Mag loads I tried today..........these were as though shooting a pop-gun. Even though, again......a book max load.

First, I will say that I've learned a few things about cast bullets.

1. Gas Checks are easier to deal with than non-GC.
2. Non-GC bullets require the case to be belled more than jacketed or GC bullets prior to bullet seating.
3. Occasionally, a round will be more "smoky" than others. Don't know why. (2 out of 12 rounds were "smoky")
4. The forcing cone on a Ruger is tighter than a S&W. This caused a bit of cussing.

I loaded the bullets last night and tested their seating in my S&W 340 M&P (my bench gun) as it was handy. They seated just fine. Fast forward to the range this morning...................darn things wouldn't fit in the Ruger cylinder!!!!! BUGGAR!!!!!

So, I shot the first batch of .44 Mag loads and went home to seat the .357 Mag bullets deeper. Here is what happened:

Book COAL: 1.575"
Initial COAL: 1.600" (fit in a S&W)
Final COAL: 1.580" (fit in a Ruger)

There was plenty of cylinder length, the problem was the side of the bullet was hitting the forcing cone preventing the round from seating in the cylinder. So, .020" made the difference.

Loads Tested:
13.0gr H110
13.5gr H110
14.0gr H110


There wasn't much difference in accuracy between the loads, so i settled on the 14.0gr load.

DSC_0001_zps8b9f2282.jpg

My initial loads were with a case that was not belled enough and the case scraped lead off the bullet during seating. Then, I figured out that I needed to bell the case more than for jacketed bullets. Once I did that, seating was more consistent and the case didn't skive the crap out of the bullet. so, don't be me..............bell your case more when using cast bullets. I was SERIOUSLY frustrated last night! It's all good now.

I'm happy with the load! But, there is another problem.

I can't zero the bullet. It's about 4" high at 25 yards and I can't adjust the sights anymore. That's a pisser. Gotta figure that out next.
"To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
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Replies

  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    I can't zero the bullet. It's about 4" high at 25 yards and I can't adjust the sights anymore. That's a pisser. Gotta figure that out next.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of max loads with heavy bullets! You're getting enough dwell time in the barrel (yes, even a short one) for the muzzle to rise and your POI to shift UP! You either need to use a 6:00 hold, or fit a taller front sight blade.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    180grcoatedbullets358cal_zpsbcd19f80.jpg
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    "There was plenty of cylinder length, the problem was the side of the bullet was hitting the forcing cone preventing the round from seating in the cylinder. So, .020" made the difference."

    That doesn't compute. No way a bullet can hit the forcing cone at the aft of the bbl unless it protrudes from the face of the cylinder. Terminology?

    I know my TC hard cast reloads woulnd't fit in my brothers GP-100 years ago, but did fine in my 686.....S&W cylinders are longer. Colts are short in comparison too, at least, in a King Cobra a friend had the same issue.

    Did the bullets fit at first and pull out because of recoil after you fired some, hence making cylinder rotation impossible because they were hitting the forcing cone before they were aligned/in lock up directly behind it?

    Or did you load 5, leave an empty chamber under the hammer and it caught as you were pulling the trigger?
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,176 Senior Member
    He's talking about the chamber throats. They probably need to be opened up a bit to allow the bullets to enter more easily. That might even improve accuracy as the throats aren't swaging the bullets small before they hit the forcing cone (which is part of the BARREL.)
    Overkill is underrated.
  • KENFU1911KENFU1911 Senior Member Posts: 1,052 Senior Member
    Zed meant cylinder chamber throats..........I knew what ya were sayin' Zee........... you could always get....

    .357 CYL THROAT REAMER W/ .354 PILOT
    513-000-078WB
    .357 Cal. Throat Reamer w/.354" Pilot
    Mfr Part: 357W354P
    $80.00
    In Stock
    Caliber: 38/357 Caliber (.357-.359)
    Style: Handgun
    From Brownells...............
    My idea of a warning shot is when the 2nd bad guy watches his 1st buddy go down....
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    I only fired 1 round at a time using the same chamber.

    I'll post pics. Give me a minute.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    He's talking about the chamber throats. They probably need to be opened up a bit to allow the bullets to enter more easily. That might even improve accuracy as the throats aren't swaging the bullets small before they hit the forcing cone (which is part of the BARREL.)

    THAT's IT!!! Scuse me revolver ignorance. Ain't much good with them. Just autos.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,176 Senior Member
    Ken, he can just use a 23/64" drill bit. Close enough....
    Overkill is underrated.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    KENFU1911 wrote: »
    Zed meant cylinder chamber throats..........I knew what ya were sayin' Zee........... you could always get....

    .357 CYL THROAT REAMER W/ .354 PILOT
    513-000-078WB
    .357 Cal. Throat Reamer w/.354" Pilot
    Mfr Part: 357W354P
    $80.00
    In Stock
    Caliber: 38/357 Caliber (.357-.359)
    Style: Handgun
    From Brownells...............

    My Mentor suggested that, when I called him crying. But, seating them deeper worked just fine. Guess I'll run that way.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Got it, the step-up inside each cylinder charge hole, not the forcing cone which is located at the base of the barrel and protrudes backwards almost touching the top-strap into the cylinder cut out in the frame!

    Also when I had those issues sometimes applying more crimp would allow the cartridge to insert fully into the cylinder chambers.

    Looks like you got three grooves to crimp them in , unless you were using the top one already.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    I had to do that cylinder throat enlargement thing on my .45 Blackhawk when I started using those huge meplat 300 grain cast bullets. The bullet nose was hanging up on the chamber throat and keeping the brass from seating against the rim counterbore. I could use the front crimping groove without a problem, but that raised the chamber pressure so high I was a little afraid to load the bullets that way.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • KENFU1911KENFU1911 Senior Member Posts: 1,052 Senior Member
    Ken, he can just use a 23/64" drill bit. Close enough....

    If were CPJ maybe.........Zee+drill+Ruger=:yikes:
    My idea of a warning shot is when the 2nd bad guy watches his 1st buddy go down....
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    I had to do that cylinder throat enlargement thing on my .45 Blackhawk when I started using those huge meplat 300 grain cast bullets. The bullet nose was hanging up on the chamber throat and keeping the brass from seating against the rim counterbore. I could use the front crimping groove without a problem, but that raised the chamber pressure so high I was a little afraid to load the bullets that way.
    Jerry

    IMG_3305_zps126e24fc.jpg
    On the left (red line) is my handload that won't fir the Ruger. On the right (green line) is a 110gr factory load.

    IMG_3310_zps524e2b08.jpg
    Plenty of room up front.

    IMG_3312_zpsb52edf7a.jpg
    After seating .020" deeper, it fit just fine.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Also consider using a Lee Factory Crimp Die, because if it will run through one, it will chamber. You would have to try and see if adjusting it for more/max crimp would squeeze the brass gradually (not at one spot like a roll crimp) into the bullet enough to fit properly.

    I'm just speculating here, but a few bucks investment and another reloading step in the press may help. With the Lee FCD, you seat the bullet at station # 3 only and it is a separate step/die at #4.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    Big Chief wrote: »
    Also consider using a Lee Factory Crimp Die, because if it will run through one, it will chamber. You would have to try and see if adjusting it for more/max crimp would squeeze the brass gradually (not at one spot like a roll crimp) into the bullet enough to fit properly.

    I'm just speculating here, but a few bucks investment and another reloading step in the press may help. With the Lee FCD, you seat the bullet at station # 3 only and it is a separate step/die at #4.

    Yep. Already using a Lee FCD.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    KENFU1911 wrote: »
    If were CPJ maybe.........Zee+drill+Ruger=:yikes:

    Yeah, no.

    Last thing I drilled was the brake on my .300 RUM out of necessity. But, that could have easily been fixed or replaced. A cylinder.......not so much.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    Is there still a small gap between the rim and the back of the cylinder, or is that just a lighting thing? If a bullet happens to back out slightly from recoil when another chamber fires, the cylinder could lock up or at least make it very hard to crank off a round double action. My BH has had that problem on occasion (cylinder lockup, not DA trouble)
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    Past experience taught me to chamber a reload after I loaded a few to make sure it dropped into the cylinder all the way, that the cylinder would close and then rotate it as I watched it to make sure they didn't snag on the forcing cone. Very carefully pointed in a safe direction or use a Dummy Round without powder or primer.

    Not trying to be a pedantic/smart-butt, but learned the hard way to make checks on my work which saved me headaches later on when I wanted to shoot my reloads.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    Is there still a small gap between the rim and the back of the cylinder, or is that just a lighting thing? If a bullet happens to back out slightly from recoil when another chamber fires, the cylinder could lock up or at least make it very hard to crank off a round double action. My BH has had that problem on occasion (cylinder lockup, not DA trouble)
    Jerry

    It had actually slid back a hair when I moved it for the pic. But, the rounds drop into the cylinder with a "thunk" now. All the way to the rim.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    Yeah, no.

    Last thing I drilled was the brake on my .300 RUM out of necessity.

    I used a split dowel rod in a drill press with a piece of emery cloth wrapped around it, and very carefully opened up each cylinder a thousandth at a time. I used a digital readout caliper to monitor the progress. I think mine required about .003" or so of diameter increase.
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    I used a split dowel rod in a drill press with a piece of emery cloth wrapped around it, and very carefully opened up each cylinder a thousandth at a time. I used a digital readout caliper to monitor the progress. I think mine required about .003" or so of diameter increase.
    Jerry

    And that's why you get paid the big bucks. Me, my knuckles drag the ground.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    So, is the general consensus that it will be safe to shoot these in my Scandium Framed S&W 340 M&P? Not a steady diet. Just a POI check and then for carry.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    Watch for the bullets pulling due to recoil.

    In the Smith?
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • KENFU1911KENFU1911 Senior Member Posts: 1,052 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    In the Smith?

    If Me...yep........that light sucker will pull bullets in a hurry
    My idea of a warning shot is when the 2nd bad guy watches his 1st buddy go down....
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    KENFU1911 wrote: »
    If Me...yep........that light sucker will pull bullets in a hurry

    Hmmmmmmmmm, maybe not a defensive load proposition, then.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    180grWFN-FB357MagLoads2_zpsf682f594.jpg

    First batch is done. Heading to the range this afternoon to try and get the gun sighted in somehow.

    I will say, I am still a little frustrated with this endeavor. Both the gun and loading.

    I had to seat the bullets even deeper in the end. I've settled on 1.570" COAL which is .005" below the book. I was still having some cases stick in the cylinder and drag. So, I had to seat deeper. Even then, I have a handful that want to drag.

    I'm also realizing that my cylinder chambers aren't uniform. A round that sticks in one chamber, fits perfectly in another chamber. It's kinda, sorta, maybe PISSING me off a tad.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    oops1_zps533bd448.jpg

    That guy?

    I wouldn't worry about that little guy.

    That's what happens when you stuff your head up your butt and your brain can't breath while reloading. I had loaded six rounds and swapped to the crimp die in order to finish the rounds and test them in the cylinder. Well, I forgot to swap back to the seating die when I started loading again. Sent the round half way through the crimp die before I realized my goof.

    Well, I saw that there was a partial crimp in the case....................and my brain left the room. It wanted no part of what I was going to do next. So, with my brain effectively disengaged...............I put the seating die in the press and going full bore stupid...............seated the bullet.

    oops2_zps19330c20.jpg

    For some reason..........the round is sticking in the cylinder more so than any of the others have.

    :silly:
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,429 Senior Member
    Have you checked the bullet diameters with a dial caliper? It's entirely possible there's a little variation in the diameter of individual bullets. Yep, I know it's not supposed to be that way, but it might be worthwhile to get one of the press-mounted Lee sizer dies that push the bullets through from the bottom into a catch hopper and uniform them before you start loading. I use a Lyman Lubersizer, but I also cast all my own bullets, lube, and set the gas checks at the same time. I understand you're buying cast bullets in bulk, but the next logical progression is rolling your own cast bullets. Tinkering with alloys, "as cast" diameter, and bullet hardness is all sorts of fun!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,743 Senior Member
    Teach wrote: »
    Tinkering with alloys, "as cast" diameter, and bullet hardness is all sorts of fun!
    Jerry

    Ummm, you DID see the post right above yours.......right? You REALLY want THAT guy casting bullets?

    :tooth:
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • KENFU1911KENFU1911 Senior Member Posts: 1,052 Senior Member
    Send that one to CeePee he will polish it right out for you....................Now.....for your blood pressure....and accuracy.....buy the right tool from Brownells or ask your mentor to open up and uniform the cylinder throats.....it should shoot better......and you wont be tempted to throw the gun down range......Ken
    My idea of a warning shot is when the 2nd bad guy watches his 1st buddy go down....
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