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Okay for light loads in .38. I'd go a lot slower on the powder for .357, start with maybe Blue Dot. I use 2400 mostly, myself, and AA#9 is a modern powder that works really well.

My .38 powder is Bullseye, slower than Red Dot, but still really fast and dense. With Red Dot as with Bullseye, be very careful not to double charge a case. That can be catastrophic. I might try a pound of trailboss in the future for light loads, but I'm not sure if it'd work with wadcutters. It's very bulky, but it prevents double charges by the fact that you can't fit a double charge in a case, yet it's fast burn for light loads.

Red Dot is not a powder I use. Trap shooters like it for light shotgun target loads. It's just a bit fast for me to like it. Also, didn't mention, but W231 is a very good powder for .38 light loads and W296 works equally well for .357 hot loads. I've got a friend that likes the Winchester powders because they're ball powders, like the AA, and meter well and burn clean. I've just standardized on the old standbys, Bullseye for light .38s, and 2400 for hot +P and .357 magnum. I also use Unique in hotter .38 loads, is a good powder. It all works, that's just what I use and I'm old and set in my ways. :D
 

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welder05 said:
Thanks for the info. I am just about out of Red Dot so I'll give Blue a try... There is such a small charge of Red Dot a pound will go a long long way.
That's why I like Bullseye with my 148 wadcutters, just 2.7 grains per charge. It lasts forever. LOL It is also very accurate as is Red Dot, very efficient powders for light loads. But, to maximize a .357, you need a slower powder. What's the use in shooting .357 if you're not getting magnum ballistics from it?

Blue Dot is THE powder to use in short barreled .357s with light bullets and works well for 4" guns and under, more efficient than slower powders, about perfect. For a defense load, it's hard to beat. I load 2400 because I shoot it in longer barrels. From a 4" or longer barrel, it out performs Blue Dot and ain't bad out of a 3" gun, but does have a massive muzzle blast. Blue Dot is milder on the flash, if not the bang. From a 6.5" barrel, 2400 screams up around the 760 ft lbs range with a 158 SWC. Can't recall the velocity without looking it up, but around 1500 fps I think or a little shy of that, 1470 or something. Out of my rifle, it pushes a 158 gas checked SWC to nearly 1900 fps.

AA#9 is a cleaner and a little quicker burning powder that I worked up a very hot 180 grain load with for my 6.5" Blackhawk for hunting. It pushes the limits in some manuals and I hesitate to shoot it in anything, but the Ruger, but it pushes that 180 to 1400 fps/785 ft lbs out of my Blackhawk. Now, my 2400 load, 14.5 grains of 2400 and a 158 SWC pushes 760 ft lbs and is quite mild enough for shooting in any .357 magnum. It does fall off more in a shorter barrel. I got something like 460 ft lbs from the 2400/158 grain load in a 2.25" SP101 and the AA#9/180 grain load got 662 ft lbs out of that gun. So, the slower the powder and lighter the bullet, the less efficient it will be in a shorter barrel.

There's an old post here somewhere where I did the chronographing comparing these loads. It was interesting to do and quite informative. <edit> here's the link... http://www.taurusarmed.net/forums/index.php?topic=1612.0
 

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I shoot a gas check design with a gas check. I find no letting with the load even at near 1900 fps in my rifle with this load. A regular 158, if not hard enough, may lead a bit. It's not a REAL hot load, easy on the gun, but hot enough for hunting and hotter than most store bought ammo. It's an old standby load and well within SAAMI limits on pressure. Another half grain to a grain and you're beginning to push pressure limits, so it's as hot as anyone needs to go.

I load and shoot this round more'n any other in .357. My light loads I load in .38 brass to keep 'em separate and identifyable. I really like shooting a 148 wadcutter and I shoot 5.0 grains unique behind a standard SWC in .38 for a mildly +P load. This is another old standby load quoted a lot by gun writers. Hey, some of those gun writers actually know something, LOL. I believe it was Skeeter Skelton that used to talk about 14.5 2400/158SWC .357 loads a lot.
 
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