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.357 Maxi loads in a .357 magnum SS rifle.

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by JackD, May 1, 2012.

  1. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    My H&R .357 magnum rifle has a very long throat and that gives me the opportunity to seat bullets very shallow allowing for more powder. In effect, I can get Remington Maximum velocities in a SAAMI magnum chamber and magnum cases. I've detailed these loads on my website at H&R Handi.

    The 140 gr. FTX load is not quite there, but is close to a Maxi load. The 200 gr. FTX is there at just under 17 gr. of IMR4227. I've determined that 18 gr. of IMR4227 is maximum in this rifle and that is the listed maximum on Hodgdon's data as well for a 200 gr. bullet in a .357 Rem. Maxi.

    I had a chance Saturday to fire those new loads at long ranges. I fired 45 rounds of the 140 gr. FTX loads and 50 rounds of the 200 gr. FTX loads. All of them performed very well. I was particularly happy with the 200 gr. FTX loads. I was shooting standing, off hand, and able to get consistant hits on small rocks and sticks at around 125 yards. Also had several hits on a 8" diameter steel plate well over 200 yards out hung on a chain. The 200 gr. bullets made the plate dance wildly.

    I don't have a range nearby to bench rest test these for accuracy. I'm searching for a nice level place in the woods where I can set up a table and measure out 100 yards, but that's hard to find in the mountains and canyons of our nearby Coast Range. But judging from the consistant hits on small rocks and sticks at 125 yards, it seems a good bet to be more than adequate for deer out to 200 yards.

    Now I just need to fine tune the scope and red dot to suit the trajectory.
     
  2. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you've already determined that these loads are accurate. If you want to see it they are more accurate, just use a smaller plate and see how many times you can hit it. There are some that can't even hit a 12" circle target at 200 yards WITH a bench rest. You're doing fine with this rifle/ammo.

    How much more do you want?
     
  3. Da Duke

    Da Duke Arkansas New Member

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    Good luck with your project. I just got my Mike Bellm 12" Contender barrel back. Cant wait to work up a load or five. My next project is a lever rifle in the Maxi.
     
  4. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    I'd like to know what the trajectory is and sight it in so that it is as high at 100 yds as it is low at 200 yds. When that is right, I should be able to hit the plate every time with a rest. At least I would hope to be able to. Then I can show my boys the old man has still got it. We have a competitive thing going. Oldest is bringing a chrono next time he comes down. When I know the MV, I can predict the trajectory and sight it in accordingly. If my MV guess is close, it should be sighted in 5.5" high at 100 yds. and 5.5" low at 200 yds. Zero at ~ 170 yds. At least that's the plan. Right now it is pretty close to zero at 125 yds.
     
  5. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    I considered reaming to Maxi, but decided against it when I heard that Remington is not going to make the cases any longer. Maybe Starline will fill the gap.
     
  6. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    Here's a "field expedient" I've used when I either don't have my chronograph available or am too lazy to set it up.

    I know the BC of my bullet. I first zero the weapon at any known range. I then shoot at a more distant target and measure the drop from point of aim, making no elevation adjustment for the extra distance. I then go to the ballistic's calculator and adjust the MV variable until I get the same drop at the distant target from the known zero.

    I recently was playing with a load and had a nice tight group at 100 yards. I wondered how it would do at 300 yards. I shot a group at 300 yards then measured the drop using the MOA reticle in my scope. I have a Watch that has the Horus Vision software built in so I just kept changing the MV variable until I got the same MOA drop as a readout for 300 yards. It turned out to be 2525 fps. Used this same value to determine the elevation for my scope turret. Made the adjustment and BINGO, next round was dead center in the POA.

    When I got around to checking the speed of the round at a later range session, the chronograph showed it to be 2528 average with a MAD of 9fps.

    This method is a little more complicated than just starting out with a speed but in many ways it's more accurate. It deals with ACTUAL bullet drop caused by the ACTUAL BC of the bullet.

    Anyway you look at it, it makes the hobby/sport fun. Also keeps the mind active and they say that will help stave off Alzheimer's.
     
  7. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    Right on! Working with figures can be fun all by itself.

    I find the range (on my computer) by measuring the target (a known size) at arms length then scale it out in my CAD program. It can be done with trig. but I'm not well versed in trig. so CAD will do. An 11" high sheet of paper that is 1/16" high at arms length is 124 yards out. Of course your arm and my arm are not the same length so every individual will come up with a different scale.
     
  8. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    What? No MOA or Mil-Dot Reticle in your scope?

    I have the NP-R1 reticle in my Nightforce scope. Simple ranging. Height of Target in inches divided by the MOA's indicated by the reticle times 100 equals range in yards.

    A 3' high target that measures 3 MOA in your scope (when set to the proper magnification for ranging) is 1200 yards away. I once thought about buying a rangefinder but have come to believe that this system is more accurate at long range. Also leaves a few hundred dollars more for other essential gadgets:)
     
  9. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    Nope! Nothing but a pair of hairs. Old style. But I have come up with an equation to calculate the range if the target size is known (or something next to the target). Actual target size in inches (S) divided by target size at arms length (L) times arms length in inches (A) = range to target (R) in inches. Divide by 36 to get yards.

    Range to target (R)
    Size of target or object next to: 36" (S)
    Size of target or object next to, at arms length: 1/4" (L)
    Arms length: 24" (A)

    R=S/L*A/36

    36"/.25"*24"=3456"/36=96 yards to target.
     
  10. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    This is really all very amusing. (Please take no offense, allow me to elaborate).

    You have a basic (but very good) platform gun upon which to test the very extreme possiblilties of: NOT a .300 Weatherby, NOT a 7mm Shooting Times Westerner, NOT a 6.5x .284, but the mere .357 Magnum.

    I applaud the experiment! You are doing what others think they need great money and great equipment to explore! This is the very essence of becoming a good handloader, and your focus on what others may term a mundane cartridge in a rifle, and an economical gun (I've seen those Handi-Rifles do some great things), is not only of great value to you, but great value to others.

    ANY .357 bullet that impacts a deer at a velocity at which it can expand (regardless of the range) is a good deer killer. If you can (through your experiments) show that a good 158 or 140g bullet achieves expansion velocity at 200 yards, you have plowed a furrow that needed to be plowed, and no deer will survive a ribcage hit from such a load.

    My hat is off to you.
     
  11. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    Wow! Thank you, Spitpatch.

    All I'm really doing is tinkering. I love to tinker.

    I'm of the opinion that it is not necessary to ream a .357 magnum chamber out to a Maximum chamber to get the Maximum velocities in a single shot rifle. This is due to the long throat in the SAAMI chamber. Most Handi rifles are really chambered in 360 DW even though it is marked .357 magnum. At least that is what most owners aof .357 mag. Handi's are saying. I haven't checked mine to see if that's true. But if it is, then the longer .360 DW case really opens it up for much higher than normal velocities, even in the lighter bullet weights. Reaming to a Maxi is a waste. Especially if you can't get the Maxi brass and word is that Remington is not making it any longer.

    Your point about the bullets expanding at lower velocities is a valid one. And one that I have not addressed. However, if a 180gr. Hornady SSP (single shot pistol) bullet is good for deer out to 200 yards in a Maxi as most claim it is, then the 200 gr. FTX should be even better. According to Hornady, it is designed for lower velocities than the SSP is.

    Most certainly the Hornady XTP's would be good out to 200 yards since it is designed for lower velocities out of revolvers. Some say it won't hold together at higher velocities and still others say that is bunk. I believe it will, but testing is in order. Of course there are other bullets available, too. I don't have cash for things like ballistics gel. so I'll need to find other methods of testing for penetration and expansion.

    No matter what the outcome is, I will enjoy the process.
     
  12. Tbucket

    Tbucket Olympia,Wash. Active Member

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    No matter what the outcome is, I will enjoy the process. That is what counts, and why I enjoy doing this stuff so much!
     
  13. JackD

    JackD Elmira, OR Active Member

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    Today, I conducted a test for expansion at lower velocities (~1250 fps) with the Hornady 200 gr. FTX. From my data I found that ~5 gr. of Bullseye will give me ~950 fps from a 6" barrel, so I guessed at 1250 fps from my 16.5" barrel. That is ~ the velocity of my cartridge at 200 yards with a MV of 1600 fps.

    I filled a 24" carton with garden mulch and fired one round from 10' into the carton. It traveled 20" into the mulch and did expand some. Photo attached. I did fired a second, but was not able to locate the remains. Where it went will remain a mystery.

    I conclude from this test that the 200 gr. FTX will begin to expand when fired at 1250 fps into a carton of garden mulch. :p

    200FTX1200FPS.jpg
     
  14. branchbuster

    branchbuster Albany Active Member

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    That would leave a very nasty, very deep wound! It looks like it would bleed the victim out rather quickly.