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I was inventorying my reloading supplies recently and came across two boxes of 125 gr Speer Gold Dot bullets I'd forgotten I had. I searched RCBS.Load for relevant loads, and the closest I found was the following rifle data for Hornady 125 gr XTPs:

H110 21 gr 2205 fps
H110 22 gr 2276 fps

I don't have any H110 but several sources report it's the same powder as Win 296, which I've used for years for my .357 revolver loads. So I decided to experiment with it and the Gold Dots. Gold Dots are said to have shorter bearing surfaces than most bullets and shallower cavities than XTPs (and thus fill less case space for a given bullet weight) so I decided the RCBS.Load data would give me a reasonable starting range.

All loads used CCI 550 (small pistol magnum) primers and brand new Winchester brass with case length of 1.290". I hand-weighed each load with a cheap electronic scale and worked my way up from 20.2 to 22.0 gr in 0.2 grain increments. Bullets were seated so the case mouth almost reached the end of the cannelure... unfortunately I didn't think to measure COAL before firing them (next time). Shots were chronographed 15 feet beyond the muzzle with a Competition Electronics Chronograph, with each fired case examined for over-pressure signs before firing the next.

Powder Load (gr) Average Velocity (fps)
---------------- ---------------------
20.2 ..........................2123
20.4 ..........................2142
20.6 ..........................2180
20.8 ..........................2172
21.0 ..........................2184
21.2 ..........................2211
21.4 ..........................2243
21.6 ..........................2243
21.8 ..........................2281
22.0 ..........................2294

None of these loads showed signs of over-pressure; radius was still visible on all primers and none exhibited firing pin cratering. I only tested two rounds of each load; that coupled with my use of my cheap electronic scale instead of a beam balance may have accounted for the unexpected results at 20.6, 21.4 and 21.6 gr, or it could be related to the warning that H110/Win 296 loads should be reduced by no more than 3% (from Hodgdon website - "H110 and Winchester 296 loads should not be reduced more than 3%."). Hard advice to follow when you start with no relevant load data :(.

It appears that even hotter loads are possible with this powder/primer/bullet combination, but I was pretty happy with these and will likely stop there.

Keep in mind that these results are from my rifle with the batches of powder and primer that I have on-hand. YMMV. As always, start low and work your way up if you choose to try these loads.

Next I'd like to find some .357 Mag loads for the 125 gr Remington Golden Sabers I found during that same inventory. Anybody got some they'd care to share?
 

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Those little hiccoups in velocity are not unusual when working up in small increments. I normally go up 1/2 gn at a time but I'm lazy.
Time now to find the most accurate load, that'll be fun.:)

Cheers,
Mark.
 

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there are some GREAT powders out there suitable for max performance with the 125 gr slug in the .357.

As you already know, H110 and WW 296 are in that group.

Other good powders to consider are AA9 and LilGun. Go to the appropriate websites for Accurate Arms and check out info on AA9. Then visit Hodgdon's website for info on LilGun.

Like OZ stated, it will be fun to also find the most accurate load.

Best regards,


..........Widder
 

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I'll second 2400. I've loaded a bunch of H110, but it's just not as flexible a powder as 2400.

ETA: Forgot to mention that Gold Dots are some really great bullets. I killed my biggest buck with a 200gr Gold Dot out of my 44-40.
 
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