Shooters Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,429 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As I have posted before, the Smith & Wesson Mod 686 in .357 Mag is very popular with the boys that run the river from the Santa Fe to the Gulf (50 miles).When looking at what has caused this increase in popularity, it is traced directly to the heavy bullets now in use. It all started with the Remington 180 gr factory load. That is a devastative bullet on deer, large hogs, and river pests. For the boys that reload....it's the 180 gr Hornady XTP, and when available, the BTB 185 gr.FN GC. They like the penetration of the BTB bullet best. You can't argue with kill rate success! I feel these heavy bullets have moved the over-looked .357 Mag up quite a few notches. After all, look at what my friend John Anderson did by driving the 185 gr BTB completly through that extra large steer's head!
Best Regards, James



<!--EDIT|James Gates|Feb. 08 2002,18:06-->
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I also have been using the Beartooth 185 grain bullets in my 357 magnum.I am very impressed with their performance.This bullet makes the the 357 magnum a lot more capable than ever before.It is like using a bigger and more powerful gunI have also used 180 grain jacketed bullets and they are not near as good as the Beartooth bullet is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,429 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I agree with you....the only thing I carry in my 686 anymore is the BTB 185. Contender also has one of Vernal Smith's mould for a heavy OWC that is great.
Best Regards, James
 

·
Beartooth Regular
Joined
·
1,177 Posts
I just got a 357 mag Contender barrel reamed out to 357 Max and can't wait to run some slugs through it for testing.

The original 357 chambering had a very poorly designed throat arrangement more like a forcing cone than anything else. One could drop a 180 XTP in the chamber, then an empty case and close the action. Shot about modified choke at 50 yds.

Had it bored out to the Max chambering to get rid of most of it and get a better throat in the process.

Should get about 1700-1800 or so in the 10" barrel with 180's.

I have a sample here of Marshall's 180 +P WLN type bullet in 358 and it chambers perfectly. This appears to be a great bullet for the fixed chamber guns in 35 cal. I believe in the wheelguns that you need to use 38 special cases for length concerns. Would be interesting to experiment with in that regard also. Reminds me of the dual crimp grooved Lyman 358156? cast bullet. These could be loaded in 38 brass and seated to the the lower crimp groove(Lyman Bullet) and shot from the shorter/countersunk cylinders on say the Model 19 Smith's.

Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Contender---- I was just curious if you had tried LBT cast bullets in your 10 in. .357 TC prior to the New chambering?
I purchased a New 10" barrel .357 mag. stainless in the early 90's and was very disappointed at first with the deep throat as far as cast bullets were concerned. It shot Jacketed bullets just fine. At that time I was under the impression that to get good accuracy with cast you had to seat them out to touch the lands and with the throat in this barrel it was wishful thinking as the only bullet I had that would touch the Lands and still be in the case was the 250 gr Win. PP.
Anyway to make along story shorter I ended up ordering a 180 FN LBT mold for this barrel and accuracy at 100 yrds has been good, full power loads 1400-1500 fps = 3/4-1" five shot groups, reduced power 1000 to 1150 fps using a casefull of REL.7 a nickel will cover five shots.--- Good-luck
 

·
Beartooth Regular
Joined
·
1,177 Posts
That sounds like some great performance out of your stock barrel with cast. Sorry to say that I didn't try any of the LBT designs in this barrel in original configuration.

The standard SWC designs were terrible however and Jacketed were somewhat better but I felt accuracy could be better from a fixed chamber, scoped gun.

The main thing I was driving at is to why start from square one with an obviously poor throat configuration and throw numerous components and loads at it to overcome the shortcoming in design. All the pistol calibers in the TC's are like this. Whether it is due to liability concerns or what have you. I have an earlier 6 groove 44 mag barrel that has a much better factory throat so I am at somewhat of a loss to the why of that reasoning. This barrel shoots great with many combinations of components.

There are reamers with the "alternate" throat configuration that are of the proper design. I have a Bullberry 41 Mag barrel with just such a throat that is more in line with a "rifle" type arrangement.

In the case of the 357 barrel, to be able to seat a 180 gr JHP bullet which is actually heavy for the cartridge and not be anywhere near the rifling even with less than 1/16" of it in the case is not very condusive to accuracy.

Having said all that, other factors influenced my decision to ream out to the longer cartridge also. I wanted a more powerful yet efficient round for the 10" barrel for some more range, a wider variety of components to be used without the above mentioned trouble for easier load development. I also had a few other things done to the barrel like a 2nd dovetail cut to fit a 14" forend or Pachmayr bedding bar more securely. I also had the crown recessed to protect it.

I realize some of these things are subjective and others like yourself are getting gangbuster accuracy but heck, maybe it's just me.

You need to look at the picture here of the 180 WLN design. Hopefully mine will be in soon from Marshall and I'll commence some testing on them.

If you like, I'll send you a few to eyeball to see what you think.

Regards
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
That WLN can't help but be a winner in that case if you take the time to fit it like Marshall recommends. I came real close to doing the same thing with my barrel. My buddy had a XL chambered for the Max case and it would sure flatten the rams with the 180 RCBS. He also had one chambered for the .358 Win. that did pretty good on the rams also (G).

I believe the 180 gr. LBT style of bullet is the best thing to happen to the .357 since 296 came on the market.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
287 Posts
Okay, Mr. Gates, what is your favorite load for the .357 magnum and the 185 LBT? I'm thinking about taking my .357 deer hunting this season...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,429 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
After testing lots of powders types and weights...I settled on Marshall suggestion of 16 grs of WW296 with a WW wlp......and never looked back. This load may be a little much for K frames, but the 686 loves it. With the rear sight cranked flat, it impacts at 2" high at 30 yards...just right out to 100 yards (if you need to shoot that far) and groups tight!!!!! This bullet drives deep and the .280 meplat (as is the #429421)gives a good wound channel. My 686 has a 6" barrel and tight chamber throats/cylinder gap. The hammer turned out to be soft on the sear notch, so Smith put in a new "milled" hammer. Although I have hunted/killed a great deal with my SBH .44...over the last year and a half I have been killing with the 686. First with RP 180 JHP's and then with the BTB 185's when they got here.
I well know that this board is big gun prone....and that's fine! I love them also! However, people should not knock down the .357 with heavy bullets, without having tried it on game.....including large hogs.
Best Regards, James
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top