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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Folks,

I have been handloading for many, many years now, although I took a brief sabbatical up until about 2 years ago when I started back. My favorite calibers to load/shoot are .45 acp and .357 magnum (although I carry 40 S&W's at work daily for the last 20 years, .357 for 10 years prior to that).

I have been loading my 158 lswc hardcast over 8.0 grains of Unique and a CCI small pistol primer (not magnum),and shooting them out of my Smith 66 and my Ruger LCR. Accuracy is good, leading is average to minimal, and most importantly I see NO signs of over pressure. Recoil feels appropriate, primers look good, cases fall out freely, brass is fine. I am very satisfied with this load and have no intention of going heavier.

My concern is that MOST data I see only goes up to 7-7.5 grains of Unique for this bullet. I actually started at 6 grains and worked up to this because I was not just trying to load a pipsqueak load,(I shoot .38 special for my light loads) I wanted a fairly stiff cast field load. I have seen a FEW load recipes calling for 8 grains, but the general consensus seems to be that this is a very heavy load. I just don't see it. Am I missing something here? Should this load be considered unsafe????

Thoughts Please !!!!!



Thanks,

Big Steve
 

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I too have been loading .38 and .357 for a couple of decades or three. I will be the first to admit that most published data is probably well below actual max loads but 8 grs of Unique sounds real hot to me. I switched from it to hp-38 and titegroup but never loaded more than 7 grs and it seemed pretty hard on the brass at that load. If you keep an eye out for overpressure signs you should be all right but bear in mind metal fatique may turn into failure with no visible signs. Try to chrono it and see if you can work out the pressures you are getting. You are only going over published by less than 10% but that is still time for caution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Tmattimore,

I feel pretty good about it. I reckon I was just confused because I expected signs of pressure well before I reached 8.0. After I reached 8.0 grains without any danger signs I just got to wondering why the recipes commonly called for so much less. I thought maybe it was the particular weapon, a S&W M66, that I was shooting them in. After I shot them in 3 different .357's (m66, LCR, SP101) without any danger signs I just got to wondering. I was mainly concerned because, as I'm sure you noticed, my favorite shooters are all relatively small framed .357's. I have bigger, but these are the ones I carry and shoot a lot. I just stopped at 8.0 even though it looked like I could go further. Thanks you for your input.

Big Steve
 

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I've used 8 grains of Unique with 158 grain cast SWCs before, and while it probably exceeds some published data, it doesn't seem excessively hot to me. It's probably worth dropping the load to 7 or 7.5 grains though, if nothing else than just to give you a better margin of safety.

I think if you want more than that you might want to look at Power Pistol, Herco, or the magnum level powders like 2400, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah. I reckon I'll shoot these up in my 686 and then drop down to 7 grains from here on out. I knew I was pushing the envelope but they seemed stiff, but safe to me. The more research I do the more I second guess that load. I really like it, but since my go to .357 field gun is my 66 I reckon I'll back off to 7 grains. 66's are hard to come by these days, no use ruining one over 1 grain of powder.

Thanks for the input

Big Steve
 

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Seems a little warm to me If I use unique I never go over 7 grains,If I want a little more punch I go to Herco,just a little slower but it seems to have a little less pressure to it,and velocity is pretty close to Unique,I get better accuracy with Herco too.
 
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