Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

For those who like to roll their own.

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Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#1

Post by K-Texas » Wed Oct 30, 2019 5:19 pm

Without the Speer shot capsule?

Came into about 1/2 a bag of #7 1/2 shot recently. If your familiar with the Speer capsules for handloading shotshells, you probably know that #9 or smaller shot is recommended. There are positives and negatives in regard to using the capsules, usable space being the issue here with the slightly larger shot. I have the Speer #11 manual for data and W231 which is one of the powders they used. Velocities in the #11 came from 6" revolvers with the capsules in .38 Special cases. 5 grs of W231 got them 996 FPS and they say you should expect a 150 FPS loss, firing from a 4" barrel. My lucky dog of a shooting partner won a 1 chance in 80 raffle last week for a new S&W 4" 686+ 7-shooter and it shot like a gem on Friday. I'll be shooting a 4" GP100. I'm not looking for 12" patterns at 12', I'm more interested in getting the heavier pellets to saturate evenly throughout the pattern.

This will be about trying to get more shot in the case without using the capsules. In the past I had considered using .357 Maximum cases and putting a star crimp on them like blanks get. But since most of us that shoot .357 Mag have cases, they seem a bit more practical than buying 100 .357 Max cases and I don't have the start crimp die. I've been kicking around ideas about wads, and mat'ls to make them from. I've only done a few preliminaries regarding powders and the amount of space they'll occupy in the case. I have enough, but not a lot of W231. Plenty of AA No 2 and as much as I recommend Ramshot True Blue, it could provide the highest charge in regard to the space it occupies. It is very dense and fine grained while No 2 has the lowest density of these powders.

But here's the catch. I may get an article out of this for the Western blog, but I thought if there's an interest here, and replies to warrant, or tips from handloaders who have done something similar, the discussion and techniques I'll use could be kicked around as I go from start to finish firing them at the range and making adjustments to the powder charge or experimenting with different wad mat'ls. Or if you've loaded with the Speer shot capsules, feel free to post your results. If no one is interested in this other than myself, the thread can fade away, and/or become an article for the Western blog, provided they are interested.

First step when it warms up a bit here, selecting the powder and wad mat'l. Pretty sure the top wad will be a translucent plastic. ;-)
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Lena
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#2

Post by Lena » Wed Oct 30, 2019 6:00 pm

I have loaded both 357 and 44 cal shotshells, I got several boxes of factory filled shot capsules in a trade so I tried then, directions said to weigh them and use that weight data and a faster powder they worked well with a good crimp without a good crimp the capsules moved forward some locking my revolver after firing. I did actually kill a few snakes with them, they did have a very dense pattern.
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#3

Post by ET-Ret » Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:20 pm

I don't remember what magazine I got this idea from but it was a little before speer put out their deal I made a few
44 Mag shotshells using a small charge of Bullseye and 2 copper gas checks came up with a powder charge pushed a gascheck down in
case to meet powder and filled it with 7 1/2 shot left enough space to put gascheck upside down and mild crimped it. I shot a piece of 1/4 in plywood
from about 10 feet and it just shredded it.
pistol was S&W model 29 with a 6.5 inch bbl and was afraid it would lead the bbl so I just dropped the idea.
They have the 410 guns and S&W and Tauras to do the job so I was just not interested.
The only snake I shot with the 44 mag 220 gr HP it made a large hole in the ground and took a lot of him with it.

I also got interested in making wax bullets with canning wax. Bill Jordan was to blame for that.
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#4

Post by Boxerrider » Thu Oct 31, 2019 8:01 am

I make them in .38 Special for yard/shop/barn pest control.
My motivation was something better than the .22 LR Speers, which had a very poor pattern out of my 4" revolver (shortest .22 I have). I believe the rifling affects the quality of the pattern, and my magnum guns are 4" and longer, so I chose .38 Special for the cartridge. The increased capacity of a .357 Magnum cartridge should give you more load options. My goal was a dense pattern at a distance of at least six feet out of my 2" model 10, and low powered to reduce collateral damage. I also wanted to use what I had on hand instead of buying anything new.

#8 shot was harvested from shotgun shells. I chamfered a sharp edge on a piece of empty brass, and used that to cut wads out of cardboard cereal boxes.
2.2 grains of Hodgdon Clays, cardboard wad, 96.5 grains of #8 shot, cardboard wad, and then a heavy roll crimp. The ends were dipped in melted paraffin wax to help keep everything in place (Not a thick layer here - I just touched the top wad to the wax and let it wick into the cardboard and seal it to the crimp. The small amount on the outside was wiped away.).
Tested on a cardboard boxes at six feet; dense pattern 6-8" in diameter, and the pellets penetrated two layers of cardboard but stuck in the third or fourth.
38 Special Shotshell.jpeg
Enjoy!
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#5

Post by K-Texas » Thu Oct 31, 2019 11:45 am

Good stuff, guys! Some time back, and before I bought any shot, Rob Behr up at Western mentioned loads he made using a gas-check under the pellets. Can't remember what mat'l he used on top, but I suspect a gas-check could be used for that as well. One thing I did read in regard to gas checks is that they can penetrate 1/2" plywood at 20'. I also wondered about using a .36" 000 Buck pellet on top to roll crimp into. Cutting wads with cases chamfered to a sharp edge is how I'll be making wads. A nice little trick I learned from another guy on YouTube. As of now, I'm gonna cut the top wad from translucent plastic from tupper-ware type disposable food containers and maybe coffee can lids between the shot and powder. The lower could end up being cardboard. Another neat little tip I saw from another YouTube vid, the guy cut disks from glue-gun sticks for the top without worrying much about thickness because he warmed the blade of the tool he used which went through the glue sticks like butter. I'm thinking that should answer any question about sealing the rounds from weather. I also like the idea of sealing the ends with wax. Can't find any sticks for my glue gun but suspect I'll be making a trip to the hobby store.

The data is likely the same in the newer Speer manuals except that the long discontinued W630 was used in the #11. All velocities for 38/357, .44 Sp/.44 Mag was between 1000 - 1100 FPS +/- a bit. That was a bit before the .45 Colt had its resurgence which is the only reason I can think of for it not being in the data. And there is a velocity threshold where anything faster just degraded the patterns. Along with the discontinued W630, all of the other powders are current with Unique, W231/HP38, Bullseye and 700X. As mentioned, I have W231 and No 2 which can be very similar. Unique at 5.5 grs gave the highest velocity of 1111 FPS where the only powder slower burning was the W630 at 9 grs. The other powders used were lower than the 5.5 gr charge of Unique. I suspect I will likely use True Blue to get a higher charge in the same space taken by W231 and No 2 should require the most, it being the lowest density spherical I have other than WST that I'm getting very low on, and part of the reason I wanted to try No 2 was to see if it would cover the same loads as WST and W231 without a need for 2 separate powders for target loads in .38 Sp and .45 ACP. True Blue, I suspect, will need about a 1 gr increase over Unique, so it's not nearly as slow as W630 was. Another discontinued powder used in the .44 Sp loads was HS5 and about 2/3 the charge of 630. Don't know why they didn't use HS5 in the .38 Sp loads but the True Blue charges I'll use should be very similar. ;-)
Last edited by K-Texas on Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#6

Post by WTR » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:06 pm

My friend has a large ranch near Fort Stictin. He bought two judges for rattler control. After the first weekend he offered to give me one of the Judges. He switched to CCI shot in .45 ACP and has been vey happy.


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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#7

Post by K-Texas » Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:22 pm

WTR wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:06 pm
My friend has a large ranch near Fort Stictin. He bought two judges for rattler control. After the first weekend he offered to give me one of the Judges. He switched to CCI shot in .45 ACP and has been vey happy.
As far as the factory loads, those for .45 Colt are usually rated best. One reason I mentioned .45 Colt not being in the data where a few years later, the .45 Colt made a big come-back, and not just the 30,000 PSI Ruger/TC only loads. At its original pressure rating, .45 Colt still does a lot of things very well. ;-)
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#8

Post by K-Texas » Thu Oct 31, 2019 6:13 pm

Had some luck with a few preliminaries. I have a 30 year-old set of hardly used LEE dippers I was hoping to use. They were at least useful for a couple of comparisons, and there was a surprise or 2. The .5cc dipper showed that AA No 2 and W231 have a near identical weight to volume while No 2 is finer in granule size. Unfortunately, that dipper throws a bit too much No 2 and not quite enough W231 at 4.8 grs.

The sliding scale for powders 30 years ago listed 7.4 grs of HS5 at .5cc while that dipper threw 7.1 grs of True Blue. I thought they'd be close and was surprised that HS5 was an even denser powder. My estimate for the powder charge showed W231 having about 2/3rds the density of True Blue and that worked out to be very close when weighing .5ccs of both. The charge for the loads I was planning at 6.0 - 6.5 grs Max. I may have to throw powder charges with the Uniflow, but that's not a bad thing.

For the shot, the first article I found states that the Speer shot capsules take approx. 135 of the #9 pellets. Thankfully, the weight is also shown at 92 grs. Very pleased with that and found that the 1.3cc dipper is good for around 116.5 grs of the 7 1/2 shot.. If the mood strikes me I can always count the pellets. But this all kind of got off the ground by finding the shot by accident before a neighbors garage sale. Without that shot, if I had ever gotten around to this project I probably would have just ordered the shot capsules and bought the #9 shot. I really like the idea of using the larger shot, particularly if the patterns are smaller. I'm hoping that that will help get a good saturation from the 7 1/2 pellets. And I will be able to use the 1.3cc dipper to measure the shot. Doesn't quite fill a .357 case and there should be ample space for the powder charge with the wad over it.

My SP is now on board and getting excited because he lives in a small town about 35 miles NNE of here while their trash and brush dump is just outside of town. He's more likely to have a snake encounter than I am, while my one and only event was a pretty strange one back in May of 2015 while I was mowing. Had what looked to be about a 4" long snake headed right for me and about 6' away when I first saw it. The mower is set to to mulch with no discharge. I pulled back on it slightly and gave it a good push, and mulch it did. This is diamondback country so I did look at its back briefly before mulching it and rather than diamonds, the patterns were somewhat oakleaf shaped. I did know that it had a spade-head of a viper. It was a copperhead and I didn't know they got this far west. Then my SP had a similar event at his place a month later that he resolved with a 12 gauge. None since then.

Next up is wad selection. I like what Boxerrider did by sealing the top with candle wax, and I'm sure we have some candles around. I also like the idea of using the glue-gun sticks. I'm not greatly concerned about long term storage because I don't have any other use for the several pounds of shot. But if I can seal them properly, I plan to do so.;-)
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#9

Post by K-Texas » Wed Nov 06, 2019 7:39 pm

Okay, made up a dozen rounds Monday eve. 98 grs of 7 1/2 without the capsule. The best way I can describe making the first loads is like Ruger's terminology for investment casting referred to as the "lost wax" method. And I certainly lost wax. Too much to try it again, so I'll use a mini size glue gun next. It may be a few days before the weather allows us to get to the range, but more to come after that. ;-)
Last edited by K-Texas on Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#10

Post by orionengnr » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:06 pm

I read an article several years ago about someone doing this with .44 Spl cases. He used #9 shot, and I did likewise (but with .45LC).

He took a case, took a triangular jeweler's file and made "teeth" in the case mouth, then used the case to cut wads from a styrofoam egg carton. One over the powder, another over the shot. Seal with wax, glue stick or Super Glue.

Worked pretty well for testing purposes; fortunately have not had occasion to use on a snake.

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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#11

Post by 03Lightningrocks » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:34 pm

Many years ago I purchased some shot shells for my 44 mag. It was a Ruger Redhawk with an 8+ inch barrel. I was not impressed as the pattern was pretty spread out once I fired it beyond ten yards. They were CCI rounds. Maybe things have improved but I swear I think the pattern was around four to five feet wide... LOL.


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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#12

Post by K-Texas » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:26 pm

The patterns when using the CCI loads, or making your own, are guesstimated at 1" per foot, and that's more than I want. My older SPEER #11 data lists 7 1/2, 8 and 9 shot being usable for .44 and .45 Colt. Only #9 shot for .38/.357 Mag. Since I'm not using a capsule, I did see what I'd hoped to with an increase to 98 grs. of shot using 7 1/2 vs the 92 grs. If patterns turn out to be .5" per foot, I'll be pleased. I'm more interested in the energy and momentum of the pellets than I am the larger pattern size typical of #9 shot. At this point I have not ruled out using .357 Maximum cases.

I used an extrapolated charge of True Blue that could require an adjustment, and there's no data currently available. I chose it because of my experience with it being very pressure stable and ballistically uniform. Two powders used in the SPEER data are no longer available, and they were being phased out by the time of the Speer #11. Western used Accurate No 2 in their load with even smaller #12 shot. The two other powders I used for extrapolation were Unique and W231. The long discontinued HS5 is closest to True Blue while W630 was similar in burn rate to Accurate No 7. If I need to switch powders, and I really don't expect I will, I have Accurate No 2 and W231. I also have Accurate No 5 and No 7 while there's no data for either. No 7 would be very slow burning, but it's relevant considering Speer used W630. No 5 should be pretty close to the old HS5 and also usable, and No 5 is not greatly different than True Blue, but it isn't as pressure stable and as uniform.

On another note, I haven't used flake powders for some years, but the flakes being a good bit larger than spherical granules could be a benefit in using Unique if you have it. Of the powders I have, W231 is the largest in grain size. I was very pleased that the cardboard wads prevented True Blue from getting past them. Like No 5 and No 7, it's a very dense and fine grained spherical, and it hasn't let me down yet. ;-)
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#13

Post by puma guy » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:43 am

Many years ago, long before Speer developed their plastic shot capsules I used empty gelatin caps to load in my .38/.357. I don't recall which size nor how much #9 shot I could put in them, but they worked pretty well as snake loads. I experimented with other loads such as pushing the mouth of the empty shells into softened paraffin to target shoot in my garage. I loaded the cases with just a primer. There were other experiments I can not mention that were fun to shoot as well.
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#14

Post by K-Texas » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:07 pm

Well Guys, I was hoping to post some pics along the way. The Annoyed Man gave me some help, and I was able to recover my old Photobucket account. Unfortunately, none of the different options will work. Or not, at least when I check the preview for my posts. Photobucket is really kind of contrary in general as far as my "free" account.

I am taking pics though, and this will be turned into an article at the Western Powder's blog once I get the loads the way I want them. I'll post when the article goes up. ;-)
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Re: Anyone Interested in .357 Mag Revolver Shotshells?

#15

Post by K-Texas » Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:06 pm

Had success with at least one pic. The other is just an overhead of the top to show the wax. With these first test loads I used a soldering iron to get the wax flush with the case-mouth. ;-)

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