357 rifle loads

  • Last Post 13 January 2010
helice posted this 23 October 2009

Gentlemen.  I have  a 92 Winchester (1905-24” octagonal) converted from 25-20 to 357 Mag.  I have read amongst the forums that these older Winchesters are not strong enough to take the magnum loads that I find in say the Lee Reloading Manual.  I must confess that I enjoy the heck out of this old levergun and don't want to goof it up.  What Loads do you recommend?  I have a lot of  Red Dot, 700X, H-110 and Reloder 7.  About out of 2400 and Unique.:(   I know that these powders narrow the field a bit but health keeps me from work and income and I have nothing with which to purchase powder.  (Thank God I invested in Bullet moulds.)  California has an eternal pig season and I'd like to drop an oinker with this gun someday.  Give me your thoughts.   Helice

PS C.E. Harris - Thanks for pointing me to Veral Smith back about 10 years.  I have a collection of nice moulds and a good friend.:)


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tturner53 posted this 13 January 2010

I just got my LBT mold from Jeff's GB. It's a 358-200LFN that weighs 200 gr. My question is how do you determine OAL with a lever action. I'm guessing there's two, one for single loading for best accuracy, and one to function thru the mag. The second one seems simple enough, right now I want to work on a match load for a Marlin 1894c.Seat it out to touch?

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helice posted this 06 January 2010

O.C. Thanks for the encouragement. I can easily get that with the 180 LBT. It is nice to get information from one who has been there,done that and bought the tee shirt. I dropped a hog a few years ago but that was with the 308 and that was pretty much a non event. Dead in her tracks. I've never used a 357 (rifle) on a hog so your input is very welcome.

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Brodie posted this 04 January 2010


Those hogs aren't bullet proof.  Any 160 to 180 gr. cast bullet of WW or harder will put them down if driven 1100 to 1400 fps.  Swc or Rfn prefered.  Of course you have to put it into the boiler room.


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helice posted this 03 January 2010


Thanks for the load data.  I too have an S&W 19. A fine piece of machinery.  I have never tried the IMR SR powders.  No known reason why - just never have.  With 8 pounds of H110 in the shed I probably won't be straying too far from it for a few years.  Do you have any H110 loads you like?:D   Helice

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shastaboat posted this 23 December 2009

I shoot 358156 in my 6” Model 19 with 11.5 gr. SR4756, chrono'd at 1361 fps. The same load shoots in my Marlin carbine at 1712 fps. I'm sure if my Model 19 handles this load that a converted 92 winchester would do as well. This is a warm load and I use pistol primers.

Because I said so!

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helice posted this 23 December 2009

Ric Greatful for the explanation on Lee. Helps me a lot. I like this old Winchester and don't want to goof it up. I tended to favor Lee's more conservative loads but now I have a number of other references and will use my head as I approach top loads. I'm not wedded to high velocity but I would like to pig hunt with this old 92 and want to get as much out of it as is safely possible with my 180 grain gas checked LBT FN. Thanks y'all for your input.

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RicinYakima posted this 23 December 2009

It entirely depends upon the rifle! Most of the older conversions to 357 did not have the firing pin hole bushed. Since they were made for rounds with 1/2 the pressure of the 357, the primer flows back into the firing pin hole. If it was made for 357, they normally have small firing pins and it is not a problem.

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Coydog posted this 23 December 2009

Can you just shoot hand gun loads out of the rifle ?Just was thinking.

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saggitar posted this 22 December 2009

This is just a reference point: I use a 162 gr. lead RNFP casted from a SAECO MOLD. in my 1874 MARLIN (C) With a charge of 13gr. of Alliant 2400. It pushes about 1600fps & I gas check them This load comes from Ken Waters (Pet Loads) for 357 rifles.

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RicinYakima posted this 21 December 2009


My experience with Lee's first and second edition books is that they use the most conservative maximum loads the powder companies publish. It is based upon the minimum SAMMI chambers, thickest brass, hottest primers and maximum bullet pull. In this day and age, you can't blame them. Since Lee doesn't do any actual shooting, just publishing their book, what would you do?

Their “minimum” loads are the next step higher than the minimums from the powder companies that will come out of their powder fixed chargers.

Until you have a few thousand rounds under the belt, their data is just fine. Then you can work for loads that are good in your guns. There are so many variables, you just can't publish loads for “monkey see, monkey do” reloaders that are the more than the highest pressure load combination would be.

I don't mean to be demeaning about this subject, but you have to use some judgement. I once posted on this board my standard 357 load using Lil' Gun powder, with details. One guy wrote me back that he tried it and it flattened primers and locked up his Ruger Blackhawk. Of course he used different brass, a different bullet, and a different primer. Nor did he work up to that charge, just copied it from my post. I learned my lesson on that one!

HTH, Ric

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helice posted this 21 December 2009

I found where he got the load and the pressure. There is still the question of why Lee is so much more conservative?

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helice posted this 16 December 2009

Well Hey,

It's time to resurect this thing.  I was just given a special edition of a rifle magazine called The Legacy of Leverguns.  In it Brian Pearce gives a load for 357 rifles.  He uses a Speer 158 Gold Dot HP or a 158 XTP-HP with 16.6 gr of H-110 at a claimed 1800-1850'/s.

My first edition Lee manual shows a 158 grain jacketed loaded with 14.5 as MAX at 35.4K CUP.  Seems like 2 grains more would be a bit much.  I've always respected Brian as a careful loader and shooter.Where'd he get that load?  Why is Lee so much more conservative?   What pressures do we face with that load?  Can that old Winchester take that load and not shoot loose or stretch?:(

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shdwlkr posted this 22 November 2009

thanks guys as it would be mainly a lead bullet caliber. I was thinking of staying on the low side with loads just because it just seemed to make sense to me. Now I have to think if I want to go this route or find a new model 92 action based on the 357 to start. I can get a limited rifle for a $1000 and just might be the right place to start.

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RicinYakima posted this 20 November 2009

I agree with Ed, and would add that you could calculate the total case head thrust and compare that to the thrust with a 218 Bee case @40,000 psi. My rather limited experience with Winchester 92's is that it is not a design problem, but a wear problem. Most of these old actions have a lot of slack between the rear lug surface and frame cuts. The metal is relatively soft compared to today's stuff and they never got the cleaning and lubeing they should have had. HTH, Ric

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Ed Harris posted this 20 November 2009

I've no experience with the .256 Win. and am not sure what its SAAMI working pressure is.

A sound 92 Winchester action is OK to pressures not excedding about 40,000 psi. Early .357 loads exceeded that slightly, but current .357 loads do not.

I believe that the .256 Winchester may have been loaded to about 45,000 max. average, which pushes the design limits of its rear-locking action. If you stay off maximum loads and keep below 40,000 in the current .357 Magnum range you will be OK.

The shorty neck of the .256 and overall cartridge length limits to feed in the '92 aren't well suited for bullets over about 85 grains. I'm not sure that a 12 inch twist will be of much advantage over the standard 14 inch twist, but it might help low velocity bullet stability with the 85-grain .25-20 bullets if you want to use subsonic, low-noise “cat sneeze” loads.

73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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shdwlkr posted this 19 November 2009

Ok I have read in other posts here that the old model 92 actions won't take the pressures of the 256 mag and now here you say it is ok. What gives?? I have a model 92 action that was on a mid 1900's firearm that was parted out and I have the action and would like to make it into a 256 mag but don't want to be eating metal parts either. I will most likely only shoot lead bullets because I like making my own bullets and besides I am not looking for a speed round here. I am also thinking of using a 1 in 12 twist barrel instead of the original 1 in 14 twist. your thoughts would be a great help. Much easier to change things now instead of later while in the hospital or pushing up daisies.

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runfiverun posted this 29 October 2009

the 180 fn should do fine on a pig the extra weight should help also. i'd keep the speed up though, penetration is the key on pigs and the fnose will help once you get inside it. waterdropped ww's woukd help penetration immensely. but an alloy like 3/5 would be awesome also.

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helice posted this 28 October 2009

Run5 I have often bemoaned the conversion of this M-92 but if it were original I know I could not have afforded it. Ed, Thanks for the good news. I use R. Lee's “Modern Reloading” book and in that book I have seen big changes from older manuals. Loads are considerably lighter than before. There is also a lot of differences in published pressures. Apparently powders don't stay the same from year to year. I do have Veral's LBT 180 FNPB and 180FNGC. I also have his 150 Ogival Wadcutter (plain base). The 180 GC is the go-to bullet for the 357 though the 150 should be an effective bullet for short range hunting. So far I've used the 150 only in 38s. What are your thoughts on using these for a pig hunt? helice

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runfiverun posted this 26 October 2009

i use about all those powders you have listed in my 92. a p/b boolit can be driven pretty quickly with any of them. 7 grs herco is my favorite right now with a 158 flat nose. in a lever gun 13-1400 is easily obtainable,with no problems, i like to use 25% pure mixed with ww's a good sized lube groove helps too. too bad about your 92 being converted the 25-20 is a fun little cartridge in the rifle and is great on small game like geese and turkeys and even coyotes. if you are looking at a heavier weight i'd look at the 2400 or the lower end 110.

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Ed Harris posted this 26 October 2009

Your 92 Winchester is strong enough to take loads which don't exceed current factory pressures. That being said much of the published data from prior to about 1990 was way too hot with current powders.

Also, using cast loads you will get best results with charges which are less than maximum, because loads using plainbased bullets which work OK in a revolver will be over-driven in the longer rifle-length barrel.

For the most part I keep plainbased .357 rifle loads subsonic and use jacketed bullets for my full-up magnum loads, because the hotter loads are easy to identify that way.

The plainbased bullets will shoot OK if you limit rifle velocity to about 1400 f.p.s. I like the NEI #161A 180-gr. cup-point bullets as modified by http://www.hollowpointmold.com>http://www.hollowpointmold.com cast 1:20 with 11 grs. of #2400 or a nominal caseful, about 17 grs. of RL-7.  Veral's 180-gr. GC design can be driven a bit harder.


73 de KE4SKY In Home Mix We Trust From the Home of Ed's Red in "Almost Heaven" West Virginia

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