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Good 357 load for 1873


Tallboy
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I just got a Rock Chucker press yesterday and it's sitting on my floor.

 

I want to start out with .357 and accomplish 2 goals. I figure this is a good place to start:

 

1) A lighter load for my 1873

2) A standard/heavier load for my Marlin 94 or Henry Big Boy X

 

So far I have bought brass and primers, and now I'm trying to choose a bullet and a powder.

 

For the bullet, I want to use hi-tek coated lead, or jacketed (will be shooting at range).

 

For the powder... I'm not really sure. I've stared at these 2 loading books for some time, but I don't actually know what makes a load "lighter." From what I read, it's not about powder amount but rather different speed burning powders. This makes sense, but how do I know a specific load is "lighter" when looking in the reloading manual? For example, in 45-70 has it's own Trapdoor section. But .357 rifle data is only a single section with similar velocities... so what would I pick for an 1873? How do I even know it's "lighter"?

 

I have ordered the "cast bullet book" but it hasn't arrived yet.

 

If you can link me to a site or book that would be great. I don't want to use random user data to start if I have no idea what I'm doing.

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8 minutes ago, Itchy Trigger said:

A good place to start

 

COWBOY ACTION LOADS – Hodgdon

I don't see any mention of .357, seems kind of weird they count 45-70 but not .357 :lol:

 

I also have CCI 500 primers, and all their 357 recipes say Small Pistol Magnum. It says never to switch them so I guess I have to look at other data.

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So on this link for example: https://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/recipedetail.aspx?gtypeid=5&weight=140&shellid=9&bulletid=10

 

It says to use 140 gr Hornady FP Lead.


So I go to Hornady site and they don't even offer 357 lead bullets.

 

And it says Fed 100 primers but I have CCI 500, so does this mean I have to move on?

 

It's a bit confusing what is replaceable and what isn't. The manual seems to strongly indicate I shouldn't be swapping things out.

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CCI Primers are not as sensitive as Federal Primers to fire. If your guns are "light" or are not hitting the primer hard enough, you may have issues regardless how you load them. This is often an issue in rifles.

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To help dial this in a bit more. Are you loading to shoot a cowboy competition, or just for plinking?

I ask because a tuned '73 will usually like something different than a race tuned Marlin.

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10 minutes ago, Hendo said:

To help dial this in a bit more. Are you loading to shoot a cowboy competition, or just for plinking?

I ask because a tuned '73 will usually like something different than a race tuned Marlin.

This is just for plinking, so all SASS rules do not apply.

 

I could use 1 light load in both guns, but for the sake of trying to practice and learn reloading, that's why I decided to focus on 2 different loads.

 

The light load will go in an Uberti 1873 as well as a Miroku 1873


The normal or full power load will go in a stock non-tuned Marlin 1894CB, as well as a Henry Big Boy X.

 

Edit: I should mention even though I'm plinking I'm still trying to practice accuracy. I have ~10 lever guns, but it wasn't until I shot 38 specials out of Miroku 1873 that I saw how dead on accurate it was... this whole time I was thinking I wasn't super accurate, but after shooting those out of that gun it made me rethink that maybe its not ALL me, and only partially me, and also partially the factory ammo not really fitting well with the gun.

Edited by Tallboy
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W296/H110 (same powder) makes stout 357 mag loads.  I don't find I need a gas check for these loads.  Lots of powders make fine target loads for 357.  I use Unique but is not the only good choice.  Here are two Alliant 357 target loads for lead bullets:

 

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7 minutes ago, Tallboy said:

 

 

Edit: I should mention even though I'm plinking I'm still trying to practice accuracy. I have ~10 lever guns, but it wasn't until I shot 38 specials out of Miroku 1873 that I saw how dead on accurate it was... this whole time I was thinking I wasn't super accurate, but after shooting those out of that gun it made me rethink that maybe its not ALL me, and only partially me, and also partially the factory ammo not really fitting well with the gun.

Welcome to the joy of reloading. For what you want, you'll have to work up loads for each rifle that gives you the accuracy you desire and if you want to make a common cartridge to use in both rifles, you'll have to cross reference your results to a recipe that gives respectable performance in both rifles.

There are quite a few variables that come into play and honestly, outside of getting all the reference material you can, you'd be well suited to finding someone to help get you started on your journey to reloading nirvana.

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1 hour ago, Hendo said:

Welcome to the joy of reloading. For what you want, you'll have to work up loads for each rifle that gives you the accuracy you desire and if you want to make a common cartridge to use in both rifles, you'll have to cross reference your results to a recipe that gives respectable performance in both rifles.

There are quite a few variables that come into play and honestly, outside of getting all the reference material you can, you'd be well suited to finding someone to help get you started on your journey to reloading nirvana.

 

Ah, I think I misspoke. I don't mean the same recipe has to work in both. I'm fine with buying 2 different powders and 2 different bullets. I should have phrased that better.

 

I think I can for the most part figure out the standard load pretty easily (really any reloading book). It's the cowboy one that is a bit confusing, as I dont know what constitutes as a "light load" ... is it based on velocity? 

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39 minutes ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

Unique or WW231 powder will do

Unique can be used for everything in SASS.

Sadly after Googling it seems not in stock anywhere unless I want to pay $100 for 1 lb lol. I also cannot find American Select or 2400 which also seem to be popular from what I read.

Edited by Tallboy
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1 minute ago, Tallboy said:

 

Ah, I think I misspoke. I don't mean the same recipe has to work in both. I'm fine with buying 2 different powders and 2 different bullets. I should have phrased that better.

 

I think I can for the most part figure out the standard load pretty easily (really any reloading book). It's the cowboy one that is a bit confusing, as I dont know what constitutes as a "light load" ... is it based on velocity? 

My bad, I misunderstood.

Light loads are "usually" referring to velocity and recoil. There are a few things that factor into that from powder charge, primer type, bullet weight and composition among other things. There are pards here that are way more experienced than I that can chime in.

My advice is to get your basics down on one powder/bullet/primer and then go from there. 

When I started, I had a friend show me the ropes and guide me. That hobby, turned into another hobby and so on....

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Not many of us are shooting .357, primarily due to increased cost and harder to find brass. 
 

My advice is to shoot .38 special for CAS, .357 for non CAS ‘plinking.’

 

You mentioned jacketed rounds, NOT allowed in CAS.

 

My experience has been that primer brands and types (magnum vs non magnum) only matter in terms of how hard they are to set off. In terms of velocity and accuracy at CAS distances a small pistol primer is a small pistol primer, no meaningful differences.

 

An example, Clays powder calls for 2.5-3.5 grains for a lead 125 grain bullet. A light load, for me, is 2.7 grains over either a Federal Magnum SPP or a standard Federal SPP. If I wanted a specific ‘knockdown load (I don’t) I would go with 3.2 grains. I know shooters who’ve gone below 2.0 grains with Clays, but I tend to avoid the edges of the load range. That way if my powder drop is off by a few tenths I’m still ok.

 

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I think Titegroup makes a great load in .357 cases.  For cowboy rifle I generally use about 3 grains under a 140 grain lead bullet and it's subsonic, very manageable, and quite accurate.  Titegroup is generally far less position sensitive than other propellants loaded in cases with lots of empty space.  There are other fast powders that make good target type loads such as Clays, Unique, Winchester 231/HP38, Red Dot, all of which can be loaded light to moderate.  However, if your also looking for magnum/high velocity type loads, then slower powders than these would be your best bet, although Unique can be loaded up pretty darn well and is probably the most flexible of all in it's load range (it can be rather dirty in very light loads and they all need to build enough pressure to burn consistently.  Good luck and good shooting to all.   

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1 hour ago, Bison Bud said:

I think Titegroup makes a great load in .357 cases.  For cowboy rifle I generally use about 3 grains under a 140 grain lead bullet and it's subsonic, very manageable, and quite accurate.  Titegroup is generally far less position sensitive than other propellants loaded in cases with lots of empty space.  There are other fast powders that make good target type loads such as Clays, Unique, Winchester 231/HP38, Red Dot, all of which can be loaded light to moderate.  However, if your also looking for magnum/high velocity type loads, then slower powders than these would be your best bet, although Unique can be loaded up pretty darn well and is probably the most flexible of all in it's load range (it can be rather dirty in very light loads and they all need to build enough pressure to burn consistently.  Good luck and good shooting to all.   

This is awesome info, thanks. For future reference, how would I know when a powder position sensitive?

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18 hours ago, Tallboy said:

For the powder... I'm not really sure. I've stared at these 2 loading books for some time, but I don't actually know what makes a load "lighter." From what I read, it's not about powder amount but rather different speed burning powders. This makes sense, but how do I know a specific load is "lighter" when looking in the reloading manual?

Prior recommendations for the Hodgdon reloading site are steering you right.  As for what makes a load "lighter", is pretty simple, the usual method of load recommendations are for a starting load, up to a maximum load.  The Hodgdon site usually on lists those two points, but... some printed manuals will list several data points between the recommended starting load and max load.  Anything below the recommended max load is referred to as a "lighter load".    Be advised that your 1873 is chambered as a .38 Spl/.357 Magnum, and capable of chambering either cartridge, (although it may like cycling with one better than the other).   Be sure to follow the load recommendations for length of case you'll be using.

 

A "light" load is generally in reference to felt recoil.   Both velocity & bullet weight is sometimes indicative of a "lighter load", though it can be misleading, depending on powder charge, (also referred to as "load density), it may actually be a heavier load than one with a heavier bullet, yet a smaller powder charge.  Powder burn rates are also not indicative of lighter or heavier loadings.  Although, depending on actual charge weight along the recommended scale slower burn rates generally provide a slower recoil impulse and sometimes that equates to less felt recoil, You'd need be pretty sensitive to feel small variations in this, but can be quite significant in rifles over the range of a particular powder's load density.  Slower burn rate powders are generally not recommended in pistols, as they will often leave unburned powder, as they can't achieve a full burn in the shorter barrels of pistols.

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6 hours ago, Tallboy said:

This is awesome info, thanks. For future reference, how would I know when a powder position sensitive?

Erratic ignition, variations in velocity, etc.   This is sometimes the point at which loads below the recommended minimum are problematic.  Some powders are also temperature sensitive, and give like indications.  Reading as much information as possible on any prospective powder along with recommendations and experiences of other reloaders are generally good sources of  this type of information.

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7 hours ago, Tallboy said:

This is awesome info, thanks. For future reference, how would I know when a powder position sensitive?

Quick and dirty way especially for low powder volume loads (light loads) that don't mostly fill the case.

Set up a chronograph.

1) Take your loaded hand gun and safely point muzzle towards sky.

2) Gently bring muzzle parallel to ground and fire a round over your chronograph.

Repeat 1-2 for the remaining rounds.

1A) Next take loaded hand gun and point towards ground.

2A) Gently bring muzzle parallel to ground and fire a round over your chronograph.

Repeat 1A-2A for remaining rounds

1B) Take your loaded hand gun and hold parallel to ground.

2B) Give a brisk push forward and back, then fire a round over the chronograph.

Repeat 1B-2B for remaining rounds

This will give you powder forward, powder more or less level and powder rearward in the case.

Review data from chronograph, big variances in velocity are what you are looking for, same for noticeable sound differences or felt recoil.

Again not the most precise test but if you are borderline on your powder load and/or the powder is one of those that could be position sensitive it will be pretty obvious.

A version of this at one time was used to verify compliance with power factor requirements in Wild bunch. Don't know if they still do it or not.

Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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You need to find yourself a mentor. You'll get the answers you are seeking and get up to speed quicker than asking 100 questions here. Ask around in your local club about who would be willing to help you learn. 

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25 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

You need to find yourself a mentor. You'll get the answers you are seeking and get up to speed quicker than asking 100 questions here. Ask around in your local club about who would be willing to help you learn. 

Every time I ask a question here I get answers like this. I will just stop posting here, problem solved. Cast boolits is super friendly, I guess that is because this is a SASS forum and not a reloading forum. I simply ask here because I own a dozen lever guns and shoot cowboy loads, so it very closely aligns with cowboy shooting. Still, I've never heard so many people get uptight about questions. I can't even fathom living and learning without being welcoming to people asking questions. In fact, when I teach people if they DONT ask questions I think something is wrong with them. People move at far too slow of pace a lot of the time for me, and while I'm trying to learn and sort things out it's just faster, simple as that. Not only that, but the people locally I can tell are already trying to train me on wrong and incorrect information. I have only really looked deeply into this for 3-4 days and I can see cracks showing in their advice. A lot of them are probably just regurgitating what they were told, and that person is regurgitating what they were told. The nice thing about a forum is that you get many different perspectives, from all over the GLOBE (not isolated to a local area), and I can quickly assimilate all answers into a trajectory course of action. But naturally I dont even know why I'm typing this, I just get hyper irritated at responses being critical of inquisition, and then proposing "DO it THIS way" and the way they point out is incredibly slow, and error prone. Trust me though, I get polluting the forum with 1000 reloading questions, no worries there I wont do it anymore.

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1 hour ago, Tallboy said:

Every time I ask a question here I get answers like this. I will just stop posting here, problem solved. Cast boolits is super friendly, I guess that is because this is a SASS forum and not a reloading forum. I simply ask here because I own a dozen lever guns and shoot cowboy loads, so it very closely aligns with cowboy shooting. Still, I've never heard so many people get uptight about questions. I can't even fathom living and learning without being welcoming to people asking questions. In fact, when I teach people if they DONT ask questions I think something is wrong with them. People move at far too slow of pace a lot of the time for me, and while I'm trying to learn and sort things out it's just faster, simple as that. Not only that, but the people locally I can tell are already trying to train me on wrong and incorrect information. I have only really looked deeply into this for 3-4 days and I can see cracks showing in their advice. A lot of them are probably just regurgitating what they were told, and that person is regurgitating what they were told. The nice thing about a forum is that you get many different perspectives, from all over the GLOBE (not isolated to a local area), and I can quickly assimilate all answers into a trajectory course of action. But naturally I dont even know why I'm typing this, I just get hyper irritated at responses being critical of inquisition, and then proposing "DO it THIS way" and the way they point out is incredibly slow, and error prone. Trust me though, I get polluting the forum with 1000 reloading questions, no worries there I wont do it anymore.

You needn't get defensive, everyone here is trying to help.  It's just that for as many persons as inhabit this, and other forums, there's probably at least one other way to do things.   And yes, a mentor is invaluable, if they're a competent one.  I've never learned how one avoids the incompetent ones, and while I'm sure they are out there, I've been lucky enough to never encounter one!  I've been reloading for nigh on 50 years, and am still learning new things.    If you quit learning, you simply stagnate, leads to rotting, and whence to all sorts of bad things.  If you think reloading is steep learning curve, wait till you try bullet casting!

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2 hours ago, Tallboy said:

Every time I ask a question here I get answers like this. I will just stop posting here, problem solved. Cast boolits is super friendly, I guess that is because this is a SASS forum and not a reloading forum. I simply ask here because I own a dozen lever guns and shoot cowboy loads, so it very closely aligns with cowboy shooting. Still, I've never heard so many people get uptight about questions. I can't even fathom living and learning without being welcoming to people asking questions. In fact, when I teach people if they DONT ask questions I think something is wrong with them. People move at far too slow of pace a lot of the time for me, and while I'm trying to learn and sort things out it's just faster, simple as that. Not only that, but the people locally I can tell are already trying to train me on wrong and incorrect information. I have only really looked deeply into this for 3-4 days and I can see cracks showing in their advice. A lot of them are probably just regurgitating what they were told, and that person is regurgitating what they were told. The nice thing about a forum is that you get many different perspectives, from all over the GLOBE (not isolated to a local area), and I can quickly assimilate all answers into a trajectory course of action. But naturally I dont even know why I'm typing this, I just get hyper irritated at responses being critical of inquisition, and then proposing "DO it THIS way" and the way they point out is incredibly slow, and error prone. Trust me though, I get polluting the forum with 1000 reloading questions, no worries there I wont do it anymore.

1. I feel Sedalia Dave’s answer is rather polite and very very much on point.. not because your question annoyed him or anyone else… its actually because many of us took that route when we ourselves learned… Its kinda scary to reload the first time… and having someone walk you through step by step is very helpful… I’ve mentored three or four people through setting up for reloading… in person AND over video call… even though it was probably a very slow process for them and my help was certainly full of errors it still worked…. they’ve not blown up their reloading rooms or their guns… yet.
 

2. this is a forum for the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) hosted by the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS).  The word “action” in the name of our sport, Cowboy Action Shooting, and in the name of the organization that governs it (SASS) does not refer to the same kind of “action”. One describes the action of a gun as in single or double action (SASS) but “action” in  CAS refers to action, excitement.. as in an action movie or action sport…. So almost every question will be read and answered from that perspective. Ask a reloading question, you’ll get answers filtered through the cowboy action shooting perspective thus the no jacketed reminders and such… people that like shooting cowboy guns but don't shoot in the sport may not understand people that shoot in Cowboy Action Shooting and this is also true for the reverse… CAS people may not understand where cowboy gun fans may be coming from. Be aware of this and be patient with us while you find a way to attend a match at a club near you. 

 

3. just cuz you’re on this form, or any other forum for that matter, doesn't mean you’ll get credible answers, take all advice with caution…most of us are incredibly slow and prone to errors to begin with… so please don't get irritated when our answers reflect that… after all, you are the one that asked us to share what we know… 

 

 

 

 

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I didn't mean to suggest the path of a mentor is bad or be critical of anyone's bath. Trust me, that would be extremely nice for sure. I would choose that above all else as an option. Unfortunately after talking with the ones at the range near me for longer than my initial chat with them, I need to find someone else. In the meantime, I only have myself, books, and online. My main reaction (overreaction probably) is specifically related to restricting the flow of questions. If he didn't mean that, then I am sorry. I can go through my post history and find 5 or 6 other times where there have been similar comments and I just chose not to say anything and bite my tongue, but at some point is just got under my skin enough to say something. I have spent 40,000+ hours mastering and perfecting my own craft (not shooting, thats for sure), and I have probably asked 1 million questions in the multiple decades. I just am extremely oriented to the style of learning where questions are not shunned in place of reading/something else, as if I'm lazy or have the intellect of a 10 year old who can't figure out when to read vs when to ask. It's one thing if a student fails to put in work, in that case questions are annoying because the student is just leaning on the master so they don't have to do the work. That is probably the farthest thing from my own personality though. I often spend 4-5+ hours a day JUST learning. It is just a way that I consume information quickly, and I'm sure it gets on a lot of people's nerves. Anyway i am just ranting. I am probably being a bitch because I cannot find any powders I need. :wacko: I don't want to reply anymore because I got the helpful info I needed and don't want to offend anyone.

Edited by Tallboy
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Questions are fine. I use 3.5 gr of Trail boss in my 357 loads. You can't get Trailboss right now now though. HP 38 or Titegroup are available now and will work. Using a chronograph is important to verify velocity. 

hodgdon_2002_blackpowder_reloaders_manual.pdf

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22 hours ago, Tallboy said:

This is awesome info, thanks. For future reference, how would I know when a powder position sensitive?

I think others have already beat me to this reply, but the best way to tell how position sensitive a load might be is by testing with a chronograph.  Position sensitive loads will have large "Extreme Spread' and "Standard Deviation" numbers when tested across the chronograph.  Testing can be done by randomly firing the loads for the first string, then tilting the gun back to get as much powder near the primer as possible before firing for the next string.  Most loads with empty space will show some difference when done this way and some propellants will vary far more than others.  In my testing, Titegroup was one of the best at being consistent and I like it in my rifle rounds very much.  However, I seldom use it for the handguns as it does have a very sharp report and recoil impulse when compared to other powders.

 

I also feel the need to reiterate that all smokeless powders need to build enough pressure to burn properly and trying to create really light loads can cause some very erratic results.  Try to stay at or above the manufacturer's minimum loads and you should be just fine, but going below that can cause some real problems.  Good luck to you and I'm sorry if you got offended by anyone here.  Unfortunately, the internet is not a very friendly place and some folks just seem to enjoy causing issues.  Adios.    

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7 hours ago, Mister Badly said:

Questions are fine. I use 3.5 gr of Trail boss in my 357 loads. You can't get Trailboss right now now though. HP 38 or Titegroup are available now and will work. Using a chronograph is important to verify velocity. 

hodgdon_2002_blackpowder_reloaders_manual.pdf 232.51 kB · 4 downloads

Thanks again for posting that. I actually saw you post that before but at that exact moment I wasn't ready to see it. (Since then I have read the how-to section another time). I just bought Titegroup!

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16 minutes ago, Bison Bud said:

Good luck to you and I'm sorry if you got offended by anyone here.  Unfortunately, the internet is not a very friendly place and some folks just seem to enjoy causing issues.  Adios.    


 

The only one causing an issue is Tallboy. He posted a question and got 14 responses attempting to answer the question and one response gently suggesting he find a mentor (not a bad suggestion). 

 

12 hours ago, Sedalia Dave said:

You need to find yourself a mentor. You'll get the answers you are seeking and get up to speed quicker than asking 100 questions here. Ask around in your local club about who would be willing to help you learn. 

 

His response is to get all huffy and threaten not to ask any more questions. 
 

I’m with Dave, it’s fine asking questions here, but there’s no substitute for an experienced friend helping you up the learning curve.

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30 minutes ago, Captain Bill Burt said:


 

The only one causing an issue is Tallboy. He posted a question and got 14 responses attempting to answer the question and one response gently suggesting he find a mentor (not a bad suggestion). 

 

 

His response is to get all huffy and threaten not to ask any more questions. 
 

I’m with Dave, it’s fine asking questions here, but there’s no substitute for an experienced friend helping you up the learning curve.

 

Not a "threat," it was just an objective statement of what I will do. There is no point in taking away something that doesn't have any innate value anyway (as in, why would I threaten to take away something that people don't seem to want/enjoy anyway).

 

It also wasn't one response. In all the gun forums I have posted on, this is the only one that ... more than once, more than twice, more like 5 times, I've gotten mild to aggressive "go read a book/get a mentor instead of asking so many questions" type replies, and I've never gotten a single one of those anywhere else but here. I will also mention I have gotten lots of great advice as well, a lot of what @Cholla and others said got me into reloading. Like I said, the only reason I was asking reloading questions here is because of the extra specific knowledge of lighter loads in lever guns.

 

Ultimately I have no experienced friend helping me until I find one, so all of that is moot. I'll just be on the lookout at the range for someone with a chronograph and pick their brain if they're open to it.

Edited by Tallboy
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33 minutes ago, Tallboy said:

Thanks again for posting that. I actually saw you post that before but at that exact moment I wasn't ready to see it. (Since then I have read the how-to section another time). I just bought Titegroup!

I forgot to add I use a 130 gr bullet

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1 minute ago, Mister Badly said:

I forgot to add I use a 130 gr bullet

Thanks! I have heard to be weary of H110 as a new reloader. I believe I have read this a number of times in the context of trying to make lighter loads with it can be dangerous. Obviously though this doesn't apply to all fast burning powders as it would appear most of these powders in the Hodgdan PDF are faster burning and are definitely used to make lighter loads. Do you by chance know what sets that one apart?

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No I do not. I use the Trail Boss as it fills the case better for visual confirmation of powder drop. I use Bullseye for my 38 loads at 3.5 gr with the 130 bullet. I bought Titegroup but got some Trailboss from another cowboy so I haven't loaded it yet. I verify the powder drop in every case before seating the bullet and that the primer is seated properly. 

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Just now, Mister Badly said:

No I do not. I use the Trail Boss as it fills the case better for visual confirmation of powder drop. I use Bullseye for my 38 loads at 3.5 gr with the 130 bullet. I bought Titegroup but got some Trailboss from another cowboy so I haven't loaded it yet. I verify the powder drop in every case before seating the bullet and that the primer is seated properly. 

Great thanks, Trail Boss is on my list too when it's available again.

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