I have begun using a tracker 6" .357 for hunting and am looking for reload recommendations for whitetail; bullet size and type, how to achieve best pressure.
Any suggestions will be helpful.
My Dad growing up had a Marlin 357 Magnum Lever Action. He liked 158 grn LRN for a long shot. To him that was 50 yrds. If he bought factory loads he went with the same or similar load. I have a model M66 with a 4in and I am just now reloading for it. I will be taking it Hog hunting. Handgun hunting is great. I hope you can get some answers.
I have used H110/296 as my first choice in heavy/hot handgun loads for years. A friend that owns a reloading company got me started using Lil'Gun for some loads a few years back. Like H110/296 and some other powders it burns cleaner when loaded hot. It does run lower chamber pressures with some loads than H110/296 and gives velocities that are impressive. It works well with both cast and jackets. Hodgdon's 2012 annual manual with 158 grain XTP bullet gives the max load of H110/296 running 1591 fps with a chamber pressure of 40,700 psi. Max load with Lil'Gun runs 1577 fps with a chamber pressure of 25,800 psi. That is much lower, almost the same velocity and easier on gun and shooter. I use it in several calibers and like with H110/296 my loads are usually a grain or so below max depending on load gun shoots best with. I like the XTP bullet and it kills deer well. The 173 grain Keith semi wadcutter or a heavy widenose flat point gascheck cast bullet is usually what I shoot. Some of the heavy bullets crimped in the crimp groove are too long for some cylinders. The heavy bullets when loaded hot have a healthy recoil.
Hunted Whitetails for a long time with my 8 3/8" S&W 686 or Henry Big Boy .357. I started using Hornady LeverRevolution ammo when it came out and been rolling my own for the last few.
My load is
Federal Small Pistol Magnum Primers
13 grains Accurate #9
140grain Hornday FTX bullet.
This load is slightly above Hornady's max (they list 11.2start-12.9max) They recommend trimming the case to 1.240 because the added length tip on the FTX bullet can cause problems. My revolver and rifle do fine with 1.250 so I stick with that. I get around 1375fps out of the revolver and 1800+ out of the rifle.
They have performed great, very good accuracy and most bullets have been recovered right under the offside skin, with very good expansion. None have taken a second shot.
to each his/her own but personally i never load a magnum primer unless the loading data calls for it.
I have heard the old well the magnum primers do better in cold weather and all those arguements, but myself OK well so i am suppose to keep a pile of boolits for cold weather?
(and how cold is cold?) and a pile of boolits for warm weather?(and how warm is warm?)
and what if I get confused and put the wrong ones in my gun, or what if I am hunting in 15 degree weather and sitting in a stand and it warms up to say 40 degrees and a big buck comes out, do i take a chance and shoot him with the cold weather ammo or try to reload before he sees/hears me??
decision, decisions, heck i am a simple guy i just follow the loading data!
Some powders work better with the hotter primers in some cases with some loads. H110/296 in the heavy loads, large cases, 44 mag for example run better with the hotter primers. These powders burn cleaner with the hot heavy loads. Many powders and loads run better with regular primers. As a side note using the magnum primers in some loads are worse than regular primers. The hot magnum primer causes the bullet to leave the case before the powder ignites as it should and your chrony will show lower velocities. Reading and following load manuals is very important for many reasons. It is also wise to load several different loads and bullets to see what your gun shoots best with. Some guns will shoot well with just about any load. Some are picky about what they will group with.
Yep~! tomato- tomoto, Potatoe -potato!
The main thing that you need to be concerned with in the case of jacketed hollow points is how large is the cavities (in other words is it a new design large cavity or an old design smaller cavity).
The reason for this concern in loading near max loads (which is typically the case with JHP's) is that the cavity is full of air and basically air don't weigh anything, so a say 158 grain gold dot short barrled projectile will be longer than say a standard old style federal classic jhp in 158 grains.
If its the same diameter (.357 for example) and the same weight then it must be longer, simple!
so it would need to be seated not as deep to not reduce case capacity and increase pressure.
thats why different projectiles of the same weight may have different loading density or OAL.
this is getting kind of deep in the weeds but if you follow reliable loading data then that keeps you out of trouble .
My favorite magnum projectiles was the Old Speer half jacketed hollow points.- a Keith (Elmer) design projectile.
long bearing surface so very good accuracy and speed, soft lead hollow point for excellent expansion, and of course the jacketed half jacket to prevent lead fouling at those magnum speeds.
used Win 296 & H-110 to push them, long ago forgot the exact loading on them, still got some for the 41 mag though.
hey let me look!
200 grain JHP --21.3 grains Win 296, CCI 350 magnum primer--1350 FPS.-- Don't use this load as its for a Ruger Blackhawk or Dan Wesson 41HV without testing first!!!
they have been discontinued or a while now I think.
With a 357, broadside shot's are best, at that angle the lungs are easily taken out with a good 125 JHP, I've tried 110's at 357 Maximum velocity's and they explode and don't penetrate enough, my BIL uses 158 and has OK sucess. 357 isn't the strongest of calibers for deer, but get both lungs and they go down just fine. I wouldn't take pretty much anything but head shot's if close up or broadside with a magnum. I've harvested 6 or so does with my magnun shooting 125's(before switching to a Contender & a Maximum) I've had a few walk with double lung shot's but never had to track, saw them all go down.
So really IMO good shot selection first, a 125-158 JHP will get the job done well.
Powder wise I like Blue Dot followed by H110.
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