This is a discussion on Which powder for .357 Magnum? within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I'm looking for the best powder to load .357. I want something that best suits a newbie to reloading. I also want to reload .38's ...
I'm looking for the best powder to load .357. I want something that best suits a newbie to reloading. I also want to reload .38's with it. It would be great if I could also use it for .44 mag and .44 special. I'm thinking Unique, but I'm not sure. Any thoughts?
Let me be the 1st to say that you can never go wrong with Unique. It is not the best for all things, but it will work in just about any pistol caliber! For lead bullets, Unique is great. Not bad for jacketed either, but wont launch em near as fast as 2400 or H110.
Unique or Herco.
You should select two powders. One for your practice or plinking loads, one for your serious loads. And match primers to powder and load. Unique comes as close to a 'universal' powder there is. IMHO of course.
Using one powder means you'll settle for mediocrity somewhere.
Like Jimbo said you'll do better with two powders than one. One for heavy loads and one for light. In the .357 for heavy loads I have come to love Hodgdon's Lil'Gun w/magnum primers. It gives the same or better velocities than Hodgdon's H110 and Wichester's Win296 (which are the same powder and either would be my second choice with Herc 2400 coming in third) at about 2/3 the pressure. For plinking and target loads Hodgdon's Univeral Clay's w/regular small pistol primers has become my favorite. It burns much cleaner than Bull's Eye and gives great accuracy. My second choice for light loads would be Winchester 231 or Hodgdon HP-38 which are the same powder.
If you were thinking of loading 38's to shoot in your .357 magnum do yourself a favor and save yourself a lot of scrubbing in the cylinder by just loading light loads in the .357 magnum cases. If you are reloading there are only a couple of situations where 38 cases are preferable to the .38's and that's with max loads and very heavy bullets.
When I began (starting with .38's), I picked up a pound of Hodgdon 'Universal Clays'. I've found it to be a good all around powder for most straight wall handgun cartridges. May not be the 'best' for all of them, but I've used it for .32 H&R Mag, 9mm, .38 Spl, .357 Mag, 45 ACP, and .45 Colt all with decent acceptable results.
Easy to find data, and no confusion about what kind of powder was in the hopper. In fact, about the only other powder I've used is W296 which I needed for .30 Carbine. I'll try others eventually, but necessity just hasn't dictated that I need fifteen kinds of powder yet. That will change I'm sure when I get into rifle cartridges.
If all I was loading was .357's though, I'd probably go with H110, or W296. Both of those warn against reducing loads more than 10% though, so pay heed if you use either of them.
Last edited by Tweek; January 19th, 2008 at 09:47 AM.
Ok I'm going to load just my .357 magnum first. So what powder should I start with? Just for .357 magnum. I'll worry about .44 down the road.
To answer that - tell us what your going to do with it. Self defense? Target? Hunting?
And what bullet type and weight? Lead cast, jacketed?
Any of the H110, WW296, Lil Gun, etc will work in magnum loads.
The Unique, WW231, U. Clays, etc in lighter loads for the .357.
I would stay away from the 2400 until you get experienced in reloading.
Just pick one from the list and use the loading data in your manual. You can run it by us if you want but you'll always get a range of answers. Start at minimums suggested, or at least 10% below max and duplicate the recommended components to start, especially primer types. Good Luck
I go through a lot of Blue Dot on 357 mag and you can use it with 38 Spl as well. I have used 2400 for 357 but like it better for 44 Mag. I have also used Unique with success on lighter loads, Bullseye, Red Dot and American Select didn't impress me for 357 but I didn't try too hard either.
I'm just looking to load plinking rounds. Most likely I'll be loading lead bullets. I'll be picking some up in 2 weeks. I'm just putting together a short list to get me going. I think I'll start with Unique. I'll load a few trips to the range worth and see how it goes. I'll expand and experiment once I fully understand what I'm doing. I don't want to blow myself up right away. I'd like to shoot a few hundred rounds before I do that.
We don't want you to blow yourself or your guns up either. Unique is a good powder to start with.
Start at 6.1 gr and work up in .2 gr increments to the 6.9 gr level to see what shoots best in your gun using standard sm pistol primers. I prefer Winchester or CCI.
Best of luck and post on your progress.
I am sure not one to be giving advice since I am still in the screw up stage. So far I have loaded .357 Mag, .44 Mag and 45 Colt. All have been loaded with Unique and and they have all gone boom at the right time. The benefit I see is there is no worry about such things as what powder to use, what primer to use, etc. Keeping things as simple as possible at this point is one of my priorities. The guys have said many times Unique is probably the best general purpose powder and it is working very well at this point.
Since I just bought 2000 primers [WSP and WLP] at the gun show yesterday Unique is going to be the primary powder for awhile.