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  #1  
Old 08-16-2005, 07:21 PM
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RCBS-357-180-SIL for cowboy rifle silhouette


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I shoot Cowboy Rifle Silhouette with a Rossi 92 carbine.

I would like to work up a load that will reliably take down 200 yard rams. These rams are at the Blacks Creek Range at Boise and are usually hard to knock down. I have had good, center hits with my 30-30 using a 150gr jacketed bullet starting out at 1700fps that rang a ram with 3 hits in a row. I have also rang them using the same 30-30 with 190gr bullets going about the same mv.

I have a RCBS-357-180-SIL mold that throws bullets at about 195gr using my alloy. They are a bit heavier using a gc.

I also have some LC 180gr bullets and a few LBT cast bullets that run about 190 gr.

I figure I need a load that will get over 1800fps mv and is reasonably accurate to boot.

I was thinking maybe trying Lil Gun, for the first time. I was also wondering if a slower powder, like 4227 or AA1680 might be a little better from my 20 inch barrel than 296 or H110.

I don’t want to go out and cause cases to separate or ruin my rifle. I just want to kill them rams with a 357 mag. The guys at Blacks Creek claim it can’t be done. Now it is a challenge.

Any ideas???

Let me know your thoughts,
Sixgun
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  #2  
Old 08-16-2005, 10:51 PM
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Unfortunately I don't have any experience on the silhouette course you're referring to (yet) but I have been able to reach 1300fps with RCBS 35-200FN from a 6.5" Stainless Blackhawk. I worked up to a compressed load of 296 with small rifle magnum primers in .357 Winchester cases and the load performed very over the chronograph. 1300fps from a 6.5" wheelgun may translate to 1700 to 1800fps from a 20" carbine and the RCBS 35-200FN is a pretty streamlined bullet. 296 produced about 100fps more velocity than 1680 or 680 in the Ruger. I noticed when taking inventory a couple nights ago that the brass I was using in the .357 Blackhawk's short cylinder was cut back somewhat so you may even be able to approach 1800fps in .38Spl brass... it's worth a try. Perhaps AA#9 in .38Spl cases may give you 1700 to 1800fps before warning signs appear. Don't forget the magnum RIFLE primers though. I think around 12 grains of 296 in the shortened .357 cases is where I started. BTW, I went all the way to 17.5 grains of 296 (full length .357 case) with Beartooth's 185 grainer and broke 1500fps from the same Stainless Blackhawk. The uninitiated at my range were sure I was shooting a .41 or .44 based on report, recoil and how those little slugs were slamming into the heavy 50 yard gong. Since you've got a '92, you should be able to shoot anything that's safe in a Blackhawk. Nevertheless, please be careful, especially if you decide to go with .38Spl cases and AA#9/WC820 (which I have noticed is somewhat faster than 296).

Good luck,
TMC

P.S. BTW, what IS the longest round you can feed your '92 anyway?

Last edited by MarlinCollector; 08-16-2005 at 10:55 PM.
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  #3  
Old 08-17-2005, 05:45 AM
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P.S. BTW, what IS the longest round you can feed your '92 anyway?[/QUOTE]

It won't take anything longer than standard length. I have to crimp the rcbs-357-180-SIL bullets over the front driving band in 357 cases and in the crimping groove for 38sp cases.

Thanks for your input. I have some AA9 on hand and have used it in this rifle. I think I was getting right around 1700fps with good accuracy.

Sixgun
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  #4  
Old 08-17-2005, 03:26 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Central Arkansas
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Laser Cast sells a 180grn tc bullet for 357 that is very accurate and only has a OAL of 1.610" when crimped in the crimp groove. There are others I'm sure but this bullet appears to be the same as two molds that Saeco sells. One gas checked and one plain based. I'm thinking of buying a 180grn 38 caliber mold but am waiting to see which rifle I end up with to go with my revolver. My GP100 will allow a .357 case loaded with a bullet for a OAL of 1.660-65".


Bill
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  #5  
Old 08-23-2005, 06:36 AM
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I got a pound of lil gun and tried some of it last night. I loaded 15 gr of lil gun with the rcbs sil bullet and a cci std small pistol primer. I had to crimp the 357 cases over the front driving band to get them short enough to cycle. I was not too impressed with the results. I got 1703 avg fps with an extreme spread of 59 fps and a Standard deviation of 25. I didn't shoot for groups because the light was fading fast and I wanted to shoot some over the chrony before the light was all gone.

The was no pressure signs, in fact the cases soot around the very end of the case mouths. I may be able to get 15.5 gr of lil gun into the cases but not much more. I don't think I can get enough lil gun in these cases with this bullet to cause any danger of too much pressure.

Sixgun
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  #6  
Old 08-23-2005, 02:48 PM
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I like to use standard primers with LilGun in larger cases that use large primers but think I would try a mag primer with it in small primer cases. Also a shame you couldn't get a good heavy crimp that might help some.

Bill
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  #7  
Old 10-04-2005, 08:46 AM
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I thought I would report on the load that I have ended up with that seems to work pretty good.

I used the RCBS-357-180-SIL and 16 gr of Lil' Gun with CCI Small Pistil Standard Primers and R-P Brass. Velocity is 1830 fps on the average. 200 yard groups are about 4 inches.

Last Saturday I went to the Cowboy Rifle Silhouette match at Blacks Creek Range, near Boise, Idaho. Winds were 20 mph gusting to 46 mph at the airport, which is just about five miles north of the range with only sagebrush in between.

I have been using my pre-64 30-30 with good results and even won the Idaho State Cowboy Rifle Silhouette match in July with that rifle but I had brought along my 357 to try my load after the match. The wind was so bad that I decided to go ahead and shoot the match with the 357 because I figured it was going to be a bust anyway.

I used my pistol cartridge load on the chickens ( 124gr RCBS 9mm bullet over 5 gr of Bullseye) because it was the only load that I knew the sight setting for.

I got 9 chickens. For Pigs I decided to use the same sight setting and use the heavier load. The first shot was about 2 feet high. I lowered the sight a whole bunch and tried again and was still high so lowered again and got 7 pigs.

I raised the sight 15 clicks and got 8 turkeys. I went up 20 more and got 8 rams and ended up match winner with a 32 for a score.

The 357 preformed great but did ring 2 turkeys and two rams but I think it was from the wind holding them up rather than them being too heavy to knock down, as they were solid hits and turkeys usually go down fairly easy if hit at all.

The little 357 Rossi was fun to shoot and even though recoil is a little stiff, everything worked great.

The load that I used is as much Lil' Gun as can be put into the case and still seat the bullet deep enough to cycle. It is compressed and bullets were trying to creep out between the seating stage and the crimping stage. I had to watch that carefully and some of the loaded cartridges had to be "helped" from the lifter into line with the barrel.

What Fun!

Sixgun
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  #8  
Old 10-04-2005, 01:50 PM
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six_gun,

I just bought the RCBS-38-180 sil mold and have cast a few bullets and lubed and gc'ed them. Mine are around 20bhn but weigh 192grns. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about your loading with these bullets. What is your OAL of loaded cartridge and do they work ok in your rifle? I'm crimping mine at 1.670" and then seating back down to 1.665" to make them work for my GP100 Ruger, and that's if the bullets don't pull any after recoil. I haven't been to the range to shoot any of mine yet but have some loaded with five different powders and regular primers for some and RP 5 1/2 primers for the others. My LilGun and W296 loads are 14.0grns with mag primers.

Bill
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  #9  
Old 10-05-2005, 05:56 AM
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Kingfish,

The OAL of my loaded cartridges is 1.645. If it gets out to 1.65 they will hang up and not feed unless I take my pocket knife and raise the tip up. I seat and crimp in different steps and sometimes the lube sticks in the seating die and pull the bullets out a little bit before they get to the crimp die. I have been thinking of taking the case out of the turret press and seating on a single stage press so I can catch this when it happens. It is not a big deal when shooting silhouettes but if it happened in a hunting situation it may cause me to cuss and pull out my hair.

The crimp is in the middle of the front driving band when using this OAL and I use a Lee Crimp die to make the crimp. It makes its own crimp groove without deforming the case. It also has a carbide seizer that sizes the case going in and out of the crimp die.

As I stated before, I am using 16 gr of Lil'Gun with a CCI Standard Small Pistol Primer. Velocity is averaging 1830 fps from a 20 inch barrel. I worked up to these loads and they show no signs of pressure and I could go higher but the compression is difficult and the bullets get pushed out before they get crimped.

Your GP100 should be able to handle this load just fine but you should probably work up to it and do the inspections for excessive pressure along the way.

Sixgun
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  #10  
Old 10-05-2005, 03:48 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 200
Thanks for the info. I'm working with a single stage press and an assortment of dies. I like a good roll crimp if I can use the crimp groove but my RCBS set puts on a crummy crimp and I've also got a Redding profile crimp and a Lee taper crimp for the 38/357. The profile crimp really irons the brass to the bullet but I can't see much of a roll into the groove so I've also run a slight taper into the groove after the profile. Don't know how it will hold but if the bullet pulls any, it will tie up the cylinder. And these are starting loads, shame you can't seat your bullet out further, I've got plenty of powder room at a longer OAL. I've used regular and mag primers with LilGun in .357 cases and couldn't tell much difference, but on cartridges that use large primers I always use regular WLP or RP 2 1/2.

I plan to get some kind of lever rifle in 38/357 and am interested in any OAL problems like the one you had. My 1894 Marlin in 44 is pretty well broken-in but new enough to have the ballard rifling. Mine will cycle a 1.690" easy but you have to wiggle the lever to get a 1.700+" to rise and chamber. I was hoping a 357 Marlin would be the same but it looks like some do and most don't, unless altered a little.

Bill

edit: You must be tumble lubing your bullets to have them sticky and wanting to pull out. I've been running mine through a lubisizer and even setting up to lube the top crimp groove some and wiping a little lube off after I put on my light crimp.

Last edited by Kingfish; 10-05-2005 at 03:54 PM.
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  #11  
Old 11-03-2005, 06:27 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: SE USA
Posts: 1
Six_gun
This is an old thread however; I figured your interest was still current. Thought you might be interested in a bit of history/experience from a silhouette shooter with over 20 years experience with a 357 and steel critters.

With a standard revolver or lever action rifle you are fighting a battle of diminished case capacity due to bullet seating depths required to function the guns. You cannot use a light bullet with fast powder to overcome the problem, due to the need for momentum at the ram line. The 180-grain bullet is the minimum weight that you should consider for 100% take down of the steel critters. Other weights will shoot, but the %s get pretty poor.

You will find that the 200 RCBS is a better bullet for two reasons. One the bullet is heavier and two it is a flat point. The flat point allows for shallower seating and the big 200, once moving does not want to stop.

The 200 or the 180 must be loaded to allow for function, forget the written OAL and when using a rifle or modern revolver, forget the manual specs.

Here are some excellent 357 loads from international class champion revolver shooters:

180 RCBS 11 grains #9
180 RCBS 11.5 grains #9
180 RCBS 10 grains H-4227
200 RCBS 12 grains H-110
200 RCBS 14.6 grains H-110

All of the above loads were shot in a short cylinder revolver, seated to clear the cylinder face and compressed. The 14.6-grain load with the 200 was shot in an 8 inch Python for 7 years and took the Revolver title at the cast bullet internationals. I saw a miss-set pig moved back 18 inches on an I-beam with the 12-grain load at a Region II championship. The pig, set on the front edge, was center punched and slid straight back.

If you want to load the gun single shot, and if the rounds will chamber in your gun, you have three very deadly loads available, 16 and 18 grains of H-110 with the 200, crimped in the crimping groove. Or with #9 and the 180, 16.5 grains crimped in the groove.

Best of luck and good shooting.
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  #12  
Old 11-04-2005, 06:19 AM
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Sur Shot,

Yes the interest is still there. Thanks for the info. I have been considering going to a 200 gr bullet but do not have one at this time.

Sadly I do have to worry about oal. The rules state that in Cowboy Rifle Silhouette, that the cartridges have to feed from the magazine. The old Win 92 had a long enough action to accomadate a longer oal but the Rossi 92s do not.

At any rate, I will be testing the loads that you gave me on the post, Thanks

Sixgun
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  #13  
Old 11-04-2005, 05:16 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Posts: 291
Quote:
Originally Posted by six_gun
Sur Shot,

Yes the interest is still there. Thanks for the info. I have been considering going to a 200 gr bullet but do not have one at this time.

Sadly I do have to worry about oal. The rules state that in Cowboy Rifle Silhouette, that the cartridges have to feed from the magazine. The old Win 92 had a long enough action to accomadate a longer oal but the Rossi 92s do not.

At any rate, I will be testing the loads that you gave me on the post, Thanks

Sixgun
Sixgun,
I just bought a box of the OT (Laser Cast) 180 Gr.FP bullets to try in my M94 357 Mag. I was looking for a GC lead bullet at a reasonale price but could not find one so I thought I would try these ($22 for 500). If you would like to try some I would give you some to try. Send me a PM if you are interested.
Cary
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  #14  
Old 11-07-2005, 12:37 PM
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Location: Meridian, Idaho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cturpin
Sixgun,
I just bought a box of the OT (Laser Cast) 180 Gr.FP bullets to try in my M94 357 Mag. I was looking for a GC lead bullet at a reasonale price but could not find one so I thought I would try these ($22 for 500). If you would like to try some I would give you some to try. Send me a PM if you are interested.
Cary
Cturpin,

Thanks for the offer, but I have a box of the LC 180gr fn. I have not had real goodl luck with them but it is not that bad. I got them to use in my 357 Max barrel for my TC. If I remember right I used 21gr of 296 or H110 and they leaded up something fierce. I got good accuracy from the first ones though so I lubed them with Lee Liquod Alox and they worked fine with no leading.

I tried them for silhouettes, from my Rossi 92, and when I got the volicity up to where it needed to be, accuracy went out the door.

I use them in my 357 max for road hunting elk and deer. It is much easier to jump out of the truck with the TC than a rifle and out to 75 yards the max should do a number on elk. Also, in Idaho it is illeagle to carry a loaded rifle in a moter vehicle so the TC is just the ticket. I have it laying on the seat with the action open and a couple of shells in my pocket, I don't road hunt all that much, just going to and from a hunting area.

Sixgun
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  #15  
Old 11-07-2005, 05:34 PM
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sur shot,

Are you referring to RCBS 35-200FN? If so, how does one go about making this bullet work in a lever gun? By using .38Spl cases? Is your "200 RCBS 14.6 grains H-110" load assembled in .38Spl cases? What muzzle velocity range are we talking about from a 20" bbl? It's been a few years since I've worked with heavy bullets in .38/.357 handguns but I seem to recall getting almost 15 grains of H110 in a .38 case to be somewhat of a feat.

More details please...

Thanks,
MC
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  #16  
Old 12-01-2005, 10:41 PM
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Six_gun:

Extremely interesting thread!! I don't shoot the 200m silos, but I do shoot the SB and PC lever rifles. Have been thinking of getting into the longer range shoot, but I don't have a proper rifle......or maybe I do. As you well know, the rams are tough to knock down. I've seen 357s, 44 mags, 30-30s, 38-55s and even a 45-70 ring those critters. Unlike IHMSA BB matches, the rams are set full footed, and not just forward of the topple zone.

As I see it, there are 3 things you need in a cartridge to reliably take the rams: an accurate heavy bullet, of the proper construction, going at the proper speed. A heavy enough bullet is self-explanatory. A bullet of proper construction would be one that is tough enough to maximize "dwell time" on the target to drive through it to knock it down. One that "vaporizes" on the ram or uses its momentum to mushroom and deform on the target would not have enough umph to reliably knock it over. This would be a tough jacketed bullet, or a very hard cast bullet. Proper speed for the 357 is a matter, of trial and error. Too slow= no knockdown, while too fast would be vaporization of your bullet of even possibly passing completely through the target. You've seem to have found a load that appears suitable for the rams, so let's say the ideal speed for the 357 is 1800fps MV.

I must commend you on your diligence in trying to get your Rossi to shoot, but it seems to me that you're going the long way around the block. Please don't take anything as criticism directed at you, but merely the observations of a curious and interested bystander. I believe (no empirical proof, just a gut feeling or SWAG) that the 357 will always be marginal for the rams. You look at the guns that most of the shooters are using, esp. the top shooters, and you will see most are shooting a 30-30. If the 357 were suitable, I believe more shooters would be using it. The 30-30, I believe, is the more effecient cartridge, and one would not need to resort to "heroic" levels of handloading to get it to perform. For the CPT line, a 150gr bullet, usually cast, and for the ram line, a tough jacketed 170gr. I don't have a handle on MV, but your 1700fps seems a bit anemic. Shouldn't MV for the 30-30 be up past 2000fps?

Now, having said all that, I use a Rossi 357 in the PC matches, and I believe I can benefit from all your reloading/shooting efforts with the 357. I'll try your loads, etc, and perhaps for 2006, I'll be able to shoot the 200meter matches. Still, in my mind, not the best tool for the job (I sure wish I had a 30-30), but you can't use what you don't have! My Rossi will take a COL of 1.640 without difficulty. Up around 1.647 and the cartridge starts hitting the top and bottom of the chamber. I need to jiggle it a bit to get it fully chambered. I take it you like the Lee factory crimp die? Something like this would probably be needed if one were not crimping in the groove and using the driving band to keep COL at a usable length?

Anyway, thanks for posting all this information. I really benefit from everyone's input.

Eric
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  #17  
Old 12-05-2005, 07:08 AM
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rn122,

The thing that got me interested in trying my 357 rossi on the 200M rams was an old friend of mine who used a 10" 357 barrel on his TC with the 180 rcbs sil bullet. He did it on a dirfferent range, probably with better stands and targets.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using the 357 on the 200 meter rams. One is recoil. I have found, through my years of shooting all kinds of metallic sillhouette, that recoil is not my friend. With a pistol I start anticipating it and then lean into a shot or jerk. With a rifle, it just beats you up in a 40 round match. I can last the match but it is hard to keep going good through a shootoff.

I tried lots of loads with my 30-30 and most of them would work okay but then I got a load that gave me 3 inch groups from a rest, at 200 meters. It was 34 gr of IMR 4831 with a rcbs 180-30-fn. From my mold, with my soft alloy, the bullet weighs in at 190 gr. It is going just a tad over 1700 fps.

I have rang some rams with this load. I have also seen 38-55s and 45-70s ring rams. One thing you have to do before you can ring a ram is hit it. I will stick with my accurate loads and then worry about ringing rams.

The first match I shot at 200 m there was an old guy there shooting a 125gr fn jacketed bullet from his marlin 30-30. He said it was going only 1800fps. I was spotting for him and on his first ram he got what I call a pecker shot. A big gray cloud erupted when he hit the ram in the pecker and it slowly toppled from the stand. It was the only ram he hit.

I will probably keep using my 357, sometimes, for the 200m game. I will keep using my 30-30 too. That load of 34 gr of IMR 4831 leaves lots of unburned powder in the bore and action but it sure is accurate. The 357 is just as accurate with more loads and it seems to work better in cold weather, probably because of the faster powders used.

We shoot the first Saturday of the month, all year long and in January will be the next 200m shoot. Wish me well.

Sixgun
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