I'm not lazy, but I am confused

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So there is a LOT out there on reloading, and I am brand new to the game. I have been saving brass, mainly am interested in 9mm and 38/357. Saw some boxes of bullets available in the store today so I just went for them. Powder is also becoming available in my area so I am hoping to get some of that soon too just to start assembling everything I will need to start the process, just dipping my toes in the water. Still need dies (hard to find), a hand press (easy to find) and primers (impossible to find). So I am taking it slow.

I heave read a ton on different powders, but there is so much science and precision involved I am hoping to cut through some of the fat with others' personal experience. Anyone have a favorite powder (or two or three) for 9mm and/or 38/357? And for primers, not that they are available, am I correct in that small pistol are appropriate for both of those calibers? Again, not lazy...I have done a lot of reading...just confused as there is so much out there. Thanks in advance for any guidance!

Re: I'm not lazy, but I am confused

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Usually folks use different powders for 9mm vs 38/357.

For the revolver rounds I use Hodgdon HP-38 or Winchester 231, the same powder sold under different brand names.

I’m using Ramshot Silhouette for my 9mm and .45acp loads.

Small pistol primer for most handgun rounds. 45acp uses large pistol primers (although the odd 45acp case does employ small p-primers).
Last edited by Bisbee on Thu May 06, 2021 4:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

Re: I'm not lazy, but I am confused

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Since you're starting with straight-walled pistol cases, it's a pretty clean process. As long as you have one or more loading manuals, you'll be able to load. Just do one box at a time and shoot it up. Notice anything you might change. Just one box of 50 at a time and shoot it up.

Just so you know, you're going to end up with more than two jugs of powder in your closet. We all haz it.

CDFingers
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Re: I'm not lazy, but I am confused

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My opinions:

I wouldn't start with a hand press or a lee loader. Get a real press.

Kick back and relax. Powders and dies will be easy to find before long. By the time primers are available, 9mm ammo will be cheap again.

Hodgdon, Alliant, and Accurate all have lots of data on-line. They all have powders (Unique, Universal, AA#5) that work well in all of the the cartridges you listed. You could easily stick with with one powder. Depending on which powder you get, you could use the same primer (small pistol, magnum or standard) in all of those cartridges.

A reloading manual would be useful. I have about 10, and I like Speer. However, my newest manual was copyright 1998, and there's a lot of information available on-line, so I'm not sure manuals are absolutely necessary anymore. Lots of educational value, though.

Keep saving your brass.

Re: I'm not lazy, but I am confused

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I've got a shopping list for beginners to this hobby. This is what I started with, I still use it, and it still continues to make great ammo today.

http://www.sanfranciscoliberalwithagun. ... nners.html

Here are some videos showing a beginner doing reloading.

http://www.sanfranciscoliberalwithagun. ... ading.html

Now, for specific powders, for .38 Special and one of my .357M loads, I use either Bullseye or Titegroup. Both are fine powders for this application. Both also, it turns out, work well for 9mm Parabellum (Luger). Now, for full-house .357M, I use 2400 powder. Small Pistol Primers (SPP's) are the correct primer type for these rounds and powders.

Note that for two of the .357M powders--H110 and W296--you will need to use SPMP's (Small Pistol Magnum Primers) due to the greater heat needed to ignite those two particular powders.
"San Francisco Liberal With A Gun"
http://www.sanfranciscoliberalwithagun.com/ (reloading instruction)
http://www.liberalsguncorner.com/ (podcast)
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A true Liberal must back the Second Amendment 100%!

Re: I'm not lazy, but I am confused

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Bisbee wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:20 pm Usually folks use different powders for 9mm vs 38/357.

For the revolver rounds I use Hodgdon HP-38 or Winchester 237, the same powder sold under different brand names.

I’m using Ramshot Silhouette for my 9mm and .45acp loads.

Small pistol primer for most handgun rounds. 45acp uses large pistol primers (although the odd 45acp case does employ small p-primers).
Can you edit this? Hodgdon HP-38 or Winchester 231 NOT 237

Re: I'm not lazy, but I am confused

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Bisbee wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:20 pm Usually folks use different powders for 9mm vs 38/357.

For the revolver rounds I use Hodgdon HP-38 or Winchester 231, the same powder sold under different brand names.

I’m using Ramshot Silhouette for my 9mm and .45acp loads.

Small pistol primer for most handgun rounds. 45acp uses large pistol primers (although the odd 45acp case does employ small p-primers).
After writing this, I realized this may be more info than the OP was looking for. Sorry for the long-windedness.

It's true that some reloaders do use different powders for 9mm vs. .38/357. However, we must then separate out all three cartridges and not lump .38/357 together if we're really going to look at this question. We thus have three different cartridges.

9mm Parabellum
.38 Special
.357 Magnum

It turns out that the 9mm Parabellum and the .38 Special actually do well with the same or similar powders. HP38/W231 (same powder, as mentioned above) does very well with both 9mm and .38 Special. So does Unique. It turns out that nearly any powder that does well for 9mm will also be good in the .38 Spl, and vice-versa.

The .357M is different. Yes, it can certainly be loaded to any variety of .38 Special loading, including the old FBI ".38 Spl +P+" loads. That's what my Bullseye and Titegroup loads in the .357M case do; I designed them to replicate the old FBI load. It's an extremely clean-burning load such that the cases still look brand-new after firing, no tumbling required. It's more than standard .38 Spl, but not too much; it's actually quite pleasant out of the 4" bbl Security-Six. So, you certainly *can* use the same powders as you use for 9mm and .38 Spl in the .357M as well.

However, the .357M case, having so much case capacity compared to the 9mm Para, can actually use what are really fast rifle powders (2400 is a fast rifle powder originally made popular in the .22 Hornet, way back when). So, the pressure curve can stretch out for longer with powders like 2400, H110, and W296. This requires more powder...which, of course, fits in the relatively large (compared to 9mm, anyway) .357 Magnum case.

That's why the .357M round can benefit so much from being shot out of rifle-length barrels. You have more powder, burning at high pressure for longer, so you get a commiserate harder shove of that bullet. Technically, so can the .38 Special case, which is what Elmer Keith actually did with the original .38-44 HV load from the 1930's. But the .38 Special's only rated for 17,500 PSI; the new .38-44 HV load was about double that. Thus, for safety reasons, Elmer's new pressure rating was put in a slightly longer case, which became called the .357 Magnum case, to prevent chambering in weaker firearms and geting KaBooms. The point is, you can wring a lot more performance out of that larger case if you use the right powder.

This is also why the .357 SIG, while duplicating .357M ballistics out of a 4" handgun barrel, also doesn't benefit from a longer (16", for example) rifle-length barrel the way the .357M round can. The .357 SIG, like the 9mm Para, doesn't have enough case capacity to take advantage of those "fast rifle" powders. If you load a .357M cartridge with something like Bullseye, Titegroup, HP38/W231, and other powders with similar burn rates, your rifle barrel performance will be very close to your handgun barrel performance, 'cause all those faster powders peter out after a few inches of barrel. Not so with 2400, H110, and W296, and that's why powder selection matters a lot with .357M. It depends on what sort of performance you wish to get.

Note that most factory ammo is, I believe, loaded with H110/W296 these days. Back in the day, it was factory loaded with 2400.
"San Francisco Liberal With A Gun"
http://www.sanfranciscoliberalwithagun.com/ (reloading instruction)
http://www.liberalsguncorner.com/ (podcast)
---------------------------------------
A true Liberal must back the Second Amendment 100%!

Re: I'm not lazy, but I am confused

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Really great information and discussion, CowboyT! I now realize I’ve been underutilizing the range of the 357M case in loading it mainly to revolvers specs using handgun powder even when shooting it in a Rossi ‘92.

Just to piggyback on the discussion to clarify for my own understanding, rifle powders actually burn slower than pistol powders. But a “faster” rifle powder like 2400 or W296 can be used in the 357M case for carbine length barrels. So theoretically such a 357M round can be loaded with “fast” rifle powder optimized to a 16”+ rifle barrel and still be safely shot out of a revolver. The result would simply make a lot of muzzle-flash for the unburied powder out of the shorter barrel?
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence. There is hope for a violent man to become non-violent. There is no such hope for the impotent." -Gandhi

Re: I'm not lazy, but I am confused

14
357mag is fun because it just gets hotter! A full house load is hot in a revolver and even more so out of a rifle. Since there's no cycling involved like a semi auto, you can still shoot light loads out of rifles.

Magnum pistol powder still burns up in a average sized 3+ revolver barrel, it won't be wasted or anything, you'll still get tons of velocity out of full house 357mag. Magnum powder is still much faster than fast rifle powder. It's in it's own range.

People tend to find true magnum level ammo to not be very fun out of a handgun for more than a few cylinders. It's not so much about optimization as it is about making something enjoyable.

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