Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Most Accurate Boolits and Loads for 2010 (a best of .6 Inches at 25 Yards)

All testing was done in a Taurus 66SS6 for 2010.  That's a 6 inch 357 magnum revolver with at 16.5 inch twist rate.  The objective is to find the most accurate boolit (cast bullet) handload's at 25 yards.  Why?  Because it's fun to shoot great groups.  Using a rest is a way to remove the shooter from the equation and to better evaluate the boolits/load/gun performance.  A superbly accurate handload does translate to great  off-hand groups too.  It just takes range time and a lot of casting, handloading and shooting, which is the most fun of all when pursuing accuracy.

It's worth a reminder, there are plenty of boolits that are accurate up to 15 yards.  When moving out to the range maximum of 25, most of them didn't even group at all.  While groups (center to center) of 2 inches or less are good, I'm looking for 1.5 inches to make the list and better than 1 inch to keep the mould.

It helps with cash flow to sell moulds to buy more to test.  It's a money losing proposition, but it is a lot of fun.  And that's what this is really about.  Casting, handloading and shooting for fun.

I'm currently testing a 358-145-SWC that looks very promising.  However accuracy testing isn't complete yet.  I'll add more on that in the future.

The most accurate alloy in all testing continues to be very soft 7-8BHN.  I use pure lead with 1 to 2 oz of solder.  If anything, the alloy is softer and not any harder.  The most accurate size is 360.  There are actually 6 loads listed as there is a dead tie

  1. 358-429, 168 grain Keith. OAL of 1.620 loaded over 5.1 grains of 700X or 4.9 grains of HP-38. Both loads have a best group of .6 inch with the 700X being more consistent. My mould is from NOE and is a joy to cast with.
  2. 358-158-SWC TL, from Lee. OAL of 1.60 loaded over 3.5 grains of HP-38. This is a great deal and is a tumble lube design from Lee. Crimping into the second groove works best in the Taurus. This mould can produce a bunch of boolits fast, assuming a 6-cavity is used. The best groups are slightly bigger but still less than 1 inch.
  3. The same 358-158-SWC TL from Lee over 5.1 grains of HP-38 groups just a bit bigger, but not much.
  4. The 358-148-WC TL from Lee also grouped at 1 inch. OAL of 1.40 over 3.5 grains of HP-38 is an awesome wadcutter load and can group right at 1 to 1.25 inches on a good day.
  5. 358-429, the 168 grain Keith, OAL at 1.620 loaded over 10.3 grains of 2400 can group at less than 1.5 inches.  It is the first magnum powder tested to be this accurate. It isn't a high-power load, but is the best grouping with this powder.
  6. 140-FN-LBT, from Lead Bullet Technologies. Crimped into the groove and loaded over 5.8 grains of 700X grouped just under 1.5 inches. This is a near max load and the most accurate for this mould.
That is the top list for 2010.  These exact recipes may not be the best in your 357 revolver, however they should get you close.  It takes a bunch of patience and testing to fully develop the most accurate handloads for your 357 magnum, it's worth the effort.  I hope this can help you get there a little more quickly.  Just saving time and not wasting it on trying to alloy and pressure match should be a big help (see previous posts listed on the right).

In 2011 the refinement and testing will continue.  There are more moulds on the way and maybe a surprise or two in the works as well.  This Most Accurate list will evolve over time.  Let me add, the early 358-145-SWC results will upset this list once testing is completed.

Just for the record.  I'm not out to prove some theory is right or the best, or to disprove practices such as "alloy and pressure matching for accuracy".  I cast, load, test, measure, record results and then do it over and over.  The analysis of the results takes a lot of time.  I'm always force ranking the best results to the top of the list.  In the end the results speak for themselves.  If a "commonly accepted" practice doesn't work, I'll say so.  If it does work, I'll also say so.

Gotta prep for more casting in the morning so time is short.  These 145-SWC's are working out very well.  Stay tuned for more info.  Shoot well and be safe.

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