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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just reloaded 25 rounds of .357 magnum. I used Remington Premier brass, 158-grain Hornady HP-XTP bullets, and 14 grains of H110. I used a Lee Factory Crimp die, which states several times in the instructions that it is IMPOSSIBLE to buckle the case with this die. I put a fairly heavy crimp on them. On two of the cartridges, there is a small ridge (about .002" wide and MAYBE .001" high) that runs about halfway around the case, about .870" up from the rim on both ones, which is a couple thousands of an inch below where the base of the bullet is inside. I can feel this ridge when I run my finger along the casing, and it is pretty noticeable. Would that be considered a buckled cartridge?
It's a pretty hot load for my Marlin 1894C, but it looks to be a middle of the road load for my GP100. It chambers just fine in my GP100, by the way. Could anyone provide some worthwhile input on whether or not it would be safe to fire? Ordinarily I'd say no right off the bat, but I'm sure there are people more experienced with loading this cartridge here than I am, so I figured I'd ask and see. I've been reloading bottleneck cartridges for a while, but this is my first time loading a straight wall. Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

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No, do not shoot the bulged cases - or any of the other loads you have made up - if you really put in 14 gr of H110.

I don't know where you got this recipe from but the Hodgdon book I have at my office only lists max loads for this cartridge and it says 16.7gr of H110 - but there is a caution note in the front of the pistol load pages, where the Hodgdon book says never reduce the max load using H110 by more than 3% which would be 16.2gr "it says reducing H110 too much will cause inconsistent ignition and in some cases may lodge a bullet in the barrel causing a hazardous situation" - please read, way more than Hazardous ......

So I'd seriously recommend you pull all of those bullets and dump the powder - and consider reloading them again at something around 16.4 of H110 to give yourself a safety zone.

The load I prefer for .357 mag with 158 gr bullet is Titegroup at a max of 6.1 grains and I like my loads at about 5.8gr . I use a Dillon 650 press and I've never seen a .357 case bulge as you describe and I use a variety of brass including Remington. I also use a "case gague" where I drop every finished load into and out of the case gague before I box them up. It's checks overall length - and the cases with the bulge, especially if you can feel the bulge easily, would probably not go thru a case gague ( drop in and out easily ).

The good news is you only have 25 rounds to pull ..... but I would not recommend you shoot any of those loads.

If you haven't been loading pistols in awhile - you might discuss what types of powder some of your buddies are using - but around here it's almost exclusive with Titegroup, Universal or Longshot in the .357 mag with Titegroup being easily 50 - 75 %.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I got these recipes out of the Hornady manual. For a 158-160 grain XTP, the loads go all the way from 12.7 grains up to 15.6 grains (max load) to load it for a revolver. For a rifle, it goes from 8.6 grains to 15.5. Check it out if you don't believe me.


- just checked my Hodgdon manual, and the rifle and pistol loads for the same bullet start out at 15 grains and run to 16.7. My Hodgdon manual may be from 2004, but my Hornady one is current.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I noticed on the Hodgdon website, where they mention the 3% thing, that it pertains to maximum loads. If you read the entire warning, it says that they only list the maximum loads and you should start 10% below that and work up, but start at 3% for H110. I e-mailed Hodgdon to see if they can clear up this little issue. I would assume that Hornady would not list dangerous loads, but I'm going to find out for sure, straight from the people that make the stuff.
 

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I agree the 10% and 3% issue are conflicting - but I'm reading it that Hodgdon meant 10% on everything except H110. Let us know what you find out when they reply please.

I never implied that Hornady would put bad info out on a load, no reason to check what you found, I'll assum you checked it.

But since H110 is a Hodgdon powder, I'd have a tendancy to stay with the loads Hodgdon recommends - and even using the 10% rule the Hodgdon book is saying the minimum load is 15.03 ( a full grain higher than 14.0 ) so Hodgon is saying not to shoot the loads with 14 grains. Besides, if there is this big a conflict in the data - why risk it for 25 rounds - why not pull the bullets and reload them, it'll only take you 10 minutes to pull all 25 shells ... Or consider going to another powder where the books don't give conflicting load info.

There appears to be way too much variation in the 2 books on this load - for some reason.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wouldn't say the 10% and 3% thing is "conflicting", since H110 burns differently and needs to be loaded hot enough (slow burning powders in big rifle cases need the same treatment). I think the main issue with the 3% on H110 thing is that Hodgdon only lists maximum loads and doesn't give starting loads (from what I've seen) and they want to make sure you don't underload it. That means they use the % thing to give you a starting load.

But, as you said, we'll just wait until I hear back. I would go ahead and pull them, but it would just be nice to be able to shoot them. Otherwise, I'd just have to get a different powder for the flexibility I'm wanting.

Other than that, I'm kinda surprised that I was able to buckle a case with a die that is supposedly impossible to buckle a case with. It's a heavy crimp, but it ain't THAT heavy!
 

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I still suspect the reason that case buckled is it was a "weak" case. But honestly, I don't know anything about the Lee Loaders. I don't know how I could buckle a case in the Dillon 650 - there's plenty of mechanical advantage or down force to buckle a case - I just don't see how it would happen inside a die - unless the case was "chock full" of powder. But I'd recommend you pull those bullets and see what you find in terms of the powder drop in them - or see if it's possible that the powder in the case is even close to the base of the bullet - but I doubt it in that case.

The only cases I've had a problem with, in other calibers, is when someone fires them in a Glock with an unsupported chamber - and I'll get a little ripple in the case just above the base. I shoot at a range where we have a lot of law enforcement shooting, Fed's, etc so there is a lot of brass that comes out of a Glock laying around. But I've never seen a problem on a .357 mag case - although since it's a revolver, I'm not picking anything up off the floor of the range - and I'm confident I'm only reloading my own fired cases or new brass that I buy.

But please let us know what Hodgdon says. I've got 3 of my buddies scratching their heads on this buckled case issue - and noone has come up with a good explanation for you - except they would all pull the bullets / inspect and toss the case. But 2 out of 25 is too high a problem in terms of percentage - if it continues - so it's worth figuring out what is causing this.
 

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My WAG here is that either those particular cases are slightly thicker in that area than the others which would cause a slight bulge or the bullet is slightly out of round or had been seated at a slight angle in which the bullet base would push the case wall outward. If you are firing previously fied cases it could be powder residue that is causing the bulges. I have had the latter occur with standard dies.
As for the H-110 info, I'd say both manuals are correct to a degree. The Hornady manual is correct in its data for a couple of reasons; first, all pressure barrels are different and data derived in one may be totally different in another. That is why there are starting loads and admonishments all over regarding working one's way upward with care. Second, the range of testing conditions was probably greater with the Hodgdon data. From personal experience, lighter loads of slow burning powders in cold temperatures can have very erratic results. If Hornady did their tests in just the "normal" 60-70 degree range they likely found lighter loads to be very reliable. On the other hand, Hodgdon may have done the same testing initially but after getting feedback (complaints) from users that reported poor performance, further questioning and follow up testing produced a smaller window for reliable use with this powder. The final possibility is they could have gotten a flyer from Olin who had recieved the complaints and did the testing.
In any case, the powder manufacturers often test their products to greater extremes than a secondary user as the manufacturer has a greater stake in the use of their product. They also are often suppliers to ammunition manufacturers who may have need of greater testing than a bullet company. This is the reason it is so important to have and consult with more than one source for load data, to do otherwise could lead to problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm thinking it's closer to the "seated at a slight angle" explanation of the buckled case, but I'll only know for sure once I pull it and inspect. I know there wasn't anything inside, because my tumbler did a pretty good job of cleaning out the inside of these cases.
 

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I picked up a new Hodgon manual ( the full manual ) that lists starting loads and max loads ( vs the cheap one the stores give away that only lists max loads ) - and what's interesting on the .357 mag pistol is the manual says 15.0 gr of H110 for a starting load and 16.7 gr max for this 158gr bullet.

It lists the same recipe for .357 mag in a rifle load - so I don't really understand the 3% disclaimer since 3% of 16.7 max load would only allow you to drop down to 16.2gr - but I don't see any reason why you can't load something between 15 and 16.7gr for this load.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, I shot those reloads (with the exception of the two impossibly buckled ones) in my GP100 today. The primers flattened a bit, but they all fired very consistantly. I'll tinker with the load a bit, but as soon as I'm out of H110, I'm probably gonna find something else.
 

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I am sure the other members here are advising you pertaining the powder situation. I myself did not look into this.

I was wondering about the crimp die buckling your cases. I use these dies for all or most of my pistols.I was wondering if maybe you dont have the die set right. I myself have done this.

Step 1- the bullet should be seated with your regular bullet seating die first and the bullet should not be crimped first (duh)

Step 2- Screw the die until it just touches the shell holder and back out the adjusting screw. Finger tighten the lock ring. Once set, it will never move as the ring is locked to both the die and press. Always remove the die by turning on the lock ring to loosen.


step 3- with the loaded round in the die, turn the adjusting screw in until you can feel it touch the case mouth. Then movethe cartridge out of the die slightly and screw the adjusting screw in 1/2 turn for a light crimp and one full turn for a heavy crimp. You can adjust for even greater crimpand never have to worry about buckling the case as with conventional crimpers.

Some brands of dies, not Lee, permit flaring so much that the case will not enter the carbide factory crimper. Should this happen simply close the flare with the crimp shoulder in your bullet seating die.

Step 4- The case is sized as it enters the die and again as it is pulled out of the die. This assures you every case will freely chamber in any standard gun. Dont expect the carbide sizerto touch every case. It is a fail safe tool for the occasional bad round that could ruin your day.


I remember buckling cases when ever i first start setting up this crimp die. I always refer to these instructions and it helps me figure out what i did not do right. I kind of remember it had to do with the adjusting screw and it being set until you feel it just touch the case mouth.

With patience i always seem to figure it out. I always add this die to all my die sets. I always load with 4 dies, and my reloads always fit other brands of guns in the same caliber (friends) or people i meet at the range who dont hit the target to well with the full power factory ammo they buy. I load a little on the lighter side for target practice and get better results.

Then towards the end of target practice i shoot a couple of full power rounds before i leave the range, just to familiarize myselfwith my carry ammo (factory of course)

Hope this helps, Stay safe, Jack
 
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