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Thread: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE



  1. #1
    Sidewinder
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    LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    Recently picked up a used .357 Marlin in beautiful shape. Not a scratch and blueing is superb.
    paid $400.00 hope that is a fair price. Shot it a few days ago and it cycles and ejects fine. A minor
    sight adjustment and am all set. My question is , is there a bullet weight that is likely to be most accurate? I reload, so is there favorite loads that work for you? I was thinking 140 gr might be a good all around weight.

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    Army Veteran 67-69 Korea Administrator
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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    140s should be good, unless you buy a lot of them you may not get the best deals on them.

    158gn Win HPs bulk packs, seem to be the cheapest and really shoot well in my CB. 11.5 gns of 2400

    The 2400 powder is one of the easiest powders I've worked with for the .357
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    High Priest of the Powder Hoarders Contributing Member
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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    Do you already have a powder in mind, or are you looking for proven loads, regardless of powder type?

    I like 158-grain bullets, I shoot my long-hoarded Remingtons, both soft-points and HP's. My powder of choice is Lil Gun, and I get good accuracy with Federal primers and Starline brass.

    It's almost impossible to build a bad 357 load for a Marlin, they shoot most bullet weights well, especially the stuff 140 grains and up.
    unclesarge58 likes this.
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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    My experience with 2 1894Cs is that they preferred heavy bullets to light. 125s were the worst performers in both rifles. 158s and 180s shot best in both. My favorite loads:

    158 grain Hornady FP-XTP over 18.0 grains of Lil' Gun, Starline brass and a magnum primer.

    180 grain cast RNFP (SAECO #353) over 10.5 grains of 2400 in Remington cases with a standard primer.

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    Deadeye
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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    Quote Originally Posted by imashooter2
    My experience with 2 1894Cs is that they preferred heavy bullets to light. 125s were the worst performers in both rifles. 158s and 180s shot best in both. My favorite loads:

    158 grain Hornady FP-XTP over 18.0 grains of Lil' Gun, Starline brass and a magnum primer.

    180 grain cast RNFP (SAECO #353) over 10.5 grains of 2400 in Remington cases with a standard primer.
    I'm curious... did you ever chronograph those loads? I've been looking for a flat base/non-GC bullet to start loading for my 1894c and your post prompted me to look up the SAECO mould. It looks like a very nice design that might work well in the 357 and 35 Rem.

    Stirling

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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    Sure have...

    158 grain Hornady FP-XTP over 18.0 grains of Lil' Gun = 1,867 fps in an 1894C (1,208 fps in a 4 inch 686)

    SAECO #353 over 10.5 grains of 2400 = 1,349 fps from an 1894C

    ETA, The SAECO #353 loads to 1.610 inches OAL for me. My rifle needed the carrier modified to feed it. Others have reported that their rifle feeds them just fine with no modification required. Details on the mod here:

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/showthread.php?t=7750
    unclesarge58, stainless and Dr. A like this.

  7. #7
    Sidewinder
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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    Thanks for the advice about bullet weights. I'll load 158 gr and see what happens. I hear Lil Gun mentioned a lot. How does 296 or H110 perform? I have a lot of this powder. Do you interchange rounds for your rifle with pistols? Is there concern about same round being used in either gun?
    What is typical accuracy you get with the Marlin rifle, say at 50 and 100 yds? open sights or scoped.

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    High Priest of the Powder Hoarders Contributing Member
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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    The 357 was designed around the 158-grain bullet, and not much has changed in the 74 years since. It's still the best choice for most applications.

    Lil Gun gets mentioned a lot because it offers very similar performance to H-110 (same as WW296) without the attendant foibles. H-110 is not suitable for reduced loads, nothing below 92% load density is suggested nor recommended. It's difficult to light, especially in cold weather, and it can be messy to load with, depending on your equipment. Lil Gun burns clean, isn't temperature sensitive, and often rivals the velocities attainable with H110 with less powder and lower pressures. How does it do that? I have no idea.....but I buy and shoot a lot of it, mostly in my 357's.

    Rifle and pistol loads are generally interchangeable, but slower powders in the pistol can make for some serious pyrotechnics. Muzzle flashes are rare in the rifle length barrels, but can be quite spectacular from a handgun. My avatar is proof of that! (That a full-charge H-110 load, BTW)

    Typical accuracy? The best guns will consistently put five shots into about a half-inch at 50 yards on good days, an inch on an average day. That's assuming a scope and good ammo, carefully crafted. Some guns never do better than two inches at 50 yards, but their owners bring home venison every year, and they couldn't possibly care less. Minute-of-Deer is all that matters.

    This is about average for mine..........5 @ 50



    Some days it will do this, once it's fouled-in.........



    Most of these rifles will easily outshoot the guy holding them. I know mine will. After 30 years of learning how to shoot, I'm still the limiting factor.
    unclesarge58 and zaksgod like this.
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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    From what I hear Lil Gun is good stuff. However, I've got a bunch of 2400 stashed around here so that is what I use. For bullets, I've done very good with the Winchester 145gr Silvertip JHP in front of a stiff dose of 2400.

    My experience is that you can make the most out of that longer barrel with the slower burning powders.
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    Re: LOADS FOR .357 RIFLE

    For an accurate lower velocity, lower $ .357 load, I have found that 6.0/Titegroup behind a 125 gr. XTP shoots very well. Velocity runs 1,450 f.p.s. I have had some 5 shot groups in the 1" range @ 50 yards with it.

    For a cheaper target load, the 148 gr. HBWC over 4.0/Bullseye does 1,000 f.p.s. and is another fun load to shoot.

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